I'm not vegan, just to set the record straight. And I don't have any intention to be one. I tried to become a vegetarian once when I was in college, which lasted for about two days. Then I realized I don't have any other compelling reason to give up my beloved cheeseburger and fries than my desire to be attached to that label, "vegetarian", which kinda sounds cool at that time. (Didn't we all experience the joys and miseries of labeling back when we were in school?!) :)
So why a vegan brownie? Well, I find myself craving for a brownie yesterday, when I found out I don't have anything dairy in the pantry -- no eggs, no butter, no milk. And I've had this recipe for years so I thought I'd give it a try (in a sort of desperate measure kind of thing!). :) There were some negative reviews on the website where I got this recipe, which were holding me back a little into making this. But with my chocolate cravings, I just had to press on. I did not have high hopes for this recipe because of the negative reviews I've mentioned -- but surprisingly, they were good! Understandably, they don't taste like your usual rich and fudgy brownie made with the more "conventional" ingredients. But it did hold up as one of the best tasting brownie I've had. Even my sister who's not so fond of anything sweet loved them! I love that it was not cloyingly sweet as other recipes are. It may come out as bland for some tasters who are used to the conventional brownies, but it's just a perfect balance for me.
I halved the recipe and baked it in an 8x8 square pan. Also, the original recipe called for white sugar, but I found out I also ran out of white sugar, so used brown instead (which makes it more vegan, I think.)
To make it , you'll need:
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
scant 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line all sides of an 8x8 pan with parchment paper. (No need to grease or the brownie will be too greasy)
-Add water, stir a bit. Then add the vegetable oil and vanilla. (It's important to add the water first so the flour can develop gluten which will help the other ingredients to bind together. Otherwise, the brownie will be too crumbly.)
-Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Wait at least 10-15 minuted before slicing into squares. Best eaten at room temperature.
You can also add nuts or chocolate chips if you want. But I suggest that the additions be minimal since there isn't any binding ingredient (such as eggs) in the recipe.