These didn't end up being to my taste so I'm just posting an informational review.
First try, I used cloves and 1/2 cup boiling water. I baked them 20 minutes because my oven was running hot, close to 400F when I checked. They didn't rise and had a crackled top. Unfortunately the 1 tsp ground cloves made it inedible...it numbed my tongue.
Second try, 350F, used glass 8x8, 3/4 cup Splenda, no optional spice and 1 cup boiling water. Baked 35 minutes. They rose twice the size with the extra water. They tasted primarily of unsweetened pumpkin and not of chocolate so they were just too healthy for me and didn't satisfy my chocolate craving.
These did not work for me but to be fair I won't rate them. A few mistakes I know I made... added more cocoa powder and did not add boiling water because I thought they spread well enough. They did not bake smooth though and the water would have helped. I also used real sugar but doubt that would make a difference. What I didn't like: the whole wheat was noticeable even though I used pastry flour. Now I know that for me brownies will have to contain at least a little white flour! I am not vegan and my main reason for choosing this was to use up some pumpkin so I don't see a reason to attempt it again.
These were pretty good and worked surprisingly well.
Yum! Definitely very fudgy and dense, but still had the brownie texture. It's not your typical rich, hyper-sweet, bring-it-to-the-office-potluck brownie, and my husband turned his nose up at it a little, but I really liked it. Some recipes that use Splenda have that horrible aftertaste, and this is not one of those. The flavor reminds me of a lightly sweetened cup of hot cocoa made with milk. In spite of all the leavening agents, my first (and only, so far) batch did not rise very high. I like tall baked goods, so I may experiment with doubling the recipe, or adding some sort of powdered protein substance to help it rise more. I did end up using 5 teaspoons of boiling water-- maybe it needed more? Also, maybe all the mixing I did at the end to combine wet & dry ingredients didn't help the rising, or maybe my baking powder is too old (it better not be-- it's only been a month). I'm not a brownie connoisseur... I love, love, love that these are so good for you!!!!!! I will definitely make these again, if only for my self. Ooh, and I may try them as individual drop cookies. Eeeeee!!!! Thank you for sharing this recipe!