holiday cookie project: pumpkin pie brownies

The Holiday Cookie Project offers up another bar cookie in honour of Vegan MoFo: Pumpkin Pie Brownies.

Pumpkin Pie Brownies

These are some great tasting brownies, and an excellent choice for any Fall or Winter themed feasting, Holiday or not. Pumpkin makes an appearance in not only the pumpkin pie layer on the top of these luscious treats, but also in the chocolate brownie base. Pumpkin is wonderful in baking, is it not? It adds moisture, fragrance, and a decadent texture and these brownies benefit on all three counts.

Better yet, these brownies improve exponentially with age. They were fine the first day, twice as good the second day and the third day, best of all. They become moister and fudgier. The flavours deepen and become more layered. Who knows what the fourth day might have brought if they had lasted that long. I think these might be the perfect make-ahead dessert and thats always good news, especially with Holiday baking.

I recommend restraint when you make them, so you can experience them fully ripe. And definitely use your favourite, bestest bittersweet chocolate for these: your dedication will be rewarded.

These were universally well liked. Really, really good.

As with all cookies in the Project, you can find these in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

seed & nut bars that make you go zoom

I have been craving something of late not just anything and, no, not all-out sweets for a change. I wanted something super tasty that would not only satisfy my taste buds, but also provide a healthy energy boost. Oh, and make it quick and easy please.

What is more energy-laden than seeds and nuts? These tasty whole food wonders pack a nutritional punch that takes a back seat to nothing else. Packed with vitamins, healthy oils and essential fatty acids, nuts and seeds definitely fall into the category of things that make you go zoom.

Grab a bunch of my favourite ingredients and throw them together = scrumptiously energetic success. And an added bonus: no refined sugar, dairy-free, egg-free, and gluten-free.

This recipe is so versatile that Ive already made it 5 different ways in the space of 24 hours. Its delicious and it really hits the spot when you need a boost and if youre on the go, its the perfect take-away snack.

Marathon Seed & Nut Energy Bars

1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened coarsely shredded coconut
1/3 cup Thompson raisins
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup raw almonds or pistachios, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp flax seeds
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
3/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325F.

Lightly toast sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, coconut and nuts in the oven for ten minutes. Make sure the coconut is in its own pan and stir it after 5 minutes check often as it will toast faster than everything else. You may need to remove the coconut earlier to prevent it from burning.

Remove toasted nuts, seeds and coconut from oven and transfer to a large bowl. Add flax seeds, raisins and cinnamon, and stir everything together.

If you like, you can warm the brown rice syrup for ten seconds in the microwave so that it pours more easily. You can also spray your measuring cup with a spritz of vegetable oil before measuring so that the syrup slides out more readily. Add the brown rice syrup to the bowl with one hand while mixing ingredients with the other. Stir until well combined.

Line a jelly roll pan or rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper and transfer seed and nut mixture to pan. Use a silicone spatula (which wont stick) to spread the mixture out evenly and press it flat. The mixture should be less than 3/8 thick, or about 1cm. Try to get it as flat as possible without crushing it. The above ingredients fit rim to rim in a 13.5 x 10-inch pan, but you could definitely use a larger pan and just have extra space left over.

Return pan to oven and bake for ten minutes (check at 8 minutes and monitor frequently remove if seeds start to brown).

Place pan on rack to cool completely. Break into pieces or cut into squares.

Eat. Enjoy. Run a marathon