Esther’s Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

Esthers Brownies 3

Here’s a recipe from Esther’s Kitchen (Esther being none other than media phenomena and fashionista Esther the Wonder Pig) that is so easy, versatile and forgiving, I have to share it.

Esther’s chef, Linda, tried these brownies 11 different ways – each way being equally delicious I’m sure.

Then I tried the recipe two more ways. Again, all fabulously delicious!

The best part – you just bung everything into a food processor or mixing bowl and hand mix, then pour the batter into a parchment-lined pan and bake. You end up with dense, moist, chocolatey and spicy brownies that satisfy.

Here’s Esther’s Kitchen’s original recipe post:

This recipe has been tested using the following choices: almond butter, peanut butter, sunflower butter, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, dairy-free butter, coconut oil, almond flour, all purpose flour and gluten-free baking flour blend. Each one tasted great and had unique flavors. All of the ingredients resulted in a moist brownie that held together well. The brown rice syrup had the least amount of sweetness. This batch was baked with almond butter, almond flour, coconut oil and agave.

Esther’s Pumpkin Brownies

Cuisine: Esther Approved Dessert, Baked Good, Gluten-free and Nut-free options

Prep Time: 10 minutes Bake Time: 25 minutes Cool Time: 15 minutes Yields: 12 (3”x3”) brownies

By: Chef Linda | Esther’s Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin from a 15 oz can or homemade and excess water drained
  • 1/2 cup creamy almond, peanut or seed butter (almond was used)
  • 2 Tablespoons softened coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar, maple syrup or brown rice syrup (agave was used)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cacao/cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup flour of choice: almond, gluten free baking blend or all purpose (almond was used)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar Instructions

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Line an 8“ x 8“ baking dish with parchment paper. Press the paper alond the bottom edge and all 4 corners; set aside.

3. Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl or food processor. Use an electric hand mixer or process in the food process until the batter is smooth.

4. Pour all of the batter in the center of the parchment lined baking dish. Scrape out remaining batter from the bowl or food processor. Spread the batter into the corners until you have a level surface.

5. Bake the brownies for 25 minutes. Cool the brownies on a metal rack for 15 minutes.

6. Pull up two sides of paper and lift the brownie out of the pan. Place the paper and brownie on a cutting board. Slice the brownie into 9 pieces or as desired.

Here’s what Chef Linda’s brownies look like.

Esther brownies

I hope you give this amazingly versatile recipe a try and make it your own! The key is to know where you can make swaps:

  • the type of flour
  • the type of oil
  • the type of nut/seed butter
  • the types of sweetener, and
  • the spices.

You can also try add ins such as chocolate chips, walnuts or pecans, even diced candied fruit.

Just do not mess with the proportions of ingredients because that’s where the chemistry is.

Here’s one of my versions:

I used, pumpkin, regular flour, a mix of maple syrup and agave, coconut oil, tahini paste instead of a nut butter, and added a cup of chocolate chips and a big pinch of cayenne pepper. This batch was made in the food processor.

Esthers Browniew mine

For my next batch, I diverged and used: mashed banana and no pumpkin, regular flour, the full amount of coconut oil, almond butter, maple syrup only 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spices, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and ½ teaspoon cardamon. I also added a cup of chocolate chips because it’s chocolate and more is more.

Esthers Brownies 3

Why are you still reading? Go make some brownies!!

 

 

 

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Fudgy Thugsicles

fudgsicle

Whatcha gonna do with leftover tofu? I made Fudgy Thugsicles – named because the recipe comes from the first Thug Kitchen cookbook. These delicious beauties need just three ingredients and a popsicle mold, which you can buy at any dollar store.

I ended up with four Thugsicles, but I imagine I could have gotten five if I wasn’t licking this spoon so much.

And hear this – for all you people who feel the need to count protein grams, (Why?? I promise you’re getting enough protein if you live in the Western world) each Thugsicle has 9 grams of protein!  I give you permission to eat these for breakfast or after a workout.

You will need a blender for this recipe.

Ingredients

1/2 cup non-dairy milk

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (make sure they are vegan – look for things like whey or butter, though cocoa butter is okay!)

6 ounces firm tofu (that’s 1/2 of a block typically)

Directions

In a mug, warm the milk in the microwave just so it’s warm but not hot.

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave — be VERY careful with this. Chocolate can go from looking not melted to scorched in a flash. I prefer melting chocolate in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, bring water to a boil water in a small pot. Switch the heat off. Put the chocolate in a metal bowl on top of the hot water. Stir the chocolate constantly – it’ll melt almost immediately.

Break the tofu into chunks and put it in the blender. Add the milk and chocolate and blend the hell out of everything until you have a smooth pancake batter type consistency. Pour the mix into the popsicle molds and put the molds in the freezer until the Thugsicles are completely frozen.

Enjoy!

The “Oh Hell Yeah!” of Black Bean Brownies

 

blackbeanbrownie.jpg

Listen, I’m not complaining or anything, but I’m forced to eat an awful lot of amazing vegan food in pursuit of great recipes for this blog. I’m considering renaming this site The Fat Vegan.

