Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Brownies - In Black and White

It reached one hundred and three degrees today in the city of Seattle. At 10 pm I'm still sprawled in front of the fan, pressing an ice pack to my skin to keep my blood below the boiling point. For the past two days, the temperature has reached up into the hundreds, and the weather man says that we're in for more of the same. Thankfully I baked something before it got this hot. Twisting that oven knob to the "on" position would, I'm sure, be the end. Death by brownie baking.

The increasing temperatures seem to be having unexplained effects on some in the community. Particularly in the film development world. Strangely, the photographs that I took using Kodak 400 speed color film came back to me on a CD without any color at all. In the age of Photoshop's one click gray-scale, I feel it's unnecessary to use black and white film, but I decided to be flexible on this one and pretend that I had every intention of capturing these brownies without, well... without any brown.

This is the first time that I've ever made brownies from scratch, in fact. As a child, they were always brought to our kitchen via the Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker box. In my adult life, brownies have just never made their way into the line up, what with all of the pies and crisps and cookies taking up that prime oven space. At the request of my chocoholic boyfriend, I broke out the mixing bowls to try my hand at some. All in all, I am pleased with the results, although next time I'll use less baking powder and baking soda to make them a little less cakey and a bit more fudgey.


(Vegan Friendly)
adapted from Chef Joey Z's recipe on RecipeZaar

1 1/4 C. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 T. ground flax meal
3 T. water
1 C. spelt flour (feel free to use wheat)
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C. dark chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9x9” square baking pan. Measure the water into your smallest sauce pan and heat over medium-high. As soon as it starts to bubble, add the flax meal, turn the heat to low and whisk for a minute or so until the mixture is gooey (similar to an egg). Take off of the heat.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the applesauce, sugar and vanilla. Add the flax meal mixture to this and stir until well combined.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet, stirring until just combined. Make sure you don't over-mix. Fold in the chocolate chips and spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until your toothpick comes out clean. Cool, cut and scarf. I suggest upping the ante with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Hurry before it melts!


  1. Great Job! I have found that moisture is better if you can bring yourself to take them out of the oven when the toothpick is slightly sticky or has a few crumbs on it. They bake awhile longer in the pan after you take them out.

  2. The title of this made me expect it to be about brownies made with white chocolate in addition to ones made with dark, or perhaps about my favorite, the cream cheese marbled brownie. Those are decidedly not vegan friendly, however. :)


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