I know bad brownies. I mean... I really know bad brownies. The cakey, dry kind you buy cheap in the supermarket? I've been there. The kind that just never set up, leaving you with a pan of sickly chocolate gunk which you've kind of got to eat, and yes, I am the girl who has eaten a whole pan of uncooked brownie goo in the past? It's not as fun as you think it's gonna be. The gummy, vegan-and-gluten-and-sugar-free-why-did-I-even-try ones, which hold a fingerprint when prodded? I don't know why I did that. Sorry. But the thing is, I also know good brownies. The fudgy, intensely chocolate kind; the ones that hold together properly without even thinking about being cake; the ones with a whisper-thin, crackly surface on top, and a damp, dense layer underneath. Okay, this description is getting a little sexy. When I said I knew good brownies, I didn't mean in the biblical sense. The thing is, those sexy brownies? I'd never been able to recreate them without eggs and dairy. And how good can a brownie REALLY be if it's contributing to an industry that makes me all sad-faced? There are tons of vegan brownie recipes using tofu out there, yes, but they've never quite hit the spot, and they've certainly never given me that crackly surface I love so much. Not to mention the fact that soy is a common intolerance, and - okay, I can't really get all holier-than-thou over this, cause I don't have a problem with it and love to use it in baking, which I recognise is totally obnoxious of me as food blogger, but whatever - BUT SOY IS A COMMON INTOLERANCE! Think of the soy intolerant vegans out there! Think of the children! Right, so don't freak out. But these brownies have avocado in them. No, I said don't freak out. You can't taste it, not even a tiny bit. And you know what? These are good brownies. These are - I would go so far as to say - the best brownies I've ever eaten, right up there with the award-winning ones from the Baked cookbook, but with the added bonus of being totally vegan and therefore putting out nothing but joy into the world. I made these, and then I ran around my flat for fifteen minutes shouting about how awesome and talented and wonderful I am. You might want to get in on the action.
The Ultimate Brownie [Vegan]
- 120g / 1/2 + 1/3 c. plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 150g / 5.5 oz vegan dark chocolate
- 115g / 1 stick vegan margarine
- 130g / 3/4 c. white sugar
- 50g / 1/4 c. soft light brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 180g / 3/4 c. (when pureed)/ 2 avocadoes, peeled and pitted
- Preheat oven to 180C / 350F. Grease and line a 8x8 inch (20x20cm) square baking tin.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and cocoa powder.
- In a saucepan, melt the chocolate and margarine over a low heat, stirring with a spatula to prevent burning or sticking. Once melted, remove from the heat and add the vanilla and both sugars, mixing in well so there are no lumps.
- Puree the avocado flesh in a food processor - or, if you don't have one, mash thoroughly with a fork, but make sure it's absolutely lump free, because avocado lumps in your brownies would kind of suck. When it's completely smooth, add to your saucepan mixture and fully combine.
- Sprinkle the flour mixture over the top and fold in lightly until just combined; don't overmix. Pour into the prepared baking tin then bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes (22 mins was perfect in my oven, but be aware that yours may be different and keep an eye on your brownies). When baked, a knife should come out with nothing more than a few damp crumbs sticking to it; the brownies shouldn't still be gunky (but don't bake too long, as they will continue to cook in the pan once removed from the oven).
- Allow to cool fully before cutting into 16 squares and demolishing the pan single-handedly.