Two weeks ago, H and I were lucky enough that our Spring breaks fell at the same time. As we get older, we are increasingly aware of our freedom that just the two of us have, and how, one day, if there are any additions to our family duo, that freedom will understandably change. So we did we what have discovered we love to do – get in the car and go.
Maybe this love of road trips comes from our time living in NYC. While we had the best mass transit system in the country at our fingertips, getting in the car the and going wasn’t ever any easy option. There are companies like Zipcar now that capitalize on stranded, car-less New Yorkers and if we still were there, I think we would be one of their best customers. My switch to a gluten-free way of eating in the last year or so has added a not-so-spontaneous element to our road trips. I have learned the hard way that if I don’t plan ahead and pack gluten-free snacks for the road, then I will be in some places extremely out of luck, starving, and subconsciously rethinking this whole gluten-free thing, meanwhile staring at the middle of nowhere’s gas station collection of snacks and candy. Don’t get me wrong, I will never turn away from a bag of gummy worms, but that only gets you so far. And so, armed with things like rice cakes, nuts, and fruit, we hit the road and went south.
One road trip must for us now is listening to an audio book. Our pick this time was Night Film (set in NYC!) by Marisha Pessl. It was such a good “read” that we found ourselves hurrying during pit stops so we could get back in the car and resume the story.
Since my normal eating routine was abruptly diverted for several days indulging in great food and drink, I spent this week resuming to normal consumption levels and throwing in extra green here and there. But throwing in extra doses of fruits and veggies really seemed to crank up my craving for something sweet and salty.
Girls night dinner this week gave me the perfect reason to entertain that craving. I adapted a Martha Stewart brownie recipe I had been eyeing that makes the bulk of the brownie batter from cocoa powder and cornstarch. In an attempt recently to limit my corn intake, one of the biggest changes I made to this recipe was swapping out the cornstarch for arrowroot powder. Arrowroot powder is used frequently in gluten-free baking and works great as a thickening agent in sauces. The more I learn about arrowroot powder, the more I think we’re going to become very good friends. Hoping to make these brownies without refined sugar, I also swapped organic palm sugar for granulated white sugar.
The result? Fudgy, nutty, chocolatey, girls-night-approved goodness.
- 6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
- ⅓ cup arrowroot powder (I like Bob's Red Mill Brand, cornstarch works here as well)
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- ¾ cup organic coconut palm sugar (I used Trader Joe's brand)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch pan with cooking spray.
- Whisk together arrowroot powder, cocoa powder, salt and set aside.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and butter. In 30 second increments, stirring each time, microwave until smooth.
- Stir in palm sugar and vanilla. Stir in eggs, one at a time, until combined.
- Add arrowroot powder mixture and stir well until combined and smooth. Stir in pecans.
- Pour batter into pan and smooth top. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 35 minutes, making sure to rotate hallway through.
- Let cool completely on wire rack.
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Gluten-Free Fudgy Pecan Brownies.