Vegan Chocolate Peppermint Cookie Bars
January 3, 2013 § 1 Comment
This is one of the first recipes I think I can say I’ve truly developed, making test batches for, and not just improvising on a whim, like the stew. I blame Lola Sharp. For Christmas, she gave me a bunch of festive peppermint scented things, and it inspired me. I’d just made a batch of lime bars and thought, wouldn’t it be great to do a choco-mint version? So I began googling for recipes. Only I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. Plenty of chocolate peppermint confections, but not a bar cookie with the custardy topping. I even looked up chocolate pudding and nanaimo recipes. Finally, I went back to my original inspiration, the lime bars, and decided I’d make my own by playing with the recipe for that. The first batch was horribly rich. You wouldn’t think that’s a problem, but it is! I made it for my coworkers and you don’t want to have to serve milk for your coworkers, right? Not exactly snack grab in the breakroom fare.
So I tried again (oh, darn). Here’s the final results! They aren’t remotely healthy, not even being vegan and made with tofu. The first time I made them with cocoa in the shortbread base and chocolate chips in the filling, which produced a fudgey consistency and was so over the top everyone had just a small bite each. This version is still super decadent, but not coma-inducing. Consider it a festive treat, and limit yourself to one. You’ll have to. Even the finished product is too decadent for more than one piece, because that’s the essence of a holiday season indulgence, to me: it’s not something you’d make all year and eat wily-nily!
Chocolate Peppermint Bar Cookies
Makes 32 servings
2 sticks vegan margarine (we use Fleischmann’s unsalted because it’s dairy-, corn-, and wheat-free)
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 cups flour
1. Preheat oven to 350*. Spray a 9×13 lightly with oil. (For thicker bars, use a 7×11. Baking times remain the same, but check at the lower end.)
2. Cream margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add flour to margarine mixture in batches until just combined, scraping down the sides. You may need to add a tablespoon of water to ensure everything is slightly moistened.
3. Pat firmly into dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top has started to brown. Set aside to cool a bit.
*To make this recipe into a Starbucks peppermint mocha incarnated as a bar cookie, dissolve 1/2 tsp instant coffee in 1 tsp of water and mix it in before the flour (or use 2 tsp brewed coffee), after you’ve creamed the margarine and sugar.
1 12.3 oz package Mori-nu tofu, firm*
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 T soymilk
1/4 cup cocoa
3 T cornstarch mixed with 3 T water
1 to 1 1/2 T mint extract, to taste
1. Blend tofu until smooth and creamy. You may need to add a tablespoon of water.
2. Add sugar and blend until smooth. Add cocoa, milk, and cornstarch mixture and blend again.
3. Add mint extract, blend, and taste. Scrape down the sides as needed.
4. Pour filling over crust. It will be thick but pour easily; it should not be too runny. Bake 35-40 minutes or until filling is set and edges start to look a bit dry. It will still jiggle! Let cool a few hours before placing in the fridge. They cut best when completely cool, and taste best when they’ve been allowed to chill overnight. Store any leftovers in the fridge for about a week.
*Note: the MoriNu brand is NOT able to be substituted. I have made variations of this bar with regular silken tofu and it does not firm up properly. You can find MoriNu in health food stores, Asian markets, and online.
Nutritional information: 141 cals, 6.7g fat, 12.3g sugar, 1.8g protein