Updated: Nov 19, 2021
Chai flavors are warming, inviting and add just a hint of uniqueness to these ultra fudgy brownies. I've struggled to get the crackle top with a gooey interior in a vegan brownie, but this recipe hit all the high notes and then some!
Usually, my kids are into very basic desserts (and that's cool!), so I was not expecting them to enjoy these brownies whatsoever given that they were not "plain" and had the chai undertones. To my surprise (and my 5 year old's delight!), these brownies were deemed delicious and gobbled up. Needless to say, they didn't last long = ).
Sustainability Spotlight: Chocolate; we LOVE you! The average American consumes ~9.5 lbs of chocolate each year. That sounds like a lot, but America is only the 9th largest consumer of chocolate in the world. Europeans (the largest consumer) average 24 lbs of chocolate a year, per person! Whoa... Obviously, all of that consumption places a large "demand" on the industry and so the logical next question is the following: "What is the sustainability of chocolate?"
According to a 2018 study conducted by the University of Manchester (England), the carbon footprint of the chocolate industry as a whole "...contributes around 2.1 million tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to the atmosphere every year – roughly the equivalent of the combined emissions of an entire city." Yikes.
The same study further reviewed the impact of the different types of chocolate production; molded (like Easter bunnies), individually wrapped chocolates (like "fun size" Halloween candy), and large sharing bags (like bulk chocolates). The study ultimately found that the individually wrapped chocolates "...had the greatest environmental footprint due to their increased consumption of plastic, contributing between 37% and 43% of all GHGs. Sharing bags were responsible for between 28% and 33% of emissions, while (molded) chocolate and all other forms of chocolate brought up the rear with a fairly equal division of the remaining amount."
How can we make chocolate more sustainable? Easy enough answer based upon these stats; avoid individually wrapped chocolate and opt instead for sharing bags or better yet, opt for bulk buys and homemade goodies. I'm certainly not suggesting that we never utilize or indulge in the individually wrapped candies (I love Halloween and so do my kids; "fun" size pretty much allows that to safely happen in this modern era). The idea has been and always will be on this blog (and in my life) to make better choices when possible. If we do that, we can have our chocolate (candy) and eat it too!
1/2 cup coconut milk (Note, I made these brownies as a way to use the remaining coconut milk from my Spicy Thai Coconut Soup - waste not, want not!)
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life! minis)
1/4 cup vegan butter
1/3 cup Just Egg (Note: don't sub for flax egg; texture is not the same)
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F
Combine coconut milk and spices in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and turn off burner.
Stir in vegan butter and chocolate chips whisking to incorporate and melt. Your mixture should look like ganache.
Add JustEgg and incorporate with whisk again. Set aside chocolate mixture.
Combine all remaining ingredients (flour through salt) in a medium bowl. Add your chocolate mixture to your dry ingredients and stir until combined; mixture will be thick.
Spread your brownie batter into the bottom of an 8 x 8 square pan coated lightly with cooking spray; using the back of a spatula to spread to edges.
Slide your brownie pan into the oven and back for ~28-30 minutes until the top has "sugared" and formed a crust and the middle is no longer loose.
Let the brownies cool on a cooling rack for ~10 minutes; then cut & serve slightly warm.
Enjoy! With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie