Monday, October 25, 2010

Girl Meets Brownie, Part 1

This is a reflective post, as it is about a particular brownie I had 7 months ago, long before this blog was a twinkle in anybody’s eye. I am pensive about this brownie, not because it was such a spectacular iteration, but because it set me on the path to my calling; developing a knockout vegan brownie recipe.

As a new vegan, I was apprehensive about baked goods. Every success seemed like a miracle, so it was only a matter of time before I was underwhelmed. I was heavily reliant on Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking, as I still am. She is definitely the best starting point for compassionate treats. However, her brownie recipe is not perfect. I was skeptical when I saw the applesauce and flaxseed in this recipe (I have always shuddered at healthifying my desserts), but I was new to this and Colleen was my guide, and I didn’t know enough to ask questions. Well, that was 7 months ago. This was not a bad brownie, but it wasn’t a great brownie. I also realize that I have incredibly high standards for brownies, and am not satisfied with your average offering. So, if you aren’t as invested in a perfect brownie, then you may be happy with some of the recipes  you’ll see along the way. But, my journey is far from over. I have had some promising results, and some very disappointing ones, but it is all a step on the path to my dream brownie. So, follow along with me on this decadent, dramatic, occasionally disappointing, but ultimately triumphant adventure!

I’ve decided to provide all the recipes, even for brownies that I deem unsuccessful, as it may aid you in adjusting the recipes to your own liking.

Chocolate Brownies

from Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons ground flaxseed (grind in a coffee grinder or spice mill; measure after it’s ground))
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts

Heat the oven to 350º. Grease an 8” x 8” baking pan. Combine applesauce, sugar, and 2 tablespoons water in a medium bowl. In a food processor or blender, blend the ground flaxseed and 1/2 cup water. Add this and the vanilla to the applesauce mixture. In a large bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and chocolate chips and nuts, if desired. Add the applesauce mixture to the flour mixture and stir. Pour into the pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Bake longer if a cakier product is desired. Cool before cutting and serving.

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