Posted by Katie Lane
I love butter. I do. I'm not ashamed. The smell of butter melting in a saucepan, the taste of buttery shortbread melting in my mouth, those cold chunks of yellow magically disappearing into a bowl of sugar, flour and vanilla.
That being said, I'm always curious to try new things and I've been learning a lot about the health benefits of veganism. I tried the vegetarian thing for a while (two months to be exact), so I can pretty much guess that I will never be one to give up my milk and eggs for good, but it's always nice to know that just in case I ever change my mind I could still have plenty of delicious things to eat.
I brought these bars to my a capella group, The Drastic Measures, and nonchalantly placed them on the table, as I usually do with my Sunday rehearsal snacks. However, I decided to keep their true identity a secret to test the stigma about cardboard-like, tasteless vegan desserts. One by one, the Drastics tried and were mostly delighted by these interesting cookies.
Mr. President Bryce even said, "these are so buttery!" before discovering that there was not a pinch of dairy in them. When he found out the truth, he quickly retracted his statement and tried to insist that they weren't so good after all. I know your true feelings, Bryce.
I certainly have become a bit of a convert for vegan baked goods. While I will never permanently trade in my butter for Earth Balance Buttery Spread or my eggs for flax seed and applesauce, I have eaten some pretty amazing vegan treats.
Last year, I even blogged about the perfect vegan chocolate cookie, proclaiming it to be the single best of its kind I had ever eaten. These bars don't quite meet that high standard, but they are certainly intriguing to the taste buds. The maple syrup flavor comes through quite nicely and the chocolate adds just enough sweetness. They aren't too dry but they hold together nicely — a great afternoon snack or tea cookie.
Do you have a kick-butt vegan recipe? I'd love to learn more! Send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will cheerfully be your taste tester.
Chocolate Drizzled Maple Wedges
•½ cup canola oil
•1/3 cup maple syrup
•1 teaspoon vanilla
•pinch of salt
•2 cups unbleached flour
•½ cup powdered sugar, plus more if needed
•1½ tablespoons unsweetened
•3 tablespoons hot water
•1 tablespoon light corn syrup
•1 oz. chopped unsweetened chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8" or 9" round cake pan. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the oil, the maple syrup and the vanilla.
Combine the flour and salt and add to the creamed mixture, blending thoroughly with your hands until the dough holds together. Press into the cake pan and bake until the edges are lightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes.
In a small saucepan, stir together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, water and corn syrup and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute and then remove from heat.
Placing the unsweetened chocolate in a small, heat-proof bowl, pour the hot mixture over the chocolate.
Let stand for several minutes, until the chocolate has melted. Stir until smooth, cool until drizzling consistency.
Drizzle the chocolate over the bars using a pastry bag or a Ziploc with one corner cut off. Let cool before slicing with a sharp knife.