Peabu-Brownies

What do vegans do when they’re craving peanut butter and chocolate? Until Reese’s wakes up and starts making their cups with dark chocolate (*drool*), we’re on our own.  Luckily we don’t have to resort to smearing PB on a slab of dark chocolate: we have peabu-brownies! These aren’t particularly healthy, but, on the plus side, they contain no oil. They are rich, moist and utterly decadent, so put the “kids” to bed (human, canine, feline or plant-based — I don’t judge), slap on some mood-music and off we go. I’d suggest a little RnB, or, if you’re more of a popster, maybe the new Juno-nominated video for It’s Okay by Land of Talk (it’s really amazing). Since this recipe will likely last longer than 5:09 minutes, try Some Are Lakes as well.  These songs are ranking at the top of my favorites pile at the moment.

You'll have to imagine the ribbons of peanut butter coarsing through this brownie, since my craptastic camera wasn't able to pick them up. Fear not, my little hunk of plastic, I still love you.

Back to the recipe! You’ll need:

  • 1 and 1/3 cups organic sugar
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp ground flax
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 and 1/3 cups unbleached white flour (or whole wheat, but that makes a heavier brownie, so you may want to cut it with white flour if you’re really determined to add whole wheat flour)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (I’m tempted to try this with hazelnut butter… I’ll get back to you with the results unless one of you beats me to it)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 ounces (or roughly 1/2 cup) silken tofu

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Rub some vegan butter over an 8×8-inch square dish, or, if you’re feeling fancy and wanting a cake, one of those circular springform cake pans. Combine the sugar, applesauce and 2 tbsp water in a bowl. In a small cup, mix the flax with 1/2 cup warm water. Add it to the applesauce mixture and add the vanilla. Stir and set aside for a second.

In a different bowl, combine flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder and salt. Fold the applesauce mixture into the flour mixture. Don’t over-stir! Add the chocolate chips and stir. Set aside.

Dust off your food processor and toss in the peanut (or other nut) butter, maple syrup and tofu. Blend until smooth. Of course, if you’re in the mood for a triceps workout, you can blend this by hand, but it’ll take a lot of whisking, beating and stirring to break those teeny pieces of tofu up, so you’re better off just blending it in a processor.

Now here’s where you get to make a choice. You can either take half of your brownie batter and spoon it into your prepared pan, carefully spoon your peabu mixture in, then cover that with the second half of your brownie mixture. This will give you a real Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup inspired brownie. Or, you can pour all of your brownie mixture in to your pan and then carefully spoon the peabu mixture over top, dragging a knife through it to make pretty patterns on the top. Make sure you don’t over mix though, because you’ll totally lose your peabu-ness. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. These are really tasty warm or cool – just don’t eat them right out of the oven, because they’re like molten lava.

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