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Friday, June 15, 2012

Vegan Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Squares

I volunteered to bake for yet another fundraiser at Big A's school last week, but could not stand the thought of making more cupcakes, or anything else that takes effort from a presentation perspective.

Squares can be a perfect lazy-person dessert to make because they take less effort than cookies (no rolling, cutting out, dropping or flattening required) and they can be iced simply by pouring a glaze over the top (no piping, etc.).

So I whipped up a pan of Bob's Red Mill gluten-free brownies topped with my go-to fudge topping (chocolate chips and coconut oil - just melt, pour and set), for the gluten-free folks, and these vegan treats for the vegan folks.  The banana fudge topping on these is optional, but I felt I had to make these worthy of attention from school children who might otherwise pass these over in-lieu of less healthy icing-heavy cupcake alternatives on offer.

These are dense, sweet and chewy and bursting with banana and chocolate.  They were a success, as were the gluten-free brownies.  There were quite a few folks who were thrilled to have something available that could accomodate their allergies or special diets.  Admittedly, the younger kids mostly went for the smartie or sprinkle topped cupcakes on the table, while more older kids and adults opted for either my brownies or squares.  That's okay, they just appeal to a more refined palate I guess!

Vegan Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Squares

1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
3 ripe bananas
2 flax eggs (2 tbls ground flax mixed with 6 tbls hot water)
1/4 cup agave syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 cups whole wheat or spelt flour
1 cup large flake oats
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
A few pinches fresh grated nutmeg (optional)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Mash together bananas and coconut oil in a large bowl.  Whisk in flax eggs, agave and vanilla.  In a smaller bowl, stir together dry ingredients.  Add to wet and stir just until mixed.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Scrape batter (it will be thick) into a greased 9x9 square pan.  Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.  Let cool and then add topping, if desired.  Cut into squares.  Makes 16 squares.  Freezes well.

Banana Fudge Topping

Melt 1 cup dark chocolate chips with 1 tbls coconut oil in a heat-safe bowl set over simmering water.  Stir in one well mashed, ripe banana.  Pour over squares and refridgerate until set.

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