Best Vegan Brownies |

Hello, blog readers! I am back to blogging. ha, ha! Yeah, I know. But I found the best brownie recipe ever! I spent almost a week thinking about if I should put it on the blog or not. Because this site has been abandoned again, this time for over six months. I had my 10 year vegan anniversary on the way and the blog had it’s tenth birthday, too. Once more I wasn’t sure if I should continue this page or simply just take it offline (because I still pay for it!). In the past I have often been frustrated by how superficial and anonymous blogging has become. When I started I knew most of the vegan bloggers out there and commenting on each others blogs was natural and most of the fun. But now blogging seems to be mostly about perfect illusions of shiny lifestyles. Furthermore I am  often annoyed by my own inability to get and keep in touch with people. I cannot keep track of what my favourite fellow bloggers and Instagrammers are up to. I don’t find the time to email them or leave honest comments. Of course caused by the fact that I work full-time, have a family, and honestly don’t really find much time anymore to manage a bilingual blog. But it still sucks.

Since I can be the most impulsive person you have ever met, what the heck. Here’s a new recipe.  These are honestly the best vegan brownies ever!  I took them to work and my coworkers were all blown away.  And I swear you too want to try these!  I discovered the nonvegan version in the German translation of a book by America’s Text Kitchen. It contained some interesting observations on the crispy top on brownies and some indirect tips on egg replacers. If you want crispy, crackling brownies, you need sugar. And if you need a kick-ass egg replacer use mayonnaise! The sugar thing I have been telling you for years, right? But the mayonnaise thing I didn’t know. I have been vegan for 10 years and never once have I managed to properly veganise a nonvegan brownie recipe. Who would have thought that mayonnaise is the secret?


Best Vegan Brownies |

Best Vegan Brownies

These brownies are exactly what you have been searching for! They come with a rich chocolate aroma and have the perfect texture: chewy and moist on the inside and crispy on top.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan, vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Author Constanze of Seitan is my Motor


  • 30 g Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons instant coffee powder
  • 150 ml boiling water
  • 60 g bittersweet chocolate , finely chopped
  • 160 ml vegetable oil
  • 50 g melted vegan butter
  • 120 g vegan mayonnaise
  • 40 g aquafaba
  • ½ teaspoon ground vanilla powder
  • 250 g granulated sugar
  • 250 g powdered sugar
  • 250 g flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 150 g bittersweet chocolate , chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a 20 x 20 cm square pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl combine cocoa powder, coffee powder, and boiling water.

  3. Whisk until smooth.
  4. Stir in 60 g of chocolate until melted.
  5. Add oil, melted butter, mayonnaise, aquafaba, and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
  6. Add sugar and with a handheld mixer, beat until the sugar is dissolved.
  7. Add flour and baking soda and beat again until most of the flour is incorporated. A couple of lumps are okay.
  8. Fold in chocolate and pour batter into the pan.
  9. Bake for 60 minutes.
  10. Let cool for two hours and remove the parchment paper.
  11. Store in the fridge over night and then bring back to room temperature (2 hours) before you cut and serve them.

  12. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe Notes

The aquafaba can be poured right from the can. No need to whip it up.

Enjoy the recipe and have a great Sunday!


Veganer Christstollen (Dresden Stollen)

Recently there was an interesting studio discussion on the radio. There were a couple of experts discussion marzipan. They were talking about traditional ingredients and methods of marzipan production. It was absolutely amazing. People were calling in, asking questions or sharing their methods and tricks. They sounded so respectful towards these old methods and recipes. They were very humble when sharing their own experiences. It’s really hard to describe how fascinating this was. But it reminded me of some very important traditions we have in this town. One of them is baking stollen for Christmas. And for the last couple of days I have felt like Alice in Wonderland’s white rabbit: “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!” I wanted to make a stollen this year but it’s only a few more days until Christmas. That is too late!

