Day Three. Vegan Yum Yums.

March 15, 2011 § 5 Comments

I’m not vegan. I doubt I ever will be vegan. I lack the self-control. Daily I’ll come across some sort of guilty pleasure, be it a donut, second helping of dinner, glass (or bottle) of wine and think, “I really don’t want this…” but the devil on my shoulder sweeps in and tells me not to deny myself; they can’t tell me what to do! Even if the “they” in question is my own other inner voice. So veganism is out of the question. I doubt I could even be vegetarian. Bacon and Milk and Butter just taste too good, although not necessarily together.

I had a difficult time coming up with what I could do for Day Three. I began to seriously question whether or not I could commit to a year of fresh activities. However, I was planning on hanging out with Kristin that night (who is indeed vegan), so I turned to her for help. We ended up deciding to do a vegan dessert. She sent me a link to a delicious chocolate coconut bar and I said yes immediately. Who knew vegan could look so tasty.

After I arrived and Johnny went to bed, we put on our Martha Stewart hats and followed the recipe almost perfectly. I don’t know if we reduced the coconut milk properly, but between glasses of wine it tasted scrumptious. We layered the ingredients per the recipe and stuck the sucker in the oven for a half hour, only for the dessert to emerge even more yummy-looking.

After the bars had cooled awhile, I snuck back to the kitchen to put them in the freezer for faster cooling time. I also nipped a spoonful out for tasting. I felt guilty, so I brought a spoonful back to Kristin as well, and after about an hour of watching Julia Roberts “find herself” in Eat, Pray, Love (all you need), I pulled them out and made a crumbly plate of goodness. We sat like children on the couch shoveling as much into our mouths as possible.

I may not go vegan, but I can definitely get in line behind vegan sweets. Who needs butter after all?

The recipe:

One 14 oz can (regular or lite) coconut milk (about 1 3/4 cups)
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups vegan graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted margarine
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
2 cups flaked, sweetened coconut
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

In a large saucepan whisk together coconut milk and brown sugar over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mixture may form a thin skin on the surface; just stir it back into the liquid. Remove from heat and let cool while preparing the crust.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, melted margarine and sugar; mix well to moisten crumbs completely. Firmly press mixture into prepared pan, pressing evenly from center to sides of pan.

Pour warm coconut milk mixture evenly over crumb base. Top with an even layer of chocolate chips, flaked coconut and nuts, in that order. Firmly pat everything down until coconut milk mixture soaks upward into the toppings. Bake for 28-30 minutes or until coconut is deeply golden and filling is bubbling, remove from oven and let entire pan cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

Transfer pan to the refrigerator to completely cool and firm up for at least 4 hours, even better overnight or until very firm. Use a sharp, heavy knife to run along the edges of bars, slide bars on parchment paper out of pan onto a cutting board then to slice into 24 squares. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. These also freeze well, tightly wrapped and allowed to thaw for 20 minutes before serving.

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