As part of my work with the NCVA’s Restaurant Outreach Program, I find or come up with recipes that are suitable for restaurants: cheap, easy to make, not noticeably vegan so non-vegans don’t run screaming, and with a reasonably long shelf life.
One of the restaurants I’m working with asked for two things: a vegan dessert recipe and a vegan pancake recipe. Both had to be indistinguishable from the traditional milk-and-eggs versions, of course.
Today I’ll give you my dessert recipe. It is the “World’s Best Fudge Brownie,” based loosely the “World’s Best Chocolate Cake,” the recipe for which was posted several months ago.
A couple of notes for those who intend to make this exceptional bar.
First, while it is technically a brownie, be warned: it is not the type of brownie with which one muffles the squawks of a saggy-diapered infant. It is not the type of brownie that one sells for 50 cents at a church bake sale to be swallowed in two bites and washed down with instant coffee from a Styrofoam cup.
This is strictly a food snob’s brownie. Dark and rich, it is meant to be savoured with a single estate fair trade brew and a powerful sense of superiority.
Second, this is a finely honed recipe. So don’t start messing around with it and for the love of god don’t try to make it “healthy.” If you want healthy, have an apple. If you don’t like things “too rich” or “too chocolately,” don’t take whatever childhood trauma engendered this weird aversion out on my recipe. Just go away and have an oatcake or whatever your kind regard as dessert.
So, without further ado, here it is:
The World’s Best Fudge Brownie
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup raw sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 ¼ cups cocoa powder (Dutch processed)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 400 ml can full fat coconut milk
¾ cup vegetable oil (anything but olive)
2 tablespoons instant coffee
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. Leave at least one inch of parchment paper sticking out along each of the long edges – you’ll use this to lift the brownies out.
3. Mix wet ingredients
4. Dissolve instant coffee in wet ingredients
5. Mix dry ingredients
6. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix only until just combined (I use a pastry cutter – great for blending thick batters)
7. Bake for about 35 minutes. You want to take it out when the centre looks just slightly underdone (i.e. a bit shinier then the outside). Use a baking stone if you have one and remember that, when it comes to brownies, underdone is better than overdone.
8. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes; lift out of pan using parchment paper “handles” and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting.
9. Frost with the chocolate ganache recipe below.
Chocolate Ganache Ingredients
½ cup non-dairy milk
2 cups finely chopped semisweet (55% cocoa) or bittersweet (75% cocoa) chocolate
¼ cup Earth Balance buttery spread
Chocolate Ganache Directions:
Place non-dairy milk and chocolate in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Microwave in additional 30-second increments until the chocolate is somewhat stirable. Stir for about 30 seconds. Alternately microwave for 30 seconds/stir for 30 seconds until the chocolate is nearly melted. Add the Earth Balance and stir until smooth. Spread on cooled brownies. Refrigerate for at least an hour before cutting into bars.
These brownies freeze very well and will keep in the fridge for a week or more. They are actually better after a couple of days. To restore them to just-baked freshness, microwave for about 10 seconds.