My First Attempt at Vegan Brownies

Posted by on August 30, 2007 | 18 Comments

Truthfully, I am by no means a chocoholic.  I can say with confidence that I have never actually purchased a purely chocolatey dessert myself.  However, I do love my very own homemade brownies.  Dense, fudgy, and topped with a generous sprinkling of chocolate chips they have been a comfort treat ever since I returned to a dairy-free lifestyle.  But lately, I have started experimenting with vegan cooking, and began to wonder, “Why not try some vegan baking? After all, who really needs eggs anyway?”

So, I eagerly set out to quickly modify my tried and true brownie recipe which housed two eggs in its original form.  I researched the replacements carefully, as I had no desire to create any sort of cake-y chocolate creation.  It had to remain moist, soft, dense, and chewy.  Based on what I read, and what I had on hand, I settled on some applesauce, and I think a sprinkling of baking powder if I remember correctly (it has been a few weeks, as I wasn’t quite ready to share my utter disaster right away).

I put the brownies in at the obligatory 350ºF, and set the timer for 20 min, just to check in.  When the timer went off, I turned on the oven light for a quick peak, and immediately thought, “Are those boiling?  Brownies aren’t supposed to boil are they?”  Thinking they just needed some more time to set up, I let them bake for another 5 to 10 minutes.  At that point, I knew they had to be done, but as I removed them from the oven they were still, completely, boiling!  A gooey chocolate mess to be certain, I had no idea how to salvage this strange bubbling chocolate brew.  I sulked off to the next room and thought that perhaps they would solidify…

… and solidify they did.  As a good friend I have would say, they were quite a toothsome treat, though the treat part would be a vast overstatement.  Sugar and chocolate attempted to salvage the overall flavor, but I could easily crack a molar on the insanely flat and chewy thing that emerged.  I can’t even call them bars or brownies as I had to use all the muscle I could muster just to rip these things apart into the shapes you see below…


So, apparently, I still need eggs.  But, if anyone has a good idea for moist and dense vegan brownies (not those fluffy cake-like ones), I am all ears!  To avoid leaving you hanging (and craving) on a brownie post without an actual good idea, I just found a recipe for “The Best Vegan Brownies Ever” at the Vivacious Vegan blog.  I may be giving these a try soon.


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Comments (18)


  1. Sarena says:

    The funny thing here is that the picture looks good! I so feel your pain. It is a constant struggle to reinvent old favorite foods that are good for you and dairy free. I have seen the recipe for “The Best Vegan Brownies Ever”, but have not had a chance to try them yet. I am anxious to see what someone else thinks about them!

    • Dustin says:

      I have found that if you cover the boiling mess with foil with a couple holes till it cools, it is more like normal brownies and not so hard

  2. VeggieGirl says:

    I’m going to give Susan’s (from the Fatfree Vegan Kitchen) recipe a try, this weekend – I will let you know how they come out!! Oh and here is a link to that recipe:

  3. S says:

    Hey, I tagged you for yet another meme. Don’t hate me!

  4. what did you do with the mini-disasters?
    you could blend them into a smoothies [kidding].

    but what about chopping them into bits and mushing them into soy or rice ice cream, they should soften in there.

  5. alisa says:

    I did quite a bit of the dairy-free “ice cream” thing, and ate any parts that didn’t solidify into rocks as is. I found that when I just nibbled at it, it almost qualified as a dessert : )

    The only bits that went to waste were portions of the very outer crust. I couldn’t even break them on the counter. : (

    I can’t wait to see how VeggieGirl’s turn out!

    That’s okay Sarah, it looks like I am due for a meme!

  6. […] course, I left a bunch out to enjoy fresh, and a few extras for banana bread. Undeterred from my first vegan baking attempt at brownies, I jumped into the opportunity to remake my favorite banana bread sans eggs.  Sure, there were […]

  7. […] course, I left a bunch out to enjoy fresh, and a few extras for banana bread. Undeterred from my first vegan baking attempt at brownies, I jumped into the opportunity to remake my favorite banana bread sans eggs.  Sure, there were […]

  8. Jen B. says:

    Hi, after pulling yet another batch of boiling brownies out of the oven (different recipe from last time), I searched vegan brownies boiling, and your post was the first hit! So, thanks for letting me know I’m not alone! If you have a solution to this problem by now, please let me know!

    love, Jen.

  9. alisa says:

    Hi Jen,

    As a matter of fact I have yet to find the solution! The brownie recipe I put in my cookbook contains eggs, it is one of only two recipes that does because I just couldn’t get it right without eggs! There are many cakey-type egg-free brownie recipes out there, but I only like the fudgy ones, so my success has been minimal. There is one fudgy recipe for brownies in My Sweet Vegan that I hear is quite good, but I haven’t tried it yet.

