Vegan Cheesecake Brownies

We built sand castles, we dreamed big, we quarreled but then we made up – If I could I would go back and open those closed doors, just once I thought – not to put right the mistakes I made, for they taught me things a book could not but
- to climb and hang from the low branches of the guava tree in the front yard
- to play from noon till night and just troop in dusty to have food
- to making up stories for home work not done
- to eating chocolates surreptitiously during classes
- to stuff my mouth with milk powder

I missed the innocence that had been replaced by ‘knowledge’ (?) and ‘maturity’(?). I hoped not to lose my idealism that was fighting to stay alive in a practical world. What is it about ‘childhood’ that glisten my eyes as I write – is it the sadness of time lost? No! It is the gratitude that there came my big chance to go back! Motherhood gave me back all these and more. My ‘second childhood’ came with ‘fine print‘:

- It hurts your back irreparably when you fall from a tree
- If you play from noon till night you have to come back, cook, clean and wash.
- If you make up stories for work not done you get sacked [Not me - I am in Govt. service:)]
- If you eat chocolate surreptitiously you will cry out in pain because your tooth is decayed
- Milk powder, ice creams and cake mysteriously show your middle age around your midriff, and your chin

Sighhhhh…..some things just cannot be replaced, but for others there are fairy tales:)

When Simran of Bombay Foodie suggested ‘Alice in Wonderland’ for the monthly ‘book that makes me cook event’, I was thrilled. My children were even more thrilled because they know from experience, that any childrens’ book will be read out loud, complete with voice modulation and stuff! When we came to this part,

“Soon her eye fell on a little glass box that was lying under the table: she opened it, and found in it a very small cake, on which the words ‘EAT ME’ were beautifully marked in currants.”

“I wish I could have this”, said Jr.H.
“Could we?”, asked Jr.P.
“Why not?”, said me.

I had seen yesterday something that just fitted so well here, and this was the excuse I needed to try it – a heavenly looking cheesecake brownie at pastry chef, David Lebovitz’ blog. I tried and quite successfully managed to bake it vegan!! It was so dense, chewy and tasty – you could never make out the absence of the real thing. Not without mistakes though, but it was more a placement error than one that can affect the taste or texture!

Recipe : Vegan Cheesecake Brownies

Ingredients: (Recipe from here)
I followed the measurements to the T except the changes for making it vegan

One 9-inch (23cm) square pan

6 tablespoons (85g) salted vegan butter spread chilled and cut into pieces
4 ounces (115g) bitter vegan chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup (130g) brown cane sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (70g) flour (I added just a pinch of baking powder – just in case)
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (Omitted)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped bitter vegan chocolate extra ( I added a few big red grapes cut into discs)

(I substituted the 2 large eggs with 2 tbsp. flax meal beaten with 1tsp. sunflower oil and little water + 2 tbsp well beaten mori-nu firm tofu)

8 ounces (200g) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
5 tablespoons (75g) sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

(I used 3tbsp. mori-nu tofu with enough sugar)

Method:

You will have to keep the vegan cream cheese separate for pouring on the top and swirling. I too did that, but since the missed the first step I had to remove the swirled batter from the pan and pour it back again after lining with a foil. All the swirling and design was gone!

1. Line the baking pan with foil as you will need this to lift out the cheese cake.

2. Pre-heat oven to 180 deg. Cel. (I did at 200)

3. Melt the butter and chopped bitter chocolate till well blended in a double boiler. I follow my m/w method of heating 10s. Stirring and repeat this till blended well.

4. Beat in the flax meal+tofu mix.

5. Sieve the flour with a pinch of baking powder and mix well in the batter.

6. Fold the extra chocolate, and grapes.

7. Pour the batter in the lined pan evenly. Distribute the ‘white tofu sugar mix’ in dollops.

8. Swirl with a blunt knife slightly to get a pattern.

9. Bake till the sides feel firm to touch and the middle is just set. Mine took 50 minutes. I baked for 35 minutes at 180 deg., and later at 220 deg.

10. Cut into squares.

Do compare the quality with the original pictures here. You will see that the texture is the same. There is no compromise in the vegan version:)

As for magic, well we did not open up like a large telescope, but our mouths did when we ate, and our eyes danced and popped like telescopes with sheer pleasure:)

 

brownies in kitchen

This dish is cooked in honor of all the little ones in the world – may there always be dreams in their eyes and may the dreams get bigger and bigger! It cannot happen without each one of us putting in our bit to make the world a safer, a better, a greener and a more organic place to live in. I have resolved to be careful with my footprints – I don’t think I have the right to take more than I can give to my world or to the future of the children living in it. I have no tall claims, I haven’t adopted or fought for a child – but I believe that, if each one of us lives consciously, judging each little action at the end of the day, we can make a difference. Think next time before you reach out for crackers, for carpets, for silk sarees, for that ubiquitous plastic bag – is it worth it? Are we not in a way part of a massacre in the future? Do not just exist and watch the world go by – take part by living in it! Our children and theirs will pay for our actions – so watch out!

