Thursday, January 23, 2014

Vegan Blackberry Crumble Bars

Hello again!

It's been a while since I've posted a recipe. Has starting this new year been a bit tiring for you too? I have all these things I want to do, I'm actually loving the cold weather and snow that we're getting here in the area and I kind of just want to hole up in a mountain cabin and work by the fire. Anyone else?

These cookie bars were inspired by This pie recipe from Blackbird Bakery and This cookie recipe from The Sensitive Pantry. I love the crumble topping, the cooked jelly filling and the gooey cookie crust. And they're also really simple to make- as usual, nothing I make is really that hard.

I had a really fabulous night hanging out with girlfriends last week and I made a version of these cookies. They went over well, and I've made a few changes that makes them even better! As usual, there are options to make it fit your needs or ingredients. For this recipe I used Seedless Blackberry Fruit Spread from Harris Teeter, and I've also used Trader Joe's brand Raspberry All Fruit Spread. The key for me was finding jellies with no added sugar or fake sugars. I made these using coconut oil, but you could substitute butter. And you could also add a layer of chocolate- I've included directions for that below.

Vegan Blackberry Crumble Bars
makes 12-16

Sweet Crust 
3 C blanched almond flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 C coconut oil melted
1/2 C honey (or agave)
1 T vanilla
(reserve 1/2 C)

1/2 C reserved sweet crust
1/4 C of arrowroot or tapiocha starch

1 jar of all fruit spread
1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 and choose your baking dish (I used a square glass 8x8 inch pan)
There is no need to grease the pan as there is enough fat in the crust, but you could also line it with parchment paper
First mix the sweet crust by whisking the coconut oil, honey or agave, and vanilla
Mix in the blanched almond flour, salt and baking soda
Blend until combined and then measure 1/2 C of the crust mixture into a separate bowl for the topping
Place the remaining sweet crust into the baking dish and press flat
Bake for 15 minutes and then remove from the oven (it will be slightly soft, that's okay)
While the crust bakes, make the topping by mixing the 1/4 C starch with the 1/2 C reserved sweet crust and save
Remove the crust from the oven and top with dollops of the all fruit spread* (see below for the chocolate option)
Spread gently with a knife or offset spatula (because the crust is still slightly soft, you may get a few crumbs here and there- that's fine)
Use clean hands to drop pieces of the topping mixture onto the fruit spread, press flat any round pieces of dough
Bake for an additional 15 minutes until the top crumble is lightly browned and the fruit spread is not too jiggly
Remove from the oven and let cool 30 minutes to an hour before cutting and serving

*To add a layer of chocolate, Remove the crust from the oven and top with the chocolate chips. Return to the oven for 3 minutes to heat the chips, then remove from the oven and spread evenly with a knife or offset spatula. Then follow the steps to add the all fruit spread and topping. 

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