Chocolate Fudge Brownie
A recipe by Matthias Kail, The Netherlands
About Matthias Kail
After several years of working as head chef in well-known Amsterdam high end restaurants, Matthias and two of his former colleagues chose to leave the traditional restaurant setting and open vanVeg, a take away and catering business in Haarlem, offering a 100% plant based menu. Matthias has always been surprised at the general lack of creativity when it comes to using only plant based ingredients. Most traditional cuisines already comprise a wide range of vegan examples, that have either been forgotten or are considered to be of inferior interest. In their business, Matthias and his colleagues try to give those dishes a well-deserved revival and adapt them -where needed- to modern needs and standards.After several years of working as head chef in well-known Amsterdam high end restaurants, Matthias and two of his former colleagues chose to leave the traditional restaurant setting and open vanVeg, a take away and catering business in Haarlem, offering a 100% plant based menu. Matthias has always been surprised at the general lack of creativity when it comes to using only plant based ingredients. Most traditional cuisines already comprise a wide range of vegan examples, that have either been forgotten or are considered to be of inferior interest. In their business, Matthias and his colleagues try to give those dishes a well-deserved revival and adapt them -where needed- to modern needs and standards.
What inspires you to cook with less meat?
Having grown up with a mainly meatless diet due to economic reasons, I have developed a predilection for vegetables and fruit at an early age already. Unfortunately, what was and still is offered as vegetarian and/or vegan alternatives in restaurants and other eateries leaves much to be desired on a creative and executive level. Most chefs still see vegetables and pulses as being a mere accompaniment for a piece of meat or fowl but will frown upon their use as the main hero of a dish. Feeling rebellious to the established patterns, I have always seen it as my challenge to adapt cooking techniques and recipes in a way as to create a dish that is interesting and satisfying to vegans and non-vegans alike. My love for experimentation with new ingredients, exploring different styles of cooking and baking and ultimately my love for good food that leaves the consumer with a clean conscience are my foremost motivation!
About this recipe
Brownies surely must be THE best known and most widely enjoyed pastry known to our western civilizations. Yet, there are only few recipes that will suit people choosing to avoid ingredients of animal origin. At vanVeg, we not only try to bring change to that fact, but even take a step further, by creating a 100% vegan AND gluten-free variety of this all-time-pleaser.
Chocolate Fudge Brownie
Yield: 1 baking tray/brownie tin of 20x30 cm (10 portions, approx.)
Preparation time: 2x20 min.
Baking time: 50 min.
250 g almonds
150 g caster sugar
2 tbsp cold water
1 tsp salt
300 g chickpea flour
150 g cocoa powder
175 g caster sugar
200 g currants
1 pinch of salt
2 tsp baking powder
300 ml cold water
250 ml sunflower oil
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius or to just in between 3 and 4 on a gas oven.
First we prepare the almond-caramel-crunch:
· Chop the almonds coarsely and roast them in a dry pan on medium heat, till they start turning a golden brown (you can also use shop-bought pre-roasted and pre-chopped almonds!). Empty the roasted almond splinters on a plate and let them cool to room temperature.
· Prepare an baking sheet or similar heat-proof plate and line it with grease-proof paper. Set aside.
· Put the sugar and the water in a pan (pans with non-stick layers work best!) and heat it on a medium flame till the sugar dissolves and starts boiling. Leave the pan on the stove till the sugar — that has now turned into a kind of syrup — starts caramelizing. Stir as little as possible, using a wooden spoon rather than a metal one (metal conducts heat and can get extremely hot!).
· Keep heating on a medium-high flame till the syrup has reached a dark-golden hue. Be VERY careful: caramel reaches temperatures of just under 200 degrees and is extremely sticky. You do NOT want to get drops of it on your skin! Quickly pour the caramel on the previously prepared tray, spread it out with a wooden spoon or a heat proof spatula, and let it cool down completely before proceeding.
· Crush the caramel with a rolling pin, ye olde meat tenderizer 😊 or any other heavy, blunt object (the bottom of a sauce pan works just fine!) into small shards and crumbs. Mix with the chopped almonds and salt and set aside.
Now to the brownie batter:
· Prepare and measure out all listed ingredients.
· Prepare a deep oven tray (20x30 cm approx., 4 cm deep) or heat proof oven dish and line it with grease-proof paper (alternatively — when using a brownie tray with several compartments — brush the compartments with a bit of sunflower oil and dust it with chickpea flour).
· Place all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well, using a whisk or a wooden spoon (I suggest, you avoid an electric mixer at that stage, otherwise you and your kitchen will be covered in brown dust!)
· Add the liquids to the dry mix and stir well, till you reach a thick batter. You may use an electric mixer at this stage!
· Pour the batter on the oven tray and spread out evenly with a rubber spatula.
· Sprinkle the batter with the almond-caramel-crunch, making sure that you distribute the crunchy bits evenly. Pat the brownie VERY gently with the flat palm of your hand, to ensure the crunch adheres well to the batter, but make sure not to press them into the batter itself.
Put the tray in the pre-heated oven (using a medium slot) and bake at 180 degrees.
· After 50 minutes, prick the center of the brownie with a wooden skewer. If it comes out clean, the brownie is ready, if not, add a couple of minutes to the baking time and repeat the skewer test, till the brownie is completely cooked through.
· Let the brownie cool completely before you take it out of the baking tin and cut it into pieces.
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