Brownie Stories (Part 1): Vegan Brownies

I’ve had a love affair with the brownie over the last few years. Okay, that sounds weird. Let’s start over: I’ve done just about everything that can be done with a brownie– Hang on, that sounds wrong too. I’ve played around with quite a few brow– Nope, not that way either.

Suffice to say, my interest in brownies borders on obsessive. I’ve made them so often they’re practically my signature confection. So starting with this post, here are a few of my experiences with the humble brownie.

Vegan Brownies

A few years ago, a classmate of mine asked me to make her some vegan brownies for a party.

Vegans abstain from what I consider the foundation elements of baking – butter and eggs. I couldn’t even use chocolate of any form because they contain milk, another vegan no-no.

Replacing the butter with vegetable oil was a no-brainer, although I did try apple sauce in an early prototype.

But the eggs posed a huge problem. As a thickener and a binder, their role in most baking is nothing short of pivotal. I remember in an early experiment I used blended-up tofu. Interesting texture, but I could swear I tasted the tofu through the chocolate. In the end, I settled for a commercial vegan egg replacement powder. (Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?)

The chocolate was replaced by full-on cocoa powder. I upped the sugar content to compensate for the bitterness of cocoa.

However, all these changes created a Frankenstein of a brownie. It was super dark and dense, which aren’t necessarily bad qualities for a baked good. But these brownies were super sticky and impossible to cut up. I had to coat each brownie bit in cocoa powder.

I ended up calling these dusty blobs brownie truffles. Making a virtue out of necessity as they say.

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