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Vegan brownies promote health, compassion

August 11, 2010

Tara Petite, her husband, Darren, and their three children follow a vegan lifestyle, abstaining from all animal products, including meat, eggs, dairy and honey.

Tara Petite said she first became interested in vegetarianism after reading John Robbins' book, "Diet for a New America," more than a decade ago. She actively promotes a healthy and compassionate way of eating through the Western Maryland Veg Life group on MeetUp.com and holds regular meetings at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Hagerstown.

Gluten-free vegan brownies



1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum powder
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup raw cane sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup (or add another 1/4 cup cane sugar)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup rice milk (see cook's note)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds (see cook's note)
1 cup raisins, dried cherries or dried cranberries
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
1 cup vegan chocolate chips

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Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine flours, potato starch, arrowroot powder, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum powder, cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon and sugar. Mix thoroughly.

Add maple syrup (if using), coconut oil, applesauce, vanilla and rice milk. Fold in chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit, and if using, coconut.

Pour batter into 12 greased mini-loaf pans, filling each half full.

Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes.

If you use a pan of a different size (such as a 9-inch-by-9-inch pan), the baking time might be longer. Use the toothpick method to check if the brownies are done baking in the center.

Cook's notes: All these ingredients can be found locally in most large supermarkets. In place of rice milk, substitute other nondairy milk, such as hemp, soy or almond milk. If nut allergy is a concern, substitute 1/2 cup hemp, pumpkin or sunflower seeds for the nuts.

- Courtesy of Tara Petite, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Hagerstown, 13245 Cearfoss Pike, west of Hagerstown. For more information about the church, go to http://www.uuhagerstownmd.org .

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