This sinful vegan peanut butter blondies recipe was originally shared with us ten years ago by the lovely authors of Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. According to Isa, these goodies are sure-fire sell-outs at bake sales, and are easy enough for beginner bakers. Not one to pass up an easy recipe, I immediately baked them myself. Just recently, I revisited this recipe, and retested it several times with changes. Below I’ve included their original recipe, along with my notes and our favorite version.
Alisa’s Vegan Peanut Butter Blondies are Tested to Perfection
Since the recipe was so simple, and used ingredients I have on hand everyday, I initially gave these vegan peanut butter blondies a whirl for a last minute potluck party. I followed the ingredients and instructions in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar to the letter.
Over the years, many of you have reported great results, but like some of you, I did have performance issues the first time I baked these for that gathering. I thought perhaps it was high altitude issues (I lived at 6500 feet), because they came out a bit greasy and crumbly, and were more like sugary cookie bars. I resolved the issue by cutting the bars into fudge-sized pieces, and they were devoured.
Here we are, a decade later, and I decided to tackle these vegan peanut butter blondies again – this time at sea level. Unfortunately, I had the same issue. In fact, they turned out even worse – oily, beyond crumbly, and sugary. I even used the peanut butter they recommended, so I can’t say the issue.
To remedy the problem for myself and others who have issues, I decided to tinker with the recipe. A few batches later, I came up with a version that worked in our home, and received two thumbs up from tasters. They’re on the fudgy-side, and have a rich sweetness. For this version, see “Alisa’s Modifications” at the bottom of the recipe.
Why Are Vegan Blondies Difficult?
Blondies and brownies can be tricky without eggs. Cookies are compact and baked on all sides to give them cohesiveness, while cakes are allowed to rise and bind with a higher flour-liquid ratio. Blondies and brownies have to bridge the cookie-cake divide without the strong structure and moisture components of eggs. They often end up too much like cake, or wet in the middle, and are almost always more fragile. And, as was the case for some of us, the lack of egg prevents emulsification, so the oil seeps out more.
I resolved most of these issue with a touch less fat, the addition of aquafaba (the liquid from canned chickpeas – it performs closer to eggs) instead of milk beverage, and an increase in flour. The oiliness is greatly reduced, the sweetness is tempered a touch, and they bake up nice and moist in the middle. They are still just a wee bit fragile, but they are more cohesive with this version. I cut the bars a little smaller than normal (about 2-inch squares).
The pictures shown in this post are the vegan peanut butter blondies made with Alisa’s Modifications. I wasn’t able to take good photos of Isa and Terry’s original recipe because it was too crumbly when I made it.
Special Diet Notes: Vegan Peanut Butter Blondies
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, soy-free, tree nut-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup creamy peanut butter (a natural no stir variety)
- ⅓ cup oil
- ¼ cup dairy-free milk beverage
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅓ cup peanuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a metal 8×8 baking dish.
- In a mixing bowl, mix together the brown sugar, peanut butter, and oil.
- Stir in the milk beverage and vanilla.
- Stir in the flour, salt, and baking powder.
- Once you get the flour somewhat mixed in, it’s easier to just use your hands to knead the dough until soft. It will be very very thick and won’t spread on its own.
- Transfer the dough to a baking pan and press it into place.
- Sprinkle on the peanuts and lightly press them into the top, if using.
- Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, the edges should be just barely coloring. The top will appear soft, that’s okay.
- Remove from oven and cool completely before slicing.