Warning – this isn’t health food. If you’re on a diet then look away now, go and hang out in ‘Ha’s Rant’ or an innocent thread like that. I made these to win a bet. Someone who is negative about veganism but impressed by my sponge cakes told me that it isn’t possible to make genuinely good vegan brownies. I had never tried making brownies before, as the recipes I’d glanced at didn’t inspire me, they relied on cocoa powder for a start - there wasn’t any actual chocolate in them. I’m not American, so probably have about as much right to get indignant about that as those across the Atlantic have to bemoan the lack of decent vegan Yorkshire pudding, but ...WhatTF?!
I therefore made this up as I went along. I tend to use cups to measure, as scales are a hassleistic faff. The result was so good that they vanished pretty quickly (and I’m not normally bothered about chocolate things), and the vegan-skeptic had to tell me I rule, go buy some brown sauce and eat his words.
Btw – don’t skimp on the vanilla or the salt. They really are important to this recipe. If you really want to make this and don’t have any vanilla, swap the soya milk for orange juice (and also miss out the vinegar) and make chocolate orange brownies. But don’t leave that salt out, mmmKay?
1 cup (ie. 250 ml or 8 floz) sugar (use slightly more if unlike me you have a very sweet tooth)
1 cup margarine (yes, you heard me. A…whole…cup)
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 teaspoon salt
3 level tablespoons cocoa powder
slightly more than 1 cup SR flour
100g bar of dark chocolate, melted
half a cup soya milk or rice milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
half a cup brazilnuts, hazelnuts or almonds, roughly ground or finely chopped (If Man On Bike is reading this, you don’t need the nuts. Just miss them out, or use a bit of dessicated coconut instead).
50g chopped white choc (there’s a great but expensive one called ‘Organica’) or more dark choc, or cocoa nibs
Baking Soundtrack: Northern Soul. (If you don’t live in the Manchester/Wigan area, and/or are under the age of 30, you can substitute any kind of jazz funk).
· Blend the first 5 ingredients in a food processor, or with very good wrist action, until well-creamed.
· Mix the next 5 ingredients together in a large bowl, and then stir in the creamed mix from food processor, and the nuts and white choc. Mix just well-enough to ensure there are no dry flour bits, but don’t overwork it.
· Tip into a well-greased brownie tin, approx 10 inch square. If you don’t have a brownie tin, just use any square baking/roasting tin.
· Bake on gas mark 4-5 180 C for 25 mins. The top should feel dry, but it prob won’t look done if you’re just used to making sponge cakes. (Spread your timid wings, ladies and gentlemen, and fly). Don’t worry, these things are supposed to have a squidgy texture. Cover, leave to stand.
· Cut into squares.
The first time I made this, it turned out squidgy in the middle and chewy on the outside, which was great. The second time, it was a bit soft and crumbly. I think I had the oven on a lower temperature the first time, then turned it up for the last 5 min. More experimentation needed.