How To Make Vegan Brownies
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image by W Brian Duncan

I’m not a great baker. Unless I follow the recipe to the letter things usually don’t turn out well. Knowing that, I was a bit nervous thinking about veganizing one of my favorite recipes from Clean Eating Magazine: Sweet Potato Cinnamon Brownies.

These brownies are my “go to” sweet treat for open houses, holidays and potlucks. They are divine. But I decided to give it a go because it would be the perfect starter recipe for vegan baking because:

  • I know how they are supposed to taste and look therefore I have something to compare with.
  • There are only 3 substitutions to make, one of which I’ve made in the past.

And Brian was gone, taking pictures in Barcelona for his blog I was home alone, craving some comfort in chocolate. Plus he wouldn’t be there to kindly taste something awful. If they turned out a mess, no one had to know.

The great thing was they turned out pretty yummy! So yummy that I had to make sure to not go overboard since I was home alone and had no one to share them with. But they made a nice post run treat the next day.

Here are the 3 ingredients that had to be changed and my substitutions:

Honey: I have never used honey in this recipe. I have always used agave nectar. I find agave does not spike my blood sugar the same way as honey, a plus for diabetics.

Cream cheese: I did not attempt to make my own. I bought Galaxy Nutritional Foods Vegan Classic Plain Cream Cheese. I found it creamier than traditional cream cheese, making it easier to mix.

Egg whites: This was the one ingredient I was worried about. Trusting The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions

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, I decided to use two ingredients to substitute for the 6 egg whites. For binding, I wanted to use agar agar. However, it says not use for more than 2 egg whites. Therefore I also used 1/2 cup applesauce to make up for the other 4 egg whites. The combo was worked well but it did leave them a little dry. That was fixed with ½ cup of unsweetened almond milk.

My brownies turned out deliciously moist but didn’t fall apart. My craving was satisfied and my confidence in my baking abilities was propped up a bit. And I made sure to leave plenty for Brian to sample when he returned. The best treats, after all, are shared treats.

Are you a vegan baker? What’s your secret substitute ingredient?

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