RECIPE. Jan 15, 2011

Vegan Brownies are Good?

I have to be honest. When I heard the word “vegan” my taste buds didn’t jump up and do the happy dance. I didn’t get excited or even twitch a muscle to move in the direction of the food described. My interaction with vegan food has not been spectacular. It seems tasteless, boring and feels like food poser. It says it’s food but it’s really not. Due to my own recent personal circumstances where dairy and chocolate have been removed from my diet, I have had to embrace veganism with a side hug until now. With the introduction of this recipe and another I will post soon, I want to run up at full speed and give veganism a big ol’ bear hug, squeezing the wind out of it’s brilliance.

It actually tastes really incredible if you get the right book and talk to the right people. In fact, vegan cooking is exactly the same as cooking food in any other context. You have to know the right ingredients and put them together correctly to obtain a delightful dish. I’m also learning so much about food and healthier alternatives to things I typically use to cook or bake. In this recipe, arrowroot powder is called for in order to provide a thickening agent for the brownies. I had never heard of this substance so after some searching I found it is an appropriate direct substitute for cornstarch, is derived directly from a plant and does not have any of the chemicals used to process corn starch. It is a tad more expensive but not astronomical. To learn a bit more about the direct applications of arrowroot powder go here. It is superior to most thickening agents except when making a dairy based sauce.

I have also been introduced to carob chips. These are naturally sweetened grain based chips that can be used in substitute for chocolate. It contains no diary or chocolate and is sweeter than chocolate. It does not taste the same but is a great substitute in baking. For more information about carob go here.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar, chocolate chips and salt. In separate bowl, combine arrowroot with several Tbsp of the milk, stirring until smooth. Add remaining milk and other wet ingredients and stir until combine. Add wet mixture to the dry and stir through for 1/2 minute or so. Pour evenly into lightly oiled 8x8 baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, remove from oven and cool. Cut into squares once cooled.

Makes very fudgy brownies. I enjoyed with some soy vanilla yogurt and fruit.