Now I’m not actually a vegan, but I do think that quite a lot of the problems of the world would be solved if more of us were. I like Michael Pollan’s way of thinking; “eat food, not a lot, mostly plants”. But in the interests of full disclosure, I have to admit I struggle with the “not a lot” bit. All the more reason then to make sure what I am chowing down on is having as little negative impact as possible.
The good news is that (contrary to popular opinion) it is possible to have your vegan cake and eat it too. And, after a bit of trial and error, I think I can add brownies to that statement too. As long as you like your brownies as they should be; gorgeously gooey. I’ve used milled chia seeds here as an egg substitute, and although they work very well a word of warning is needed. Not about their credentials, obviously. Chia seeds with their high fibre content, calcium, manganese and phosphorus as well as their high levels of omega 3 fats are a great addition to anybody’s diet which also allow you to reduce the fat content of your baked goods due to their super gelatinous texture. The warning comes simply for more aesthetic reasons: If you weren’t making brownies, it would be wiser to choose white seeds as the darker ones will be noticeable in a paler batter leaving you with a rather speckily cake!
The Ultimate Vegan Brownies Recipe
Makes 16 Squares:
120g (vegan) dark chocolate 70% or above. I use green and blacks, but check the label if you are using other chocolate types before you use them.
85g coconut oil
3 tbsps milled (ground) chia seeds, soaked for half an hour or so in 9 tbsps hot water
120g self raising flour
250g light brown sugar
Firstly, grease and line a 20 cms by 20 cms square cake pan (or 10″), then preheat the oven to 180 deg. C.
Melt your chocolate and coconut oil together either over a pan of hot water, or in the microwave. Take a bit of care, coconut oil burns faster than butter, so keep an eye on it.
Next mix in the gel made from the soaked chia seeds. I use a wooden spoon here, but not to really beat; you just want a nicely blended batter not to incorporate vast amounts of air. Remember we are aiming for gooey-ness, brownies are not meant to be light, fluffy sponge cakes. Using the same technique, mix in the flour followed by the sugar then pour the mixture into your prepared tin Bake in the preheated oven for around 25 minutes until the surface is slightly cracked and the insides still slightly wobbly. Cool in the tin in a rack and when you can stand it no longer, slice into 16 squares and tuck in. Enjoy!