Friday, August 17, 2012

Vegan brownies with sour cherries, and a Loving Earth prize pack giveaway!

I have often thought about making vegan brownies but usually put it aside as it sounded harder than other vegan goodies - brownies have such a specific texture that I thought it would be somewhat difficult to replicate. Regular brownies are sort of crisp and chewy on the outside, with a dense, fudgy centre, and are not to be messed with.

I've done a lot of reading lately in an effort to make vegan brownies with a similar composition to regular brownies as opposed to cakey versions I've made in the past when purely veganising a non-vegan recipe. I don't like brownies that taste like cake - I want brownies to taste like brownies! So with a little experimentation I think I've nailed it - and they're not overly sweet, which I like. It sort of creeps up on you and the chocolate has the merest hint of coconut before the full choc flavour hits. To be honest, I am super-chuffed. I may or may not have called them the best brownies in the world... but you can be the judge of that. Maybe you like cakey brownies? If so, it's probably best to end our friendship here.

A couple of things I learned in my readings are that sugar is non-negotiable for non-cakey brownies, as the more you skimp, the less brownie texture you get. Also, the mix has to be really, really dry before you bake it - all things I hadn't really been concerned with before. So I made it drier and sugarier (but not using white sugar as it's not vegan, and instead using sugars that are naturally less sweet) than I normally would. I also tried out coconut oil instead of the usual vegan margarine I would use, and that totally hit the spot.

 It's not a batter as such, but a wet mix of ingredients. That I couldn't stop picking at, if I'm to tell the truth! You could even add some nuts along with the sour cherries - I would probably include Loving Earth's Organic Activated Walnuts.

Anyhow, enough with the chatter, on with the recipe:

2 tbs flaxseed meal
6 tbs hot water
3/4 cup Loving Earth Raw Organic Coconut Butter
100g Loving Earth Organic Sour Cherry and Acai Raw Dark Chocolate
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup Loving Earth Raw Organic Sour Cherries
1 cup Loving Earth Organic Coconut Sugar (or use two full cups of this)
1 cup sugar of your choice depending on how sweet you want your brownies (I used rapadura)
3/4 cup cocoa/cacao powder
1 cup almond meal
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda


1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Mix the flax meal and the water until thick, making a flax egg. Let sit for a minute or two.

3. Break the chocolate into pieces and add to a large bowl with the coconut oil. Melt in the microwave in short bursts - this shouldn't take long as the Loving Earth chocolate is a different compound than regular chocolate. Add vanilla.

4. Add flax egg and mix.

5. Add sugar, cocoa/cacao powder, almond meal, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix until thoroughly combined.

6. Put into a 6x10 inch (or similar) brownie pan lined with greaseproof paper or foil, either work well. Spend some time pressing down reasonably firmly to ensure a good consistency when baked. Smooth the top - I used a rubber spatula.

7. Bake 20-30 minutes until a skewer comes out of the middle relatively clean when tested - the mix shouldn't be too wet. Take it out a bit earlier than you normally would to ensure a fudgy centre. It probably won't look cooked (mine didn't) but it's best to err on the side of caution and take it out once it's had 30 minutes.

8. Cool in pan until thoroughly cold so it won't crack when you cut into it.

9. Feel as chuffed as I do that you just made a damn good brownie.

And now for the even funner stuff!

As you may already know, I have been working with Loving Earth, creating recipes from their super-awesome products, trying them out here and then giving readers a chance to win the same ingredients I used in the recipes... and today is giveaway day!

All's you gotta do is leave a comment below telling us what you would create from at least two of these products. And don't worry - I won't steal your ideas, I promise! The recipe that gets us (i.e. me + Cormac from Loving Earth) drooling the most, wins. You don't need full recipes or photos or anything - just tell us what you would whip up. And if you didn't win this time? There's another coming up in a few weeks with MOAR chocolate and new ingredients!

