I’ve been a bit naughty…but for the nicest of reasons. I went off the vegan health freak path into the land of decadent desserts, but I didn’t do it for me. Instead of a final exam, my magazine writing class had a final exam period where we talked with each other and made food. Over the past three months, my class read my articles about veganism, lovingly critiqued them, and then listened patiently as I explained the more cryptic parts of a vegan lifestyle. For putting up with that, they deserved gold medals. I couldn’t find any gold medals (because I didn’t really look), so I made them some brownies instead.
While I would never make non-vegan brownies (sorry not sorry), I wanted to show them that vegan dessert could taste just as delicious as a normal one. I love baking vegan treats, but I usually make them ridiculously healthy. This time, however, I restrained myself and stayed away from the black beans, applesauce, and oats I use to make healthy brownies. I still used whole wheat flour and organic cane sugar, but I also dolled out the Earth Balance like a vegan Paula Deen.
After finding a basic vegan brownie recipe, I knew I wanted to add something extra to make them festive, fun, and freaking delicious. Then, on my regular TJ’s (Trader Joe’s) trip, I spotted the Candy Cane Jo Jo’s and fell in love. I rarely eat Jo Jo’s (the TJ’s equivalent of Oreos) but that’s because I love them so much. I can’t be trusted around them.
Of course, because I never have Jo Jo’s, I may have gone a little crazy incorporating them into my holiday treat. Standing above the bowl of brownie batter, I didn’t know whether I wanted to layer the Jo Jo’s inside of the brownies or crumble them into the batter. So, I did what any (in)sane person would do— I DID BOTH.
Is anyone else reminded of this commercial when they’re making a difficult decision? Nope? Just me? Cool.
To begin, I doubled The Minimalist Baker’s recipe and also added a bit more water because for some reason (read: I didn’t have the right ingredients so I improvised rather than making the five minute trip to the store) my batter was a bit too thick. If this happens to you, add a little water or non-dairy milk until the batter assumes a more traditional brownie batter consistency. Trust me, they’ll still taste just fine.
After I made the batter, I laid some parchment paper down in a 9 x 13″ rectangular pan and poured in half of the brownie batter.
I spread it until it met the edges and then laid down a completely normal amount of Candy Cane Jo Jo’s.
After that, I crumpled another completely normal amount of Candy Cane Jo Jo’s into the remaining batter.
Note that I’m not disclosing the actual number of Jo Jo’s used in this recipe. That’s because 1. I lost count and 2. I want you to use your discretion as to what qualifies as a “completely normal amount of Candy Cane Jo Jo’s.” (Hint: take whatever number you come up with and add ten. You’re getting warmer.)
After spreading the second half of the batter, I put my masterpiece in the oven for about twenty-two minutes. Depending on how big your pan is, you may need to adjust the time. Just use the trusted toothpick/fork test to judge when your brownies are done. If you’re really worried, put them in for twenty minutes and add a few minutes each time your toothpick/fork doesn’t come away cleanly.
The next day, I brought the brownies into my class to rave reviews. Just in time for Christmas, another crazy recipe has been omnivore approved!
Forget cookies, set these babies out for Santa with a tall glass of almond milk. You’re sure to end up on his nice list 😉