Ultimate Vegan Brownies

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4.8 (30)
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Rating 
 
4.0

Decent

I think these turned out pretty good. The top was nice and crunchy, as were the edges, something I like. However the brownies seemed a bit on the dry and cakey side, although I think my oven may run on the hot side, so I will monitor it better next time and compensate on the dial. I may also dial down the flour a tad, or tinker around, see if I can get them to end up moister and fudgier, like yours.
Thanks for the recipe, I look forward to playing with it and trying to sub in some aquafaba and do some other mods. Only change I made this run was 4 oz 99% chocolate + 4 Tbsp sugar in place of semisweet chocolate, and this required a tad more hot water to mix it.

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Rating 
 
4.0

YUM!

These brownies were my first attempt at home made vegan baking, and DAYUM! They are so delicious, even though I left the chocolate pieces out. They're very easy to make and come out great.
!!!!

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(Updated: April 02, 2015)
Rating 
 
4.0

Delicious - can shortening be used?

Thank you for this recipe - we love the taste and texture of these brownies. I think the walnuts compliment them very well. I also appreciate that they can be frozen – there are only 2 of us in our household and we like to enjoy them slowly.

I was wondering whether it might be possible to substitute the vegan butter/stick margarine with vegetable shortening? I can't be sure if the stick margarine I use is free from hydrogenated fats and am not quite prepared to take the plunge making vegan butter. However, I do have access to a hydrogenated oil-free shortening called Trex, made from solid vegetable fat. The instructions for substituting butter with Trex are to use 20% less, so perhaps I could use 16g water in addition to 64g Trex to make up for the lack of water?

Many thanks.

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Rating 
 
4.0

Terrific Texture, Slight Off Taste

My family and I are new to being vegan (less than 2 weeks). I made these tonight and I have to say the texture is amazing! My comparison is the Barefoot Contessa's Outrageous Brownies, which are the absolute gold standard in my book. My only issue, other than feeling like 35 minutes of baking was maybe 5 minutes too long, is the slight off taste the brownies have. They taste like... I'm guessing it's flax, a kind of seedy almost rancid taste. It's like the way wood polish or teak oil smells. I bought whole golden flax seeds in bulk this afternoon and ground my 2T right before I used them. I'm wondering if I might get rid of that taste by using the egg replacer EnerG. Will that affect the perfect brownie texture (chewy on the inside, crispy on the edges)?

Owner's reply

Thanks for the feedback on the brownies EmmaPeel! Regarding the baking time, I just performed some additional tests on the recipe and updated the recipe to call for a reduced baking time of 25 minutes. Thanks to other helpful commenters, the original 35 minute baking dime was a little too long.

Regarding the flax taste, I believe your flax seeds may have been too old. Fresh flax seeds don't have a rancid taste. Flax seed is extremely perishable so if they're stored at room temperature for any more than a couple months they can develop linseed oil flavors as the oils rapidly oxidize. All it takes is a few months between coming off the plant and being used in your kitchen for them to become rancid. I recommend looking into another source of whole golden flax seeds to get around this issue in the future. Good luck!

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Rating 
 
4.0

Good, but I do think the baking time is off

I really do think that there's a typo in the recipe, or else the OP's oven runs very cool--I baked mine for 27 minutes and they were a little dry. I think 25 minutes is probably perfect in a regular oven; at any rate, start checking at 22 minutes or so, and these will be perfect. I made these yesterday and they're the best vegan brownies I've ever had, hands down. Used a little more than 1/4C strong hot coffee instead of the boiling water and espresso powder and replaced some margarine with coconut oil because I ran out (this may have affected the texture but I usually have good results with coconut oil). Thanks a lot for the recipe. They'll get made again!

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Rating 
 
4.0

awesome!

This is a great simple recipe. I didn't add walnuts. I did a 9 tbsp cocoa powder+7 tbsp sugar+1 tbsp vegan butter substitute for the semi-chocolate since I didn't have any. I baked it for 22 minutes. It was outstanding--chewy and moist inside, and sorta crunchy outside. It was just the way we liked it. I tried another recipe sometime back and wasn't happy the way it turned out. I'll definitely use this recipe again. Thank you!

Owner's reply

Hi allvegan, I haven't tried making these without the chocolate. So glad you were able to nail it and still have them turn out outstanding. Thanks for sharing!

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Rating 
 
4.0

Yummy but dry - I must have made one too many alte


Thanks for this recipe and the clear instructions. I strayed from the recipe in a few ways:
- Used a flax / almond LSA mix instead of the golden flax meal, and baking powder instead of baking soda as this is what I had
- I used half plain flour and half wholemeal
- I used a 100g bar of ordinary dark chocolate as didn't have semi-sweet.
- I only used 3/4 cup of sugar as I always reduce this and the sweetness was great - probably also thanks to the sweetness of the chocolate that I used.

Also, I found I didn't need to use a hand blender to mix the chocolate + cocoa powder + margarine + sugar; it all mixed in really smoothly with the boiling water.

