Classic brownies are delicious as they are but these Cookies and Cream Brownies take them to the next level. They have gluten free/vegan chocolate sandwich cookies inside the brownies themselves. They are then topped with vegan cookies and cream buttercream, vegan ganache and then more cookies and cream cookies! They’re unbelievable! Best part is they’re gluten free, nut free, egg free and vegan!
Oh. My. Gosh.
Guys!!!!! If you love brownies and cookies and cream…this is the recipe for you!!!!
I then was inspired by Sally's Baking Addiction’s Cookies and Cream Brownies.
The end result is nothing less than magical! I’m fairly certain they’re my brother’s favorite dessert!
Reasons to Love These Brownies
- Allergy Friendly- These brownies are gluten free, nut free, egg free and can easily be dairy free (vegan).
- Fudgey- These brownies are not cake like. They're fudgey and gooey!
- Double The Chocolate- There is cocoa powder and melted chocolate in these!
- Gluten Free Flour- If you also have nut allergies, make sure to use a brand that’s made in a nut free facility. I really love to use this one because it’s nut safe but it does contain dairy.
- Cornstarch and Water- These are eggless brownies so this mixture helps bind everything together.
- Olive Oil- I always use extra virgin. You would think the brownies would have a strong olive oil flavor but they really do not!
- Chocolate- There is dark chocolate chopped and melted into the brownies itself to make them even more rich and decadent. For the melted chocolate, make sure to use gluten free/nut free and vegan if you want these dairy free.
- Chocolate Sandwich Cookies- There are a LOT of these cookies in these brownies. 16 in the inside of the brownies, 6 in the buttercream and 3 for the topping. You could of course use less…but I think this is the perfect amount! These are the ones I love.
Expert Baking Tips
Using Two Types of Cocoa Powder
People ask how I get my chocolate baked goods to be so dark. The secret is in that bit of dark cocoa powder.
Using two types of cocoa powder creates a richer color and flavor, which I adore.
Keep in mind, cocoa powder is quite dry. And dark is even drier than dutch or natural unsweetened is.
If you only used dark, your baked goods would be way too dry and bitter.
If you don’t have both types of cocoa powders on hand, just use dutch or natural unsweetened but keep in mind they won’t be as dark as mine are.
Only Use Chocolate Bars
Don’t try to use melted chocolate chips inside the brownies.
If you use chocolate chips, the brownies bubble and boil and never set if you do. I learned this the hard way.
I know it can be difficult to find chocolate that is made in a nut free facility and is also dairy free. I used 8 ounces of Dove Dark Chocolate squares, which is 28 squares because I know they’re safe for my son. It worked wonderfully.
The brand Enjoy Life also makes vegan/gluten free chocolate bars.
Use Your Hands
The batter to the brownies itself is so super thick that it appears almost as though it is a cookie dough.
Press the batter in half and press half into your lined baking pan. You should end up with a smoother layer of batter (aside from some fingerprints).
Let Them Cool
When the brownies come out of the oven, allow the brownies to cool completely before putting the frosting on.
If they aren’t completely cool, your buttercream will become a liquid mess.
Also, if you try to lift them out too soon, I promise the entire thing will fall apart into a messy (yet still delicious) pile. I may or may not be speaking from experience here.
- Chill the brownies- Once you frost them, chill the brownies for at least 20 min. You want the frosting layer to be cold and hard for the next step.
- Pour the liquid ganache- As soon as your ganache is silky smooth, pour it over the cold frosting and smooth it out. Gently and quickly scatter and press the 3 broken cookies and cream cookies into the wet ganache.
- Chill the brownies again- Once again, chill the brownies until the ganache hardens.
- Thaw before cutting- Once the ganache has solidified, thaw the brownies on the counter for about 10 minutes to make cutting them easier.
How To Make These Vegan
Follow these simple steps to make sure these brownies are vegan:
- Use a gluten free flour that’s free from dairy.
- Use vegan baking sticks instead of butter.
- Make sure to use an allergy friendly chocolate bar or dark chlorate squares.
- Only use gf/vegan chocolate sandwich cookies.
- Use allergy friendly chocolate chips for the ganache.
Storing and Freezing
Keep the cookies and cream brownies in an airtight container. If you don’t have an airtight container that fits them all, wrap any extras in aluminum foil and keep them in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Leave the brownies out for 1-2 hours prior to eating to bring to room temperature otherwise they will be rock hard and break your teeth. Do not eat them cold!
If desired, warm each brownie in the microwave for 5-10 seconds prior to eating.
