Vegan Caraway-Havarti Cheese Spread (Delicious with Apple Dishes)

Autumn is apple season whether you are bobbing for them, caramelizing them, making apple pie, or enjoying them with my Caraway- Havarti Cheese Spread.

I love local apples, as the character of even the skin hasn’t been genetically-engineered right out of them.  And, fortunately for us, we can start finding them at our farm markets in summer and continue right on through the fall.  This Caraway-Havarti Spread is delicious spread on crisp slices of raw apple or made into sandwiches, so I offer a couple of sandwich suggestions at the end of the recipe.

And tomorrow, I offer something even better: a “teaser” recipe from my new Blooming Platter Cookbook–a lentil-apple salad with a special dressing and a secret new addition–that will be perfection served with a little of this cheese spread on a slice of melba toast.  And speaking of secret ingredients, my cheese recipes incorporate (vegan) beer for a little more of a fermented-aged taste.

Yield: approximately 2 cups

2 cups raw cashews

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 medium garlic clove

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon miso paste (I used red organic miso)

3 tablespoons unsweetened soymilk

6 tablespoons (vegan) beer

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

Accompaniments: Melba toast, crackers, and/or fresh apple slices

Place all ingredients except caraway seeds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.  Process several minutes or until quite smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Add caraway seeds and pulse a few times to combine.  Scrape into a crock or other airtight container and store in the refrigerator.  Allow to warm slightly at room temperature before serving, as it will spread more easily.  Delicious spread on apple wedges or in a sandwich made of toasted thinly-sliced rye bread, the cheese spread, and thinly sliced raw or grilled apple.   Raw provides a lovely texture contrast–I love the “snap” of a crisp juicy apple–but grilled apple is a unique taste sensation.  Just lightly salt the slices and grill them indoors in an oiled grill pan over medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, but raw apple is  lovely texture contrast. You can even make a grilled apple and cheese sandwich, in which case I use the thinly sliced raw apple.

For 150+ fresh seasonal recipes, I invite you to check out The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes.

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Vegan Grilled Pumpkin with Kale, Walnut, and Rosemary Pesto

This time of year, Stoney’s, the farm market I frequent, is a sea of pumpkins in a rainbow of fall colors, each one more appealing than the next.  And their wondrous shapes, some of them fanciful and even comical, give each its own personality.

As far as cooking them goes, they are often too big for any knife I own to cut through them, and here in the burbs, wooded though they may be, we don’t own a hatchet.  So, imagine my delight when I was told they had  fresh raw pumpkin wedges–already seeded!–in their cooler.  It as that pumpkin that inspired this dish, but use whatever edible pumpkin your local purveyor recommends.

And, as for the pesto, I am always looking for ways to infuse my diet with additional leafy greens.  I’d never tried eating kale raw, but it is absolutely delicious when minced super-fine, as it is in this pesto.


Yield: 4 servings as a side dish

3 pounds of fresh, seeded and skinned pumpkin flesh cut into approximately 1 x 2-inch hunks

1 tablespoon olive oil (or a combination of olive oil and walnut oil)

Sea salt to taste

Vegan Kale, Walnut, and Rosemary Pesto (recipe follows)

Garnish: sprigs of fresh rosemary and/or walnuts, chopped or halved

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Pour oil into a large metal roasting pan, add pumpkin, sprinkle with salt, and toss to coat, making sure that the bottom of the pan is coated with oil.  Roast pumpkin for 15-20 minutes, checking at 15, on one side, flip each piece and repeat.  Use a spatula to loosen pumpkin from pan at about the 10-minute mark if necessary.  Pumpkin should be lightly caramelized on two sides.  Add a little bit  more oil if pumpkin appears to be sticking, but avoid too much, as the pumpkin will steam instead of roasting.  Serve pumpkin dolloped or drizzled with Vegan Kale, Walnut, and Rosemary Pesto, and garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs and/or walnuts.

