Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Brownies And Other Chocolaty Things

Scrumptious stacked brownies with pecans baked inside and out.
On World Chocolate Day, last Saturday, I made a scrumptious batch of irresistible brownies despite having no vanilla. Admittedly, I was petrified that they would be terrible. After all, vanilla is used in almost every dessert recipe. To be out of vanilla is a baker's nightmare. Yet, the brownies came out well. Like super dense and yum yum. Without vanilla, you get a strong, pure chocolate tasting treat.
Today, on a special old Ohioan friend's birthday, instead of making a fresh new cake or cupcakes even, I ate the final remainder of these brownies straight from the baking pan. They taste wonderful slightly chilled, a lovely companion to cold almond milk.

In progress chocolate artworks, both large scale at 22" x 30," pencil and colored pencil. The left is "Fruit of the Cacao Pod Laborer," a drawing based on an image from the Grenada Chocolate Festival. The right is "Two Hot Chocolates: One For Here, One To Go," a drawing based on a fellow black male vegan that I met in Paris just after eating fair trade chocolate at their shop-- 1944 Gallery Vegan Coffee Shop
In addition to my brownie and art making, I have a sweet announcement: I'm writing a book. A book about what you ask? Chocolate. Yes, chocolate. My short synopsis: looking critically at the world of chocolate in a time during the Black Lives Matter movement, to shift eyes towards understanding food justice and compassion. Excitingly enough, I even have permission to include Food Empowerment Project's Chocolate List as the final segment. I couldn't be happier. Thus, I have spent time watching documentaries The Dark Side of Chocolate and its sequel Shady Chocolate whilst also analyzing how films such as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Chocolat evoke a glaring absence about the truths of chocolate production, of the involvement of laboring brown and black bodies.

Eat Your Greens "Green Giant" style, but chocolate every now and then is a definite requirement.
Meanwhile, back to exceptional brownies that are moist, decadent, and mouthwateringly amazing, the secret is always a bit of vinegar and coconut oil. After chilling them in the fridge, you get this thin brownie skin on top that looks beautiful as it is delicious. Plus, I fell in love with how my hands handled the precious butter knife cut squares with the little bits of chocolate coating fingers. Oh and the smell-- one can never forget that wafting smell of baked brownies or the first warm piece of heaven with the bite of crunchy pecans.  

Brownies Ingredients and Preparation

Divine Cocoa, a Food Empowerment Project recommendation, made the brownies fudgy and rich.

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa (used Divine Cocoa)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 1 /2 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup crushed pecans (walnuts or almonds are good substitutes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together.
Mix in coconut oil and almond milk.
Add apple cider vinegar and pecans.

Pour batter into pan. Top with extra pecans. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Finished brownies. I may have forked them a bit too much-- for testing purposes.

Brownies and Living Single reruns are the perfect treat. 

More brownies for the morning, the afternoon, the night....


  1. I will definitely be trying this recipe. I have a couple of great vegan cake recipes I love, but I struggle finding a good vegan brownie.
    Your book is much needed. I was very ignorant to the dark side of chocolate until just a few years ago to be honest. I don't know why I didn't know, but I didn't.
    Congratulations and I can't wait to read it! You have such a beautiful way with words it's going to be amazing!

    1. Thank you! That really means so much coming from you. Similarly, I too hadn't even perceived the depth of chocolate industry evil. With writing this book, I aim to call attention the cruelty, the hypocrisy, and the change that could happen if we continue supporting fair trade chocolate practices. I'm happy to be writing this and can't wait for you all to read it!

  2. I would totally buy your book! I also never knew about the dark side of chocolate, coffee or even blood diamonds until the stories came to light. I think it would make for compelling reading. Now I don’t even want to eat palm oil knowing habitats are being destroyed to produce it.

    1. Thank you, Beverlee! I appreciate that. And I agree with everything you have voiced about our lack disclosure-- from the foods we eat to the jewelry. Palm oil is another evil entirely. *sighs*

  3. Best of luck in writing your book! Your brownies sound amazing!

  4. Yey book!

    While baking old classic cakes, I found vanilla is rarely used. It is only a recent thing that we include vanilla in everything. It is kind-of nice excluding it and tasting the subtle different.

    1. Thank you, Jennifer!

      Although I just bought new vanilla, I do believe I will be omitting in other dessert recipes as well.