Caramel Brownies

Caramel Brownies

Caramel Brownies

Since I moved to high altitude, I have had a love-hate relationship with brownies. I love to eat them, but I hate to bake them because vegan brownies up higher are difficult to get right. I decided to take a different approach to succeeding at this task. Generally, I had been looking at non-vegan, low altitude recipes and then making a few guesses at how to adjust them. This time I looked at a non-traditional vegan blondie recipe, and when I made my changes it worked. No soggy center and lack of any evidence that they had risen! Now I can go back to loving brownies.

First off, to get them from a blondie to a brownie I added cacao powder. I also added chocolate chips because you can never get too much chocolate. I deleted the almonds to help the chocolate and caramel tastes come to the forefront. Then, for altitude, I added liquids. I also added baking powder which is unusual at altitude, but it helped the wetter brownies to rise.

Caramel Brownies inspired by Caramel-Almond Blondies

3.5 TBS warm water
1/2 tsp Navitas Organics chia seeds
6 TBS almond butter
1/4 cup organic light brown sugar, lightly packed
1.5 TBS agave nectar
1.5 tsp almond milk
2.5 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup Navitas Organics cacao powder
2 tsp Navitas Organics maca powder
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1-2 TBS vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8 x 4 x 2” loaf pan with two pieces of parchment paper, overlapping the pieces to create a sling that hangs over the sides of the pan slightly. Put 1.5 TBS water in a small bowl with the chia seeds and stir to combine. Set aside for 15 minutes to thicken.

Add the remaining 2 TBS water to a large bowl along with the almond butter, brown sugar, agave nectar, milk, and vanilla extract. Add in the chia gel. Stir until the mixture is well combined. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, cacao powder, maca powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.

Navitas Organics maca, chia, cacao

Navitas Organics maca, chia, cacao

Transfer the batter to the loaf pan and push it out to the edges. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the top feels dry. Take the pan out of the oven and scatter the chocolate chips over the hot brownies. When slightly melted, run a fork through the chocolate to spread it over the top. Let them cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then use the paper sling to remove to a wire rack to cool. Cut into 6 pieces when fully cooled.

Until next time, happy baking!

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Chocolate Chip Blondies

chocolate chip blondiesWhen I first started my baking blog I decided to go easy on myself. This recipe was given to me at a high altitude baking class I attended when I first moved to Santa Fe. It was already adapted for high altitude, it just needed to be veganized.

First, I substituted vegan margarine for butter. Then I swapped bananas for eggs. While I was changing the recipe, I made it healthier by using whole wheat flour in place of some of the white flour. I also added extra chocolate chips because, well, you can never have too much chocolate.

These bar cookies turned out perfect on the first try! They were moist and dense, but still slightly crumbly. Years later, while adjusting the recipe to the lower altitude of 5000 feet, I decided to try some other tricks I learned. Let me just say that many attempts were made and many sub-par blondies were eaten until I decided to go back to the one I had made before. Here is that recipe that had worked out so well.

Chocolate Chip Blondies
1/2 cup vegan margarine
1 cup organic sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 TBS vanilla soy yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
6 oz chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350F. Grease a 9 x 13″ metal pan. Cream margarine and sugars. Add yogurt, vanilla and bananas. Mix well. Sift together flours, baking powder and salt. Mix half of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix in other half of dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread mixture into the prepared pan. Bake 32-35 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

Until next time, happy baking!