Books for cooks 'Sweet & Southern' You won't miss eggs, butter in fudgy vegan brownies

Mississippi-born author Ben Mims is a journalist, Saveur magazine alum, recipe developer and former executive pastry chef. He gets creative with confections, making his caramels with buttermilk, filling his Pavlova with ambrosia and perfuming his eclairs with cardamom.

His vegan brownies offer healthier but still fudgy stand-ins for the eggs and butter.

Rizzoli New York. $39.95.

Makes 24 brownies

When I first had a taste of a vegan brownie, made with coconut oil and applesauce in place of eggs and butter, it was a revelation. The oil and applesauce achieve that perfectly fudgy brownie texture handily. I adapted my favorite classic brownie recipe and came up with exactly what I think a brownie should be: dark, intensely chocolaty, and moist throughout. — Ben Mims


1 cup coconut oil

1 cup applesauce

1 cup granulated cane sugar

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup all-purpose flour


Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan evenly with baking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the oil, applesauce, granulated sugar and brown sugar and whisk until smooth. Add the chocolate, vanilla and salt and whisk until smooth. Add the flour and whisk vigorously for about 1 minute, until smooth and all the ingredients are evenly incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the brownies comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Let cool completely before cutting into squares and serving.

If you try to cut them while even slightly warm, I promise you'll be eating pudding instead of a solid bar.