I have always loved a good chocolate brownie. I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur if I'm honest having eaten way too many in my time! Too soft and gooey and you have yourself a dessert that needs a spoon, too cakey and it doesn't really qualify as a brownie to me...No, a really good brownie needs to be crisp on the outside with a softer slightly gooey centre that just about holds together. Most people who like to bake have a favourite brownie recipe up their sleeve. I always did, it was from an old favourite vegetarian cook book called The Cafe Paridiso cookbook. I must have made that recipe 50 times and it always worked just perfectly.
Unfortunately some recipes just don't 'veganise' easily and throw a gluten free requirement into the mix and you end up with a chocolate mess! (A very tasty one mind you...)
So, after a lot of experimenting and a some helpful testers I think I've finally cracked it, the perfect vegan, gluten free brownie. It's a slightly unusual recipe as it has no egg substitute but trust me it works. Loosely based on Jamie Oliver's vegan brownie recipe, I have combined the dense chocolate flavour with the satisfying crunch of chopped pecans. A match made in heaven. I also made these a little more sophisticated by adding some good quality espresso to the mix but feel free to omit this if it's not to your taste.
I haven't tried this recipe with other nuts but I imagine it would work equally well. Hazelnuts or walnuts would be by next go to choices. Alternatively swap the nuts to extra chocolate chips for ultimate indulgence!
Top tip - served warm straight from the oven with some vanilla non dairy ice cream these are to die for. Alternatively let them cool and store in an air tight container.
Please do let me know if you make these, any feedback always appreciated.
- 5 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 200g dark chocolate (I used Lindt 70% cocoa)
- 170g self raising gluten free flour (I used Doves Farm)
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons strong coffee
- 180g golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 210ml almond milk (or unsweetened non dairy milk of your choice)
- 200g pecan nuts, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Melt the chocolate over a Bain- marie or carefully in a microwave or pan taking care not to burn. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the cocoa powder and sugar. Stir to combine.
- Add the wet ingredients (oil, coffee, milk and vanilla) and mix well.
- Stir through the melted chocolate until well mixed.
- Finally add most of the chopped pecans reserving a few for the top. Pour the mixture into a greased 20x20cm tin and level the surface. Sprinkle the remaining pecans on the top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30mins until the top is a little cracked.
- Leave to cool slightly before cutting if you can resist!