Thursday, December 31, 2009

happy new year!

Okay, this is something I never do, but it's a new year, and time for something different.

For the first time in nearly a decade, I decided to stay up for New Year's Eve and ring in the new year. (Or, maybe I just wanted to make sure the *old* year really left!) I like to think I'm an optimist, but 2009 certainly had its fair share of challenges. With that thought in mind, I decided to break all the rules and give myself a treat for New Year's Eve.

Now for most of you, this probably doesn't sound all that wild and crazy, but keep in mind that, outside of vacations, I hardly ever indulge in sweet treats. I managed to completely change my habits about 2-1/2 years ago. I gave up fast food, frozen meals, soda pop, chips, candy, soy ice cream... just about anything even vaguely unhealthy. And I started exercising. And I lost a lot of weight. I feel great. I am absolutely not ever going back to that person I was before.

But I also know that sometimes you just have to break the rules. So what did I do? I made brownies. Now, I really really love oooey gooey chewy fudgey brownies... and I haven't managed to produce one since I went vegan almost 10 years ago. "How It All Vegan" has a good recipe for a rather cake-like brownie, but I've had my doubts that it was possible to produce a chewy version without the usual non-vegan ingredients. But I'm happy to report that I was wrong.

I went to a few vegan recipe sites, and did some research. I found a few promising ones on (a great site for vegan recipes, by the way), and in the end, ended up taking someones modification of someone else's recipe, and making my own modifications. This is what I ended up with:

These are really, truly "gooey chewy" - not cake-like at all - which is exactly what I was craving. And given that I'm pretty useless in the kitchen, I am beyond thrilled with the results! They're also super rich, at least to me. My limit was two - and that took some effort!

Anyway, given my lack of skill, I wouldn't normally share this, but since my non-vegan hubby has pronounced these "pretty good" (high praise from him!), I'm going to give you all the recipe I used:

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup vanilla Silk soy milk
1/4 cup peanut oil
1/4 cup (softened) Earth Balance margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
(a little powdered sugar added for the photo, but not needed)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix well. (This makes a very stiff batter - a big wooden spoon will help to mix it.)

Pour (push, shove, smoosh) batter into an oiled/floured pan. (The recipe I adapted this from calls for a 9 x 13 pan. Mine is closer to 8 x 12, and it worked fine. In fact, I would have had trouble spreading it into a larger pan, though I think the end results would be fine.)

Bake for approx. 30 minutes. The recipe I adapted from said 25 to 35. I took mine out at 30, but I really think they should have gone a bit longer. However, my current oven runs a bit on the cool side.

Now, a couple of notes: yes, I realize that using regular white sugar makes this "not vegan" in some circles. Use your own judgment and substitute accordingly. Also, the original recipe called for 1/2 cup vegetable oil, but all I had on hand was peanut oil - so I used 1/4 cup of that, plus 1/4 cup of Earth Balance, and it worked fine, though it might be why the batter was a little hard to work with. And again, if gooey-chewy isn't your thing, than these brownies aren't for you.

Wishing you all a bright, shiny, wonderful New Year, full of lots of good vegan eats!

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