I often find it hard to make up my mind when it comes to food. I think these fluffy, moist, eclectically-flavored Peanut Butter Blondie Cake Bars showcase my indecisiveness pretty well. And the secret ingredient is pretty interesting too...
Mix of Flavors. One Pan. The base of these bars is a peanut butter - meets - vanilla - meets - cinnamon snickerdoodle kind of flavor. A hint of coconut oil for supreme fluffy-cake-moistness. Simple yet sweetly alluring. The top of these bars is a mish mash of yummy things. I did a few different flavors..
S'mores. Vegan marshmallows - sticky toasted when baked - meet vegan chocolate chips and a few nutty almonds.
Mocha. A light sprinkling of instant coffee grounds mingles with a pinch of sea salt and rich dark chocolate chips.
Chip Almond. Chocolate chips and almonds are an easily delicious flavor pairing - atop the vanilla-peanut butter cake bars.
Old me: "Beans belong in my burrito. NOT my dessert!"
Well .. hopping on the beans-in-dessert bandwagon..
Secret Ingredient. DO NOT tell my husband the secret ingredient in these fluffy, moist, lovely cake bars. Even though he happily scarfed down a few bars without hesitation. And with rave reviews verbalized through a hum of "Yummm's and mm mm mm." But the secret ingredient is. OK. Here goes ... beans. White cannellini bans to be exact.
I know, I know. I agree it kinda sounds gross. Beans and cake? Really? Well I got this idea from all the success vegan bakers / bloggers seem to have making black bean brownies. So I figured .. white bean blondies, right? Well I twisted the recipe to be more of a fluffy cake bar rather than a blondie / dense brownie. But the blondie-esque inspiration is quite apparent.
So dive into these scrumptious bars and top them with whatever you'd like, really. I like the fact that I can make a giant tray and scatter crazy combos of ingredients all over the top - making a smorgasbord of different flavored bars. Because more flavors is just more fun.
Peanut Butter Blondie Cake Bars
vegan, fills one baking pan
1 16oz. can of white cannellini beans, drained
1 small banana (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup peanut butter, salted/creamy
1 cup almond milk + 2 Tbsp
2 Tbsp maple or agave syrup
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, liquid form/softened
2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (or sub w/ another flour or mixture of flours)
1 cup organic sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp chia seeds (optional - helps to bind a bit)
vegan marshmallows (Dandies)
vegan chocolate chips (365 brand)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Add all the wet ingredients to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. You want the beans to be completely smoothed out and silky. The mixture should be thick yet watery.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Toss well.
3. Pour the wet mixture into the dry bowl and stir well. You could also lightly beat with a hand mixer.
4. Grease a large - high rimmed baking sheet with coconut oil.
5. Pour the mixture into baking sheet spreading it around so the a thin even layer coats the entire baking sheet.
6. Add about 1/4 tsp of cinnamon over top and swirl it into the batter to create a swirled look.
7. Add you toppings - creativity encouraged!
8. Bake at 350 degrees for about 22 minutes - or until the edges firm up and the center cooks through. The bars will firm up a tad once they cool since they contain coconut oil which helps to firm the bars - especially upon being chilled in the fridge.
9. Allow the bars to cool for a good while. If you try to slice them right now they will fall apart. They will still be yummy, but a mess! I like chill the entire pan in my fridge before slicing into bars. You can serve the bars chilled or slightly warm in the microwave before serving.