The best brownie. The perfect brownie. The only brownie recipe you will ever need. Blah blah blah. We see these every other brownie recipe. Are they great? For sure! Too bad everyone's brownie dreams are different. What if teaching people how to create their own idea of the perfect brownie is really the answer to all the brownie recipes?! I aim to find this out.
Then, We have all been there, that chocolate rich craving hits. Sometimes you are prepared, sometimes you are not. Then that Besr Brownie Recipe is just sitting there, mocking you. There are so many variations of vegan brownies online, that means many options to possibly have what you need. Searching through all the recipes? Now that is no fun.
I have different ingredients on hand based on who goes shopping. We shop zero waste and I will admit, I am not the best shopper. I'll get new things just to play around while The Smart Guy sticks to what he knows we use. We don't call him Smart Guy for nothing ya know!
There is a silver lining to my madness though, I have learned how to make amazing brownies from what I have! I would like to help teach you have I have learned through many failures.
Vegan brownies are not complicated but a lot of things come into play to create many different types of brownies, any brownie in general. I prefer fudgy, rich brownies. You may prefer cake-like or light brownies. I also love to put my brownies in circular pans so I always have some edge to my brownie and you may call that madness. All personal preference! To truly under stand the brownie, we must first dissect it.
First, we should cover the basics you kind of have to have. For instance, flour of some sort. Really hard to make a brownie without that. I have used almond, oatmeal, coconut, whole wheat and white flours (often combinations so I can ration what I have for an In-case-of-emergency moment).
The most important thing here is knowing your flour. White flour is bleached, generally very fine and rises easily as it is so light. Coconut flour is also another light flour but can be a bit gritty and drying. Whole wheat and almond are both textured, with a good rise and hold moisture well. Oatmeal flour is fine, holds moisture extremely well and is dense, not much rise on this one.
Knowing your flour will help you adjust your recipe to suit what you have. For oatmeal, I would add baking soda and baking powder to help the rise and add more liquid. For coconut, I would add a nut butter to help with the grit. With almond and whole wheat, I would add powdered sugar to the recipe to help with texture issues.
Sadly, I was out of oatmeal flour from a few too many batches of me no bake protein bars but I made due.
Try different things and see what you like the best!
Second, we should cover sweeteners. Any 'crystal' sugar we will treat the same. Turbinado sugar, brown sugar, standard white sugar, etc. Basically the only thing you need to take into consideration is the size of the crystal. The bigger it is, the more you will want to cream with your butter so it's no longer gritty. I will put raw stevia in this category as well. I have grown my own and used it with no issue other than using about half the amount of sugar in any given recipe. It also could leave a green tint.
Artifical sweeteners like refined stevia, Splenda and so forth. These usually have recommendations on their boxes for how much to use (example half of what a recipe calls for of sugar). Pretty important to listen to those or you will get a super strong sweet taste.
Liquid sweeteners are great but how much? These can include agave, maple syrup, date syrup, etc. Depending on your flours used, you may want to decrease the amount of liquid you use.
Pretty simple here.
Next your egg replacement. This is the fun part! I love using aquafaba for big, poofy brownies and cakes. It's just amazing. Simply fold fluffed aquafaba into your brownie batter at the end and you are good!
Another of my favorites is flax or chia seed 'egg'. For chia seed, it's best to really make sure to put these through the coffee grinder for a finer seed and sturdier gel. Ground flax seed gets softer so the bits aren't as bad. Leave both in about one to two tablespoons of hot water for about three minutes until jelly. The only issue, I use both so quickly I often find myself without chia and flax seed.
Apple sauce and mashed bananas are wonderful but do alter the flavor a bit. I have used baby food with the same results as adding a fresh mashed banana or fresh apple sauce. This can be a good thing to keep in the pantry for emergencies. Pumpkin purée is definitely high on my favorites but I love pumpkin. Some people don't enjoy the flavor it adds. Puréed zucchini actually works as well, I kid you not. It's amazing.
Egg replacments are really just there to help hold everything together so I have made brownies without any egg replacement.
Oils and butters, these are extremely interchangeable. I mostly stick with a butter (can be vegan butter replacement, thick oil like coconut oil, or nut butter) and oil. I love the texture! In my experience, the 'butter' in a brownie recipe can be replaced with many of the above with little issue. If I can get away with putting almond butter in everything, I would. Swoon. Peanut butter works well too.
As for oils, I stick with light flavor oils. I love avocado oil in everything. Grapeseed oil is pretty flavorless as well. I have used olive and the brownies were still gone in less than a day, I can't say the olive oil flavor put anyone off.
The chocolate part.
Cocoa powder and cacao powder can almost be matched measure by measure in most brownie recipes. You will have to decide which flavor you prefer best. I honestly keep cacao powder for other uses as it's much more pricey.
Adding chocolate bits can be a great addition to vegan brownies. Just be sure your batter isn't too thin or the chunks will sink to the bottom. For a thin batter, try to use chocolate shavings.
Try adding just a bit of coffee to the liquid base of your brownie recipe! I have been told it enhances the chocolate flavor but my family is Italian. We love coffee.
My recipe for today's Brownies
These are easy, fast and so good. Remember everything we went over above and you can fix yourself some vegan brownies in a pinch!
Smart Girl Brownies
2 cups of flour ( here I mixed 1/2 cup almond, 1/2 cup coconut and 1 cup of white)
2 Tbsp baking soda
3/4 cup baking cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup sugar (I used half white cane sugar and half coconut sugar)
1 banana mashed
1/2 zucchini puréed
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup oil ( I used 1/3 cup almond butter, 1/3 cup avocado oil)
1/3 cup of coffee
1/3 cup of almond milk (can be replaced with any other vegan milk or water)
Optional for no apparent reason other than because it was pretty:
Two S-shapes made with Caramel Date Syrup. Because.
Get your wet ingredients all blended and cream your sugar and salt. Sift your dry ingredients together and add to your wet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, checking it often.
I topped mine with powdered sugar and chunks of vegan dark chocolate, which I spread over the top like an icing.
For goodness sakes, let it cool before you dig in. I know it's hard!
Try out different variations for yourself! Find what you adore the best and go to town with it!
Do not fret, this blog will be here for you in the event that you have a brownie emergency!
Enjoy your goods, you chef you!
The Smart Girl in Pants
The Smart Girl in Pants