Vegan Kale, Walnut, and Rosemary Pesto:

1 cup fairly firmly packed torn kale leaves, thick or tough stems removed

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 large garlic clove

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

Juice and zest of 1/2 of a medium lemon

1 to 2 teaspoons maple syrup

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 /2 cup or more olive oil (up to about 3/4 cup or so)

Place kale in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped.  Add remaining ingredients, except olive oil, and pulse until kale is minced and walnuts are very finely chopped.  With motor running, drizzle in olive oil until desired consistency is reached.  Adjust seasoning, citrus and sweetness if necessary.  The pesto is equally good whether dolloped or drizzled over pumpkin hunks.  Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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The Blooming Platter Cookbook at Old Beach Farmers Market, VA Beach, VA

Thanks to Old Beach Farmers Market (OBFM) co-founders, volunteers, vendors and patrons for a wonderful morning yesterday at the fall “Harvest Market.”  I’ve never before been a vendor anywhere, much less at a Farmer’s Market, but what a rewarding experience!

Every Saturday in the summer and on middle Saturdays from October to December (see remaining dates below), the parking lot of Croc’s Eco Bistro is transformed into a delightful Farmers Market (and a couple of blocks away is a new Art Market and Green Market).  OBFM is the 5-year old brainchild of Croc’s co-owner (with her husband Kal), Laura Habr, and her mother, Ann Wright, a well-known and beloved freelance writer in our area, with lots of help from a community of “locavores.”  Laura, who is a mover and shaker in the Virginia Green movement and all things eco-friendly and sustainable in the Hampton Roads area, is one of the genuinely warmest and most humble people you will ever meet and is the first to credit a “team” of people with both the Market’s and the restaurant’s success.

The weather was absolutely perfect and any anxiety I had as a first-timer quickly melted away with Laura’s enthusiastic greeting and her pleasant and efficient set-up of a table and chairs she let me borrow.  Since I am not a regular, I travel light.  But, no tent, no table, no chairs?  No problem!   Within minutes, thanks to Laura and my good friend Sharon Tanner, a real estate broker, beekeeper and former director of CAC/MOCA’s Boardwalk Art Show, I had a respectable, if modest, display of Blooming Platter Cookbooks.

It wasn’t until Friday that my super-busy week allowed me to turn my intentions to my participation in OBFM.  So, after school in a mild panic, I swooped into the bank for some $1 bills, zipped out to Stoney’s Market for pretty pumpkins (green, orange, and tri-colored), headed back to Party City for a sage green tablecloth, and finally ducked into the fabric store for some tobacco-colored burlap.  Before dashing out the door on Saturday morning, I printed a couple of signs, loaded everything, including a case of cookbooks, into the car, and headed out.  I guess if I was more experienced, I wouldn’t have forgotten my business cards!

In between the pleasure and privilege of chatting with and selling/signing books for friends who came a marketing, as well as delightful people I met for the first time–all with engaging stories (like the couple who had lost 180 pounds between them)–I enjoyed people- and pet- watching.  This was a practiced market crowd and the colorful reusable market bags alone were a feast for the eyes, never mind the goodies inside like, say,  adorable pink-eyed peas  Who knew?

Even the family whose car I gently backed into when leaving (blind spot!) were lovely and generous.  That’s a story for a different day, but the only damage to speak of–and it was minor–was to my car and, as luck would have it, someone had backed into it about a week ago, so the quarter panel is going to be replaced this week anyway!  Talk about feeding two birds with one cracker…it really was a charmed day.

The word appears to be out that, even if you have never met a vegetable you liked, you can come to the market for some seriously delicious noshing to be enjoyed while browsing or sitting in a little cafe that Laura set-up next to the Croc’s booth.  I had the honor of being positioned between it and the Peylon’s Baja Grill booth, so I enjoyed chatting with both Laura and Kal and an adorable gal from Peylon’s, all of whom generously sent me home with some of their wares to sample.

Croc's Co-Owner, Kal Habr, with Hummus (photo credit: Patrick Evans-Hylton)

Croc’s brand of hummus is the best around.  It’s balance of flavors it spot-on, which may have more than a little to do with Kal hailing originally from Lebanon.  I loved chatting with him about Sunday dinners at his grandmother’s in the place of his birth.

