Saturday, April 6, 2013

Classic Chocolate Brownies

Ever since I became vegan about 8 years ago, I've been searching for the best vegan brownie recipe. I'm still not ready to declare a winner, but this recipe is pretty darn good. I especially that it manages to develop a harder crispier top, while remaining fudgy inside. 

For this recipe I used Guittard's Cocoa Rouge, which comes in 8oz canisters from the bakery aisle of the supermarket. It has a particularly rich aroma and the most beautiful color of any chocolate I have ever seen. In general, I advise buying high quality cocoa. The cheaper versions tend to be lighter in color and have a less powerful taste, which will make a significant difference in the final product, so it's worth splashing out on something a bit more expensive.

I can't claim authorship of this recipe. It's from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskovitz, which is an excellent book that I refer to often and recommend without hesitation. I'm presenting this recipe in its simplest form. It's up to you whether you want to add nuts, chocolate chips, fruit, etc. I think it would be pretty good with banana in the mix, but if you pursue the banana path you might want to reduce or eliminate the tofu. 

3 ounces silken tofu (this usually amounts to 1/4 of a package)

1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I prefer unsweetened soy milk, such as Westsoy of Trader Joe's)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
2tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Find a suitable baking pan. For this recipe, I use an 8 x 8 inch Pyrex dish. Lightly grease it with oil.

Sift all of the dry ingredients except the sugar into a large bowl. Separately, mix the tofu, milk and canola oil in a blender. When they are fully blended and there are no more tofu lumps, add the sugar and continue to blend until it is fully dissolved and the mixture has an even consistency. Then, gently add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, stirring until the ingredients are fully combined. If you are using additional ingredients, such as nuts, now is the time to add them. Spread the resulting batter into the pan, making sure that it reaches the edges. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. You know the brownies are ready when you can insert a knife into them and remove it without any of the batter sticking to it.

Leave the brownies to cool for 15 minutes before cutting into 12 pieces. Each serving contains approximately 198 calories. For extra fun, serve with ice cream. Or, if you're feeling fancy, eat them with a shot of espresso or liqueur poured over the top, Cointreau or Frangelico work especially well for this.

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