Vegan Date Squares

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This adapted Smitten Kitchen recipe is a great way to use dates in a dessert or breakfast square/bar. Dates are very sweet and therefore very little sugar is needed in this vegan recipe.

Ingredients:

Ingredients for the filling:

3 cups pitted dates, chopped
1 ½ cups water
Zest of a mandarin/clementine/orange

Ingredients for the crumbs:

4 tbsp. demerara brown sugar
½ cup raw or turbinado sugar
1 cup olive or coconut oil
1 ½ cups large flake oats
1 ½ cups plus 4 tbsp. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. dried nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 400F and line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.

In a medium saucepan, combines dates, water and zest over low heat, simmering for 10 minutes, until liquid has absorbed and mixture has thickened.

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Set aside while you make the crumbs.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process the sugar and oil together.

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Add the oats, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt and pulse until the mixture forms a coarse rubble.

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Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

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Dollop the date mixture over it and use a small offset spatula to spread the mixture smoothly over the crumbs.  Sprinkle remaining crumbs over date layer and press lightly to cover.

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Bake bars for 25 minutes, or until light brown at the edges.  Cool in pan and then cut into squares.  These freeze well.

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Brookies (Marvin Style)

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Adapted from allrecipes.com, this is the perfect combination of brownie and cookie.

Ingredients:

Cookie layer:

½ cup unsalted pareve margarine, softened
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 large egg, room temperature
1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Brownie layer:

1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted pareve margarine, melted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/3 cup cocoa powder
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. kosher salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the margarine, sugars, and vanilla until creamy.

 

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Add the egg and beat until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.

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Whisk flour, salt, and baking soda together in a bowl.

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Gradually stir flour mixture into margarine mixture until dough is combined.  IMG_4761.jpg

Stir chocolate chips into dough.

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Spread dough into the bottom of the prepared pan to cover completely.

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Stir sugar, melted margarine, and vanilla together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

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Add eggs and beat well.  Mix cocoa into margarine mixture until well combined.

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Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix until just combined.

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Pour brownie batter over cookie dough and spread to cover completely.

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Bake for 25 minutes and cool completely before cutting into bars.

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Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars

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I adapted these bars in a non-dairy version for my daughter’s bridal shower.  Originally from Two Peas and Their Pod, they are easy to make and a nice alternative to the traditional chocolate based bar.

Ingredients:

For the bars:

2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 large lemon
1 ½ sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted pareve margarine, at room temperature
¼ cup icing/confectioners sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the lemon “cream cheese” frosting:

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted pareve margarine, at room temperature
8 ounce package Tofutti/pareve cream cheese, at room temperature
Zest of 1 large  lemon
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
5 cups icing/confectioners sugar
Assorted sprinkles

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375F and line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together, flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

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In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the margarine, lemon zest and granulated sugar until well combined.

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Slowly add the icing sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

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Add in the eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

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Slowly add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.

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Evenly spread the cookie dough into the prepared pan with a spatula.

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Bake for 14 minutes, or until the bars are slightly set in the middle.

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Remove from the oven and let the bars cool completely. While the bars are cooling, make the lemon cream cheese frosting.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the margarine and “cream cheese” until smooth.

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Add the lemon zest and lemon juice.

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Slowly add the icing sugar, 1 cup at a time.  Mix until smooth.

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Frost the cooled cookie bars and decorate with sprinkles.

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Cut the bars into squares and serve.  Store the bars in the fridge for up to 2 days.

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Science Fact of the Week:

Using toffuti cream cheese allows these bars to be dairy free, but still get that same creamy texture. Toffuti cream cheese is made from tofu yet is similar in texture and flavour to real cream cheese. This makes these bars just as delicious, but more versatile.