I’ve made these nanaimo bars twice and have had great success both times. They were more perfect the second time – it is PIVOTAL that you take your time making these for them to succeed – but they were delicious both times.
I’ve always used tapioca or corn starch in place of arrowroot. It can also be made with success without the vanilla bean seeds, which not everyone can afford or even find, but do add more vanilla extract (another teaspoon should do it) to replace it. I made a double recipe of the cinnamon graham cookies when I made them the first time and ended up with enough cookie for three batches… and these cookies are not sweet enough to be eaten on their own. It’s great if you want to have a cache of graham crumbs, though.
Photo courtesy a Dash of Compassion.
I’m reposting this recipe simply because I cannot stand the idea of losing it!
Nanaimo bars from A Dash of Compassion
1/2 cup vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
1/4 cup organic cane sugar
5 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 cup almonds
1 tbsp ground flax + 2 tbsp warm water
1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs (see recipe below)
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup vegan butter
2 tbsp nondairy milk (I use coconut)
1 tbsp arrowroot
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
2 cups vegan powdered sugar
4 oz. dark chocolate
2 tbsp vegan butter
In a medium saucepan, combine the vegan butter and sugar and cook over low heat until melted. Add the cocoa and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat.
In a food processor, process the almonds to a fine meal. Add the flax mixture, cookie crumbs and coconut flakes and pulse to combine.
Add the chocolate sauce to the dry ingredients in the food processor and process until thoroughly combined.
Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch square pan. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the vegan butter until light and fluffy.
In a small bowl, whisk together the nondairy milk, arrowroot, vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds. Add the mixture to the butter and beat until well combined.
Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
Spread the mixture evenly over top of the bottom layer using an offset spatula and place in the freezer until firm, about one hour.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat and then stir in the vegan butter. Remove from heat.
Remove the pan from the freezer and then sit for about 10 minutes. Then spread the chocolate evenly over the top using an offset spatula. Work quickly or else the chocolate will start to harden. Place the pan in the freezer for at least an hour to set. See above for tips on cutting the squares without breaking the chocolate.
Cinnamon graham crackers
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unbleached AP flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp nondairy milk
1 1/2 tbsp sunflower or canola oil
1 1/2 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp pure agave nectar
In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, unbleached flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
In a small bowl, whisk together the nondairy milk, oil, molasses and agave nectar.
Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and stir to combine.
In between two pieces of parchment paper, roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a cookie pan lined with parchment paper (no need to cut them into squares since you’ll be processing them into crumbs after baking). Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
Put the cookies in a food processor and process into crumbs. This should make about 1 1/2 cups, enough for the Nanaimo bar bottom layer.
We’re making a little vegan brunch tomorrow for some 41 friends and family to the theme of “Vegan brunch is for lovers”, and our red-and-white benny will be sitting atop these cute heart shaped biscuits. Recipe below.
We modified from this recipe. This was all Kaylie, except for the cutting, which I did.
Two tablespoons shy of 1 cup unsweetened almond or other non-dairy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups all purpose flour plus more for rolling
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup Earth Balance margarine, cold
1/3 cup garlic confit or roasted garlic in oil – if not soft, chop beforehand
Heat the oven to 450 F. Prepare two baking sheets by greasing or lay down parchment paper.
Combine the milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl; flip lightly with a fork to simulate sifting, or sift.
Cut in the margarine – use a pastry cutter or two knives or a large fork. Your aim is to have chunks of margarine holding the flour together to give the biscuit its flakiness.
Pour in the milk mixture and add the garlic – it should be soft and easy to cut with a fork. Mix together but do not overmix or you will end up with tough biscuits.
Roll the dough out until it’s about 1cm thick or slightly thicker on a clean, lightly floured surface and cut with a cookie/biscuit cutter or use a knife and cut into squares.
Put in the oven. Check after ten minutes – you want the bottoms to be lightly browned and the biscuits firm.
Splitz Grill lentil burger. Photo by SweetOnVeg
Splitz Grill – Main and 26th
Splitz is a burger bar reminiscent of a Subway – you choose your patty and then choose your premium (with a cost) additions or your regular ingredients. Their spicy lentil patty is fantastic and makes for a huge burger – you probably shouldn’t order fries, as I have never even finished the burger itself, no matter how hungry I am. For spreads, you are not just restricted to mustard – they have babaganoush and hummus for us vegans. Add onions, mushrooms, and an array of veg, plus other sauces, for one of the most satisfying, massive veggie burgers in town.
Sweet Cherubim – Commercial and Napier
Sweet C’s is an Indian vegetarian place. They serve some cheese, but other than that are completely vegan. And their veggie burger is the best one in town, in my opinion. It takes about 15 minutes for them to make it for you, but trust me, it’s worth it. Have it with avocado and their exceptional tofu-dill cream dressing. It’s a patty chock-full of veg and spice.
Roundel Cafe – Hastings and Nanaimo
The Roundel Cafe has only two vegan options – a tofu scramble and a veggie burger. Both use essentially the same flavour palate, teriyaki and black sesame with tofu. Both are exceptional. Order their veggie burger with avocado instead of mayo and cheese, and delight in its texture and flavour. This burger is mostly tofu and veg, with a unique flavour.