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.
Yes of course there are a great many 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.
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.
First the eggs: I’ve tried a couple of things. Have you every 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.
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.
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. Well my vegan friends, it seemed to work!
If you look on the back of the brownie mix, you will see that it calls for three eggs. When using the egg replacer, you are to use 1 Tablespoon egg replacer powder and 3 Tablespoons water for each egg replaced. So if I’m doing the math right, that would be 3 Tablespoons egg replacer and 9 Tablespoons water. Well instead of the water, I used an equal amount of aquafaba. Nine tablespoons happened to be exactly what was drained out of one can of garbanzo beans. Please measure for yourself though as not all brands/cans will be the same. If you fall short of the 9 tablespoons, make up for it with water.
(You’ll only use the liquid from the garbanzos, not the beans themselves. Waste not, want not! You can use the garbanzos in a salad, or make hummus.)
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. I had some brownie batter hummus once with tahini and so decided to give it a try in the brownies. I have to tell you, I think it really added to a very rich flavor and took these box-mix brownies almost to a homemade level!
I sprinkled some vegan chocolate chips on the top before baking and look how beautiful these brownies turned out!
These were a winner with my family! In fact, I was not able to get a picture of one on the plate before they were eaten!
Vegan Brownie Hack from Box Mix
Yes you can make a vegan brownie from a box mix! Just read the label to make sure the ingredients are vegan compliant. Then replace your egg with aquafaba (bean juice) and a powdered egg replacer.
- 1 box Duncan Hines Brownie Mix
- 3 Tablespoons Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer
- 9 Tablespoons aqufaba This is the liquid from a can of garbanzos beans.
- 1/2 cup tahini paste
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°
Prepare a 9x9 baking pan with cooking spray.
With an electric mixer, mix all ingredients together except for chocolate chips.
Turn into prepared pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.
Cook in a 350° oven for 25-35 minutes or until brownies are just pulling away from sides and center springs back slightly when touched. Be careful not to over cook. Because of the aquafaba, these brownies will be a little more moist than brownies made with eggs.