Vegan pumpkin cocoa cashew butter bars
For those of us that grew up on the West Coast these are basically Pumpkin Nanaimo Bars. For everyone else, they are decadent, almost raw and insanely good. The chilling steps are crucial. Be patient, they’re well worth it!
Layer 1 (base)
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup almonds (raw or roasted without salt)
Layer 2 (middle)
½ cup canned pumpkin
½ cup cashew or almond butter
1/3 cup – ½ cup coconut oil
½ cup dates
Layer 3 (top)
1/3 -½ cup coconut oil
¼ cup agave syrup
4 Tbsp. unsweetened cacao powder
Begin the first layer by grinding up almonds in your food processor. Add one third of the dates, and pulse to combine with almonds. Continue with second portion, until no dates remain. This will make for smoother integration between the two ingredients, and make things easier on your processor.
Press mixture into a pan that has been lined with wax paper. We used a vertical loaf pan because the edges were straight up and down. This helps to maintain the shape and clean corners for the bars.
Let the almond/date mixture set in the fridge for minimum 15 minutes.
For layer 2, combine the first set of ingredients: pumpkin/almond butter and coconut oil. (Note: The coconut oil will give a strong flavour so use more or less based on preference and adjust the other ingredients accordingly.) Once mixed, gradually add in dates as outlined in step 1.theveganproject.com 50
Using a spatula, spread the pumpkin mixture over the base layer so it’s level throughout. Let this layer sit for minimum 1 hour. You can move on to the next layer if you wish, but allowing ample time for each layer to set gives you the definition between the layers that makes the bars so beautiful!
For layer 3, combine coconut oil, agave, and cacao first. Add chocolate chips last. The final texture of this will be chunky due to the chocolate chips, and that is intended.
Pour layer 3 on top of the pumpkin mixture, and smooth with your spatula to ensure even distribution.
Optional: you can garnish the top with a sprinkling of additional cacao or place whole almonds across the pan so each piece has a whole almond pressed into the centre!
Let the entire dessert sit for two hours (minimum) so it can set completely. This dish serves best straight from the fridge, so keep cool and refrigerated as long as possible before serving. Cut into pieces, and enjoy!
Eggnog is the official beverage of December. It rarely makes an appearance during any other time, and truly embodies Christmas spirit in a cup. We were so pleased to finally whip up a dairy and egg-free nog recipe that’s just as creamy and decadent as its classic counterpart. Feel free to enjoy it with a little spiced rum or on its own (extra nutmeg always welcomed).
1 cup soaked cashews
1 cup soaked dates in 1 cup water
2 cups almond milk
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. nutmeg + more to garnish
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or extract)
pinch of sea salt
Method Pour all ingredients into a blender (including the water you soaked the dates in) and blend until smooth and frothy. Chill. When ready to serve, place back into blender for more frothing and to eliminate any separation that may occur during chilling. Pour into a mug and garnish with fresh grated nutmeg. Delightful.