The Fearless Baker is back…and this time with a VEGAN recipe. Yes. You heard right, vegan!
Although I had planned another recipe to follow the Cheesecake Swirled Brownies (which I really hope you made, although I am assuming that the reason why you did not tag @phi.mag with your creations is because they were devoured too quickly…Right? Right?), I realised that I had not done anything for Phi Mag online’s vegan readers. And this really needed sorting out. ASAP. Especially since I recently perfected a snack which is super easy to make and tastes absolutely delicious. Today, I present you with my recipe for COPYCAT VEGAN SNICKERS BARS.
The story behind these bars goes a bit like this: I signed up to a gym in September because I felt that I wanted to get fit. I figured that the gym would be a good place for me to be more active because I could follow a routine and track my progress with any muscle-building. Mistake number one. Control lies at the heart of many eating disorders. But what does not get talked about, both in relation to eating disorders and the process of recovery from them, is that that control is not limited to food; it is a control which has the potential to permeate any aspect of your life. As I wrote about in my recipe for the MISSISSIPPI MUD PIE, the paradox with the control surrounding eating disorders is that it is the same control which makes you develop the eating disorder in the first place which you need to harness the courage and energy to come out of it. This sense of control, however, does not magically disappear once you begin to put weight back on. Rather, you need to continue working on removing its pervasive roots for a long time after the weight restoration. And, though it scares me quite a lot sometimes, this control might never go away. And so, after signing up to the gym I locked myself into a constraining routine once again – I HAD to go three times a week, and I HAD to do all of the exercises which I had planned.
But then, as I began to realise that I was making little progress because I did not have enough protein in my diet to build the muscles I was working on, I started changing the timings of my meals to suit my gym schedule, as well as the food I was eating. Mistake number two, but arguably an important one. Because it was only with this mistake that I became aware of the fact that having a healthy relationship with food is something which is difficult to achieve, and something which I have definitely not yet achieved. Not only this, however, but I also began thinking that any dietary choices which we choose to make, whether it be becoming vegan, or going dairy-free, or eating more protein, or following a ketogenic diet etc., involves imposing restrictions on ourselves and controlling the way in which we choose to live. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with adopting a particular diet, but to do so necessitates a healthy relationship with oneself and a healthy relationship with food. Because food defines who we are: it is not only central to the way in which we feel, but our roots and traditions and relationships around which we form our identity. But eating disorders do not ever go away and although this can be extremely frightening, my gym experience has been eye-opening. I have come to recognise where my weaknesses persist and that I can use these weaknesses to my advantage as a signpost for moments when I am struggling and I need to take a step back to analyse what is going on much deeper than the food I am trying to control. More importantly, I think that everyone can take something away from this, and that is not to be afraid to question the habits and changes, food and non-food related, which shape the rhythm of our lives. Ultimately, we are in control of the way in which we understand ourselves, love or hate ourselves, develop ourselves and relate ourselves with others. But to do so, we need understand when is the right time to take control and when we need to let it go.
And so, the reason why I have shared the recipe for these COPYCAT VEGAN SNICKERS BARS with you is because initially, I made them to get more protein into my diet without having to say no to the sweet treats I love. When I first made them, I called them Copycat Vegan Snickers Protein Bars. But I now realise they taste the same even without the addition of the word ‘protein’ and I need to stop myself from making them for that reason. They are just yummy, peanut-buttery, gooey bars full-stop. I really hope you enjoy making them too. They are so simple to make and measuring the ingredients in cups means that you can have them in your fridge in no time and skip lots of cleaning up. And when you take your first bite, savour them for what they taste like and the time you have put into making them, rather than their nutritional contents.
The Fearless Baker
For the base:
1.5 cups coconut flour
12-14 dates, pitted
2tbsp cocoa powder
0.5 cups smooth unsalted peanut butter
3tbsp milk of choice
Pinch of salt
For the caramel layer:
0.5 cup smooth unsalted peanut butter
0.5 cup sticky sweetner of choice (e.g. agave nectar)
Good pinch of salt
For the chocolate top:
100g vegan chocolate
- To make the base, place dates in a food processor and blend until you reach a smooth paste
- Add coconut flour and cocoa powder and pulse in food processor until combined
- Add peanut butter, salt and milk and pulse until a sticky paste forms
- Line a tuppaware box or 8inch square baking tin with baking parchment and press the paste into the bottom, using your hands to smooth it as much as possible
- To make the caramel layer, place the peanut butter and sweetner in a bowl and melt together in the microwave, stirring to combine the two before adding a good pinch of salt
- Smooth caramel layer over the base and place container/tin in the freezer whilst you melt the chocolate
- To make the top layer, melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of boiling water
- Smooth the melted chocolate over the caramel, then place in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour until set
- I like to keep mine in the freezer and take it out 30 minutes before having a slice, but these bars also keep in the fridge for up to 1 week