Coffee Brownies

I have such an emotional attachment to brownies. I can’t think of any other dessert that generates as much enthusiasm from me. The very last time I went to a grocery store before this pandemic lockdown I stopped in at McEwan (Chef Mark McEwan flagship market at Yonge and Bloor) on my way home from work to see if I could get a few last-minute pantry essentials. I’d been stopping there regularly even though it’s not really directly on my route home and it’s expensive. It’s also usually not busy and for some reason reminds me of Chelsea Market in New York. I thought they would have more in stock and fortunately they did, but of course this whole trip was an elaborate ruse just to buy one of their AMAZING vegan brownies.

That brownie of course didn’t last long, and I started eating it on my walk back home. I knew once I arrived at home, I would be staying there for the foreseeable future and the thought was a bit overwhelming, but for those few minutes savouring that delicious brownie, I felt okay. This is how much I like brownies.

I haven’t always had the best luck making my own brownies and I struggled for a long time trying to get the texture right. Vegan egg substitutes never really gave me the desired results but after some experimentation I came up with a solution that produces incredible moist brownies, while still maintaining some of the luxurious density. My secret is a blended mixture of coffee, dates, and coconut cream.

I served it with some mango puree (just mango pulsed with a little bit of oat milk) and pears poached in balsamic vinegar.

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Ingredients: (make about 12 brownies)
3 cups of flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 cup of cocoa powder
1/2 cup of sugar
1 1/2 cup of dates
1 cup of coffee
1 tbsp. of vanilla
160ml/5.4 oz. can of coconut cream
1/2 cup of plant-based milk

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Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Lightly grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with vegan margarine and set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients; 3 cups of flour, 1 tsp of baking powder, 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, 1/2 cup of sugar.
4. In a blender or food processor, blend together 1 1/2 cups of dates, 1 cup of coffee, 160ml of coconut cream, and 1 tbsp. of vanilla
5. Add the blended coffee mixture to the dry ingredients along with 1/2 cup of plant-based milk
6. Bake for 20 minutes. I like to let them cool in the fridge before eating but maybe that’s just personal preference.  And don’t forget to dust generously with cinnamon!

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