I often get requests for recipes that rely less on butter and eggs and that are gluten-free, so I wanted to come up with a fun plant-based recipe that would be refreshing for those stifling heat waves we’ve had. and also gluten-free. (And don’t need an ice machine since I don’t have one!)
On hot days, I think more than ever about the connection between what we put on the plate and the climate crisis we are in. There is no question that agriculture and the transport of food over long distances are major contributors to climate change. But finding solutions and sustainable diets can be tricky. For example, if I forego my beloved local grass butter in these brownies and instead use an avocado shipped from Mexico or olive oil shipped from Italy, which of these three has the smaller carbon footprint? I have no answer to that. But I know my diet has a strong carbon footprint (even as someone who eats mostly from my own garden) and I am determined to find ways to reduce that footprint. And while no one has all of the definitive answers, it’s important to ponder the complexities of these questions. One thing I know for sure, you can’t go wrong with making an effort to eat more locally grown food, whether by helping local sustainable farmers in your area or having a garden. Shopping at farmers markets, where there is much less plastic packaging and groceries haven’t traveled very far, is a win-win as it also supports your local economy and agriculture. And of course, probably the biggest impact we could all have would be to replace our consumption of factory-raised meat with either vegetarian options or locally produced grass and organic meats and dairy products. Despite my question as to whether a vegan brownie is really better for the planet than a non-vegan, I have to say that I really enjoy developing plant-based recipes. Not only do they force you to be creative with your ingredients, but they are really delicious!
For this recipe, I wanted a plant-based brownie that isn’t too sweet. I love desserts and chocolate, but I can’t stand a brownie that is too sweet and I find that most recipes contain way too much sugar. I was intrigued by an avocado brownie recipe that I found at Spruce Eats, but felt it needed some tweaking to give it the rich and chewy brownie texture I was looking for. So I fiddled with the recipe until I came up with a delicious gluten-free brownie that has become the standard in my kitchen. It’s great on its own, but made even more exciting with creamy raspberry “ice cream” (that’s really more like a sorbet, but “sorbet sandwich” doesn’t exactly sound the same). Now this raspberry sorbet is really something. First, it only has 2 ingredients! Raspberries and sweetened coconut condensed milk (which you can find in any health food store). You can also do it with milk-based condensed milk if you have it on hand. Plus, no ice machine is needed (although you will need a high speed blender). It’s so creamy and so refreshing and you only eat berries most of the time, so good for you!
This recipe is a great way to use raspberries, and I’ve been blessed with a raspberry patch of red and yellow raspberries. Yes indeed! Yellow raspberries are a thing! They taste like a mix of apricots and raspberries and are my all-time favorite. This variety is called “Anne”. And no, you definitely don’t need yellow raspberries, I just threw some in because I had them.
The nice thing about this recipe is that you can prepare the raspberry sorbet and simply enjoy it on its own. The same goes for the brownies. They don’t need each other, but they reinforce each other and create a nice combination of flavors and textures.
A perfect treat for a warm day! The nice thing about this recipe is that you can prepare the raspberry sorbet and simply enjoy it on its own. The same goes for the brownies. They don’t need each other, but they reinforce each other and create a nice combination of flavors and textures.
- For the brownies:
- 1 cup of oatmeal (or regular all-purpose flour)
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup cane sugar
- 1/2 cup mashed avocado
- 1/3 cup soy milk
- 1/4 cup olive oil (or any vegetable oil)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- For the raspberry ice cream / sorbet:
- 4 cups of frozen raspberries
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (or milk-based condensed milk if you prefer)
- For the brownies:
Puree the avocado, sugar, soy milk, olive oil and vanilla in a blender. In a bowl, stir together the oatmeal, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix well until smooth. Pour half of the mixture into a 9×5 loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean or with only a few crumbs (but start checking at 10 minutes as these can cook very quickly). Remove the brownie and let it cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the rest of the batter so that you end up with 2 thin brownies.
- How to prepare the sorbet:
Pour the frozen raspberries and sweetened coconut condensed milk into a high-speed mixer (ideally with a plunger, as this will make your job a lot easier). Mix slowly at first, stir with the plunger and gradually increase the speed. This will take some time to get a smooth puree. Be patient. If you don’t have a plunger with your blender, you’ll need to pause often to stir and press down the raspberries between blends until you get a smooth raspberry sorbet.
- Use the same loaf pan that you baked the brownies in and place one of the two brownies on top. Pour the raspberry sorbet over it and smooth it out. Place the second brownie on top of the raspberry sorbet and press down a little to ensure good contact between the sorbet and brownies. Place in the freezer for at least 4 hours. Remove from freezer and cut into bars to serve. You can also cut them into bars and put them in a covered container in the freezer and keep them there until you eat them. Allowing the bars to sit for a few minutes before eating will make them a little softer. Enjoy!
Yield: 10 bar
Aube Giroux is a food writer, James Beard Award-winning documentary filmmaker, and passionate organic gardener and housewife who shares her love of cooking on her blog, Kitchen Vignettes.