Cocoa-Cake Brownie Bites

These brownie-style treats feature a delicate crumb cake slathered with a thick and creamy peanut butter laced chocolate frosting. This luscious dessert offers a vegan twist to the traditional brownie.


Cocoa-Cake Brownie Bites

with Creamy Chocolate-Peanut Butter Frosting

Makes 30 brownies




1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons flaxseeds

2/3 cup dark brown sugar

3/4 cup sweetened nondairy milk

1/2 cup melted vegan margarine

1/2 cup chopped pecans



1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (55% to 70% cacao)

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon smooth peanut butter (see note)

3 tablespoons sweetened nondairy milk

1 tablespoon maple syrup


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9-inch square baking pan with vegan margarine. Line the pan with unbleached parchment paper, leaving 2-inch wings on two sides of the pan.


Put the pastry flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and stir with a dry whisk until combined. Put the flaxseeds in a high-performance blending appliance and process into fine flour. Add the ground flaxseeds to the flour/cocoa mixture and stir with the whisk until combined. Add the sugar and whisk until almost no lumps remain. Add the nondairy milk and melted margarine, and stir, just until moistened and no bits of dry flour remain. Fold in the pecans.


Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean. Put the brownies on a wire rack. Using the paper “wings,” gently lift the brownies out of the pan and place them on the wire rack. Let cool for about 10 minutes.


Holding on to the paper “wings,” transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut the brownies into 30 small rectangles, using a sharp serrated knife. Put each brownie back on the wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes more, before frosting.


Meanwhile, to make the frosting, put the chocolate chips, peanut butter, nondairy milk, and maple syrup, in a double boiler. Cook, over low heat, until the chocolate chips melt, stirring occasionally, to thoroughly combine the frosting. Let cool 3 to 5 minutes.


Spread 1 heaping tablespoon of frosting over each brownie bite, allowing some of it to drip down the sides. Put the brownie bites in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the frosting to begin to set. Transfer the brownies to the refrigerator, and let chill for at least 10 minutes more before serving. Covered, and stored in the refrigerator, the brownie bites will keep for about 3 days.


Chef's Note: You can use almond butter, sunflower seed butter, cashew butter, hazelnut butter or any seed or nut butter that is your preference, in place of the peanut butter, if desired.