And I’m a fan of Peylon’s because they offer, at their Norfolk location, vegan sour cream and cheese and make some delicious vegan “fish tacos.”  So I was happy to be the recipient of some of their salsa and guacamole.  If you haven’t tried their Pineapple-Habenero salsa, it has really beautiful color and flavor and a not-too-intense after-burn.

Thanks again, Laura, Ann, et al for the invitation to participate in OBFM and for the kind reception.  You walk the green walk and talk the green talk in the most beautiful way.

OBFM Holiday Markets: Nov 19 and Dec 17, 20011, 9am -12pm, Croc’s Eco Bistro, 19th Street, VA Beach,VA

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Vegan Pumpkin-Maple Ice Cream

Here in VA Beach, fall comes late so it can be quite warm this time of year.  Therefore, when my “good” vegan gal pals on “Good Reads” suggested that we all post a recipe inspired by pumpkin to celebrate the mid-way point of Vegan MoFo 2011, I decided to make mine a quasi-warm weather recipe while featuring this quintessential cool weather ingredient.

I love pumpkin as much as I do sweet potatoes, which is to say ” a whole lot!” so I was all in.   And I love it in both savory and sweet dishes.  This one is a not-too-sweet, but plenty sweet enough (that one’s for you, Lee!), maple-infused pumpkin ice cream.  I serve mine with sweetened Cashew Cream and a cinnamon stick.  But it would be delicious, say, with my Pepita Caramel Syrup (which is equally good on my Vegan Pumpkin-Bourbon French Toast) or with Pepita Brittle.

True confession:  I tried a new recipe I found online, experimenting with adding some additional flavors.  The recipe was a bust–maybe it was the Tequila and lime juice I added (seriously!)–as it never hardened enough to make brittle, but it also wasn’t soft enough to serve as a sauce.  Plus, I discovered a very important lesson: cinnamon and chipotle chili powder, when combined, taste like a Red Hot!  I don’t know about you, but I’ve never cared for Red Hots, and certainly not on my beautiful pumpkin ice cream.  So much for being creative.  I did, however, discover that I LOVE lime zest sprinkled over the top of the not-so-brittle brittle.  I’m going to keep experimenting and be back to you when the results are worthy of Blooming Platter readers!

For now, I hope you enjoy my newest creation!

Yield: approximately 1 quart

1 cup unsweetened or plain soymilk, divided

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

3/4 cup soy creamer

2/3 cup natural sugar

1/3 cup maple syrup

1-15 ounce can pumpkin puree (feel free to substitute homemade)

3 cinnamon sticks

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon maple extract

Garnishes:  sweetened Cashew Cream, cinnamon stick halves, and/or Pepita Caramel Syrup

In a small cup or bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup soymilk with arrowroot until completely combined, and set aside.  In a 2 quart saucepan, combine remaining soymilk, soy creamer, sugar, maple syrup, pumpkin, cinnamon sticks, and dry spices.  Place over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture just reaches a boil.  Remove the pan from the heat and immediately whisk in arrowroot mixture.  The custard will thicken noticeably and quickly.  Whisk in vanilla and maple extracts.  Pour the mixture into an airtight container and refrigerate until cold, approximately 2 to 3 hours or overnight.  Remove cinnamon sticks, whisk again, and freeze according to your ice cream manufacturer’s directions.  Store in freezer.  Serve with a dollop of sweetened Cashew Cream, half of a cinnamon stick, and/or with Pepita Caramel Syrup.


For 150 fresh seasonal recipes, including some some fabulous fall fare, I invite you to check out The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes.

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Vegan Chorizo and Sweet Potato Hash with Black Salt Cashew Cream

Yikes, today almost came and went with no MoFo!

But never fear, I’ve got the perfect fall recipe for when you need to dish up a little comfort, and who doesn’t need that these days?

