How I Made The Perfect Brownie aka Fudgy Coconut Butter Brownies

How I Made The Perfect Brownie aka Fudgy Coconut Butter Brownies

I did it….I finally did it….no, I didn’t win the lottery…..I made some brownies! So, I guess I won the brownie lottery because I finally perfected the brownie recipe…..at least in my eyes. This is a detailed post, but I truly am passionate about sharing my experiences in the kitchen.

It’s kind of a known thing that brownies are really rich because of their traditional butter, refined sugar and white flour, right?

I knew I had to mimic that taste and texture….but without all of those ingredients. Oh, I made them gluten-free and oil-free too….but you’d never know. These brownies are not low calorie or low fat….they are brownies. I like my brownies rich and sweet. In fact, whenever I see a dessert labeled fat-free or sugar-free, that usually screams artificial chemicals! Using bananas or avocados just isn’t going to cut it here on flavor, either. I wanted them to both taste and look authentic.

These bad boys are not full of processed junk and they are ingredients I feel good about. Plus, I love that they are oil-free….which you hardly ever see in a brownie recipe. That said, control yourself and don’t eat the whole pan at once. They are so rich though, honestly one is very satisfying.

Look at that crackle top…..

I’ve tasted a few vegan brownies before and they were ok, but never knocked my socks off…typically too mushy and always containing ingredients I didn’t love or needed to sub.

Well, I can’t tell you how many trials I have done attempting to make the perfect brownie over the past year. Each time, they were just good or ok, so I would give up, set it aside and try again another day. I have high standards with brownies. You should see how many versions I have on my recipe notepad….hahaha. Well, I was determined this past weekend to get it down. Those close to me know I am stubborn, and will never give up with a goal.

My 7 taste testers can account for their authenticity. I had my friend’s family and her children (all not vegan), as well as my hubby and daughter, give their big approval. My friend called them “fudgy, perfect texture, moist, wow, and I can’t think of one criticism”! Do you know how happy and relieved I was to hear this?! I had worked sooooo long on brownies, that once I nailed it, I was thankful that others loved it too. Each of us have our own opinions though, so you be the judge and try them yourself. :)

Well, I tried many different flours, amounts, liquids, dry sweetener, liquid sweetener, etc. Then I stepped back and thought about what I wanted in my brownies, but have them still taste as rich and decadent as any of the best brownies out there.

Here was my criteria:

  • vegan, obviously
  • gluten-free….without needing 3 or 4 different flours
  • oil-free…without the use of vegan butter
  • fudgy
  • rich
  • sweet
  • very thick and substantial
  • to bake evenly and not dip in the center, like so many recipes
  • the famous crackle top
  • 8 ingredients….duh

How I did it?

  • Well, my first issue was using almond flour…my normal go-to flour. It was making the brownies too tender, not enough structure and too moist, if you can believe that. I needed them fudgy and substantial….ya know, like a brownie.
  • I decided to just use oat flour as the main flour and instead of oils, use rich “butters”…a combo in fact, and that turned out to be AMAZING. I used smooth, creamy coconut butter in place of all the oil and butter you typically see in a brownie recipe. Then I added some smooth almond butter as well. The almond butter is much thicker and heavier and gives the brownies their fudge quality and the coconut butter makes them creamy and full of flavor. It’s just a hint of coconut though, not overpowering at all.
  • I also got rid of using any leavening agent! For this recipe, once I took out the leavening, they become the perfect, fudgy brownie. Just perfect. They get enough rise from the oats and tapioca, as they rise some when baked.
  • Don’t overcook them. Brownies can quickly go from fudgy to cake-like with just a minute or two. I took them out while they still had a few crumbs (not liquid) on the toothpick because they are still slightly cooking, upon removal, and they end up being the perfect texture.

I make my own coconut butter for my recipes too. Super easy. You can do this if you have a food processor, or just use store bought.

Regarding substitues: If you don’t like coconut, then these brownies may not be for you. However, the coconut is just a hint, not overpowering. I’m afraid subbing the coconut with all nut butter would be too heavy. For goodness sakes, do not sub with coconut oil! That would make them a brick of greasy oil. I do not recommend subbing though, because I tested this recipe many times and the coconut butter is a major ingredient and what worked so well. For a nut-free version, you can try creamy sunbutter in place of the almond butter. I haven’t tried it yet though.