You can freeze these eggless brownies.
Simply wrap each individual brownie in aluminum foil and then place them all in a zip top bag.
You can keep the brownies frozen for up to 30 days.
Thaw on the counter for about 2 hours before eating or until the brownies are room temperature and soft.
If you want them warmer and softer, heat each eggless brownie for 5-10 seconds in the microwave after taking them out of the foil. Do not eat them cold or they will be rock hard and break your teeth!
Cookies and Cream Brownies
For the brownies:
- 8 oz allergy friendly dark chocolate chopped (Do not use chocolate chips)
- 4 tablespoons vegan baking stick
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup warm water
- 6 level tablespoons of cornstarch
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup cocoa powder I use 2 tablespoons of Dutch or Natural Unsweetened and 2 tablespoons of Dark
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten free flour
- 16 gluten free/vegan chocolate sandwich cookies
For the buttercream:
- 4 tablespoons vegan baking stick softened
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar 2.5 cups if using vegan baking stick
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 6 gluten free/vegan chocolate sandwich cookies broken into small chunks
For the ganache:
- 1 cup allergy friendly semi sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup 1 stick or 8 tablespoons vegan baking stick
For the topping:
- 3 gf/vegan chocolate sandwich cookies broken into small chunks
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8X8 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper. Make it long enough so there is about a ½ overhang on each side so that you can lift the brownies out easily once they have cooled.
- Chop all the chocolate into tiny pieces. Place the chopped chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Add the vegan baking stick and the olive oil to the bowl. Heat in 15 second intervals and stir after each time. Repeat until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the cornstarch. Heat the water very quickly (only about 4 seconds in the microwave) just so it isn’t super cold. Make sure not to have the water be hot. Add the water to the cornstarch and with a spoon work the mixture until it is thin and watery. It will be very thick and tacky at first.
- Add the granulated sugar to the large bowl with the cornstarch water and whisk together until combined. Whisk in the vanilla, salt and baking powder. Once combined, add in your melted chopped chocolate. Whisk until all combined.
- Sift in the cocoa powder and flour. Using a spatula, stir everything together. The batter will be super thick and sticky, almost like a cookie dough consistency.
- Using clean hands, press half the batter into your baking dish, pressing it down into the shape of the pan.
- Gently press 16 gluten free/vegan chocolate sandwich cookies into the batter.
- Then take the other half of the batter and press it on top of the chocolate sandwich cookies, covering all of them. You should end up with a smooth even layer of batter.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 26 minutes (if you’re using regular flour instead of gluten free, you can bake for 20-25 min) until the center looks firm and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few big crumbs.
- Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan before covering them with the frosting.
- While the brownies are baking, make the frosting. In a large bowl of an electric mixer or using a hand held mixer, beat the vegan baking stick until smooth and creamy. About 2 minutes. On low speed, add in the confectioners’ sugar, water and vanilla. Once the sugar is combined, increase the speed and mix until the frosting is smooth and creamy. If it seems too watery, add in more confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. If you use butter instead of vegan baking sticks, you should only need 2 cups of confectioners' sugar not 2.5 cups. I find the softened vegan baking stick is more liquidy than the butter.
- Using a spatula, gently fold in the 6 broken chocolate sandwich cookies until just combined. If you overmix them the frosting will become grey instead of white.
- Once the brownies have completely cooled, keep them in the pan and frost the top completely with all of the buttercream frosting.
- Pop the brownies (still in the pan) in the fridge for at least 15-20 minutes. You want the frosting layer to become hard for the next step.
- When the brownies are ready to come out of the fridge, make the ganache. Place the chocolate chips and the vegan baking stick in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 15 second increments, stirring after each time, until the melted and silky smooth.
- Take the brownies out of the fridge, and pour the liquid ganache on top of the frosting while still in the pan. Quickly break up 3 more chocolate sandwich cookies and scatter them over the top of the brownies while gently pressing them into the ganache so they stick. Pop the brownies back in the fridge until the ganache hardens.
- Thaw the brownies on the counter for at least 10 minutes prior to cutting. Lift the brownies out of the pan using the parchment overhang and slice the brownies into big squares, tiny squares, large rectangles or small rectangles...whatever your heart desires. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature. If you store them in the fridge they get rock hard and will break your teeth! There is no heavy cream in this ganache so you can leave them airtight at room temp. Enjoy!
The recipe for the vegan brownies was slightly adapted from Sugared and Stirred.
The inspiration for the brownies and the ganache recipe was adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction Cookies & Cream Brownies.