Since my healthy transition, I’ve been hooked on fruit smoothies, banana nice creams, and acai bowls. People weren’t complaining, but some were wondering if I was ever bringing back the baking (thus my name, The Baking Spoon). Not going to lie, I was surely missing the sweet decadence from all my past desserts. Following this new change, I think my mind falsely translated the idea of veganism and health into solely fruits and vegetables. You know, just the good stuff that health enthusiasts advocate oh so often. But, I am slowly realizing that vegan foods don’t only include plants, quinoa, and colorful fruits in pretty bowls. It turns out, you can transform your favorite dessert recipes into vegan versions with just a few ingredient swaps!
So yes, I just stated the obvious. Silly Anna, of course you can make vegan desserts. But now, let’s state the less obvious: many people find the idea of vegan baking mystifying – how can one get the same effects, tastes and textures without eggs, butter, and milk? Believe me. Not only is this possible, it’s even better than traditional ways. So I squeezed in some time to make some natural brownies today to prove a point to my non-vegan friends and family. But wait, Oreos? Vegan?
It turns out, there are some common snacks that are coincidentally vegan, like my childhood favorite Oreos! Although these cookies aren’t the healthiest, it’s okay to have one or two once in a while. Maybe four or five if they’re in brownies hehe. This time, I took the opportunity to make a DOUBLE chocolate brownie recipe with Oreos. Yes, double the decadence. These brownies feature dates, bananas, natural sweeteners, coconut oil, and dairy-free chocolate chips. I baked this in with some crushed Oreos on top! Oh yes, I’ll do vegan any day.
There were a lot of firsts in this particular kitchen adventure: first time baking vegan-style (haha), first time making vegan brownies, and first time being quite puzzled over the brownie batter… To explain: these brownies are SUPER dense. And apparently, the denser it is, the better. Personally, I like my brownies this way: dense, rich, and fudgy – pretty much a thick, solid, and heavy slab of fudge is how I like them. If you’re looking for cake-like brownies, this may not be the recipe for you. In my baking Bible, if I want cake, I’ll make a cake instead! If you try out this recipe, you may be shocked (like I was) with the thick consistency of the batter. It’s so thick, you think you did something wrong. But remember: the key for brownie success is a very thick batter! When you spread this batter into your baking pan, make sure you use a spatula (I used my off-set icing spatula) or even a pastry roller to evenly distribute the batter. Trust me! You won’t regret it after that first whiff of brownie victory.
Let me know what YOUR favorite vegan brownie recipe is! Can’t wait for many more test kitchen adventures in my familiar realm of baking.
- ½ cup fresh medjool dates
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 cup almond milk
- pinch of pink salt
- ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 cups organic, unbleached cake flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 5½ tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp organic brown sugar
- 10-12 Oreo cookies, crushed
- handful dairy-free dark chocolate, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a square baking pan with parchment paper.
- Chop the dates and place in a blender with the almond milk, banana and a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth. Move to a bowl and stir in the coconut oil.
- Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and cocoa powder. Fold the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. The mixture should be quite thick, if it seems still a bit too thick, add some almond milk.
- Spread half of the batter into the prepared baking pan and top with crushed Oreos and chocolate chunks. Spread last half and add more Oreos and chocolate if desired. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting.