Everyone has a different idea of what makes a good brownie. To us, a perfect brownie is a balanced combination of chewy and moist—and absolutely never cake-y. We also enjoy a good vegan baked good, especially when it's so tasty that our skeptical, non-vegan friends would never be able to tell the difference. Unfortunately, vegan brownies never seem to stack up to their non-vegan counterparts (they're usually much too dense)—until this one, that is!
We were absolutely thrilled when we were asked to try out a recipe from The First Mess Cookbook. This cookbook is beautiful (not that we expected any less from the magical Laura Wright, one of our food blogger idols), and we couldn't wait to get our hands on it. When we opened up the cookbook and our eyes landed on these chocolate beauties, we knew this would be the recipe we would make. Well, the first recipe, that is.
These brownies combine two of our favorite foods: chocolate and nut butter. Not only are they vegan, but they're also refined-sugar free, oil-free, and easy to make grain-free, as well. We used peanut butter as our nut butter of choice, but feel free to use any nut butters you have on hand—almond or hazelnut would be particularly divine.
If you are looking for us over the next couple of days, you can find us flipping through this cookbook, bookmarking every page and planning out what we are going to make next!
Fudgy Nut and Seed Butter Brownies
Makes 16 brownies
- cooking spray
- 3/4 cup smooth nut or seed butter (roasted almond, hazelnut, sunflower, or peanut)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose or coconut flour (to make it grain free)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chunks or chopped chocolate from a 70% dark, dairy free chocolate bar, divided
- 3 tablespoons whole nuts or seeds, roughly chopped (we used almonds; hazelnuts or sunflower seeds would also be great)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8 or 9" square baking pan with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the nut butter, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and sea salt and whisk to combine.
Melt half of the chocolate chunks in the microwave or in a double boiler. Stir the melted chocolate into the brownie batter.
Scrape the batter in the pan, smoothing it out evenly with a spatula. Scatter the batter with the remaining chocolate chunks and nuts.
Bake the brownies until the top is slightly firm, about 25 minutes.
Cool the brownies completely in the pan, then cover and place in the refrigerator to continuing setting up for about an hour. Slice and enjoy!
Adapted from The First Mess Cookbook