Fudgy Vegan Brownie Bites

Many of my quests for allergy-free treats start off with Google searches for vegan recipes.  Thankfully, there are many wonderful vegan bakers out there willing to share their knowledge.  This recipe is an adaptation of one I found on Allrecipes.com.  The original can be found here.  I like to make them as mini brownie cupcakes and include my flax 'egg' as well as chocolate chips - both add to the gooey factor.

Here are my ingredients (sans coffee and salt). Again, this recipe can easily be adapted to be gluten-free by simply replacing the flour with a gluten-free all-purpose flour:

I started off by making my 'egg' since it needed a few minutes to set-up.  I mixed all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and all of the liquid ingredients in a liquid measuring cup.  With brownies, my liquid of choice is coffee as it really enhances the chocolate flavor:

I added the flax 'egg' into the liquid ingredients and then stirred them into the dry mixture.  The mini chocolate chips were then mixed in.  To prepare the mini muffin pan, I like to use a spray with flour.  If you are making a gluten-free version, I recommend spraying with your favorite oil and dusting with gluten-free flour. I fill each mini muffin cup with about 1 tablespoon of batter.  The recipe ends up making about 24 mini brownie bites:

One of the keys to having fudgy brownies is to not over-cook them.  My rule of thumb is to remove them from the oven once I can smell them.  The longer they are cooked, the more cake-like they will be. Believe me, these go fast!

Fudgy Vegan Brownie Bites


1 T ground flax + 3 T water
1 c whole wheat pastry flour (+ 1/4 c for high altitude)
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar 
6 T cocoa powder
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 c coffee
1/2 c vegetable oil (I like a flavorless oil like safflower)
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 c mini chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, prepare mini muffin tin by spraying with a baking spray that has flour.
  2. Prepare 'egg' by mixing together ground flax and water.  Let sit for a few minutes
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together all dry ingredients 
  4. In a liquid measuring cup, measure the coffee and oil.  Add vanilla and flax mixture.
  5. Combine dry and liquid ingredients.  Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Fill each mini-muffin cup with about 1 rounded tablespoon of batter.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Makes about 24 mini-muffins.

Shared on Cybele Pascal's 'Allergy Friendly Friday'

Allergy-Friendly Friday with Cybele Pascal

Blueberry Crumb Cake

I adapted this recipe from my 'Everyday Food - Great Food Fast' cookbook.  It's been a huge hit at our house, even with kids who don't care for squishy fruit in their food.

I'll list the whole recipe and instructions at the end of this post. Here are the ingredients I used:

The first thing I did, after pre-heating the oven to 350, was to make my 'egg' (1T ground flax + 3T water) and 'buttermilk' (splash of lemon juice + coconut milk).  Both needed a few minutes to sit:

Next, I whisked together the dry ingredients and creamed the margarine and sugar with a wooden spoon. Once creamed, I added the flax seed mixture and stirred until it was smooth:

 Next, I added the flour mixture and buttermilk in alternating batches, beginning and ending with the flour. The resulting batter was pretty stiff:

Before adding the blueberries, I tossed them with a little flour so they wouldn't turn the batter into a purple blob once they were folded in.  My batter ended up pretty purple, probably due to the fact that I used frozen wild blueberries, which bleed a lot.  Oh well, a little purple coffee cake never hurt anyone.

I poured the batter into a prepared 8x8" pan, mixed the streusel topping, and sprinkled it on top of the batter:


After baking in a 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, it was ready to be gobbled down! My kids have been known to eat the entire pan in 1 day.  

This recipe could be easily adapted to be gluten-free by using your favorite all-purpose gluten-free flour instead of the whole wheat pastry flour. 

