Purple Sweet Potato Pie Bars
Last week Alex and I took a day to start wedding planning together - FINALLY! So far, we have a venue, at The Riverbed Farm in Anaheim, and a date - June 10th, 2017, but other than that we've got nothing planned. Whoops! Time seems to be flying by at this point so my next big things to mark off the checklist are our save the dates and invitations, finding a caterer and finalizing details like the drink menu and decor. I'll have a post up soon on all the details and what we've learned so far in planning our vegan wedding!
In the meantime, a girl's gotta eat, and I've been loving all the fall produce we've been getting in our CSA box + seeing in supermarkets lately. We went on a date day last and ended up at a cute little kombucha + fermented goods bar in Costa Mesa called Farm + Culture Co. that served these yummy bites made with purple sweet potato and I was totally inspired. I wanted to create something similar, but with a little more focus on something sharable for the Fall season - so we came up with these Purple Sweet Potato Pie Squares. These pie squares are an incredibly gorgeous color - shockingly purple! - that just make you wanna eat 'em up. These bars are:
The sweet potatoes are paired with warm fall flavors like maple, cinnamon, and ginger on a chewy cashew-date-macadamia crust that makes them irresistible and much like a traditional sweet potato pie - but far healthier! They're are totally naturally sweetened, and you can omit the maple syrup if you prefer to keep them date-sweetened only. Eat them on their own or top them with a bit of whipped cream and a sprinkle of fresh nutmeg for the perfect fall treat. They're an indulgence you don't have to have any guilt about, so go ahead - have two!
Cashew Date Macadamia Crust Layer:
1 1/2 cups cashews
1 cup macadamia nuts (or skinless almonds)
1 cup pitted dates
3 tablespoons coconut oil
Purple Sweet Potato Pie Layer:
1.5 lbs purple sweet potatoes, boiled, skinned + mashed (about 2 1/2 cups mash)
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
Cashew Date Macadamia Crust Layer:
Soak the cashews and macadamia nuts in warm water for at least one hour. Drain off the liquid, and pour the soaked nuts into the food processor. Add in the pitted dates and coconut oil and process until a sticky crust forms.
Grease or line a 9x9 inch glass baking dish. Scrape the crust mixture into the baking dish and use a rubber spatula to spoon to press the mixture firmly and evenly into the pan. Refrigerate or freeze to set the crust, about one hour, before topping with the sweet potato mixture. Wipe the processor bowl out with a paper towel and set aside.
Purple Sweet Potato Pie Layer:
Place the sweet potatoes into a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the water and let cool completely. Once cooled, remove the skins and toss 'em into the compost or trash bin. Place the sweet potatoes into the processor bowl with the almond milk, maple syrup, coconut oil, lemon juice, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Process on high until the mixture is completely combined and smooth.
Pour the mixture over the cooled crust layer and spread it evenly around. Place the baking dish back into the freezer to firm - they'll be much easier to slice this way. Once they're firm, about 3+ hours later, slice the bars even squares. Serve immediately or let soften in the fridge until you're ready to enjoy!
Makes 16-20 bars. Leftovers can be saved in the fridge for several days or the freezer indefinitely.
Purple Sweet Potatoes are different than Japanese Sweet Potatoes, which are purple on the outside but white on the inside. Make sure you double check or your pie squares - while delicious! - certainly won't come out looking like ours.
Sweet Cherry Coffee Cake
'Tis the season for bright, juicy, super overpriced cherries! But I love 'em, so I don't even mind paying like $6/lb. Especially since I started baking with them. I love them fresh, but they just have such a great, sweet flavor for baked goods! And in this recipe, they compliment the crumby brown sugar + cinnamon topping so perfectly. This cake comes out moist, lightly sweet, and stuffed full of the sweetest summer cherries. Its my favorite cake, of any kind, that I've had in a while. We tried to keep the sugar low in the cake mixture because of the super sweet crumb topping, but its still a splurgy breakfast for sure. I've been super dedicated in my workouts lately (and am even considering trying to get my yoga teaching certification) so I felt no guilt indulging in more than one slice - and you shouldn't either! And even though coffee cake sounds like a morning thing, to definitely tasted just as good at ten o'clock at night. You could probably sub in any summer berries here for a tasty seasonal treat, and we will definitely be making versions of this recipe year-round. Let's get bak(ed)ing!
1½ cup all-purpose flour*
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
½ cup coconut oil or vegan butter, softened
6 tablespoons vegan butter or coconut oil
6 tablespoons coconut butter
½ cup sugar
1 cup non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon ground flax meal
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1½ cups all-purpose flour *(GF may work too, but we haven't tried it!)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 heaping cup sweet cherries, pitted and halved
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x9 inch glass baking dish and set aside.
Wash, pit, and halve 1 heaping cup of sweet cherries.
To make the crumble, mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, & salt a medium-sized mixing bowl. Pour in softened coconut oil or butter and use a fork to combine the mixture until small crumbs form.
In a separate mixing bowl, cream together the butter or oil, coconut butter and sugar. Add the milk, ground flax, corn starch and apple cider vinegar and stir until completely combined.
In a third mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Don't overmix! Fold in the sweet cherries.
Pour the prepared batter into your greased baking dish and spread the crumble mixture evenly over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes clean of cake and the crumble mixture has turned a nice golden brown. Let cool at least 20 mins before serving. Enjoy!
Leftovers can be saved in an airtight container on the counter for 3 days and in the fridge for about a week.
Stone Fruit Crumble Squares
Summer is here and so are the stone fruits! We've been seeing gorgeous plums, peaches, nectarines and apricots (and all their sub-varieties) popping up at grocery stores and farmers markets and we couldn't resist making something sweet to showcase just how yummy they are. I love eating them raw or mixed into my oatmeal and smoothies, but baked into these low-sugar crumble bars is a great way to mix it up! Plus, they're shareable and perfect party food- easy to eat and packed with a little extra chia seed goodness. We served ours with a sprig of fresh mint, but a dollop of soy or coconut whip would be perfect here too. The colors of the mixed stone fruit oozing out the sides is gorgeous and drool-worthy. This is a great desert for impressing your friends - and since it whips up fast, it'll look like you work a lot harder on this one than you actually had to. And that is always a good thing. More time for summer cocktail sipping! Go grab a bag of the juiciest, plumpest summer stone fruits you can find and let's eat!
2 cups (GF certified) oats
2 cups gluten-free flour (whole wheat works here, too!)
3 tablespoons organic sugar
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of xantham gum, optional (for use with GF flours)
2/3 cup coconut oil, softened
4 cups stone fruit, pitted + chopped (we used plums, peaches + nectarines)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon corn starch
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine oats, flour, sugar, chia seeds & salt. Add in softened coconut oil and stir until crumbs begin to form. Set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, toss your cut stone fruit in the lemon juice and corn starch until evenly coated. Grease an 8x8 (or 9x13, for slightly thinner bars) glass baking dish, then pour a a little over 1/2 of the oat crumble mixture into the bottom of the dish. Press gently into the sides. Top with the stone fruit mixture, spreading evenly. Finally, pour the rest of the crumble mixture on top, distributing that evenly as well. Put crumble into the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, until the crumble topping becomes golden and fruit mixture bubbles. Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting into squares. To help squares stay firm, refrigerate until ready to cut. If you like it warm and fresh out of the oven, say to heck with the squares and have a pile of crumble goodness. We're not here to judge. Makes 9-12 squares depending on size, saves well in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!