(Almost) vegan brownies

At the time of writing, it’s World Chocolate Day – a date quite redundant, in my eyes, as chocolate is an object I lavish much love and attention on most days. Similar to Valentine’s Day, nowadays just a massive money-spinning extravaganza, World Chocolate Day is most likely the brainchild of a mass chocolate manufacturer, and it hardly needs the attention to drive up sales. For me, just as you love your partner every single day, so you do chocolate.

Yet, that was good enough an excuse for me to make brownies. I’d like to be a little more ambitious in my baking, but the simplicity of this brownie recipe from spiceupthecurry.com (lots of egg-free recipes) won me over. I’ve tried making vegan brownies before, and although they went down quite well, the oil gave them a sticky kind of aftertaste – so I was pleased to find an oil-free variety. These brownies are devilishly sweet, probably dangerously so; omit the chocolate chunks or scale down the sugar for less impact on the teeth.

 

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To make eight good-sized pieces, you’ll need:

  • 85g plain flour
  • 115g butter (or dairy-free butter)
  • 125g plain yogurt (I used Alpro’s dairy-free version – the slight acidity is good)
  • 225g granulated sugar
  • 40g unsweetened cocoa powder (go for a good one – I used Cadbury’s Bournville)
  • 100g dark chocolate chunks (optional. But reccomended)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • 2 tsps baking powder

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease an 8 x 8 baking tin (or whatever you have) and line with parchment paper.

Begin by gently heating the butter in a small saucepan. Once melted, set aside to cool.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt, if using. Do take care to sift the cocoa, to break down lumps. Add the sugar, and mix well to incorporate.

Spoon the yogurt in to the butter (I wouldn’t advise pouring it straight in from the tub – accidents may happen. Not that that happened to me. No, not at all.) Add the vanilla extract, and whisk briskly, until fully combined.

Pour the fats into the dry flour mixture and whisk together. Now’s the time to add any chocolate chunks, nuts, or dried cranberries: give everything a good stir, then pour into the tin. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes – if a toothpick comes out clean, it’s all good. Leave to thoroughly cool before dusting with icing sugar, and cutting up into slices. There’s no need to tell you how long this brownie will keep – it won’t last long!

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