Vegan almond brownies (v,vg)
Bake a cake on your birthday
I recently changed jobs where the tradition is to bring a cake for your birthday,whether homemade or shop bought, for everyone to enjoy (and wish you a happy birthday). Wait, everyone?
One of the guy whom I am sharing the office with – as well as my almond and other non-dairy milks – is lactose intolerant. I couldn’t bake a cake for my birthday that he wouldn’t be able to have; it is against the principle of baking, and of cooking altogether. Also, I was really dying to try this vegan brownies recipe from The Happy Pear; I had received their cooking book as a leaving present from my previous job, and absolutely loved every single savoury recipe from them so I wanted to give a go at the sweet stuff too.
Cacao or cocoa?
I carefully bought all the ingredients for the recipe and spent half an hour in the baking aisle of Sainsbury’s trying to figure out what the hell was the difference between cacao powder and cocoa powder. On the recipe, it said to get CACAO powder, so I went for it but since then, I have learned that the difference is not only in the price. Or in the name. Or in the packaging. It’s also in the processing of cacao beans! Cacao is basically raw cacao beans being cold pressed, and cocoa is cacao beans roasted at high temperature before being pressed – which means you loose on some important nutrients (proteins, fibre, antioxidant…).
Making it yours
Fast forward to my birthday; the Happy Pear vegan brownies were ready to be taken to the office. I think everyone liked them – including Will, the lactose intolerant character mentioned above – as I came back home that evening with an empty box and an idea. I thought the recipe was good but it had too much maple syrup and not enough chocolate for my liking; that is how I decided to try and bake my own vegan brownies version. I wanted a recipe with more chocolate, less maple syrup and more nuts!
The first batch of my new recipe went straight into the compost bin. They looked good, they smelled good but they were horrendous; I hadn’t used any sugar or sweetener (like maple syrup) at all, and had added a teaspoon of sea salt to the batter. I like salt. But it doesn’t agree with brownies that well, neither with my blood pressure levels. I literally had to spit the brownies out and drink two pints of water to get rid of the awful taste. Oliver, who didn’t want them to go to waster, drown two slices in maple syrup (see the irony here?!) before resigning himself to the idea of letting them go in the bin shortly after. The next day, I tried again a less salty, sweeter version and tadaaaaaam, the result was beyond all my expectations. And that is this final, improved delicious version that I am sharing with you today. I should have called it “A journey to baking vegan brownies”.
A journey to baking vegan brownies …
…stops here. I used Innocent almond milk (so so good with a subtle salty taste), and added a few crushed almonds to the batter. It gets a little bit more liquid/wet than a normal batter, but the result is a gooey, nutty, chocolatey and flaky vegan brownies. I forgot to mention that it is extremely easy and quick to make, can freeze really well and is even better the next day. I am already thinking about adding almond butter next time, or maybe peanut butter for even more goodness. Will keep you updated and in the meantime, enjoy !
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Melt the coconut oil and the chocolate in a saucepan. Remove from the heat, and add the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Mix well and add to the dry ingredients. It should result in a quite dense batter. Add the milk bit by bit, and mix well. You should have a pretty wet batter. Add the handful of almonds, and mix well. Put the batter in a non sticky metal square tin, and out in the preheated oven for 25 min. Let cool, and enjoy !
Vegan almond brownies
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Melt the coconut oil and the chocolate in a saucepan. Remove from the heat, and add the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Mix well and add to the dry ingredients. It should result in a quite dense batter.
Add the milk bit by bit, and mix well. You should have a pretty wet batter. Add the handful of almonds, and mix well.
Put the batter in a non sticky metal square tin, and out in the preheated oven for 25 min. Let cool, and enjoy !