Brownies have always been one of my favourite sweet treats. Today, after quite a few rounds of testing ,I bring you a tray of perfect fudgy vegan brownies.
They are crispy on the inside and fudgy on the inside, the way every good brownie should be. They are intensely chocolatey, come together quickly and due to their small size, bake so quickly that you’ll have plenty of time to make yourself a cup of coffee before they are out of the oven.
220 g / 1 ¾ cup white plain cake (as opposed to bread) flour
¼ tsp baking soda
6 tbsp / 3/8 cup raw cocoa powder
110 g dark chocolate (I used 70% cocoa)
¼ tsp salt
60 ml / ¼ cup espresso + 75 ml / 5 tbsp boiling water
200 g / 1 cup caster sugar
80 ml / ¼ cup + 1 tbsp + 1 tsp mild olive oil
30 g pistachios, chopped (optional)
If using flax or chia, prepare them by mixing 2 tbsp of ground seeds with 3 tbsp / 45 ml of water. Put aside in the fridge to allow it to thicken.
Pre-heat the oven to 180° C / 350° F. Line a standard 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake liners or line the bottoms with circles of baking paper and insert a strip of baking paper into each hole to be able to take them out easily. Oil the sides of each muffin hole. Do not rely just on greasing the tin with olive oil alone as in my experience hardened tops are likely to come off when trying to remove brownies after baking (see the photo I put on my Instagram – @lazycatkitchen).
Weigh your flour, add baking soda and mix the two together, sift. Set aside.
Chop your chocolate very finely. Put it into a big mixing bowl, with cocoa powder and salt. Stir well.
Boil a kettle of water and make an espresso. Make sure you time it so that they are both ready (and hot) at the same time. Pour 75 ml / 5 tbsp of boiling water and 60 ml / ¼ cup of hot espresso into the bowl with chocolate. Stir it well until chocolate dissolves into hot liquid. Do not add any more liquid.
Add in sugar, flax / chia egg (by this time it should turn all sticky) or cooled aquafaba and olive oil. Using a hand mixer, blend the mixture until it’s smooth.
It’s time to add flour and the baking soda mixture. Add a little at a time and stir it into the chocolate mixture with a spoon. Do not be tempted to use an electric mixer as it will overwork the batter and spoil the brownies. Stir gently and just enough until there are no flour pockets any more, but no more than that.
Spoon the batter (it will be quite thick) into the muffin tin. Smooth it with a spatula and sprinkle chopped pistachios on top. Bake on middle shelf for about 11-12 minutes. Remember the brownies will continue to cook for a little while longer once removed from the oven and the tops will harden as they cool. The top should be nice and crispy, but the inside gooey. Remove them from the oven and let them sit in the tray until they are cool enough to remove. If you try to remove them too quickly, they may fall apart.