Converting to a plant-based diet means by default adopting a fairly low-fat, low calorie diet. By dropping high fat foods, such as cheese, cream and milk in favour of plant-based alternatives it also also means replacements need to be found for certain chocolate, biscuits and cakes, making them much harder to come by, or abstaining altogether. I’ve found (after avidly scrutinising food labels) that many options I would have thought ‘safe’ are now off limits due to micro amounts of milk powder or other hidden ingredients, which I never would’ve guessed were in there! I’ve had to start baking a lot of my own treats and snacks or I’ve gone without.
Although this may seem like a blessing for people trying to cut the calories, I’ve not actively been trying to lose weight and as someone on the low side of ‘normal’ body mass I’ve found this a fairly unwelcome side effect. Unintentionally I’ve been eating less and also been hungrier than I was before I made the switch to veganism. Some of the treat replacements I’ve been making, such as flapjack and raw chocolate brownies are loaded with dried fruits, nuts and seeds and although super healthy, I’m looking for some stodge to bulk me up and combat the lost calories from areas I’ve cut out of my diet.
I’d normally cringe at this chocolate brownie recipe – I’m usually a fan of baking with healthy ingredients, or at least smuggling some fruit or vegetable content into it – but right now, this is what my body needs. There’s a disgustingly unacceptable amount of sugar in it – it made me feel queasy as I was making it! However, it’s all about moderation and giving in to what my body needs so I’m not craving food that’s off limits.
- 200g caster sugar
- 200g soft brown sugar
- 100g cacao (or cocoa powder)
- 80ml coconut oil, melted
- Half tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 200g self raising flour
- 200ml water
- 150g walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped
- 150g chocolate chips, plus extra for sprinkling on top
Combine the sugar, cacao, baking powder, vanilla extract and oil together in a mixing bowl. Stir in the flour and slowly pour in the water to make a thick chocolatey batter. Finally stir in the chocolate chips and chopped nuts.
Tip into a lined square baking tin and scatter with extra chocolate chips. Bake at 180C for approx 30 minutes until risen.
Don’t worry about it collapsing and sinking in the middle – it will retain a delicious oozy centre when it cools.
*WARNING This brownie must be consumed as part of a healthy, balanced and sensible (if fairly restrictive) diet 😉