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Can you make vegan brownies from a mix? Yes, you can! Just choose the right mix and use an egg replacer. Follow this recipe for the easy vegan brownie mix hack using a Duncan Hines Brownie mix and a combination of aquafaba (garbanzo bean juice), Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer, and dehydrated mashed potato flakes. This brownie is rich, fudge-y, moist, and delicious!
Read through this post for some interesting information about the brownie mix used, tips and tricks for making the recipe, and the debate about vegan sugar.
For another delicious and easy recipe made with a Duncan Hines cake mix, try my Apple Spice Cake in the Slow Cooker. It’s so easy and yum!
But is Duncan Hines Brownie Mix Even Vegan?
Ah, that’s a great question and has been subject to great debate in the vegan community. I will tell you exactly why this brownie mix may or may not be considered vegan; but, it is ultimately up to your sense of ethics whether you use the Duncan Hines products or not.
Many Duncan Hines cake and brownie mixes are known to be “accidentally vegan” – meaning the company didn’t set out trying to make a vegan product, it just worked out that way. The mixes do not use any animal product such as dairy or eggs in the mix. But – and this is a huge “but”…the sugar used in the mix may or may not be vegan. What?
Why wouldn’t sugar be vegan?
Honestly, I only became aware of this a few months ago myself. But most of the cane sugar we consume is processed through bone char. This processing method gives sugar that bright white sparkle we’ve all come to know and crave.
Brown sugar and powdered sugar are made from white sugar and so are also processed this way as well. Not all companies use bone char, and it’s my understanding that as old equipment breaks down and needs to be replaced, many companies are beginning to look into newer and different methods to achieve the bright white. Organic sugar is never processed with bone char and so for sure is vegan. There are other sugars and sweeteners that you can use as well. For a really interesting and informative article about the vegan sugar debate, read what PETA has to say about it.
So this presents a problem.
It’s easy enough to buy and use organic sugar in our everyday lives for baking, cooking, or sprinkling in our coffee. There is also date sugar, palm sugar, beet sugar, maple sugar, monk fruit sugar, and artificial sweeteners we can choose. We can be sure that these other sugars and sweeteners do not use bone char in the processing. But, when buying a product that uses sugar as an ingredient, whether it be a cake mix, candy, mint, cold cereal, bread, etc, unless we 100% know the source and processing method for the sugar used in the product, then how do we really know? Bottom line is we don’t. I would assume that most sugar used in products, unless they specifically use organic sugar or are certified vegan, is processed this way.
You could drive yourself crazy with this one. And you may choose to. I am going with PETA’s stance. I know that I am saving animals every day by keeping them off my plate. Here is a direct quote from the above-mentioned article: “Eating vegan isn’t about “perfection” or a quest for personal purity…Don’t stress too hard about sugar if you’re unsure about how it was produced. You’re saving more than 100 animals per year by following a vegan lifestyle… But again, consider your personal ethics, do your own research, and decide for yourself.
Why make brownies from a mix? Can’t you just make it from scratch?
Yes, of course, you can make your brownies from scratch! There are a great many awesome vegan brownie recipes out there. But I don’t know about you, sometimes I just need to open a box and call it a day. It just feels…fun! This feeling probably stems from back in the day when I was a child and would pull a mix off from my mother’s pantry shelf. I could read the directions and make a special treat to share with my family all by myself! It was fun, satisfying, easy, and gave me a sense of accomplishment. I guess those memories and feelings never really go away.
For this recipe you will need:
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- Duncan Hines Brownie Mix
- Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer
- Aquafaba (garbanzo bean juice)
- tahini paste
- dehydrated mashed potato flakes
- vegan chocolate chips
Just a few simple ingredients and you’ll have vegan brownies from a mix!
Tips and Tricks for Making the Vegan Brownie Hack from a Mix:
The trick is making a vegan brownie from a mix that calls for eggs. I also am trying to avoid oil, and while these brownies are in no way “plant-based”, I still want them to be healthy…er…as healthy-ish as possible. Read on to learn more.
- For best success, please read through and follow all directions, tips, and tricks in this post. They are too numerous to list in the recipe card.
