Sunday, November 23, 2014

Vegan Cherry Coconut Bars



On Saturday I did some extremely early Christmas baking. I was too excited to wait until a more normal date to do it. I made Vegan Cherry Coconut Bars.

When I was a child, Christmas baking was an important ritual, an activity my mom and sisters and I anticipated all year. It was a bright spot in our livesa beacon. See, our house was a spartan place with precious little in the way of sweets or treats or anything fun or pretty. It was my dad's idea to live this way.

Poor Mom and us kids chafed under his rule. We'd spend our time (when Dad wasn't around) gazing at Betty Crocker's Cooky Book and dog-eared, hand-me-down copies of Southern Living, dreaming about cakes and cookies and "pretty things." We were always full of longing.

Dad controlled the money (he controlled everything), but Mom was sneaky. She'd save up her birthday money from Grandma and change she found on Dad's dresser, and in early December we'd sneak over to Pantry Pride and load up the buggy with powdered sugar and brown sugar, chocolate chips, candied cherries, coconut, marshmallow fluff, sweetened condensed milk, and other such marvelous luxuries. We'd hide our ingredients here and there about the houseunder the beds, in dresser drawers. And then one day when Dad wasn't home, we'd do all our baking in a mad, giddy frenzy. We'd laugh and laugh and make a huge mess, but all evidence of our activity would be cleaned up and hidden before Dad returned. Mom would pack up the fudge and toffee and sugar cookies in old coffee cans and Cool Whip tubs and squirrel them away in ingenious spots where Dad would never find them, and as the days of Advent slipped by, we'd delight in our secret riches. My sister Kris and I would dine upon fudge in our closet.

Anyway, Christmas baking is still dear to me, though it's no longer a clandestine activity.

I believe in celebrating. Sugar may be bad for the teeth, but it's good for the soul.

Vegan Cherry Coconut Bars

Ingredients:

Crust:
2 cups flour
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 cup softened vegan butter

Topping:
3 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer
4 tablespoons water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries
1/2 cup coconut
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the crust first. Add the flour, powdered sugar, and butter to a large bowl. Using your hands, mix until smooth. Press the dough into the bottom of an 8x8" square baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes.

Next, make the topping. Prepare the "egg" by adding the egg replacer and water to a medium-sized bowl and whisking until frothy. Add the rest of the ingredients to the "egg" and mix.

When the crust is done baking, pour the topping over it and bake again for 25 minutes. Let cool and cut into bars.