Vegan Brownie Experiment: Success!

This post is for a particular friend of mine who just went vegan. I had made most of my food for the week, except for something dessert-y, so I figured, y’know, screw it. I can make a tasty vegan treat. So I attempted to turn my last brownie recipe vegan, and it worked pretty well! End product pretty dense and very fudgey. I loved them when they were fresh warm. These taste deeply chocolate and not overly sweet. They’re dense, fudgey, and decadent. Hopefully the result anyone else achieves is as good as these were.

I may not be much of a photographer, but I think you get the idea.

Basic ingredients and process up here, and below some exact measurements, for people who use such things. My general approach once I’ve made something enough times is to add what I think something needs until it looks, tastes, and feels right, and usually I come out with something pretty damn good. But it does help to keep track.

So, for this experiment, Ingredients! First things first, the chocolate. Making chocolate brownies, ya GOTTA have some chocolate, and most of my favorite, gooey,  brownies are made with melted chocolate. But most chocolate isn’t vegan! Oh no! Well, that’s not so hard to fix, as long as you are willing to spring for vegan baking chips. I used these.

IMG_0920I’m most used to cooking with unsweetened baking chocolate, so I recommend that if you can find them. But my vegan options were limited, and I got to use these in the mix too, so totally workable.

I also used unsweetened cocoa powder, one of my other favorite things. This tends to work fabulously for making anything chocolate flavored, and thickens the batter similarly to the way flour does.

Speaking of, other basic ingredients: flour, sugar (white), water/soy milk, and baking powder. Where we run into problems again going vegan from my normal recipe, you of course can’t use egg, some types of oils, or butter. That means the wet ingredients, and an important binding and leavening ingredient are out. Here comes the fun part.

I have an ongoing affair with coconuts, which give us fabulous things such as coconut oil and coconut cream, both of which, derived from the humble coconut and NOT an animal, make excellent replacements for butter and oil. Since I opted to go with both of these, I also threw in some unsweetened coconut flakes. Totally optional, especially considering I thought the coconut flavor from the coconut cream would have been stronger. Thankfully not, I have to say, given the other things I threw in there. Hey, I said it was an experiment. That brings us to substitute for egg. One of the harder ones, although since I was going for fudgey brownies over cakey ones, well, not so bad. I have used Greek yogurt as a substitute for egg before and that worked wonderfully, so I went with soy yogurt as a replacement for the egg. But what you get with all of that so far, well, even without throwing the flour in there, you get this extremely dense mixture that definitely won’t make a great brownie. So, you know, I could have merely thrown in some more oil, or water or milk, but I decided to go with something I thought would guarantee a bit more taste. Coffee Liqueur and peppermint scnapps, used to your own digression, of course. Don’t judge. I wanted a minty brownie, and coffee and alcohol are both tastes that vanish magically into chocolate, essentially making a stronger chocolate flavor.  And yes, most hard alcohols are vegan. Optional, of course, although I personally love the extra hint of mint in the result from the peppermint shots I threw in there. And don’t forget a pinch of salt.

So that leaves us with–These Magical Vegan Ingredients!

  • 6 ounces melted vegan chips
  • 4 ounces coconut cream
  • 2 ounces of coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 shots of coffee liqueur and peppermint shnapps. Flavor balance up to you. Can substitute with water or soy milk, but if you do so add vanilla or coconut extract
  • 1 cup soy yogurt
  • 1.5-2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Optional

  • Nuts
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Additional chocolate chips

Balance to your liking.

Let’s cook!

  1. Melt chocolate baking chips with coconut cream and coconut oil. Use microwaveable bowl and microwave 15-30 seconds at a time, stirring occasionally until all the chocolate is melted. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (f).
  2. Mix in sugar, and then unsweetened cocoa powder. Check the consistency of the batter. Like previously mentioned, cocoa powder has the same effect on batter as flour does in many ways, and you still got all that flour to add.
  3. Pour in anywhere from a splash to a few shots of coffee liqueur and peppermint schnapps. I recommend two shots peppermint to one coffee, but this will depend on your own personal preference and how dense you want these to turn out. After this, there’s only one more wet ingredient, and at that also a fairly thick one. And you’re still gonna need to add that flour. So if the batter is too thick, add water or soy milk until you’re content.
  4. Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt, then throw that right in there! Again, use your own discretion on whether or not you need more or less flour based on your preference. I tended towards less. Mix well.
  5. Throw in any optional additions as you please. Then pour in your brownie pan.
  6. Cook for 30 minutes, but keep an eye on them. I made my brownies every thick so they needed to cook for 40 minutes, but they came out fantastic. I mean, look!

IMG_0929

Mine, because they were so thick, still had a little bite from all that schnapps I threw in there, giving them a bittersweet chocolate taste with a hint of mint. If I hadn’t thrown in the coconut flakes, I wouldn’t have noticed so much coconut in there, so definitely don’t be too afraid that you’ll end up with a coconut brownie instead of a chocolate one. Unless, of course, that’s what you want. Then I’m sure you know what to do. So there. Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s gotta be bland. And just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself once in a while.

Stay cool,

Lightmere

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