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I promised beer brownies and I am a woman of my word. Except they’re also vegan, so everyone wins!
I was browsing through Serious Eats (which I highly recommend) and came across this espresso cashew brownie recipe by Yvonne Ruperti. I had been wanting to make vegan beer brownies specifically and realized this recipe would be pretty easy to adapt with a few substitutions. You just replace the water with beer, use vegan butter, sub eggs with flax eggs, and use vegan sugar if you’re super strict about it.
(Note: it’s probably best to not replace water with beer in other situations. Stay hydrated, friends.)
If you don’t want beer in it at all, you can totally leave it out and follow the original recipe more closely. You should still end up with really delicious brownies regardless. I personally really enjoy beer brownies and think stout gives it a really deep flavor and can enhance the chocolate if you’re using a chocolate stout.
One of the nice things about this recipe to is you only need one pot and the brownie pan — so way less clean up, way more brownie consuming.
Why Make It Vegan?
I’ve been a vegetarian for four years now and try to eat vegan as much as possible. There’s a million reasons why I try to reduce my consumption of animal products, but I also genuinely find this “new frontier” of baking to be interesting and exciting and tons of bloggers, chefs, and bakers are getting really creative with how they do things. If you’re new to vegan baking, taking standard recipes and trying to adapt them with some “tricks” for veganizing things can be a really fun experiment and I really encourage you all to try it out if you’re interested. Some things are trickier than others (trying to make vegan lemon bars has been a ride), but it can be really fun to see how different ingredients and techniques can mix to create new things.
About Flax Eggs
Flax eggs are kind of a thing in the vegan world but I first heard about them from Minimalist Baker. It’s 1 tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 2.5 tablespoons of water and then you let it sit for about 15 minutes until it gets a really eggy consistency. I actually really hate working with eggs so it’s been a godsend for me. In this recipe, I replaced the 2 eggs with 2 flax eggs, but just note that using a 1:1 ratio doesn’t always work in every recipe. I generally just use them for things where they’ll be baked into a batter or dough like cookies, brownies, pancakes, etc.
Anyway, let’s get to it!
2 tbsp flaxseed meal
2/3 cup of stout (you can check on barnivore.com if a beer is vegan — I used Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout)
7 tbsp/3.5oz vegan butter (I used Earth Balance sticks)
8 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped up
1tsp instant espresso powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup/8.8oz vegan sugar OR 3/4 cup/6.6oz vegan sugar and 1/4 cup/1.75oz vegan brown sugar, coconut sugar, or whatever vegan sweetener you like — I even used maple syrup and it came out fine.
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup/2 1/2oz all purpose flour
Mixins such as cashews, walnuts, chocolate chips, etc. I even attempted a vegan salted caramel and while it didn’t work, uh, too well, I still spooned a little into the batter just to give it a little caramel flavor.
- Preheat the oven to 350F/175C and line a 8×8 aluminum tin with aluminum foil, then grease it up.
- Start by mixing the flaxseed meal with 5 tablespoons of water. Let it sit while you start preparing the rest of the batter.
- Pour the stout into a saucepan and set it to boil. Once it’s reduced to about a 1/2 cup turn it down to a simmer.
- Add the vegan butter, dark chocolate, espresso powder, and salt. Whisk it together good. At this point, it might look kind of oily and separated but don’t worry about it — the subsequent steps a little more whisking will fix it.
- Once it’s all melted and mixed together, take it off the heat.
- Mix in the sugar/sweeteners and whisk until combined
- Add the flax eggs, and whisk the hell out of it until you don’t see the flaxseed meal anymore
- Add vanilla and keep whisking!
- Now add the flour and keep whisking until it becomes shiny — then add your mixins! I used about a half cup chopped walnuts but use whatever floats your proverbial brownie boat.
- Put it in the oven for about 30 minutes — they’re pretty fudge so it may take 5-10 minutes longer. Keep an eye on them and use a toothpick to test them to see if they’re done. This can be a matter of preference — some like firmer brownies, some like them to be a little under baked. But it’s YOUR brownies and you can do whatever you want and don’t let anyone tell you how to enjoy your brownies!
- Anyway, once they’re done let them cool down before cutting and serving.
Adapted from Fudgiest Espresso Cashew Brownies by Yvonne Ruperti at Serious Eats