vegan berry brownies


I'll try any brownie recipe once. Seriously. Does it have agave? Peanut butter? Chili powder? Sea salt? Sure. I even made one once that swapped out the butter with avocado. And it was GREAT. My point here is that you'd be hard-pressed to find a way to ruin a brownie enough to disinterest me. You'd have to add something really strange like, I don't know, mustard. But I still might try it, just to say I did.

So when I came across this brownie mix-up in last month's Vegetarian Times, I knew I had to give it a go: blackberries and bittersweet chocolate. What could be better? Except maybe adding some raspberries, which I did. Besides that, you'll need:

3 cups total fresh or frozen berries (Though the blackberry/raspberry combo here was really great, don't feel restricted to just these two. Strawberries? Even blueberries?)
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken into small pieces
2 tablespoons coconut oil
3/4 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan (using coconut oil for this step too works well) and set aside.

Put your washed berries in a medium saucepan and cook for four to five minutes over medium heat. Your berries are delicate so they'll start to break down pretty immediately. You can speed this process along by mashing them down with a slotted spoon and stirring often. Cook for five more minutes until slightly saucy and thicker.

Stir in your broken chocolate pieces and coconut oil, which will melt together almost instantly and smell HEAVENLY. Beyond heavenly, really: it's the perfect combination. Remove the pan from heat and transfer your berry-coconut-chocolate mixture to a large bowl. Vigorously (yes) stir (or beat) in your sugar for one full minute until thoroughly combined. Add your vanilla.

Sift in your flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix completely and then spread this batter into your prepared pan. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Note here that these guys will look a little different than your average brownies, so don't wait for any crackling on top. Instead, the brownies will look a little puffier, more like cake. But who doesn't like cake, or even just the looks of it?

Once out of the oven, cool completely and then refrigerate for one hour. Refrigerate?! you may ask in horror. Refrigerate these warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven brownies? Well ... in truth, I can't really defend this step as necessary or not since I only did make them once and I did refrigerate, as odd as it seemed to me, too. Still, we have to think that the folks at VT know their stuff, right? Which, after you make these you'll no doubt confirm that they do indeed know since these brownies are top-notch amazing. I mean it, jammy and soft, they've got that deep richness from the chocolate and a nice, sharp tang from the fresh berries. It's your favorite chocolate-raspberry combo times ten. Right out of the oven and the fridge.