Mexican Cacao Brownies from The Plantpower Way

Mexican Cacao Brownies
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, naturally sweetened, actual nutrition
from my current cookbook obsession: The Plantpower Way by Julie Piatt and Rich Roll
cute pan courtesy Christmas gift from Anthropoligie 🙂

mexican cacao brownies

Pure decadence. Worth the extra ingredients you might have to buy if you’re not used to baking gluten-free/vegan. Buy them. You’ll want to make these again. I promise. Oh, and all of the funky ingredients happen to be one aisle… just ask for the Bob’s Red Mill section 🙂

Ingredients:

3 T ground flaxseeds (I bought this at Sprouts)
6 T filtered water
coconut oil, for greasing the pan
3/4 cup garbanzo flour (I bought Bob’s Red Mill brand, right next to the flaxseeds at Sprouts)
1/4 cup tapioca flour (while you’re in the Bob’s Red Mill aisle…)
1/2 cup cacao powder (can often find in bulk section, or buy brand like Nativas  or use cocoa powder if you don’t want to buy cacao. difference is cocoa powder is processed… nutrients are stripped, but some say it doesn’t matter  if you’re baking because you’re heating the nutrients away anyway)
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t xantham gum (Bob’s Red Mill section)
1/2 t Celtic sea salt (I used Kirkland sea salt)
1 t cinnamon
1 cup almond meal (yea! Bob’s makes this too)
1 (3.5 oz) high-quality dark chocolate chili bar (I bought Sprout’s brand)
1-1/4 cup organic cane sugar (I used Safeway brand organic coconut sugar)
1 cup + 2 T vegan butter (Earth Balance)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 t vanilla
9 oz bag vegan chocolate chips ( I buy these at Sprout’s)

Preparation:

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flaxseeds and filtered water until the mixture forms an egg-like consistency.
2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. Line the bottom of a 9″ square pan with parchment paper and lightly oil sides with coconut oil. (I oiled the whole pan, no paper)
4. In a large bowl, sift together the flours, cacao, baking soda, xantham gum, salt, cinnamon. Add the almond meal and stir with a wooden spoon.
5. Create a double boiler by bringing water to a boil in a small saucepan. Rest a small metal bowl over the top of the pan, add the chocolate bar, and let sit until it’s melted. Stir occasionally.
6.In a mixer, add the sugar, vegan butter, flaxseed “egg,” almond milk, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. (I don’t have a counter-top mixer, I used a hand mixer.)
7. Add the melted chocolate and mix again.
8. Making a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix well with a rubber spatula. The mixture should be thick and gooey. If it is too dry, add a very small amount of almond milk, 1 T at a time. However, it should be perfect!
9. Fold in 3/4 of the bag of chocolate chips, saving the rest for sprinkling on the top.
10. Pour into the pan and spread out evenly with a rubber spatula.
11. Bake for 25 minutes or until a fork stuck in the center comes out clean.

Let sit until cool before cutting. This is key. Once they cooled, I put them in the refrigerator. They are awesome.

Chef Julie’s note:

You can choose to omit the cinnamon and swap the chocolate chili bar for a mint dark chocolate bar instead for a fresh twist.

Chef Denese’s note: 
I topped them with a dollop of Coconut Milk Whipped Cream. You can buy the So Delicious Brand at Whole Foods, or whip up your own batch in 2 minutes:

Place a box of So Delicious Original (not Lite ) Culinary Coconut Milk in the fridge overnight. While you’re at it, place beaters and a small metal bowl in the freezer. If you forget, no big deal.  When you’re ready to make the whipped cream, squeeze the box of coconut milk (like a tube of toothpaste) into the cold metal bowl, add a very small dash of vanilla (or, I prefer vanilla bean powder), and a small squirt of raw honey…….. beat until whipped cream consistency.  Dollop on a brownie and you’re in heaven.

coconut milk
I’ve tried all brands of coconut milk for this… Trust me, the So Delicious one is the best, or the can of Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk (green can on left) is good too.  (Trader Joe’s brand has a plastic-y taste to me.) I keep a couple boxes/cans in the fridge at all times in case we get a craving for whipped cream. For the canned version, open the can and scoop out the solid top half into the bowl, leaving the liquid in the can. (put it in a glass jar and save for a smoothie.) Follow the same process, add the vanilla and honey, beat until creamy consistency.