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« Banana Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie | Main | Thoughts on Going Vegan: Week 3 »

Vegan Brownies

Vegan Brownies

I am perpetually in the pursuit of a good brownie. There is something about the rich, dense chocolate fudge texture that I dream about after a good meal. It's a craving that follows me around as I mix up a batch of waffles for breakfast or it tucks me into bed with a bowl of ice cream at night. Every few months the brownie bug bites and I find myself in the kitchen with batter up to my elbows trying to create the next great brownie.

Sometimes I succeed and the results are beautiful.

Vegan Brownies

Sometimes I don't succeed. I often keep those moments to myself, a private moment to mourn as I take a fork after the brownies that didn't live up to my expectations. Earlier this month, I had lofty goals of making a delicious vegan brownie to share with you. Brownies often use a substantial amount of butter for flavor and eggs to set the brownies into the classic texture we know and love. There would be a challenge, but after a little research into vegan substitutions and comparing vegan recipes side-by-side, I was certain I would succeed.

After an hour of interrogating the internet for information, I set off to make what I was certain to be the next great vegan brownie.

Vegan Brownies

Hot from the oven, the smell filled the house with a fantastic aroma. I dug in with a fork before allowing the brownies to cool to a palatable temperature. The first bite made me crinkle my nose in disgust. After all of my hard work, it seems I had managed to create the world's worst brownie. It was thick, cake-like, and stuck to the roof of my mouth like paste. I gave up on vegan brownies, believing them impossible to create.

Even so, my craving for a good brownie didn't falter. A few weeks later I found myself back at the kitchen counter with a wild idea. Remembering these chocolate avocado cupcakes, I channeled the idea, using ripe avocados with a few other healthy ingredients (and tossing in a few chocolate chunks for good measure). When I pulled these out of the oven, my avocado-hating, box-mix-brownie-loving sister and I managed to finish off half a pan of the brownies before they could even cool off.

Perhaps the moral of the story is that sometimes you need to throw research out the window and trust your own baker's intuition instead. Or, maybe it's that vegan brownies can actually be delicious and you should give them a try to taste them for yourself. I think I like the second one better.

Vegan Brownies

These vegan brownies are rich and dense like chocolate fudge. A surprising mix of good-for-you ingredients, including whole wheat flour, olive oil, and avocados, come together to create a relatively healthy brownie that makes you believe dreams can and do come true. Don't be wary of the avocado; it may be an unusual addition, but the flavor is completely masked by the cocoa and chocolate chunks.

Please do not over-bake these brownies or they will end with a texture similar to cake. In fact, I urge you to under-bake the brownies just so the middle sets and the batter is no longer runny. There is nothing in these brownies you couldn't eat raw (in fact, much of the batter disappeared before the pan made it to the oven) so don't be frightened to take the brownies out of the oven before a toothpick inserted into the center comes out completely clean.

One Year Ago: Dried Blueberry Granola
Two Years Ago: Strawberry Panna Cotta

Vegan Brownies

Yields 8 by 8-inch pan

1/4 cup pureed avocado (about 1/2 of an avocado)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons vinegar (or lemon juice)
3 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees F). Grease an 8 by 8-inch pan.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the pureed avocado and olive oil until smooth. Add in the flour, cocoa powder, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, water, and vinegar. Mix until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chunks.

Pour into the prepared pan and spread the batter evenly throughout the pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out moist with a few crumbs (not clean), but does not come out with runny batter. Do not over-bake or the brownies will have a cake-like texture. I prefer to slightly under-bake the brownies because it results in a fudge-like texture.

Reader Comments (24)

I'm hesitant to try this recipe because if the avocados, but your pictures are so beautiful and make the brownies look so decadent and much like the perfect "regular" brownie.
I have yet to find a brownie recipe that I think tastes better than the boxed mix - which just kills me! Fingers crossed that this one lives up to expectations...either way, my vegan boyfriend will be thankful. :)
06.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterCate
I've always wanted to try baking with avocado and I think this might just be the recipe to get me started! They look lovely and dark and rich.
06.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterthelittleloaf
I love a good fudgie brownie. I might try these using coconut oil instead of the olive oil. Coconut oil is way healthier than anything else you can use.
06.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJo Wishnie
Yum! So glad you found a vegan recipe for these -- sounds delicious!!
Whoa. I'm totally in. Love the idea of avocado AND olive oil. AND these are just so delicious-looking! Can't even wait to eat these soon.
06.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMegan
Sometimes you wonder if trying to make a dessert "healthy" is worth it or not, because it seems like if you're going to have dessert, it should be really good. Of course, it's really just a matter of getting the right recipe, because you can make a healthier dessert that tastes so amazing you'd never know it's healthy. It seems like that's exactly what you've done here, and you've totally convinced me to give these a shot. Thanks for not giving up so we can all benefit from
your perfected recipe!
06.28.2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrighteyedbaker
I am kicking myself for using my last avocado at lunch today! I've been craving brownies and here you post a delicious looking one!
06.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
oh my gosh -- those look outrageous! fudgy and decadent! yum!
Perfect timing! Made them tonight and they are glorious. I screwed things up with this boy and I'm leaving for Germany tomorrow morning, had an extra avocado half in the refrigerator, and now I can leave some DELICIOUS, vegan baked goods for him along with a note at 6 am. Thank you for this recipe, making amends has never tasted better.
06.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmelia
Another awesome vegan creation! I want to make these noooooow!
Love the quote about husbands and them picking up the smaller piece. I stole it to share it on my FB page. I hope its okay with you.
The vegan brownies look lovely.
06.29.2012 | Unregistered Commenteranita
Love the idea of using avocados, the texture looks perfect.
06.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn
Wow. These are amazing. I'm not vegan, but was told last week by my doctor that my cholesterol is really high, so I'm researching vegan options. On this search, I found your blog and these amazing brownies. I made them right away, and wow. I'm speechless. I'd take these over the box mixes any day. Thank you!!!
06.30.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMollie
Gorgeous! And they look scrumptious. I love using avocado in baked goods... my latest obsession!
Your brownies look fantastic. I've never used avocado in baking, but your brownies look like a perfect place to start!
07.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
My girls and I made these this morning and they are fabulous! Thumbs up all around. :) You started your vegan journey at about the same time my family did and I've really enjoyed seeing the recipes you've come up with. I look forward to trying out more of your yummy creations! :) Thanks for sharing!
07.9.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
You people lied when you said that this brownie tasted good. It was more than good, it was heavenly. I am still marveled at how the avocado transformed into its buttery form and add a taste of perfection to the entire thing. I did not have whole wheat flour because the Weevils got to it before me, even though it was brand new in the cupboard, however I improvised and use half cup of wheat germ and half cup of white flour and everything turned out much better. Therefore I want to thank Pastry Affair for giving me a healthy alternative to the normal and employ others to try it, you will not regret it.
07.16.2012 | Unregistered CommenterElihi Thomas
Oh my gosh, I just made these to send to a vegan friend. And they are delicious! I want to keep the whole batch for myself. I undercooked them a bit and they are wonderfully fudgy!
07.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
Hi Kristin,

I followed your recipe to the T and baked my brownies for 16 minutes exactly. However, my brownie did not hold together at all.. parts of it were crumbly and the fudgy parts just didn't hold. I couldn't cut them into perfect squares. What do you think went wrong? Should I have underbaked them?

They tasted great though..

09.23.2012 | Unregistered Commenternav
These were good. I used honey instead of sugar and coffe instead of water. THey do taste healthy but whatever
06.18.2013 | Unregistered Commenterkatemoss
My sister has an egg allergy and I've been DESPERATE to find an egg-free brownie recipe. I am forever grateful to have found your recipe! I made these for her today (she's been going through a really rough patch recently) and she loved them. My daughter has now requested another batch for her! Thank you for your awesome recipes!
10.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJustine
It is difficult to find avocado from where I am..can I replace it with something else instead?
12.12.2013 | Unregistered Commentercheryl
Just made this tonight and both vegan and non-vegan eaters LOVED it!! I didn't read the instructions carefully enough and ended up baking mine for 19 minutes, so it came out more on the cake-y side, but no one cared! It was so moist and rich, without being overly sweet. Will definitely be maknig this again, thanks so much for the recipe!
03.14.2014 | Unregistered Commentersduckson

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