Vegan baking is easier than you thought! Try these two easy substitutes for dairy-free chocolatey peppermint brownies.
By Yumna Jawad
It’s that time of the year for holiday baking, and nothing says holidays like peppermint sprinkled on everything! Our tradition is to make reindeer brownies for the kids. But this year, I wanted to try a vegan option for some friends who are avoiding dairy. I’m not big on baking, but I adapted a vegan brownie recipe, and these came out so fudgy, gooey and chocolatey — the best way to describe dessert, am I right?
What’s different about vegan baking? The substitutes are primarily for the butter and the eggs. For the butter, there are vegan butter brands, like Earth Balance, that are made from oil but have the taste and consistency of butter. You won’t believe it’s not butter, for real! The cool thing about it is that the vegan butter substitutes on a 1:1 ratio for regular butter.
The second substitute is for the eggs. In vegan baking, eggs are important because they harden as they heat, thereby holding everything together. They also give moisture and richness to desserts because of their liquid and fat content. Many vegans will substitute applesauce or mashed bananas for eggs. The most popular substitute though is flax eggs. It’s basically ground flaxseed mixed with water. For every 1 tablespoon of flaxseed you’ll need 2.5 tablespoons of water. If you let it sit for a moment, it will thicken and become a binding agent. Plus, you get all the added omega-3 benefits of the flaxseeds, so it’s a win-win!
So that’s a brief vegan baking lesson for you. You can always make these peppermint brownies with regular butter and regular eggs if you choose as well, and they will still come out rich, chewy and oh-so-chocolatey!
Vegan Peppermint Brownies
4 tablespoons ground flax
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup vegan butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tablespoon pure peppermint extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9-by-9 baking pan with parchment paper.
- Make the flax eggs by stirring the ground flax and water in a small bowl. Set aside to thicken.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the vegan butter. Then whisk the butter with the granulated sugar and the brown sugar until creamed. Add the flax eggs and peppermint, and whisk until evenly combined.
- Over the same large bowl, sift in the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Add the salt and stir with a large wooden spoon until just combined, do not over mix.
- Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Sprinkle the crushed peppermint on top of the batter.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, until the middle of the brownies no longer jiggles and is just set.
- Remove from the oven. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then pull the brownies out, using the parchment paper and let cool on a wire rack for another 15-30 minutes before slicing and serving.
Yumna Jawad is the founder of Feel Good Foodie — a blog dedicated to sharing modern healthy-ish recipes with feel good ingredients! Yumna has a business degree and a background in marketing and branding. While taking a slight break from work when her kids were born, she started micro-blogging on Instagram in July 2013.
Without any formal cooking training or experience, she started sharing images of the meals she cooked her family. The simplicity, realness and accessibility of her recipes (all shot on an iPhone!) eventually garnered over 2 million followers. She then launched an extension of the brand built from Instagram into a blog with hundreds of recipes, with a focus on healthy Mediterranean food.
Her recipes and photos have been featured on BuzzFeed, Women’s Health and Good Housekeeping. She was also named by SELF magazine as a top healthy food blogger to follow on Instagram. When she’s not in the kitchen, Yumna is playing Scrabble with her 7-year-old daughter or building Legos with her 6-year-old son.