Sunday, September 15, 2013

MoFo Day 15: Bars!

[I accidentally deleted the pics of this dish from my camera.... oops!]

The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur is one of those beautiful books that I immediately fell in love with and bought without considering whether I’d actually use it. I love the classic peanut butter cookies, and my sister got rave reviews on the biscotti she made last Christmas, but otherwise I never look at it. I guess I’m a cookie purist and most of the recipes are inventive. Also, I have no self-control and if I bake a batch of cookies, I will eat all of them immediately, so I try to avoid random baking.

I was looking for a dessert to take to my parents’ house for dinner and my MoFo cookbook options are dwindling. I had some butterscotch chips and coconut in my pantry and thought the Seven Layer Bars would be a good option. Keebler and Nabisco both make vegan graham crackers and I’ve never had a problem finding them. The universe conspired against me today, though, because I went to four grocery stores looking for them (Detroit Meijer, Hazel Park Kroger, Ferndale Foods, and finally Western Market in Ferndale). Western Market is the place I would least expect as it’s a small, gourmet market, but they had BOTH Keebler and Nabisco. When it rains, it pours, right?

The recipe has you make a graham cracker crust and top it with chocolate chips. Then you make a caramel to top the chocolate. I way overcooked my caramel. The recipe could have been more specific about cooking time and method, but I should have researched “soft ball” stage before my first candy-making attempt. By the time I took it off the stove, it had reduced a lot and didn’t spread in the pan. I poured the glob in the middle of the pan and tried spreading it, which melted the chocolate and made a mess. I soldiered on and added the coconut, butterscotch chips, and nuts and attempted to press them into the thick chocolate-caramel glob in the middle of the pan.

I served it for dessert with ice cream and it was good, but really sweet. There wasn’t much added sugar – just 3T of agave in the crust and 1/3 cup of brown sugar in the caramel. I would definitely omit the agave from the crust next time. About 50% of the coconut, butterscotch chips and nuts fell off between serving and consuming, but that was because of my caramel mistake, not the recipe. I prefer the Magical Coconut Bars in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, but these are more like traditional 7 layer bars, if that's what you're going for.

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