With the above, they've come out with a great flavour and the exterior has a good bite to it, but unfortunately they're pretty dry in the middle, and hard to eat without large gulps of tea. This is probably due to one or more of my variations above! Next time I might add a mashed banana to the chocolate mixture (using a blender this time) as I love the taste and have found it adds great gooey-ness in baking.

As I was making the chocolate mixture, I wasn't too sure if tablespoons of cocoa and margarine should be heaped or not as I don't have proper measuring spoons, but I erred on the side of level. Perhaps more margarine would be good next time. I did use heaped tbsps of the flax mix though, because it wasn't 100% flax (it's partly almond meal and ground sunflower).

Thanks again :) I'll definitely revisit this recipe and make little tweaks till I perfect it.

Owner's reply

Thanks for the feedback Cat! The only alteration that could have made a difference in having them come out excessively dry is reducing the sugar. Nowadays I feel that I favor dessert complexity over sweetness in vegan desserts so I don't try to overdo it with the sugar. sugar is hygroscopic which means it binds to water. Reducing it by half will definitely result in a drier end product as the water-based ingredients in the recipe are less bound to sugar and more apt to evaporate during baking.

Having said that, there have been reports lately of these brownies turning out on the dry side (which is peculiar because I haven't changed the recipe- global warming perhaps?) but I plan to do a few tests in the near future to make sure everything is on par. I'll be sure to update the recipe with my findings to make sure it remains as good as it can possibly be. Thanks for sharing your results!

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Rating 
 
4.0

This was my first time making vegan brownies and I must say this recipe is pretty great. One thing that I didn't like is that the morning after I made them they were rocks. I followed the recipe word for word. Is that supposed to happen or is there something else I can do to preserve them longer?

Owner's reply

Sorry they got so rock hard on you the following day Ramz. I haven't that issue when making them. It sounds like they may have been slightly overcooked for some reason, possibly due to an oven running a little hot perhaps. You might want to reduce the baking time by about 5 minutes next time. Thanks for your feedback!

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Rating 
 
4.0

Aaagh! Wish I'd read the bit about the batter being "Very thick!" before over-panicking and nearly ruining my brownies :O Thought I'd misread the amounts for flour and hastily tried to "dilute" the mix by adding more hot water, melted choc etc. Luckily they still turned out ok but next time I will have to follow to a tee!

Owner's reply

Sorry zapplepie! I know- the batter thickness is strange. I could't believe it when the recipe evolved this way when I developed it. Non-vegan brownies use egg coagulation that is the primary structure builder. These brownies use primarily flour and flax for this which results in an unconventionally thick batter. Vegan batters and doughs tend to be thicker because of this factor.

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Rating 
 
4.0

Awesome Recipe

I made these last night! Thanks for the great recipe :)

Because I don't own a 20 cm x 20 cm baking dish, I used two long loaf tins (about 30 cm x 10 cm). Otherwise I followed the recipe to a tee. Because of this change, I suspect that I should have reduced the baking time a bit because the brownies came out a bit harder than expected. Next time - because there will be a next time! - I'll buy a new baking dish or I'll reduce the baking time.

Otherwise, they taste lovely. Well done on an awesome site - I really appreciate the thought that goes into your recipes and the scientific approach you have in breaking these things down!

Owner's reply

Thanks so much for sharing sameshnaidoo! Yes, I suspect that since your rectangular baking dish had more surface area exposed, it probably caused the brownies to bake a little faster than normal and lose more moisture. These brownies are more sensitive to overbaking than regular brownies so there can even be slight variances between ovens and whether you use glass, ceramic or metal baking dishes. I developed these brownies with 8x8 inch glass and steel baking dishes. So glad you like Veganbaking.net!

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Rating 
 
4.0

Yummy!

I used carob powder instead of espresso powder, so my 2 year old could eat them.
These are great!

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Rating 
 
4.0

I didn't have espresso powder or vegan butter, replaced them with fresh ground coffee beans and canola oil. I didn't use flax seed - I find that chick pea flour makes a much better egg replacer. I added some hot chili powder also. The only problem I had was with the texture, they were kind of cakey, I cooked them too long, next time I'll cut the cooking time by 10 minutes or so.
The end result was delicious, they barely had a chance to cool before being mostly consumed.

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Rating 
 
4.0

I've made these brownies twice: once with the flax egg and once without (by mistake). I actually preferred the brownies without the flax, and I think removing it would make the recipe more accessible to people who don't keep special ingredients in their kitchen.

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Rating 
 
4.0

the best so far!

Thanks for sharing this recipe! I found it over at Neverhomemaker. These are the best vegan brownies i've tried to date. Just took them to a potluck and got raves. I did think they were a bit crumbly though, so i think i'm going to try them next time with an extra "egg" (which is normally dangerous). W'ell see! They'll be good either way! Thanks again!

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Rating 
 
4.0

They were very good, but kind of a pain to make.

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Rating 
 
4.0

Pretty good!

These were pretty good. Not as chocolatey as I prefer them though. I give it 4 due to the texture, density and the crust on top. Crust is must when it comes to my favorite brownie. Again...the need for more cocoa powder is necessary so I'll modify that next time I make these.

