Vegan Cacao Coconut Bars
Gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar free
As I have said before, I am a brownie freak. I love them. I could eat them all day, every day. I am well aware that eating a brownie every day is not exactly the best thing for me (my stomach would not like all that sugar). Therefore, I am always trying to find new ways to make brownies that are just a little bit better for me, but with all that brownie flavor.
When it comes to these little bars, I would not exactly call them brownies, but there are somewhere between a blondie and a brownie.
I spend a lot of time in the grocery store, particularly the nut butter aisle. I love to pick up the jars, see what’s in them, get inspired and try new flavors or combinations. One of the butters that I came across was Artisana Organics Cacao Coconut butter. I am not normally a fan of coconut butter or coconut oil, but I am finding that more and more, both are everywhere. So, if you can’t beat em, join em?
The cacao butter is deliciously rich, smooth and full of chocolatey flavor. It is almost like coconut Nutella. Since nut butter can make a great substitute for butter in blondie or brownie recipes, I figured why not give this one a try and make some brownie-blondies. If you can’t get this butter or would rather not buy an ingredient just for this recipe, try using your favorite chocolate nut or seed butter. If you do use another nut or seed butter, you may need to add an extra tablespoon of olive oil to the batter, depending on how runny your butter is.
There is one little ingredient in this recipe that sounds a little strange, is optional, but I wouldn’t skip: miso paste. If you haven’t heard of miso, it is a paste made from fermented soy beans and rice that has a unique nutty, savory flavor. While there is no science behind it, miso has been said to help detoxify the body, easier to digest than other soy products, can lower cholesterol, and has b vitamins and other nutrients. Not to mention that there is a lot of benefit to eating fermented food, so why not add some to these bars?
I am not using so much miso that you will taste it too strongly, but just enough to give some undertone of savoriness to cut through the sweetness and the miso seems to add some more tenderness and moisture to the bars as well. You don’t need to use it, but if you can get it, give it a try.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp yellow miso (this is the gluten-free version I use)
1/2 cup date syrup
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup room temperature brewed coffee
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup almond flour
1/3 cup gluten-free oat flour
1/2 tsp potato starch
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8 inch square baking dish with tin foil (this is my lazy approach).
In a medium bowl, whisk together the oat flour, almond flour, potato starch, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, add the Cacao Coconut butter, olive oil, miso, date syrup, and coconut sugar. Whisk together until smooth; the mixture will be on the thicker side, but should still be able to be whisked. Add the brewed coffee and vanilla extract and whisk again until the coffee is fully mixed in and the mixture is smooth.
Add the flour mixture to the cacao butter mixture and fold in with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until all the flour mixture is mixed in.
Pour batter into prepared baking dish and bake for 25 to 28 minutes.
Let cool completely before slicing. These bars are super soft and tender, so I like to keep them in the fridge. They’re perfect on their own, but for super decadence, top with more cacao coconut butter and chopped almonds.