Fudgy Coconut Butter Brownies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 21 minutes

Total Time: 36 minutes

Yield: 16 brownies

Serving Size: 1 brownie

Fudgy Coconut Butter Brownies

You will literally pinch yourself with how rich and fudgy these brownies are. Loaded with whole foods ingredients that give the most authentic brownies, without the need of oils, butter or refined sugars.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup oat flour (85 g)
  • 1/2 cup high quality unsweetened cocoa powder (40 g) (I used Ghirardelli-high quality is recommended)
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca starch (22.5 g) (acts as the starch and egg)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet dairy-free chocolate chips (I prefer mini chips as they disburse better)
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup melted coconut butter (not coconut oil!)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons roasted creamy almond butter (roasted is creamier and more flavor)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Note
  • I don't recommend subbing any ingredient, as this recipe was tested many times and each ingredient works harmoniously and I can't vouch for how subs will turn out. Do not sub with extra almond butter or other nut butters in place of the coconut butter, as that would make it too heavy and oily. Definitely do not sub with coconut oil! Coconut butter works to ensure it is creamy, moist and has a light effect when baked, much different than the oil. For a nut-free version, you can try sunbutter in place of the almond butter, but I haven't done it, so don't know the result.

Instructions

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray an 8x8 metal pan with nonstick spray.

For the oat flour, I make my own oat flour using gluten-free quick cooking oats. I do not use old fashioned oats because it is hard to get them into a fine flour and I don't like the chewy result in baked goods. I always keep a large batch of ground oat flour on hand. Just add 2 cups or so to your food processor and process for 2 minutes until it is a fine flour. Measure out 3/4 cup and add to a large bowl.

Add the cocoa powder, tapioca starch and salt. Whisk well. Stir in the chocolate chips.

I make my own coconut butter, as you can see above. You can do this or use store bought. Just make sure it is melted and in complete liquid form when measuring 3/4 cup. Add to a small bowl. Add the room temperature syrup, almond butter, vanilla and stir until very smooth and well mixed. It is important that the other liquids are at room temperature, because if they are cold, it can cause the coconut butter to separate.

Now, pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. The batter will be thick. Immediately pour into the prepared pan, as the batter thickens up quickly from the oats. Spread out evenly to the edges and dampen your fingertips, if necessary.

Bake for 20-22 minutes, no more. Mine were perfect at 21 minutes on all 4 batches. They are done when a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs on it (not liquid), the edges have slightly pulled from the pan and the top is beginning to crackle.

Important

After removing the brownies from the oven, no matter how hard it is, do not cut them while still warm, they will fall apart. Follow these exact steps for your perfect brownies. Let them cool in the pan, untouched, for 45 minutes. Carefully cut them with a very sharp knife into 16 squares. Cool another 10 minutes, then you can eat one! Or two! Cover with foil and store at room temperature.

Notes

*Gluten-free, oil-free, soy-free, nut-free option

*Nutrition per brownie: 230 calories, 12.8 g fat, 3.7 g protein, 28.3 carbs

http://thevegan8.com/2014/01/28/fudgy-coconut-butter-brownies/

60 Comments

  1. Brandi. those brownies are beautiful, I mean it perfect vegan brownies. I will be making these beauties. I wish I could re blog but don’t know to do it with your blog. They are gorgeous. I am so excited for you. You really did good!!

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Thank you so much Suzanne!! It has been a loong labor of love, haha. Oh, I can’t wait to hear what you think!!!

  2. WOW!!!! Congratulations Brandi on making these amazing looking brownies!!! They totally look like a “regular” brownie with that gorgeous crackly top and dense, fudgy-looking crumb. I totally trust that you and all of your cooking trials have perfected the best vegan, gluten-free, oil-free brownie ever–you are killing it in the kitchen! So…can I come over? I’ll bring the ice cream ;)

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      You are way too sweet Erika!! Thank you so much! Too many trials to count…seriously my recipe notepad has so many versions that just didn’t cut it. Yes, I was thinking of posting a pic with ice cream on top and I forgot darnit!! lol! Come on over!

  3. I am seriously glad to see these. I have had SO many brownie failures! These look perfect-o!

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Thank you Annie! Oh gosh, ME TOO, ME TOO! I have tried to make vegan, gluten-free brownies so many times and I just got made everytime. Well, the brownie gods were with me this past weekend, haha! I had to totally rethink my method and then it worked :)

  4. These look amazing Brandi! I wish I could make them but we have oat and nut allergies (including coconut allergies). :(

    I love looking at you photos! They are always beautiful and mouth watering.

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Aww thank you Holly! I’m so sorry to hear about so many allergies :( . You could try subbing the oat with a gluten-free all purpose flour, cashew butter for coconut butter and sunbutter for almond…but with all those changes, I don’t know how they’d turn out. Don’t worry though, I’m already beginning to work on another version :)

  5. MAKING THESE! OMG there is SO MUCH love that went into these brownies…AMAZING JOB!

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Oh, I can’t wait to hear Brittany what you think!! Thank you so much…yes, lots of love, you are so right!!! :)

  6. I know you had said you have tried numerous versions but have tried flax seed as the egg replacer instead of tapioca starch? If so how did they turn out?

