Vegan chickpea brownies , yeah you heard that right. VEGAN AND GLUTEN FREE.
This is incredibly fudgy and rich. Chickpea based and full of dark chocolate.
Bit of background:
This started off as a random thought, could I use chickpea flour to make a cookie? I got to the drawing board and started brainstorming ingredients, I knew I wanted it to be vegan so it had to be oil based, and it had to be heavy on the dark chocolate for 2 reasons:
- I like dark chocolate
- To mask the chickpea flour taste, which dulls down during baking but it’s still not pleasant
About 2 batches in, I realised the texture was just too fudgy for a cookie, and it instantly gave me brownie vibes, so I changed course and started adjusting this recipe towards a chickpea brownie. 2 months of testing and it was perfect, and I mean perfect. We had vegan chickpea brownies – success.
My cousin has made these more than I have as it fits perfectly into her dietary requirements and she basically just loves them, it’s an incredible vegan contender.
But how does this work?
One of the key ingredients here are the ground flax seeds, or sometimes known as linseeds. I tend to buy the golden variety and I usually purchase mine pre-ground as it saves the hassle of grinding these. It comes as a fine powder which forms this gelatinous egg-like substance when re-constituted with water. This process can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes, and I use the ratio of 1tbsp ground flax to 2tbsp cold water.
They help to bind baked goods by forming polysachharide chains which disperse during baking to form a network. These chains also trap moisture which helps to prevent dry baked goods, they even prevent gluten networks forming so you end up with more tender crumb structures. BUT, they are not an exact replacement for eggs, and an egg based recipe that calls for 4 eggs will not work by simply substituting 4 flax eggs, and vice versa – it doesn’t work as they are not the same ingredient and behave completely differently.
Eggs on the other hand are protein based and the protein strands form a network when exposed to heat, allowing for a stronger binding element. They help to build structure which is something that flax eggs can’t do (as it is starch based). Eggs can trap air between the protein network which is why they foam up and form airy meringues, which flax eggs again can’t do. For a vegan meringue, you would need to use an agent like aquafaba which does behave similarly to egg whites.
When it comes to replacing eggs in a recipe, in most cases you can’t simply rely on one sole egg-replacer but I’ve done all the thinking and testing for you here to make sure you guys end up with an incredible, fudgy brownie.
But Rish, could I just substitute eggs into this recipe instead of using flax eggs?
The short answer is no, I don’t think so. I don’t bake with eggs so I can’t give you a direct yes or no answer but my hunch is no. If anyone does try, please let me know how it goes.
Chickpea flour? Really? Can I just use normal flour?
Well, you could but it isn’t as nice. This recipe has been developed around chickpea flour, which lends a very fudgy result with these proportion of ingredients. The chickpea flour requires a higher proportion of fat in comparison to using regular flour, but does not needed any melted chocolate added in to provide the fudgy, rich texture we all look for. Using plain four here ends up with a rather dry, more cake-like result, but if you’re into that then fair play!
I tried these and they taste dry and cake-like, what happened?
You over-baked them buddy, keep these under-baked. There HAS to be wet batter when doing the toothpick test, that’s the right time to take these out of the oven, if your toothpick comes out clean, you’ve over-baked them.
I get an odd bitter taste from these?
Severely under-baked and the weird funky taste is the rawness of the chickpea flour. DO NOT TASTE THE BATTER WITH THESE – it will make you want to throw it all out, but have faith – it will work. You shall have perfect vegan chickpea brownies!
Vegan Fudgy Chickpea Brownies
- 9″ square baking tray
- 200 g chickpea flour
- 30 g cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 4 tbsp GROUND flax seeds not the whole seeds
- 8 tbsp water
- 150 ml flavourless oil e.g. sunflower
- 120 g white granulated sugar/caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 75 g of chopped chocolate/chocolate chunks
- Optional: nuts
- Preheat oven to 160 celsius fan or 180 celsius conventional
- Mix your flax seed and water and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes, it will start to become gelatinous and this will act as an egg replacer
- Whisk oil, sugar and vanilla together, add your flax eggs and keep whisking
- In a separate bowl mix together your chickpea flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa
- Sieve the dry mix into your wet mix
- Fold together, it will be quite a thick batter, and add in the chopped up chocolate/chunks
- Pop into a greased 9″ pan for 17 minutes. Use a spatula to help press this down.
- To check these are done, insert a toothpick and there should be a few small bits of wet crumbs. Let this cool completely before cutting into.