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High-altitude vegan small-batch brownies

Small-Batch High-Altitude Vegan Brownies

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These Small-Batch High-Altitude Vegan Brownies are everything I want in a brownie. It took many test batches to get here. I’m so happy to share this with you!

Thank you to Cathy, who sent an email inquiring about a high-altitude vegan brownie recipe—I hope this helps!

The Journey

I made vegan brownie recipes with standard sea level instructions. I’m not into cake brownies—I like them on the fudgy side without being straight fudge. However, a lot of my test batches came out both overdone and underdone at the same time, with burnt edges and very doughy middles.

I also tried veganizing high-altitude recipes on this journey. I tested different oil ingredients, oven temps/cook times and tried both alkalized and non-alkalized cocoa powder.

It seems like you can find high-altitude brownie recipes and vegan brownie recipes, but rarely both. Voilà! Small-Batch High-Altitude Vegan Brownies.

These brownies taste best the next day. They are chewy, fudgy, and delicious.

Eat The Batter?

Yassssss. This brownie batter is great to eat without baking.

  • Vegan batters do not contain eggs.
  • The flour gets cooked a little in the sauce pot so there is less likelihood of ingesting raw flour with mold; if this is a concern, stir it longer in the warm pot.
  • You can enjoy it warm out of the pot or chill it in the fridge.

Small-Batch?

I made these small-batch because there are only two humans in this household. I am not sure what happens if the recipe is increased—that’s for me to discover for another post. If you happen to try increasing the recipe for a bigger batch, please share your experience.

High-Altitude

I’m in Denver. I am a mile high. If you are higher you may need to cook these longer, decrease the baking powder and/or add more moisture. If you are at sea level, you can bake at 350 degrees F for less time (checking at ~30 minutes).

Pre-cut Parchment Paper Is Amazing

I used to dread working with parchment paper. I never tore off the correct amount and then the sides would curl up on me. This unbleached, pre-cut baking sheet sized parchment paper has changed all of that. I store them flat and pull out a sheet when I need it. They arrived with a handy vinyl zip lock storage pouch.

It’s ridiculous how much easier pre-cut parchment is to work with. For this recipe I cut 4″ (the width of the pan baking pan) lengthwise, making a long strip. The remaining piece fits perfectly in the 8″ wide side of the pan. You can trim the edges by an inch or two if desired, but leave enough hanging over after the parchment has been pressed into the pan so you can pull the brownies out with the extra parchment.

I like pre-cut parchment a lot, but any parchment will work fine. To flatten the parchment and get it to shape into the pan you can place another same-sized pan on top. Alternatively, you can use a little oil to get the parchment to stick to the pan.

Try not to skimp on the cooling time

These brownies really need 15 minutes in the pan to set up and at least 15 minutes or longer outside of the pan to cool before cutting. It’s worth the wait.

No need for the toothpick or knife test

Since these are on the fudgy side, poking them with a toothpick or knife to see if it comes out clean doesn’t work with this recipe.

Ingredients

Vegan Chocolate Chips

You can use vegan (allergy-free) chocolate chips or chop up a vegan chocolate bar. You could also skip it if you want plain brownies.

Cocoa Powder

The batches made with non-alkalized cocoa powder rose higher and were less intense than the batches made with alkalized/dutch processed cocoa powder. This is my preference for a straight-forward, rich brownie.

If you want a more dense, darker looking, fudgy brownie you may want to try making these with alkalized/dutch processed cocoa powder.

It’s kind of surprising that it worked out this way—although alkalized/dutch processed cocoa powder is darker in color, it’s milder in flavor. It’s likely due to the powder’s less acidic pH not rising as much and creating a more dense and intense brownie. Additionally, the blackish-brown hue of the brownie (as opposed to a reddish-brown hue of the brownies made with non-alkalized cocoa powder) may have added to the intense vibes psychologically. A relative who tasted a few different batches had a strong preference for these darker, denser brownies.

Oil

I love Earth Balance and I use it in a ton of things. It’s my favorite vegan butter. However, I do not recommend Earth Balance in this recipe. Earth Balance is not pure oil. During my tests it often leached out of the brownies, separating from the batter.

For these brownies, I recommend vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil. I did a batch with unrefined, virgin coconut oil and it was very coconut-forward with Mounds bar flavors. You really have to love coconut and be okay with it ending up not tasting like a traditional brownie.

Maple Syrup

The maple syrup in this recipe does a few awesome things:

  • Adds moisture, which is needed in high-altitude baking
  • Provides a subtle depth-of-flavor
  • Allows the sugar to be dissolved in less oil

I recommend real deal maple syrup as opposed to pancake or imitation syrup.

Sugar

You can use brown sugar, cane sugar, or refined & granulated sugar. Check packaging for a V notating vegan if you are concerned about bone char being used to process sugar.

Crinkled brownie tops occur when you use refined granulated sugar and do a really good job dissolving it in the oil. Since part of the sugar in this recipe is maple syrup, you can achieve crinkled-tops but not super papery crinkled-tops.

Flax Eggs

To make flax eggs, mix flaxseed meal, a.k.a ground flaxseed with water, set aside, and let it gel up. You can use golden or regular flaxseed meal. I recommend storing your flaxseed meal in the freezer to keep it fresh.

