Vegan Macaroon Bars

Once upon a time I lived very near to exceptional vegan eatery called Peacefood Cafe.

From the famous chickpea fries to the best vegan burger I have ever put in my mouth, you really can’t go wrong at Peacefood (minus the raw sushi, I’d skip that).

Then, of course, there is the dessert case. HOLY COW that dessert case. It is beautiful and extensive and wonderful and delicious. The carrot cake is a frequent subject of my day dreams. The raw key lime pie is super tangy and refreshing. The raw cocoa mousse pie tastes like heaven took slice-form. And the deceptively simple coconut macaroons are other-wordly.vegan-coconut-almond-macarron-bars

I’m proud to say I’ve eaten everything in their dessert case at one time or another (seasonal/daily specials aside). But I’m sad to admit I skipped over the chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons for a long time.

Until, one day, my friend Dan ordered one post-dinner, so I got one too. It was phenomenal. Moist, sweet, but not overly so, and dipped in dark, dark chocolate. HEAVEN.vegan-coconut-macaroon-bars

It took me several attempts to recreate macaroons that tasted half as good as Peacefood’s. The key, I have decided, is almond extract, and enough melted coconut oil to keep the inside moist and luscious.

The macaroons are yummy, but a bit putsy to make, so I turned the recipe into a bar form so there is less messing around/time between me and ma macaroons.

If you want to create the regular babies, just use an ice cream scoop and shape into small mounds and place onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet  before putting into the oven instead of pouring into a pan. delicious-vegan-gf-macaroon-bars-with-almonds

Vegan Macaroon Bars with Almonds

Prep Time:  20 mins
Cook Time: 10-12 mins, plus at least 1 hour to chill
Total Time: 1 hr, 30 mins
Servings: 12

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces shredded coconut (unsweetened, I got mine for $1.99 at Trader Joe’s)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract (optional, but truly the MVP here; if you don’t have any, sub an additional teaspoon vanilla)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
  • 1/3 cup almonds, chopped
  • dash of sea salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 12×12″ pan.
  2. Place shredded coconut in a food processor or blender and pulse until a rough crumb forms (it should still have some shredded texture, but aim for tiny shred pieces).
  3. Transfer shredded coconut to a bowl.
  4. Microwave coconut oil until melted (about 1 minute). Pour into bowl with shredded coconut. Add maple syrup, vanilla extract, and almond extract, and stir until well combined and sticky. If the dough does not seem sticky enough, add an additional tablespoon or two of maple syrup.
  5. Pour dough into greased pan and press into pan with a spatula. Flatten and pack dough as much as possible.
  6. Place pan into oven for 10-12 minutes, until top is just lightly browned.
  7. Remove pan from oven and place in the refrigerator to cool.
  8. Meanwhile, microwave chocolate chips in 30 second increments until melted, stirring at each increment. This will take about 90-120 seconds.
  9. Chop almonds.
  10. Remove pan from the refrigerator or freezer and pour melted chocolate over the coconut bars. Spread chocolate with a spatula to evenly cover bars. Sprinkle chopped almonds over melted chocolate. Sprinkle with salt, if desired.
  11. Place bars into the refrigerator until the chocolate top sets, at least one hour.
  12. Slice into bars and enjoy!

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Salted Caramel Date Truffles (from my ebook!)

Hi everyone! If anyone is out there still.

I must apologize for my disappearance! I had a major cross country move, and then I started grad school for human nutrition at Columbia! I’m also working some and interning a bit with Spoon University. I’ve never been so busy in my whole life! But that said, I’ve really been missing blogging and am going to try my best to get back to it! Winter break will CERTAINLY be full of blogposts!

But I thought I’d share this Salted Caramel Date Truffle Recipe that’s from my ebook, (which you can buy here), and also featured on Spoon University, here.

These are honestly amazeballs. Like, way better than they have the right to be. With the salty crunch on the somehow seemingly sinful date filling, combined with the creamy nut butter, they blow the senses a bit, and create a cravable, not-actually-unhealthy treat.

