Ye gods this is good. So good in fact that I had trouble stopping once I tested some to make sure I wouldn’t poison Man-thing, because that’s 100% legitimate. He tests stuff for me at restaurants or at people’s homes to make sure it’s vegan if we’re unsure (e.g. if there’s butter lurking, he’ll sniff it out). I figure the least I could do is stuff my mouth with these, but leave him some on the side. 😀
There’s something truly magical about blondie bars – everything seems more sprightly and alive! The flavours aren’t all doused in chocolate so you can really get the layers of spice and other goodies shining through. The rum kind of kicked my butt when I licked the dough spoon, because we’re not drinkers and I desperately wanted to get rid of the rest of the little airplane bottle, but it actually worked marvellously once baked.I also decided to be fancy and cut my apple slices like this, but when you’re actually trying to slice up your serving portions it becomes a bit hazardous if you don’t know where they are, which is why next time I’ll make borders with chocolate chips or something. Of course, this haphazard slicing and dicing meant I got the royal treatment and could eat all the side bits that looked “messy” and then swipe down the knife and everything. Pure bliss! It’s those sort of things that make it worth it to bake your own goods instead of buying something wrapped in plastic – it’s an entire experience that shapes your appreciation of the dish – not just the taste.
Blondie base (serves 9):
- 1 can butter beans, drained or 1 3/4 cups approx
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 1/4 cup oat flour
- 1/8 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/4 cup unrefined sugar/sweetener of choice (approx 40g)
- 1 dropper NuNaturals NuStevia Liquid Vanilla
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- lots of cinnamon + nutmeg
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup rice-cream (can replace with soaked cashews OR white beans) – sweeten the main batch with 1/4 cup liquid sweetener of choice and 2 TBSP vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup soaked dates
- 2 droppers NuNaturals NuStevia Liquid Vanilla
- 1 TBSP NuNaturals Simple Syrup/sweetener of choice (if desired, otherwise leave it out)
- Optional: 2 – 3 TBSP rum
- pinch pink salt
- 1 medium granny smith apple, cut into thin slices (approx 120g before slicing)
- 2 TBSP applesauce
- 1/8 + 1/16 cup dark vegan chocolate chips (approx 30g)
- 1/4 cup nuts of choice to top – I used almond nibs and sunflower seeds
- cinnamon + nutmeg
- Preheat to 180C and spray/line a square 8″ baking pan.
- Blend your blondie ingredients in a food processor until combined.
- Pour into the pan and smooth it out.
- Sprinkle 1/8 cup chocolate chips evenly, pressing them in somewhat
- Layer your apple slices evenly across the entire surface of the blondie base. Paint with 1 TBSP applesauce and then splash liberally with cinnamon
- Blend your dates plus 4 – 5 TBSP of the date soaking water until they are broken down.
- Add the rest of the caramel ingredients, minus the nuts, then blend until smooth. Spread evenly across the surface.
- Paint with 1 TBSP applesauce across the surface.
- Sprinkle and press in the nuts and 1/16 cup chocolate chips.
- Bake for 35 minutes.
- You can either store these in the fridge or eat them from a sealed tupperware for a few days after. We keep them in the fridge because it’s getting to be summer.
The beauty of these things is the beans – they make everything so fudgy and delicious and dense – it’s like they just soak up all the flavour of the spices and stuff so well. I felt like I should spoil us and throw some dark chocolate chips in there – the dough bakes a bit denser so the chocolate chips don’t drool everywhere but when you slice the bars open then suddenly there’s this delectable slow ooze of chocolate that just jumbles my brain.
One thing I learnt from all this is that when you take photos in a room that’s not the kitchen you should probably take a cloth or something with you, because I ended up with melted chocolate chip goodness all over my hands (don’t ask why), and I had to lick it all clean like a cavewoman because I was too lazy to go get something to wipe up with. Also, more excuses to eat this. Can you tell I’m in love?
The rice-cream really worked magic with the dates to make a thick, luscious caramel – and of course it made for a glorious topping. These chocolate chips were totally worth the sneaky trip to the shops (full of excuses for why we need to go and all that) – if you’re in a country that is more awesome than ours this would be totally overboard delicious with vegan white chocolate chips nestled between the nuts on top. Just saying. 😀 I served these up with rice-cream on the side, but you could easily drizzle more caramel as well, because that was just lush.
Anyway, I’m sure you’re admiring my new turquoise plates! I went a bit wild over the weekend (my bank account says ouch) and bought some (supposedly) cheap odds and ends, because now that I have space and an entire photography room I have no excuses to not slowly get to grips with new techniques and elements. Just look at all that light in the photos, and space! That’s part of what drove me crazy about our old place – I loved it dearly but there was less than 1 square meter to take snaps in. Now I’ve got to learn how to use more space and be creative in different ways. Blogging for food is not only about the food – I love stalking all the beautiful blogs for their artistry – colour, light, texture…it’s all amazing!
With that in mind, bundle over to Learn Food Photography who are hosting an insane giveaway – so many shiny tools to improve and open to all!