Chocolate. Yup, chocolate. I guess it's what you guys like, and I can't argue with that. I mean, if you look again to the right and further up on the page you will see me with my big smiley face mug. Know what's in that mug? Coffee. Know what's in my coffee? In that picture and every day? A big fat scoop of cocoa powder. I like chocolate. You like chocolate. I think this can be a mutually beneficial relationship. Back in the early days of dating my boyfriend, just when we reached that special stage where I was ready to let him look in my densely packed, highly overcrowded pantry, he made the following comment:
"I figured it out. You're like superman, but not from the planet Krypton. You're from like, the planet of chocolate, but instead of making you weaker, chocolate gives you superpowers and you need LOTS of it!"
He might be right. I'll have to interrogate my parents about that. If it is the case, well I have no problem with that. Lots of chocolate. More chocolate posts. Let's start today.
I've heard some other folks comment that vegan brownies can be tough. Specifically, that it's tough to get that dense, chewy brownie texture. I had no such problem here. These were rich, fudgy and totally decadent. The raspberry cheesecake part of these was amazing. I've made cashew cheesecake before and I've had cheesecake brownies, so when I developed this recipe I decided to combine the two. I also had peanut butter brownies in mind - like the kind where you just swirl peanut butter right into the top of your brownie batter after adding it to the pan. I figured cashew cheesecake batter couldn't be all that different. It was a bit thicker than peanut butter, so the swirling around up top could be a little tricky at first. Since the swirl ended up being a little thick, I was nervous that it wouldn't cook at the same rate as the rest of the batter. Everything turned out fine. By the time these cooled, they were beautiful and delicious. Don't be scared! Just go for it. Swirl that good stuff around and it will bake right in there and be delicious!
Finally, I'll mention that I initially made twice as much cheesecake batter as I actually needed. What's a girl to do with a big plate of fudgy vegan raspberry cheesecake brownies and half a batch of vegan raspberry cheesecake batter? I'll tell you later this week. Stay tuned ;)
Fudgy Vegan Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies
For the cheesecake batter:
½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 4 hours
½ ripe banana
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup ripe, fresh raspberries
1 tbsp. sugar
For the brownies:
2 tbsp. ground flax seeds + ¼ cup almond (or other non dairy milk), whisked together and allowed to sit for 10 minutes or so
½ cup Earth Balance or other vegan margarine, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. almond (or other non-dairy) milk
⅔ cup sugar
½ cup all purpose flour (I know, this doesn't sound like much, but its right)
½ tsp. baking powder
⅓ cup cocoa powder
⅛ tsp. salt
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 and grease or spray 9 x 9 baking pan.
Now, prepare the cheesecake batter by processing all ingredients in food processor until smooth. It should look something like this:
Next, prepare the brownie batter. Start by mixing first five ingredients well in medium size bowl. Then mix everything else, except chips, in a separate bowl. Combine wet and dry mixtures, then add in chips. Batter will be thick. Spread well into greased pan. Drop dollops of cheesecake batter on top and swirl in. The cheesecake batter should be pretty thick, so it might not swirl perfectly. Don't worry, it will blend nicely with the brownie mixture by the time all is cooked and cooled. Bake 25-30 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.