Stollen or striezel, as it is called in Dresden, is a very heavy yeast bread that usually has to be stored for quite some time before you eat it. The liquid that comes from some of the ingredients has to be distributed evenly. It also takes time for the flavours to develop properly. Of course there are many different opinions on how long to store a stollen. Some say four weeks, others say two. Some people think that the flavour won’t improve much more after a week. I think you’ll just have to wait and see how you like your stollen best. Cut off a couple of slices for Christmas and then wrap the stollen again and see if flavour and texture improve over time.

By the way, I don’t deserve to name my stollen Dresden stollen because it is missing two key ingredients: butter and candied citrus peel. The butter is pretty obvious. And the candied citrus peel? Well, I hate it. As a kid I picked it from my grandmother’s stollen every year and I am still not getting used to the weird bitter and overwhelming flavour that comes from the candied peel bits. Ah well, this is hard to describe: I don’t mind the flavour so much, it adds lots of aroma, I just hate the huge chunks of it. So I use  ground and dried clementine peels instead of candied citrus. For your own stollen you can use either the ground peel or add 150 g of candied citrus peel to your dough. Whatever you like!

Veganer Christstollen (Dresden Stollen)

Oh, and one more thing: This stollen calls for bitter almonds. I know that they can be hard to find in many parts of the world. If you don’t have access, use almond extract instead. My recipe contains 5 g of bitter almonds, so maybe go with one teaspoon of natural almond extract.

Dresden stollen is famous. And it’s protected. You can only make it if you follow all the rules and add exactly the ingredients called for. One of them is butter. Lots of it. For two parts flour you use one part butter. You will also need the same amount of rum soaked raisins. After baking you brush the hot stollen with more fat. A day later you dust it with tons of powdered sugar. It is rich in calories, that is for sure. But stollen is a very special treat that is only baked in December and traditionally the loaves where supposed to last until Easter, which means you’d only eat a slice or two when you came together for a Sunday afternoon coffee table round. I would not suggest to reduce the amount of fat. I mean you can do it, but it will change your results completely. You won’t be able to store your stollen for very long and preserve the texture and taste.  This is a local, very famous, and very traditional specialty that is enjoyed by people all over Germany. I really think it’s worth trying if you never have tasted it before. And if you start right now, you’ll be able to share this with your favourite people on Christmas morning!

Veganer Christstollen (Dresden Stollen)

Dresdner Stollen

One large loaf


300 g raisins (2 cups)
120 ml (1/2 cup) dark rum
40 g fresh yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast)
240 ml (1 cup) lukewarm oat or soy milk
120 ml (1/2 cup) melted refined coconut oil
120 ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil (or use 300 g of vegan butter instead of the oils)
600 g (5 cups) all-purpose flour
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
5 g ground bitter almonds (or 1 teaspoon natural almond extract)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground clementine peel
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground vanilla
1 generous pinch ground cloves
50 g (2 oz.) chopped almonds
120 ml (1/2 cup) melted, refined coconut oil
150 g (1 1/2 cups) sifted powdered sugar


Soak raisins in rum one day ahead and store covered and at room temperature.

Dillute yeast in milk and let sit for 15 minutes or until the yeast is bubbly.

Mix with oils.

Combine flour, sugar, bitter almonds, and spices and mix well.

Pour yeast and oil mixture into the flour mixture.

Drain raisins and pour on top.

Add remaining ingredients except for the last two (melted coconut oil and powdered sugar).

Knead well until all ingredients are incorporated.

Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

Roll into a 1 cm thick rectangle.

Fold one third of the dough over and then fold the other two thirds over, so that both sides meet. (See picture on the bottom.)

Press down only lightly and let the dough rest covered for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the stollen on the baking sheet and bake for 1 hour or until golden brown.

Immediately brush with melted butter and let rest on the kitchen counter.

The next day, dust the stollen with a generous amount of powdered sugar and wrap in aluminium foil.

