Vegan's Chronicles + [Vegan]

Vegan Brownies

For some reason, since going vegan, I've only had brownies about... . 2 times? 3 times tops. It's almost too sad to even think about. But the other day, I felt the need for a big hunka chocolate-lovin', and this is what happened:

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Dear God, thank you for brownies. Amen.

I'll never forget the first brownie I ever tasted. I was about 6 or 7 years old and my family was living in Ghana, West Africa. Having previously only lived in England and since Ghana was colonized by the British, my sister and I knew next-to-nothing about American culture and food. However, we were really close to this other Korean family with two girls the same age as my sister and I, and they had previously lived in the US. Whenever they got care packages from the States, they would share their precious jolly ranchers and fruit roll ups with us, and my sister and I would savor every morsel with gratitude and a little bitter jealousy mixed in.

So anyway, one time, I remember we were hanging out at their house and their mom baked this thing called "brownies." This memory has been so ingrained in my head that I actually recall thinking that the name "brownie" was the silliest thing to call a food, and I thought their mom had just made the name up herself. However, I also remember eating a slice of this dense, chocolately, crackly-topped, square cake and thinking it was the most heavenly, decadent thing I had ever tasted. And so as a kid, I quickly came to associate America with all things rich, sweet, and indulgent. Looking back, I realize my impressions were a bit skewed, but this was my honest first view of American foodie culture.

Hm, not sure why I bored you with that whole story, but whenever I have a brownie this memory flashes through my mind! Anyway, back to these vegan brownies...

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For this batch, I used this popular Vegweb recipe, which is so easy and delicious that it's a wonder people even bother making non-vegan brownies! I only made two modifications by adding some ground flax seeds and also a teeny bit of coffee extract to intensify the chocolate flavor, a brownie-making tip I got from Kia who is always in charge of making the brownies for our bake sales (don't forget to come to our next bake sale fundraiser, on Sept 17th!).

Vegan Brownies (adapted from this Vegweb recipe)

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup water
1 Tbs ground flax seeds
2 cups organic unrefined sugar
1/2 cup grape seed oil (or canola)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coffee extract
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 175C. Prepare your baking pan by lightly oiling it or using parchment paper (I used paper because my pan is a little old and crusty).
2. Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking powder together in a large bowl. Mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, add about 1/4 cup of the water and the ground flax seeds. Whisk til it gets thick and goopey. Add the rest of the water, along with the sugar, oil, extracts, and salt. Whisk well.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and using a spatula, stir until everything is almost all incorporated. Then gently fold in the walnuts.
5. Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle more chopped walnuts on top, if desired.
6. Bake in oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let it rest about 30 minutes before cutting and serving.

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X-treme close up of crackly-top.

Everyone always talks about how they prefer either cakey or fudgy brownies. Me, I like mine somewhere in-between, and they absolutely must have walnuts.

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Something like this.

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Mmm, indulgent and not at all healthy, but so scrumptious... . The sugar-content is high, so one slice will go a long way in satisfying that sweet tooth. I found that while these were good eaten while still warm, the flavor and texture were even better the next day.

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Not for the faint of heart.

Do you remember your first brownie? Care to share a childhood brownie memory? :)