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Rating 
 
4.0

Good but not ultimate

These went over well with the dinner crowd, but I still feel like I haven't found the perfect vegan brownie recipe. These came close, but didn't quite make it. I followed the recipe exactly and used Earth Balance sticks rather than the Regular Vegan Butter. I am planning to try these out again with the Regular Vegan Butter.

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Rating 
 
4.0

Awesome taste but mine stuck to the paper! what ha

Hi - please help. I followed the recipe exactly but used margarine as that's all I had to hand. The brownie tastes awesome but is very gooey and is stuck to the parchment paper. What went wrong?

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Rating 
 
4.0

wonderful!

These are delicious! Finding and successfully baking this recipe makes me so happy, especially since my last attempt at making vegan brownies (using boxed egg replacer) flopped. But these had such great texture , with a roundness to the flavor, and a tempered sweetness. I did not have golden flax meal, but I used flax seeds instead, and grounded them via blender, then adding them to the water. Thank you for the recipe, as well as for the introduction on your thought process.

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Rating 
 
4.0

Variation attempt

just made these but only had whole wheat flower. Not excellent but still better than most commercial mixes. They must be awesome with regular white flower. Can't wait to try it.

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Rating 
 
4.0

delish!

so i made these and they were great but they seemed a bit too cakey/dry and they didn't really look like the ones in the picture. still, we had no trouble demolishing the entire pan in about 36 hours!

i tried a second batch tonight with some adaptations and they came out just the way i love 'em:
- i halved the ingredients because the first batch came out about 2" tall in the 8 x 8" pan
- i lined the pan with tin foil instead of parchment
- i used 2 oz of chocolate chips instead of 1/2 oz
- i used 4 tbsp of earth balance
- i left out the egg replacer/flax (i actually intended to use it but forgot!)
- i baked them for 30 mins

by far the best brownies i've eaten - and so relieved to find a good vegan recipe that doesn't use applesauce (love applesauce on its own, hate it in cakes).

Owner's reply

Hi vegantester, glad you got these brownies to 'the best you've eaten' status! Thanks for sharing!

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Rating 
 
4.0

Mmmmmminor changes :)

Really delicious, time to replace my usual brownie recipe!

I used 7T of tub margarine, as recommended, and reduced the cooking time by 5 minutes or so.

I don't usually have instant coffee, so instead of the boiling water and instant, I made a fresh espresso and used 1/4C of that.

Instead of the nuts I added chocolate chips, which melted slightly when cooked.. for extra texture and richness. I'll try it with nuts next time.

I was worried about how flax seedy they smelled when just out of the oven, but it isn't actually very prominent in the taste.

They were crisp on top (not dry!) and gooey in the middle, just the way I like them, thank you. :)

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Rating 
 
4.0

Pretty good but watch your timings

These brownies were pretty good. Nice and chewy but I think the cooking time is a little long. I took mine out after 30 mins (and I have an over thermometer) and they were already too crusty for my liking.

I have a couple of questions:

What is the reason for cooking on 350 but on the lowest shelf? Can't you just cook the brownies for less time but on a higher shelf? This is the first brownie recipe I've tried that's used this method, so I'm curious to know why it's recommended.

Similarly, my arms got quite sore trying to work the cocoa etc into a paste and then forming the actual dough. Would the end result be affected if the 'paste' part was left out and the wet ingredients were just mixed into the dry in one step?

One other thing I realised about making this recipe - leaving the flaxseed to gel with the water for a few minutes makes all the difference! In previous recipes I've used, there's been no mention of leaving the mixture but I will start doing that from now on because it takes on a totally different, more egg-like consistency.

I'm going to make these brownies again, maybe cooking for 25 mins next time, but I'd love a response to my questions about the preparation/cooking method - thanks!

Owner's reply

Hi Julianne,

Thanks for the feedback! The brownies are baked on the lower rack so the top doesn't get too dry. In testing, it was all about baking the brownies to the point of where they were as dense as possible but not burned so the lower oven rack allowed me to reach this goal. Cooking for less time resulted in a brownie that was too soft for me. I didn't test this recipe with baking at 325F because lately I haven't been convinced that there's a huge benefit from baking lower for longer (but I used to swear by it). Please test this if you'd like- I'd love to hear about your results!

Eggs really suck themselves together and harden while baking in a brownie so the way I get around this with vegan brownies is to use an extremely stiff dough. I've found this approach to work very well in dense and chewy cookies as well.

The reason the boiling water has to be mixed with the chocolate separately is because we want to allow the water to melt the cocoa powder and the chocolate so it dissolves completely. This is so the brownies have the smoothest mouthfeel possible and don't feel grainy. Alternatively, you may be able to place all the chocolate, espresso powder, sugar and wet ingredients into a saucepan and whisk constantly on low heat until melted (then whisk in the flax meal mixture) but I used the two part approach because I thought it was a little more simple. I had no trouble making the chocolate paste and mixing the dough during testing but if more people comment on it's difficulty I may want to look into a possible workaround.

Thanks again for the feedback and let me know how your next batch works out!

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