  10. Kellie says:

    We’ve tried out a lot of vegan brownie recipes and this one is by far my favorite and comes out closest to “real” brownies. (As a side note, the site it comes off of is and has so many fantastic recipes!!!)

    Tofu Brownies

    Butter – 1/2 cup (1 stick)
    Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – 1/2 cup
    Sugar – 1 cup
    Silken Tofu, pureed – 1/2 cup (equivalent of 2 eggs)
    Vanilla Extract – 2 teaspoons
    Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
    All Purpose Flour – 1/2 cup
    Walnuts/chocolate chips/etc – 1/2 cup

    Step-by-Step Procedure 1. Preheat the oven at 350F/180C for 15 minutes.

    2. Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to a medium sized microwave safe bowl.

    3. Melt the butter in the microwave. Mine took 1 minute to melt. First I timed it for 30 seconds, stirred it and kept it for another 30 seconds.

    4. Remove the bowl from the microwave and let it stand for a minute.

    5. Now add the cocoa powder to the melted butter and combine it well until the cocoa powder dissolves. I used a wire whisk.

    6. Slowly add the sugar too and mix it well using a whisk.

    7. The mixture will look very stiff, making you wonder if you are doing the right thing. So don’t panic.

    8. Now add 1/4 cup pureed tofu and combine it well and then add the remaining 1/4 cup of tofu also and mix it well again.

    9. Next add the vanilla and salt too.

    10. Add the flour next and mix it until you no longer see any flour and also add the nuts or any other optional ingredients mentioned. Even now the dough is in a semi solid/spreadable butter consistency only. It’s not as watery as a cake batter that you can pour in a pan.

    11. Grease a 8×8 inch pan with the butter wrapper and spread the batter evenly and bake it for 25 minutes. (See My Notes)

    12. Cool completely before cutting into squares

    My Notes: To check for the doneness, the author of the recipe has mentioned that the toothpick inserted should come out with moist crumbs and not clean. Mine did not come like that after 25 minutes, so I baked it for another 3 minutes and even then it did not come like that. So I removed it from the oven anyway and kept the pan on a wire cooling rack to cool. Because of baking a couple minutes extra, I think the top was mildly dry. I would suggest baking it for just 25 minutes and it will continue to bake even after taking it out of the oven giving the correct texture.

    2. Cooling completely is a very IMPORTANT point too. So leave it undisturbed until the bottom of the pan is completely cool or for 2-3 hours and then slice it. At first I tried to slice it while the pan was still mildly hot, but was not able to cut properly. So I left it cool overnight and sliced it in the morning and got nice, clean pieces.

  11. Emilie says:

    Thank you so much for posting this!!!

    I was so upset when my brownies did this and I immediately googled it and found your post. It’s still upsetting not to have brownies as a vegan… but oh well. =/

  12. Tom says:

    Has anyone found a solution to the lava rock bubbling brownies? My vegan brownies come out like peanut brittle! I think I cracked a tooth?

    • alisa says:

      Hi Tom, unfortunately I haven’t yet. I like my brownies fudgie, and most vegan recipes are still too cakey for me. I’ve tried a couple of “fudgy” vegan recipes, but they still aren’t quite right and usually taste off. Still working!

  13. Jenifer says:

    I’m so glad you posted this. I have an egg sensitivity so I’ve been replacing eggs in lots of recipes lately. Usually with applesauce. My attempt at brownies today yielded the same results you describe above. I’m glad it wasn’t just me! I guess I just won’t be eating any brownies this Christmas…

  14. Sean says:

    After comparing your account of events to mine, my hypothesis is the use of applesauce as an egg substitute, because I’ve actually made eggless brownies reasonably successfully before (albeit somewhat cakey), but when I managed to make “boiled brownies” this time, it was after adding in some pureed cherries for flavor. In the past, I used cornstarch and a bit of water as an egg substitute (about 1 tbsp of each or so per egg). Might be something to try.

  15. Jessica says:

    I use chia seeds as egg replacement! Works great and my brownies aren’t hard as rocks either haha It’s a 1:1 ratio usually one egg is 1 Tablespoon chia 1 Tablespoon water I hope this helps… I didn’t read other comments to see if anyone else uses chia…

    • alisa says:

      That’s great! Thanks for sharing Jessica. They haven’t set up for me when using chia, but maybe I’m just not using the right recipe, lol.

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