This brownie dessert is made with fudgy brownies that are gluten- and dairy-free, oil-free, sugar-free, and vegan, but still satisfying. The brownies are fudgy because of the cocoa powder and applesauce. They are made sugar-free by swapping out the sugar for a sugar-free replacement; applesauce is in place of the eggs, and then there is the addition of coconut cream as the fat in place of the oil. They are easy and quick to make, requiring only one bowl to bring everything together. Makes for easy clean-up later. I don't know about you, but even though I love to cook and bake, I am not fond of the clean-up afterward, so I like to make the dishes as easy as I can. Once these are baked and cooled completely, they're topped with coconut cream and berries. If you're more of a blondie person, then you can easily swap out brownies for blondies. I do love a good blondie as well; the brown sugar flavor in the blondies is a welcome addition to the berries as well.
In a bowl (I use Pyrex glass bowls), add your dry ingredients. Flour, sugar-free replacement, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Next, add in the coconut cream, and cut in the coconut cream until you have a dough. (I'm not a fan of canned coconut cream, as you know if you've read my other blogs, but as of this writing, I've not found an alternative except making it from scratch, which I've found to be a complicated process.) Next, add the applesauce and stir, and then the water. Mix to combine. This brownie recipe will be more of a dough than a batter. I found that for this recipe, too much water made it taste uncooked and gummy, so just the right balance of liquid is needed; not enough water and they turn out dry and crumbly. The brand of sugar-free replacement matters too, particularly since this is a chocolate recipe that uses cocoa powder and needs sweetener. I have tried many sugar-free replacements, and the best ones so far are Whole Earth Allulose Sugar-Free Replacement and Swerve Brown Sugar-Free Replacement.
They're sweet enough, but they're not overpowering either. Applesauce has moisture, has no added sugar (if you buy the unsweetened applesauce), and is a good egg replacement. You can substitute 1/4 cup applesauce for an egg in baking. You can't substitute applesauce for eggs in every recipe (like in a recipe that calls for egg whites, such as angel food cake; that would not be a good idea). In many recipes, if you like experimentation and are trying to eliminate eggs in your baking, you can try applesauce. Oil is another ingredient I found I needed a replacement for. It's hard because oil has an important job in baking. It adds fat, which contributes to a tender crumb, as well as moisture. Gluten-free baked goods can already turn out dryer than their gluten counterparts, so some liquid adjustment is needed to make sure there is enough moisture, but oil has to be eliminated for those that can't have oil, and so I set out to find a suitable replacement. I started with yogurt, which is honestly also a good choice, but the best results I've gotten have come from using coconut cream. Coconut cream produces a tender crumb much like butter or oil would, but is better used in sweet recipes as opposed to savory because of the coconut flavor that is much more noticeable in savory recipes, and unless it's a savory coconut dish, I don't too much care for the coconut flavor, say in a cheese sauce, for instance. The only exception to this is biscuits, for which I didn't notice a coconut flavor too much; maybe it was the salt, but biscuits took on a more buttermilk-y taste.
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