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Fudgy Vegan Chocolate Brownie Cookies

These vegan chocolate brownie cookies will blow your mind. They’re fudgy, intensely chocolatey, and have the most gorgeous shiny, crackly crust. What’s more, they’re incredibly easy to make – and require no egg replacements or aquafaba.

Overhead shot of vegan chocolate brownie cookies on a white surface.

Fudgy. A bit chewy. Intensely chocolatey. Just sweet enough to balance the bitterness of dark chocolate. Drop-dead gorgeous. With a shiny, crackly crust.

These are the things all proper brownie cookies should be (in my humble opinion). And these vegan chocolate brownie cookies tick all the boxes – and do so effortlessly.

There are no egg replacements in this recipe. No aquafaba to whip up. No strange ingredients – just everyday pantry staples. What’s more, this recipe doesn’t require a stand or hand mixer – you can make it by hand, just using a whisk (although a spatula or wooden spoon will do in a pinch).

And while you’ll get the prettiest results if you scoop the cookies with a cookie or ice cream scoop, you can also use just a good ol’ spoon.

All this is to say… this is a simple recipe, with simple ingredients and incredibly delicious results. After all, we’re talking about a treat that is a cookie and a brownie all at once – you know it’s going to be amazing.

A vegan brownie cookie broken in half, showing its fudgy interior.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making these wonderful cookies – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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How do you make vegan chocolate brownie cookies?

Making these vegan cookies is almost ridiculously easy. You only need 8 ingredients:

  • dark chocolate
  • sunflower oil (or other neutral-tasting oil)
  • superfine/caster sugar
  • water
  • plain all-purpose flour
  • cocoa powder
  • baking powder
  • a pinch of salt

(As always, you can find the full recipe, including the ingredient quantities, at the bottom of this post.)

The method of making these vegan chocolate brownie cookies is very similar to that of making my Ultimate Vegan Chocolate Brownies – you can check out that post for some handy step-by-step photos.

To make these vegan chocolate brownie cookies:

  1. Melt the chocolate and oil together, then set aside to cool until warm.
  2. Make a simple sugar syrup (more on its role below) by heating together the sugar and water, until the sugar is fully dissolved. Set aside to cool until warm.
  3. Pour the sugar syrup into the melted chocolate and whisk until combined.
  4. Sift in the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt) and whisk until combined and no flour clumps remain.
  5. Scoop the cookie batter onto two lined baking sheets (I used a “2 tablespoon” cookie/ice cream scoop) and bake them, one baking sheet after the other.

And that’s all there is to it! How simple is that?!

What is the purpose of the sugar syrup?

In short, the sugar syrup replaces the whipped eggs + sugar mixture normally used in non-vegan brownie cookie (and brownie) recipes. It helps keep the brownie cookies moist and fudgy, while also giving them that amazing paper-thin, shiny, crackly crust.

I’ve outlined the process of discovering this sugar syrup method previously, in my Ultimate Vegan Brownies post. It’s really such a simple step – heating the sugar and water together – but it has completely changed the way I approach making vegan brownies and related treats, such as these wonderful cookies.

When making the sugar syrup, it’s incredibly important that you heat the sugar mixture until the sugar is fully dissolved but no further – the mixture shouldn’t start boiling, evaporating or caramelising.

How do you get the thin, shiny crackly crust on brownie cookies?

There are two factors that influence the formation of the thin, shiny crackly crust of vegan brownie cookies.

Firstly, the sugar syrup. This is responsible for the paper-thin, shiny layer on top of the cookies, which glimmers and reflects light in the most tempting of ways. It’s very important to keep the amount of water in the syrup low (so don’t be tempted to add more than is listed in the recipe).

Secondly, the baking powder. This is responsible for the crackly aspect of the crust. As the baking powder encounters the high heat of the oven (and reacts with the slightly acidic chocolate in the batter), it releases carbon dioxide which, together with steam evaporation, causes the cookies to expand. This, in turn, creates cracks in the crust, giving the cookies their characteristic appearance.

Overhead shot of vegan chocolate brownie cookies on a white surface.

How do you keep brownie cookies fudgy?

