Chewy Chocolate Oat Bars with Vegan Marshmallows
Every year, on behalf of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, I cook two vegan preparations to distribute as samples at the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival. Thousands of people show up and we distribute about 3,000 samples a day over the weekend. After I am done cooking each day I head over to the festival site to see what types of vegan/vegetarian products are being displayed. For the past few years I kept seeing the vegan marshmallows and always thought I should pick up a bag or two, but then decided I would just order them online … which never happened. This year I finally got a couple of bags. I brought them home and mulled over how I could use them in a way that was at least slightly different than your typical s’mores.
One day I just suddenly pictured fluffy marshmallows embedded in a soft but chewy oat bar surrounded by melted chocolate chips. So, here it is. But not without a few comments on the marshmallows first. I don’t know about other brands, but this particular brand does not hold up under a flame. I wanted to toast the marshmallows very quickly at the end. I had them under the broiler for, literally, a few seconds and they kind of exploded. But since they still got nice and brown I decided they would be ok, until I ate them. The texture, after being roasted, was very tough and stringy and they had lost their marshmallow flavor. The brand I used is called Dandies. If you bake them just long enough to puff them up and make them warm and a tiny bit golden on top they’re fine and have a really good marshmallow flavor.
If you cannot find vegan marshmallows, this recipe is still good without them!
Oat Bar Mixture:
10 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond essence (optional)
1 cup rolled oats
2 cups white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Approximately one cup small vegan marshmallows
Preheat the oven to 350 and grease an 8 inch square baking pan. Cut the butter into tabs and put into food processor with sugar, vanilla and almond essence. Process until smooth.
In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Add the pureed butter mixture with the dry ingredients and fully incorporate with your fingers. Then add the water to bind everything together to make a dough.
Press about 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the baking pan and bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips on top and crumble the rest of the dough (or as much as desired) over the chips. Return it to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the top begins to look golden. Take it out the oven again and push the marshmallows into the top between the clumps of dough.
Return it to the oven and bake until the marshmallows puff up and turn very slightly golden. Be careful not to cook them too much. Let cool for a bit before cutting into bars.