Brownies are difficult to get right on the best of days. Half of the time they end up too cakey, the other half they are too fudgy. Sometimes you under-bake them, and others you over-bake them. Start removing key variables like butter and eggs and you are really in for some fun. For the longest time, I thought that making a decent vegan brownie was next to impossible. In the past, I have tried versions with fruit purees, black beans, you name it. None have tasted like nor had the texture of a classic brownie. I was done with the idea of creating the perfect vegan brownie recipe until Salazon Chocolate sent me some of their vegan bars. I was determined not to de-veganize them so I set to work to make a vegan brownie that I could actually be proud of. I chose to work with their sea salt and coconut bar, amping up the coconut flavour with coconut oil and additional shredded coconut.
In the past, I had always used cocoa powder in my recipes, never melted chocolate. Using melted Salazon vegan chocolate already puts you a step ahead of the game because it helps to compensate for the fudginess you lose when you remove butter and eggs. Butter was replaced with coconut oil (rather than vegetable oil as it is actually solid at room temperature, another addition to the fudginess) and eggs were replaced with flax eggs to help hold everything together. I didn’t try to sneak in any fruit purees for moisture, because then you end up tasting the applesauce or bananas or whatever else you used, rather than the chocolate itself. I didn’t use any sugar substitutes either. Liquid sugars like maple syrup or agave just add another element of stickiness that no one expects, nor wants in a brownie.
Will I sit here and tell you that they are exactly like traditional brownies? Absolutely not. That’s the problem when you bake for various dietary restrictions though, people expect an exact replica of whatever they ate prior to the restriction. 99% of the time, it’s not going to happen. But that doesn’t mean that the end product cannot be damn delicious. When you sink your teeth into these Salazon vegan coconut brownies they don’t quite provide the same resistance as a brownie laden with butter and eggs. However, if you are still looking for a vegan alternative to get your chocolate fix, these are rich and satisfying enough to make the cut any day of the week.
**Disclaimer: Although the chocolate for this post was generously provided by Salazon Chocolate Co., the opinions and recipe seen here are uniquely my own.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ cup shredded coconut (plus extra toasted coconut for garnishing)
- 2 tbsp. ground flax seed mixed with 4 tbsp. water
- 5 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 bar Salazon Sea Salt and Coconut Chocolate
- ½ cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
- ¾ cup white sugar (free of bone-char)
- Heat your oven to 350F. Line an 8” square pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine the ground flax seed and water. Let stand for 10-15 minutes or until the ground flax absorbs the liquid.
- Meanwhile, combine the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and shredded coconut) in a bowl. Mix thoroughly to ensure that no lumps remain in the cocoa.
- In a separate bowl, melt together the Salazon Sea Salt and Coconut Chocolate with the coconut oil. Whisk in the sugar, as well as the almond milk.
- Add the wet chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake at 350F for 20-22 minutes. The brownies should be opaque and only jiggle slightly when you shake the pan.
- Once the brownies are out of the oven, sprinkle them with toasted coconut and press it lightly into them so it sticks. Cool, slice and eat. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days if not eating immediately.