This recipe started off with me deciding that what I really needed in life was a nice, chewy, oaty biscuit with chocolate and dried cherries and almonds in it. I didn’t have a recipe for that, but I did have one for a choc-chip slab biscuit that looked fairly promising. It didn’t have any eggs in it, so I thought it might be fun to make it vegan, but I didn’t have any vegan margarine (and vegan margarine is sort of cheating anyway), but I did have coconut butter (and I’ve just realised I had almond butter which would have been awesome! Drat!), so I thought I’d use some of that instead. But not 220g worth, because that’s insane. So I added some canola oil. Then, of course, the recipe needed oats, so I added some of those. And then I discovered that you really can’t cream coconut butter, so I was going to need a leavening agent. And then the mix was too dry, but adding agave nectar would just have been far too cute and also too sweet, so I added the leftover applesauce from the ginger cake…
… by which point the recipe had precisely three ingredients in common with the original – flour, chocolate and vanilla – and vanilla was the only one in the same quantity.
It’s not as though I started off trying to follow the recipe, you understand, but it still boggles me a bit that I can change all the quantities and most of the ingredients in a recipe without blinking, but can’t actually write a cake or biscuit recipe from scratch. I need some sort of template to stomp all over with no subtlety whatsoever, or I’m lost.
Anyway, I seem to have created a vaguely Anzac-biscuity slice with a decidedly coconuty background and lots of goodies in it. It’s rather pleasing, if I say so myself, and would be even better with a glass of milk. Though a bit crumbly – you might want to replace some of the brown sugar with golden syrup to make it hold together a little more.
Now What Will You Do With It?
Preheat the oven to 180°C, and line one 28 cm square tray or two 20cm trays with baking paper.
Heat the coconut oil until just melted, and add the oil, brown sugar and vanilla. Beat until well combined.
Add the apple sauce, golden syrup, oats, and almond meal, and mix in well, then mix in the flour and baking powder together.
Stir in all the goodies. You will probably need to use your hands, because this is a cookie-ish sort of dough.
Press the dough into your prepared tins, and cook for 20-25 minutes, until the slice is a bit golden and springy. Let cool in tin for ten minutes or so before putting onto a rack to cool. Cut into squares once cool.
Eat, while trying to pretend that the oats and fruit make this healthy.
A nut-free version of this is easily achieved – just skip the almond meal or replace with with either flour, oatbran or dessicated coconut. You can take out the almonds entirely – in fact, I only put them in half of my batch, because Andrew doesn’t like nuts in things.
Given how crumbly this is, I’m not sure about making it gluten-free while keeping it vegan – I think an egg would work wonders in holding this together, but at that point, you might as well go over and try Hannah’s wonderful gluten- and dairy-free chocolate, cherry and almond cake, and coconutify it a bit, if that’s to your taste. Otherwise, I’d really recommend going with a *good* and probably commercial gluten-free flour mix, which should have a suitable combination of flours to get the equivalent hold-togetheriness.
Low fructose means losing the cherries and going with a gluten-free flour – I’m not sure about the oats and I’m in a mad rush today, so I can’t look them up! And as for low-GI, well, there are worse baked goods out there (at least this one has oats in it), but it’s not really ideal. Though I have seen pureed cannelini beans used as a low-GI egg substitute, and bizarre as it sound, the cookies I made with that recipe actually tasted pretty good. I really should play with low-GI baking a bit more.