I’m really not the kind of person who views food as ‘treats’ or ‘for a special occasion,’ I more believe in the idea that your body knows what it needs and if you listen to it, it will tell you. So sometimes I will have days where I only eat tomato salsa and raw snow peas, followed by a profiterole stuffed with salted caramel. And I never let myself feel bad about that – because hey girls, we have all spent long enough feeling bad about ourselves.
A few days ago, my body was telling me it needed brownies. Although… looking at that picture my body is going ‘brownies? Are we talking about brownies? ARE YOU MAKING BROWNIES AGAIN? LETS EAT BROWNIES!” So maybe that is one food my body can’t be trusted to tell the difference between truely needing and just wanting based from a chocolate whores lust. Anyway… I’ve been experimenting with brownie recipes for a while and have finally come across a recipe that I thought needed no improvement. It is soft and gooey, fruity and chocolatey and best of all it’s packed full of zuchinni, apple sauce and buckwheat flour so as far as I’m concerned it’s basically a health food. So when my girl Zo from Two Spoons text me asking if I wanted to help her try out a recipe for raw brownies, I of course said we should have a brownie bake-off. Because that it how I roll. I had a barbeque to go to that afternoon which was going to be full of vegans, so I figured this was the perfect time to experiment with making this recipe completely animal product free, as usually my food is just packed full of delicious, delicious animal products.
In the end both recipes were a huge success, and between the two of us we have come up with some recipes that are guaranteed to shut up the most allergic, pernickety and food-intolerant of your friends. We both decided that the raw brownie will be more happily accepted if you consider it a delicious chocolate slice, rather than try to claim it is an actual brownie – but that is not to say that it isn’t delicious. I was a bit suspicious that with just three ingredients this would taste too much of raw cocoa powder, but actually in the end what we were all surprised about was how buttery and rich it tasted. The dates and walnuts mixed with cocoa powder make for such a rich and Moorish slice that I sort of regretted letting Zo go home with the entire batch. Head over to Two Spoons to check out the recipe.
But then I remembered that I had these little beauties sitting in wait for me. These are seriously delicious, and you wouldn’t know they weren’t vegan if someone didn’t tell you. The zucchini just melts away into the mixture in some kind of food magic, so don’t worry that you will be pulling strands of it out of your teeth, it just adds body and texture. This recipe is so rich and full of dark chocolate with a hint of cherry flavour to it, it is by far the best brownie I’ve ever had. If you like your brownies fudgey in texture then these might not be for you, they definitely fall into the cakey spectrum, but they are so dense with chocolate I doubt you’ll even notice.
The Best Vegan Brownies
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat or plain flour
- 1/2 cup / 45 g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 cups (about 300 – 320 g) grated zucchini
- 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.
In a bowl, combine the vanilla extract, sugar, salt, and the applesauce.
Sieve the flour and the cocoa powder into another bowl. Add the baking soda, the cinnamon and the cardamom. Mix well.
Add the apple sauce mixture to the flour mixture and combine until the dry ingredients are mixed in well.
Add the grated zucchini and the chocolate chips. Mix once more.
Pour the brownie batter into a greased 8 x 8” / 20 x 20 cm baking tin or something with similar dimensions.
Bake at 350°F / 175°C for 40- 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out somewhat clean. Because it is vegan, it will take somewhat longer to cook. If the top of the brownies begin to burn during this time, cover with foil.
Allow to cool completely in the pan.