What do you look for in a brownie? Some brownie enthusiasts like to dabble in nontraditional flavors, incorporating citrus zest, various chips and nuts, or even spicy chipotle and cayenne. And then there’s the option of textures- chewy, cakey, dense or light? I wouldn’t call myself a brownie purist; I’m open to all kinds of variations, but my favorite is the fudgy decadent square you know is the ultimate indulgence after one rich bite. But what if that luxurious velvet chocolate brownie wasn’t so bad for you? Would it still be as good? The answer is yes. Maybe better because you could justify dessert as a midday snack, provided you have a cup of chilled almond milk ready to go.
The details of this recipe are what makes it unique. While the ingredient list isn’t exactly short, it is quite adaptable depending what you might have on hand. The things I happen to have are espresso vodka, Dagoba 74% cacao, and an abundance of raw macadamia nuts. The health aspect of the recipe comes from several ingredients- ground chickpeas in place of flour, local honey in place of sugar, and applesauce in place of oil.
I packaged them up and let my family and friends do the taste testing before I told them the nutritional facts. With rave reviews, this is now my go to gift brownie. The subtle combination of ground espresso and espresso vodka bring out the a buttery yet bitter side of the dark chocolate while remaining lighter than fudge. I recommend storing them in the fridge once cooled completely.
Honey Espresso Brownies, vegan and gluten free: an original recipe
15 oz organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup local wildflower honey
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup extra brute cocoa powder (any cocoa powder can be substituted)
1 tbsp ground espresso*
1 tbsp Van Gogh Double Espresso Vodka**
2 tbsp Ener-G egg replacer + 4 tbsp warm water***
3/4 cup raw macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
1 bar (80g) 74% cacao Dagoba chocolate bar, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 350. In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, applesauce, honey, leavening agents and salt. Pulse until completely smooth.
In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa and the ground espresso. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the Ener-G egg replacer and the warm water. Mix until there are no remaining clumps. Pour the chickpea mixture from the food processor into the bowl with the cocoa powder, add the egg replacer and espresso vodka. Stir until the brownie batter has a smooth consistency and there are no clumps of cocoa. Fold in the macadamia nuts and chopped chocolate.
Pour batter into a greased 8″ or 9″ dish and bake for 30-35 minutes depending on how fudgy you like your brownies. Let cool completely at room temperature or put them right in the freezer for 15 minutes.
* Ground espresso is completely optional, but it really does enhance chocolate in baking.
** An liquor can be used in place of the espresso vodka, or even just an equal amount of vanilla extract.
*** If you want to use eggs or have no idea what Ener-G egg replacer is, substitute 2 eggs. I know it’s now available in the organic baking section of Publix.