In this pack, you get:

Loving Earth Raw Organic Coconut Butter, 500g
Loving Earth Organic Coconut Sugar, 300g
Loving Earth Organic Sour Cherry and Acai Raw Dark Chocolate, 100g
Loving Earth Organic Coconut Mylk Raw Chocolate, 100g 
Loving Earth Organic Macqui Raw Dark Chocolate, 100g
Loving Earth Organic Sour Cherries, 100g
Loving Earth Organic Activated Pumpkin Seeds, 100g

Competition closes Friday, August 24 at 5pm. Winner will be notified by email (so make sure you're contactable!) and announced on Facebook. You can enter as many times as you like. Entries are judged on creativity, and Judges' decision is final. I love you all.

Ok, hop to it - I am very much looking forward to seeing what y'all come up with - partly because I'm nosy, and partly because you guys are way more creative than me!

*Disclaimer: I contacted Loving Earth directly with this idea as I really wanted to work with them. They couldn't have been more friendly and willing to help. They generously gifted me two of each product that will be used over this series - one for me and one for you! That's all, folks...


  1. sar - AccidentallentilAugust 17, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    Yum to it all. I would use the organic coconut butter, the organic activated pumpkin seeds and broken up bits of the organic sour cherry and acai raw dark chocolate to make the most decadent version of my healthy muesli bars ever. Original recipe here:

  2. looks amaze! hmm with the coconut butter and pumpkin seeds I'm envisioning some kind of amazing muffin!x

  3. These look so delicious...
    Maybe I should add to our vegan-sugar discussion from a couple of weeks ago, I had found the use of unrefined sugars especially in vegan blogs/recipes from North America to avoid the issue of the use of bone char in the purification process for white sugars. Apparently bone char is not used in Australian sugar refining any more, though some overseas producers still use it - see note at the bottom of this page:

  4. Realistically? I would probably just eat the sour cherries on icecream. Or the chocolate on its own.  Or if I was really feeling inspried and ever had a chance to bake without a 2 year old's "help" I would try to concoct some sort of black forest cake thingy.

  5. Raw chocolate cheesecake, I've made it once before and it's amazing with berries on the side. Cut up and stored in the freezer makes for easy access when a chocolate hit beckons.

  6. Hi Veggie Mama!
    I would make peanut butter maple fudge, by replacing the normal sugar with coconut sugar and would add a thin layer of the chocolate on top! YUM!
    *** Unrelated comment *** I'd like to thank you for your story about breast feeding. I sent it to one of my friends who is a new Mum and she said she cried (good tears).

  7. Great comp! Stacey, Loving Earth make some incredible products, full of goodness (even the tasty stuff). Given my hubby is from London I would make this British recipe but I'm pretty positive it would look nothing like this picture. Nothing beats a dark chocolate cherry soufle (like I've had so many of them) but I would definitely master this recipe with the ingredients in the pack. cheers, Pip x

  8. Agree! Brownies MUST be fudgey. Have not cooked with flaxseed meal as an egg replacement. Will try that. I usually use chia seeds which also work a treat.

  9. Hi Veggie Mama! Love the brownies recipe & love the sound of cooking with coconut sugar, as I tend to use Stevia or Aguave. I'd make a vegan sour cherry cheesecake with tofu & melt some of the chocolate so it's filled with chocolate swirl goodness! I'd also do a gluten free nutty base with cinnamon, coconut butter, almond meal, coconut sugar & other crushed nuts/ seeds..YUM!!! xx

  10. I love making brownies and loved the tips..... However... Today I am making for the first time Jamie's Sour cherry and dark chocolate baked cheesecake and I KNOW it would be miles better with the Sour Cherries and the Sour Cherry and Acai Raw dark chocolate. Yum! Loops, just drooled on my keyboard x

  11. I seem to create a lot of different mug cakes... so I would create an acai raw dark chocolate and organic sour cherry mug cake! :) Perhaps with a drizzle cherry and organic coconut butter sauce! Yum! :) :)

    PS. The brownies look fab... If I won this I would definitely give those a try too! xx

  12. Yum!!! I would use the Coconut Sugar, Sour Cherry and Acai raw dark chocolate and the sour cherries to make a really decadent Black Forest mud cake.