Store cool and dry (but don't place in the fridge) for at least a week before serving.


Adapted from this recipe this recipe.

Veganer Christstollen (Dresden Stollen)









Kürtőskalács {Baumstriezel | Chimney Cake}

On Monday my coworkers were discussing which weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) they had visited on the weekend. An outsider would have assumed they had travelled to different cities to shop for gifts and drink glühwein. But no! They all went to different markets here in Dresden. I like to joke that I can usually leave my house and walk to the main station while getting completely drunk on the way only from glühwein fumes. There is a Christmas market on every street!

Every year on the first Advent weekend Dresden turns into Christmas market headquarter with locals and tourists crashing the famous Striezelmarkt and bakeries selling the original Dresden stollen by the metric tonne. I do admit that I usually try to avoid this whole spectacle. There’s just way too much glühwein, bratwurst, and people. But of course that is not so easy.There is a Christmas market right next to our daycare, too. F loves it. There’s a carousel she can ride, a booth with wooden swords and arrows, and a smith she loves to watch.

Last year, when I waited next to the carousel for my daughter to finish her after kindergarten ride I noticed something I’d never seen before. Next to the stollen, bratwurst, and hot alcoholic beverages, there were a few stands selling Hungarian kürtőskalács (translation: chimney cake), or baumstriezel, as it is called in German. I’ve read about these cakes a couple of times as travelling vegans sometimes seem to get lucky and find vegan versions of this treat in Hungary, Austria, or the Czech Republic. I don’t really remember if this cake has been a weihnachtsmarkt thing in the past before and if, it must be a local thing, of course influenced by our neighbouring countries in Eastern Europe. My Northern German sister had no idea what this chimney cake was when I showed her a picture.

Baumstriezel are made from an enriched yeast dough that is cut into long stripes and wrapped around a thick spit. The cake is sprinkled with sugar and baked over an open fire or in special electric ovens. You can choose between different toppings like nuts and sprinkles.

Kürtőskalács {Baumstriezel | Chimney Cake}

After a quick google search I found a really wonderful recipe with lots of helpful instructions on the German blog Hefe und mehr. Instead of a spit Stefanie uses a plain old baking pin and instead of the open charcoal fire she recommends the oven broiler. Wow, that sounded almost too easy to be true. But it worked like a charm and we had such a wonderful Saturday making our own kürtőskalácsok!  It was like in the old days when we kids sat in front of my grandmother’s oven to get warm. And now we were sitting in front of another oven to watch the caramel melt. We had to turn the cake a bit every minute. It was a lot of fun and in the end we had an amazing huge pipe that was sweet and amazingly crispy on the outside while being fluffy and hot on the inside. It was the perfect treat. I was very satisfied with the results and never would have thought that this treat is so easy to make at home. Of course you have to watch the cake and make sure the caramel doesn’t burn. As you can see from the pictures my cake didn’t come out completely flawless and evenly browned, but I think that’s part of the fun.

Kürtőskalács {Baumstriezel | Chimney Cake}

It’s important to preheat the broiler to a very high temperature (250°C) and place the log as close to the heating element as possible. But make sure it doesn’t get too close! I put mine on the highest rack first and it got stuck to the heater element and burnt immediately. The rack right under the top rack is just fine. Mind you, I am talking about German equipment here and I have no idea what your oven looks like. Same goes for baking pins. Use a standard wooden roller type one with handles.

For broiling, the pin is placed on top of a baking dish. It shouldn’t touch the bottom of that dish and you should have enough room to turn the pin around while baking. Also, cover the handles of the pin and everything that is not wrapped with dough in aluminum foil, so it won’t burn. Then grease the uncovered part of your pin with a lot of margarine. To wrap it around the pin I used Stefanie’s method of rolling the dough into a disk that was about 0.5 cm thick and then cut it into a spiral, like the you can see in one of the pictures at the bottom.

