The absolute best vegan brownies ever! These Vegan Peppermint Brownies are incredibly moist, fudgy, rich, super chocolatey, gluten-free and oil-free! Only 8 ingredients! Nobody would truly ever know they are vegan or gluten-free!
VEGAN PEPPERMINT BROWNIES
Now you have the perfect vegan brownie to serve with my Vegan Peppermint Mocha Latte. I’m just going to say out of all the vegan brownie recipes I’ve written and eaten in my life, including the amazing ones in my cookbook, these vegan peppermint brownies are hands down my favorite! I 100% mean that. In fact, my whole family felt the same! Bold statement, I know. But part of that is because I absolutely love the combo of chocolate and peppermint. You get the rich dark chocolate flavor, balanced out by the refreshing coolness of peppermint in every bite. It’s the perfect vegan brownie bite every time.
These are absolutely incredible, I can’t say it enough. They are very rich in deep dark chocolate flavor, super moist, very fudgy and have the most perfect crispy edges I’ve ever had in a brownie. Not hard crunchy, but crispy. SO good.
Everything about these vegan holiday brownies is perfect. Even my husband who claims to not like chocolate, could not stop eating these. I knew I had a winner!
PERFECT BROWNIE TEXTURE
To create these vegan gluten-free brownies, I started with the base of the popular ones from my cookbook, but made 4 significant changes of the ingredients. One main change being the flour! I cannot believe I’m saying that my favorite brownie texture I’ve ever had is based on using flaxseed and cornstarch! But you don’t taste any flax, but get the incredible soft fudginess on the inside, while the starch gives the most irresistible crispy edges. Crispy edges on a brownie are a must in my opinion for the perfect texture, but the fudgy middle brownies are stellar, too. Please do not sub the ingredients if at all possible, you will miss out on the magic of these.
(Only 8 main ingredients needed. Full details and measurements on the recipe card below.)
- Ground flaxseed: This is one of the magical ingredients for these vegan peppermint brownies. Shocking I know, but there is no main flour here, like oat or rice or all-purpose, etc. In fact, I tested these both with oat flour and rice flour and they were NOWHERE near as good. The flaxseed, just enough, not too much, gives these such incredible moisture and fudginess and density that we all love in a brownie. It is a key ingredient!
- Cornstarch: The combo of the cornstarch and flaxseed created the best texture I’ve tasted in a brownie. It is so good in fact, that they reminded me of the perfect brownies my Mom made growing up that won several brownie contests. Nobody would EVER KNOW these don’t have regular flour in them. What does the cornstarch do? Magic. Cornstarch in baking does 2 main things: It gives structure where eggs normally would, but also gives crispness. It doesn’t give the same crispness that potato starch or tapioca give. It’s a delicate light crispness, similar to a bite of a shortbread butter cookie. It gives the brownie edges a crispy magical texture that made me moan with each bite. Not the crunchy hard texture, but a light crispy tenderness.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Baking powder: I used a significant amount of baking powder in these compared to my other recipes. That is because there is so much fudginess going on from the flaxseed and moisture from the almond butter, that it creates balance in the texture so they aren’t too moist.
- Semi-sweet dairy-free chocolate chips: I used the regular size. I have used the HEB brand, the Nestle and the Sprouts brands. All are delicious and dairy-free.
- Roasted creamy drippy almond butter: Since this is the main ingredient, this is very important to have a really creamy smooth and runny almond butter. In other words, don’t use some dried up old stiff thick almond butter. The batter will not come together and you will end up with dry brownies. The brands that work best are the Target Good & Gather creamy almond butter (just roasted almonds, no added oil), the Trader Joe’s brand or making your own. Make sure it’s creamy and runny, ok! If yours is really dry and stiff, then blend it up in your food processor until it’s really smooth and runny, that will help.
- Maple syrup
- Peppermint extract: Some brands can vary in how strong they taste. I used the Star Kay White brand and it was really delicious and strong.
- Crushed candy cane peppermints for topping if you want it extra festive. If you are worried about coloring added to traditional candy canes, check Whole Foods, they sell the 365 brand that does not have food coloring. They don’t taste exactly the same, but are decent.
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN PEPPERMINT BROWNIES
Step 1: To a large bowl, combine the almond butter, syrup and peppermint extract. Stir until completely mixed.
Step 2: To a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
Step 3: Add the dry to the bowl of wet ingredients and add the chocolate chips. Stir the mixture for a couple of minutes until it comes together into a very thick sticky batter.
Step 4: Spread out into a greased pan (with a flat piece of parchment paper on the bottom) with your hands as best you can. Use a piece of parchment paper to flatten it out. Then dip your hands in water repeatedly to smooth it completely out and evenly to the edges. This will make it very easy to smooth out the batter.
Step 5: Bake 23 minutes or until a toothpick is nearly clean with a few sticky crumbs on it.
Step 6: Immediately add the crushed peppermint candies on top and press in gently. The heat will help them to stick.
Step 6: Cool the vegan peppermint brownies in the pan 30 minutes and then another 30 in the fridge. This is imperative to let the brownies cool and set. Slice and serve.
MORE VEGAN HOLIDAY RECIPES
- Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie
- Gluten-free Vegan Gingerbread Cake
- Vegan Gingerbread House
- Best Vegan Sugar Cookies
- Vegan Cardamom Pecan Cookies
- Gluten-free Vegan Snickerdoodles
- Chocolate Molasses Cookies
- Vegan Gluten-free Sugar Cut-Out Cookies
After you make these vegan peppermint brownies, if you love them as much as we did, please leave a rating below, the ratings are so important like I always say, for the recipes to rank well. I work very hard on creating my recipes to share so freely with the world, so that’s all I ever love in return is to hear from you all after you make them, thank you so much!
