Vegan Brownies: Two Ways

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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After that, I decided to switch up my flours to get the dense brownie I was looking for.

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[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.

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I love a crisp edge on a brownie!

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The key for brownie success is a very thick batter. It’s so thick, you think you did something wrong.

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You did not.

Unless of course you forgot the flax egg (see brownie disaster above).

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Crazy good batter!

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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!

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Next up, the GF and vegan brownies:

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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.

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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.

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Served with creamy almond milk?

Now you’re playing with my heart strings.

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{ 273 comments… read them below or add one }

Kamaile October 19, 2011

YUM!!!!!!!

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RhodeyGirl October 19, 2011

That is the best looking brownie I’ve ever seen.

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Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles October 19, 2011

My mom used to make the best fudgy brownies. I’ve been afraid to even attempt a vegan version! Perhaps this will win out over mom’s.

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Lauren Helen October 19, 2011

Your blog is actually amazing – I love all of the vegan recipes, and now that you’re gluten-free, I’m loving those recipes too! My best friend – and maybe soon my boyfriend? – is allergic to gluten so your recipes are basically perfect for us :)

I can’t wait to try out the brownies and let him try some too!

x
culinarilychallenged.blogspot.com

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 19, 2011

My recent food sensitivity tests show I won’t need to go gluten-free (more in a future post), but I’m def. open to baking more gluten free options! I hope to do two versions for some recipes because I love the challenge and I also think GF foods can taste great.

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table October 19, 2011

*Drool* I was going to try to avoid sweets… but I just changed my mind. AND I can make these to share with my GF friend. :)

Do you know what specific ingredient/balance of ingredients causes that flaky top on brownies?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 19, 2011

I was wondering the same thing!

The brownies I made with more sugar seemed to have a flakier crust, although I’m sure it could have been due to other things.

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TeenyLittleSuperChef October 19, 2011

Oh my, I’ve died and gone to brownie heaven! I’ve been looking for a gluten-free brownie recipe and have yet to make one that tasted decent. I have a feeling this one could be a winner. I’m thinking of adding in a little peanut butter in place of the walnuts. Do you think that would be a good idea or would it make them too dense? Thanks for this tasty recipe, Angela!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 19, 2011

In my experience, vegan brownie recipes are VERY sensitive to changes, so I don’t know how it would turn out. It’s anyone’s guess!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 19, 2011

maybe I will have to try a PB version. That really does sound amazing!

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Melissa Bowen August 1, 2012

I know I am replying to very old post but I remembered these when wanting to bake for a potluck for some coworkers that were, between the three of them, lacotse-itolerant with either soy or egg allergies. These guys never get baked goods at work, so I was a bit of hero thanks to you. I used peanut flour in place of the almond flour and subbed 1/4 cup coconut oil + 2 T pumpkin butter for the butter and they were super yummy.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) August 1, 2012

thats wonderful, thanks for letting me know! Love your swaps :)

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Kelsey @ Living the Gluten Free Life October 19, 2011

I can’t wait to try the gluten free version!!! This is making me want chocolate so badly!

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Kris | iheartwellness.com October 19, 2011

Can I fly to your place and have one of these with a tall glass of Almond Milk?? These are DIVINE!! Way to go!!

xxoo

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 19, 2011

If you make it here fast… ;)

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Katie @ Raisins&Apples October 19, 2011

Do you have a suggestion for an almond flour sub? I’m allergic to almonds and am trying to find a similar weight/texture flour.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 19, 2011

I’m not too sure, but maybe a more experienced GF baker can chime in with ideas?

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Melanie October 1, 2012

I would think you could use a bean flour in place of the almond flour (like white bean or garbanzo flour), although they would probably be DELICIOUS with coconut flour!

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Sara October 19, 2011

Just in time for the holidays! Thank you for your self-less research ;)

PS- I hope your tummy is doing better.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 19, 2011

Thanks Sara!
My tummy troubles appear to be more stress/anxiety than food related, so I dont know if thats a good thing or bad thing. lol.

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Meagan October 19, 2011

I make a pretty good brownie (GF, vegan and nut free). I’ve found mixing flaxseed meal, coconut flour, tapioca flour and GF oat flour makes a great texture. I’ll have to play around with your recipe – looks yummy!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 19, 2011

Thats good to know!
What does tapioca flour taste like?

