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Brownies & Bars

  • Brownies & Bars FOOD

    The Best Vegan Brownies… EVER

    The Best Vegan Brownies EVER – gooey, fudgy, decadent brownies topped with a peanut butter swirl. The perfect (vegan) brownie!

    The Best Vegan Brownies... EVER

    I don’t call these “the best brownies ever” just because I think it’s cute or I love clickbait. These are literally the best vegan brownies ever, and I know this for a fact. I’ve tested like, close to 100 vegan brownie recipes at this point and don’t get me wrong, a lot of them were really good. But none of the recipes were perfect.

    The Best Vegan Brownies... EVER

    I’m crazy picky when it comes to brownies. I prefer fudgy over cakey, and they need to be packed with a rich chocolate flavor. Chocolate chips are preferable. And if it falls apart in your hand, that’s a good thing. That means it isn’t dry. Dry brownies are the devil. Remember that Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate brownie box mix? The one that comes in a huge economy size at Costco? That’s my perfect brownie.

    I’ve made some bomb brownies throughout the years. Like these Brownie Christmas Trees? Those are made from a darn good brownie that holds up well and goes perfectly with the frosting. But as far as a rich, decadent, fudgy, fall-apart-in-your-hand brownie? Those aren’t it, chief.

    But THESE. These are the perfect vegan brownies. First of all, they check all my crazy-picky boxes. And on top of that, you would never be able to guess they’re vegan, which is my goal with every dessert I make. If it tastes “vegan”, then I failed. But THESE. These are just a darn good brownie.

    The Best Vegan Brownies... EVER

    The Best Vegan Brownies… EVER

    Prep Time10 mins
    Cook Time30 mins
    Total Time40 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Author: Brit Wolfe

    Ingredients

    • 2/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/3 cup vegan butter, such as Earth Balance melted
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used extra dark cocoa)
    • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 cup brewed coffee, cold
    • 1/2 cup nondairy milk, such as Silk
    • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
    • In medium-sized bowl, combine the sugars and the melted butter. Add the vanilla and mix well.
    • In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt).
    • Alternate adding the wet and dry ingredients to the butter mixture. The easiest way to do this is to add half of the sifted dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients (coffee and nondairy milk), and then add the remaining dry ingredients. Fold together until just combined.
    • Fold in the chocolate chips and pour into a parchment-lined 8"x8" baking pan. Swirl the peanut butter into the top of the brownie batter (I usually melt the peanut butter, then pour it in lines or squiggles over the top of the brownie batter, then use a knife to swirl it together).
    • Bake until the brownies are set along the outside but still a little bit wet in the middle, about 30-35 minutes. Taking the brownies out before they're fully done is what gives brownies that fudgy texture!
    The Best Vegan Brownies... EVER

    © PANTHERS & PEONIES. All text, recipes, and photographs on this site are my own. Please do not use my images without permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

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  • Brownies & Bars FOOD

    Strawberry Pie Bars (Vegan)

    Strawberry Pie Bars – Gooey, rich strawberry jam filling sandwiched between a crumbly, buttery crust and a coconut streusel on top. Perfect for summer!

    Strawberry Pie Bars (Vegan)

     

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission if you purchase through those links. These are all products I use daily and highly recommend. Thanks for the support that makes Panthers & Peonies possible!

    Hello friends. I hope you’re all having an incredible holiday week(end?). I know I am.

    It’s cheesy, but I really love the Fourth of July. Not just because I get to eat vegan hot dogs and s’mores to my heart’s desire and drink during the day without judgment, but because it’s one day where everyone comes together and the chaos of the country ceases to exist for a moment.

    Strawberry Pie Bars (Vegan)

    It’s a dumb thing to love, but it’s one day where everyone seems to get along. The Fourth of July provides a moment of peace, and that’s good enough for me. I’m not saying it makes up for all the crap going on the rest of the year, but I try to think positively and see the good where I can.

