When you go high raw, you get used to a couple of crucial luxuries:
- Your kitchen is rarely hot
- Your oven rarely sets off the fire alarm
- Nearly everything you make can be enjoyed instantly (if you take an approach to raw foods that isn’t too focused on dehydrating)
- A lot of your main dishes take fifteen minutes or less
- You can afford to be relaxed about the precision of your measurements
Baking defies all of these criteria. It’s one of the reasons I have a hard time getting myself to do it.
I do, however, putting on my oven mitts on if I know that someone will appreciate the results. This includes my Mom, M, and my fellow bloggers, including Mama Pea.
See, Sarah is really good at baking things that are not only vegan and delicious, but also healthy, quick, and rich in all sorts of important nutrients. And when you’re a mother to two precious little girls, both of whom are sure to encounter their fair share of toxic media, human cruelty, and unhealthy food as they venture out into the world, setting such a balanced and humane example is important. And since Sarah was visiting New York this week, and offered generously to meet up with me while I was in the middle of packing for my big move, I decided to gift her with a little NYC welcome gift:
…in the hopes that they would turn out to be worthy of her expert palate.
They were. Oh so worthy.
They are breakfast-worthy, snack worthy, dessert worthy, and if you ate them with a nutrient dense salad, I’d call them meal-worthy, too. I don’t want to pat myself on the back too obnoxiously, but these guys are really, really good. I guess I’ve learned from the best, right Sarah?
Vegan Fig Bars (vegan, GF if you use GF oats, soy free)
For the fig filling:
About 12 large dried figs
6 pitted medjool dates
2 tbsp agave syrup or maple syrup
2 tbsp lemon juice (or the juice of 1 large lemon)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp brandy (if desired–NOT suitable for little peas!)
For the oat dough:
1 1/4 cup oat flour (GF if following a GF diet)
1 cup rolled oats (see above)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sucanat or natural brown sugar
*2 tbsp vanilla flavored brown rice protein powder (totally optional, but a nice way to amp up the protein if you want these bars to be a part of your breakfast)
2 tsps cinnamon
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil (or safflower oil)
1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil an 8 inch square baking pan and dust it with oat flour.
2) Place figs in a small pot with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer; simmer for about five minutes. Remove figs from the pot, drain them, and place them in your food processor along with dates, lemon juice, agave or syrup, cinnamon, and brandy if using. Process until the mixture resembles a smooth fig jam.
3) Try not to eat all of said jam before you make your bars. You will be tempted. Very tempted.
4) Mix oats, oat flour, cinnamon, salt, protein powder if using, baking powder, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
5) Whisk together almond milk, applesauce, vanilla and oil.
6) Add wet ingredients to dry, and mix till just combined.
7) Layer half of the oat mixture into your baking pan. Using an inverted spatula or regular spatula, spread all of the fig paste on top.
8 ) Spread remaining oat mixture on top of the fig paste.
9) Bake for about 35 minutes, or until top is golden.
10) Let cool, and cut into 9 squares. Swoon.
I was able to give these baked bars of awesome to Sarah in person last night, over dinner at Peacefood Café.
Where I dug into raw sushi:
A big salad:
Some ginger fizz:
And three hours of great conversation. And when Sarah and I came home to our respective beds—and by “bed,” I mean the mattress now resting on my floor, because my box spring is gone—we both got to dig into a fig bar. It was the perfect way to end the night.
Maybe I should bake more often.