I have to say, I tried making brownies many times at 7000 feet and then at 5000 feet. From a mix. From scratch. Classic baking. Modern style. Still brownies always eluded me. I tried to veganize so many recipes but all I did was waste some quality chocolate. Then, I finally achieved success by using an already vegan recipe.
I decided, after about the fifth attempt, that altitude wasn’t my problem. Making a non-vegan recipe into a vegan one was the issue. Vegan butter substitute doesn’t act anything like milk butter. It’s made from oil and water and doesn’t hold a recipe together when melted as classic recipes dictated. My pan came out of the oven looking like it was filled with boiling toffee. So I tried unmelted vegan butter and still I failed.
The next problem, I reasoned, was using melted chocolate. My attempts were more like fudge than brownies. So I finally abandoned the classic brownie recipe I was trying to recreate. Instead I used a modern vegan version with cocoa powder instead of melted unsweetened chocolate. Success was mine.
So, what did I learn? You need eggs and butter to complete a brownie recipe that call for melting the chocolate and butter. And, sometimes it’s easier to adapt a vegan recipe to high altitude than it is to veganize an altitude-friendly recipe. Oh, and success tastes so good.
Chewy Vegan Brownies adapted from ChowHound.com
1 cup + 1 TBS all-purpose flour
3/4 cup vegan sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup + 1 tsp almond milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-by-8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper.
Place flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Place applesauce, maple syrup, milk, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add wet mixture to dry and fold in with a rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Scrape batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, for 32-34 minutes. Place pan on a wire rack to cool before serving. Store any uneaten brownies at room temperature.
Until next time, happy baking!