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!!

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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!

Lemon Coconut Cake

My mom LOVES lemon, much like she loves ginger. So every year when I ask what kind of birthday cake she’d like she requests something lemon. And what goes better with lemon cake than coconut? I did some serious searching for vegan lemon coconut cakes and I really didn’t find much. The best, simplest (and probably tastiest!) recipe I found came from Epicurean Vegan (thankyou!). She has some seriously incredible looking recipes… this was the first I tried. It was so simple and it looked so beautiful I was like “damn, I’m gonna make that cake.” And I did! I did make some tweaks because of the ingredients I had. I had a whole can of cream of coconut, you know… the kind you use to make Pina Coladas. And I had sweetened shredded coconut I couldn’t not use. And I bought some beautiful organic lemons from Fresh Market.

The original recipe is for a bundt cake and I do have a bundt cake pan but I’ve never used it… it reminds me of the Sydney Opera House to be honest. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… I’ve just never had the urge to make a bundt cake. It was a gift from my dad (thanks dad, I’ll use it one day!).

Anyway, I wanted to make a more traditional birthday cake so I broke it down into two layers and totally winged it with the frosting. I made sure coconut oil icing had been done before & then I did my thing. The measurements for the icing are estimates as I really just eyeballed my ingredients as I threw them in. I knew it was a winner when dad came home, tried it without my approval, and said “oh man, that’s delicious!” Even though he’s had INCREDIBLE vegan desserts from Vegan Treats in Bethlehem, PA & vegan doughnuts in Las Vegas he still does that “but it’s vegan?” (and makes a face) thing.

Anyway, the major point here is that the cake was delicious and every person who ate it Saturday night agreed. These cake-eaters were all non-vegans by the way (besides Stephen). It was moist, it was coconuty & lemony, the frosting was fluffy. It was pretty damn good if I do say so myself. Dad & Stephen both had seconds. As only my second attempt at a vegan cake thus far, I couldn’t have hope for better and it’ll definitely be hard to top.

For mam’s birthday we enjoyed dinner & drinks at one of our favorite restaurants EVER… Old Stein Inn. Dear Old Stein Inn, I love you. Thank you for your incredible fried pickles & potato pancakes (with applesauce) & red cabbage & franziskaner hefeweisen on tap. I shall take pictures of all that you have to offer one of these days to show the people of blogosphere world. Until then, enjoy my lemon coconut cake. NOM.

Lemon Coconut Cake

  1. Adapted from Epicurean Vegan
  2. Makes a 2 layer cake using 9inch rounds.
  • 1-1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/3 C Canola/Veg Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Coconut Oil (melted)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Cream of Coconut
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Zest
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla
  • 3 Cups Flour (I actually used 2 cups AP, 1 Cup + 2Tbsp Cake)
  • 2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Sweetened Coconut

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two 9″ round cake pans. Dust with flour and tap off any excess.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the granulated sugar, canola/veg oil, melted coconut oil, coconut milk, cream of coconut, soy milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla. Stir to combine.

Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the wet ingredients. Stir well to combine, tiny lumps are okay but you want to mix thoroughly.  Add the shredded coconut and stir one last time to combine!

Distribute batter evenly amongst the two pans. Bake for about 30 minutes. Keep an eye out, the cake is done when it springs back when lightly poked.

Slide a knife around the edges of the pan to make sure it’s loose. Flip onto cooling rack & let sit.

Lemon Glaze

  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup (or 2 lemons) Lemon Juice
Combine granulated sugar & lemon juice in small saucepan over medium/low heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Take off heat & let cool slightly. When cake is no longer hot (but still warm) gently poke several times with a fork. Make sure to poke the sides of the cake that will be facing upward. Lather glaze onto cake. It should soak up in front of your eyes (much like tres leches cake).

Coconut Icing:

  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 Box + 1/4 Box Confectioner’s Sugar (this is how I remember dumping it into the bowl, for everyone normal out there… about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Cream of Coconut
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Milk

Beat coconut oil (not melted) and vegetable shortening until soft & fluffy. Alternate between adding powdered sugar & liquids until your icing is creamy & fluffy. This may require slightly more coconut milk. Wait until cake is completely cooled before frosting! You don’t want your icing to melt!

I probably should have made two. It was really divine.