Do you remember those dark or milk chocolate oranges from your childhood? They would come wrapped tightly in bright orange foil, and when you’d open one of them up you would see something like a dozen pieces of chocolate in the shape of orange wedges. Taking a bite, the taste of orange and chocolate would fill your mouth. I think I still see those around, but it’s been years since I’ve had one. Still, the combination of orange and chocolate flavors is a good one and enticing to try bringing into the kitchen.
I recently purchased a large box of oranges, and I am finding that I am the only person eating them. It’s hard for me to keep up, so I have been trying to think of ways to use the oranges other than eating them one by one. I have been craving brownies lately, so I decided to try making orange chocolate brownies. The recipe I based the brownies off of is a basic one, so I really was testing out the use of orange in it. The brownies turned out great, but I will say that they are not solid brownies – they fall apart easily – so this recipe is better used where the brownies are a topping to your vegan ice cream (a suggestion my husband had after trying one).
Orange Chocolate Brownies
This recipe is adapted from Best Brownies on AllRecipes.com
- 1/2 vegan butter
- 1 cup vegan white sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground flax
- 3 tablespoons hot water
- 3 tablespoons orange juice, or the juice from 1/2 of an orange
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and grease an 8-inch square pan. I usually just use Earth Balance.
Mix your hot water and ground flax together with a fork. It will be very thick, because normally you would mix in an additional three tablespoons of hot water, but we’re going to substitute the orange juice in later.
Go ahead and grate your orange peel (if you’re using it). I love this Microplane grater/zester – it works really well.
You can also go ahead and juice half of your orange if you are going to use fresh orange juice as opposed to store-bought.
In a large saucepan, melt your butter.
When it has all melted, take it off the heat and then stir in the sugar, flax mixture, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla. You’ll want to try to mix it very well, because if you let the flax mixture sit for too long it may not incorporate very well. To be honest, I was very tempted to toss this into the food processor, but I decided not to. That definitely would have made this part of the batter smoother.
Add in the cocoa powder. As soon as I did this, it smelled like that chocolate orange candy to me!
Mix in the remaining dry ingredients: flour, salt and baking powder.
Pour it into your greased pan, then stick it in the oven for about 30 minutes. You may want to go an additional five minutes or so in case it is not done in the middle.
When it’s done, allow the pan to cool for a few minutes, then you can serve warm. Again, because these are a little more delicate than other brownies, you may want to use this as a topping to vegan ice cream.
This experiment turned out great! The orange flavor was definitely present, but it was not overwhelming, and the brownies tasted really quite decadent.
There are two things, though. These were very greasy – I might cut the amount of butter down by a few tablespoons next time, and to make them a little more solid I might increase the flour a little bit. The key is to not make them cake-like. The point of brownies is to have something that is a lot more moist and dense than cake, so perhaps my next experiment will be to try to find that happy balance.
Do you like brownies? And have you ever experimented with making different flavors of brownies?