Vegan Brownie Recipe

To all of you who are scoffing at the idea, I say this: They're better than you think, and WAY better for you than regular brownies.

As someone who's been baking since the age of 7, it was my curiosity that led me to try this recipe more than anything else. The idea of baking something without butter, or eggs, or milk was a fascinating concept. I had to do it as an experiment, if nothing else.

Turns out, these brownies are pretty awesome, albeit best accompanied by a tall glass of milk. And no, I'm not talking soy milk or almond milk -- just good, old fashioned cow's milk, however, ironic that may be.

This is a recipe I've adapted slightly from Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook. I've shared her recipes before, and will continue to sing their praises. The theme of her cookbook is eating healthy, but not sacrificing flavor, and these brownies are a nice testament to that concept. They do taste different than your run-of-the-mill brownie mix, but it's not a bad different. Think of it like comparing milk chocolate with dark chocolate. The vegan brownies fall more into the dark chocolate category.

But enough talk. Here's the recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup coca powder (I'm a big fan of Ghiradelli)
1 1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 canola oil, or vegetable oil
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup Agave nectar (Hello Trader Joe's! They carry a nice, cheap selection of agave nectar.)
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee (It enhances the flavor of the chocolate. The 2 go together like love and   marriage)
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided (Once again, Ghiradelli rocks.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease an 8" x 11" baking dish. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, mix together the oil, maple syrup, agave, coffee, soy milk, and vanilla, then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until the batter is smooth and well-combined.

Pour half the batter into the baking dish, and then sprinkle with a layer of 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Pour the rest of the batter on top and then distribute the remaining chocolate chips as a garnish.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, and then let cool. When you put the tooth pick in to test if the brownies are done, remember that there will be a thin layer of melted chocolate on it from the chocolate chips. As long as you don't see batter on the tooth pick, you're good to go.

* If you decided to try this recipe, be sure to let me know/leave a comment below! I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, and ideas for potentially making the recipe even better :)