National Brownie Day!

Did you know that today is National Brownie Day? To celebrate this incredible holiday, I am going to share my recipe for Peppermint Crunch Brownies. Make these and dunk them in a mug of hot chocolate, I dare you!

These brownies are perfect for the holidays. They are dense, fudgy, chocolaty, and topped with crunchy candy cane pieces. What’s not to like? You could bake up a batch to give to people you love if you feel like sharing!

Peppermint Crunch Brownies

Makes 9 large or 16 small brownies

1/2 cup non-dairy butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips (please use organic, fair trade chocolate)
1/2 cup pureed silken tofu
1  cup organic unrefined sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (whole wheat pastry flour works well too)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
5 full size vegan peppermint candy canes, crushed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking pan. Set aside.
2. Melt non-dairy butter and chocolate chips in the microwave or in a double boiler. Whisk until well blended. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and whisk in pureed tofu, sugar, and extracts.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Add to chocolate mixture and stir until well combined. Batter will be stiff.
4. Spread batter into prepared pan and top with candy cane pieces, pressing them gently into the batter. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until just beginning to set in the center. Immediately transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours. Do not skip this step – it is essential to ensuring the brownies set up properly and become extra fudgy. Trust me!
5. Once chilled, slice into squares and devour with friends!

Enjoy!

“F” is for Fudgy Triple Chocolate Gluten-Free Brownies

Longtime readers of this blog know that last year I was writing a vegan brownie cookbook. While I haven’t completely given up on the project, it isn’t on my list of priorities right now. I still love brownies though! Today I thought it would be fun to share my recipe for Fudgy Triple Chocolate Gluten-Free Brownies. Yep, triple chocolate indeed (and gluten-free)! They are really simple to prepare and even more fun to chomp down with your beverage of choice.

Fudgy Triple Chocolate Gluten-Free Brownies

Ingredients:

2/3 cup warm water
3 Tablespoons flax meal
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups unrefined sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup oat flour
1/3 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/3 cup vegan white chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease an 8×8″ metal baking pan.
  • In a small glass measuring cup, whisk together water and flax meal. Set aside to thicken.
  • In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter and the first measure of chocolate chips. Make sure to stir well in 30 second increments, until smooth. *Since microwaves vary in power, I suggest setting your microwave at medium power. You can also use a double boiler if you prefer.* Let cool slightly.
  • Add flax mixture, sugar, and vanilla extract to chocolate mixture and stir until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum. Add dry ingredients to chocolate mixture and stir until no flour is visible. The batter will be thick.
  • Fold in the white chocolate chips.
  • Spoon batter into prepared baking pan and smooth out the surface with a spatula.
  • Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted halfway between the edge and the middle of the pan comes out with a few damp crumbs. DON’T OVERBAKE! The middle will appear unset and this is how it should be.
  • Remove brownies from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool transfer the pan to the refrigerator and chill for at least a few hours so the brownies set properly. This is important for a fudgy texture.
  • Cut into squares and serve. Store in the refrigerator for best results.
  • Makes 9 large or 16 small brownies.
Enjoy!

Tummy Fillers

This morning Tim and I joined some friends for brunch at Blossoming Lotus. We are fortunate to live less that a mile from this wonderful vegan cafe yet we rarely indulge in their delicious food. I think cooking at home will always be at the top of my list!

Tim chose the Benedict which had maple seitan sausage, hollandaise sauce, and some other stuff on a biscuit. I didn’t sample Tim’s meal, but he cleaned his plate with a smile!

I chose the Florentine Scramble which consisted of tempeh (I subbed tempeh in place of tofu), fresh arugula, basil-hempseed pesto, and cashew ricotta. It was very good, but a bit too salty for my tastes. Next time I think I will opt for the Breakfast Parfait which has sprouted buckwheat granola layered with fruit, nuts, and agave-sweetened cashew cream.

Yesterday I created a new recipe for my brownie cookbook: Raspberry Poppy Seed Brownies. They turned out beautifully. This first batch was topped with ganache. The next batch will have a drizzle of raspberry sauce instead since the ganache overpowered the raspberry flavor in the brownie.

And finally, last week Tim and I went snowshoeing with our friend Dave. We were greeted with blue skies right around lunch time – it was a gorgeous day!

It’s supposed to snow later this week so we might get one more opportunity for snowshoeing before spring arrives.

 

Back to the Future (of Brownies)

I haven’t posted much about my brownie book lately. Writing a book that focuses on variations of only one dessert can become repetitive and boring. I am taking my time so that the allure of brownies remains exciting. Plus it’s easy to lose focus when the weather is warm, sunny, and welcoming! I created a new recipe this past week, and also retested an old favorite, making a few small adjustments.

Gluten-Free Banana Cream Pie Brownies – These treasures consist of a thick, fudgy brownie base topped with rich banana custard, coconut whipped cream, and frozen banana slices. There are plenty of healthy, wholesome ingredients in these brownies so there is no need to feel guilty for eating two. They received thumbs-up approval from my taste testers.

Chunky Cookie Brownies - I have made several variations of this brownie over the last seven months. I am the type of person who constantly changes a recipe until I am completely satisfied. And then once I am satisfied, I alter the recipe again because I change my mind! It’s a never-ending battle with brownie perfection. These sturdy brownies are studded with lots of crushed Newman O sandwich cookies. Extra cookies are smooshed into the top of the brownies right before baking. Two treats in one can be dangerous, but desserts are integral to our well-being so it’s okay.

I have plans for more brownie development in the next few weeks. I’m thinking PB&J Brownies and German Chocolate Brownies… What kind of brownies would YOU like to see? I can’t share too many sneak preview recipes yet since my testing phase is mighty strict, but I did post a recipe for s’mores-like brownies here. Happy Weekend!

For Serious Hikers Only

Trail Mix Brownies!

I felt a small wave of inspiration yesterday and created a new recipe for my forthcoming vegan brownie cookbook. It’s frustrating how easily motivation can plummet and then disappear. If Tim hadn’t been demanding treats these brownies may not have happened. I can’t recall ever taking brownies on a hike, but hey, why not? These have homemade trail mix in the batter and on top of the finished brownies –  twice the trail mix! I may experiment further with different nuts and dried fruits in future batches.

Brownies while hiking seems perfectly acceptable to me!