Over the years, I’ve shared a few different vegan brownie recipes. Pumpkin brownies, black bean brownies, goji berry brownies, no-bake brownie bites—all gluten-free and on the healthier side as far as desserts go. For today’s recipe, my primary goal wasn’t to create another (relatively) good-for-you baked good, but instead a vegan brownie that would give your favorite bakery brownie, vegan or not, a serious run for its money. We’re talking crackly tops, chewy edges, fudge-like centers, and intense chocolate flavor. After a whole lot of trial and error, I’m practically jumping out of my chair to finally share that perfect brownie recipe with you!
I’ll be honest, the whole sweet potato brownie thing did start with me wanting to health-ify my brownies a little. (What can I say? Old habits die hard.) But in the end, the addition of sweet potato is more about creating that ideal brownie texture without eggs, and lending even more sweetness to a recipe that’s already generous with the sugar. I know I sometimes give you the option to decrease the sugar, but this is not one of those recipes. Half of the sugar is coconut (lower-glycemic) and the other half is packed brown sugar. You need the brown sugar for the crackly tops and chewy centers. For the oil, half is extra virgin olive and half is vegan butter. Again, I’ve found that you need both oil and butter for really awesome, bakery-level brownies. Boston readers: think Flour and Tatte. ♥
I guess what I’m saying is: follow this recipe exactly and you will be rewarded with what I hope are some of the best brownies of your life, vegan or not. And if your whole-foods-loving heart is fighting you a little on the butter and sugar, you can at least take some solace in the fact that these brownies still have a vegetable in them, plus an “egg” made of chia seeds. #plantpowered
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing the pan
- ¼ cup vegan butter
- 8 ounces (about 1⅓ cups) dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 chia "egg" (2 teaspoons freshly ground chia seeds + 3 tablespoons warm water)
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- ½ cup packed organic brown sugar
- ½ cup canned sweet potato puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cup dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly grease an 8 x 8 inch pan with olive oil. Line the pan with parchment paper, allowing two sides to hang about ½ inch over the edges.
- In a double boiler or medium heat-safe bowl, add the olive oil, vegan butter, and chocolate chips. Place the bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water and heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate chips are fully melted. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the chia "egg" by stirring together the ground chia seeds and warm water. Set aside for 2 minutes to thicken.
- To the melted chocolate mixture, add the coconut sugar and brown sugar and beat well to combine. Beat in the chia "egg", sweet potato, and vanilla, then add the flour and salt and mix until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix or your brownies will be tough. The batter should be very thick.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared pan. Use a spatula to smooth out the top and sprinkle with chopped walnuts and chocolate chips (if using). Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with small crumbs, about 35-38 minutes (err slightly on the side of undercooked—we're going for fudgy brownies here). Allow the brownies to cool for 20 minutes, then lift the brownies out of the pan using the parchment overhang, transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Slice into squares.
If you want to get a little fancy, swap the extra virgin olive oil for walnut oil. It's divine.
For extra chewy brownies, refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. (I like these best served cold.)
Leftover brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. These freeze well too.