Chocolate Vega Macaroons

Let me just start by saying that these chocolate macaroons are far too good! It took massive amounts of willpower for me to not eat them all day, every day until they were gone! So, if you are a chocolate fiend like I am, I suggest making sure you have people to share these treats with. Or, perhaps you won’t want to share them at all.

I adapted this recipe from these Cocoa Coconut Bits over at the Sprouted Kitchen. When I first tried the recipe, I was curious as to how the addition of Chocolate Vega would be like, so I divided the recipe in half and added Vega to only one half. Trying both kinds one after the other, I’ve decided that I prefer the taste and texture of the Vega macaroons to the original recipe. I’m sure that you could replace the Vega with a different brand of protein or meal replacement powder, but just make sure that it is one you enjoy the taste of. The taste of the Vega is not overpowering but is definitely noticeable in the final product.

Also, I use cocoa powder and toasted carob powder here, as I do in almost all of my chocolate recipes. Carob powder is not actually chocolate, but tastes similar. While it does have a higher natural sugar content than cocoa, it is lower in fat, caffeine-free, and is a source of calcium and iron. Carob is also free of theobromine, thenylthylamine and tyramine, all three of which can trigger headaches and migraines in some people.* I really like the taste of carob, though it may take some getting used to if you are substituting it for chocolate, and I enjoy the complex chocolate flavour I get in baked goods from using both cocoa and carob powder.

Chocolate Vega Macaroons
1 1/2 cups dried unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup oats (I used quick, but I’m sure large flake would be fine)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup carob powder
1/3 cup Chocolate Vega One
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Add all of the dry ingredients to a medium bowl and stir to combine. If necessary, heat the coconut oil until it is mostly liquid. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla to the other ingredients and stir until everything is moistened and clumping together. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Now preheat oven to 225°. Using a mini-scoop, a 1 tbsp measuring spoon, or your hands, make 1 inch balls and set on a lightly greased baking sheet. These won’t spread at all, so you can put them quite close together. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing them from pan. Enjoy!

These can also be enjoyed raw. Just scoop the prepared mixture into balls, refrigerate and enjoy!

http://www.carobana.com.au/carob.html
http://www.livestrong.com/article/397311-nutritional-information-for-carob-powder/

This post has been entered Healthy Vegan Fridays hosted by Shelby at Everyday Vegan Girl, Gabby at Veggie Nook, and Carrie at Carrie On Vegan.

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Crazy for Coconut: Blueberry Coconut Crumble Bars

Blueberries are definitely one of my most used fruits. In the summer I like to buy large quantities of fresh local blueberries and freeze them for the fall and winter months. Having this supply has meant that I’ve learned to love blueberries in almost everything I bake: muffins, breads, cakes, and crisps. They almost always make an appearance in my smoothies as well.

The inspiration for these bars came when I saw this recipe for Blackberry Coconut Bars. I liked the idea of making fruit bars, which I’ve never actually done before, but I knew I wanted oats in my bars as well. After looking at a few different recipes I ended up using the base/topping from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s Date Bars (page 128) in The Joy of Vegan Baking, adding coconut (shredded, sugar, and oil) and making other changes to make it healthier than the original. For the filling I tossed frozen blueberries with some cornstarch, agave, and vanilla, as I’d seen done in a few different recipes.

These bars are moist, crumbly, and only slightly sweet. They are quick and simple to make, and I really loved the combination of blueberries and coconut. The coconut craze seems to be in full swing and, as you can probably tell by the use of 3 forms of coconut in the following recipe, I have become a willing participant.

Blueberry Coconut Crumble Bars
Base/Topping:
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
4 tsp ground flax
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C coconut sugar (sucanat or brown sugar would work)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup coconut oil
1/4-1/2 cup water
Filling:
2 cups frozen blueberries
2 tsp cornstarch
1/8 cup agave
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and lightly grease a 9-inch (23cm) square or 9×13-inch (23x33cm) pan. For the base/topping, in a large bowl thoroughly combine the oats, coconut, ground flax, salt, sugar, and flour. Heat the coconut oil (I use the microwave) until it is mostly liquid. Pour into bowl with dry ingredients, and add 1/4 cup of water. Stir together until totally combined. It should be moist but not wet, and will form little clumps. Add more water if needed. Press half of this mixture into the bottom of your prepared pan. For the filling, combine the blueberries, vanilla, and agave in a small bowl. Add the cornstarch and stir until coated. Spread this mixture out on top of the base (it might not look like enough filling, but when cooked it will be). Crumble the remaining half of the base/topping mixture over top of the blueberries. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top is slightly browned. Let cool 5 minutes, then cut into bars. Enjoy!

Sorry, for the bad picture, but you get the idea! I love that deep purple blueberry colour!

When you cut these bars you will probably end up with quite a bit of crumbles left in the dish. My suggestion: add them to your next bowl of oatmeal, cereal, or granola for a nice breakfast treat. That is if you can stop yourself from eating them right out of the pan!

Questions:
Have you joined the recent coconut craze? Do you have a favourite form of coconut to bake/cook with?
I’ve started baking with coconut oil and I really like the results so far. I love using coconut milk to make creamy sauces, and I really enjoy the brown sugar-like flavour of coconut sugar.

Do you have a favourite recipe that showcases coconut (in any form)? Please share.
I love this Pineapple Coconut Bread, but these bars are a close second.