Warning: This is not a fat-free recipe. In fact, there is absolutely nothing healthy about this recipe except, perhaps, the nuts. This is definitely the most fat-filled, junk foodish recipe that you’ll see on this blog, ever. I just want to make that clear right from the start or else I’ll get letters. I’ll probably still get letters. (You know who you are.)
Have you ever gotten a craving for something and you finally just had to give in? My mother used to make these overly-rich but amazing treats for holidays and special occasions, but in the last few years I never even thought about them, assuming that they were lost to me because they contain a primary ingredient that is so non-vegan that it’s hard to conceive of a workable substitute. But something I saw on another blog or in a magazine must have reminded me of them because suddenly the craving was there and I just couldn’t let it go.
No, strike that. I think I could have let the craving die a natural death, but there was something about the challenge of veganizing a seemingly unveganizable recipe that spurred me on. Sure, the idea of revisiting an old childhood favorite had its appeal, but I think the explorer in me just wanted to see if it could be done. So I spent literally days coming up with a recipe that I thought might work before putting it to the test, afraid even as I did it that I’d wind up wasting my time and ingredients. But, miracle of miracles, it worked, and they tasted just like how I remember my Mom’s.
What are they like? They’re decadent. They’re melted chocolate, coconut, and nuts on a buttery crust of graham cracker crumbs held together by a creamy layer of…Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk? Well, they used to be, but not anymore. Believe it or not, my old friend silken tofu worked its magic again!
Again: Not a fat-free recipe!
Vegan Magic Cookie Bars
Note: I don’t recommend substituting this tofu mixture in every recipe containing sweetened condensed milk, but it does work in this one. The cornstarch helps it thicken as it cooks, so definitely don’t try it in recipes that are not cooked.
- 1/3 cup extra-firm silken tofu
- 1/3 cup vanilla soymilk
- 1/3 cup unbleached sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 cup Earth Balance Margarine
- 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (check package ingredients carefully–most aren’t vegan)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 2/3 cup flaked coconut
- 3/4 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350F and spray a glass 8×8-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. In a blender, puree the tofu, soymilk, cornstarch, and sugar until completely smooth.
- Put the margarine into a bowl and melt it in the microwave (or do this on the stove and pour into a bowl). Add the graham cracker crumbs and mix until well-moistened. Pour them into the prepared baking dish and press evenly to cover the bottom of the pan.
- Pour the tofu mixture over the crust. Sprinkle with the nuts, coconut, and chocolate chips, and press it all into the dish firmly with a fork.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into about 16 bars. Devour!
Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time (pressure cooker): 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 16
I really didn’t want to know the nutritional profile on these, but I made myself look. One bar (1/16th of recipe) contains 160 Calories (kcal); 9g Total Fat; (51% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 17g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 71mg Sodium; trace Fiber.
I suppose that’s not too horrible if you can keep yourself from eating more than one (in my dreams!) Still, I’ll be reserving these for special occasions. I’m definitely bringing some to my parents’ house for Christmas!
Some ideas for future testing:
- Leaving out margarine and making them with this oatmeal crust instead.
- Carob chips?
- Agave nectar instead of sugar
Oh, if you’re wondering, the nutritional profile of the non-vegan version is almost identical to this one except it has 2 mg. of cholesterol. So please don’t think this recipe is healthy just because it’s vegan!
In my next post I will atone by making something super-healthy. I’m thinking winter squash, greens, and beans. Yum!