Valentines day is a hallmark holiday to many, and an excuse to celebrate romance for others. No matter what your views are on Valentines day, it’s a perfect excuse to get festive and try something new and creative. Make it a Vegan Valentine’s day. If you’ve never baked anything vegan, this is a perfect dessert to start with. Make your sweetheart some of these guilt free Vegan Valentine brownies. I promise you won’t be able to tell they’re Vegan and they are lower in fat, contain a lower glycemic index when baked with agave nectar, and are made with flax meal. Regular brownies don’t have the extra fiber. That’s the key in weight loss and why many are turning to vegan alternatives.
Agave Nectar is a natural sweetener. It’s known to have a low glycemic index. Regular sugar spikes your insulin levels and should be avoided whether or not a person is diabetic. Agave nectar is a better sweetener for your body. Just be aware that the consistency of food mixtures may change since agave nectar is a syrup. Look for agave nectar crystals at whole foods and other natural food stores.
Flax meal is a great alternative for eggs in baking recipes. Bananas and applesauce is also another vegan alternative. If you don’t like banana flavored recipes, you may want to use flax meal instead. This will hold your baked goods together and help them rise like regular baked goods containing eggs. Flax meal can be found easily in natural food markets or you can make your own by processing flax seeds in a food processor.
When substituting ingredients, conduct a test run before baking for a special someone. You want to make sure the recipe works out and tastes as it should. Make some notes and take pictures. This will help you perfect your recipe.
Vegan Valentine Brownies
1 cup coconut oil
- 4 oz. (or 112 grams) bittersweet chocolate, or a vegan 70% raw cacao bar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp instant coffee or espresso powder (I used Organo Gold’s black instant coffee)
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 2 cups sugar** or substitute with Agave Nectar (consistency of batter might change)
- 1 cup cake or pastry flour (make it gluten free with this cake flour recipe
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup dutch process cocoa or raw cacao powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp flax seeds (ground)
- 6 Tbsp hot water
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease an 8 x 8 pan.
- In a double boiler or a bowl set atop a pot of gently simmering water, melt the coconut oil, chocolate squares and vanilla together.
- Mix the coffee (or espresso) powder with the 1/2 cup of hot water and stir into the coconut/chocolate mixture. Add sweetner and remove from heat. If using sugar, it will dissolve a bit but you don’t need to completely dissolve it.
- In another bowl, sift together the flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine.
- In yet another bowl (small one), mix the flax seeds and 6 Tbsp of hot water, allow to sit for 2-3 minutes.
- Combine the chocolate/coconut oil mixture with the flour mixture and stir to incorporate. Add the thickened flax and stir that in as well.
- Pour the batter into the greased baking pan and bake for 30-40 minutes. Start checking the brownies after the first 30 minutes to ensure it is baking evenly.
- When finished, remove the brownies from the oven, set atop a cooling rack and let them cool before cutting with a cookie cutter. If you baked them in a mold, same rules apply so the brownie wont fall apart.
If you want to skip the kitchen then I suggest visiting www.Happycow.com and Find local vegan restaurants in your area. Make this Valentines day special.