Drum rolls please.
The best brownies of the season are here. Announcing here my sinful dark chocolate brownies. No, not just another brownie recipe, these brownies are exceptional. They are completely VEGAN and that would mean these chocolate brownies are naturally egg free and dairy free. Plus they are also gluten free (GF) and refined sugar free. In short, these dark chocolate brownies are completely plant based, healthy and are made with unrefined and unprocessed ingredients.
The ingredients used here are also readily available and many are staple in Indian homes
Jaggery powder / palm sugar
Now you would think how these unconventional brownies taste like? Let me assure you these gorgeous beauties are as deliciously fudgy, chocolate y, like the conventional brownies and just the way I always like my brownies to be. Rich, dark, super moist with soft gooey center, luxuriously soaked in chocolates, indulgent and utterly sinful.
These decadent brownies in one word are just …mmmm.
Brownies are like those luxuriant dreams, full of opulence, beauty, goodness that keeps your faith in the beauty of life itself. When life gives you chocolates, make brownies and follow your dreams because they are more real than the reality and are close to your self.
For long I was dreaming of making a healthy version of brownies. I had this vision many times and whenever I see my baby reaching out for the freshly home baked brownies and cakes, my heart delighted with pleasure, my eyes twinkled with joy but at the same time somewhere in the deep recess of my heart, I had this guilt feeling too. Are these processed foods good for her?
She is just 18 months now, but sooner or later she is going to step into the world full of processed, refined food that are laced with countless number of chemicals. I certainly can not prevent that because our lives are full of processed and junk foods. How I wish though with a magic wand like in fairy tales, I could transform the world into something that is healthy and sustainable. But that is not easy. I know that. Living in a country like India, I hardly have any options.
But there are moments in your life, when you just want to follow your heart. And finally one winter morning, that magic happens, that vision comes to reality, the recipe that I was working for long has finally spell success and nothing could beat that joyous moment.
But it wold be wrong to say that I had created this recipe. Before finalizing my recipe, I had read score of blogs that are dedicated to vegan-ism, recipes that are gluten free, processed ingredient free (and hence can not name a single one), blogs that selflessly decoded the baking techniques with unconventional flour, sweetener, fat etc. In fact this recipe has been inspired from many of you (my humble ovation to all of you) , who days in and out strive continually to find out a better alternative to make this planet more sustainable and healthy.
Vegan baking is not easy. Gluten free baking is tough. And using unprocessed ingredients in baking requires lots of understanding the finer nuances of science involved in baking, technique that require trials and errors until you come to an optimal solution.
Here I will decode each of the ingredients listed to make this beautiful and indulgent brownies, so that you can too adopt as it is, or can experiment with ingredients of similar nature and characteristics.
The basic brownie recipe, apart from chocolates would require refined flour, eggs, sugar and oil / butter
Gluten free flour – In India, gluten free flour is largely not available except few high end gourmet stores at a steep price. The best gluten free flour that is readily available too is chickpea flour or besan, which is naturally gluten free, high in protein, iron and fibers and is almost a staple in Indian homes. Because of its extremely good binding power, chickpea flour is best suited as gluten free flour in cookies, quick breads, brownies and muffins. In brownies, the flour requirement in general is less than a cup. So chickpea flour is best suited for brownies.
1) Egg replacement – it is good to know few egg free baking recipes, and most of the time I get requests from my readers about the suitable egg replacements, otherwise we love eggs in our baked products. The best vegan option would be flaxseeds that I haves used many times. And it is applicable only where eggs are not used as leaveners but as a binding agent. So for brownies one tablespoon of ground flaxseed would replace one egg and for non-vegan baking I use thick set plain yogurt.
2) Vegan butter / fat – there are lots of varieties of vegan butters available, but my choice would always be organic cold pressed coconut oil because that is one of my pantry staple too.
Sweetener – refined sugars are fine but if you want to make it healthy, specially if you bake a lot at least once a week, sooner or later you will reach out for some healthy and better alternatives. My choice would be palm sugars / jaggery and coconut palm sugars. Both are again a pantry staple in Indian homes.
Syrup – as brownies are almost liquid free, and also if it is egg less too, you will require some thing to add enough moisture in it. Syrups are best. I usually add honey as it makes the baked goods super moist. But my most loved vegan syrups are date syrup and molasses. These two are again my pantry staples.
Beetroot – ever since I had discovered this magical combo of chocolate and beetroot in cakes and brownies, I am basically addicted to this. Beet roots not only add ravishing deep red tone to the brownies and cakes, but it also adds lots of moisture to the baked goods.
- Chickpea flour - 3/4 cup
- Cocoa powder Dutch processed - 1/2 cup
- Beetroot puree cooked - 1 cup
- Flaxseed ground in place of eggs :3 tbsp
- Coconut oil liquid form : 1/2 cup max
- Sugar / palm sugar / brown sugar/ coconut palm sugar/ jaggery powder granulated - 1/2 cup
- Date syrup non-vegans can use honey : 1/4 cup
- Dark and bittersweet chocolate - 100 gm
- Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
- Baking powder - 1 tsp
- Salt - a large pinch
- Mixed nuts optional
- Pomegranate molasses - 3 tbsp
- Chocolate chips - 1/2 cup
- Vegan butter / coconut oil - 3-4 tbsp
In a wide bowl, measure the chickpea flour and sift thoroughly.
Now measure the sifted chickpea flour again (you will find the true measure of 3/4 cup now) and sift it again with salt and baking powder.
Sift the cocoa powder and add it to the chickpea flour.
Add the flaxseed powder and the beetroot puree.
In a double boiler, melt the chocolates.
Add the coconut oil, vanilla, date syrup and palm sugar granules and blend well.
Once it is thoroughly mixed, add this liquid mix into the dry flour-cocoa mix
With the help of spatula mix the batter very well and till everything comes together as a solid homogeneous mass.
This brownie batter will be thick and non flowing type.
Line the brownie pan with a parchment paper. This is must.
Spread the brownie batter well with the help of spatula or with hand.
Level it up and can sprinkle the top with nuts now.
Bake in a preheated oven @ 170 C for 20 minutes or until the cake tested inserted in the middle comes out clean.
The brownies will look very fragile in the beginning. Let ti cool completely before slicing it up.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolates and butter/ coconut oil for 30 sec in microwave.
Add the pomegranate molasses.
Now whip it up really well till you get a silken ganache.
Drizzle the brownies only when it is completely cool down.
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Happy indulgent week ahead,