My quest for a gluten-free vegan brownie began almost three years ago. I started by trying to replace the eggs with both commercial egg replacers and with ground flaxseed. It did not go well. Think chocolate flavored pumice. Other unfortunate versions followed. Most bubbled like witches brew. Some took days to chip or soak (or both) out of the pan. They came in two versions. They were either too unstable to eat or even to cut or chocolate meteors with military potential.
I took some comfort in knowing it was not just me. Other gluten-free bakers told similar tales of woe when using egg replacers. Chocolate cake was not an issue, but a good chewy, fudgy, vegan brownie eluded many a gluten-free chef.
So when I found the Hungry Girl two ingredient brownie recipe, I was intrigued. In the gluten world, Hungry Girl took a can of pumpkin and a box of brownie mix and made fudgy brownies. So I tried this with gluten-free mixes. The result was a chocolate flavored gel that required 2 hours in the oven to set sufficiently to remove it from the pan.
Only my son likes it.
But this is the holy grail of gluten free baking. We are talking about gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, seed-free, nut-free, fat-free, potato-free, corn-free, kosher, vegan brownies that can be made by a six year old. So the experiments began, and continued, and went past the point where my husband started to really hate brownies.
If you need to avoid all of the allergens mentioned above then you need to use a specific brownie mix that avoids them all. Namaste makes one but few Chicago stores carry it and you may need to order it online. The mix matters. Some have more sugar than others. Some have more chocolate. You may need to experiment a bit. I did.
If you can tolerate potato and soy then you can use many brands of gluten-free brownie mix.
I have not tested this with kosher for passover mixes.
So here it is! Vegan Gluten-Free Brownies
Enough gluten-free brownie Mix for one 8 x 8 pan. This is about half of a 13 x 9 mix.
3/4 cup of canned pumpkin (not pie mix and not puree in a septic box) Note that this is less than half of a can.
Shortening or oil for greasing pan
one 8 x 8 baking dish preferably heat tempered glass or stainless steel.
Measuring cups to measure out half of the mix package.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Put cake mix in bowl
Add canned pumpkin
Mix with spatula. It will look all wrong. It will be very dry. You may need to use your hands to mix it.
When there are no more dry spots and the mixture resembles sticky cookie dough press it evenly into a greased 8 x 8 inch pan.
Wet a spatula and smooth the wet spatula over the surface to make it smooth.
Bake at 400 for 30 to 40 minutes. The brownies should dome in the middle when they are done. The dome will collapse once they come out of the oven
You can test for doneness by running a knife through the middle for about an inch. It should come out clean.
Cool the brownies completely before cutting.
You can also make these in muffin tins, but then shorten the baking time to 20 to 30 minutes.
image used with permission diamondjoy www.sxc.hu
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