Brownies were one of my favorite treats as a kid and for the better part of my adult life I’ve been searching for a vegan brownie that could compare to my mom’s real brownies made with lots of eggs and butter. The vegan brownie struggle is real, right? I mean, I’m sorry but I don’t really want sweet potatoes or pumpkin, applesauce or black beans in a brownie. Brownies are not meant to be health food. No. I want a chocolatey, fudgy-but not too fudgy, chewy, soft brownie with a shiny crackly top. Why is that such a hard ask?
The secret ingredient for the perfect texture…
Vegan brownies always seem have the texture of cake to me or are overly fudgy and gooey and raw tasting. I just can’t behind those shenanigans. So I’ve been working on this brownie recipe for years. Years. I couldn’t get vegan brownies right, by my standards anyway, and then something amazing happened. You know that innocuous gloppy liquid left behind from a can of chickpeas? Yeah, that. Well if you haven’t heard yet, it’s pretty much a vegan life saver. It’s called aquafaba, which literally means bean water. Yum, right? Last spring I made vegan meringue from aquafaba. You can make all kinds of vegan friendly foods using aquafaba, from macarons to mayo to butter. It’s pretty great stuff guys. There’s even a Facebook group dedicated aquafaba recipes, which is a great resource for all things aquafaba.
Aquafaba also turned out to be the missing ingredient for my dream vegan brownies. I don’t know the science behind it for this recipe but I’m assuming that because aquafaba behaves similarly to eggs in some respects that it helps create that perfect texture and crackly top of these vegan brownies. Are these really the BEST vegan brownies? I try not to name my recipes “best” or “ultimate” that often but these are really the best vegan brownies I’ve ever had, so yeah, I went there. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Try them yourself this weekend and let me know what you think!
Mix it up…
I’ve shared two delicious ways to make these vegan brownies below. You’ll see in the photos that I’ve added chopped walnuts to the batter and to the top in one version, which is my favorite way to make them. For a fancier version you can top the brownies with my easy-peasy 4-ingredient homemade dark chocolate espresso ganache, which is basically like a truffle combined with a brownie for an ultra decadent treat. This recipe is a great for swap in other fancier brownie recipes like marbled cheesecake brownies or salted caramel brownies or anything else where a brownie base is called for.
I hope you guys enjoy these as much as we do and if you do make them please let me know your feedback in the comments or tag @fareisle on Instagram so I can see your creations! Happy baking!
scroll down for recipe…
Best Vegan Brownies
Yield 16 brownies
Finally vegan brownies that have the taste and texture of traditional brownies! Soft, fudgy and chewy with a crackly top. Top them with dark chocolate espresso ganache or load them up with crunchy walnuts, you'll be coming back to this tried and true recipe again and again!
- 5 tablespoons vegan butter (like Earth Balance buttery sticks or Miyoko's cultured vegan butter)
- 1 oz. dark chocolate (or about 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips)
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup aquafaba *see notes
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder *see notes
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain salt
- optional: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, divided
- optional: 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
for Dark Chocolate Espresso Ganache:
- 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or pieces
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso granules
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease an 8" square pan and line with parchment paper cut to fit bottom and come up two opposite sides with overhang.
- Melt vegan butter and dark chocolate together in a small saucepan over med-low heat or in the microwave.
- Add melted butter and dark chocolate, sugar, aquafaba and vanilla to a mixing bowl and beat for 1 minute with a hand-held mixer or in a stand-mixer.
- Sift in cocoa powder to get rid of any lumps. Then add flour, baking powder and salt. Beat with mixer until combined, about 1 minute. Batter will be thick and sticky.
- At this point if adding walnuts or chocolate chips, fold them into batter now. Add only half of nuts and reserve the other half to sprinkle on top.
- Spread batter into prepared pan with rubber spatula. Top with remaining 1/2 of walnuts if adding them.
- Bake at 350˚F for about 25 minutes until top is crackly and brownies start to come away from sides of pan. If you want a fudgier brownie, check them at 20 minutes.
- Cool in pan for 10 minutes then run a knife along sides of pan and lift brownies out of pan with help of parchment paper and transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- To make dark chocolate espresso ganache heat coconut milk, vanilla and instant espresso in a small pan to scalding temperature or just before boiling. Do not let it boil. Remove from heat and whisk in dark chocolate chips or pieces. Keep whisking until chocolate has melted and mixture in silky smooth. Let ganache cool at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Use the ganache in 1 of 2 different methods: either pour and spread ganache over uncut brownies in pan and allow it to set before cutting or drizzle ganache over uncut or cut brownies (as shown in pictures).
- Cut into 16 two-inch squares. Store in an airtight container at room temp for up to 1 week.
*Aquafaba is the leftover and reduced cooking liquid from chickpeas or the reserved liquid from canned chickpeas. It is thick and gelatinous. Read more about and learn how to make your own aquafaba from scratch here.
*You can use either cacao powder or processed cocoa powder in this recipe.
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