The fudgy texture depends on a few things:

  • the relatively large amount of chocolate
  • substituting part of the flour with cocoa powder (which also gives a deeper chocolate flavour)
  • using the sugar syrup (this locks in a lot of moisture and keeps the brownie cookies fudgy for days)
  • being careful not to over-bake the brownie cookies (they’re perfectly baked after 9 – 10 minutes at 355 ºF/180 ºC; any more than than and you’re likely to dry them out too much)

How do you get perfectly round cookies?

To get perfectly round cookies (and this is true for these vegan brownie cookies, as well as for my Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies, Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies and any other cookies that come out of the oven soft and malleable), I like to use a round cookie cutter, slightly larger than the diameter of the cookies.

To correct the shape of the cookies, just use the cookie cutter to gently nudge the sides of the cookies towards the centre, until you get perfectly round cookies. It’s really as simple as that – and it makes the cookies even prettier.

The process of correcting the shape of the brownie cookies with a round cookie cutter.

These vegan brownie cookies keep well in a closed container at room temperature – after a few days, they tend to get a bit chewier (but without losing their fudginess), which I personally love, and their crust can lose some of its glossy shine.

I like to eat them as they are, but you could sprinkle them with a bit of flaky sea salt, sandwich them together with a scoop of ice cream or drizzle with some melted chocolate… the options are endless. Stuffing them with peanut butter or maybe salted caramel is next on my list of things to try – but that’s a story for another time.

Enjoy.

Signature of the author, Kat.

Troubleshooting (updated 24/12/2020)

Since publishing this recipe in May 2020, a few people have had trouble with it – the cookies not spreading and/or lacking their characteristic crackly, shiny crust. After some experimentation, it seems that this could be due to the following factors:

  • The type of oil used – I’ve had 100% reliable and consistent results with this recipe when I use (organic) sunflower oil. Using vegetable oil, on the other hand, produces inconsistent results – one day, the cookie spread out in the oven and are nicely shiny, whereas baking them the next day gives cookies that are dull and don’t spread at all. Therefore, I strongly recommend you use sunflower oil to make this recipe, ideally an organic one. The main reason for this appears to be the water content of the oil: the sunflower oil I can get in the shops here in the UK seems to be lower in water than the vegetable oil (note that the water content is very low in both, but the small difference does seem to have an important effect).
  • Making sure you use the sugar syrup and the melted chocolate when both are still warm – Don’t allow them to cool all the way to room temperature. You want both of them to be warmer than lukewarm but also cooler than hot.
  • Scooping the cookie “batter” immediately rather than letting it sit on the kitchen counter – Don’t allow the cookie “batter” to sit around after you mix all the ingredients together. Scoop it IMMEDIATELY onto your lined baking sheets. If you allow it to sit on your kitchen counter, it will cool down too much and the chocolate in the batter will firm up and set, which will result in cookies that don’t spread as well and that lack their beautiful shiny crust.
  • The consistency of the cookie “batter” – Your final mixture should have the consistency of thick brownie batter and not the texture of cookie dough.

Overhead shot of vegan chocolate brownie cookies on a white surface.

If you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

Fudgy Vegan Chocolate Brownie Cookies

These vegan chocolate brownie cookies will blow your mind. They’re fudgy, intensely chocolatey, and have the most gorgeous shiny, crackly crust. What’s more, they’re incredibly easy to make – and require no egg replacements or aquafaba.
Print Rate
4.36 from 14 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook/Bake Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Servings 12 cookies

Ingredients

  • 4 1/4 oz (120 g) chopped dark chocolate, 60 – 70% cocoa solids
  • 3 1/2 tbsp (50 mL) sunflower oil (See also the troubleshooting tips in the Notes section.)
  • 2/3 cup + 1/2 tbsp (140 g) superfine/caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) water
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp (130 g) plain all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 355 ºF (180 ºC) and line two baking sheets with greaseproof/baking paper.
  • In a heat-proof bowl above a pot of simmering water (or in the microwave), melt together the dark chocolate and sunflower oil. Set aside to cool until warm.
  • In a separate heat-proof bowl (if using the microwave) or in a saucepan (if using the stovetop), mix together the sugar and water, and heat them together until the sugar is fully dissolved. Set aside to cool until warm.
    Tip: You don't want the mixture to start to boil, the water to evaporate or the sugar to start caramelising – you need to heat it only to the point where the sugar is fully dissolved and no further.
  • Pour the sugar syrup into the melted chocolate and whisk well until combined.
  • Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Whisk well until you get a smooth, fairly thick batter.
    Tip: It's very important that you use both the chocolate and the sugar syrup while both are warm. This ensures that the final batter has the consistency of thick brownie batter – you don't want the batter to be dry or crumbly, it shouldn't resemble chocolate chip cookie dough! The batter should be spoonable and slightly runny, you shouldn't be able to shape it with your hands.
  • Use a "2 tablespoon" ice cream/cookie scoop to portion out the batter – you should get 12 cookies in total, 6 per baking sheet. (Scoop all the cookies at once, since the batter tends to firm up when standing at room temperature.) Make sure to space them out generously, as they spread out during baking.
    Tip: Make sure to invert the scoop as close to the baking sheet as possible, so as to form a circular mound of batter.
  • Bake the cookies one baking sheet at a time, in the pre-heated oven at 355 ºF (180 ºC) for about 9 - 10 minutes, until they are slightly puffed up and have a shiny, crackly crust.
  • Immediately out of the oven, you can correct the shape of the cookies with a round cookie cutter, slightly larger than the diameter of the cookies. Use the cookie cutter to gently nudge the sides of the cookies towards the centre, until you get perfectly round cookies.
  • Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 - 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Storage: The vegan brownies keep well in a closed container at room temperature for about 1 week.

Notes

Troubleshooting (updated 24/12/2020)

Since publishing this recipe in May 2020, a few people have had trouble with it – the cookies not spreading and/or lacking their characteristic crackly, shiny crust. After some experimentation, it seems that this could be due to the following factors:
  • The type of oil used – I've had 100% reliable and consistent results with this recipe when I use (organic) sunflower oil. Using vegetable oil, on the other hand, produces inconsistent results – one day, the cookie spread out in the oven and are nicely shiny, whereas baking them the next day gives cookies that are dull and don't spread at all. Therefore, I strongly recommend you use sunflower oil to make this recipe, ideally an organic one. The main reason for this appears to be the water content of the oil: the sunflower oil I can get in the shops here in the UK seems to be lower in water than the vegetable oil (note that the water content is very low in both, but the small difference does seem to have an important effect).
  • Making sure you use the sugar syrup and the melted chocolate when both are still warm – Don't allow them to cool all the way to room temperature. You want both of them to be warmer than lukewarm but also cooler than hot.
  • Scooping the cookie "batter" immediately rather than letting it sit on the kitchen counter – Don't allow the cookie "batter" to sit around after you mix all the ingredients together. Scoop it IMMEDIATELY onto your lined baking sheets. If you allow it to sit on your kitchen counter, it will cool down too much and the chocolate in the batter will firm up and set, which will result in cookies that don't spread as well and that lack their beautiful shiny crust.
  • The consistency of the cookie "batter" – Your final mixture should have the consistency of thick brownie batter and not the texture of cookie dough.
Tried this recipe?Mention @theloopywhisk or tag #theloopywhisk!

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53 thoughts on “Fudgy Vegan Chocolate Brownie Cookies”

  1. My cookies did not flatten and don’t have a shiny top. I used organic sunflower oil and followed all the steps and updates. Would love to perfect it to look as nice as yours.

    Reply
    • Hi Ivy, sorry you had trouble with the recipe. A couple of questions: what was your cookie batter/dough like when you scooped it? Did you weigh your ingredients, or did you use volume/cup measurements? Did you bake your cookies on the fan oven setting?

      Reply
  2. This recipe looks promising except your comment that there is a higher water content in some oils other than Sunflower Oil. There is no water in any oil. Oil is insoluble.

    Reply
    • Hi Bonnie, that’s actually not true. Most oils (including sunflower, canola, rapeseed oil and others) do include some water/moisture content. While it is true that on a large/macroscopic scale, oil and water are immiscible, on a microscopic scale oil actually does contain some moisture. Now, whether the higher moisture contents of vegetable and rapeseed oil (in comparison to sunflower oil) are actually to blame for this recipe not working as well with them – I can’t say for 100% certain, it’s just my working hypothesis. But there are huge differences in how these cookies turn out with the different oils, and at the end of the day, that’s the main take away here. 🙂

      Reply
  3. I made these, following the recipe to the letter (weighted measurements, sunflower oil, working quickly so that the batter was soft and scoopable) and they taste really good and intensely chocolatey! However, they look pretty terrible – didn’t spread, and certainly no shiny crust. Any ideas what I can do to get it right next time?

    Reply
    • Hi Katie, I haven’t tested it but I think it would drastically alter the texture and appearance of the brownies, as you’d be replacing a crystalline sweetener with a liquid one – even if the sugar is used to make a sugar syrup, it partially crystallises out during baking, which is responsible for the beautiful crinkly crust.

      Reply
  4. Was really excited to try this recipe, but my cookies couldn’t have turned out more different than the photos here. I followed the instructions super closely and made sure the chocolate was quite warm after reading the comments. Cookies didn’t spread at all. They stayed in mounds and weren’t shiny or crackly at all. I was super sad 🙁

    Reply
    • Hi Lauren, so sorry you had trouble with the recipe! Can I ask what kind of oil did you use? A couple of other people have also had trouble with the recipe, even though I always get consistent results that look just like in the photos in the post. I’m starting to suspect it’s down to the type of oil used…

      Reply
      • SO GOOD !! they were a little flat but probably because i flattened them instead of leaving them into balls after putting them on the trey (idk why i did this haha, sometimes it works best but you didn’t say to do so here). easy, tasty, and incredibly induglent. + i looked at your other recipe and a lot of them look delicious, can’t wait to try them out!

        Reply
  5. I followed this recipe exactly as it said, except using powdered instead of whatever “caster” sugar is. My batter was harder/less runny than it should have been according to the tips, and my cookies didn’t expand at all.. they stayed in the scooped shape, with no shiny top and no cracking :(. I’m so sad. To the author- I’m wondering if you used volume measurements or weight measurements when testing? I’m in the US and used weight measurements because I knew from reading this recipe that it would be tricky. The volume of my powdered sugar, in order to make it match the weight in the recipe, ended up being closer to double what the volume suggestion was.. As an aside, I’m also at high altitude in Colorado (~5,000 ft), so I’m wondering if this had anything to do with the failure of this recipe. I’m tempted to try again, but this time with more water instead of the recommended 1/3 cup, to make the batter runnier, but the ingredients are kind of expensive. Any suggestions? My heart is broken

    Reply
    • Hi Andrea, so sorry you had trouble with the recipe! Using powdered sugar has definitely contributed to your problems, I really recommend you use caster sugar (also known as superfine sugar) or granulated result. I use weight measurement in all my initial recipe development, as it’s far more precise and reliable. I think the high altitude could also be an issue, but unfortunately I don’t have much experience with high altitude baking! Can I ask what kind of oil you used? I’ve had a couple of readers say they had problems with the recipe, and I think might be linked to the type of oil used…

      Reply
  6. Hi, I can’t wait to try your delicious looking recipe! I was wondering if granulated sugar could be substituted for caster? Also, would you recommend using boiling hot water poured over the sugar to avoid accidental caramelization (my microwave has a mind of its own and I’d rather not dirty a pot)? Thank you.

    Reply
    • You can use granulated sugar – I simply prefer and recommend caster sugar as it’s faster and easier to dissolve. You could pour boiling water over the sugar, just make absolutely sure all the sugar is fully dissolved before proceeding to the next steps.

      Reply
    • Hi Lisa, lots of chocolate in the UK actually isn’t made with milk. In fact, pretty much all high-quality DARK chocolate (60% cocoa solids and higher) doesn’t contain milk. I like to use Guittard chocolate, but had good experience with the chocolate bars from Aldi and Lidl, as well.

      Reply
  7. My whole family approved! I recently learned I had a dairy allergy and i had stopped baking because I had a hard time with finding food dairy free desserts. My family has been picky about the recipes I have tried. They have all asked for this recipe!! 10/10. I also only used 100g of the chocolate bar and it tasted just fine!

    Reply
  8. Overall the recipe was fine, but we didn’t understand that you are supposed to shape the cookies before baking them and we ended up having weird-shaped cookies.

    Reply
  9. I was skeptical at first but they actually turned out really good! I would recommend adding nuts or something else to give them a little twist.

    Reply
  10. Hey Kat! I made these yesterday. They didn’t crackle on the top but hands down one of the best tasting cookies I’ve eaten. Thank you so much ❤️

    Reply
    • It should work fine, but the cookies might be a bit sweeter. However, decreasing the amount of sugar might change their texture and appearance, so keep that in mind.

