Friday, April 18, 2014

Chewy Chocolate Brownies

I don't know about you, but there are some most 99% of days where I have some serious chocolate cravings. My name is Angie and I am a chocoholic, OK let me rephrase that a dark chocoholic. I cannot
stand milk chocolate way too sweet for me, but give me some dark chocolate and you will never see it again! MU AH HA HA*evil laugh*. I do my best to tame the dark chocolate beast inside of me, but there are times where it cannot be tamed, thank you PMS! Unfortunately I have to say that I am 100% positive chocoholism is a genetic disorder and unfortunately Ashlyn gets it from both sides (Mark uses chocolate chips as a garnish on desserts). My proof is that Ashlyn will ask to have chocolate chips for dessert, and I will have to occasionally say yes and join her on our chocoholic journey.

Once we switched to our plant based lifestyle I was not sure chocolate and I could ever be friends again.
Sad I know. I remember when I was forced to remove dairy and soy from my diet I did not go near chocolate because every ingredient list I read contained milk. Oh what a fool I was. It didn't even occur to me back then that it wasn't the chocolate that contained milk it was the milk they put into the chocolate that I had to stay away from. I think at that moment the clouds parted and a beam of sunlight shone down upon my kitchen (think Lion King). That meant that unsweetened cocoa powder, unsweetened baking chocolate, and vegan chocolate chips were all waiting in line to be shoved into my mouth.

Brownies are a weakness for me. I love brownies, but most homemade brownie recipes that I found turned out to be for cake like brownies. The cake like brownies are good, but just not my cup of tea. If I want cake I will make cake. When I think of brownies I think of the chewy, gooey brownies that you get when you pour out that box brownie mix. Now, I do not buy those box mixes anymore (just look at the ingredient list), you may have a hard time pronouncing all of the ingredients.

So I dug around the net for a chewy brownie recipe and the best one I found came from America's Test Kitchen. Now I did not like the 2 1/2 cups of sugar or that it was made with white flour, so I did a little change up. Actually a big change up. I changed the recipe so now it is vegan which means dairy and egg free. I also reduced the sweetener to 1 2/3 cups and changed the white flour to whole wheat. This is not a healthy recipe by any means, but I like to think that I increased the health factor from the original recipe. If you like those boxed brownie mixes this one does take a little more time, but I promise it is worth the work.

Chewy Chocolate Brownies

2 Tbs ground flax (flax meal)
6 Tbs hot water
1 3/4 c white whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 c hot brewed coffee
2 oz unsweetened chocolate (Baker's chocolate) chopped fine
2/3 c olive oil
4 Tbs coconut oil (melted)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 c sugar
1 c brown rice syrup
2/3 c chocolate chips (optional)

-Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil. Grease the foil with coconut oil. Set your pan aside.

- Combine the 2 Tbs ground flax with 6 Tbs water in a very small bowl. Set this aside to "gel up". This is going to be used instead of eggs.

-In a small  bowl whisk together the flour and salt and set aside.

- In a medium bowl whisk together the cocoa powder and coffee. Once smooth whisk in the unsweetened chocolate until smooth again.

- Whisk in the olive oil and the coconut oil. The mixture will look curdled at this point. Add in the flax and water mixture (that you set aside earlier) along with the vanilla. Whisk the mixture until smooth and completely combined.

-Whisk in the sugar and brown rice syrup until the mixture is smooth and the sugar is fully incorporated.

-Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and fold the two together with a spatula. Don't overmix, you just want them combined. If adding in the chocolate chips fold them into the batter now.

-Transfer your batter into your prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

-Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 90 minutes. After the 90 minutes remove the foil and brownies from the pan and place back on the wire rack. Let cool another 60 minutes before cutting.

-Enjoy your chocolate fix!

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