Oil-Free Vegan Fudgey Blackberry Brownies

by on May 30, 2012


So these brownies are a little “healthier” for you than the standard recipes (as it avoids added oils, butter and eggs) but they’re not completely sinless. Brownies are treat, let’s face it and sometimes you want to have a better-for-you treat for yourself or your loved ones. I have tried fat free brownies with just cocoa powder, flour, sugar and applesauce but they weren’t really brownies, more like dense little cakes and ended up being just ok and nothing to rave about. These brownies however are delicious!

This recipe is inspired from the Post Punk Kitchen’s Raspberry Truffle Brownies, but I changed the recipe around. I made a big double batch of these brownies because we had a lot of fresh blackberries on hand and I was thinking of something to make for my friend’s birthday and the Canadian edition of Vegan Food Swap.  (If you have a vegan food blog in the USA or Canada and are interested in swapping goodies every month with fellow vegans check it out!)

These vegan fudgey brownies feel a lot more decadent when you eat them than they really are. You may have noticed I try to cram as much fresh fruits and vegetables as I can into my recipes as I don’t enjoy eating a dish without them.

I think you’ll have a lot of fun making these and enjoy them too. You can impress your guests or make them as a little treat for yourself and freeze any leftovers in individual plastic wrapped pieces. The pieces shown below are the size you get if you cut into 9 pieces. You can of course cut them smaller as well.

I even put some extra blackberry pieces on top and it made these turn out very pretty looking, so you don’t need any frosting either.

Oil-Free Vegan Fudgey Blackberry Brownies

Serves 9

Ingredients:

1/4 cup/3 oz./85 grams semi sweet chocolate chips or semi sweet baking chocolate
1/4 cup/59 mL blackberry or mixed berry jam/preserves
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp/~210 mL sweetened apple sauce (plain) (you could probably try adding ripe mashed banana as well)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or AP white flour. Do NOT use regular whole-wheat or whole grain flour)
1/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries, blueberries or raspberries
2 tbsp semi sweet chocolate chips (1.5 oz./43 g)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F/177 C. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. If using fresh blackberries you can chop them in half. Put in the freezer to firm up while preparing brownies. If using frozen ones keep in freezer until ready to use.
  3. Melt the chocolate chips using a double boiler or in a dish carefully in the microwave. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the jam and applesauce. Stir in the vanilla and almond extract and the melted chocolate.
  5. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix very well until a stiff batter forms. Fold in the blackberries and chocolate chips.
  6. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan if you can. You may need to use your hands as it’s very thick. Crush some of the berries on top of the brownies if you are having a hard time mixing them in.
  7. Bake for 16-18 minutes for gooey brownies, bake for 20 minutes for slightly drier brownies. (Tinfoil pans will be done at 15-16 min.) A toothpick will NOT come out clean when inserted in centre, this is normal.
  8. Let the brownies come to room temperature and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to firm up and become fudgey inside. Do not serve right from the oven.

Additional Tips:

If you want to use unsweetened chocolate and unsweetened applesauce you will need to add some granulated sugar (don’t use liquid sweetener). Use 1/4-1/2 cup depending on preference. If you like your brownies really sweet you may want to add another 2-3 tbsp of sugar to the existing recipe.

Whole wheat pastry flour or white all purpose flour works best for a lighter brownie (as they are already pretty dense). If you use straight whole wheat or another whole grain flour it will be way too heavy and too dense and have a grittier texture. Make sure you use the suggested flour for best results. Pastry flour is made from soft wheat, white flour is also softer than hard whole wheat or whole grain flour. If you can’t find pastry flour you can try this: To make two cups of pastry flour, combine 1 1/3 cups (185 grams) all-purpose white flour with 2/3 cup (90 grams) white cake flour.

Sifting in the dry ingredients is essential so you don’t get any uneven lumps. Using a large fine mesh strainer to sift works well. (Pour your powders through the strainer and shake. Discard any rough particles that don’t go through.)

