Gluten Free “Little Debbie” Cosmic Brownies—from Classic Snacks!

Gluten Free “Little Debbie” Cosmic Brownies—from Classic Snacks!

Gluten Free "Little Debbie" Cosmic Brownies—from Gluten Free Classic Snacks

These are no ordinary gluten free brownies. Oh no no no. Like the copycat gluten free “Hostess” Chocolate Cupcakes from page 131 of Gluten Free Classic Snacks, they alone are worth the price of the book—and no self-respecting “copycat” recipe cookbook could possibly be without a recipe for them. Rich and fudgy, without being overwhelmingly sweet, I think of them like a brownie’s brownie. The kind of brownie a real brownie-eater reaches for. For sure, they could never be mistaken for chocolate cake! And since I can’t stand the thought of your not having them in your gluten free baking repertoire, especially as the weather warms and brownies are basically a food group at every picnic and barbecue, they’re on the blog today for all to enjoy.

Gluten Free "Little Debbie" Cosmic Brownies, Step by Step—from Gluten Free Classic Snacks

Posting the recipe on the blog also gives me an excuse to take some of my own photos of these gorgeous brownies, and give you some step by steps. It’s just a fact of life that a cookbook, even one teeming with gorgeous food photos like Gluten Free Classic Snacks, just can’t include all the step by step photos that we’ve all come to love and rely upon in blogs. In preparation, though, these rich brownies couldn’t be simpler and more straight-forward. And the flour? Just your standard all purpose gluten free blend. Nothing fancy or hard-to-find.

Gluten Free "Little Debbie" Cosmic Brownies—from Gluten Free Classic Snacks!

I nearly made these as gluten free “Little Debbie” Fudge Brownies rather than the “Cosmic” kind, the only difference between the two varieties being that Cosmic is topped with multi-colored chocolate candies to the chopped walnuts of the “Fudge” variety. But then I remembered—only one of my kids likes walnuts. And since they’re my most frequent, in-the-flesh customers, why not cater to them just a bit? But if you like walnuts, go for it. Or just leave them topless (!). That’s the beauty of making your own treats, isn’t it? You’re in charge. Or, more likely, your kids are. :)

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 12 brownies


For the Brownies
1 cup (140 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

3/4 cup (60 g) unsweetened cocoa powder*

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons (28 g) neutral oil (like vegetable, canola or peanut oil)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons (42 g) light corn syrup**

2 large eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

For the topping
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

2/3 cup (5 1/3 fluid ounces) heavy whipping cream

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

3 ounces miniature M&Ms candies or multicolored Sixlets, for decorating

*My favorite cocoa powder for this recipe is Hershey’s Special Dark unsweetened cocoa powder, as it’s a blend of natural and Dutch-processed cocoa powders, but natural or Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powders will also work in this recipe. If you use natural, add 1/8 teaspoon baking soda to the dry ingredients.

**Light corn syrup is not at all the same as the much-hated high-fructose corn syrup. It is an “invert sugar,” which just means that it’s a mixture of two sugars (glucose and fructose) and is less likely to crystallize. In this particular recipe, you can replace it with honey (which will impart a distinct taste) or a rich simple syrup (which won’t).


  • Prepare the brownies: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8-inch square pan with two sheets of unbleached parchment paper, crisscrossed in the pan with enough paper to overhang all the edges, and set it aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, salt, and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the brown sugar and whisk again, working out any lumps. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, oil, vanilla, corn syrup and eggs, mixing to combine after each addition. The batter should be thick and smooth. Scrape it into the prepared baking pan and spread into an even layer with a moist spatula. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake until just firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, 25 to 28 minutes. Allow to cool completely in the pan.

  • When the brownies are nearly cool, prepare the topping: Place the chocolate in a medium-size, heatproof bowl, and set it aside. Place the cream ina  small, heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the salt to the cream and stir to combine. Pour the warm cream over the chopped chocolate and allow to sit until the chocolate begins to melt. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Allow the mixture to cool for about 2 minutes before pouring over the cooled brownies, still in the pan, in an even layer. Scatter the miniature M&Ms (Ms side down, if you’re being fastidious) over the chocolate layer, and allow to set at room temperature for about 30 minutes before transferring to the refrigerator. Allow to chill in the refrigerator until firm, about another 30 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and lift the brownies out of the pan, using the overhanging edges of the sheets of parchment paper in the pan. Place on a cutting board and slice the brownies into twelve equal rectangles. With a butter knife, create a seam widthwise down the center of each brownie.