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Comments

Have your say

  1. Delicious vegan cheesecake brownies, learning a lot for vegan recipes from u…great job as ever..

  2. looks fantastic! not only do i miss my innocent childhood – i even miss my daughter’s and she’s only 3 years old!! lol!

  3. Harini, this isn’t very fair.
    Your picture says eat me, eat me, and all I can do is stare ath picture wishing it could materilize in front of me. :(

    I have to say I really admire your efforts at going and staying vegan, especially in India where alternatives are not easy to find.

  4. Priya – Thanks – the learning part is mutual:)

    Anu – You missed the fine print too? I have obtained damages in my second childhood:)

    Aparna – lolz!! Thanks but the fun is in the challenge:)

  5. Lakshmi Venkatesh

    Delicious vegan cheesecake.

  6. Kitchen Flavours

    Suprise Weekend Bonanza waiting for you.

  7. You got me craving for those right about now!!!

  8. What a beautiful write up Harini!And what lovely snaps … the first one stands out so. :-)

  9. Wow , ready to eat those beauties ! But only virtually :(

  10. Beautiful Post.I too miss my childhood.But I want to enjoy my daughter’s as well or rather take pains to make her enjoy hers.Only time will tell,whether there are more good memories than bad one.Delicious brownies.,BTW,The brownies are saying eat me eat me,I am thinking how?

  11. such a wonderful post! It was fun reading it! So thoughtful of you to do a post on children’s day! wonderful! The brownies look great!

  12. Looking delicious, i feet like having from the plate. Some sweet surprise is waiting for you

  13. Nice post. Enjoyed reading it and drooling over the cake.

  14. Harini,
    Pics and the recipe is as unique as it can be..
    I would love to know more about the vegan ingredients like Flaxseed meal and the other Tofu material..Where can I get those?
    I am reliving my childhood with my little one also ..
    enjoy your post throughly ..
    hugs and smiles

  15. Moist n chewy..Nice it is vegan..Lovely presentation..

  16. Looks too yummy… I am looking for icecream to eat with your hot brownies ;)

    Thanks for those comments in my blog! I used plain palak…. Break is due to lack of time, I started to work again ;) So less blogging!

  17. Wow!..I should say your blog is turning out to be more classic these days.. :)
    love the recipes and pictures..
    Khichdi is a food my husband loves to have as a lighter meal as well :)..book marking your version :)

    (yes yes to be frank I have to catch up a lot with more of your recipes too ;))

    Just went thru the other blog of yours where you have explained abt how to add bigger pictures..
    would be helpful if you could share your knowledge abt customising the header with a picture too..:)

  18. Thank you all for the compliments!

    Jaya – I wrote a mail regarding the substitution. Am reproducing here so that it might be helpful to any stumbler:)

    Flax seed is known as ‘alsi’, alshi in Marathi and tishi or tisi in Bengali. It is flattish dark brown seed which is considered a good acidity regulator. You can buy it any kirana/departmental store. Sift any dirt and roast the flax seeds on sim fire till they start popping. You can then have them as a mukhwas after food – it is a good digestive. Otherwise you can use it as an egg substitute by powdering it in a mixie. Tofu is of two types – the kind we get in India – sofit’s bean curd variety which serves well in Chinese dishes. But for desserts, breads etc. you have to use the firm or extra firm version that comes imported. I buy mine at Godrej’s Nature Basket.

    Bharathy – I had visited you, but I guess you were on a break!! Thanks a lot – I am thrilled that you noticed some changes and gave a positive note:). As for the customized header – yes, I will do that soon! Thanks for the feedback. I too did not understand what I should take up there but such queries will help me as I too am a novice!

  19. Hi u have a wonderful blog, amazing recipes
    Seeing ur love for cooking i wanted to tag u for a bread baking event which is a fund raiser for africa, but before doing so wanted to ask u if its ok to do so?
    Would appreciate your reply soon.
    Thanks.

  20. Sukanya Ramkumar

    This is so cool. Look so good. YUM! Great to see a vegan brownies. Great job… Nice presentation. Good photo.

  21. Love the post, pictures and brownies.
    I feel the same way too- childhood gone; found again but this time you have the responsibilities to go with the playing! Hey that’s life..and we must always count the blessings, right?
    And thanks again for reminding us that we need to be more environmentally conscious in our lives. I think I’ll be making some brownies today :-)

  22. Enjoyed reading the post. Drooling over the brownies. Liked the first pic.

  23. those brownies look absolutely droolworthy..gorgeous..

  24. They look adorable and delicious, Harini.

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