Gluten-Free Pop Rocks Brownies (aka Doc Brownies)

by Erin

Whether you want a dessert worthy of holiday fireworks or are throwing a Back to the Future party, these pop rocks brownies are a must.

Gluten-Free Pop Rocks Brownies 5

I sit here writing this after getting less than 5 hours of sleep last night due to a long, 3 day music festival over the weekend which had its fair share of lightning storms and subsequent delays and evacuations. I don’t think my core as thawed out yet from how much I was shivering after the last onslaught of rain last night. Of the joys of outdoor summer music festivals.

Gluten-Free Pop Rocks Brownies 3

The Rock on the Range music festival was great for Bob and I because it brought together different realms of rock. While Bob most looked forward to Metallica, my priorities were set on Bush and Coheed & Cambria. Of course there were plenty of overlapping bands that we both loved including Korn, until they had to end their set early due to yet another storm/evacuation (and thus didn’t get to play Freak on a Leash).

Gluten-Free Pop Rocks Brownies 4

But I digress. After this past weekend I’m already yearning for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. Which reminded me that I still had one last recipe leftover from my Back to the Future movie marathon! Just like the Marty McFries, and “Great Butterscotch!” milkshakes, these brownies have the pun-ny name “Doc Brownies” for Doc Brown obviously. Since I couldn’t electrify them I added the next best thing – pop rocks! Adding them on top of the frosting results in little explosions for your taste buds.

Gluten-Free Pop Rocks Brownies 2

With the addition of pop rocks, these would also be a great treat for any holiday involving fireworks such as Memorial Day weekend or the Fourth of July later this month. Hence why I was reminded to post these for you to enjoy this upcoming weekend! They also happen to be gluten free in case you were in need of such things. If not, feel free to use your favorite brownie base (or boxed mix) instead.

Gluten-Free Pop Rocks Brownies 1

One year ago: Weekly Meal Plan: May 23-29

Two years ago: Grilled S’mores Packets

Three years ago: Michael Symon’s Spicy 50/50 Burger

Four years ago: Almond Toffee Applesauce Bread


Makes 16 bars



1/3 cup cornstarch, spooned and leveled

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp salt

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces

12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Pop rocks


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking pan and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cornstarch, cocoa, and salt.
  3. In a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter and chocolate in 30-second increments, stirring each time, until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Stir in eggs, one at a time, until combined.
  4. Add cornstarch mixture and whisk vigorously until mixture is smooth and begins to pull away from side of bowl, about 2 minutes.
    Spread batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  5. Bake 30-35 minutes, turning halfway, or until a toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 1.5 hours.
  6. Using parchment overhang, lift brownies from pan. Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.
  7. While the brownies cool, make the frosting. In a medium bowl, beat the butter, cream cheese and vanilla extract until fluffy. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time until it reaches desired consistency. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Frost and layer the cooled brownies. Cut into approximately 2-inch squares. Add Pop Rocks right before serving.

Source: Adapted from my Gluten-Free Tahini Swirled Brownies.

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