When it comes to eating around the holidays, it’s easy to bulk up on the butter and sugar. However, after living in NorCal, I’ve learned that there are better ways to celebrate without adding all the extras I don’t normally eat. These bars are rich in nature due to the nutty creamy filling and the perfect way to use any frozen or leftover cranberry sauce you might have sitting in your fridge. With dates and maple syrup as the pure forms of sugar, it keeps the recipe whole and light. (We brought this to a potluck of non-vegan folks and people loved it!)
Keep reading for the full recipe after the jump!
Vegan Vanilla Cranberry Bars (Gluten Free – Refined Sugar Free)
Servings: 12 bars
- 1 cup toasted pecans
- 1 cup almond flour
- 4 pitted dates
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups raw cashews soaked in water overnight
- ½ cup canned coconut milk shaken
- ¼ cup coconut oil melted and cooled
- ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 lemon, juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 T cranberry sauce
Place cashews in water and allow to soak for up to six hours or overnight at room temperature. The following day, drain water off of cashews. In a skillet over medium high, toast pecans for 5 minutes or until the nuts become warm and fragrant. In a high powered blender or food processor, blend pecans, dates, flour, coconut oil, salt, and cinnamon. Pulse until combined thoroughly until there is a dough like consistency and the mixture will hold together. (It’s alright if there’s a few chunks of pecans throughout. We think it adds a bit more crunch.) In a lined and greased pan (8×8 or tart pan works great), place crust mixture and pat to a consistent thin layer. Place to the side.
In the same blender or food processor, blend cashews, coconut milk, coconut oil, maple syrup, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Blend until you have a smooth consistency. (This will mirror a batter texture. Pour in pan. In a smaller sauce pan bring cranberry sauce to heat changing the consistency to a liquid. Spoon on top of vanilla mixture. Using the back of a butter knife swirl for a lovely, vibrant, festive color.
Freeze for 3 hours or overnight. Enjoy this lovely treat during the holiday season!