Kürtőskalács {Baumstriezel | Chimney Cake}

Baumstriezel {Chimney Cake}

3 pieces


350 g all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teasponns instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
190 ml oat milk (or other plant milk)
70 g melted margarine
additional sugar and margarine for brushing and sprinkling


To make the dough place the flour in a large bowl.

Add yeast, sugar, and salt.

Mix with oat milk and melted margarine.

Knead into a smooth dough and cover with a kitchen towel.

Let rest for two hours.

Preheat the broiler of your oven to 250°C.

Grease a rolling pin with margarine and wrap the handles in aluminum foil.

Divide the dough into three pieces. Roll one piece into a disc, 0.5 cm thick and cover the remaining two pieces with a damp kitchen towel.

Cut the dough into a spiral, so that you get a long string that is about 1 cm thick.

Tightly wrap the string around the rolling pin.

Brush with melted margarine.

Generously sprinkle with sugar.

Place the rolling pin over a baking dish so that the handles will rest on the edges of the dish but the centre of the pin with the dough wrapped around it won't touch the dish.

Place under the broiler and bake for about one minute or until the sugar starts to caramelise and changes its colour to brown.

Rotate the pin a bit and repeat.

Bake and rotate until the cake is evenly browned.

Carefully remove from oven. Cover with a kitchen towel and push the cake off the pin.

Serve and eat immediately.

Bake the remaining two chimney cakes.


Recipe method courtesy of Hefe und mehr. Recipe adapted from the same site.







At restaurants I am not the person to order the same dish over and over again. Of course there is one exception to this rule: In our town we have a branch of a chain that serves Italian food. They have a couple of vegan options and still every time we visit that place, I order pasta arrabbiata. It is such a minimal dish that is still so tasty! At the restaurant they make it by frying fresh garlic and chilis in hot oil for a couple of seconds before they add the tomato sauce. And that is, in my opinion, the only secret to a good pasta arrabbiata.

For this homemade version I wanted to do something slightly more fancy. I started by using roasted peppers in addition to the tomatoes and I cooked the pasta together with edamame (green soy beans) to add more protein. The pasta was meant to be very fancy, too. I used dischi volanti: flying saucer pasta. But the they turned out to be a little disappointment. Uncooked they looked like really neat flat snail shells. After cooking they fell apart like a failed NASA project. So while the pasta might look not that perfect, the recipe is absolutely delicious. And look at the colours! I swear this pasta dish will make your grey winter day. Also, isn’t hot food the best remedy whenever you feel cold?

Protein Packed Pasta Arrabbiata

The chilis I used were habaneros and Bolivian rainbow chili peppers. The second is quite an amazing pepper! It comes in different colours with a range from yellow-white over bright red to purple! And since it’s not very easy to find different peppers in Germany where we usually have to settle for one variety called pepperoni, I grab every chili variety I can spot and freeze it. I am a secret chili hoarder.

Protein Packed Pasta Arrabbiata

Protein Packed Pasta Arrabbiata

2 Servings


1 large red bell pepper
200 g (7.14 oz) cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
minced chili peppers to taste
salt and pepper
120 g (4.28 oz) dischi volanti or elbow macaroni
200 g (7.14 oz) frozen, shelled edamame


Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).

Half the bell pepper and remove stem and seeds.

Place on a baking sheet (cut side down) lined with parchment paper and roast for 20 minutes, or until the skin starts to brown.

Transfer to a bowl and cover with a plate.

Let cool completely.

Peel off the skin and place the peppers in a blender.

Add tomatoes and purée.

Heat oil in a pan and fry garlic and tomato for about a minute. Make sure the garlic doesn't start to brown.

Add puréed peppers and tomatoes.

Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Set aside.

In a large pot, bring 2-3 litres of salt water to a boil.

Add pasta and edamame and cook according to pasta package directions.

Drain the pasta and mix with the sauce.

Serve immediately.