In case it wasn’t already obvious, I’m a huge fan of animals. After some time here at Berkeley, I finally found a club for animal activism, and joined as soon as I discovered it. A few times each semester, the group sponsors a vegan bakesale at our local student food collective, which is essentially a place for all things locally produced, organic, and green, and one of my favorite places to buy groceries. Naturally, I always have to contribute something to the bakesale when I have time.
Being relatively new to vegan baking by the time the first bakesale rolled around, I decided to make something I thought would be simple: vegan brownies. Scouring the internet, however, seemed to produce only fat-filled, bland recipes. So I came up with my own… and I sure am glad I did.
They’re dense, fudgy, only moderately fatty, and flavor-packed; it’s hard to tell they’re free of eggs and dairy. Which satisfies my vegan baking goal: making things that taste so good that my non-vegan friends can’t even tell they’re animal-friendly. They got rave reviews at the bakesale, and I’ll certainly be making them again!
Bonus: apparently my neighbors could all smell the chocolately goodness for hours after the baking was done!
Makes a 13×9″ pan.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 + 1/2 cup white sugar (make sure it’s vegan! Brands like C&H use bone char to process their sugars.)
- 3/4c cocoa powder
- 1 + 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/3c applesauce (about 1 small snack-pack worth)
- 6 tbs vegan margarine, melted
- About 1 + 1/2c water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp coffee grounds
- 1/3-1/2c vegan chocolate chips plus more for the top
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line a 9×13″ pan.
2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cocoa powder, and coffee.
3. In a 2-cup measure, melt the butter. Add the applesauce. Then, add enough water so that it fills up to the 2 cup mark. Add vanilla.
4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, then stir in desired amount of chocolate chips. Spread evenly in pan.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes in the oven, or until the top is clearly set. The toothpick test can also work, although you have to make sure you aren’t just getting melted chocolate chips out. If it’s batter, it’ll have a more crumbly appearance.
6. Remove from oven, and spread additional chocolate chips on top. I usually use about 1/4 – 1/2 cup, but it all depends on how much frosting you want. Once they’ve melted, spread them around to form a ganache frosting. Once it sets, it’ll add a wonderful texture and extra chocolate punch to the top, as well as lock in moisture.
7. Put in fridge to speed cooling/setting of frosting. Once completely cooled, cut into bars.