First, the eggs:
- What do we use to replace the eggs? I’ve tried a couple of things. Have you ever heard of aquafaba? Aquafaba is the liquid in a can of beans – so basically bean juice. A lot of vegans use it in place of eggs in their baking. When I tried aquafaba with the brownie mix in the past, it made the brownie very moist and dense – a little too moist and dense and really gave it very little substance.
- Don’t throw those beautiful beans away! You can make a vegan “egg” salad sandwich. Or try my Italian Roasted Chickpeas recipe (oil-free), or oil-free hummus.
- I’ve also tried Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer. This is made of soy flour, wheat gluten, corn syrup, and algae. So, definitely vegan. When I experimented with it, I, unfortunately, found that the brownie pretty much fell apart in my hands.
- For my next experiment, I tried dehydrated potato flakes. While they did give the brownies better substance, they were awfully dry.
- I thought perhaps the too dense aspect of the aquafaba and the fall apart aspect of the egg replacer just might cancel each other out. And then add in the substance of the potatoes. Well my vegan friends, this trifecta of egg replacers seemed to work!
Measuring the liquid:
- It’s important to note that this recipe will use a total of 1 1/4 cups liquid. This is a little more than what is listed on the back of the box. Remember we added in dehydrated potato flakes? This means we will need to add in a little more water or your brownie will be dry.
- The total liquid will come from the aquafaba (bean juice) and water. I drain the beans, save and measure out the aquafaba first. This should be somewhere between 1/2 -3/4 cup of liquid from the aquafaba.
- Next, using the same measuring cup, I simply add water until it comes to the 1 1/4 cup line.
Now for the oil:
- There are a lot of oil replacers – mashed bananas and applesauce are two that come to mind. These are okay…ish. I don’t like the taste bananas leave behind and the texture using applesauce just isn’t right for a boxed brownie.
- I decided to use Tahini. Tahini is a sesame paste that is used when making hummus as well as some sauces and dressings. It does contain fat – but this is a less processed fat than oil. Tahini also contains fiber and protein so it is more of whole food. I have to tell you, I think the tahini really added to a very rich flavor and took these box-mix brownies almost to a homemade level!
- Why don’t I just use oil? Well, I am trying to get away from processed oils. Using tahini also allows me to use half the amount and so add less fat.
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Mix it all together and bake!
- Make sure your oven is preheated at 350° and grease your pan. I use coconut oil spray.
- I suggest a 9×9″ or 7×11″ pan. The brownies will be too thin if you use a 9×13″ pan.
- Vegan Chocolate chips are easy enough to find at your grocer. Look at the ingredients on semi-sweet chips and make sure they do not list dairy. I like the organics brand I can find at my local store as well as the Trader Joe’s chips. If you read above, I also included a link for a vegan chip I sometimes buy from Amazon.
- Sprinkle a few chocolate chips on top before baking.
- Let cool before cutting. These were a winner with my family. I hope yours enjoys as well.
Now for the recipe!
This recipe was actually my first post, written in July 2018. I’ve learned a lot about food blogging, photography and writing posts since then, and so have updated it. I appreciate all of you being a part of Veggie Fun Kitchen! Without you reading the posts, commenting, and pinning the recipes, Veggie Fun Kitchen would not be here. Please join us on our Facebook page to get a little peek behind the scenes and see what is coming next. If you like this recipe, share with your friends and 5 stars would be appreciated! 💕
Vegan Brownie Hack from Box Mix
- 1 box Duncan Hines Brownie Mix
- 3 Tablespoons Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer
- 1/2 cup dehydrated potato flakes
- 9 Tablespoons aqufaba This is the liquid from a can of garbanzos beans.
- 1/2-3/4 cup water see note - 1 1/4 cup liquid in all
- 1/3 cup tahini paste
- 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Prepare a 9x9" or 7x11" baking pan with cooking spray.
- Drain and save the liquid from a can of garbanzo beans. This will be a little over 1/2 cup. You will use 1 1/4 cup total liquid. Add water to the aquafaba (bean juice) to make 1 1/4 cup total. This will be a little less than 3/4 cup water.
- With an electric mixer, mix all ingredients together except for chocolate chips.
- Mix in chocolate chips.
- Turn into prepared pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.
- Cook in a 350° oven for 27-35 minutes or until brownies are just pulling away from sides and center springs back slightly when touched. Be careful not to overcook. Because of the aquafaba, these brownies will be a little moister than brownies made with eggs and might not look done.