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In a pinch, vegan brownies pass the test

Faced with an ingredient shortage, these mostly chewy, sometimes gooey brownies turned out much better than expected

First, a disclaimer: I am not vegan.

Butter? I’m a fan. Eggs? I like them, too.

But I was out of both, and I felt like making something. Something sweet. I had everything I needed to make vegan brownies, so I thought why not?

I didn’t have high expectations for my first foray into vegan baking, but the end result – chewy, chocolaty bites with ribbons of gooey peanut butter – turned out much better than I thought they would.

The recipe called for oil and I used olive. But I think it would be fun to experiment with different kinds, like coconut. Ginger and cinnamon were optional, and I opted for cinnamon. I also added peanut swirls on top as well as in the middle.

The dough was a little too wet for my liking; I ended up baking the brownies twice as long as the instructions suggested because the middle was still pretty wiggly after the recommended 30 to 40 minutes. Next time, I think I’ll play around with the measurements, maybe using ¾ cup water and ¾ cup oil – or maybe even halving the water – until I find a consistency I like a little better and doesn’t take as long to bake.

Meantime, these brownie bites satisfied my craving. And they didn’t last long the next day at the office – even after I told co-workers they were vegan.

Vegan Peanut Butter Brownies

From vegweb.com/recipes/ vegan-peanut-butter- brownies

1/2 cup peanut butter

2 cups flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional

1/2 teaspoon ginger, optional

1 cup oil

1 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Soften peanut butter in the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds. Make sure it’s not too runny. Grease a 9-by-9-inch cake pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix flour, sugars, cocoa, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Include the spices in the dry mixture if you choose to use them. In a separate bowl, mix water, oil and vanilla extract.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients, making sure not to overwork the batter. Pour half of the batter into the prepared cake pan, followed by the softened peanut butter (spread around, avoiding edges), and then pour the rest of the batter on top. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.



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