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Vegan Shortbread Brownies

These homemade vegan shortbread brownies are like the gourmet version of box mix brownies, along with the most delicious and buttery shortbread imaginable. They are rich, chewy and buttery, filled with chocolate. You’re going to love them!

brownies with a shortbread base on a sheet of grease proof paper

Vegan shortbread fudge brownies

When it come’s to desserts, we’re normally forced to choose between two desires, but why not go all out and combine both?! A light, buttery and vanilla shortbread, paired with the most incredible chocolatey and rich brownie makes for the ultimate treat. They’re a game changer!

I’m extremely indecisive when it comes to what to choose for dessert. I love cakey treats, but i am also a cookie girl. The idea of combining shortbread and brownie is genius! The magic is in the texture. The base is light and melts in your mouth, and the brownie on top is rich, chocolatey with a paper thin crinkly top. It’s in its own league.

up close image of shortbread brownies on a sheet of grease proof paper with a glossy chocolate ganache on top
brownies in a tin

What makes these the best shortbread brownies?

When I recipe tested these brownies for the first time, I was blown away. They were the exactly as i desired.

My brownies are not only vegan and scrumptious, but they are really easy to make! You only need a handful of ‘easy to find’ ingredients to make this recipe. Not only that, but you’ll need a few simple techniques as-well. This is mainly due to three steps in this recipe:

  • Whipping the aquafaba and sugar together for the brownie which helps with the super smooth, crinkly top. Whipping the aquafaba helps create a light texture, while giving your that classic crinkle brownie top.
  • Melting the butter and chocolate together for pouring over the aquafaba mixture. Adding melted chocolate (along with the melted butter) into the brownie makes them insanely delicious! It makes them even more fudgey.
  • Rubbing cold butter into the dry mixture for the shortbread. Doing this will result in a melt in your mouth shortbread which is irresistible! Always use cold butter for this!
up close image of brownies in a line on their side showing the shortbread base and brownie filling

How to make the best vegan shortbread brownies?

These brownies have 3 layers – a shortbread base, brownie middle and a chocolate ganache topping. They’re too tasty not to make, here’s how to make them:

Shortbread

  1. Pour dry ingredients into a bowl along with the vanilla. Add in the cold butter, rub everything together with your fingertips until a dough forms.
  2. Press dough into the lined pan, bake until golden.

Brownie

  1. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl.
  2. Melt chocolate and butter together until smooth.
  3. Add aquafaba and sugar into a mixing bowl and whizz up until smooth and glossy. Use an electric mixer with balloon whisk attachment for best results.
  4. Pour chocolate mixture over the aquafaba and fold together to combine, making sure not to over mix / don’t deflate the aquafaba mixture.
  5. Sift in the dry ingredients and fold to combine.
  6. Add in chocolate chunks.
  7. Pour over the shortbread, return back to the oven and bake until ready. Allow to cool fully before adding on the ganache.

Chocolate Ganache

  1. Melt cream and chocolate then pour over the brownie. Allow to set then slice brownies into bars and serve. Top with chunks of chocolate.
single chocolate brownie on grease proof paper
up close image of shortbread brownies on a sheet of grease proof paper with a glossy chocolate ganache on top

Helpful tips and tricks for the best shortbread brownies:

Allow the brownies to cool:

I say this with many of my recipes, it’s always so important to allow bakes like cupcakes, cakes and brownies to cool before tucking into them. This is especially the case for these brownies as the chocolate needs to settle and solidify before digging in (unfortunately) – haha! Don’t worry, they’ll be worth the wait…. trust me!

If you try to cut these brownie when they’re still warm, it will be extremely sticky and gooey …unless that’s what you’re going for! The brownies won’t hold their shape and you would probably have to eat them with a spoon, which isn’t a bad thing but it’s not what were going for with bars. Allowing the brownies to cool fully gives the chocolate and butter time to return back to a more solid consistency.The texture once ready is incredible. Again, they’re worth the wait!

Cut the brownies with a sharp, warm knife:

You always see bars with perfectly clean and neat edges and wonder ‘ how can I achieve that?!’. Well, there are a few tricks and believe it or not, anyone can do them! Before slicing the brownies, submerge a sharp knife in warm water for around 3-5 minutes allowing it to heat up. When you slice the brownie now, the heat from the knife will ever so slightly melt the chocolate making the knife slide right through.

Make sure to wipe the knife with some kitchen paper towels in-between each cut. Doing this will remove any excess brownie or crumb stuck to the knife so when you make the next cut, it wont lead to a messy edge.

How to keep the brownies fresh:

Luckily these brownies keep their moisture and fudgeyness, but to keep them as perfect as the day you made them, make sure to store them in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. Make sure to leave them our of the fridge for an hour before enjoying. This gives the chocolate and butter time to come back to room temperature, making for a chewy brownie.

up close of a single brownie on grease proof paper

Make sure to ‘PIN’ the photo below to your favourite Pinterest Board.

