Rocky Road Maple Bars

rocky road maple bars

rocky road maple bars

Are you searching for a decadent treat to take to a summer party? Look no further. Fellow party guests will crowd around when their taste buds get a hint of these sweet and rich bars. The combination of chocolate, peanuts, and marshmallows will be a delight, but it’s the explosion of maple that is the surprise. Never having used maple flavoring before I was intrigued enough to try out these bars. I was glad I did and you will be, too.

The recipe I found was already vegan and it required no baking adjustments. So, the changes I made were more about techniques and flavors. The biggest adjustment was adding marshmallows to give the bars a rocky road profile. I had large ones in my cupboard that required the sticky task of cutting them up. If you have minis it will be much easier.

Rocky Road Maple Bars adapted from Chocolate Peanut Maple Bars

2 12-ounce packages vegan chocolate chips
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1.75 cups no-salt, dry-roasted peanuts
3 TBS dry vegan vanilla pudding mix
1 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
3.5 cups organic powdered sugar
1 tsp maple flavoring
8 large vegan marshmallows

Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in a pot set on medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Take the pot off of the heat and stir in peanuts. In a 9 x 13” parchment-lined pan, spread half the chocolate mixture. Place the pan in the refrigerator to cool and set.

In a pot over medium-low heat, combine pudding mix and margarine. When melted together, lower heat slightly and stir in milk. Bring to a boil and let boil for 1 minute. Transfer pudding mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir in powdered sugar and maple flavoring, and whip until smooth.

Remove pan from refrigerator and spread pudding mixture onto cooled chocolate layer. Place pot with remaining chocolate mixture over low heat. Cut each marshmallow into six pieces and stir into warmed chocolate mixture. Spread rocky road mixture evenly over pudding mixture. Chill in refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Remove bars from pan with parchment paper flaps, place on a cutting board, and cut into squares.

Until next time, happy non-baking!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Patties

chocolate peanut butter patties I must confess – I have never had the Girl Scout Cookie “Tagalong.” I was a Thin Mint girl. But, when I saw a blog with Homemade Tagalongs (shortbread with a blot of peanut butter and a chocolate coating), I decided it was time to try them. Of course they needed to be vegan and high altitude. No problem.

I have another confession – I never look at how many cookies a recipe is supposed to make. This time I should have. It said to make 3 dozen while I made only 2 dozen of the most rich and decadent things around. Okay, maybe not such a bad thing.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Patties adapted from love and olive oil
cookies
1 cup vegan margarine, room temperature
1/2 cup organic sugar
2 cups plus 2 TBS all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 TBS soymilk
filling
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
coating
8 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
1 TBS vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 370F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together margarine and sugar. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed, followed by the vanilla and milk. The dough should come together into a soft ball. Take a scoop of dough and flatten it into a disc about 1/4-inch thick. Place on a baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough. Cookies will not spread much, so you can arrange them fairly closely together.
Bake cookies for 22-24 minutes, until bottoms and the edges are lightly browned and cookies are set. Start with the sheet on a rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven and move them up to the top rack half-way through baking time. Immediately after removing cookies from the oven, use a small spoon to make a depression in the center of each cookie. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For Filling: mix together peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar, salt and vanilla in a small bowl. Put in a plastic zip bag and work with your hands until it is soft. Cut a corner off the bag and pipe a dome of the filling into each cookie’s “thumbprint.” Chill filled cookies for 20 minutes, or until the peanut butter is firm.
Melt the chocolate and oil in a small, heat-resistant bowl placed over a small saucepan filled with simmering (not boiling) water. Dip chilled cookies into chocolate, let excess drip off, and place on a sheet of parchment paper to set.

Until next time, happy baking!

Peanut Butter Cookies

peanut butter cookies on rackI haven’t made peanut butter cookies in years but I have a good reason. The last time I made a healthy peanut butter cookie I used freshly ground peanuts. Unfortunately, the nut butter they produced was dense and blew the motor on my hand mixer.

My recent attempt to make peanut butter cookies fared much better and was less dramatic. It was labor intensive, however. I had to try the recipe several times because it made a doughy, dry biscuit and not a rich, chewy cookie. The recipe was already vegan so that required no alterations. The changes to the cookie ended up being less about making it high altitude and more to making it chewy while enhancing the peanut flavor.

The final cookie was chewy with a pronounced peanut flavor. To achieve that I removed the brown rice syrup and used light brown sugar instead, while using more peanut butter and less flour. For higher altitude I added more liquids and used less baking soda. It took three tries but I think I finally got it.

Peanut Butter Cookies adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero
3 TBS plain soymilk
1 TBS ground flaxseeds
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup creamy salted peanut butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the soymilk, flaxseeds and vanilla extract. Let sit for a few minutes. Stir in the agave syrup, brown sugar, canola oil and peanut butter.
In another bowl, sift together the flours, baking soda and salt. Mix into the peanut butter mixture. Roll walnut-sized balls of dough with your hands and drop onto the baking sheets. Flatten slightly with your hand, then use a fork to press a crosshatch pattern onto the tops of the cookies. Bake for 12-13 minutes, until the edges are golden. Cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 2 1/2 dozen cookies

After baking this recipe several times for adaptations, I may actually be tired of peanut butter cookies. At least that means I will save a few for freezing.

Until next time, happy baking!