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Peanut Butter + Blackberry Brownies: Gluten Free, Vegan

10:27 PM

Well hey there. Long time no chat. I know, I know—we've been remarkably absent for the past month. It sucks and we've missed you enormously but oh my goodness, this whole "thesis thing" has me slammed. It's crazy, in a "even my water is caffeinated" sort of way. One more month. Just one. Then I'm free, diploma in hand, and real life can begin. Anyway, let's talk about something way more exciting: brownies!

As you probably know, the combination of gluten free and vegan can be tricky, especially in baked goods. Those "little things" that matter—the texture of the flour, the combinations of oils, the properties of binding agents—can make or break the end product. Some things, like cakes and fluffy cookies, are relatively easy; other things, like brownies, are hard. Oh my gosh, brownies are so freaking hard.

Our quest for brownie perfection was drawn out and epic. We tried a million different things in a million different ways. Every time, no matter what, the oils separated in the oven and we ended up with boiling chocolate-flavored lava that hardened into inedible rocks. There's a chance you know exactly what I'm talking about. Brownies are just tricky that way—they're totally dependent on the egg, and every substitute we tried (even our trusty chia seeds) failed to pull things together in the oven.

We were hopeless and it was horrible—brownies are one of the world's most delicious desserts. Finally, someone suggested coconut oil. Someone else suggested apple sauce. We had a stroke of genius and, with the help of Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Brownie Mix, we stumbled into the easiest, most amazing gluten-free and vegan brownies EVER. 

So, we mastered the art of allergy-free brownies. And hey, what makes brownies even better? A layer of peanut butter and a layer of blackberry frosting, of course. 

Now just to warn you, we've only tried these with the Bob's mix and we completely recommend it. However, I'm sure we'll experiment with from-scratch varieties in the future so, if you feel adventurous, give it a try!

(Also no, this is not a sponsored post; we don't get paid for our opinions.)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 25 minutes


1 package Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Brownie Mix
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup applesauce
2 tsp. vanilla

Peanut Butter Frosting—
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter alternative, melted (we used Earth Balance Soy Free)
1/4 tsp. vanilla

Blackberry Frosting—
3 tbsp. butter substitute (we used Earth Balance Soy Free at room temperature
1/2 pound powdered sugar, sifted (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup coconut milk, sweetened or unsweetened
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. blackberry jam (or another type of berry might be good too!)

Preheat your oven to 350˚F.

1. Mix And Bake Your Brownies
In a mixing bowl, combine your brownie mix, coconut oil, water, applesauce, and vanilla. Mix until it's just combined. Pour your batter into a greased 13x9 inch baking dish and bake at 350˚ for approximately 20 minutes. You'll know they're done when they start pulling away from the edges a little bit and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

2. Create Your Peanut Butter Frosting
In a bowl, combine your peanut butter, butter, and vanilla. Gradually add in your powdered sugar and whip at a high speed until it's combined. The mixture won't be totally smooth—it should be a little bit clumpy, but it should stick together when pressed. Note: The "wetness" of your mixture will depend on the type of peanut butter you use. We used a natural brand that's just peanuts and salt, so it was a little bit dry; if this happens to you, add another tablespoon of melted butter.

3. Whip Your Blackberry Frosting
Put your room temperature butter substitute in a bowl and beat until smooth. Mix in about half of your sifted powdered sugar, then your coconut milk and vanilla, then the other half of the powdered sugar. Finally, fold in your jam. 

4. Layer Your Brownies
Once your brownies are cool to the touch, top them with peanut butter frosting. (Note: It spreads more easily if it's a little bit warm!) Put them in the fridge for five minutes to set so that the blackberry frosting doesn't melt on top; then, spread a layer of blackberry frosting on top. Cut and enjoy!

These delicious morsels are pleasers for adults and kids both—they're delightfully rich and creamy. Let us know what you think!

See you soon (for real this time)!
Becky + Tanya

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  1. I can confirm that these taste delicious.

    1. Right? I could eat the whole pan ;)

      Thanks HarvestMan!

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