For these brownies to be fudgey in the middle they WILL NOT be baked all the way through like a cake or muffin. If you bake them until a toothpick comes out dry in the centre they will be rather dry and like a very dense cake, and thus not fudgey. In the pictures you can see that the center is not baked and has solidified. Once they’re refrigerated they will become fudge-like in the middle and be ready to eat.

FYI I don’t often make desserts or treats, so don’t get all angry and freakout if this recipe isn’t for you. I made these for friends and thought I’d share the recipe in case others were interested in healthier alternatives for those not on strict dessert free diets. 

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Aimee November 26, 2015 at 6:59 AM

I made these last night. I had to have a taste before packaging them up to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. Wow! They are amazing. A huge thumbs up from my husband and son too. They are decadent without being too sweet. I love the tartness of the berries.

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2 Diane August 4, 2015 at 4:31 AM

Hi
Oh wow!…this recipe looks delicious. Gonna make a trial batch today then (if the children like them) – which I’m sure they shall, we’ll go picking blackberries later on in summer and make copious amounts of brownies… Yay! Thanks for the combo …choc & blkberry 😀

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3 Lauren April 17, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Veronica,
I really like reading your recipes and your messages of vegan health. This raspberry brownie recipe looks like heaven! Please clarify that the chocolate chips you refer to are vegan, and not semi-sweet/milk chocolate.

Thanks!
Happy Eating,
Lauren

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4 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica April 17, 2013 at 7:36 PM

Hi Lauren,

Yes of course the chocolate chips are vegan. I don’t use chocolate with dairy in it.

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5 Amanda March 7, 2013 at 6:23 PM

I made these today, and they are sooooo good! Since I had ripe bananas on hand (and b/c I love bananas) I used them instead of applesauce. I also used a combination of semi-sweet choc chips and dark choc chunks. And because I have a bit of a sweet tooth I also added the 2-3 Tbsps of sugar. I’m not a huge berry fan, so I was hesitant to make this the first recipe I tried from the site, but I’m glad I did; they came out great! I definitely had to use my hands the spread the batter (more like dough). I’d describe the final consistency as somewhere between fudgey and mousse-y, which I love.

I do have one question: this time I used AP white flour, but could it work with a gluten-free flour? I didn’t try it since I knew that the brownies don’t actually bake all the way through and had no idea what that would mean with rice/garbanzo flour.

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6 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica March 7, 2013 at 6:57 PM

Oh I’m so glad you liked them! I don’t know how gluten free flour would work, it would be drier and more crumbly. You can always try it, usually subbing an all purpose gluten free flour mix is a safe bet. I find chickpea flour to have a very strong taste so I don’t use it in baked goods on its own.

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7 Alicia December 26, 2012 at 11:30 PM

Made this for a Christmas day treat with mixed berries (since I no longer eat pavlova and cream or jelly). It was delicious! Although one of the less healthy eaters said it wasn’t sweet enough.

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8 Connie November 15, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Thanks so much for including a recipe like this….as a diabetic on a lowfat vegan diet who always loved sweets, it’s nice to have something like this to make for a special treat, especially at the holidays. It was easier to eliminate sweets early on after my diagnosis when I was enthusiastic about my new diet and got great results, but a few years down the road I’ve realized that facing the rest of my life without another brownie is just too much for me!! I would be using “fruit only” preserves and try to find chips that are as high in cocoa content and as low in sugar as possible. Am looking forward to trying your recipe!

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9 Melissa June 20, 2012 at 10:18 AM

i just remembered years ago making a raw gluten free & flourless chocolate ball recipe – great for very hot/humid climates and can contain alot of raw protein value: basic ingredients were cocoa or carob; raw ground almonds (unbleached with skins on); hemp buds, coconut & the sweetener was either pureed prunes/dates. i used to add 1 tbsp. honey. maybe someone has a recipe? we used to make them for cottage day dessert – much much healthier than kids screaming for dairy: & we’d stick a little sprig of raw mint in the center – it was a way for wee ones to feel like they were participating in gardening activities/edible mud pies – & everybody enjoyed them; also a way to transition gently into treats if you’ve been dieting/cleansing …. made sharing with a group easier.

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10 Kathy Day June 1, 2012 at 9:07 PM

When you don’t have pastry or cake flour, replace one – two tablespoon(s) of all purpose flour with one – two tablespoon(s) of cornstarch per cup of flour.
At a recent birthday party we were served a gluten free chocolate brownie cake which was made with mashed chickpeas – it was very tasty and had a dense but typical brownie texture.

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11 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica June 1, 2012 at 9:13 PM

Thanks Grandma Kathy!

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12 Em May 31, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Hi V, I’m one of the ones who doesn’t have desserts – but I’m still thrilled you posted this recipe 🙂

I used to love brownies…and it’s great to have up my sleeve, such a low-fat version that clearly works and looks delicious – who knew such a thing was possible!? Lol

I love that it has so much fruit in it – plus the idea of the extra jam. And I really appreciate all the discussion (both in your recipe/additional tips and in the comments – yours and others) around the best type of flour. Thanks! 🙂

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13 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica June 1, 2012 at 9:14 PM

You’re welcome Em. I really enjoy reading your thoughts and comments on my recipes!

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14 Maureen May 31, 2012 at 3:21 PM

Step 5 you mention adding the cocoa powder, but the amount is not listed. Thanks – they sound delicious.

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15 basia May 31, 2012 at 2:44 PM

for gluten free baking
I use coconut flour & half amaranth flour or chickpea flour & birch tree sugar or lankanto when baking, come out perfect & very filling even a tablespoon of hemp flour depending on the quantities I am baking all done in a silicone cake mould!

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16 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica May 31, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Thanks for sharing, this would no doubt be a much higher fat recipe than the original due to the coconut flour and hemp flour in it.

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17 Tracy May 31, 2012 at 1:46 PM

These look great, especially while I’m stuck at work. ha You mention adding the almond extract or vanilla, yet it is not listed in the ingredients. How much should be used? Thank you!

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18 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica May 31, 2012 at 2:40 PM

it’s updated now it must have gotten deleted when i posted it

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19 Ildiko May 31, 2012 at 12:48 PM

This looks so yummy!!
Any suggestions on how we can make these gluten-free??
Thank you1

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20 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica May 31, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Gluten free baking is hard. I don’t like to do it as the flours are harder to work with and very expensive. Google Happy Herbivores blackbean brownies. I havent made them but I know they are flourless and gluten free.

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21 Laura May 31, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Where I live there´s only plain White flour, or whole wheat flour. We don´t have “pastry” or “cake” flours. I´ve heard they sometimes add some cornstarch or baking powder. What do you suggest if we don´t have thoe option of pastr or cake flours? I really wanna make these!!

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22 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica May 31, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Just use all purpose white flour then. Whole wheat flour is too heavy.

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23 Melissa May 31, 2012 at 9:19 AM

great idea to use blackberries. when berries are onsale here everybody nabs the blueberries & raspberries first so if you shop later in the day they’ll only be blackberries left & they are often very sour.

i’m going to try this. great 4 healthier summer treat for kids. what about trying it with spelt flour?

cheers,

m.

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24 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica May 31, 2012 at 10:03 AM

I find spelt flour heavier than whole wheat even so its not recccomended.

Whole wheat pastry flour should be the only whole grain flour used. Its made with soft wheat and is lighter and has a lower protein content.

I have tried spelt and oat and plain whole wheat and its too dense and hard for things that are supposed to have a nice texture. Muffins are ok because they rise and are sturdier but for brownies and cupcakes no.

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25 Char @ www.charskitchen.ca May 30, 2012 at 9:38 PM

mmmmmmmmmmmm these look decadent!! I seriously want to eat my screen. I love the sound of jam in them. I will have to try these!

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