Brownies are notorious for being difficult to get just right. Since going vegan, brownies are the one dessert that I have had the least success with. There’s something about not having the egg in there that just makes it difficult to get the perfect texture. I’ve tried a few vegan brownie recipes on the blog so far and while they’ve all tasted great, I haven’t found the one that makes me say “this is it”.
This might be it. It’s pretty damn close to my perfect brownie.
I love my brownies dense and rich with a crispy crust. I’m not a fan of cake-like brownies. If I want cake, I’ll make a cake! Mind you…I’ll pretty much eat any brownie that’s put in front of me without a single complaint. Duh.
Now, throw gluten-free and vegan into the mix and it’s almost doomed for failure.
But it can’t hurt to try.
Apparently it can. It can hurt real bad.
Despite the mess above, I have two successful brownie recipes to share with you:
- a gluten-free and vegan version
- a regular vegan version (not GF)
The very first brownie I made was our least favourite and biggest shocker. I used a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat pastry flour. The result was a cake-like texture and the flavour didn’t wow me like I hoped. I will not be sharing this recipe with you today as it needs more work.
After that, I decided to switch up my flours to get the dense brownie I was looking for.
[the GF brownie is a bit thicker because it was baked in an 8 inch pan while the vegan brownie was baked in a 9 inch pan.]
In the vegan version (on left) I used a mix of all-purpose flour and almond meal/flour. The texture and taste was so much better than the first version! For the gluten-free version, I used a mix of brown rice flour, almond meal/flour, and arrowroot powder. I was really surprised at how close I could get the gluten-free version’s texture to the regular vegan version. Both were winners, but I’ll tell you which one we liked best at the end of the post. Oh, suspense.
Dense, nutty, with a crisp crust and flakey top. Come to mama.
Inspired by Vegan Baking.
- 1.5 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water, whisked
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole almonds, ground into a flour/meal & sifted (OR sub 1.5 cups almond flour)
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Earth Balance or other non-dairy butter substitute
- 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup non-dairy chocolate, divided
- 1 cup + 1/4 cup organic cane sugar (note: a reduction in sugar will lead to a more cake-like brownie)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9 inch square pan with parchment and grease all sides. In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flax and water and set aside.
2. In a blender or processor, process almonds into a meal/flour. Sift out large pieces. Or use store bought almond meal/flour. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flours, cocoa, salt, soda).
3. In a large microwave safe bowl, add chocolate and Earth Balance and melt in microwave for about 30-45 seconds until melted. Stir well and add in flax egg, sugar, vanilla, and milk. Whisk.
4. Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and stir well. The mixture will be VERY dry, but not to worry keep mixing! Now fold in the walnuts and remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips.
5. Scoop batter into prepared pan and place a piece of parchment on top. Spread with hands or a pastry roller until smooth and even.
6. Bake for 32-34 minutes at 350F and allow brownies to cool in pan for about 1.5 hours. DO NOT REMOVE BROWNIES (uh oh I’m yelling!) until completely cool or they will crack apart. After an hour or so, gently separate edge of brownie from pan with a butter knife and place on a cooling rack. Cool completely and slice carefully. Some cracking when slicing is normal and I say it gives the brownies character, right? Store in air-tight container for up to 3-4 days.
I love a crisp edge on a brownie!
The key for brownie success is a very thick batter. It’s so thick, you think you did something wrong.
You did not.
Unless of course you forgot the flax egg (see brownie disaster above).
Crazy good batter!
Scoop the thick dough onto the pan and spread it out. I placed a piece of parchment paper on top and rolled a pastry roller over it to smooth out. It’s a bit annoying to work with, but the effort is worth it!
Next up, the GF and vegan brownies:
Vegan and Gluten-Free Brownies
Ridiculously good. No one will ever guess these are vegan and gluten-free!
This recipe uses almond meal/flour, arrowroot powder, and brown rice flour.
For the full-recipe click here.
Two excellent vegan brownie recipes.
But which one was the best?
I put on my Mad Scientist coat and did a Blind taste test on Eric. He preferred the gluten-free and vegan brownie to the vegan brownie made with all-purpose flour. I also preferred the GF brownie. I never thought either of us would have concluded that, so it was quite interesting to say the least! Whichever you make, you really can’t go wrong though.
Served with creamy almond milk?
Now you’re playing with my heart strings.