Flourless vegan brownies
Flourless vegan brownies
If you follow us on Instagram, you might know already that this past Wednesday night we were invited to the Bristol premiere of a new BBC nature documentary series called Seven Worlds One Planet narrated by England’s beloved storyteller David Attenborough. We watched an episode entitled ‘Antarctica’ followed by a live interview with some of the makers, including David Attenborough himself.
The film was breathtakingly beautiful and utterly awe inspiring yet also profoundly sad at the same time. We both left in tears! For the first time ever, a BBC documentary of this sort chose to draw people’s attention to the undeniable effect that our collective actions have on the planet and millions of species of animals that we all think we love and treasure. It’s about time given that climate change science has been capable of making accurate predictions (which are sadly coming true today!) since the 1980s.
The film offers some hope by illustrating, for example, how a near extinct whale population (killed by our demand for whale blubber margarine and soap!!) regenerated itself after all but three countries (Japan, Norway and Iceland) worldwide committed to a complete whaling ban in 1986, but unless we stop inflicting any further damage, things will go from bad to worse very soon as the rate of destruction is accelerating more rapidly than originally predicted.
Things look so dire right now that scientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours!! It’s insane! And apart from some occasional lip service, we do very little. Plus to make matters worse, there are no shortage of people, lead by those who profit from the main culprit industries (fossil fuels, meat and dairy, automobile, transportation, to name the key players), who insist that climate change is a hoax, diluting the urgency of the message and making people shrug their shoulders and carry on as they were. It’s infuriating how unchecked self-interested greed tramples over everything else.
While it is sometimes very lonely being vegan (when pretty much everyone you know makes fun of you behind your back and ostracises you for your choice to minimise harm) I was never as convinced about my and Duncan’s decision to leave meat, dairy and eggs off our plate as I am now. As things are at a tipping point, I really feel the sense of mission with this blog. I am not the kind of person to go on animal vigils or to try to make people on the street go vegan, but I feel like I am doing my bit by showing up here, cooking delicious plant-based food and showing people that being vegan isn’t about deprivation or elitism, it’s about doing your bit for the environment, for the animals and for your own health too, while enjoying food as much (if not more) as you used to. There is no better time to go vegan than now!
Speaking of not depriving yourself of the food you enjoy, today’s recipe is a tray of super indulgent vegan brownies cos like I say, veganism ISN’T a diet. It drives me bonkers when, in a bid to discredit it, the media equates it with weight loss. These brownies are super dense, rich and delectably fudgy. I’ve tested them over and over again and this is my most favourite version thus far. I find it even nicer when it’s been sitting in the fridge overnight, the fudginess cranks up a notch – heavenly.
These flourless vegan brownies are really simple to make too. While I do use aquafaba to replace eggs, in this recipe you do not need to whip it until you reach stiff, or even soft, peaks. Simply whip it until white and foamy, 2 minutes tops, and then stir all the other ingredients through it, it’s really easy and delish! That’s a promise! Oh and as an added bonus, they happen to be naturally gluten-free also! x
- 150 g / 5.30 oz vegan 70% cocoa dark chocolate
- 120 ml / ½ cup aquafaba (chickpea brine), from a tin or from homecooked chickpeas
- 200 g / 1 cup sugar (caster sugar gives you the crispiest outer shell, but coconut sugar works well too!)
- 180 g / ¾ cup 100% natural nut or seed butter of choice (I used this almond butter)
- 2 tbsp water or plant milk (I used almond milk)
- 150 g / 1½ cups finely ground almonds / almond flour
- 70 g / ¾ cup cocoa powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda (GF certified if needed)
- chopped nuts (I used hazelnuts), for decoration (optional)
- Melt the chocolate very slowly over a bain marie / water bath. Make sure the bowl with chocolate does not touch the water underneath.
- Preheat the oven to 175° C / 345° F. Line a 20 cm x 20 cm / 8 inch x 8 inch baking tin with baking parchment. Make the baking parchment stick out of the tin so that you’re able to remove the brownies from the tin a little easier.
- Whip aquafaba with an electric whisk until foamy (no need to achieve stiff peaks for this recipe).
- Gradually add sugar to the aquafaba, whisking well after each addition.
- Using a spatula, fold melted, lukewarm but not hot, chocolate into the aquafaba and sugar mixture.
- Fold in almond butter and 2 tbsp of water or plant milk.
- Add in all the dry ingredients in batches, mixing well until no cocoa or almond meal pockets remain. The batter should be very thick.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared baking tin and spread it into the sides and corners with a spatula. Sprinkle with chopped nuts if using.
- Bake on the middle shelf for about 25 minutes (depending on how fudgy you like your brownies and on your oven). Allow the brownies to cool down completely (!) before cutting with a sharp knife.
As a Georgian (The state of Georgia, USA), I made mine with pecan butter and topped with our local pecans. I baked mine in a 7 inch square pan (I don’t have an 8). Next time, I’d add some chopped nuts to the batter itself, but I’m a texture fiend.
I just came across your blog and this recipes is AMAZING!!! Can’t wait to try out some more! Me and my husband made the switch to a plant based diet last year and haven’t looked back! Totally feel the same with the comments from friends but cooked them a totally vegan meal when they were all last round and one of them didn’t even realise!!!
Thanks for joining in the good fight to help save our planet
I am delighted to hear that you enjoy my recipe and thank you for your kind words about them. Big congrats on going vegan and for staying vegan! For me, personally, it's one of the best decisions I made in my life. x Ania
I am not completely vegan. Can I use 2 eggs as a replacement for the brine?
Thank you and well done 😊
I think so but I would suggest using 2 and adding enough water so that you have roughly 1/2 cup of it once thickened. Full disclaimer, I have not tried it in this recipe yet, but I am pretty sure it would work - it is only list of things to test but I have not managed it yet. Ania
I guess so but as I am vegan I never use eggs so I cannot be sure how this would work out. Cheers! Ania
I haven't actually made these brownies yet but have been eyeballing them! I will make them soon!
I made quite a few of your recipes at Christmas last year and they were AMAZING!
Keep up the good work!
You said "Bake ... for about 25 minutes (depending on how fudgy you like your brownies and on your oven)" . Does this min 25minutes minimum and more if you don't want it to be too fudgy or should I aim for less than 25 minutes for fudgy brownies?
It really depends on your oven so it's hard to give a super precise time, but I baked mine for 25 minutes and you can see a cross section photo for an idea of how fudgy they turned out. They were perfect for me, but if you want them even more fudgy, bake for a couple of minutes less. Hope that helps! Ania
Hugs, I know it can feel lonely. I recently statted compost at my daughter's daycare and at my church for refreshment service. We are in this together!!!!
I am not 100% sure as I haven't tried that - my intention was to create flourless brownies from the outset so that they are gluten-free out of the box. You may need to make some alterations to the quantity, for example, but worth giving it a shot. Ania
First of all, I just want to say thank you for sharing such wonderful recipes - every single recipe I’ve used from your blog has worked so well and been a great hit with both friends and family.
And now to my question: I was wondering if it would be possible to substitute the almond flour with regular flour? If not, can you think of another option?
Thank you for your kind words, they really mean a lot!
As for your question, the honest answer is that I am not sure as my intention was to create flourless brownies from the outset so that they are gluten-free out of the box. I think it is giving them a try, but you may need to make some alterations (my instinct is to use less) to the quantity, for example, and if using wheat (gluten-containing) flour, be very careful not to overmix. The batter is supposed to very thick so if you overwork it you may end up with bread-like brownies :( Good luck! Ania