Magical Brownies

Wow, it’s been a month. I’d tell you I’ve been busy, but I’d be lying. It has been an eventful month though. Don’t worry, I won’t disappear again. I have some great recipes to share for summer 🙂

What happened this May:

  • My oldest brother got married! Now, I have a wonderful big sister : )
  • Stephen graduated the SAME DAY from Penn State. And I had to miss it : / Bridesmaid duties.
  • But then I helped him move out of his apartment in State College.
  • I scheduled my classes for the first semester of my Global Environmental Policy  program at AU.
  • And bought the books for one of my classes… not including the one yet to be released. I also started to read one of said books… A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold (it’s pretty fantastic).

These are celebratory brownies!

These are amazing brownies!

These are magical brownies! (No, not “special.”)

These are the brownies I never thought I’d ever be able to make from scratch 🙂

Let alone, make vegan.

They can be enjoyed by themselves. With a nice glass of your milk of choice. Or topped with a huge scoop of ice cream & some fudge sauce <—- yes, please. Brownie sundaes ❤

And make them I will, again and again and again for the rest of my life… so long as chocolate is available. I read an article recently that said the demand for chocolate is increasing so rapidly that the production of chocolate won’t be able to meet the population’s “needs.” Apparently, cocoa farmers/producers are straining their farms to produce greater quantities of cocoa than they realistically have the capacity to produce. AKA, the cocoa plants need more TLC than they’re receiving & are becoming weak. I wish I could remember where I read this. I’m sure, in our modern age, you can “GOOGLE” it.

Magical Brownies

1/3 Cup Chocolate Chips + (1/3 Cup Chocolate Chips optional)

1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder

4 Tbsp Coconut Oil

4 Tbsp Neutral Oil (Veg/Canola/Olive)

2 Ener-G Eggs

1 Cup Sugar

1 Cup AP Flour

1 Tsp Baking Powder (scant)

1/2 Tsp Salt

1 Tsp Vanilla

1/4 Cup Almond Milk

Directions:

Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper & preheat oven to 350.

In a double boiler, over low heat, melt chocolate chips with cocoa powder, coconut oil, and vegetable oil.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, prepare Ener-G eggs (or flax eggs). Set aside.

In a medium-sized, mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder & salt.

When the chocolate is completely melted, add to dry ingredients.

Add the ener-g eggs, vanilla & almond milk.

Stir to combine completely. Add additional chocolate chips (for best results… aka chocolatey-ist) and stir.

Pour batter (it should be a bit thick) into lined pan.

Bake until toothpick/knife inserted in center comes out clean. EDIT: About 35 – 45 minutes.

I suggest checking on them every so often. I’ve baked them in a le creuset enamel pan & a glass pan and the time varied a bit.

Now cut them and….. (oh yeah, let cool a bit)…. NOW….

Devour!!!

Okay, I’m running to the grocery store so I can make these again today. These pictures are making my stomach RAWR!!

Vanilla Birthday Cake

This beauty was Stephen’s birthday cake! His birthday was April 4th, haha. And I believe I made this cake somewhere around the 5th or 6th. And am now posting it on the 26th. Oh well, good things come to those who wait – you!

I think I made this cake just to use the multi-colored heart-shaped sprinkles I picked up from the Farmer’s Market. Way cuter than ordinary, run of the mill, multi-colored sprinkles! Oh, and because I tried to make this beautiful Chocolate Guinness Bundt cake & failed. Hard. I’m sure the recipe is usually wonderful. I blame the Nordic Ware Cathedral Bundt Pan. Nooks & crannies galore.

The vanilla cake turned out moist and flavorful. And the ganache was delicious… I mean, it was chocolate ganache… of course it was delicious. I usually use Cathy‘s Chocolate Ganache recipe (my favorite) but had just run out of maple syrup & powdered sugar making treats for a bake sale. So I made a variation that worked out quite well. It was a bit thinner without the powdered sugar so I stuck it in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up.

We couldn’t stop eating this cake. If you have a keen eye you may notice the last picture only has one piece of cake missing but the others have two. And there’s already chocolate smeared across the bottom of the plate! What can I say? It was yummy!!

Vanilla Birthday Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Makes one 8×8 sheet cake. 

  • 1 Cup Almond Milk
  • 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup Canola Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cups AP Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder

Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Grease 8×8 cake pan.

The ingredients are listed in the order of addition. In a large bowl combine almond milk & vinegar. Let sit for about 5 to minutes until milk curdles slightly. Add vanilla & oil. Stir to incorporate oil. Add salt & sugar and stir to combine. Sugar should begin to dissolve. Add flour, baking soda & baking powder. Combine thoroughly. Pour into prepared baking dish.

Bake for about 35 minutes or until light golden in color and knife inserted comes out clean. Let cool before spreading ganache.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp Almond Milk
  • 4 oz  Chocolate, use best quality for best results
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp White Sugar

Melt all ingredients together in a double boiler. If you’re making this cake in your boyfriend’s apartment & find yourself without a double boiler… or even the means to create a makeshift double boiler… melt very slowly over low heat directly on burner. Some may recommend the 30 second increment microwave technique but I never use it. I’ve tried in the past with disastrous results. And since you’re using the best quality chocolate you can find, proceed with caution!

If you find that your ganache is not firming, place the mixture in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes or freezer for 5 to 10, to speed along the process. It will still have a slight gooey quality at room temperature but will not be runny.

Once the cake has completely (or mostly, for those of you with as much patience as me!) cooled, pour the ganache on, to cover completely. Spread to make even, if necessary.

Decorate with desired sprinkles and serve!! Sooooo yummy.

Coconut Macaroons with Chocolate

I made a recipe on my To-Make List!!! And boy oh boy was it fantabulous. Pre‘s Raw Macaroons are divine. And the ingredient list is too. These vegan, raw coconut macaroons are like a sophisticated, grown-up Mounds candy bar except so much better & much healthier. I followed Pre’s recipe almost to a T (well I halved it to a T), using slightly more coconut oil & semi-sweet (still vegan) chocolate. Seriously, they were even better than I imagined. They melt in your mouth. Oh, and I also bought dried nettle leaves to make tea after a recommendation on her blog. I think I might love her.

I used organic, unsweetened, unsulfured, shredded coconut. Shredded coconut is much smaller than the longer pieces that you usually see when you buy sweetened coconut & they’re crisper because they’re drier. Sweetened coconut is usually coated in corn syrup, which makes it sweeter, moister, plumper and ultimately less healthy. Combined with coconut oil & maple syrup, the crispy unsweetened flakes are the way to go.

I also used organic extra virgin coconut oil, which can be quite expensive! According to www.live-the-organic-life.com virgin & extra virgin coconut oil are pretty much the same thing, with no industry standard processing. However, virgin coconut oil (VCO) is much different from refined coconut oil (RBD). According to the website, refined coconut oil is of a lower quality, undergoes greater processing, and will clog the pores if used for external use (ie moisturizer). RBD stands for refined, bleached, and deodorized so the oil also loses much of its smell (which I supposed could be handy if you don’t want everything you make to taste like coconut). I think I’ll still choose virgin. Virgin coconut is physically extracted with no chemical processing and the oil remains unrefined in a more natural form. It smells wonderfully delicious.

Pre’s recipe can be found here. I highly recommend it!

I obviously haven’t mastered chocolate drizzling. And mine kind of look like chocolate covered bananas! Lol. I bet they’d be delicious with almonds, hazelnuts, or more chocolate hidden inside. Maybe some kind of raspberry filling? Oh, they’re perfect the way they are too. Enjoy!