Dark Chocolate Blondies (grain-free, no refined sugar)
Typically, I don’t mention the specific brand I use in a recipe unless it is integral to the recipe’s success or I just really love the product for one reason or another. I first became familiar with Bob’s Red Mill many years ago when my dad discovered he had to eliminate gluten. He never complained about all the things he could no longer eat, but I knew there were certain favorites that he really missed. After having less than delicious outcomes with some ready-made gluten-free flour blends, I starting mixing my own. In the process, I discovered Bob’s Red Mill and eventually came up with this blend that I have used in muffins, quick breads…even this chocolate cake! To my delight, the only way family and friends figure out the recipes are the gluten-free version is if they notice my dad enjoying them.
While I still use this gluten-free blend often, I have also taken to baking with a variety of nut and oat flours over the past couple of years. Almond flour has been a favorite, and I have gone through countless packages of Bob’s blanched almond flour. The primary difference between light-colored blanched almond flour and the darker almond meal, is the skins. The latter is ground with the almond skins on. Often times, the nuts are also more coarsely ground. When aiming for a delicate “crumb” and optimal texture in baked goods–think light, fluffy pancakes or a moist, tender layer cake–blanched almond flour (the finer the grind the better) is the way to go. In all my baking experience, I can rely on the integrity of Bob’s products. Their blanched almond flour is no exception.
Recently, Bob’s Red Mill came out with a new product–almond meal with the skins on. Because I make a point of specifying “blanched” almond flour in many of my recipes and have come to use it almost exclusively in the past year, I figured it was time to to a side-by-side comparison. I chose a recipe that my family and friends have been enjoying for some time now. It’s a recipe I love as much for the taste as the clean list of ingredients. It’s amazingly easy to whip up, too.
The bottom line was that this recipe was delicious with either almond meal option. I recommend the blanched version when making something where light texture is paramount, like a birthday cake, or where a lighter color is preferred, as with scones. Do keep in mind also that almond flour generally should not be used as a direct substitute for wheat flour in recipes. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or send an email.
Blondies that are a snap to whip up using almond flour instead of wheat flour, honey instead of refined sugar, and a minimal amount of coconut oil or butter make for a delicious dessert that we can feel good about!
- 1 1/2 cups (170 grams) Bob’s Red Mill blanched almond flour or natural almond meal (150 grams), see notes
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (140 grams) dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
- 1/4 cup (55 grams) coconut oil or butter, melted
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup (80 grams) honey (may substitute 1/4 cup/60 grams pure maple syrup; I like grade B, dark amber for best flavor)
- 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan (I like to also line with parchment paper for easy removal). An 8-inch square baking dish works well, too.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, including the chips. In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix until completely incorporated.
- Bake 14-16 minutes or until the center is just set. When using butter instead of coconut oil, the blondies will brown more quickly. Check a few minutes early, as all ovens vary. Lightly drape with foil if the top is sufficiently golden but the center is not yet cooked through.
- Allow to cool and enjoy. I store the blondies in the refrigerator because we like the slightly firmer texture and crunch of the chocolate chips when cold. They may absolutely be served at room temperature as well. Wrapping and storing in the refrigerator will preserve freshness for at least a week. The blondies freeze well, too.
If using a kitchen scale to weigh the ingredients, note that the natural almond meal (the variety with skins) weighs slightly less than the blanched almond flour. Cup for cup measurements are the same. Note the similar difference between honey and maple syrup.
You may also enjoy this recipe for a cup-for-cup gluten-free substitute for all-purpose flour in recipes for muffins, cakes, quick breads, etc.