I’ve popped my vegan baking cherry recently with these vegan cherry brownies (ha! see what I did there??). It was recently my vegan friend’s birthday, and my original plan was to go out and buy him a vegan dessert from a vegan bakery. It turns out though that vegan bakeries are far from my hangs, and I have a massive fear of navigating bus transport during rush hour, so I decided to do some baking instead.
I found this promising brownie recipe from Vegan Baking, which I modified slightly because I really like cherries, and for whatever reason vegan margarine is next to impossible to find in the supermarkets I went to, so I used Copha (vegetable lard) and vegetable oil instead.
These brownies are amazing – as I was told, “they don’t taste vegan!”. The excellent Vegan Baking worked out that golden flaxmeal makes a nice chewy replacement for egg, which creates the fudgy, chewy brownie texture that other vegan brownie recipes struggle to achieve. The cherries make the brownie a bit less dry, and cuts through some of the richness. If you hate cherries (shun the unbeliever!), you can substitute other fruits that go well with chocolate (strawberries, blueberries) or add some nuts for fun. Or just eat a solid block of brownie. YOLO!
- 3 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp golden flax meal (I found this in the health aisle at Woolworths)
- 1¾ cups plain flour
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 7 tbsp cocoa powder
- 100 g dark chocolate, chopped into ½ cm pieces
- 1 tsp instant coffee powder
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¼ cup boiling water
- 1½ cups sugar
- 40 g Copha, chopped into small pieces
- 40 g vegetable oil
- 1 cup frozen cherries, chopped into halves
- Preheat oven to 180 °C.
- Line 20 cm baking tray with baking paper.
- Mix flax meal and water until blended in a bowl. Let it sit.
- Mix together flour and baking soda in a separate bowl.
- In another bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, coffee, chocolate and salt. Add boiling water and stir to mix. If not all of the chocolate melts, microwave for 10 second bursts until you have a smooth ganache.
- Melt copha and oil in the microwave in 20 second bursts.
- Add copha/oil mixture, sugar and flaxmeal gloop to the chocolate bowl and mix with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Add the flour in portions to the chocolate mixture, stirring with a spoon or mixing with your hands to form a thick dough.
- Squish half of the dough into the bottom of the lined pan.
- Spread the cherry halves in an even layer over the dough.
- Squish the other half of the dough over the cherries, pressing down between the cherries to make sure they're all experiencing a firm hug from some brownie.
- Smooth out the top and bake for 25-35 minutes.
- Allow to cool, then slice.