You can use any nut butter you want, but for these, sunbutter is ma fav 😀

Enjoy! Ps I used Iron Salt on these babies (that’s the pretty pink stuff on top).
PPS – WordPress is being a pooper and I’m having mega-trouble uploading photos, so for now, I only have these two on here. Will add more laters!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12
Level: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 8-oz. dried, pitted dates or date pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sunfloweer seed butter (can substitute almond butter or peanut butter)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional)

Directions:

  1. Soak dates in warm water until softened, at least 15 minutes.
  2. Drain dates. In a food processor or blender, process dates and vanilla until a smooth paste forms. Add sunflower seed butter and ¼ teaspoon sea salt and continue to blend until well combined.
  3. Roll mixture into small balls, about 1-inch in diameter. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and place into the freezer until set, about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate in 30 second increments, stirring after each increment, until melted (about 60-90 seconds total). Stir in coconut oil.
  5. Remove truffles from the freezer. Dip each truffle in melted chocolate and return to baking sheet.
  6. Sprinkle with remaining sea salt and return to the freezer until set, another 15-20 minutes.
  7. Enjoy! Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Vegan Blueberry Flax Breakfast Muffins

When life puts giant boxes of blueberries on sale what do you do? Thank your lucky stars, buy a box, and eat the entirety of said box thinking about how great a blueberry muffin would be. Proceed to purchase another giant box of blueberry muffins two days later to fulfill muffin desires. Win at life. Repeat as necessary.

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What is not to love about blueberry muffins? For some reason they have always been my favorite. Simple, classic, and bursting with juicy balls of berry juice. Mmm. In fact, when I broke into one of these beauties today I managed to splatter blueberry juice all over my freshly cleaned hoodie. Because we all know I literally cannot wear clean laundry for a full day without soiling it. Such is my life. #slob

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Blueberry muffins are always something I come back to. Yeah I’ll get excited about that other cool trendy flavor. Sure I’ll give a chocolate chip muffin a whirl, and yeah I’m down with a banana walnut as much as the next girl. But for me, at the end of the day, it’s always back to my bloobies. The blessed bloobies wrapped up in carby goodness.

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This talk of carby goodness brings up my next point about muffins. In my opinion, there are two types of muffins: breakfast muffins and dessert muffins. Both are excellent for different reasons and warrant a time and place to be eaten. Some days I want a mile-high crumble top to give me a sugar buzz. But today I wanted a not-too-sweet-eatable-for-breakfast-hearty muffin. And then I went into blueberry muffin labor and birthed a dozen Beautiful Blueberry Breakfast Muffins.

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Yum. These babies are 100% whole grain, and have a gluten free option as well. Vegan, per usual, they have nothing in them they do not need. Add as much sweetener as you desire; I’m putting you in charge here with a sliding scale to suit to your personal preference.

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Eat as you please. I enjoy them microwaved for about 10 seconds with a smudge of almond butter, and/or with a smudge of coconut butter and some raspberry jam. But you can jam on them however you wish. I’m not bluffin’ with no muffin, you should make a batch and enjoy them as a quick snack or breakfast for the rest of your week and/or day if you love carbs as much as I do. Eat up homies~!

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Vegan Blueberry Flax Breakfast Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 25-35 minutes
Level: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oat flour (can make with 2 cups rolled oats processed in a food processor or blender until fine powder forms)
    • Note: I also made these with 1 cup oat flour and 1 cup spelt flour. This was also wonderful!
  • 1/4 cup ground flax (can sub chia seeds)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (can sub canola)
  • 1 cup almond or soy milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar, left to sit for at least 10 minutes
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce or 1/2 mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup brown sugar (depending on level of desired sweetness); can also sup 1/3rd-1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. In a cup or bowl, combine almond milk and vinegar and allow to curdle, at least 10 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, combine flour, flax seed, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Mix together well.

4. Add apple sauce, melted coconut oil, sugar and/or maple syrup, almond milk + vinegar mixture to bowl with flour. Mix gently until just combined. Fold in blueberries.

5. Grease or line a 12-tin muffin tray. Fill each spot about 3/4ths of the way full with muffin batter. Place into the oven for 25-35 minutes until puffed, golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean upon removal. Allow to cool (or don’t) and enjoy. Store in an airtight container or ziplock bag for up to 4 days, and/or freeze.

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