  13. These look great. Do want - please send me some!

    Now for the competition...

    This SCREAMS chocolate cupcakes to me. Light, airy, fluffy moist cups of goodness. I would love to soak those cherries in a liqueur and then mash them so I could pipe it into the centre of deliciously airy cupcakes for a oozy juicy burst of flavour. Nothing like a little coconut cream icing on top finished with a drizzle of melted hot chocolate. (The chocolate could be drizzled on wax proof paper to create some funky shapes and then sat on top of the cup cakes to look stunning and inviting.)

    Too rich? Ok, what about this:

    You know I adore my sourdough bread. And I love cooking with coconut oil. So, a savoury pumpkin flavoured sourdough bread with that hint of nutmeg, cinnamon and coconut butter for fatty goodness. I always put some seeds or nuts on top of my breads before I bake, and Id have to top it with roasted pumpkin seeds. Hmm... hot bread, melted coconut butter and toasted nuts and seeds......... HEAVEN!

    Have you sent my cherry brownies yet?

  14. I'd try making chocolate crackles for the kids or my nanna's biscuit recipe substituted with these awesome ingredients!

  15. I'm addicted to coconut butter...I am always talking about it to people. A must try recipe which is divine are chocolate truffles. Whizz up about 100 grams of nuts (I normally use almonds, but any unsalted will do), about 20 dates or equivalent in loving earth organic sour cherries, 1 heaped tbsp of loving earth coconut butter, 2 heaped tbsp of coconut, 1 tsp cinnamon, 4 tbsp of cocoa powder, in a food processor. Roll into truffle size balls and then toss into a small bowl of coconut. Store in fridge for a healthy, energising sweet treat. Sometimes I use dried apricots/ raisins/ and add a little orange rind for a Jaffa taste. Very versatile and yum.

  16. I am in the middle of blogging project...finding the best brownie recipe! I have baked four recipes so far and I have one more to make this weekend. I am loving this research!
    I might have to add this one...perhaps in a vegan category.
    And be sure to check my blog next week to see which brownie was crowned the brownie champion!

  17. I'd make a lovely coconutty version of my Date Energy Balls. Dates, prunes, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, some Cacao and walnuts wizard up with some coconut butter and rolled into balls. Refrigerate them till they're nice and firm. A great snack!!

  18. Okay. Here is one I make.
    It's a bit more toward the healthy side of the healthy-decadent scale...

    Energy Balls

    1 cup rolled oats
    1/2 cup coconut chocolate butter
    1/3 cup agave syrup
    1 cup coconut
    1/2 cup ground flax seeds
    1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
    1/2 tsp vanilla powder

    Mix everything togerther until thoroughly combined.
    Allow to chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes
    Roll into balls

  19. I would make a concoction of mine.......'Chocolate Bellisimo Brittle'

    This is SO easy to make and SO impressive and delicious to eat....alone or to share!! Perfect for a dessert, a snack, at the movies...givenfor a gift, anytime! This recipe uses ALL the ingredients above!!Basically, you just need to break up and melt the three blocks of chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water with a tablespoon each of coconut butter and coconut sugar. When melted remove from heat and stir in 50g each of the cherries and pumpkin seeds. You could also add a pinch of sea salt too!Place a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray and pour the chocolate mixture on top. Spread out with a spatula, place in fridge to set. When hardened, break into small pieces, and INDULGE and ENJOY with someone else! Store in jars/sealed containers.You could also add chopped nuts, apricots, sultanas too!

  20. This banana bread using Loving Earth Coconut Sugar, and Activated Walnuts is delicious!

    Cinnamon Flax Banana Bread (Adapted from or 4 very ripe bananas 1/3 cup melted coconut butter 1 cup coconut sugar 1 egg 1/2 tsp vanilla powder 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp baking powder Pinch of salt 1 1/2 cups plain flour 1/4 cup ground flax seed chopped walnuts

    Using an electric mixer, mix bananas until smooth. Add coconut sugar and continue beating. Add coconut butter, egg, vanilla and continue beating. Add cinnamon, salt and baking powder and continue beating. Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time until just combined.Add the flax seeds and chopped walnuts.Pour batter into a loaf pan. Bake at 180C for 1 hour.

