This recipe is vegan, and makes wonderfully moist, salted brownies which are as good as, if not better than, those made with butter or eggs.
Key to their wonderful taste are salt and sugar - the perfectly balanced flavour combination.
Of course, we cannot pretend that brownies are a really healthy option, but there are (at a push!) some healthy elements.
Dark chocolate, walnuts and sea salt do bring some benefits. But it would be remiss of us to combine them with sugar and flour in this way and then attempt to pass them off as anything other than delicious and indulgent!
Are walnuts healthy?
As well as bringing a great crunchiness and flavour to this brownie mix, walnuts add a great protein boost and omega-3 fats, plus a host of other trace minerals and vitamins including vitamin E, folic acid and manganese.1
Walnuts can be added to sweet and savoury dishes, or simply toasted, to bring out their flavour.
Do I need to use dark chocolate?
Dark chocolate is great for baking, and the higher the cocoa content, the greater the healthy benefits of the chocolate.
Most dark chocolate also tends to be vegan (but always check the labels).
Plus, did you know that dark chocolate is rich in iron? And is thought to help reduce the effects of stress?2
So, whilst we said this dark chocolate sea salt brownie is not exactly healthy, there are definitely some healthier elements to it.
Even better, sharing this with friends or family will make everyone happier, so it’s definitely a mood lifter!
Why use sea salt flakes?
Unfortunately, using the table salt that has been sat at the back of your cupboard for some time will not be good enough for these delicious brownies.
Table salt is salt that has undergone a number of refinement processes, which removes any of the beneficial trace elements that were originally in the salt.
It also does not have the right flavour or crunchy texture for these brownies.
Choose real sea salt flakes that add the best taste and texture to your brownies.
What is iodised salt?
Because sea salt is made by evaporating sea water, the crystals left behind do not tend to have any other ingredients added.
They contain their own natural sea salt minerals, such as magnesium, potassium and calcium.
Iodine is sometimes added to salt to help address worldwide iodine deficiencies, and though this isn’t typical of sea salt flakes, you can purchase iodized sea salt.
If you are already using sea salt with iodine added, that is absolutely fine for this recipe.
How to make a vegan brownie from scratch
Makes: 12-16 brownies
- 170g self-raising flour
- 200g vegan dark chocolate
- 180g caster sugar
- 50g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 100ml vegetable oil (sunflower or coconut oils are also suitable)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 230ml unsweetened dairy-free milk
- ½ teaspoon coffee granules
- 200g walnuts
- sea salt flakes
- Preheat your oven to 180°C
- Roughly chop the chocolate and the walnuts separately
- Use a little of the oil to grease a square baking tin (20-25cm)
- Melt two thirds of the dark chocolate in a heatproof glass bowl over a pan of simmering water
- Watch the chocolate carefully, stirring constantly, to make sure it does not burn. Ensure that the bowl does not touch the base of the pan.
- Once melted, remove from heat and allow it to cool a little.
- Mix the flour and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl
- Add the sugar. Mix to combine.
- Add vanilla extract, melted chocolate and the remaining oil. Mix to combine.
- Once combined, mixing in the remaining chocolate and the walnuts.
- Spoon into the baking tray and cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes
- If you want your brownie gooey, take it out of the oven when the top is no longer shiny. Otherwise, cook it for a little longer if you want it to be more solidly baked.
- Allow to cool in the tin before slicing
- Scatter a large pinch of sea salt flakes on top. Serve.
More toppings for brownies
You can always adapt this recipe. You can keep some of the nuts out of the mix and scatter them on top before baking.
You could also add other toppings such as dried or fresh fruits. We like the simplicity of the chocolate, nuts and sea salt flakes.
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Last updated: 30 April 2021