Here’s a black bean brownie recipe that’s very closely based on Chocolate Covered Katie’s recipe.

The results are chocolately, dense and fudgy, and deliciously versatile. I’ve had these brownies three different ways. Dusted with icing sugar as shown above.

RaspberryBrownie.jpg

With vanilla coconut ice cream, raspberry coulis and berries.

MapleBBBrownie.jpg

And topped with maple butter and walnuts.

Rough gig. Let’s get baking. You need a food processor for this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (a 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • ½ cup liquid sweetener – agave or maple syrup or even corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup walnut pieces (optional)
  • 1 tsp instant coffee granules (optional – but it adds depth to the chocolate flavour). Alternately, you could use 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (trust me on this).
  • 4 Tbsp cocoa powder

Directions

Heat your oven to 350F.

Grease a 9”x 9” pan for thinner brownies or a 8”x 8” pan for a thicker brownie. I used a 9”x 9” for these photos.

Put the rolled oats into the food processer and blitz them until you have a coarse meal. Add the rest of the ingredients except the chocolate chips and walnuts and blitz again until everything is combined. You may need to scrape down the sides once.

Remove the food processor blade. Manually stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts to combine.

Spoon the brownie batter into your greased pan and level out the batter.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let the brownies cool before trying to cut them. I like them best of all after they’ve thoroughly cooled – they seem to get even chewier and fudgier!

Get creative with your toppings… or no toppings. I see in my future that I’ll be trying these brownies with cinnamon and cayenne added to the batter. I’ll let you know how that goes.

 

Chewy chocolate-coconut bites

ChocolateCoconut

If you like chewy, sweet coconut treats combined with chocolate, then this is the recipe for you! Taste, texture and the tropics come together for delicious vegan treat that’s quick and easy to make. The hardest part is waiting for the chocolate to set.

Ingredients

2 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

¼ cup agave nectar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup vegan chocolate chips or other dark vegan chocolate (Remember to buy fair-trade chocolate. Child slavery should not be involved in a compassionate diet!)

Directions

Line a 9”x 5” dish or pan with wax paper.

In a blender or food processor (my ancient blender did the trick just fine), combine all the ingredients except the chocolate. Grind together until you have a chunky paste. This can take a couple minutes. You still want some coconut-y texture.

Spoon the mixture into your wax-paper-lined container, smooth it out and pop into the freezer to let it harden.

While the coconut mixture is cooling, get your double boiler ready for melting your chocolate.

I highly recommend the double boiler method over using the microwave since it’s waaaaay too easy to burn your chocolate in the microwave. I’ve done it. I’ve had chocolate so hot it’s eaten a hole in my microwave-safe dishes.

If you don’t have a double boiler, you can make one. Simply heat a couple inches of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. You can switch the heat off or reduce to simmer when the water is boiling. Place your chocolate chips/pieces into a metal or heat-proof glass bowl that is big enough to sit on top of the saucepan of water (not in the water). Stir constantly as the chocolate melts.

When you chocolate is melted, pour it over the coconut mixture and smooth out. Return the dish to the fridge and let the chocolate harden. That takes about 1 hour.

If you can, cut into the chocolate coconut mix into squares, or just break cut into bite size pieces… I find a good-quality chocolate has so much snap, it will cut itself however it pleases.

Dig in and enjoy! Maybe even share.

Chocolate walnut loaf

chocolateloaf

Ah, chocolate. I love it. This beautiful loaf is straightforward, unpretentious and delicious. The recipe is from the cookbook “How it all Vegan” by Barnard/Kramer.

My only changes simplify some of the measurements (do you really need to count out 7 tablespoons of oil when it ½ cup will do the trick?) and to add ½ a cup of vegan chocolate chips, because where chocolate is concerned, more is more.

Ingredients

1 cup plant-based milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp ground flax or chia seeds

6 Tbsp water

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

¾ to 1 cup sugar (make sure you use unbleached or raw sugar, for a vegan cake)*

½ cup cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ cup oil ( I use melted oil but you could use any flavourless oil)

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup chopped walnuts

½ cup vegan chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9-inch loaf pan. Have your pan and your oven ready to go. Once you’ve mixed your batter and the vinegar hits the baking soda and baking powder, the leavening action starts happening and you want this baby in the oven!

Mix the milk, water, vinegar and flax or chia seeds in a small bowl. In a larger bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Yes –sift. I am a lazy baker but sifting here is a good idea so you don’t end up with weird, white salty bursts of unincorporated baking soda or baking powder in your finished loaf. Stir these dry ingredients together, then stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips.

Add the milk/water mixture, the vanilla and the oil to the dry ingredients and mix together until you have a  sticky batter. Do not beat or over stir. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes. I needed the full 55 minutes in a convection oven.

Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes before removing it from the pan and slicing it.

*What’s the deal with white sugar? About 60% of white sugar produced in North America is whitened by filtering the unrefined sugar through charred animal bones. Ugh. This process doesn’t have to be noted on the sugar packaging. So unless you find white sugar that’s specifically labelled vegan, you’re better off going with unrefined or raw sugar. The taste is exactly the same except you know… no animal bones.