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This vegan brownies recipe is rich and insanely fudgy! A wholesome treat that tastes decadent, it’s also gluten-free and mostly whole food plant-based.

Vegan Brownie Recipe

The day before our son was born, we made this vegan brownie recipe. We had no idea that the next day our lives would change forever. All we knew was this: these brownies were insanely fudgy and chocolatey! And somehow they were 100% plant based. They instantly jumped to the top of our chocolate desserts list. We kept pulling them out of the fridge to munch on another little piece. Yep, they’re that good! And now they have a sentimental story attached to them, too.

Gluten free and vegan brownies

The BEST vegan brownies: from The First Mess cookbook!

One day, we interviewed our pal Laura Wright on our podcast. She told mentioned these fantastic vegan brownies from her new The First Mess cookbook. Apparently they were seriously fudgy. Intrigued, I made them a few days later for a dinner party. We ate vegetarian gyros as our friends’ two-year-olds threw dinosaurs at each other. We laughed and drank caipirinhas and ate vegan brownies. They were very fudgy: dare I say the best vegan brownie recipe we’ve ever had (the kids loved them).

Drinking coffee the next morning, I glanced at my phone and saw a text from our son’s birth mom. “Hey I’m in the hospital. They think I’m in labor.” Whhhhhhaaat?! My heart went through the roof. Alex and I scrambled to pack a bag for the hospital. Fast forward a few days and we were back at home with the best possible sweet little man in tow. Lucky for us; some very fudgy vegan brownies were left over—perfect for a very tired but very happy mama and daddy. (Read the rest of Larson’s birth story here!)

All that to say: what I love about cooking is that it’s more than just recipes. It’s LIFE. It’s these life moments we get to share with people, when people make our recipes or they make ours. It’s so rich, and so, so good. Thank you, Laura, for this sweet recipe for a sweet time in our life!

Check out Laura’s AMAZING cookbook of incredible plant-based recipes and vibrant photos—it’s one of our favorites this year. On Amazon: The First Mess by Laura Wright.

The First Mess Cookbook

Tips for making this vegan brownie recipe

These fudgy vegan brownies are crazy easy to make! They’re beautifully fudgy with a genius combination of almond butter, applesauce, and coconut flour. there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure your brownies come out the best they possibly can.

  • If you’re 100% vegan, make sure the dark chocolate is dairy-free. Most dark chocolates are naturally vegan, but dairy products are easy to sneak into chocolate bars so read the label to be safe!
  • The batter is super thick! The vegan brownie batter is going to be incredibly thick. That’s what you want! If you have a hard time spreading the batter out evenly, spray a little cooking spray onto the back of your spatula. That should help you pat down the batter more easily.
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour after baking. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan after baking. Then, cover the pan with foil and pop them into the fridge for an hour. This step makes a huge difference in this vegan brownie recipe. Chilling makes them easier to cut and prevents them from falling apart when you bite into them.
Plant based brownies

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Listen to Laura Wright on our A Couple Cooks Podcast!

This vegan brownie recipe is…

Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, naturally sweet, egg-free, plant-based, dairy-free

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Vegan Brownies (Insanely Fudgy!)


  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x

Description

This vegan brownie recipe is rich and insanely fudgy! A wholesome treat that tastes decadent, it’s also gluten-free and mostly whole food plant-based.


Ingredients

Scale
  • ¾ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup chopped chocolate from a 70% dark dairy-free chocolate bar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons whole almonds, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8-inch square pan with a piece of parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond butter, maple syrup, applesauce, and vanilla.
  3. To the almond butter mixture, add the cocoa powder, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine, ensuring that there are no dry lumps of cocoa in the batter.
  4. In a double boiler, melt half of the chocolate chunks. Vigorously stir the melted chocolate into the brownie batter until fully incorporated.
  5. Scrape the brownie batter into the prepared baking pan. Smooth the batter out evenly with a spatula, pushing it into the edges and corners of the pan. (We used a 9-inch pan, so we did not smooth entirely into one side to keep the brownies on the thicker side.)
  6. Scatter the reserved chocolate chunks and rough-chopped nuts over the top. Slide the pan into the oven, and bake the brownies until the top is slightly firm and appears dry and lightly cracked, about 27 to 30 minutes.
  7. Cool the brownies completely in the pan set on a wire rack. Then, cover the brownies and place them in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. This step is crucial. The brownies will not cut neatly unless they get adequate cooling time. (We enjoyed the brownies even more a day later after refrigerating over night.)
  8. Right before slicing the brownies, run a chef’s knife under hot water and dry it off, then slice into squares and serve.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: vegan brownie recipe, fudgy vegan brownies

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Last updated: January 2020

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

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48 Comments

  1. Never though of put almond on the top of the brownie, it must be crunchy and tasty. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Made this on a whim as I miraculously had all the ingredients. Absolutely fabulous!! This will be my go to from here on out. Used shredded unsweetened coconut and chocolate as topping instead. Congratulations on the new addition!!

    1. Wow don’t you love it when you have everything on hand?! Yes, these are our new go-to too, I think. Hats off, Laura! And thank you for the congratulations! :)

  3. Is it okay to use regular flour instead of coconut flour? I have most of the ingredients at home except for the coconut flour. Not sure if I should make the trip to get some. Thank you!

    1. Great question! I think that if you’re not gluten-free, regular flour would work fine! Let us know what you think!

      1. Thank you! Will do. For now, I was able to conjure up some willpower to not make these this weekend. Rest assured, I WILL be making them at some point! :)

  4. I’m assuming regular baking chocolate will work fine if I’m not vegan? Do you think unsweetened would work best, semi-sweet, or something else? Also, do you think other nut butters would work in place of the almond?

    1. Hi Vanessa! Yes, regular baking chocolate would be fine — we like bittersweet chocolate best (not unsweetened), but you can also use semi-sweet. Yes, other nut butters work! We just chose almond when we made it, but you could use any other type! Great questions.

      1. I made these yesterday, and they turned out amazing! I ended up using vegan chocolate chips (70%) and about 1/2 cup of almond butter and 1/4 peanut butter. I actually made them to bring to a friend who had a baby last weekend, but had to try one for myself… I am obsessed and would definitely make them again!

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