Last year, I got my hands on the Lakanto brownie mix to experiment with and DEVOUR. I provided a comprehensive review of the product, which was relatively positive despite the dry mix not forming properly solidified brownies, but instead a sludgier batch. Having said that, the nutritional profile and overall flavor of the brownie mix is so favorable that I continued purchasing and using the product. Sludgy brownies grew on me, I guess!
Still, I was mortally determined to find the perfect egg free and oil free formulation using the brownie mix just so plant-based eaters can devour this treat too! Low and behold, after rolling up my sleeves and wearing my thinking chef’s hat, I did! The settled and unified pan of brownies had me speechless. This was a risk of brownie mix that would be cheated, much to my chagrin. Can you say NAILED IT?! Not in the Netflix show, but in actuality, I nailed it.
Having said that, the brownies are SUPER fudgy and soft. They still have an incredibly gooey texture and fragile structure, but it is much more well-asserted in structure when cutting into squares and slices. However, this is exactly what I adore in a brownie! No dense brownies here!
Here are the key tricks to acing the vegan brownie formulation:
- Use a pre-made egg replacer such as Follow Your Heart. Thus far, I haven’t found success with vegan egg substitutes solely from chia or flax because they are insanely easy and cheap. Unfortunately, these seeds have not worked well as the batter has almost no solidification with them and the seeds alone could not provide enough starch to create a strong “network” that would bind the low carb batter. An egg replacing powder will have a mix of different starches and protein such as potato starch, soy protein, tapioca starch,
- Note: despite the brownie mix having tapioca fiber, this is NOT the same as starch. Fiber is not digestible while starch is digestible, hence the fiber will not thicken or act the same way in baking.
- Make sure the brownie batter is THICK. No extra liquid. No extra liquid. No extra liquid. Because there are no grains in this batter, it is very unlikely to thicken with time. Be sure not to over or under-mix the batter.
- Bake at 350F instead of 325F. As a personal preference, I prefer the standard temperature for pastries instead of a lower one. Even though the package’s instructions indicate 325F as the baking temperature, the higher temperature results in less gummy brownies.
- Center the brownies in the oven. Positioning the brownies in the center of the oven aids them to cook completely evenly and thoroughly.
- Check on the brownies regularly. Sure, baking instructions will present a time allotment and temperature, but not all ovens, baking pans, nor mixes are created equal. Take advantage of the oven light, gently shake the pan, or use a sharp tip to poke into the brownies. Feel free to use a thermometer, which provides higher accuracy, to ensure the temperature of the brownies are optimal for consumption.
- Allow the brownies to sit in the oven for approximately cool in colder temperature, preferably refrigerated. This step may be SUPER difficult because you’d want to devour them right away (so guilty of this myself). The trick entails cooling completely in the oven post-baking or at room temperature, then refrigerating for several hours, ideally overnight.
RECIPE (serves 8)
- 1 bag of Lakanto brownie mix
- 250 grams cooked butternut squash, mashed and/or pureed thoroughly
- Instead of squash (oil free): kabocha squash and sweet potato should also work!
- Instead of squash (with oil): use 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or melted vegan butter
- 2 vegan “eggs”: 2 unpacked TBSP mix + 5 TBSP cold water
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a small bowl or mug, whisk the vegan egg ingredients together until uniform. Set aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl, thoroughly mash the butternut squash until there are no clumps.
- Carefully stir the vegan egg into the squash.
- Sift the brownie mix into the wet ingredients. Stir consistently until the consistency is as uniform as possible, but do not over-mix!
- Spray and/or line a nonstick tin.
- Pour the batter into the tin and bake until completely cooked. My batch took approximately 25-30 minutes to bake.
- Rest the brownies inside the oven for ten minutes after turning off the oven. Let cool completely in room temperature.
- Refrigerate the brownies overnight or at least eight hours.
- Slice into squares and enjoy!
I’m fully in LOVE with this Lakanto brownie recipe and I know you will feel the same way!