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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Quick Brownie Bites

quick brownie bites

quick brownie bites

I wanted chocolate and I wanted it now. That meant something fast and decadent, so I decided on brownie bites. This recipe gave me a quick fix.

The original recipe I had was gluten-free so I could play with it for my gluten-free friends. The problem was I didn’t feel like hassling with my baking that much. So, the first change was to un-gluten-free it. I know, sounds backwards. Ah, well. I then added flour and a little milk for high altitude, as well as reducing the baking powder. There you have it – a quick chocolate fix.

Quick Brownie Bites adapted from a recipe by Erin McKenna
vegan shortening
1/2 cup + 3 TBS all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp non-dairy milk
1/2 cup vegan mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 24 mini muffin pan with shortening. In a bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk applesauce, oil, vanilla, and milk. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon batter into muffin pans, filling them three-quarters full. Bake for 15-16 minutes, or until set. Let brownies cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Until next time, happy baking!

Chewy Vegan Brownies

chewy vegan browniesI have to say, I tried making brownies many times at 7000 feet and then at 5000 feet. From a mix. From scratch. Classic baking. Modern style. Still brownies always eluded me. I tried to veganize so many recipes but all I did was waste some quality chocolate. Then, I finally achieved success by using an already vegan recipe.

I decided, after about the fifth attempt, that altitude wasn’t my problem. Making a non-vegan recipe into a vegan one was the issue. Vegan butter substitute doesn’t act anything like milk butter. It’s made from oil and water and doesn’t hold a recipe together when melted as classic recipes dictated. My pan came out of the oven looking like it was filled with boiling toffee. So I tried unmelted vegan butter and still I failed.

The next problem, I reasoned, was using melted chocolate. My attempts were more like fudge than brownies. So I finally abandoned the classic brownie recipe I was trying to recreate. Instead I used a modern vegan version with cocoa powder instead of melted unsweetened chocolate. Success was mine.

So, what did I learn? You need eggs and butter to complete a brownie recipe that call for melting the chocolate and butter. And, sometimes it’s easier to adapt a vegan recipe to high altitude than it is to veganize an altitude-friendly recipe. Oh, and success tastes so good.

Chewy Vegan Brownies adapted from ChowHound.com
1 cup + 1 TBS all-purpose flour
3/4 cup vegan sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup + 1 tsp almond milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-by-8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper.
Place flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Place applesauce, maple syrup, milk, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add wet mixture to dry and fold in with a rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Scrape batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, for 32-34 minutes. Place pan on a wire rack to cool before serving. Store any uneaten brownies at room temperature.

Until next time, happy baking!