    Strawberry Pie Bars (Vegan)

    ANYWAYS. I’m totally in love with these pie bars, because they taste exactly like what I want my summer to taste like: fruity, crumbly, chewy, coconut-y. They’re perfect to bring to a family BBQ, and they’re perfect to eat a little bite of before breakfast. It’s a great “anytime snack”, really.

    You start by boiling down fresh strawberries until they’re pretty much the consistency of jam, then pour it over a buttery, flaky crust, and top it with a buttery coconut streusel. They’re so easy to make, and beyond delicious.

    Strawberry Pie Bars (Vegan)

     

    Here’s What I Used:

     

    Strawberry Pie Bars (Vegan)

    Strawberry Pie Bars (Vegan)

    Prep Time10 mins
    Cook Time35 mins
    Total Time45 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Author: Brit Wolfe - Panthers & Peonies

    Ingredients

    Strawberry Filling

    • 2 cups strawberries fresh or frozen
    • 2 tsp. lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 tsp. cornstarch

    Crust & Crumble

    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • pinch of salt
    • 1/2 Tbsp. flaxseed meal + 1 1/2 Tbsp. water
    • 1/2 cup vegan butter cold
    • 1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut

    Instructions

    To make the strawberry filling:

    • Add the strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar to a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and cover. Let the strawberries heat and begin to break down, about 7 minutes.
    • Once there's a good amount of liquid in the saucepan from the strawberries, add the cornstarch and mix in well to make sure there are no clumps.
    • Bring to boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and let heat, covered, until the strawberries are thick and almost jelly-like consistency.
    • Remove from heat and let cool.

    To make the crust:

    • Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
    • Mix together the flax and water and let sit until slightly thickened, about 5-7 minutes.
    • Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt), then add the sugar and mix well.
    • Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour, mixing well to incorporate it until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. I always do this step by hand, but you can use a pastry cutter or two forks if you prefer.
    • When the butter is almost fully incorporated, add the flax egg.
    • Press about 2/3 of the mixture into a parchment-lined 8"x8" square baking pan, and press it down firmly into an even layer.
    • Pour the strawberry mixture over top of the crust. It's ok if it's still a little warm!
    • Add the shredded coconut to the remaining crumb mixture, mix well, and sprinkle over the strawberry layer.
    • Bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown along the edges.

    Notes

    Before pouring the strawberry mixture over the crust, I used a fork to mash the strawberries so it more resembled a jelly, but that's totally optional.
    Strawberry Pie Bars (Vegan)

    © PANTHERS & PEONIES. All text, recipes, and photographs on this site are my own. Please do not use my images without permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

    Strawberry Pie Bars (Vegan)
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  • Brownies & Bars FOOD

    Cinnamon Rice Krispie Treats (Vegan)

    Cinnamon Rice Krispie Treats – crunchy Rice Krispies and cinnamon cereal come together with marshmallow to create this delicious twist on a classic!

    Cinnamon Rice Krispie Treats (Vegan)

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission if you purchase through those links. These are all products I use daily and highly recommend. Thanks for the support that makes Panthers & Peonies possible!

    A lot of people think Rice Krispie treats are boring. And I totally get that, I’m not someone who would choose a Rice Krispie treat over other desserts. But fancy Rice Krispie treats? Those are a whole different story. Add some sprinkles or a drizzle of chocolate and I’m sold.

    Cinnamon Rice Krispie Treats (Vegan)

    The flavors in these Cinnamon Rice Krispie Treats all work so well together: the chewy marshmallow, the crunchy cinnamon cereal, the creamy peanut butter. I used Annie’s CinnaBunnies, which are perfectly crunchy with an extra hit of cinnamon.

    We all know that peanut butter and chocolate are the perfect combination, but I think I might have found peanut butter’s new perfect partners: cinnamon and marshmallow.