  21. And my final recipe is one I haven't made yet as i've run out of coconut butter.

    Muesli Slice
    (Adapted from
    ½ cup Coconut Butter
    ¼ cup brazil nut butter
    ½ cup Coconut Sugar
    ½ cup honey
    2 cups rolled oats (200g)
    2 cups fruit, nut & seed mix (coconut, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sour cherries etc.

    Grease and line a slice tin
    Melt coconut oil, coconut sugar, brazil nut butter and honey in a saucepan over low heat.
    Add the dried fruit, oats and half the seeds into the above mixture and combine thoroughly.
    Spread this mixture into the baking tin and smooth the top.
    Spread the remaining seeds over the surface and add some more honey over the top.
    Place in preheated 160 degree oven and bake for around 30 minutes until golden brown around the edges and in the middle.
    Cool completely in the tin, turn out and cut into squares

  22. Oh how I can't wait to try making this baby!!! YUM!

  23. I would use the coconut butter, sugar and mylk chocolate to make a vegan version of my chocolate almond macaroon bars, yum!

  24. I would use coconut butter, coconut sugar, mylk chocolate, and dried cherries to make a chocolate-coconut-cherry granola.

  25. The coconut sugar is already so divine - is it wrong that I'd love to just take a spoon and dip it in for a sneaky sweet treat??? :) for a recipe though I'd use the sour cherries, coconut mylk chocolate and coconut butter to whip up some choc chip/cherry refrigerator biscuits - bake one now and pop the other in the freezer for cookie emergencies!!!

  26. I would make a Decadent Cherry Coconut IceCream Cake
    Divide 4 litres of slightly softened vanilla ice cream into 3 bowls.
    In the first bowl, mix toasted slivered almonds and roughly chopped sour cherries.
    In the second bowl, mix a hefty quantity of raw organic cacoa powder.
    In the third bowl mix a combination of grated Loving Earth Organic Sour Cherry and Acai Raw Dark Chocolate and grated Loving Earth Coconut Mylk raw dark chocolate.
    Line an 8 inch spring form tin with baking paper and place all three layers in tin alternately with dark layer in the middle. Place in the freezer, refreeze. Turn out on a platter and sprinkle some reserved grated chocolate on top just before serving.

    Alternatively, These ingredients would make divine anzac biscuits with a twist. I always add fruit to my anzac biscuits, and the Loving Earth Organic Sour Cherries and Activated Pumpkin Seeds would be fantastic. Replacing the butter and sugar with Loving Earth Products would not only give the biscuits and extra coconutty kick but would make them so much healthier for school lunch boxes.

  27. I was making chocolate last night and realised that, coincidentally, everything in front of me on the bench was Loving Earth, so I figured I'd best come and enter this competition as I'm clearly already obsessed. I'd use the coconut butter and the sour cherries to make a "cherry ripe" version of my chocolate.

  28. "Carrot haystacks" using the coconut mylk and macqui chocolates and the pumpkin seeds. Melt chocolate, mix with coconut, pumpkin seeds and grated carrot (I know, but it's good, I swear!). Refrigerate.

  29. Choc Apple Cherry crumble. Almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and the coconut sugar plus some coconut, pulse in food processor. Cook some apples in water with the sour cherries & some more coconut sugar. Chop sour cherry & acai chocolate. Put apples/cherry mix in a bowl, sprinkle chopped chocolate, top with crumble.

  30. Choc Cherry Chia "Rice" Pudding. Cashews, water, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, salt - blend (high speed ie Vitamix). Put sour cherries and chopped chocolate in a bowl with chia seeds, pour liquid mixture over, refrigerate until chias have swelled to create "rice pudding" consistency

  31. Raw Chocolate "cookies". Almonds, cashews, dates, honey, chopped chocolate macqui raw dark chocolate, coconut oil, vanilla, cacao, salt. Dehydrate. Eat them all. Ok I'm stopping now :)

  32. Ok, I'm back with something savoury - Pickled sour cherries, using the sour cherries, coconut sugar, red wine vinegar, mustard seeds, coriander, mint. The pickled cherries can then also be used to make a salsa, by adding grilled corn kernels, jalapenos & tarragon.