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Flaxseed won’t work instead of tapioca, since tapioca is a starch and it balances out the other liquids and also helps to somewhat ruse the brownies and contribute to the browning on top. Using flaxseed would make the batter more liquidy I’m afraid and change the other ratio of ingredients.

  7. Oh yum. Totally want to try these although there is one ingredient I don’t have… but I feel like arrowroot would be an easy sub for the tapioca, no?

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Hi Janet! Arrowroot could possibly be subbed, but it doesn’t perform quite the same as tapioca when baked. I like tapioca because it gives a little rise and helps brown the top and keep things moist. That’s why I tend to always use tapioca because it keeps things very moist and works so well as binding. Arrowroot also thickens up the batter much quicker and can be drying. You can try the arrowroot, but not sure how it will affect the final fudgy quality. Let me know! :)

  8. What can I say except YUM! These look like perfect brownies. Wondering if you could move in next door and I could be your taste tester?
    PS – you might not like the cold Canadian winters though…..

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Thank you Cindy so much! Sure, why not….oh, but yes, I’m a Texan and am afraid I’d just die in that cold weather :)

  9. Perfect is right. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner :D

    Cheers
    CCU

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Sounds good to me!

  10. oh wow. that top and the fudgy middle! these brownies are perfect!

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Aww thank you Richa!! :)

  11. Oh my word Brandi, you are amazing! Those brownies look absolutely perfect and I love how much healthier they are. You are a genius. YUM!

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      You are so sweet, thank you Melanie!! Best part is they taste just as rich as unhealthy brownies, no lie!

  12. Bravo, Brandi! Your perseverance totally paid off because these brownies look as dense, rich, fudgy and glorious as the full fat version. I can’t get over how gorgeous they are, especially with that perfect crackly top! Now I have to get my hands on some coconut butter. Good thing you cautioned against using coconut oil because I didn’t even stop to think that they were two different things.

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Thank you so much Nancy! It was a lot of time and work coming to these, but well worth the wait. I’m so excited at how they turned out, that I’m already working on some other versions for readers too. :)

  13. I love how far the world of vegan baking has come! Even the strongest skeptic couldn’t resist these! They look glorious!

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Thank you so much Mary! Yes, all my taste testers (besides my hubby and daughter) were not vegan and absolutely loved them! There is absolutely no detecting that these are missing anything than a “regular” brownie. Honestly, I like them better than any brownies I’ve ever had. :)

  14. Your many trials and hard work certainly paid off. These look absolutely perfect :)

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Thank you so much Whitney!!

  15. This just looks delicious, I love how you take stuff everyone loves and just make it healthier. Keep ‘em coming!

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Thank you so much Gael! I appreciate that…I love taking an indulgent dessert and making it healthier and gluten-free and oil-free, but still tastes just as indulgent. Can’t beat a brownie recipe that doesn’t need 4 or more different flours either, like most gluten-free ones! Easy and fast! :)

  16. These look great! Thanks for sharing! Love your blog!

  17. I am so going to make them, dear Brandi! They look fraking delicious too! I can’t wait to make them!

    Yummmmmmm! You nailed them perfectly indeed! :) x

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Oh, please let me know how they turn out Sophie! They really are incredibly delicious! :)

  18. Ooh, these do look perfect chica! Celeste :)

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Thank you so much Celeste!!

  19. They look perfect..as usual. Hope you are going to write a vegan desserts book soon:)

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Aww that’s a wonderful compliment, thanks Pavithra!! xx

  20. These are yummy looking brownies! I’m glad I found this recipe. Will try it next time!

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Thank you so much Apsara!! :)

  21. These look fab!!! Just found your website recently and I must say you are a very talented lady! I am really enjoying following your blog and trying new recipes :) Just a question re. the tapioca starch – where did you find it? I have a Whole Foods in my city and I’m hoping it will be in there – in the baking section maybe? Thanks

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      You are so sweet Jules! So glad you found me! Yay! Yes, you can totally get tapioca at whole foods. I am even able to get it at both of my local grocery stores in the specialty flour section. Tapioca starch and tapioca flour are the same thing, fyi. I use it in practically every baked recipe on my blog, so you will definitely get your money’s worth! I can’t wait to hear feedback on the recipes you make. Thanks so much!

  22. [...] more flavor than just coconut oil and is much less greasy. It also is a secret ingredient to how I made the perfect brownie . If you don’t like coconut, then just make my Cinnamon Spice Cheesecake Tart, because the [...]

