A gluten-free, vegan, ultra fudgy, rich, moist, decadent brownie? Yes, it’s possible and it’s one of the best ever! When it comes to healthy baking, I love challenging myself to create recipes that taste as close to the original as possible. I’ve tried dozens of recipes in an attempt to make a super fudgy GF vegan brownie and these were so good that I have to share.
The science behind these brownies
There are a few things that happen when you remove gluten and eggs from brownies. The main being that the structure changes completely. You don’t realise how significant eggs are to baking until you attempt it without them. Most vegan brownie recipes that I’ve tried have… not been the best. They’re oftentimes too crumbly… Which is okay if you’re eating them straight from the tray. But it can be an issue if you plan on transporting and serving them to others.
These brownies, on the other hand, hold together very well. The xanthan improves the texture and adds stability that these brownies would otherwise lack. They contain a lot of dark chocolate and only a small amount of cocoa which contributes to the overall structure and fudgy texture. This means that a good quality vegan dark chocolate is pivotal to the outcome of these brownies.
I decided to opt for a brand that contains 50% cocoa solids. When I initially tested this recipe, I used a darker variety of chocolate (the type that most brownie recipes recommend) and immediately noticed a bitter aftertaste that just didn’t sit well with me. I figured this was due to the lack of milk solids that would typically come from the butter.
This leads to my next point. The addition of coconut milk contributes to this recipe in a big way! I never considered using it until I discovered that a popular brownie company here in the UK uses coconut milk in their vegan brownies. So I thought? Why not give it a go myself and it completely transformed these brownies.
It balances out any overpowering cocoa flavours in the recipe and the creamy richness replaces butter perfectly. Did I forget to mention that these brownies are oil-free too? Yep! The coconut milk works so well that you don’t actually need any oil, butter or margarine. I’m still not sure why it took me so long to stumble upon this well-kept secret but it was worth the wait.
Making these brownies
You’ll need to rest the brownie batter before baking as gluten-free flours are grainier and less absorbent than wheat flour. I found that 20 minutes was more than enough time as the brand of flour actually plays a larger role than the resting period.
I use Doves Farm for those that live in the UK. The cookbook that I adapted this recipe from recommends using either King Arther or Bob’s Red Mill for those elsewhere. This can be a bit of trial and error if you don’t have access to any of these brands, but if you can avoid the cheaper brands then you should be okay.
Overall these brownies are:
I really recommend baking these and giving them to your friends and family before telling them it’s GF and vegan. They probably won’t believe you! Let me know how it goes.
Healthy Fudgy Brownies
Brownies that are not only fudgy but vegan and gluten-free!
- 260 g dairy-free dark chocolate chips or chunks (50% cocoa solids)
- 1 Cup ( 240 ml ) Coconut milk from 1 can
- 1 Cup ( 122 g ) Gluten-free flour blend
- ¾ Cup + 1 Tbsp ( 165 g ) Unrefined caster sugar
- 3 Tbsp ( 22 g ) Cocoa powder
- ¼ Tsp Baking powder
- ½ Tsp Xanthan gum
- ½ Tsp Salt
- 2 Tsp Vanilla extract
Topping (chocolate ganache)
- 2 Tbsp Chocolate chips
- 1 Tbsp coconut cream
Add 160 g of the chocolate chips (or chunks) into a bowl with the coconut milk and place in the microwave, warm until both are melted and gently whisk to combine. Add vanilla extract and set aside.
In a separate bowl, add flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt and stir.
Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients stir until a liquidy batter forms. Fold in the other 100 g of the unmelted chocolate chips (or chunks) into the batter.
Transfer the batter to an 8 x 8-inch brownie tray and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven at 180 C (350 F) for 5 minutes. The batter should sit for a total of 15 minutes.
Bake the brownies for approximately 20 minutes. Stick a toothpick into the brownies. You'll know they are done when you have a few moist crumbs left on the toothpick. Allow it to cool for at least 1 - 2 hours.
For the chocolate ganache, add the ingredients into a bowl and microwave for 10-second intervals till melted. Spread on brownies as desired.
- GF flour brands that I recommend are Doves Farm, King Arther and Bob's Red Mill.
- Make sure your vegan chocolate contains around 50% cocoa solids. I use Kinnerton Just Dark Chocolate Bar.
Recipe adapted from The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen.