Paws Off The Plate! Ten-minute Brownies

I am beginning a new series on my blog: Paws Off The Plate!

I will feature each week a recipe alongside one dog and one cat up for adoption at the Washington Humane Society which is located in my hometown of Washington, DC (well, I’m in suburban DC, but that’s close enough!).

While I recognize that most of my readers do not live in this area, I am hoping that this feature will benefit not just the specific animals I will write about here, but also help people learn about the wonderful pets that can be found for adoption in shelters across the country.

This week I am featuring Jojo, an 8-year-old cat whose person couldn’t care for her anymore. The shelter describes her as “a sweet, low-maintenance kitty who has many years of love left to give to a new family!” Just look at her- how could you not fall in love with that face?

Also featured this week is is a 2-year-old female Pit Bull Terrier, Sasha, who was rescued by a WHS humane officer from a home where she was neglected and starved. Despite this, she is an affectionate dog who loves to snuggle, according to the shelter. Isn’t that something–it never ceases to surprise me how resilient and forgiving dogs are!

You can see other adoptable pets, including Jojo and Sasha, at the WHS website, and at Petfinder.

The Humane Society of the United States estimates that six to eight million cats and dogs enter shelters each year, and half– half!– are put down because they cannot find homes. Meanwhile, newspapers are full of ads from irresponsible breeders selling puppies and kittens for hundreds of dollars. If that is not one of the worst forms of animal exploitation, you tell me what it is!

People are afraid to bring home shelter animals for a variety of reasons, including a fear that they might have “gone bad” because of abusive experiences in their past, or that adult dogs or cats might find it hard to adapt to new homes. I’ve even heard some downright ridiculous excuses: a woman I worked with once bought a dog from a breeder because she was “too afraid to go to an animal shelter and see the sad faces of the dogs there!”

But every time someone buys from a breeder, they deprive a homeless pet of a chance to live.

Contrary to widely held myths, rescued animals rarely have problems that are insurmountable. Some training, discipline and lots of love never fail to work. And believe me, no matter how old the dog or cat you adopt is, they will give you all their love within minutes of coming home!

Keep in mind that even purebred dogs brought home as puppies, if not properly trained and socialized, will develop problems over time.

And now for the recipe part of this series. The 10 minutes in the title refers to the time it takes to put the batter together. It takes another 20 minutes or so to bake them, so they’re more like 30-minute brownies. But take my word for this: they are absolutely delicious and you’ll definitely find it difficult to keep your paws off them. What’s more, they will still leave you with enough time to play with your pooch AND take them for a long walk! Remember not to feed the brownies to your pet, though, because chocolate, while great for you, can be deadly to them.

Ten-minute Brownies

Beat together until fluffy:

4 tbsp no-trans-fat vegetable shortening

4 tbsp canola oil

1 cup sugar

Add and beat together until well-mixed, scraping down the sides of the pan if necessary:

1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water

1 tbsp vanilla extract

Add and mix with a spatula:

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup pecan halves (you can chop them if you prefer them in smaller chunks)

The batter will be stiff, but that’s okay. Spread it evenly in a greased square 8-inch baking pan. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Remove to a rack and let cool at least 10-15 minutes before cutting in.


(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

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  1. says

    Hi hi 10 minutes to gether the ingridients and i was thinking 10 minutes to make them :-)
    My brother in law took 2 germans shepards from a shelter, they were elderly dogs , he had them for some 3to 4 years and both died from cancer ………

  2. says

    vaishali….i hope the pets find loving homes….since a long time i have been wanting to get myself a pet from a shelter….but the prospect of leaving them locked up for uncertain amounts of time makes me realise that i cant do it yet till i am able to commit more time…..this is the first time in my life that i am living without an animal…. i love your new series….more power to you girl!!

  3. satya says

    Searching for an eggless brownie recipe since a long time.Thank you for posting one Vaishali….Can you please specify whether the heat is 350 farenheit?

  4. says

    Seriously, I too am afraid of the sad faces of the puppies and kittens at a shelter, that’s why I’ve never been to one. We still live in a tiny apartment, but I’ve long set my mind on getting a cat from a shelter once we get a house. I admire you for your great work for shelters.

  5. says

    Jayashree, Thanks. Hope you try them.

    Happy Cook, It’d be impossible to get ingredients together and bake, all in 10 minutes. Unless there’s a microwave recipe out there, I guess, but I like to do things the old-fashioned way :) Nice to hear your brother adopted senior dogs from the shelter.

    Arundati, Thanks very much! You’re right- it is very important to feel you’re ready to commit the time before you adopt. Also, adult dogs can do fine left by themselves for around 8-9 hours, but any longer and they would need a walk or access to a backyard. Glad to know you’d adopt from a shelter when you’re ready!

    Satya, Welcome. And you’re right- it is 350-degrees farenheit. Hope you try them!

    Anke, So happy to hear you plan to adopt from a shelter despite your concerns. If this helps, I have some advise: it can seem difficult but actually the experience of going to a shelter is in the end more rewarding than stressful. The animals are bored in their runs and really enjoy seeing people and interacting with them. While none of us can rescue each and every animal we see, just giving them those few minutes of your time means a lot to them and can make a world of difference! :)

  6. says

    I just had to revisit this post and look at those cuties again. I talked with my hubby today, and he, too, loves the idea of adopting a pet from a shelter. Hurrah :-)

    Now we only need to get a house, and getting your own house in Germany is kind of a lenthy process, we don’t plan to do that for another ten years or so, unfortunately. I hope this adorable kitten and this cute dog find a loving home in the meantime.

  7. says

    Hmmm, I’m making these now and they seem to be taking quite a while to set up. I notice there’s no baking powder or baking soda in the recipe, was that an omission or should I just be more patient? :) Love your recipes, btw. Your banana bread was how I found your blog, and I’ll be trying the Aloo Gobi tomorrow!

  8. says

    Kage, you might need more time in the oven– I used an electric oven in the past (when I made these brownies) and I’ve moved to gas since– I have noticed recipes take longer to bake in my gas oven, plus most ovens differ. Just bake it until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    There is no need for baking soda or baking powder in this recipe– the brownies are meant to be dense.
    Hope that helps :) And hope you like the aloo gobi– It’s one of my favorites.

  9. says

    Thanks for responding, Vaishali! I also have a gas oven, and I did end up leaving them in longer and they turned out great! Guess I just need to be more patient 😛 Thanks again for the great recipes.

  10. GrannyVegan says

    Your website is a terrific resource for vegans and soon-to-be vegans.

    Your empathy with the suffering of animals is both heart-warming and inspiring.

    Bless you and may your wonderful work long continue.

  11. says

    Brownies sound fabulous – can’t wait to try them!
    I love what you’re doing for the animals to draw attention to their need for responsible people to adopt them into forever homes. It’s terrific that you are using your space for their pictures & stories – how wonderful it would be if everyone did that!
    Thanks for a great website with super recipes!!

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