      Reply
  11. Can I use granulated sugar instead of caster sugar? I have never seen that in stores near me. Will it make a difference in the outcome of anything?

    Reply
  12. Hey! I tried this recipe and my batter was like of brownie but after baking it seemed liked a pancake and no where near to a cookie

    Reply
    • The cookie batter should have the consistency of a THICK brownie batter – it should keep its shape when scooping, but be quite soft. How warm/hot were the melted chocolate and sugar syrup when you used them? Did you change the recipe at all? And also: did you weigh the ingredients or use volume measurements?

      Reply
  13. Thank you for this recipe! I am a small business owner in Indonesia and now selling these for my friends with a bit of twist! Mine came out beautifully, cracked and shiny 😍 I added a bit of sea salt on top too

    Reply
  14. I just made these cookies; they definitely spread, unlike some of the other comments say – however, they didn’t ‘crack’ and they had a very dull surface. The look a bit like whoopie pies, or very very flat cakes / dark chocolate pancakes :p I’m sure they still taste okay, but their appearance is a bit disappointing. I hate to be the one asking this – but any idea why this happened? Thank you Kat – I adore your blog and your beautiful recipes, thank you for always sharing.

    Reply
    • Hi Francesca! Thank you so much for your kind words about my blog and recipes! There could be a couple of different reasons for the dull and crack-free appearance. Did you make any changes to the recipe? Do you use a fan or a conventional oven? What kind of sugar did you use? And what was the consistency of the cookie dough/batter before baking? They should have the consistency of thick brownie batter, NOT the texture of chocolate chip cookie dough. If the batter was more like a dough (or even dry or crumbly, or firm enough so that you could shape it with your hands), it’s possible that your melted chocolate cooled too much – so you need to use both the melted chocolate and the sugar syrup when they are warmer next time.

      Reply
  15. I tried this yesterday! My husband said it was the best thing I’ve ever made 😊 I substituted the flour to gluten free flour and it turned out amazing! Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
  16. Hi Kat! Loveee this recipe. But i recently tried infusing some orange flavour by using orange zest in the sugar syrup. My cookie mixture turns dry and when i baked it, it doesn’t have a crackly and shiny crust. It’s just dry. They taste decent. Can you lease help me out? Do i need to adjust the measurements?

    Reply
  17. Hey this recipe tastes amazing! I need a bit of trouble shooting . . . .my cookies didnt flatten out and stayed a puffed mound what is my issue here? Cooked at 180° I tried one off the tray at the 10 min mark. I left them for a further 4 min hoping they would flatten but afraid not.

    Reply
    • Hi Vyvyan! What was the texture of the cookie dough when you went to scoop it? It should have had the texture of a thick brownie batter, so quite loose and runny. If the cookie dough was quite dry (so much so that you could shape it with your hands), it’s possible that you allowed the chocolate to cool too much, and it crystallised in contact with the room temperature flour.

      Reply
  18. Hey Kat,
    This recipe didn’t work for me unfortunately. The cookies didn’t spread, like at all, just sat in little mounds. There was also no cracking, no shiny surface and the texture was definitely not fudgy. Can you think of anything I might’ve done wrong? The only ingredient I deviated from was that my chocolate was 72% cacao. Could that be an issue?

    Reply
    • Hi Richard! What was the texture of the cookie dough when you went to scoop it? It should have had the texture of a thick brownie batter, so quite loose and runny. If the cookie dough was quite dry (so much so that you could shape it with your hands), it’s possible that you allowed the chocolate to cool too much, and it crystallised in contact with the room temperature flour.

      Reply
        • It’s likely that you allowed the chocolate to get too cold and it crystallised when you added the flour and dry ingredients. I’d recommend you use the chocolate (and sugar syrup) when quite warm to prevent this from happening. Also, if possible, weigh the ingredients rather than using cup/volume measurements.

          Reply
          • Fantastic recipe! When I cooked them they turned out perfectly! I LOVED The trick with the round cookie cutter! I NEVER would have thought about doing that; and they look so beautiful perfectly round. I’d like to given these cookies to friends and family- which leads me to my question- can you freeze these cookies? Or the scooped and shaped dough, for later baking?

          • Hi Rose, so glad you like the recipe! I don’t recommend trying to freeze the cookie dough – and I don’t have any experience freezing the baked cookies, unfortunately. If you do give it a try, do let me know how they turn out!