My baby is almost 7!! I’m not sure when this happened, but the day is almost here, whether I fight it or not.
Every year, I send some treats in for her to share with her class. Sometimes I put the effort in, and sometimes I grab Timbits from Tim Horton’s. But I always, always bake my kid’s cakes from scratch for their birthday parties though. Even if I go half-ass on everything else (not usually), their cakes are made by me.
I asked Madelyn what she wanted to take for her birthday school treat, and she said (without any hesitation) Brownies. I was pretty happy to oblige, because they just had cupcake day at school, and a lot of the time, so much of the cake (or icing) gets wasted.
Because I wanted to see if I could do it, I decided to make a vegan brownie, and I didn’t want to use the typical black beans that a lot of vegan brownies use. I pulled out my handy-dandy trusty favourite, The Cooks Illustrated Cookbook for their best recipe. I knew I’d have to do some conversions, but I’ve never had one of their recipes fail me.
Fact #1: Kid’s love Oreos.
Fact #2: Oreos are vegan. This of course varies by country, but generally, they are vegan.
It’s a good day when I can make myself happy (baking vegan brownies), and make kids happy (by putting Oreos into said brownies).
I decided to go with a chewy brownie recipe. In the recipe, it states that the goal was clear: “a homemade brownie with chewiness (and a shiny crisp crackly top) to rival the boxed-mix standard, but flush with a rich, deep, all-natural chocolate flavour”.
Sounds about right.
The science behind the chewy texture is the right balance of saturated (solid) and unsaturated (liquid) fats. I had it covered with the vegetable oil already called for in the recipe, but I needed to replace the butter. I went with coconut oil, although I could of gone with avocado too, had I had any.
The only other replacement I needed to worry about was the eggs. In the original brownie recipe, it called for 2 whole eggs, plus 2 egg yolks to combat the greasiness. I knew I could use applesauce, but I decided to get fall festive one more time, and use up the can of pumpkin puree sitting in my fridge. It worked so well! You can’t taste the pumpkin, and the kids will never know I snuck in some veggies 😉 I would also go with ripe bananas too, and that may add a little more richness.
I decided to make 2 batches (I didn’t double the recipe though, made each batch separately), because I wanted some leftovers for home, and inspiration hit me, so I wanted to try two different flavours.
In the second batch, I made a pumpkin spice flavour brownie and used the pumpkin spice vegan marshmallows one last go before they disappear off the shelves. They’re so good though. If they weren’t so expensive, I’d probably buy a lot more of them.
All-in-all, they turned out great. Chewy and cakey (I highly doubt “cakey” is a word, but I’m going with it), and got four chocolatey thumbs up from the pint-size posse in my house.
I love birthdays.
PS – my very favourite kitchen tool is my scale. If you have one, use it. If you don’t have one, get it. Seriously. When given the choice, I will always measure by weight over volume.
Go ahead, lick the spoon!! Get your whole face in that bowl. No raw eggs here 🙂
1 Brownie, 2 Ways Recipe
- 1/3 c. (1 oz) Cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp Instant espresso powder (optional, but highly recommended to enhance the chocolate flavour)
- 1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp Boiling water
- 2 oz. Unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
- 1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp Vegetable oil (or other neutral flavour oil)
- 1/4 c. Coconut oil, melted
- 3/4 c. Pumpkin puree (or 1 1/2 ripe bananas, mashed)
- 1 tbsp Vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 c. (17 1/2 oz) Sugar
- 1 3/4 c. (8 3/4 oz) All-Purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp Salt
- 6 oz Chocolate chips (vegan)
- For the Oreo brownies:
- 12 Oreos, chopped into chunks
- For the Pumpkin Spice brownies:
- 1 tbsp Pumpkin Spice
- 3 c. vegan marshmallows (I used Dandies brand, pumpkin spice mini marshmallows), divided.
- Preheat oven to 350F and move rack to lowest position.
- Make a double layer foil sling in a 9×13 baking pan and grease. Set aside.
- Whisk cocoa, espresso powder and unsweetened chocolate with the boiling water until smooth and melted.
- Whisk in oils (mixture may look curdled)
- Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated.
- In separate bowl, stir together flour and salt and gradually add to the wet mixture, folding in using spatula (if making the pumpkin spice brownies, also add the pumpkin spice to the flour/salt mixture, and stir in 1 1/2 c. of marshmallows into the batter)
- Pour into 9×13 baking pan, and top with either Oreos or the remaining marshmallows.
- Bake until toothpick inserted into center of brownies comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.
- Transfer to wire rack and let cool (leave in the pan) for 1 1/2 hours.
- Remove from pan, and let cool further on wire rack for another hour.
- Cut into 24 squares.