Hey, vegetarian carnivores! So over the course of my journey in cooking and baking, I have somehow become more involved in the cooking aspect than in the baking realm. Call it my inner spicy and savory demon, but I find myself going through bottles of red chili flakes much faster than sugar and baking powder. However, there have been a few treats that I have found myself making time and again and really perfecting the taste to suit my palate, usually by reducing the recommended sugar by at least half, to be honest, and substituting brown sugar in for white sugar whenever possible to add a deeper more subtle sweetness. Is it just be or do any of you also find that the best desserts are only mildly sweet? Either way, you probably know already that my desserts, be it brownies or my cupcakes, are pretty light on the sugar. Today I am going to share a brownie recipe from my Autumn 2018 series with you: pumpkin and chocolate brownies! And here is the best part: they are VEGAN!
I know what you are all thinking. I am totally aware that I already have a brownie recipe up on this site, and yes that one is also vegan. But I had to create this variation in the spirit of the season and also to show another variation to vegan brownies because I know that some people are actually sadly allergic to avocados, and cannot try out my other recipe. I also wanted to create something for people who don’t have much baking equipment. I, for one, have way more cooking equipment than baking materials and have actually found myself without a whisk more than once. For this recipe, all you need is an 8-inch baking pan, a nonstick saute pan, and a silicone spatula if you don’t have a whisk.
It occurred to me that vegan food is much easier to cook and find than vegan desserts. Not to knock vegan restaurants and recipes (vegan restaurants are God’s gift to both animal rights and the environment and our health and I love them with all my heart), but they are much easier to come by and vegan recipes are a dime a dozen today. However, I realized that vegan desserts are a lot more difficult to find or make. As a vegetarian myself, I never thought about how I am just able to eat all desserts at a bakery or bake without thinking about the ingredients. This is probably what meat eaters feel like – like a limb is cut off from their body and they struggle to find something that comes even close to their everyday food.
That is why I created The Vegetarian Carnivore – so that meat eaters do not miss meat because there are terrific alternatives and flavorful meals that rival their favorite meat counterparts.
And that brings us to this recipe. In Spain, I came across possibly the best bakery I have ever been to, called Freedom Cakes, and scarfed down their Oreo and Death by Chocolate cupcakes before Googling the place and realizing it was a 100% vegan bakery and the only vegan bakery in all Spain. And then I realized that almost all desserts have eggs, milk, cream cheese, butter, or other animal products. Finding substitutes for specific textures like whipped egg whites is definitely much more of a hassle than finding vegan versions of dishes or side dishes.
And this issue can leave a lot of vegans feeling left out from the dessert scene. And the aim of The Vegetarian Carnivore is to promote delicious recipes that are all-inclusive. So vegans and plant based people, this one is for you!
Traditional brownies have eggs and butter in them, which basically act as a binding agent and a moistener, respectively. And it is so easy to substitute these out. Pumpkin puree plays a double role here: it is the egg substitute as well as lends part of the pumpkin flavor, which is perfect with our theme of autumn tones. And for butter, I am subbing out coconut oil. It is flavorless so it is very easy to work with. Really, any oil except olive oil should work for this recipe and for any other baking recipes. Ratios are 1/4 pumpkin puree for each egg a recipe calls for and a 1:1 ratio for coconut oil subbing in for butter.
So let’s get started!
Ingredients (for 16 brownies)
- 10 oz dark chocolate baking chips
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup dark, unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Handful of chopped pecans or any nut of choice
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- In a large nonstick pan over medium high heat, stir and melt together your sugar, coconut oil, water, and most of the chocolate chips (save a handful for later).
- Add in your pumpkin puree and vanilla extract and mix together until well combined. Take the pan off the heat.
- Add in your flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder and mix well until there are no lumps.
- Lastly mix in your nuts. Mix until just combined, because over mixing can toughen your batter.
- Spread mixture over a greased 8 inch pan and top with handful of remaining dark chocolate chips.
- Bake for 35 minutes and then turn the heat off and let it sit in the oven for an additional 5 minutes. When your fork comes out clean, you will know it is ready!
- Cut into bars and enjoy!
I made these for a colleague at work for her birthday and distributed them around the office. I swear I got “wait, these are vegan???” more than a couple times today by self-proclaimed meat addicts. This one turned out moist and fudgy and just absolutely delicious. I want all of you to try this out and dare your friends to guess that they’re vegan!
Let me know in the comments below what you think and if this recipe has been helpful in expanding vegan dessert options for you!
See you soon!
Janani <3 <3