Your Friday Needs Brownies

I’m a baker. (I get paid for it too, does that mean I can call myself a professional baker?) Having grown up in a family that values food from scratch, I’m pretty dogmatic about box mixes. Using them is cheating.

Except when it comes to one specific baked good: brownies.

I’ve tried a lot of brownie recipes, and most of them have been highly edible if not delicious, but none of them have rivaled brownies made with Ghirardelli brownie mix. They’re on their own level.

So I’ve accepted the necessity of this single concession, and ventured down new paths. I like the challenge of allergen-free baking—be it gluten, or nuts, or eggs, or dairy. I’ve made brownies with black beans, and sweet potatoes, and almond butter, and tahini.

I used to have a cabinet full of ingredients that aren’t standard pantry items, but lately I’ve been trying to keep my baking simple so that when I do actually start a food blog, the recipes I post don’t require several trips to the grocery or health food store. Because I don’t like taking several trips to the grocery store. Especially when it’s 8 pm and I still haven’t written my blog post for the week.

This recipe is based on this recipe, which I should probably actually follow someday. When I already have almond butter on hand, because going out to get one ingredient is silly. That’s maybe the most valuable lesson I’ve learned in all my years of baking. If you’re only missing one ingredient, there’s a reeeeeally good chance you can figure out a substitute. Keep your pajamas on a little longer.

One-Bowl Gluten-Free Vegan Peanut Butter Brownies

½ cup peanut butter (I used salted, so I omitted the salt)

⅔ cup maple syrup (The real stuff. None of that Aunt Jemima nonsense, come on people.) (The original recipe also calls for ½ cup coconut sugar, but I like my brownies less sweet and I ran out of coconut sugar this morning.)

⅓ cup coconut oil, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ cup cocoa powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flaxseed mixed with 5 tablespoons water) (You can use 2 regular eggs if not vegan)

1 cup brown rice flour (original recipe uses almond flour, I didn’t have any)

¾ to 1 ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips (vegan if you’re vegan. I just used Trader Joe’s)

Mix your flax eggs, if you’re using flax eggs. If not, skip this step.

Combine peanut butter, syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix well. Add cocoa powder and salt. Mix again. Add flax eggs. Mix again. (See a pattern here?) Add flour. I think you know what to do at this point. Add chocolate chips. (I see you skimming a small handful off the top. It’s fine, we’re all human. If you didn’t sneak any, I’m worried about you.) When all the ingredients are fully combined, transfer the batter (it’s more like dough really) to a greased 9×9 baking pan (I use coconut oil spray; vegetable oil is a hard no. Don’t do it) and spread evenly. Bake at 325* for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Definitely eat with ice cream. (So Delicious coconut milk vanilla is a personal favorite.)

Happy Friday!

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