Fruit Bliss® Date Squares

Date Squares
Fruit Bliss® Date Squares | veganblondes.com

Carrés aux dates, French for date squares, are a French Canadian staple. Every mom in town makes them and every French Canadian kid grew up eating them. They are delightful and you can adapt the filling to the seasons. Date squares are the perfect Holiday treat. You can serve them at your next party or bring them to a potluck. They are so festive!

  • 2 cups Fruit Bliss® dates, chopped
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350˚. In a small bowl, mix the 2 tablespoons water and the corn starch. Set aside. Bring one cup of water and the brown sugar to a low boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the dates and the corn starch mixture. Keep simmering until the mixture thickens, about 6-8 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the vanilla extract. Mix well.

  • 1 1/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup butter substitute (we like Earth Balance)
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Beat the butter into a cream. Add in the brown sugar, the flour, the baking soda, the salt, and the oatmeal, and mix well. Spread half of the mixture at the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish lined with parchment paper. Compact well. Add the date mixture on top, and top with the rest of the oatmeal mixture (do not press down on the top as you want it to look like a fluffy crumble). Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden on top. Let cool on a rack for about an hour. Cut in squares and eat them all!

 

Date Squares

Date Squares
Date Squares | veganblondes.com

You won’t believe they’re vegan!

Date squares (or cares aux dates in French) are a French Canadian staple. Every mom in town makes them, and all French Canadian kids grew up with them. Needless to say they are delightful. When I owned my small catering business in Chicago, they were one of my fastest selling item. The beauty of these date squares is that you can swap the filling according to the seasons. When rhubarb is in, change the filling for some rhubarb compote. In the summer, the blueberry squares became very popular. Back then, the date squares were not vegan, but people were asking for vegan items. And that is how I decided to veganize the traditional French Canadian recipe. Oh and I think it is safe to disclose that Oprah herself had some of my date squares!

  • 2 cups dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the 2 tablespoons water and the corn starch. Set aside. Bring the 1 cup of water and the brown sugar to a low boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium, add the dates and the corn starch mixture. Keep simmering until the mixture thickens, about 6-8 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the vanilla extract. Mix well.

  • 1 1/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup butter substitute (I like Earth Balance)
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Beat the butter into a cream. Add in the brown sugar, the flour, the baking soda, the salt, and the oatmeal, and mix well. Spread half of the mixture at the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish lined with parchment paper. Compact well. Add the date mixture on top, and top with the rest of the oatmeal mixture (do not press down on the top as you want it to look like a fluffy crumble). Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden on top. Let cool on a rack for about an hour. Cut in squares and eat them all! Bon appétit!

Karine

Vegan Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake
Vegan Strawberry Shortcake | veganblondes.com

When I was little, my mom would buy those individual angel cakes, add ice cream and strawberry compote to create strawberry shortcake. It was my favorite dessert. Now that my tooth is less sweet, and that I prefer cooking (and eating) savory stuff, I don’t spend much time thinking about vegan desserts. It is, however, with great pleasure that I recreated a vegan version of the strawberry shortcake my mom used to make me. It’s now the perfect time to cook this, as the strawberries are getting better and better as the warm weather approaches (although here in Arizona, it was 100 degrees last week).

For the ice cream portion, I simply replaced regular ice cream by coconut dairy-free ice cream. We like the Coconut Bliss brand. For a different twist on the regular strawberry coulis, I tried Heidi Swanson’s Roasted Strawberries recipe, which I doubled.

Vegan Classic White Cake

  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca or arrowroot flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon extract

Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Lightly spray or grease an 8-inch round cake pan with coconut oil spray or vegetable oil. Dust it with flour, removing excess.

In a small bowl, whisk the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the cake flour, the tapioca flour, the baking powder and the baking soda. Set aside.

In another mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, vegetable oil, coconut oil, vanilla extract, salt and lemon extract. Whisk in the non-dairy milk mixture into this bowl until well incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl, and whisk together until just incorporated. Do not over mix.

Pour the mixture into the cake pan, and tap on its sides with a spoon to remove any bubbles. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for about an hour and transfer to a cake rack to cool completely. You can store the cake in an air-tight container at room temperature for about a week.

Roasted Strawberries

  • 1 lb strawberries, hulled and cut in half (in quarters if they are big)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons port wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with a rack in the middle. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the strawberries in a mixing bowl.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, olive oil and salt. Pour over the strawberries and gently toss to coat the berries. Arrange the strawberries in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Roast for approximately 40 minutes, making sure the strawberries don’t burn, but long enough that the juices thicken.

When done, transfer the berries into a small bowl and stir in the port wine and the balsamic vinegar. You can keep the strawberries for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Assembly

Cut the cake into small bite-size squares. Place on a shallow bowl. Add some dairy-free ice cream and top with the roasted strawberries. Garnish with mint, if desired.

Karine