     

    Here’s What I Used:

     

    Cinnamon Rice Krispie Treats

    Prep Time10 mins
    Total Time10 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Author: Brit Wolfe - Panthers & Peonies

    Ingredients

    • 6 Tbsp. vegan butter
    • 10 ounces vegan marshmallows I used Trader Joe's
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 4 cups cinnamon cereal of your choice I used Annie's CinnaBunnies
    • 3 cups Rice Krispies cereal
    • cinnamon for sprinkling
    • peanut butter for drizzling

    Instructions

    • In a large soup pot, melt together the butter and marshmallows.
    • Once the marshmallows are completely melted, remove the pot from the heat and add the vanilla.
    • Pour in the cereals and mix until totally combined.
    • Pour the mixture into a parchment-lined 8" square baking pan and using a sturdy spoon or your hands, press down the mixture firmly into the pan.
    • Let set overnight (or at least 2 hours).
    • Drizzle with melted peanut butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.

    Cinnamon Rice Krispie Treats (Vegan)

    Cinnamon Rice Krispie Treats (Vegan)

    © PANTHERS & PEONIES. All text, recipes, and photographs on this site are my own. Please do not use my images without permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

    Cinnamon Rice Krispie Treats (Vegan)
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  • Brownies & Bars FOOD

    Kitchen Sink Blondies (Vegan)

    Kitchen Sink Blondies – A chewy brown sugar blondie base packed with rich dark chocolate, coconut shreds, chopped walnuts, and vanilla granola. Totally delicious, and totally customizable!

    Kitchen Sink Blondies (Vegan)
    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission if you purchase through those links. These are all products I use daily and highly recommend. Thanks for the support that makes Panthers & Peonies possible!

    I’ve heard these blondies called a ton of different things: Kitchen Sink Blondies, Everything But the Kitchen Sink Blondies (which is the same, just… longer), Chameleon Blondies (don’t know why, but I like it), Monster Blondies (don’t know why… and I don’t like it). But whatever they’re called, they’re freakin’ delicious.

    Kitchen sink blondies are the perfect dessert to use up those random last little bits of stuff in your pantry. We all have them, why try to hide it? I’m so guilty of leaving like, two walnuts in a bag and throwing it back in the pantry. Why? No idea. But with these blondies, you can throw in those two walnuts, the 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, the stale half-bag of graham crackers, and the granola crumbs and they’ll still taste AWESOME.

    Kitchen Sink Blondies (Vegan)

    You guys know I’m aaaaall about salty-sweet recipes, and this recipe is no exception. Like I said, you can use any type of mix-ins you want, but this recipe really has a good thing going. The sweetness of the chocolate chips, the crunch of the walnuts, the chewiness of the coconut, and the occasional crisp of the granola? It’s honestly perfect.

    Here’s What I Used:

    Kitchen Sink Blondies (Vegan)

    Prep Time10 mins
    Cook Time35 mins
    Total Time45 mins
    Course: Dessert
    Servings: 12
    Author: Brit Wolfe

    Ingredients

    • 8 Tbsp. vegan butter melted
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1 Tbsp. flaxseed meal + 3 Tbsp. water
    • 3/4 Tbsp. vanilla extract
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • heaping 1/4 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 heaping cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup granola
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
    • Mix together the flax and water and let sit until slightly thickened, about 5-7 minutes.
    • Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla and flax.
    • Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking powder), then fold into the wet mixture.
    • Fold in the mix-ins.
    • Pour into a parchment-lined 8"x8" pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with a handful of chocolate chips and a big pinch of salt.
    • Bake 35-45 minutes until golden brown. I like to underbake them a little bit so they have the brownie/underdone cookie texture. Yummm.

    Kitchen Sink Blondies (Vegan)

    © PANTHERS & PEONIES. All text, recipes, and photographs on this site are my own. Please do not use my images without permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

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  • Brownies & Bars FOOD

    Mini Brownie Christmas Trees (Vegan)

    Mini Brownie Christmas Trees – perfect for Christmas! Rich, dark chocolate brownie bites are topped with vanilla frosting and sprinkles in this adorable holiday dessert

    Mini Brownie Christmas Trees (Vegan)
    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission if you purchase through those links. These are all products I use daily and highly recommend. Thanks for the support that makes Panthers & Peonies possible!

