I recently had a hankering for polenta chips, and was disappointed to find I was out of polenta. I did, however, have a lot of dried legumes, so I consulted Google to see what recipes I could find to scratch my itch. I quickly stumbled upon countless recipes for fries made from all kinds of ground, dried beans. The ones that caught my eye were the recipes for chickpea fries, because they were repeatedly described as having the delicious, creamy inside texture of a polenta chip, whilst the outside was crunchy perfection.
Inspired by my recipe hunt, I made a batch, using dried chickpeas that I milled into flour. I think I have tinnitus as a result, so I created a simplified, quieter version, using besan flour.
The end result was chip perfection. Crunchy, hot, salty snack heaven!
For all my swagger and confidence in the kitchen, I'm not nearly so sure of myself when it comes to gluten free baking. So I decided to tackle it head on and create a sweet treat that would prove that anyone can show gluten free baking who's boss. I realised I would need 2 things to help me:
Firstly, I needed my starting point to be a phenomenal but simple recipe that's a classic crowd pleaser. Something I could tinker with and adapt to make gluten free.
It was hard to go past a classic brownie. And I'm lucky enough to have worked with an incredible pastry chef, Nina Wilson, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, way, way back in the 1990s. Nina was the hotel's head pastry chef, and I, as a wide eyed apprentice, got to train under the best. Nina's fudgy chocolate brownie recipe is famous in all the right circles.
Secondly, I needed advice from a seasoned master of gf baking. Luckily, I work with one here at Village Wholefoods HQ. Alex is a phenomenal baker of gf delights and is a reliable source of knowledge, inspiration and advice for our gf customers and staff alike.
From Alex I learned an invaluable tip - gluten free flours are thirstier, or more absorbent, than wheat flour, meaning the liquid ratio of a non gluten free recipe needs to be altered to accommodate the gf flour. With this in mind I eased off on the amount of flour called for in Nina's original recipe by about ¼, and I believe it was this nugget of wisdom that led to the most splendiferous, fudgey, perfect tray of brownies.