Welcome to the first post of my Vegan Holiday Series, where I will be posting photos and recipes for all of the vegan recipes I’m trying over the holiday season. This year will be my first Christmas since being vegan, so I’ve been loving trying new recipes and searching Pinterest for things to try. I’ve always loved helping my mom with Christmas baking, but I have noticed such a change in my love for baking and cooking since switching to a vegan diet. I feel as though I’m on a quest to make the most delicious foods for my friends and family to try, so that more people can see how good vegan food can be. Many of these recipes will also be gluten-free because my sister has a gluten allergy, so I’ve been trying to find things to make that we can both enjoy! I hope that you will be inspired to try some of these recipes, or to even find some other new vegan recipes for this holiday season!
I decided to start this series with a delicious square recipe, because honestly what is Christmas without sweets that you can’t stop eating until your stomach hates you??
This recipe is courtesy of https://happyhealthymama.com/vegan-and-gluten-free-carmelitas.html. I made a couple small changes because of the ingredients I had on hand, so I will repost the recipe the way that I made it here, but I cannot take credit for this deliciousness (although I wish I could cause these are SO YUMMY).
Vegan and Gluten Free Carmelitas
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yeilds: approx. 24 1.5 inch squares
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar (I used half and half cause I’m indecisive)
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (certified gluten free)
3/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour (I used Robin Hood GF blend)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
pinch of salt
1 cup dark or semi sweet chocolate chips (dairy free)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9X9 inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking oil. Actually line the pan – you’ll regret it if you don’t.
Melt your coconut oil in the microwave.
Add the coconut sugar/brown sugar and whisk to combine.
Add the flour and rolled oats to the bowl with the oil and sugar. Also add the vanilla, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and mix well.
Press half of the oat mixture into your prepared baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
While the first layer is baking, mix together your caramel layer. Whisk together the tahini, maple syrup, the coconut milk, and salt. (**My caramel sauce ended up being fairly runny and I was really worried it would ruin the recipe. I think the tahini I used was too thin, so if you can, try to find one that’s more of a nut-butter consistency. Regardless, it still turned out fine once it was cooled after baking!)
After 10 minutes, pull the pan out of the oven. Add the chocolate chunks in an even layer.
Next, slowly pour the caramel sauce over the chocolate chunks, ensuring it evenly covers the pan. Finally, top this with the remaining oat mixture.
Return the pan to the oven and bake until the edges are lightly browned and the centre is bubbling slightly, approximately 18-20 minutes.
These need to set before they can be sliced, especially if your caramel sauce was as runny as mine was. Let them set in the fridge for at least a few hours, but it would be best to let them set overnight before cutting. If you try to cut these early, they will not hold into bars and you’ll have a hot (but delicious) mess. I cut mine into much smaller squares than suggested, because they are very sweet, and I personally feel better about eating multiple small pieces than one large one. Less calories per serving – right?