    I’m so weird (read: obnoxiously picky) when it comes to “decorated desserts”. I don’t know if it’s from working in professional pastry kitchens for so long, or just my personal style, but I loathe cheesy desserts. Novelty cakes that are supposed to look like a hamburger and fries? I hate it. And those cakes built around a Barbie body that are supposed to look like a dress? Don’t get me started, they literally give me nightmares.

    Mini Brownie Christmas Trees (Vegan)

    But desserts that are kitschy, that’s a different story. Kitschy is good. Kitschy is the right amount of cutesy and tacky without being cheesy. Like anything by Panko Bunny? Adorable. But anything by Yolanda Gampp? No thanks. Ro Pansino falls somewhere in the middle, but she’s done videos with the love of my life Markiplier so she’s on my good side.

    Mini Brownie Christmas Trees (Vegan)

    These little brownie trees? Adorably kitschy. Plus they’re fun and easy to make. And delicious, which is obviously the most important part. This is my favorite brownie recipe. It’s not nearly as sweet as other brownies, which is a good thing. It’s got a much richer, dark chocolate flavor that is amazing on its own, but pairs super well with the sweet vanilla frosting.

    Mini Brownie Christmas Trees (Vegan)

    Side note: I did use candy melts (which aren’t vegan) for the star on top, simply because I made them for my non-vegan family and I knew my nieces and nephews would love the little yellow stars. You can order vegan candy melts or star candies online.

    Mini Brownie Christmas Trees

    Prep Time15 mins
    Cook Time25 mins
    Total Time40 mins
    Servings: 12

    Ingredients

    Dark Chocolate Brownies

    • 1 cup vegan butter melted
    • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
    • scant 2 cups granulated sugar
    • 4 Tbsp. flaxseed meal + 3/4 cup water
    • 4 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 1/4 cup AP flour
    • 1 cup cocoa powder
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 2 cups dark chocolate chips or 2 cups chopped dark chocolate

    Vanilla Frosting

    • 3/4 cups vegan butter cold
    • 3 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
    • big pinch of salt
    • green food coloring
    • vegan sprinkles for decorating

    Instructions

    For the brownies:

    • Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
    • Mix together the flax and water and let sit until thickened, about 5-7 minutes.
    • Combine melted butter, oil, and sugar and mix until well combined.
    • Add flax and vanilla.
    • Sift together the dry ingredients and fold into the wet ingredients.
    • Fold in chocolate. Pour into a parchment-lined 9"x13" pan. Make sure to lightly spray the parchment, it'll make cutting the brownies much easier!
    • Bake for 20-25 minutes until brownies are set. Let cool completely.

    For the frosting:

    • In the stand of a bowl mixer, cream the cold butter until pale in color and super fluffy, about 7-10 minutes.
    • Add the vanilla, lemon juice, and pinch of salt, then gradually add the powdered sugar. Mix again on high until the frosting is super fluffy.

    To assemble:

    • Add the desired amount of green food coloring to the frosting and mix well.
    • Using 3 different sized circle cutters, cut circles out of the brownie and set aside.
    • Using a piping bag fitted with a star tip, pipe frosting onto each piece of brownie in a circular pattern. Stack from biggest to smallest and top with sprinkles and a small yellow star (I used candy melts and a mold, but you can use anything you want!)

    Notes

    You may get more or less brownies depending on the size cutter you use. I used a 2" round cutter for the bottom layer and went smaller from there.
    Brownies should be kept refrigerated until served to keep the frosting from becoming too soft. Brownies will keep in fridge for up to 3 days, or wrapped tightly in freezer for up to 10 days.

    Mini Brownie Christmas Trees (Vegan)

    © PANTHERS & PEONIES. All text, recipes, and photographs on this site are my own. Please do not use my images without permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

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