Just because treats are vegan, doesn’t mean they can’t be good. That’s what Fantastic Vegan Cookies by Tiina Strandberg aims to prove. Case in point: these delectable cranberry-sprinkled fudgy bars. Here’s what the author has to say about them:
Imagine all the delicious festive gingerbread flavors brought together in the most chewy and fudgy bar! These Gingerbread Fudge Bars have a delicious cranberry–cream cheese frosting that brings a lovely tart balance to the sweet gingerbread flavors. Another balancing ingredient is the salty brown miso paste in the cookie dough to bring a little mouthwatering umami flavor. Although the look and flavor of these bars are festive, they taste amazing all year ’round.
Makes 16 – 20 bars
- 1 cup (200 grams) pitted dates such as medjool dates
- 3⁄4 cup (170 grams) vegan butter
- 1⁄2 cup (110 grams) brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) brown rice miso paste (see tip)
- 1 1⁄2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons (7.5 grams) cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons (10 grams) grated fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
- 2⁄3 cup (160 milliliters) vegan whipped cream
- 1⁄3 cup (80 grams) vegan cream cheese
- 1⁄3 cup (90 grams) sweetened cranberry jam
- 1⁄3 cup (50 grams) cranberries
Make the Bars
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line an 8 x 8–inch (20 x 20–cm) baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat, warm the dates, vegan butter and brown sugar, constantly stirring until the dates are mostly dissolved. Add the miso paste and blend the mixture with an immersion blender until everything is smooth. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, baking soda and salt.
- Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon, spatula or with your hands until the cookie dough is smooth.
- Press the dough evenly into the prepared baking pan and bake it for 15 minutes. Let the cookie cool in the pan completely before removing it.
Make the Frosting
- In a bowl, mix together the vegan whipped cream, vegan cream cheese and sweetened cranberry jam with a spoon until they are smooth. Spread the frosting on top of the gingerbread and cut it into squares or bars. Decorate the bars with cranberries.
Store the bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.
Tip: You can also make these bars without miso paste. Just add 1⁄4 teaspoon more salt to balance the flavors.
Reprinted with permission from Fantastic Vegan Cookies by Tiina Strandberg, Page Street Publishing Co. 2021.
Photo credit: Tiina Strandberg