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Meagan October 20, 2011

Tapioca flour is made from the root of the cassava plant, once ground it takes the form of a light, soft, fine white flour. It has a slightly nutty flavor, very mild in ovr all flavor. Tapioca flour adds chewiness to baking and is a good thickener. It’s a fairly resilient flour, so storing at room temperature is no problem. No gluten, natural.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 20, 2011

Awesome, thanks so much!

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Michelle August 30, 2012

I’d love to try out your nut-free recipe if you’re willing to share! I have a bag of coconut flour that I was gifted and don’t know what to do with it.

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J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) October 19, 2011

All of them look delish! Tapioca starch, in my experience, is really gooey when you cook with it, which might lend a bit of binder-like chewiness to baked goods, and it’s GF of course.

I need to get one of those small rollers! They look so handy to have.

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Rachel October 19, 2011

I have to make those vegan & GF ones!!! I’ve never been successful making GF brownies… They always crumble into a big mess.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 19, 2011

I think a big part of it is allowing them to cool completely before attempting to remove/slice. I let these cool for about 1.5 hours. I find the parchment trick works well too.

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Katie @ Peace Love and Oats October 19, 2011

I’m so glad you all liked the GF one the most! I was going to be upset if you didn’t, haha because i can’t make the non GF one!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 19, 2011

lol :)

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Ruthiey October 19, 2011

Those look so good!!! Wow, you never fail to amaze me with your creativity. :)

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Erika - The Teenage Taste October 19, 2011

Oooh, these brownies look deeeelicious! :-D
Is it just me or are all vegan brownies really dense and fudgy? I have a favorite vegan brownie recipe that I found on AllRecipes and it is super gooey! You should definitely give it a try! allrecipes.com/recipe/vegan-brownies/

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 19, 2011

I’ve found the opposite actually…most of the vegan brownies I’ve tried are cake-like. But maybe that’s because I have been trying the healthier ones. I will have to check out that recipe!

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Lauren @ Lawfully Wedded Wife October 19, 2011

Oh man…and I thought I was craving chocolate BEFORE I read this…now I’m doomed. I will definitely try this out, I have lots of fun trying vegan baking!

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Beth October 19, 2011

Can’t wait to try them both!

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Lys October 19, 2011

Wow, I can’t believe the Gluten Free version won! That’s great!

I’ve also been trying to make a vegan brownie and really really dislike the cake quality. When I’m craving brownies, give me something gooey, practically like batter. I can’t wait to share this with my mum, who is convinced you can’t get the same texture without using the mix from a box. Thanks for sharing!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 19, 2011

I hope it passes her test!

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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes October 19, 2011

Come to mama fo sure!!! I seriously started to drool a tiny bit….can’t wait to try these out :)

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Rachel October 19, 2011

I was *just* looking up brownie recipes online! I want to make mint brownies, but I used to put a whole stick of butter in the top part, so I am going to try to figure that out…

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 19, 2011

mint would be amazing….as would PB as someone mentioned above. Mint swirl? PB swirl? pumpkin?

Ok I need to stop :)

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Krystina (Organically Me) October 19, 2011

These are some of the best brownies I’ve EVER seen! Yum!

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Gina @ Running to the Kitchen October 19, 2011

Those look near perfect!

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Noelle (@singerinkitchen) October 19, 2011

Lovely recipes! I am so happy you get a chance to work on recipe testing. My day job gets in the way! :D

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga October 19, 2011

They look amazing and thank you for trialing all these versions. Tough work, but someone has to do it, right? :)

Cake-like brownies are a no go for me. Must be dense, rich, fudgy, pretty much a thick, solid, really dense slab of fudge is how I like them.

That is so interesting about the GF being the preferrred…I imagine that somehow the almond flour gave it that heaviness and density that is great in brownies; not so good in a white birthday cake. At least that’s my experience w/ almond flour.

And “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!” <— I have been searching for something like that! Where did you get it? Pastry store? Online?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 19, 2011

You are exactly right about the almond flour!
I’ve found it gives a density and sweetness to cookies and brownies. Not so great in large amount for fluffy baked goods though, but in small amounts, I find it’s nice.

The pastry roller? Dollarstore :)

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Ashley October 19, 2011

Angela- those brownies look fabulous! I cannot wait to try them:)

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Jennifer October 19, 2011

What could I substitute for the ground flax? I’m very allergic to it. I was looking so forward to making these this weekend! Thanks.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 19, 2011

I’m sorry to hear that Jennifer!
Can you do chia seeds? Ground chia seeds MIGHT work, but chia does absorb more water than flax so Im not sure how that would effect the overall brownie.