  • Storing instructions: These can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, seal tightly in a freezer-safe wrap or bag, and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost at room temperature. The chocolate coating may bloom a bit over time, but it won’t affect the taste at all.

  • From the book Gluten-Free Classic Snacks: 100 Recipes for the Brand Name Treats You Love, by Nicole Hunn. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group.  Copyright © 2015



P.S. If you haven’t yet, I hope you’ll consider picking up your copy of Gluten Free Classic Snacks! Your support of my cookbooks means everything to me, and keeps the cookbooks (and the blog) coming!

Gluten Free Classic Snacks: 100 Recipes for the Brand-Name Treats You Love

If you liked this recipe, you'll love this book!

Did you think going gluten-free meant giving up your favorite snack foods? Well not anymore! Gluten Free Classic Snacks helps you bring back the memories of those classic snacks, whether it’s a little surprise in a lunchbox or a treat at the end of the day. Make all the most popular cookies, snack cakes, and crackers you’ve been missing—from Thin Mints(R) Girl Scout Cookies(R) and Hostess(R) Twinkies(R) to Keebler(R) Club(R) Crackers and Kellogg’s(R) Pop-Tarts(R) Toaster Pastries—in your own kitchen with ease.

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Comments are closed.

  • Jorie Sus
    May 18, 2015 at 10:48 PM

    These are the hubtastic’s absolute FAVORITE treats and while I have been GF for quite some time now, he is new to it, my twins and I will be making these tomorrow for him and my older kidlet as part of “mommy preschool” thank you so very much!

  • Jorie Sus
    May 18, 2015 at 10:48 PM

    These are the hubtastic’s absolute FAVORITE treats and while I have been GF for quite some time now, he is new to it, my twins and I will be making these tomorrow for him and my older kidlet as part of “mommy preschool” thank you so very much!

  • Night to Dawn
    May 15, 2015 at 2:15 PM

    I’m kinda new a GF baking, but I gave this a go, and the brownies were awesome! I look forward to trying some of the other recipes. :)

  • May 15, 2015 at 8:29 AM

    These look great – always looking for a new dessert to make the kids….going to have to try these.

  • Abi O'Riordan
    May 13, 2015 at 4:24 PM

    I’m from the UK so have never tried the real thing but these are totally delicious and surprisingly simple to make. I managed to make them dairy free too with almond milk and a teaspoon of dairy free spread in place of cream. Set fine but I suppose not quite as rich (these are very rich anyway). Thank you so much for all these recipes!

  • Donia Robinson
    May 11, 2015 at 5:39 PM

    Even the faint line across the center. Nailed it!!!

  • Lucy
    May 11, 2015 at 5:15 PM

    Yum have yet to bake these, maybe soon :)

  • Mare Masterson
    May 11, 2015 at 10:31 AM

    In my humble opinion, the Drakes coffee cakes and Devil Dogs are worth the price of the book, along with the Hostess cupcakes, and…really, I want to make every recipe in the book! :) :)

  • Holly Davis
    May 11, 2015 at 10:15 AM

    Is there a good substitute for the eggs? My daughter is also egg free but these sound amazing!

  • May 11, 2015 at 9:13 AM

    Please come up with a recipe for Little Debbie Fancy Cakes. My wife loved them until she found out she was gluten intolerant.

  • youngbaker2002
    May 11, 2015 at 8:51 AM

    Hi Nicole! i just made the iced oatmeal cookies yesterday and they were a hit with everyone! next up tnin mints!

    • youngbaker2002
      May 11, 2015 at 8:54 AM

      *thin* mints. sorry typo.

      • May 11, 2015 at 9:35 AM

        That’s awesome, Mena! And I knew what you meant. :)

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