  33. Slaw-style salad. Sour cherries, cabbage, spinach, carrot, coriander, onion, avocado, pine nuts. Dressing, coconut sugar, olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, jalapeno, cumin, salt. This is too fun! I need to stop.

  34. Coconut Chocolate Cherry Icecream. Decadent, rich, sour and DELICIOUS!!

  35. Rocky road; Melt the coconut mylk chocolate and add the cherries! Maybe stir in a little coconut butter as well (too much coconut is never enough), or use their coconut (which isn't included but shhh!).
    I was going to think of something savoury but why would you when there is chocolate?

  36. I would use the coconut butter,sour cherries and coconut mylk chocolate to create " Sandy's sensational Cherry Chocolate Chai cupcakes"with a cashew cream frosting! OMG I want to make them now ;)

  37. I would use :

    Loving Earth Raw Organic Coconut Butter
    Loving Earth Organic Coconut Sugar
    Loving Earth Organic Coconut Mylk Raw Chocolate

    Loving Earth Organic Sour Cherries
    For Chocolate Cherry Champion Brownies

  38. Loving Earth Organic Activated Pumpkin Seeds
    Loving Earth Organic Sour Cherries

    Loving Earth Organic Macqui Raw Dark Chocolate

    for a savoury snack

  39. All the things i could do with these gorgoeus Loving Earth products.. yum! I think i would make a Raw Cheescake using for the base coconut oil, almonds, sour cherries, pumpkin seeds and medules dates blend til combined and press into tray and place in the freezer. Then for the middel i would blend soaked cashews, coconut butter,coconut sugar and a vanilla and spread on top of base. would sprinkle with a mixture of the chocolates grated!

  40. medjool dates**

  41. Hi Stacy, I've just discovered your website through Loving Earth's FB page & I am so excited to read through your posts & yummy recipes. I especially can't wait to try your brownie recipe this weekend. My hubby made a traditional brownie last weekend but it's no good for my tum. Now I can join in the fun too X
    So many amazing responses here! I would use the organic coconut butter, organic coconut sugar, organic sour cherries and organic activated pumpkin seeds with other organic seeds and nuts to create a healthy and delicious slice which I would then top with melted Organic Sour Cherry & Acai Raw Dark Chocolate, yum!
    Thank-you for the fabulous new healthy inspiration here I'm off to explore & subscribe. Liza xxx

  42. I would use the Coconut Butter, Coconut Sugar and Coconut Mylk Chocolate to make a tart with a hazelnut base and coconut chocolate filling, and some coconut milk based whipped cream and shredded coconut to decorate :)

  43. Alternatively, I would soak the Sour Cherries in strong black tea for a few hours and then use them in a loaf of tea cake with the Activated Pumpkin Seeds, Coconut Sugar, almond meal and chia seeds.

  44. i would use the sour cherries and the coconut sugar to make creme brulee of sorts

  45. or the sour cherries, coconut sugar and coconut butter for a bread and butter pudding type thing

  46. coconut sugar and cherries in a coconut milk ice cream, sort of rum and raison spin off, or with pistachio

  47. Ooo, Veggie Mama, so many possibilities!

    I would create a Choc Cherry Raw Cheesecake:
    Base: Activated Almonds, Organic Medjool Dates, Organic Sour Cherries, Activated Pumpkin seeds and a pinch of Himalayan Crystal Salt.

    Filling: (Really Raw) Cashews, Organic Coconut Butter, Juice of Organic Lemons, Organic Agave, Vanilla Beans and Sour Cherry and Acai Chocolate shaved on top.

    A whole lot of goodness, a whole lot of YUM!

  48. I'm so pleased it helped someone else! It can be a hard road. Good luck to your friend :) xx

  49. Ah you are very clever! Thank you so much. I like exploring unrefined sugar anyway so it's a win-win!