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Jennifer October 22, 2011

Okay, thank you. I will give that a try!

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Angela October 19, 2011

Can’t wait to try them. I’m not a fan of cakey brownies either and most vegan recipes I’ve tried seem to end up that way. Crisp on the outside and fudgey on the inside all the way for me!

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Pippi October 19, 2011

Angela can I use whole wheat pastry flour for the brownies? Also can I use cocoa powder? Thank you.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 19, 2011

I didn’t have great results when using WWPF so I would not recommend it.
And yes, cocoa powder is used in both recipes.

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Melissa October 19, 2011

You are a baking goddess! I love that they have a crust on the outside… That’s the best part… Can’t wait to try these!

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Alayna @ Thyme Bombe October 19, 2011

You are reading my mind. I’ve been craving brownies for weeks and really wanted to find a healthier version that was just as decadent.

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Anne October 19, 2011

These look great!

I’ve also had a lot of success making GF vegan & fat free brownies with oat + quinoa flours (fresh ground from whole quinoa and steel-cut oats – both uncontaminated GF certified) instead of whole wheat pastry, and no other subs to the recipe.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 19, 2011

mmm that sounds good. :)

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Ami @ parsnipsandpears October 19, 2011

so excited to try these!!! yum yum!

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Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit October 19, 2011

I’m so happy that you didn’t add a lot of oil! Thank you, thank you! Going to make these for Kevin for our anniversary on Monday :)

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Jen October 19, 2011

Hi Angela,
These brownies look awesome! Must try! When you say non dairy chocolate, do you mean vegan chips or something like this?
Thanks for all your great recipes! How is your cookbook coming along anyway? I would be one of the first in line, even though I have my own version scattered about the house from printing them every other day!!!
Thanks again!
Jen

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 20, 2011

Hey Jen, I used a mix of chocolate bar and chips…you can use what you prefer! :)

Im working with an agent now and working on my proposal, coming along quite well!

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Kari @ bite-sized thoughts October 19, 2011

I have to say that I’m not too fussy with brownies – if they are chocolatey and not dry, I am generally happy! – but I might become fussy after these. Who would have thought vegan AND gluten free could turn out so well? You deserve a medal :)

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Kathy October 19, 2011

If I make both of these, you’ll see BOTH the recipes gone by midnight…or even less.
I will eat and lick every crumb I see ;] which is also why I had to reduce my baking days to only Saturday and Sunday and sometimes Wednesday ._.

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Christina October 19, 2011

Oh my word! That looks amazing. Me & my fiance are going to bake one of your desserts for my birthday on Monday but I can’t decide which one!! Any suggestions? Which is your favorite? I think I def want to do something with chocolate.

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K October 19, 2011

These look so delish! I have to admit, I made vegan brownies with avocados and the results made me not want to EVER try vegan baking again.
You may have changed my mind!

thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 19, 2011

heh :) Baking with avocado is tough stuff! So are black bean brownies…

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Jen N August 3, 2012

Oh my gosh… I just tried making black bean brownies. Two different recipes two nights in a row. The first had banana and just tasted like mashed banana. The second tasted ok… but not really great and they didn’t really bake in the middle.

I’m on a mission to try to make a vegan, gluten free, processed sugar free, oil free brownie. It’s hard! That’s a lot of ingredients to switch out!!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) August 3, 2012

Hey Jen, I can feel your pain! I’ve been testing black bean recipes for over a year now and nothing yet I’d share. haha. I know ppl rave about them but I can’t get over the texture!

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Jen N August 5, 2012

At least it’s not just me! I love the idea though… I just want a healthy dessert that is chocolaty and I can feel good about eating lol!
The first one I tried had banana in it and it was awful. It just tasted like beans and banana. My friend said it tasted like rellenitos – plaintains stuffed with beans and a little cocao. Then I tried a different recipe. It tasted better, but still had the consistency of refried beans!

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Maria July 26, 2013

exactly, how do you make avocados don’t taste sour after being cooked? is it temperature, or any ingredient?

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The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh October 19, 2011

Dang I wish I saw these before I made a different brownie recipe today. Thankfully thanks what my recipe folder is for! Is it wrong I wanted to eat it out of the bowl?

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