Blueberry Crumb Cake

4 T Earth Balance margarine, softened
1 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour (+ 1/4 c more for high altitude)
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/4 t ground allspice
3/4 c sugar
1 'egg' (1T ground flax + 3 T water)
1/4 c 'buttermilk' (splash of lemon juice + 1/4 c coconut milk)
3/4 c blueberries (I used frozen, wild)

Streusel Topping
1 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c light brown sugar, packed
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1/2 c (1 stick) cold Earth Balance margarine, cut into tablespoons

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease and flour an 8x8" pan.
  2. Prepare the 'egg' and 'buttermilk' in two small bowls.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and allspice.
  4. In another bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar. Add the 'egg' and mix until combined.
  5. Add the flour mixture and 'buttermilk' in alternating batches, beginning and ending with the flour.  Batter will be very stiff.
  6. In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with a teaspoon of flour, fold them into the batter, and pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle evenly with the streusel topping (directions below), covering the batter completely. Do not press in.  
  7. Bake until golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.  Cool and enjoy!
Streusel Topping:
  1. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. 
  2. Using your fingers, work in the margarine until large, moist crumbs form. Make sure the crumbs are large so they form a crisp topping as the cake bakes instead of melting into the batter.

Keeping it Real

When we first discovered the severity of our daughter's food allergies, there was a period of emotional adjustment for me.  Knowing that your child could die from eating standard American food staples is a big pill to swallow.  There is a period of mental, emotional, and spiritual adjustment. One of my favorite bible verses is 2 Corinthians 12:9:

'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.'

This verse suddenly became very real to me, as a mom who felt powerless. Eventually, I took refuge in the fact that God created her perfectly, and something good would come out of it.  

There are several great websites and support groups for parents of children with food allergies.  I checked them all out and spent some time perusing the many forums.  While it was helpful to know that other parents were facing the same challenges, something about these forums didn't sit well with me.  Many of the loving, vigilant parents were letting their child's food allergies take over their life and making it the focus of their family.  They were totally removing any food allergens from the house. Don't get me wrong - I understand the need for vigilance, but I don't want to make things bigger than they need to be.  For that reason, I decided to NOT remove dairy, eggs and nuts from our house.  The rest of us could eat these items, and I didn't see the need to totally take them out of everyone's diet. Instead, I decided to educate my daughter about what she could and couldn't eat, to read labels, and to always ask questions.  In my opinion, this approach will help her function in the real world, where she will constantly be exposed to various food allergens.   

That being said, for my sanity, I DO tend to cook dinners that we can all eat.  These include meat, chicken, fish, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. And when I bake for the family, I typically bake without eggs, dairy, nuts, and most recently wheat. I thought I would show a picture of my typical weekly shopping trip.  If you look closely, you'll see items like almond butter, milk, eggs, and yogurt. What you don't see here is very much meat, but only because my freezer is full of lots of local grass-fed beef.:

You can also see some allergy-free items such as Cliff Bars, Miso ramen soup, coconut milk, and Earth Balance margarine.  If you are new to all of this, be encouraged - you can do this!

Grace Laced Mondays

Basic Pantry Items for Allergy-Free Baking

Because I have to avoid dairy and eggs when I bake, I'm essentially a vegan baker.  I am so thankful for the many options available these days, both online with various blogs and social sites, as well as at the store, where I can find some fantastic substitutes for dairy and eggs.  Here's a collection of some basics I almost always have on hand. All of these can be found at either Whole Foods or similar natural foods store, or they can be purchased online at Amazon (links below):

Coconut products: These have been a life (and recipe) saver for me!  I use the boxed coconut milk and/or the coconut creamer as a substitute for cow milk in my recipes.  The canned coconut milk is a wonderful substitute for heavy cream. Coconut yogurt (not pictured) is wonderful for baking as well.

Earth Balance: These 'Vegan Buttery Sticks' are a great substitute for real butter.  Another great butter substitute is Spectrum Organic Shortening.

Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips: Great option for chocolate chip cookies.  Whole Foods does have their own  365 brand of vegan chips as well.

Ground Flax Seed: This is my favorite substitute for eggs (1T ground flax + 3T water) in most recipes because it doesn't change the flavor too much and adds some healthy omega-3 fats.

Ener-G Egg Replacer: Another option for egg substitute in some recipes that don't call for too many eggs.  Some people claim this product adds a funny taste to the recipe, so I always try the flax seed option first.

Gluten-free ingredients(not pictured): For gluten-free baking, I like to have on hand my 3 favorite GF flours - Superfine brown rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour.  It's also important to have some xanthan gum, which provides structure and elasticity in GF recipes. Other handy GF flours include millet flour and sorghum flour, both great for GF breads.