When I went dairy-free, I experienced an intense, undeniable desire for brownies. I wanted nothing but to sink my teeth into a fudgy block of chocolatey decadence. I had cut out dairy after realizing I was intolerant to it, and although my acne-riddled skin cleared in a few months, I missed what I could no longer have.
They say that when you are deprived (even unintentionally so) from a particular food, it becomes magical, special, and even starts to glitter because you cannot have it. That was definitely true for me and brownies. The cravings were all-encompassing. I’d sit in coffee shops and gaze longingly at the brownies displayed on the countertops. Baristas could probably see the desperation in my eyes whenever I asked, lip quivering, if they were dairy-free.
So every time I came across a vegan or dairy-free brownie at a market or bazaar or health food store, I’d jump at the opportunity to try it. Admittedly, some of them were very… vegan. “Tastes like compensation,” a friend of mine once quipped after taking a bite of a fudgy vegan dessert.
I’d have a normal brownie once in a while, but the allergic reactions (and the breakouts!) that followed were hardly ever worth it. I’ve also realized that, as a result of my intolerance, dairy makes me feel pretty crummy. Bloated, sluggish, itchy in the throat (!), and just gross altogether. Oh, how I have envied every person who could munch on a cream-filled dessert and feel just dandy. So I doggedly continued on what has felt like an eternal search for the perfect vegan brownie.
A HEALTHY SOLUTION
I’ve since come to the conclusion that if your desires are hyperspecific, it’s always best to do your own experimenting. (Besides, baking is pretty therapeutic). And I don’t want to get ahead of myself but… I think I’ve found… The One? These quinoa brownies have a distinctly dark chocolate taste that results in a rich flavor, but texture-wise, they’re actually quite light. The quinoa gives them a moist, bouncy bite. While they’re definitely chocolatey enough to satisfy a sweet tooth, they aren’t overly sweet at all. Oh, they’re also flourless and dairy-free. I KNOW.
I initially found this recipe on the food blog Choosing Chia, but I’ve altered it a bit to make it fudgier, as well as include ingredients that are easier to find locally. I’ve included some suggestions below. Shoutout to The Superfood Grocer for their truly super quinoa. It’s light, fluffy, and makes the perfect base for these brownies. You really can’t tell they’re made with quinoa (and they taste amazing with The Superfood Grocer’s vegan ice cream, too).
These indulgent quinoa-packed treats have all the tasty goodness of a brownie, but they’re made with natural, whole food ingredients. At long last, my cravings have been satisfied. I feel like I’ve won the lottery. Give this recipe a try and you will, too!
CHOCOLATE QUINOA BROWNIES
- ½ cup of Superfood Grocer Quinoa, uncooked (yields about 250 grams cooked quinoa, or 1 cup)
- ½ cup cocoa powder (try The Healthy Grocery Raw Cacao Powder)
- ½ cup coconut sugar (try The Superfood Grocer Organic Coconut Sugar or Nutrifam Organic Coconut Sugar)
- ¼ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- ¼ cup coconut nectar syrup (try Farm to Folk Organic Coconut Nectar Syrup)
- ½ cup coconut oil (try Nature’s Coco 100% Pure Virgin Coconut Oil)
- ¼ cup almond milk (try Rebel Kitchen Whole Plant Based Mylk or Silk Almond Original Unsweetened)
- 2 eggs (substitute with flax eggs if vegan—try The Green Tummy Organic Flaxseeds)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp sea salt
STEP 1: Cook quinoa according to package directions: boil at a 1:2 quinoa to water ratio, for about 20 minutes. Let quinoa cool completely.
STEP 2: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, preparing a rack in the middle of the oven (a lower rack may cause the brownies to take longer to bake, while a higher rack will make them bake faster).
STEP 3: Prepare an 8x8 pan–either line with parchment paper, or line with foil and lightly grease foil with coconut oil.
STEP 4: Once the quinoa has fully cooled, add it to a food processor or blender, and blend until it becomes a paste.
STEP 5: Add cocoa powder, coconut sugar, coconut sap syrup, coconut oil, almond milk, eggs, baking powder, and vanilla. Blend well, until all ingredients have been fully incorporated.
STEP 6: Pour brownie mixture into the lined pan, and bake for 30-35 minutes.
STEP 7: Do the toothpick test (stick a toothpick into the brownie mixture): if it comes out clean, your brownies are done. If some batter sticks to the toothpick, bake for a few more minutes.
STEP 8: Let brownies cool. (It helps to let them cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan and let it cool on a platter)
STEP 9: Once brownies are cooled, cut into squares. Refrigerate for extra fudginess. Savor every bite!
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