Brownies And Other Chocolaty Things

On World Chocolate Day, last Saturday, I made a scrumptious batch of irresistible brownies despite having no vanilla. Admittedly, I was petrified that they would be terrible. After all, vanilla is used in almost every dessert recipe. To be out of vanilla is a baker’s nightmare. Yet, the brownies came out well. Like super dense and yum yum. Without vanilla, you get a strong, pure chocolate tasting treat.
Today, on a special old Ohioan friend’s birthday, instead of making a fresh new cake or cupcakes even, I ate the final remainder of these brownies straight from the baking pan. They taste wonderful slightly chilled, a lovely companion to cold almond milk.
In addition to my brownie and art making, I have a sweet announcement: I’m writing a book. A book about what you ask? Chocolate. Yes, chocolate. My short synopsis: looking critically at the world of chocolate in a time during the Black Lives Matter movement, to shift eyes towards understanding food justice and compassion. Excitingly enough, I even have permission to include Food Empowerment Project’s Chocolate List as the final segment. I couldn’t be happier. Thus, I have spent time watching documentaries The Dark Side of Chocolate and its sequel Shady Chocolate whilst also analyzing how films such as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Chocolat evoke a glaring absence about the truths of chocolate production, of the involvement of laboring brown and black bodies.
Meanwhile, back to exceptional brownies that are moist, decadent, and mouthwateringly amazing, the secret is always a bit of vinegar and coconut oil. After chilling them in the fridge, you get this thin brownie skin on top that looks beautiful as it is delicious. Plus, I fell in love with how my hands handled the precious butter knife cut squares with the little bits of chocolate coating fingers. Oh and the smell– one can never forget that wafting smell of baked brownies or the first warm piece of heaven with the bite of crunchy pecans.
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa (used Divine Cocoa)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 1 /2 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup crushed pecans (walnuts or almonds are good substitutes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together.
Mix in coconut oil and almond milk.
Add apple cider vinegar and pecans.

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