But always, always my proudest achievement, in 2012, my little bake sales (with the help of SO MANY of you, of course!) donated $2,000 each to two amazing local charities - Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids and Meals on Wheels.
I figure I should share the recipe I contributed to the most recent bake sale in December before it's too late.
This recipe comes from my friend Kristi, who is an amazing artist, photographer and cook. It takes one of my favourite desserts - the Nanaimo Bar - and kicks it to the next level by sneaking in a bit of chocolate into every layer.
First, in all the layers I swapped in the delicious (but expensive!) coconut oil for butter, which complimented well with the coconut that's in the cookie base, and is more natural, and better for you than hydrogenated margarine. (Given my previous bad experiences with icing I wouldn't trust tub margarine for the custard layer!).
For the cookie base - gluten-free chocolate cookie crumbs. I was looking for wafers, but animal crackers were the next best thing.
These were from Kinnikinnick, an Edmonton-based company.
The custard layer didn't need any tweaking - custard powder is already vegan and gluten-free!
Calgary Co-op carries some chocolate-flavoured chips made with hydrogenated oils (read: trans fats) which is not ideal. Fortunately I found these Enjoy Life! chocolate chips, which are pure chocolate.
Vegan Gluten-Free Triple Chocolate Nanaimo Bars
- ½ cup (125 mL) coconut oil
- ¼ cup (60 mL) brown sugar
- 5 tbsp (75 mL) cocoa
- 1 cup (250 mL) shredded sweetened coconut
- 1½ cups (375 mL) gluten-free chocolate cookie crumbs, about 200 g
- ½ cup (125 mL) finely chopped peanuts
- ½ cup (125 mL) coconut oil
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) coconut milk
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) custard powder
- 2 cups (500 mL) icing sugar
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) cocoa
- 180 g semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or chocolate chips)
- 1½ tbsp (7 mL) coconut oil
Nutrition info (per 2"-square piece): 408 calories, 24 g fat (18 g saturated, 0 g trans), 27 mg cholesterol, 47 g carbohydrate (2 g fibre, 30 g sugar), 4 g protein, 120 mg sodium. An excellent source of manganese. A good source of magnesium.
- Line the bottom of an 8” square pan with parchment and leave edges hanging over the rim.
- Melt the coconut oil, sugar and cocoa together in a pan over medium heat. Remove from heat, stir in coconut, cookie crumbs and nuts then press into prepared pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set.
- Cream together coconut oil, coconut milk, custard powder, icing sugar and cocoa until fluffy. Smooth the chocolate custard over the bottom layer and return the pan to the fridge while you prepare the top layer.
- In a microwave-safe bowl or double boiler, melt chocolate. Stir in coconut oil until smooth. Pour over your prepared bottom layers and smooth carefully until even. Return the pan to the fridge until set (about 2 hours).
- Lift parchment paper with bars out of pan and cut into bars with a very sharp knife.