  23. My left hand is covered in brownie batter as I type this message. I’ve doubled the recipe, and I’m trying it out in a mini muffin pan. If the finished product tastes half as good as the batter on my fingers, then I am a believer. I’ll reply with my success (or failure) given the changes I made. So excited! Thanks for devising such a wonderful recipe :)

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Awesome Ariel! I love to be covered in brownie batter, haha! I can’t wait to hear how they turned out for you! They’ve been so popular! Did you sub anything or just put them in mini muffin pans? Thanks for your feedback :)

  24. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe! I have tried many vegan brownie recipes and none turned out quite right until this one. Your perserverance really paid off! I made them for my office and they were a huge hit with vegans and nonvegans alike. They are my new go-to brownie recipe and my new gluten-free friendly go to.

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Yay Melinda!! Thank you so much for the awesome feedback and I’m so glad to hear that you and your coworkers loved them so much, even non vegans! That’s always music to my ears! Thanks so much for the feedback!

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Oh and thank you for tagging me on Instagram as well, with your pics of the brownies!!

  25. I found my way here by some googleplay, the ingredients really caught my attention, especially the coco n almondbutters. Never before have I tried any other but the sugary brownies, so,
    I’d like to thank you for the recipe, these were amazing!

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Ahhh I love that you found me through google Telic! Thank you so muc for the awesome feedback…so glad you loved the brownies, I love getting feedback, thanks so much!

  26. Hi there, Thanks for the recipe, this fits most of my “criteria” for healthy desserts for my family too! I just made these and they are cooling now so I haven’t tasted them, but the batter tasted delightful. I was just wondering though, I didn’t get the beautiful shiny crackly top that yours did, and I followed the recipe to the letter. What do you think causes that, and how can I make that happened next time? Thanks so much!

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Hi Rebecca! Thank you so much for making them! Hmm, I’m not sure, I make them all the time and they always have the crackle topping and so have everybody who has made them….so, the only thing I can think is perhaps since every oven varies, maybe they needed to be cooked longer. The crackle comes towards the end from the oils of the coconut butter and almond butter cooking and baking to form the crackle crust on top. Maybe perhaps they just needed another couple minutes of baking. Each oven can vary so much. Also, did you make sure to measure the coconut butter at a complete pourable liquid, not just softened, but liquid? That way to ensure you are getting enough coconut butter in the recipe to help with the top as well.

      As long as they taste fabulous, that is the main thing, but try cooking them a little longer is my only guess without being there to see. Let me know how they turned out! Thanks :)

  27. They look delicious but looks like you baked them in an aluminum pan?? Glass is always a better choice.

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Hi Susan, thanks! They are delicious regardless of the pan you use, so feel free to use any pan/dish you like. The aluminum is what I have and it worked for me, but if you want to use glass, then that works too. I use glass and stainless steel and parchment paper for probably 90% of my cooking/baking, so this is one of the few recipes that doesn’t use glass or stainless steel.

  28. Has any one tried peanut butter instead of almond butter? I love peanut butter. Also it’s less costly. It seems so similar to almond butter in thickness and oil content. Thanks.

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Hi Allan! You could definitely use peanut butter in place of almond butter, I don’t see why not. If you don’t mind the peanut butter taste, then go for it and please, please come back and let me know how they turned out! Thanks!

  29. These will be in my belly this weekend. Kudos to you for not giving up on the recipe development process! From one stubborn gal to another. :)

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Awesome! Thank you so much…please come back and leave me feedback here, can’t wait to hear what you think!!

  30. [...] and fruit. We had vegan chili, tortillas, and vegan brownies I made from this recipe here. Campers had sandwich supplies and lots of yummy snacks! There was also a snack time for campers [...]

  31. Wow, these look amazing!!! Is tapoica starch healthy and shouldn’t we use cacao powder instead of cocoa powder? Sorry, just curious!! I could scarf these down in seconds :)

    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com

      Hi Malini! I don’t know if tapioca is technically “healthy” or not, all I know is it is from the cassava plant and it is vegan and gluten-free and it works amazing as an egg substitue and I use it for a lot of my baking needs. These are brownies, so I’m not concerned at it being perfectly “healthy” and the recipe doesn’t use a large amount of tapioca anyways. I look at desserts as treats and trust me, you are only going to need one brownie to satisfy at a time, they are rich, so enjoy! Oh, and feel free to use cacao instead of cocoa. I use raw cacao in my raw desserts but list cocoa powder in baking just because I know the majority of people out there are going to choose the easy, less expensive route. Thanks and please let me know if you make these! :)

  32. I made them this afternoon and I’m so happy with the result !! That’s the first ever my mum and dad really like a vegan baking ! They always say that my baking things taste different and they never really like it but my dad said today “I didn’t even noticed that was vegan !” I’m soooo happy !!! Thank you !

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