Hello Vegan Bars

By Dreena Burton

“Hello Vegan” Bars are wheat-free, optionally gluten-free & soy-free

This is my adaptation of the classic Hello Dolly Bars. Beyond being free of animal products and refined flours and sugars, these bars have an extra-thick caramel layer that is positively sumptuous. Instead of a graham cracker base, they have a more satisfying and toothsome oat and coconut crust. Topped with pecans, coconut, and chocolate chips, these are a little piece of cookie bar heaven!

Caramel Topping:

Base:

Toppings:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square cake pan with parchment paper.

First, prepare the caramel topping: In a small saucepan, whisk about half of the milk with the arrowroot. Then add the remaining milk, whisking, and the remaining caramel ingredients. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, whisking frequently, until it just reaches a boil. Then remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to let cool slightly while preparing the base. (Continue to whisk or stir occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on the caramel. If a skin does start to form, you can whisk it into the mixture, or if fairly thick, simply remove and discard the skin, if you prefer.)

Prepare the base: In a bowl, combine the oat flour, coconut, and salt, then add the brown rice syrup and coconut oil. Mix with your fingers to help work in the syrup and oil. Once the mixture can hold together somewhat when pressed, transfer to the prepared pan. Press evenly into the bottom of the pan. When caramel has cooled slightly (can still be warm, just not hot), pour over the base. Then layer on each of the toppings, sprinkling over the caramel, followed by sprinkling on a couple of pinches of salt. Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place the pan on a cooling rack. Let cool slightly and then refrigerate to fully cool before slicing into bars.  Makes 16-20 bars.

If This Apron Could Talk: You can chill the coconut cream if you want, though it isn’t necessary, but may help with some brands to separate the cream from the liquid. If refrigerating, after opening the can, scoop out 1 cup of the thick cream. If not refrigerating, carefully and slowly pour the cream to get your 1-cup measurement. As you pour, you will notice where the cream separates from the watery liquid, so don’t include this liquid.

Ingredients 411: I use coconut sugar in this recipe, and it gives a beautiful caramel color to the cream.

Recipe reprinted from Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton. For more of Dreena’s recipes, visit www.plantpoweredkitchen.com.

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