A gluten-free chocolate treat with hints of espresso and bits of Italian nougat.
This recipe is what a walnut brownie desperately wants to be but never can. The secret to this sophisticated brownie is torrone, an almond honey nougat from Italy, plus a spoonful of espresso powder that provides a subtle depth of flavor to balance the sweet nougat. Torrone is a white candy pillow made mostly of sugar, almonds, and egg whites, like a taffy cloud, bedecked with crunchy almonds. It retains its shape but caramelizes when baked, making it a delicious mix-in for a brownie. Since torrone is already gluten-free, this recipe features a gluten-free batter made with almond flour that yields a soft and chewy texture. As the brownie bakes, the torrone pieces caramelize while the almonds in the nougat retain their crunch. The result is a decadent and delicious grownup treat. Torrone and espresso for the win!
Equipment: dry measuring cups; measuring spoons; small saucepan; wooden spoon; large mixing bowl; whisk; rubber spatula; 9x9 baking pan; parchment paper
Ingredients: ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted ¾ cup granulated sugar
1 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips 2 large eggs
½ cup cocoa powder 1 tablespoon Ferrara® Espresso powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt 1¾ cup almond flour 12 pieces of Ferrara® Torrone, cut into sixths
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the baking pan with parchment paper so that is comes up all four sides. Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Turn off the heat and add the sugar and chocolate chips. Stir continuously until the sugar and chocolate melts and incorporates into the butter, about two minutes. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, espresso powder, baking powder, and teaspoon kosher salt. Whisk vigorously for about 1 minute until well combined. Remove the whisk and replace with a wooden spoon.
4. Pour ½ cup of the melted butter-sugar-chocolate mixture into the egg-cocoa mixture to temper, stirring vigorously for a few seconds, then pour the remainder stirring constantly until well combined.
5. Add the almond flour and blend well. Stir in the torrone pieces. Pour the brownie batter into the parchment-lined baking pan.
ILOC tip: reserve a handful of torrone pieces to dot the top of the brownie batter, if desired, before stirring in the remainder. It's not a necessary step, but it is a nice way to showcase the star of the show!
6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until tender-but-firm to the touch and the visible torrone has turned a light caramel color.
7. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
8. Lift the the brownies from the pan using the parchment paper, and then peel off the parchment paper. Cut the brownies into even pieces using a chef's knife.
Makes 12-24 brownies, depending on the size cut.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.