For some reason I had a major sweets craving kick in last week. I NEVER have that happened, so I was unprepared to say the least, when it hit out of the blue like that! I tried satisfying it with my old standby of a few pieces of dark chocolate. That didn’t do the trick though. So, one Whole Foods shopping trip, and $100 later (ouch!) I was busy in the kitchen making bars, cookies, and brownies galore. Soon our kitchen was teetering with mounds of sweets, smelled like Mrs. Claus’s house, and William and Alex had both eaten waaaay more cookies than are necessary in a healthy diet.
It was at that point I realized I no longer was craving sweets. Funny how that worked. I literally spent all of my pent up dessert energy on crafting the cookies and bars, and didn’t leave any for EATING all the goodness. I had about half a cookie and realized that I wasn’t really feeling it any more. Luckily for me my coworkers and family have been more than happy to help eat up the leftovers, keeping my mountain of cookies from going to waste! William has also had a few cookies over the last couple of days (his dad keeps sneaking them to him when I’m not looking!) I’m happy to say that everything I made was ‘bug’ approved: i.e. no dairy or soy in any of them!
How do you make a chocolate chip cookie, or a blondie without butter? Well, it turned out to be much easier than I’d thought! Earth Balance, one of the vegan ‘alternative’ baking brands we have here at Whole Foods offers a soy free ‘butter’ stick. It’s a blend of canola, palm and olive oils and I was able to swap it at a 1:1 ratio in my recipe with excellent results! The only other ingredient that I had to keep an eye on was the chocolate chip, and I’ve found that Guittard dark chocolate chips not only taste better than most, but are also free of soy and milk!
I toasted my own coconut and pecans for this recipe, as you have to have the oven on anyways, and it only takes a couple minutes to get much fresher flavor, however, if you want you can definitely purchase pre-toasted pecans and just toast the coconut at home to save some time.
Also, note in the recipe below I haven’t distinguished between the vegan butter and chips. This recipe works fine with both the vegan baking chips and buttery baking sticks and the standard versions. Feel free to adjust to your preference. Try it with vegan eggs to fully veganize it! You can also feel free to mix up the nuts: walnuts, chopped almonds, or even peanuts would be delicious in here instead of pecans!
- 3/4 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
- 1 1/4 Cup Finely Shredded Coconut
- 1 Cup Pecans
- 8 oz All Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar, packed
- 2 Eggs
- 12 Tbsp Butter, melted
- 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
Turn the oven to 350, spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast them until they darken and smell amazing, about 13 - 15 minutes. Stir them every 5.
Pour the pecans on to a cutting board. Spread the coconut out onto the same pan and toast it for about 5 - 7 minutes, or until it just starts to turn golden. Stir it every two minutes.
Run a knife through the pecans a few times to break them into smaller pieces. If you don't like big chunks of nuts in your blondies, chop them a little longer.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, set aside.
In a large bowl cream the melted butter and sugars together. Add the eggs and mix well.
Pour the flour mixture over the wet ingredients and stir together gently, until just combined. Stir in the coconut, pecans and chocolate chips.
Line a 9x13 pan with foil, so that the foil hangs over the two short edges a bit (this makes it way easier to get the blondies out later!) Spray the foil with cooking spray and then spread the batter into the pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake at 350F until light golden brown, 23 - 27 minutes. The blondies may still look a little under-cooked in the center, but they will firm up while they sit.
Wrap in plastic and set on counter at room temperature to store. They will stay good for up to 3 days.