These healthy vegan mocha brownies are fudgy, baked, dairy-free, and use organic ingredients that are nutrient-rich. This is a small batch recipe, creating 4 square brownies or 16 tiny bites. These tiny bites are a great way to control dessert-intake, but double the recipe to use a traditional brownie pan or loaf pan.
Healthy Vegan Mocha Brownies
Healthy brownies used to be unheard of when I was growing up. My sister and I used to stand side-by-side at the counter, proudly making them ourselves to present to our parents.
But all we really did was dump a boxed mix into a bowl, mix and bake. Haha. The joys of a boxed mix. Not sure what was in that mix.
Now, of course, the trend is to make them from scratch and make them healthier. And it’s easy!
Obviously, though, they still have sugar, so they need to be eaten in moderation. No brownies for dinner people!
BUT these brownies do have the nutritive redeeming qualities that come from some very nutritious ingredients, including cacao, flaxseed and more.
Let’s have a closer look at the nutrition these fudgy bites offer.
How Healthy Is Cacao?
The star ingredient is chocolate. In this recipe, I used raw cacao powder.
Now don’t go running away if you never heard of cacao powder. It’s much higher in nutrition than the more commonly known cocoa powder.
Raw cacao powder is loaded with nutrition such as fiber, iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. But its biggest benefit is its amazing range of antioxidants, those little soldiers that zip around your body zapping free-radicals, little entities that cause disease and come from foods, pollution and more.
You can find cacao powder in the baking aisle of most better grocery stores such as Whole Foods markets, and of course on Amazon. It’s typically this brand, Navitas Naturals.
The Difference Between Cacao Powder and More Commonly-Known Cocoa Powder
Cacao powder and cocoa powder are both unsweetened chocolate powders.
But raw cacao powder is made from unroasted cacao beans, a process that keeps nutritional values intact. Cocoa powder is roasted at high temperatures, killing off nutritional value. Read more about the differences here.
So consider using raw cacao powder instead of cocoa powder in all your chocolate recipes, they are interchangeable, and you’ll automatically increase that recipe’s nutrition.
These Mocha Brownies Also Have Flaxseed
Why is this important?
Well flaxseeds are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids with improve digestion, and can lower cholesterol among other benefits.
Nutrition experts recommend using ground flaxseed so your body can aborb the nutrition. Whole flaxseeds can pass right through intact and you miss all the fun, haha.
In this recipe, they are not only ground but soak in water to create a “flaxseed egg”. So the nutritional value is easily bio-available.
How to Make Mocha Brownies
Making this recipe is fairly straight-forward.
Make the flaxseed egg, and melt the butter. Then, mix up dry ingredients, mix up wet ingredients, and mix them together.
And taste-test the batter! This is the beauty of a vegan brownie! No danger of salmonella from raw eggs. With this taste-test, I assess if it is chocolate-y enough. If you like, add another teaspoon of coffee. The coffee creates the mocha flavor and really deepens the chocolate flavor.
Once you are satisfied, pour the batter in a parchment-lined pan.
Biggest Challenge with Fudgy Brownies
Finding the cooking time is the most challenging aspect of this fudgy brownie.
The first test is to use the typical testing toothpick. But beware that a done fudgy brownie will still leave a fudgy smear.
Another test is to shake the pan. If the center wiggles, it is certainly not cooked. So return it to the oven and check again in ten minutes.
Cooking for Two or Double the Recipe
You might want to note that this is a small batch recipe.
The recipe fills my (4-inch by 4-inch) square pan and makes either 4 (2-inch) square brownies or 16 (1-inch) bites. Double the batch if you want to use a loaf pan.
I love small batch cooking and my tiny pan is perfect. It even has a removable bottom so retrieving baked cakes is easy! I link to it in the recipe’s ingredients if you are interested. Or you can find it on my Amazon store here along with my other favorite cooking equipment.
These brownies are yummy but there is still a lot of sugar, so I recommend opting for the smaller bite. That 1-inch bite really satisfies chocolate dessert cravings! And if it doesn’t, well pop another. That’s still half the size of a traditional brownie.
Try More Vegan Brownies Here
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Healthy Vegan Mocha Brownies
- Make the flax eggs. Put the ground flax into a medium bowl and spoon in water. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Line a 4-inch by 4-inch page with parchment paper. Or, if you double the recipe, line a loaf pan.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut 1/3 cups of your butter sticks into rough chunks. Melt the butter in the microwave in a measuring cup at 60 seconds. Stir the hot butter until all chunks are melted. Make sure the melted butter measures at 1/3 cup and set aside.
- Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in a measuring cup at 60 seconds. Stir the hot chocolate until all chips are melted. Set aside.Brew some coffee if you don't have it ready. Or mix up instant coffee. You'll need 2 tbsp of liquid coffee.
Mix the Brownie Batter
- Add the flour, cacao powder and salt to a large mixing bowl. Stir until combined.
- Add the melted butter, brewed coffee, sugars and vanilla to the measuring cup that holds the flax egg mixture. Stir until combined.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and use a hand-mixer to blend the batter until creamy.
- Fold in 1/2 the melted chocolate. Mix again until creamy.
Baking the Brownies
- Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a tester comes out relatively clean. These brownies are fudgy, not cakey, so the tester will have a fudgy smudge. What you don't want is wet smears. That means the brownies aren't done, so return them to the oven and bake another 5-10 minutes and check.
- Finding the cooking time was the most challenging aspect of this fudgy brownie. Another test is to shake the pan. If the center wiggles, it is certainly not cooked. So return it to the oven and check again in ten minutes.
- When these babies are finally done, remove the pan from the oven, allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
- If you used my recommend square pan, run a knife around the sides to loosen the brownie cake, then press up on the bottom of the pan. It is removable so the cake should lift out.
- Set the brownie cake on a cooking rack and let it cool before cutting for the cleanest slices.
- I frosted ours with the remaining melted chocolate chips. I had to return them to the microwave for 30 seconds to re-melt and this time I added a tsp of coconut oil so the frosting would spread evenly. But this is totally optional.
- These freeze beautifully.
Dee Dine is founder of Green Smoothie Gourmet, a plant based recipe blog, and author of the recent cookbook, Crazy Healthy with 4 Ingredients . On this blog you’ll find incredibly easy recipes with hidden veggies for anyone wanting to eat healthier, regardless of diet. Dee has graduate degrees in biology, immunology and journalism. More about Dee Dine here.