Vegan Peppermint Brownies (Gluten-free)
- 1 cup (256g) super creamy runny roasted almond butter (See Notes Below)
- 3/4 cup (240g) pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract (some brands can vary in how strong they are. I used the Star Kay White brand and it's quite strong and this was the perfect amount)
- 1/4 cup (28g) ground flaxseed (See Notes Below)
- 1/4 cup (32g) cornstarch
- 1/2 cup (48g) unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup (180g) semi-sweet dairy-free chocolate chips (Do not omit these, as they add sweetness to balance out the dark flavor and add fudginess. These are not meant to be brownies without chocolate chips.)
- 4 tablespoons crushed candy canes/peppermints for topping (optional but so delicious and festive)
- Please please weigh your ingredients for accuracy. This truly makes all the difference in baking results. Just follow my gram weights listed, as this is how my recipes are tested. Add the bowl to the scale, hit zero and add each ingredient, hitting zero in between.
- I use this scale.
- PLEASE READ the instructions so your brownies turn out correctly. The steps to adding the batter to the pan, as well as the cooling and chilling step are crucial to setting these.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and lightly grease an 8x8 square stone ceramic pan. I like stone here because it keeps the brownies really moist and the edges don't burn. But if you only have glass or metal, just keep an eye on the edges.
- Make sure the edges are greased and any excess dripping oil is gently wiped off. Now cut off a square piece of parchment paper that will lie flat on the inside bottom of the pan. This will help prevent any sticking to the bottom of the pan and make for very easy removal later.
- To a large bowl, add the almond butter, syrup and peppermint extract. Stir for a good minute or so until completely and thoroughly mixed. You want to make sure that extract is mixed through.
- To a medium bowl, combine the flaxseed, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Whisk very well.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Add the chocolate chips and then stir the mixture together slowly with a large spoon until it comes together into a cohesive, very thick and sticky chocolate batter. It will be very thick like pictured, almost like a cookie batter, this is normal. It will not be pourable or runny.
- Spoon the batter onto the prepared baking dish. It will be very thick and sticky and not easy to spread. Use your fingers to pat it down as best you can and then take a piece of parchment paper to flatten it out. Now the key next step, dip your fingers repeatedly in water to go around the brownie batter and smooth the top completely out and evenly across the top and along the edges, as pictured in the post. This step is important so the batter is even and spread out and bakes evenly. Having wet fingertips makes it much easier to spread out the batter.
- Bake for 22 to possibly 25 minutes, depending on your oven. Mine were perfect at exactly 23 minutes. They will be puffed up, have a dry shiny top, but you will know they are done when you insert a toothpick in the middle and there may be a few sticky crumbs, not actual runny batter, on it. Do not overbake them. Check at 22 minutes. If it's a tad too wet with runny batter, go another minute until it's sticky crumbs or almost clean.
- While the brownies are baking, get the crushed peppermints ready, as you will need to sprinkle them on the top as soon as you remove the brownies from the oven. To crush them, either blend them up in a Vitamix or food processor so they are very tiny pieces or a powder. I left some chunks for presentation purposes in photos, but they were a bit too big to eat like that, so I suggest making them very small. You can also add them to a ziplock bag and pound them.
- As soon as the brownies come out of the oven, sprinkle the crushed peppermints on top all over and gently press them in. The heat will slightly melt them, making them stick as they cool.
- Here are the cooling instructions you do not want to skip! Leave to cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Then place the whole pan in the fridge for just another 30 minutes. I don't care how hard it is to wait, it will create the most fudgy, perfectly dense and set texture that will make them easy to slice and remove. Remove from the fridge and use a sharp knife to slice into 16 brownies. Enjoy! You can keep them at room temperature for a softer brownie or the fridge for a firmer brownie, keeping in mind they harden and dry out quicker in the fridge. Now go make them and let me know after you make them!
- ALMOND BUTTER: Since this is the main ingredient, this is very important to have a really creamy smooth and runny almond butter. In other words, don’t use some dried up old stiff thick almond butter. The batter will not come together and you will end up with dry brownies. The brands that work best are the Target Good & Gather creamy almond butter (just roasted almonds, no added oil), the Trader Joe’s brand or making your own. Make sure it’s creamy and runny, ok! If yours is really dry and stiff, then blend it up in your food processor until it’s really smooth and runny, that will help.
- GROUND FLAXSEED: This is one of the magical ingredients. Shocking I know, but there is no main flour here, like oat or rice or all-purpose, etc. In fact, I tested these both with oat flour and rice flour and they were NOWHERE near as good. The flaxseed, just enough, not too much, gives these such incredible moisture and fudginess and density that we all love in a brownie. It is a key ingredient! It is imperative that it is finely ground so the texture is perfect. I do not like the store-bought already ground flaxseed, it is not very fine at all and is quite gritty, so I blend it up myself in my Vitamix until it's finely ground like a smooth flour. I also prefer the light golden flaxseed for my recipes, but regular should be fine, as long as it's finely ground.
- CORNSTARCH: The combo of the cornstarch and flaxseed created the best texture I've tasted in a brownie. It is so good in fact, that they reminded me of the perfect brownies my Mom made growing up that won several brownie contests. Nobody would EVER KNOW these don't have regular flour in them. Cornstarch in baking does 2 main things: It gives structure where eggs normally would, but also gives crispness. It's a delicate light crispness, similar to a bite of a shortbread butter cookie. It gives the brownie edges a crispy magical texture. Not hard/crunchy, but crispy. If you cannot have corn, tapioca (the same weight amount) is the next best sub for moisture and crispy edges. It won't be the exact same crisp, but will still be good.
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