Let’s Make Small-Batch High-Altitude Vegan Brownies

Ingredients for Small-Batch High-Altitude Vegan Brownies
Ingredients for Small-Batch High-Altitude Vegan Brownies

Oven

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Parchment Paper

Cut parchment paper to go width-wise & length-wise, layering them crosswise in the 8 x 4 inch pan.

Flax Eggs

Make Flax Eggs. Mix together ground flaxseed & water. Set aside and let it gel up.

Dry Ingredients

Measure dry ingredients. In a small to medium mixing bowl, combine unsweetened cocoa powder, all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Sauce Pot & Wet Ingredients

Add oil, syrup, and sugar to a sauce pot (I use a 2.5 quart size sauce pot) and heat over medium heat, stirring.

Once it starts to bubble, reduce to low heat. Continue to stir until sugar dissolves or mostly dissolves.

Dissolving sugar in oil and maple syrup the sauce pan for Small-Batch High-Altitude Vegan Brownies

Then add flax eggs and vanilla and stirring until combined. There will be flecks from the flax eggs. Turn off heat.

Combine

Stir in dry ingredients. Keep folding & stirring until there are no dry pockets remaining in the mixture.

Transfer To Baking Pan

Spread the thick batter evenly into your prepared pan and sprinkle chocolate chips on top and press them into the batter slightly.

Bake

Bake for 40 minutes.

Cool, remove from pan, cool some more & cut

Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes and remove from pan using parchment. The brownies will be bubbly when you first remove them from the oven, but they will firm up.

Small-Batch High-Altitude Vegan Brownies cooling for 15 - 30 more minutes out of the pan before cutting
Small-Batch High-Altitude Vegan Brownies cooling for 15 – 30 more minutes out of the pan before cutting

Let cool 15 -30 minutes longer before cutting—if you can wait. Enjoy! Store extras in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.

Small-Batch High-Altitude Vegan Brownies close up with a few bits missing over a white plate with 5 brownies
Small-Batch High-Altitude Vegan Brownies
High-altitude vegan small-batch brownies
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5 from 1 vote

Small-Batch High-Altitude Vegan Brownies

It seems like you can find high-altitude brownie recipes and vegan brownie recipes, but rarely both. Voilà! Small-Batch High-Altitude Vegan Brownies.
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolate, dairy-free, high-altitude, vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 brownies or 3 big brownies
Calories 248kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or olive oil Earth Balance not recommended for this recipe; see notes below
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar cane sugar, brown sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Flax eggs

Dry

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, non-alkalized see notes below for alkalized/dutch processed
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour; fluff, spoon into measuring cup and level with the flat side of a knife sub 1-to-1 gluten-free flour for gluten-free
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt fine

Optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325° F.
  • Cut parchment paper to go width-wise & length-wise, layering them crosswise in the 8 x 4 inch pan.
  • Make Flax Eggs. Mix together ground flaxseed & water. Set aside and let it gel up.
  • Measure Dry Ingredients. In a small to medium mixing bowl, combine unsweetened cocoa powder, all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • Add oil, syrup, and sugar to a sauce pot (I use a 2.5 quart size sauce pot) and heat over medium heat, stirring. Once it starts to bubble, reduce to low heat. Continue to stir until sugar dissolves or mostly dissolves. Then add flax eggs and vanilla, stirring until combined. There will be flecks from the flax eggs. Turn off heat.
  • Stir in dry ingredients. Keep folding & stirring until there are no dry pockets remaining in the mixture.
  • Spread the thick batter evenly into your prepared pan and sprinkle chocolate chips on top and press them into the batter slightly. Bake for 40 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes and remove from pan using parchment. The brownies will be bubbly when you first remove them from the oven, but they will firm up. Let cool 15 – 30 minutes longer before cutting—if you can wait. Enjoy! Store extras in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.

Notes

Nutrition Information is approximate.

Oil

I love Earth Balance and I use it in a ton of things. It’s my favorite vegan butter. However, I do not recommend Earth Balance in this recipe. Earth Balance is not pure oil. During my tests it often leached out of the brownies, separating from the batter.
For these brownies, I recommend vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil. I did a batch with unrefined, virgin coconut oil and it was very coconut-forward with Mounds bar flavors. You really have to love coconut and be okay with it ending up not tasting like a traditional brownie.

Cocoa Powder

The batches made with non-alkalized cocoa powder rose higher and were less intense than the batches made with alkalized/dutch processed cocoa powder. This is my preference for a straight-forward, rich brownie.
If you want a more dense, darker looking, fudgy brownie you may want to try making these with alkalized/dutch processed cocoa powder.
It’s kind of surprising that it worked out this way—although alkalized/dutch processed cocoa powder is darker in color, it’s milder in flavor. It’s likely due to the powder’s less acidic pH not rising as much and creating a more dense and intense brownie. Additionally, the blackish-brown hue of the brownie (as opposed to a reddish-brown hue of the brownies made with non-alkalized cocoa powder) may have added to the intense vibes psychologically. A relative who tasted a few different batches had a strong preference for these darker, denser brownies.

No need for the toothpick or knife test

Since these are on the fudgy side, poking them with a toothpick or knife to see if it comes out clean doesn’t work with this recipe.
www.planttestkitchen.com

Nutrition

Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 102mg | Potassium: 205mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 2mg

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Did You Make Small-Batch High-Altitude Vegan Brownies?

How were they? What is your altitude? Any variations? Tell me about it in the comments below. If this recipe went well for you please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card to help others find it.

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