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Bittersweet Brownies + Salted Peanut Butter Frosting à la Not Without Salt {vegan}

vegan, dairy‐free, egg‐free
These brownies are essentially a 'veganised' version of Ashley Rodriguez's (Not Without Salt) recipe from her beautiful cookbook Date Night In. Brownie recipe adapted from Oh She Glows. My perfect brownies! Fudgy, rich, chocolatey‐as‐hell and topped with the fluffiest peanut butter frosting and a sprinkling of flaky salt.
Servings 16


  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp finely ground chia or flax seed
  • 4 tbsp almond milk/water
  • 100 ml / 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. almond milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

dry ingredients

  • 150 g / 1 cup + 2 Tbsp all‐purpose flour (or white spelt flour)
  • 30 g / 1/4 cup chickpea (besan) flour
  • 20 g / 2 tbsp. arrowroot starch
  • 50 g / 1/2 cup dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp espresso powder (optional)

wet ingredients

  • 250 g chopped dark chocolate 70 – 85% cocoa content
  • 125 g / 1/2 cup vegan butter
  • 250 g / 1 1/4 cup raw granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste


  • 200 g / 3/4 cups + 2 tbsp. vegan butter soft
  • 250 g / 2 cups icing sugar
  • 200 g / 3/4 cup natural smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt to sprinkle over the top



  • Preheat oven to 160C/320F. Line a 22 cm/9 inch square pan with baking paper on all sides, leaving some overhang to use as a handle after baking (to lift the brownies out of the tin).
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the ground chia/flax & almond milk/water & set aside to thicken to make a chia/flax egg. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the almond milk & the apple cider vinegar. Set aside to thicken/activate & turn into 'buttermilk'. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  • Place the chocolate & vegan butter in a large heat‐proof mixing bowl & place over a saucepan filled with a few cm of simmering water. Allow to melt, stirring often so that the chocolate does not burn. Once melted & combined, remove from the heat (it only needs to just melt, don't leave it any longer or it will burn). Add the sugar straight away while the mix is still warm & whisk well to begin dissolving the sugar. Whisk in the vanilla extract followed by the chia egg & finally the buttermilk. Whisk together until well combined.
  • Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture & stir until combined. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan & spread with your hands or the back of a spoon until smooth and even.
  • Bake for about 25-35 minutes (in the last 10 minutes I give the pan a shake every few minutes to make sure that crackly crust happens!) until crackly on top & a skewer inserted into the middle comes out a bit gooey with batter attached. Remove from the oven & set the pan of brownies on a wire rack – leave in the pan until completely cool (go & make the frosting as they bake & cool!). Once cooled, carefully remove the brownies from the pan using the overhanging baking paper.


  • In a medium (but relatively shallow – something that will fit in the freezer) mixing bowl, whip the softened vegan butter with a hand beater until fluffy. Slowly sift over the icing sugar, a tbsp or so at a time, beating in between. Add the peanut butter, vanilla extract & sea salt & beat to combine. Drizzle in a tbsp or so of almond milk & whip again.
  • Chill the whole bowl in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Take the bowl out of the freezer & beat again until fluffy. If it is still not fluffy enough, chill in the freezer for another 10 minutes & beat again. Repeat this chilling‐beating process again if necessary until the frosting is thick & fluffy. Keep covered in the fridge until you are ready to frost.
  • Frost the brownies with the peanut butter frosting & sprinkle with the flaky sea salt. Cut into squares & serve immediately. The brownies will keep unfrosted for 3–4 days, once frosted though they need to be eaten quite quickly as the frosting does not keep well at room temperature.