Since hash is traditionally served with an egg, and I had a little savory cashew cream in my fridge, I wondered if I could flavor it with black salt, whose distinctly sulpher-y taste is uncannily reminiscent of an egg, and use it as a topping.  Indeed!  It was perfect.

Thank you, Isa, for turning me on to the wonders of Indian black salt, which is actually a beautiful gray color.  Pick up a bottle at Indian markets or specialty food stores.  I snagged mine at Napa Style (and probably paid a lot more) while on vacation in San Francisco this past summer.

Begin making the Cashew Cream the day before you plan to use it:

Cashew Cream

You will have lots of leftover, but you’ll be glad you do!

2 cups raw cashews, divided in half

2 cups water, divided in half

Sea salt to taste

In a covered bowl, soak 1 cup cashews in 1 cup water overnight in the refrigerator.  Rinse and drain.  Process the cup of soaked cashews with the additional cup of raw unsoaked cashews and the remaining cup of water in a food processor for several minutes, or until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Add salt to taste, process just to combine, and store covered in the refrigerator.

Vegan Chorizo and Sweet Potato Hash with Black Salt Cashew Cream

Yield: 4 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 large clove garlic

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (it is very important to patiently cut the dice this small

1-12 ounce package vegan Chorizo, casing removed (I use Trader Joe’s brand)

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves


4 or so tablespoons of plain Cashew Cream, seasoned to taste with a pinch or more of black salt (recipe above)

4 sprigs of fresh thyme (it’s especially pretty when in bloom)

In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high, heat olive oil to shimmering.  Add onion and saute, stirring frequently, until softened and a little bit of color starts to develop, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Add garlic, bell pepper, and sweet potato, and saute, stirring frequently about 5 minutes or slightly longer until the bell pepper is quite soft and the sweet potato is beginning to become tender. Crumble chorizo into the pan and saute, still stirring very frequently, for an additional 5 minutes or slightly longer until sweet potato is very tender.  At any point, if the mixture appears to be drying out, you may add another tablespoon of olive oil or water, and/or slightly reduce the heat.  Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves and heat through for another 30 seconds to a minute.  Serve hot with dollops of the Cashew Cream mixture and a sprig of fresh thyme.

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Vegan Baked Pumpkin-Bourbon French Toast with Pepita Caramel Syrup

I know it’s just Tuesday, but I’m posting this now, so you can gather the ingredients and be all set come the weekend!

I love vegan French toast as it de facto lacks that “egginess” that I found unappealing in the dairy version even as a vegetarian.  I similarly prefer baked to pan sauteed French toast, as the former lacks the equally unappealing greasiness of the latter.  And, especially in the fall, I am crazy for all things pumpkin.

So my Baked Pumpkin-Bourbon French Toast is about as good as it gets for weekend morning fare at our house.  I spike this iteration ’cause I’m a South’ren girl.  But you can simply omit the bourbon.  Or, you can substitute brandy or a nut-flavored liqueur if you like.

Note that I’m not a big breakfast eater, so these are very moderate portions.  If you like to really get your breakfast or brunch on, just make more.  Or serve something on the side like, say, some baked fresh and dried fruit.

Oh, and don’t forget the decaffeinated fair-trade coffee.  It’s practically a must with this dish, as I find the body of coffee provides better balance with this dish than tea, though I’m usually a devout tea-drinker.

Yield: 4 servings

French Toast:

8 (1-inch thick) bias-cut slices of a long whole grain baguette (if bread is fresh, dry it out by placing it on a baking sheet in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 3-5 minutes)

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

3/4 cup soymilk (unsweetened or plain)

2 tablespoons chickpea flour

2 tablespoons natural sugar (or maple syrup which is not quite as sweet)

Optional: 1 tablespoon bourbon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or to taste (or a combination of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg)

Pinch sea salt

Vegan Pepita Caramel Syrup (recipe follows)

Optional garnish: a dusting of powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients except bread and syrup in a medium bowl.  Pour the mixture into a shallow pan or food carton that will just hold all bread slices in one layer.  Add the bread slices and let soak for 10 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Oil an 8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.  Flip bread slices and let soak for another 10 minutes.  (You make soak each side longer if desired, but a total of 20 minutes should be the minimum amount of time.)  Remove bread to baking dish and drizzle each slice with remaining custard.  Bake for 20 minutes or just until set.  Custard should still be moist.  Serve hot drizzled with Vegan Pepita Caramel Syrup and dust with powdered sugar for a nice contrast if desired.


