You know the feeling you get when you bite into that perfectly textured baked good and it’s so good you almost want to cry? These vegan brownies were it for me. I did trial after trial, most of which were very tasty. But none hit the nail on the head until these happened. Date sweetened, with the absolutely perfect combination of lots of chew and a touch of fudge. These are nut-free, gluten-free, easy to make and so amazing! You NEED these in your life!
We all have different opinions on what is considered the perfect brownie. Some like them cakey, some super fudgy, and some are in the dense and chewy crowd. I am very picky when it comes to texture. As much as I like fudge, I am not a fan of baked goods with too much moisture. It’s like when you have a sandwich and the bread gets wet. GAG ME WITH A SPOON (did I date myself there?). So when I started my brownie journey, I was hell bent on nailing MY perfect vegan brownie. I wanted just enough density, with the perfect chewy texture and a small touch of fudge. I wanted my sweetener to be dates, I love the idea of whole foods being my sugar of choice (although I did many trials with coconut sugar and maple syrup just to make sure dates were the best sweetener, they were).
I also wanted these to be NUT-FREE so that I could bring them to the kid’s school, and for all of you that can’t have nuts out there. You’re welcome. Bonus, NO COCONUT in the brownie either! My hubby did a happy dance (he hates coconut). And double bonus, you can adjust the sweetness of these with the type of chocolate you decide to use. Semi sweet chocolate will give you that classic chocolate brownie taste. Throw in the deep dark chocolate and you get a much less sweet flavor but your chewy vegan brownie is still amazing. You decide. You run the show.
The ultimate ending in these vegan date sweetened brownies is the caramel crunch topping. On their own, these are amazing. But add caramel and a cacao nib crunch and these take you to a level of ultimate brownie heaven. They are insane. I didn’t even get sick of them after I made at least 5 extra trials to make sure they were perfect. I tried them on friends with double thumbs up all around, and now all I need is for you all to try them! Leave me a comment and let me know when you do! I’m also on Instagram, so find and tag me at veggiesdontbite AND #veggiesdontbite so I don’t miss it, and on Facebook. So many places to show some brownie love! Now go make yourself some fully chewy, date sweetened, slightly fudgy, thick and amazing vegan caramel brownies.
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour I use a finely ground brown rice flour
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- 2 cups vegan chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips, divided
- 1 cup tahini room temperature
- 12 Medjool dates soaked in hot water, plus 1/4 cup of the soaking water
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup coconut sugar depending on how sweet you want it
- 1/2 cup coconut cream the top layer from about a can of full fat coconut milk, stored in refrigerator for 2-3 days or freezer for 2-3 hours
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- 1/4 cup cacao nibs
- Preheat oven to 375. Soak dates in hot water, allow to soak while prepping the other ingredients. I soak mine with the pits because it is easier to remove the pits once soaked and soft.
- Combine flour, starch, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and whisk to break up clumps. Set aside.
- Melt 1 cup chocolate chips with tahini using a microwave or double boiler. If using a microwave, be sure to heat in short 10-15 second increments so you avoid burning it. Stir in between heatings to break down large chunks. It took mine a little over 1 minute to melt, but it will depend on your microwave.
- Once melted, pour mixture into a blender or food processor (save the bowl you used for later). Add dates (make sure to remove the pits), 1/4 cup of the soaking water, molasses and vanilla. Blend until smooth. If you have some small chunks of dates that’s okay, it will just contribute to the chewiness. Blend until really smooth if you prefer no chunks.
- Add in the flour mixture. Blend again to combine.
- At this point you can either pour the last cup of chocolate chips into the blender or food processor and pulse to combine, or you can put the mixture into the bowl you used to melt the chocolate in and then mix the chocolate chips in there to avoid any chips getting chopped a bit which may happen if you combine in the blender or food processor. This is just a personal preference.
- Pour batter into prepared pan (spray pan with a bit of coconut oil or line with parchment paper) or into a nonstick pan. If you spray with coconut oil, wipe down excess. This still makes your brownies oil free as no oil was added to the mixture. I promise the baking police will not get you. You can use either a 9 x 9 pan or an 8 x 8 pan for very thick brownies.
- Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out mostly clean with a bit of batter on the end. Ovens vary so keep a close eye around the 15 minute mark. They cook more as they cool so make sure NOT to overbake. You want the toothpick to be slightly wet when you test, if it is dry you left them to bake too long.
- Allow to cool completely, at least an hour but the longer the better, and then cut and serve. These brownies get better the longer they set. I tried them the next day and even the day after that and they just got chewier and fudgier.
- Make the caramel while brownies are cooking. Place all ingredients, except cacao nibs, in a small pot. Whisk over medium heat until you get a rolling boil. Turn heat to medium low, then continue to whisk until slightly thickened, about 5-7 minutes.
- Once it is done, allow it to cool in the fridge about 15-20 minutes. Once cool, pour on the brownies, then sprinkle the cacao nibs on the top.
- You can also pour the caramel on the brownies when hot, then top with cacao nibs and place the entire pan in the fridge to cool. This may have an effect on the texture of the brownies, so keep that in mind.
Tips to prep ahead: Make caramel.
Baby/toddler food idea: Good toddler treat. Cut into small bite sized pieces.