Georgina March was diagnosed with coeliac disease at age 17. She was working at Adelaide Central Market at the time.
"I had such a sweet tooth and I couldn’t eat all the sweets around me, so I just started to play around with recipes – it was purely a selfish enterprise, initially," she says.
March later moved to Melbourne with Pia Hambour and together they cooked out of an old wood mill in Collingwood, supplying Melbourne coffee spots with gluten-free baked goods before opening Tomboy cafe around the corner. Having sold the cafe late in 2015, March continues to run the wholesale enterprise, Box Brownies.
Box Brownie flavours rotate regularly and can include anything from peanut butter and nougat to Murray River salted caramel and Turkish delight. March’s original brownie recipe, which she has been perfecting for over a decade, is still our favourite.
March makes her own gluten-free flour by mixing together 200g quinoa flour, 200g millet flour, 300g white rice flour and 300g corn starch (to yield 1kg gluten-free flour, which will keep well in an airtight glass jar). "A pinch of xanthan gum can aid in binding but is not essential," she says. The difference between the gluten-free and wheat-based products is noticeable in their consistency – the flavour is still there with the gluten-free brownie but it doesn’t sit as heavily in your stomach.
March has a couple of pointers for getting it right: "I recommend checking the brownies diligently; they’re not going to be influenced too much by opening and closing the oven. Check it a little bit early because there are slight heat differences between ovens. You want a skewer to come out and the mix to cling to the skewer, so it’s sticky but not wet," says March.
Makes 1 x 20cm x 30cm brownie slab
500g quality dark chocolate, chopped
350g butter, diced
350g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
200g gluten-free self-raising flour (Tomboy recommends Orgran brand)
3⁄4 cup raspberries, chopped nougat or melted crunchy peanut butter (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced (200°C conventional). Line a 20cm x 30cm baking tin with baking paper. Add the chocolate and butter to a stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once mostly melted, stir to combine and take off the heat.
Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla on low speed with an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 3–4 minutes. Gradually pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture while whisking. Whisk in the flour until incorporated. Pour into the prepared tin and top with the raspberries or chopped nougat, or swirl in the peanut butter (if using). Bake for 30–35 minutes until a skewer comes out slightly sticky. Cool before cutting into portions.
This is an extract from The Broadsheet Melbourne Cookbook, which includes 80 recipes from the city’s best restaurants, cafes and bars.