Masala Chai Infused Vegan Pumpkin and Chocolate Chip Brownies with a Nutty Chai Spiced Crumb

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Mood: Crimson leaves, chilly evenings & Thanksgiving celebrations. You know what this means? It’s time for fall-inspired desserts! I want something comforting, traditional & pumpkin-y, but with a funky & unusual twist. Challenge accepted!

PS: I made these brownies for Thanksgiving dinner this year & they were a huge hit with everyone! 

Time: 60 mins (20 mins prep + 40 mins cook time)
Serving Size: 1 8×8 or 9×9 Brownie Pan
Category: Dessert
Author: Animagus Eats

Ingredients:
Dry
• 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp Vegan Powdered Sugar (I used Coconut Sugar)*
• 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
• 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
• 2 tsp Baking Powder
• 1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour*
• 2 1/2 tsp Chai Spice: 1/4 tsp Nutmeg powder, 1/2 tsp Ginger powder, 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon powder & 1/4-1/2 tsp Bengali Garam Masala Powder (ie. Cardamom, Cinnamon & Cloves)*
Wet
• 1/2 cup Almond Milk + 1-1/2 tsp Masala Chai Leaves/Powder*

• 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
• 1 cup Pumpkin Puree (super smooth!)*
• 1/2 cup Vegan Chocolate Chips
• 4 tbsp Mild Flavoured Oil (I used Grapeseed Oil)
• 1 tsp Lemon Juice
Crumb
• 1/4 cup Hazelnuts (chopped)*

• 1/2 cup Pecans (chopped)*
• 1/2 cup Vegan Chocolate Chips
• 1/4 cup Vegan Powdered Sugar (I used Coconut Sugar)
• 2 1/2 – 3 tbsp Mild Flavoured Oil (I used Coconut Oil)
• 6 tbsp All Purpose Flour
• 1 tsp Bengali Garam Masala Powder
• 1/4 tsp Sea Salt

My Secret Sauce:
While my mantra of Taste. Tweak. Repeat. still applies here, baking requires a lot more precision than savoury cooking, in terms of quantities, techniques & temperatures. It’s best to maintain the quantities of the core ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, milk, oil etc.) because they will give the dish it’s structure. However, you can tweak the quantities of the ingredients that add the flavour (sugar, spices, chocolate, etc.) & adjust it to suit your tastebuds:)

Ingredients:
1. Heat the almond milk in a cup in the microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds. If it’s not hot enough, then heat it again for another 30 seconds. Put the Masala Chai in a tea infuser & infuse the Chai flavour into the milk for 3-5 minutes, until the milk has a strong Masala Chai flavour (it will turn brown in colour). Make sure the infuser mesh is very fine with no large holes, otherwise the Chai leaves/powder will escape into the milk. Once the tea has infused into the milk, place the cup in the freezer for 5 mins to cool it down.

2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F & line a cake/brownie pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease the parchment paper & set aside.

3. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl & mix well.

4. Add all the wet ingredients (except the Chocolate Chips) to the dry mixture & mix gently, until the mixture is just about combined. Let it rest for 2-3 minutes. Then, mix again; scraping the sides & making sure that all the ingredients are combined well into a thick aromatic orange batter.

5. Add the Chocolate Chips to the batter & gently fold them into the mixture; without bruising them too much. Make sure the Chocolate Chips are not too soft or gooey (chilled ones work the best), because if they melt into the mixture while combining them, they will take over the taste & orange colour of the pumpkin batter.

6. Pour the mixture into the baking dish & spread evenly using a spatula; make sure it gets into all the nooks & corners of the brownie pan.

7. Next, mix all the crumb ingredients in a bowl using your hands. You can use a spoon too, but hands are just more fun (don’t forget to wash them first though!). There’s nothing like digging your hands into a bowl of sweet & crunchy goodness:) The crumb will be a tad bit moist, but mostly dry & crumbly. Again, remember not to bruise the chocolate chips:)

8. Sprinkle the crumbly mixture all over the batter & make sure sure you spread it evenly throughout. Every bite needs to have some crunchy goodness:)

9. Put the cake pan into the oven & bake for 40-45 minutes. Start with 40 minutes & then if needed, bake it for another 5 minutes. Do the cake test: insert a toothpick right down the centre of the cake & if it comes out clean, then your brownies are done! But remember, the chocolate chips would have melted by now, so the gooey chocolate on the toothpick doesn’t count; just the cake batter needs to be cooked:)

10. Take out the cake from the oven & cool it completely for about 15-30  mins. I know it’s hard to control yourself from eating just one ‘tiny’ piece..but trust me, your patience will be rewarded;) Once it’s cool, gently remove the parchment paper & slice the cake into brownie squares & try not to disrupt the crumb toppings too much.

11. Voila! Your Masala Chai Infused Vegan Pumpkin & Chocolate Chip Brownies are ready! The aromatic kick from the Chai & the spices, coupled with the gooey chocolate chips, the sweet pumpkin flavour & the crunch from the crumb, makes these brownies DELICIOUS! Serve them immediately to enjoy the gooey chocolate goodness, but they taste great even after they’ve been stored in the fridge. These brownies are going to be a definite hit with your friends & family! Happy Eating:)

 

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Notes:

* If you found yourself going, “Wait, sugar isn’t vegan?!”, then click here to know more. And, if you can’t get your hands on Vegan Sugar, then Maple/Agave Syrup is a good vegan substitute for sugar.
* You can possibly substitute a part of the flour with whole wheat or gluten free flour. I have only tested this recipe with All Purpose Flour. If you test it successfully with other flours, let me know:)
* I’m originally from Kolkata, West Bengal in India & as a Bengali, I love my Bengali Garam Masala Powder:) It’s mainly used in savoury dishes & has a beautiful aroma. You can easily make your own Bengali Garam Masala Powder at home using Cloves, Cinnamon & Cardamom & a spice/coffee grinder. Check out this easy recipe by Saffron Streaks.
* You can also use other non dairy milk like Soy Milk, Coconut Milk, etc.
* I used canned Pumpkin Puree, but you can also make your own Pumpkin Puree using this easy recipe by Inspired Taste.
* You can also substitute Hazelnuts & Pecans with other nuts like Almonds, Walnuts, etc.

Inspiration: Adapted from Vegan Richa’s Pumpkin Cake recipe.

 

 

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