Vegan Pepita Caramel Syrup:

1/4 cup vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup roasted and lightly salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds; I purchase Trader Joe’s brand)

2 tablespoons plain soy creamer

In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, combine butter, maple syrup and pepitas.  Simmer gently, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes or until thick and caramelized.  Lower heat if necessary to prevent mixture from scorching.  Add soy creamer–the mixture will bubble up–and cook for about another minute or until well-combined and heated through.  Serve immediately over Pumpkin-Bourbon French Toast.

For 150+ additional recipes that celebrate fall, not to mention winter, spring and summer, I invite you to hop on over to Amazon and take a look at my new cookbook, The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes.

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Vegan Chorizo, Chickpeas & Kale in a Creamy Coconut Milk-Pumpkin Sauce with Pepita and Sage Pesto Drizzle

This is one of my dream dinners: super healthy, lusciously creamy, beautiful to look at, and a “twofer” in that both the chickpea mixture and the pepita pesto can easily stand alone. Plus, it’s an anti-oxidant powerhouse of a one-dish meal.

I first made the pesto to drizzle over my Roasted Turks’ Turban Squash.  It was addicting!  So I knew I had to create other dishes with which to enjoy it lest I spend the fall eating nothing but Turks’ Turban squash.  Stay tuned for more to follow.

You can serve up a nice bowl of this thick spicy melange and serve the grilled bread on the side, or you can serve it as a crostini, like you see in the photo.  Either way, you’ll be licking your lips.

Yield: 4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 of a medium-large yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1/2 of a large orange bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice

Sea salt to taste

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 cups of very finely chopped kale (I used a food processor for this task)

1-15.5 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

6 ounces of vegan chorizo (I purchase Trader Joe’s brand)

1-15 ounce can coconut milk (I use the lite variety)

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

Optional: 2 tablespoons apple juice (this sounds like an odd addition, but adds a little hint of something delicious but unidentifiable)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon rubbed sage

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon Pomegranate Molasses

Zest of 1/2 of a lemon

Vegan Pepita and Sage Pesto (recipe follows)

Optional Garnish: a few lightly salted and roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and sprigs of fresh sage

Accompaniment: grilled slices of bread (about 3/4-inch thick)

In a large cast iron skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil to sizzling over medium-high.  Add onion, bell pepper, and a generous pinch of salt, and saute, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and kale and saute, still stirring frequently, for another 3 minutes. Add chick peas and chorizo, stirring just to combine after each.  Stir in remaining ingredients, except lemon zest and pesto, and heat, stirring occasionally, for another 3-5 minutes.  Stir in lemon zest and serve hot drizzled with Pepita and Sage Pesto or pass the pesto in a small bowl with a serving spoon.  Garnish with pepitas if desired.  And serve with or on top of grilled bread.


Vegan Pepita and Sage Pesto

1/2 cup roasted and lightly salted Pepitas (I buy Trader Joe’s brand)

1 medium clove of garlic, peeled

8 fresh sage leaves (or pineapple sage leaves)

1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg (freshly grated is especially nice)

1/8 teaspoon of chipotle chile powder

1/2 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon maple syrup

Juice of 1/2 of a small lime

Optional: 1 1/2 teaspoons nutritional yeast

Sea salt to taste (I like a “goodly” amount in this)

Place Pepitas, garlic, sage, nutmeg and chili powder in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until a coarse paste forms.  With the motor running, add olive oil in a steady stream until the mixture is pulpy-smooth.  Turn off the motor.  Add maple syrup, lime, optional nutritional yeast, and salt to taste, and pulse just two or three times to combine.  Adjust seasoning if desired, and use immediately or store, covered, in the refrigerator.  Allow to come to room temperature or heat slightly before serving.

