A couple of weeks ago, I was simultaneously feeling nostalgic and craving chocolate. And, more than anything, I desperately wanted to step away from my laptop after another long day of zooming, typing, working and studying. Thus, I stepped into the kitchen, and embarked on a journey to make some vegan cosmic brownies.
In case you’re unfamiliar with these otherworldly treats, ‘Cosmic brownies’ are a Little Debbies brownie product, that is essentially a moist, dense brink of brownie goodness, covered with a slick icing and some crunchy mutli-colored candy bits.
These squishy, creamy, gooey and crunchy bricks are oddly delightful, and elicit fond memories of trips to the vending machine as a young girl with a couple of quarters, and a sense of empowerment at the prospect of picking out whatever vending machine goodie I wanted.
Now, as an empowered adult, I am more interested in plant-based baked goods. Including these vegan cosmic brownies, which hit the right nostalgia notes to ring true to original cosmic brownies.
But, these have a slightly richer chocolatey taste, a more decadent frosting, and in my humble opinion, an all around more wholesome homemade eating experience (I mean, truly, is there anything that tastes as wholesome as a homemade brownie?).
To make these vegan cosmic brownies, I whipped up a simple, cocoa-rich brownie recipe, and topped them with some homemade chocolate vegan buttercream, and garnished them with some sprinkles.
The result: vegan cosmic brownies that delighted the palate and the soul. This recipe is a keeper and a quarantine win. I hope they bring you as much joy as they have brought me.
Vegan Cosmic Brownies
Active Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: ~3 hours
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup neutral oil (such as avocado, coconut or canola, if using coconut, melt before use)
- 1 1/2 cups brown or coconut sugar (can sub granulated with differing results)
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (optional)
- 3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips (such as Enjoy Life or Trader Joe’s) or chopped dark chocolate
- 3/4 cup walnuts (optional)
- 1/2 cup non-dairy butter, softened (I like to use Earth Balance baking sticks for frosting)
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoon(s) non-dairy milk
- 1/4 cup sprinkles (vegan-friendly, if necessary)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9×9 inch baking pan by oiling liberally or lining with parchment paper or foil.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, ground flaxseed, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, non-dairy milk, apple sauce, and vanilla or almond extract.
- Add dry mix into bowl with wet mix and fold dry into wet until just combined. If the mixture seems dry, add an additional 2 tablespoons nondairy milk.
- Add walnuts and chocolate chips and fold to combine.
- Pour batter into prepared baking pan.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until brownies are fragrant, edges pull away from the pan slightly, and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the brownies comes out clean upon insertion and removal.
- While brownies are cooling, assemble icing. Place softened butter in a large bowl or stand mixer bowl. Add cocoa powder and 1 cup powdered sugar. Beat vegan butter, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar together, preferably using an electric stand mixer or electric beaters until light and fluffy, for 1-2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add remaining powdered sugar and beat for an additional 2-3 minutes. If the frosting is too thick, add non-dairy milk, one tablespoon at a time.
- Once brownies are cooled, frost using icing. Garnish generously with sprinkles. Slice and enjoy. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, or freeze to enjoy at a later date.
If you liked ‘Vegan Cosmic Brownies,’ you may also like:
- Healthy Brownie Batter Dip
- Vegan Salted Caramel Date Truffles
- Vegan Levain Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies