Sunday, January 20, 2013

Caramel Cloud Bars

One of the yummiest recipes I ever made was my Crispy Phyllo Napoleons with Blue Cheese, Nectarines, and Pears, thanks in no small part to the vegan caramel sauce drizzled on top. I wanted another chance to put this fantastic ingredient to use, so decided to try this dessert. Not quite a cake, not quite a brownie, "cloud" really does seem an accurate description of the decadent final product, since one bite is sure to put you on cloud nine.

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups vegan sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup evaporated non-dairy milk*
  • 4 Ener-G eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup vegan white chocolate chips (such as Paskesz)
  • 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup caramel sundae syrup (such as Fun Fresh Foods)
1. Coat a 13x9-inch metal baking pan with cooking spray, and dust with 1 tablespoon flour; set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, butter, evaporated milk, and Ener-G eggs; beat at medium speed for 1 minute.

3. Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife.  Combine the flour in a bowl with the salt and baking soda.  Add the flour mixture gradually to the sugar mixture, beating at low speed until just combined.  Stir in the white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.

4.  Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Note: The batter is a touch thick, so spread to the edges as needed with a spatula. You'll have only a fairly thin layer, as shown:

5. Microwave the caramel syrup for 45 seconds, until warm, and stir to smooth out.  Drizzle across the batter in a diagonal pattern.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes - a wooden pick inserted in the center should come out clean.

7. Cool completely before cutting into 24 bars.

I recommend serving as a sweet mid-afternoon snack, either alone or with a creamy fruit smoothie.

*For a full run-down on how to make evaporated non-dairy milk, see my posts for Gingered Pumpkin Pie or Indian Bread Pudding with Cardamom Sauce.

Nutrition Info:
24 servings (1 bar), Calories 164 

Tasting Notes:
Reminiscent in many ways of a butterscotch blondie, but even yummier. The edges were crisp, and the interior managed to be light and chewy at the same time. The chunks of white chocolate chips were delicious.  I would not chop the macadamia nuts so finely next time, so that I could enjoy bigger crunch and macadamia flavor. The caramel on top essentially melts into the batter as this cooks, infusing every bite. Minus one point since I was anticipating these to be fluffier, and the final product didn't quite live up to expectations.


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