For 150+ other fresh seasonal recipes, I hope you might check out The Blooming Platter Cookook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes!

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Winner of The Blooming Platter (Vegan) Cookbook Announced

Congratulations to “Joy” for winning a copy of The Blooming Platter Cookbook:  A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes!

As many of you know, it was my pleasure to offer a giveaway of my brand new cookbook in recognition of the first week of Vegan MoFo 2011.  The deadline was midnight last night, and I just had the honor of choosing a random winner using Random. org.

Now the fun begins: responding to all of your wonderful comments!  I couldn’t “reply” prior to selecting a winner without throwing off the total number of responses needed for the “True Random Number Generator.”  But now I can, and I look forward to doing that this week.

Thanks to all for takng the time to participate and for your support of The Blooming Platter.  I hope you’ll come back often for a visit and share with your friends.  The more the merrier when it comes to community-building.

Happy Vegan MoFo!

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Vegan Peanut Butter-Chocolate Layer Bars AND Blooming Platter Cookbook Giveaway Reminder

Yea, I know, I’m a seasonal vegan cook, and this recipe hardly fits that description… unless, like me, you consider chocolate to be a perennial food.

This recipe was inspired by a pan of dessert bars I spied in our administrators’ kitchen at school about a week ago.  Theirs had a thin chocolate crust topped by a thick peanut butter layer and another thin chocolate ganache layer.  They looked so good that I thought I would absolutely perish if I didn’t figure out how to make a vegan version and fast.

However, I couldn’t get started on them as quickly as I’d hoped because, after I went to the  store, I came home to put the groceries away and could not find my (honey-free) graham crackers anywhere.  Figuring that I must have stuck them somewhere really odd, I looked in places like the freezer…and the washing machine.  No luck.  So, I went back a couple of days later, bought another box, and made them on Sunday for my students’ National Art Honor Society meeting last Monday.  A hit!

After just a little research, I put a couple of recipes together and fell head over heels for the result.  They are FAR better than my memory of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  And they are very well-behaved, slicing beautifully.  They do need to stay refrigerated, but that’s a small price to pay for creamy perfection!

Yield: 24 bars


1 3/4 cup finely crushed vegan graham crackers (Nabisco brand “original” are honey-free), that’s one wrapped package within the box

1/2 cup vegan butter, melted (I like Earth Balance)

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder


2 1/2 cups natural creamy peanut butter (crunchy is fine, but the mixture is processed and ends up creamy anyway)

3/4 cup vegan butter

1 tablespoon vanilla

3 cups powdered sugar


1/4 cup soy creamer

11 ounces vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, stir together all crust ingredients.  Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13″ pan.  I like to use the bottom of a glass to help with this task.  Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven, and cool completely.  Once partially cool, I like to place the pan in the freezer for the crust to finish cooling.  (Avoid placing a hot pan in the oven as it might raise the temperature of the compartment to a potentially dangerous level.)

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all filling ingredients and process just until smooth.   Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar and process until combined, pulsing if necessary.  Add the remaining cup of powdered sugar and do the same.  Dollop the mixture over the cooled crust and pat evenly to cover.  Cover the pan and refrigerate until the ganache is cool enough to use.

In a 1-quart saucepan, bring  soy creamer to a simmer.  Remove the pan from the heat, add chocolate chips, and stir or whisk until mixtures is smooth.  Let it cool to room temperature and then spread thinly over the peanut butter layer.  It will look like there might not be enough ganache, but there is the perfect amount (if you don’t eat too much of it while frosting the bars!).    Cover and refrigerate for 2 more hours.  Slice into bars and serve.  Store any leftovers–leftovers, yea, right–in the refrigerator.

This recipe was adapted from Midwest Living (Eagle Ridge Inn and Resort).


Just 2 days left in my Blooming Platter Cookbook giveaway!  Go here for the details and simple directions on how to enter and win!


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