Today’s my birthday! Which is a perfect excuse to eat all the sweet things, including these vegan peanut butter brownies. They are dense and fudgy, sweet and salty, and oh so perfectly chocolatey. What more could you want from a dessert?
Now, it’s time for me to make a confession. If I want to eat a brownie, I want the real deal. I’m not going to disguise any root vegetables or legumes in these babies. I’m going to make brownies with actual ingredients that don’t give you chocolatey-vegetable-cake nightmares. These are easy. These are lovable. And everyone can make and enjoy them, vegan or not. Now that’s my kinda recipe!
To showcase my love for super decadent brownies, I’m using chocolate in not one, but three different forms. THREE. Trust me, anything less is sub-par.
What ingredients do I need to make vegan peanut butter brownies?
- Bananas – The sweeter and riper, the better. Mashed banana acts as an ‘egg’ in this recipe, providing a rich and creamy taste. Not to mention that peanut butter + chocolate + banana is a match made in HEAVEN.
- Sunflower Oil
- Sugar – I like my brownies dark and chocolatey, so I use a lot less sugar than typical brownie recipes. Feel free to increase the quantity by a few tablespoons if you like your brownies sweeter.
- Melted Dark Chocolate – I’ve always made brownies using melted chocolate within the batter, and they turn out gooey and fudgy every time!
- Vanilla Extract and Espresso Powder – Adding a little vanilla extract and espresso powder to brownies helps to bring out the richness of the chocolate.
- Flour + Baking Powder
- Cocoa Powder – Replacing a portion of the dry ingredients with cocoa powder makes these brownies rich and chocolatey.
- Chopped Dark Chocolate – I promised you three forms of chocolate! To me, brownies without chocolate chunks are just chocolate cake. I’ve used dark chocolate here, but chopped vegan white chocolate would also work well! You can use chocolate chips if you wish, but I’m team chocolate chunks all the way.
- Peanut Butter – As if this recipe couldn’t get any more decadent, a heaping spoon of peanut butter is swirled through the batter right before baking, giving these brownies a sweet and salty vibe. Mmm…
How to make vegan peanut butter brownies step-by-step:
- Melt the chocolate (photo 1). I like to do this by microwaving the chocolate on the medium setting, stirring every 30 seconds until the residual heat of the chocolate can melt the final few lumps. If you do not have a microwave, however, you can melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Set aside the melted chocolate to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, mash the banana until few lumps remain (photo 2). You’ll want to use a ripe and spotty banana for optimal sweetness. Don’t worry if you don’t like bananas, as the chocolate overpowers the banana flavour! You can also puree the banana in a blender to remove all the lumps.
- Add the oil and sugar to the banana, then mix well to combine (photo 3). It will look like it’s not coming together at first, but as you whisk the mixture you will see it coming together.
- Pour the cooled melted chocolate into the banana-oil mixture (photo 4) and stir to combine (photo 5).
- Once combined, there should be no streaks of the banana mixture remaining (photo 6).
- In a separate bowl, measure out the dry ingredients (photo 7). You will need:
- Self raising flour
- Baking powder
- Cocoa powder
- Sift the dry ingredients into the batter in 3-4 increments, folding the dry ingredients in after each addition (photo 8).
- Once all the dry ingredients have been added, fold well to ensure no lumps of flour remain (photo 9).
- Add in the chopped dark chocolate (photo 10) and fold it into the brownie batter (photo 11).
- Pour the batter into a greased and lined baking tray (photo 12). Dollop the peanut butter evenly over the top of the brownies. Use a fork or toothpick to swirl the peanut butter through the brownie batter.
- Bake at 180 degrees/ 350 F for 20-25 minutes, then leave to cool COMPLETELY before cutting into squares.
Tips for getting perfect brownies every time:
Now, I’ve made a fair share of brownies in my time. And I’ve had my fair share of brownie fails too. The batch that’s as flat as a pancake, the batch which stayed runny no matter how long it was in the oven, and the batch that no one knows about because I’ve consumed the evidence – we’ve all been there. But I’ve compiled a few tips and tricks to make sure your brownies come out perfect every time:
- It does matter which type of chocolate you use. One time I made brownies with 85% dark chocolate, and the lack of cocoa butter meant the batter was nowhere near as runny and smooth as usual. I advise using chocolate with around 40-60% cocoa solid content, so your batter is silky smooth. Cheap supermarket chocolate is perfect for this! For the additional chocolate chunks however, feel free to go as dark as you dare.
- Sift that cocoa powder. If you don’t sift your cocoa powder, you will find large lumps of cocoa powder in the brownie batter. Not cool.
- Leave them to cool completely. If you want to get perfectly-cut brownie squares, you need to leave them to cool COMPLETELY before slicing. Preferably in the fridge overnight, but I totally understand if you just can’t wait that long to eat them 🙂
- Serve hot with cold ice cream. If you learn one thing from reading this blog post, it’s that warm brownies with cool vanilla ice cream is the best combo ever that everyone needs to try at least once in their lives. Trust me – just DO IT. You can reheat the cooled sliced brownies in the microwave to enjoy warm, or enjoy hot from the oven (I’ll let you off just this one time!)
I do hope you try this recipe! If you give it a go, tag me on Instagram @shivanilf and use the hashtag #shivanilovesfood. I love seeing your creations!
More nut butter recipes for you to try:
Vegan Peanut Butter Brownies
For the batter:
- 1 Banana the riper, the better
- 4oz/ 115 grams Dark Chocolate
- 1/2 cup/ 115ml Sunflower Oil
- 1/3 cup/ 115 grams Caster Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 pinch Instant espresso powder optional, to bring out the flavours
- 1/2 cup/ 90 grams Self Raising Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/4 cup/ 40 grams Cocoa Powder
- 2.5 oz/ 85 grams Dark Chocolate roughly chopped
- 2.5 tbsp/ 50 grams Peanut Butter smooth or crunchy
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/ 350 F. Grease a 20cm square baking tray with a little oil, and line with greaseproof paper.
- Break up the 4oz/ 115 grams chocolate and melt until smooth (I like to do this in the microwave, by carefully heating on the medium setting in 30 second bursts and stirring after each interval, but you can use a double boiler if you wish). Set aside to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, mash the banana until no large lumps remain (you can puree the banana in a blender if you wish). Add the sunflower oil and sugar, and whisk until well combined.
- Pour in the cooled melted chocolate and whisk together to combine. Stir in the vanilla extract and espresso powder, if using.
- Measure out the dry ingredients into a separate bowl. Gradually sift them in, folding the batter after each addition (I would do this in 3-4 increments).
- Add the chopped chocolate to the batter and mix to combine. Pour into the baking tray and swirl through the peanut butter.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, then remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before cutting into squares. Enjoy!
- The brownies will be much easier to slice cleanly if you leave them to cool completely in the fridge.
- These brownies can be stored in the fridge, in a covered container, for up to 4 days.
- If you wish to reheat the brownies, you can do so by heating in the microwave for a few seconds. For an extra decadent treat, top with a scoop of vegan ice cream!
- If you are allergic to nuts or wish to make plain chocolate brownies, you can omit the peanut butter. To compensate for the lack of salt in this case, I add a generous pinch of salt to the batter during step 4.