Looking for even more chocolate recipes? Check these out:

Vegan Brownie Cookies

No-Bake Cookie Dough Tart

Easy Chocolate Ombre Cheesecake

Vegan Flourless Chocolate Cake

Classic Vegan Crinkle Brownies

Mini Vegan Chocolate Cheesecakes

Bakery Style Vegan Chocolate Chip Muffins

No-Bake Vegan White Chocolate Cheesecake

Baked Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake

upclose of brownies with a shortbread base

If you make, and love this recipe, please leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating below. Thank you & happy baking!

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brownies with a shortbread base on a sheet of grease proof paper

Vegan Shortbread Brownies


Description

Vegan Shortbread brownies, a buttery shortbread base, a rich and chewy brownie, topped with chocolate ganache. Super easy to make and delicious!


Ingredients

Units Scale

Ingredients for the shortbread

  • 120g of plain flour
  • 70g of caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 115g of dairy-free block butter*

Ingredients for the brownie

  • 60g of cocoa powder
  • 180g of plain flour
  • 170g of dairy-free dark chocolate
  • 110g of dairy-free block butter*
  • 120ml of aquafaba (chickpea brine)*
  • 280g of caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of coffee granules
  • 20g of dairy-free chocolate chips

Ingredients for the ganache

  • 80ml of dairy-free cream*
  • 80g of dairy-free dark chocolate

Instructions

Method (shortbread)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃ fan, and line a 8 x 8 inch square / loose base tin with grease proof paper.  Allow the paper to hang over the edges of the tin, this makes it easier for removing the bars when ready.
  2. Sift the flour and sugar into a medium sized mixing bowl. Add in the vanilla extract and stir to combine.
  3. Add in the cold butter. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour mixture crumbly dough forms.
  4. Crumble the dough into the base of the tin and press down with your hands or a off set spatula. Tip: Dust your fingers with flour, it prevents the dough from sticking.
  5. Place into the middle of the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until light and golden in colour.

Method (brownie)

  1. Sift the cocoa powder and flour together in a medium bowl.
  2. Fill a small saucepan 1/4 full with water and place on the hob over medium heat. Add the dairy-free chocolate and butter into a heat proof bowl. Place the bowl over the pan, creating a bain-marie. Allow the chocolate and butter to melt together, stirring with a heat proof spatula. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes while you make prepare the aquafaba.
  3. Add the aquafaba and sugar into a medium sized mixing bowl and whip up on high speed for around 5 minutes until thick and glossy. I use a stand mixer with balloon whisk attachment. A electric hand whisk will work great too.
  4. Add in the vanilla extract and whip on high speed to combine. The aquafaba mixture should be thick enough that when it drips into the bowl, the mixture should ribbon off the mixer.
  5. Sprinkle the coffee granules into the hot chocolate mixture and mix to combine.
  6. Pour the chocolate over the aquafaba, and carefully fold together with a spatula. Make sure to be very gentle with this step as you want to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
  7. Once combined, sift in the flour and cocoa powder. Again, fold this in with a spatula until a rich and thick brownie batter forms.
  8. Add in the chocolate chips and stir to combine (optional).
  9. Pour the brownie batter on top of the shortbread base and level off with an off set spatula.
  10. Place the tin into the middle of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  11. Once baked, remove the tin from the oven and allow to cool fully on a wire rack. TIP: Keep the brownie in the tin while it’s cooling. This will help it keeps it’s shape and will also lock in some of the moisture, which will help with the chewy texture.

Method (ganache)

  1. Place the chocolate into a heat-proof bowl. Fill a small saucepan 1/4 with water and place over the hob on a low / medium heat. Place the bowl on-top to create a bain-marie. Melt the chocolate. Pour in the dairy-free cream and whip until smooth.
  2. Pour the ganache over the top of the brownie, use a spoon or off set spatula to spread it out. Place into the fridge for 10-15 minutes to set the ganache. Optional: While the ganache is still wet, sprinkle over some chocolate shavings / chunks.
  3. Lift the brownies out of the tin using the overhangs of grease proof paper, and place on a board.
  4. Heat a sharp knife in some warm water then slice into bars.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

Notes

To store: Store in a sealed container in the fridge. Allow to come to room temperature before serving. Best enjoyed within 4 days of making

What dairy-free butter to use? My favourite vegan friendly butters are Naturli Vegan Block and Flora Plant Based Alternative. Both can be found in most large uk supermarkets. 

The ganache is completely optional, so if you would prefer not to have the chocolate on top, simply leave it off! The brownies will still be as delicious!

What dairy-free cream to use? For ganache, coconut cream or any vegan single / double cream will work perfectly! 

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Category: brownies and bars
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: vegan brownies, shortbread brownies, brownies, shortbread, chocolate brownies

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2 Comments

  1. Allison
    June 17, 2022 / 3:35 am

    I accidentally set my oven too high and slightly over cooked the shortbread. Despite my error, these brownies were still OUTRAGEOUSLY delicious!! My husband and I were blown away! Will definitely make again and again! Thank you Holly Jade!!

    • June 17, 2022 / 11:50 pm

      Oh no, thats the worst when that happens- haha! But at least they still turned out amazing! xxx

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