Monday, 4 February 2013

raw vegan cranberry bliss bars


A reader told me about these Cranberry Bliss Bars that Starbucks sells. She said I should make them healthy - so here you go! I actually didn't know what a Bliss Bar was - I don't go into Starbucks unless I need to get a cup of water or pee - so I had to check it out on their website. According to their description, it is a vanilla cake topped with cream cheese frosting, dried cranberries and an orange drizzle.


Sounds delicious, but I felt bloated just by looking at the ingredients list: 

"Enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), brown sugar, white pastel (sugar, palm kernel & palm oils, whey, nonfat milk, soya lecithin, titanium dioxide [as color], natural flavor, vanilla), cream cheese (pasteurized cream & milk, milk proteins, natural acids, salt, xanthan, carob bean gum & guar gum), cranberries (cranberries, sugar, sunflower oil), unsalted butter (cream [from milk]), eggs, canola oil, sugar (sucrose, cornstarch), ginger (ginger, sugar), water, salt, coconut oil, orange peel (orange peel, sugar, orange oil), maltitol, palm oil, vanilla, cornstarch, baking powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, cornstarch, monocalcium phosphate), baking soda."

AH!? WHAT!? Why is there a paragraph of refined and concentrated sugars, oils and chemicals where a short list of ingredients should be? Oh wait. Those ARE the ingredients. If the cost of indulgence is consuming "sodium acid pyrophosphate" - I'd rather just not indulge. 



But luckily you don't have to eat titanium dioxide to enjoy the sweeter side of life, thanks to biological diversity and the kindness of the plant kingdom. I am ALL FOR indulging, I just think we can do it without killing the planet (palm oil... yikes) or breaking out in acne (hey, sugar and dairy). Agree? 



Let's create whole food treats that we can feel proud of eating; for ourselves, our earth and our animal buddies! These healthified (it's a word, okay) bars are chock-full of fibre, protein, and healthy fats. They are pretty dense though, so I'm guessing you'll just need one. I had one for breakfast and it gave me loads of energy for the day. If you want more than that - go for it. Then have a dance party to stay sexy. 



cranberry bliss bars: makes 8 large triangles

Blondie cake base:
1 cup oats
1 cup buckwheat groats
1 cup dates
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)

Sweet cream cheese icing:
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (more or less)
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
1/3 cup agave nectar (or 1/2 cup dates)

White orange drizzle & cranberries:
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or cacao butter)
3 tablespoons orange juice 
1/4 teaspoon stevia, if desired (to sweeten and thicken)
1/4 cup dried cranberries 
1 teaspoon orange zest

To make the base: pulse the oats and groats (LOL) in your food processor until they become a rough flour. Add the dates and vanilla and process until it forms a ball. Press into the bottom of a lined baking pan. Set aside, or if you want it to be more like baked cake - dehydrate for a couple hours or use your oven at its lowest temperature. 

To make the cream cheese icing: blend all ingredients until smooth. It's more flavourful if you let it sit a day or two but using it right away is fine too. It's gonna be delicious either way. Spread this over your cake. 

To make the drizzle: blend the melted coconut oil and orange juice together. Add stevia if you want. Sprinkle the dried cranberries and orange zest onto your cake then drizzle on the drizzle. Let it set for a few hours in the fridge. Then enjoy! 

66 comments:

  1. Sounds totally awesome! Cant wait to try!

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  2. I work for Starbucks and I can only say I am SOOO happy you made these and wrote this post :)

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    1. LOL phew I read the first few words and thought you were gonna get mad lol

      xox!!

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  3. These look so great. I love cranberries! And with citrus too? YUM. And dehydrator free too? Even better! I can not wait to try them!
    Thank you!
    Steph

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  4. I have never eaten any sweets from Starbucks, but judging by the description of ingredients your bars sound 100% better! Would love to try one :)!

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  5. I just made these... Put them in the dehydrator for like an hour and a half. They're delicious!! Thank you for the awesome recipe!

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  6. Never had these before, and I only go to a Starbucks once in a blue moon, but your version looks terrific.

    What are buckwheat groats, exactly?

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    1. They're a gluten free grain that is super nutritious and full of fiber and protein :)

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    2. pseudograin from the rhubarb family.

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  7. Yum Em! This looks ridiculously good. I love cranberries... packed with antioxidants and great for urinary tract health.

    I almost ate my screen ;)

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  8. looks like delicious morning scones! like it like it like it!
    <3

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  9. These sound insane! I don't think I've ever had the Starbucks version...but I'm glad I don't have to. This would be infinitely better!

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  10. Hi Emily...

    I am ~so~ going to make these! The worst thing about that horrible ingredient list on the Starbuck's version is all the GMO ingredients (cornstarch, canola oil, soya lecithin, etc).

    Thanks for making a healthier, non-GMO version! : )

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  11. my mouth is watering at work.
    no fair!

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  12. whoa this recipe rules! curious what would happen if i sub maple syrup for the dates in the batter? cause i try to follow food combining = no mixing fruit with other foods...

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  13. Your cranberries look extradionaraly yummy! Where do you get those? Maybe cause all the oes I find have some kind of oil on them, they look shiny-even though organic and unsweetened

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! My mom actually bought fresh cranberries and we dehydrated them ourselves! Because of that very reason haha

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    2. Oh brilliant! How long did they take? I tried to make raisins once and I think it took at least 5 days

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    3. It took quite some time. It's nice to say "we did that ourselves!" but sometimes it's just easier to buy it already dried. :)

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  14. OH WOW! LOOKS DELICIOUS! I RUN BUYING MORE CASHEWS. DEFINITELY WILL MAKE THEM FIRST THING IN THE MORNING. THOSE KIND OF TREATS R MY WEAKNESS.
    BTW, dont u mind if i share this awesomeness with russian people on my blg? Thx in advance :D
    oh! Salivating.

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    Replies
    1. LOL thank you :) Share away! If you could link it to my website that would be much appreciated.

      x

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  15. Wow, they look heavenly, thanks for sharing this!

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  16. Oh my goodness this looks delicious! I love cranberries and orange together.

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  17. Yes please! Sign me up for two. I think we probably have everything here to make that. Great photos btw.

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  18. This was my first time making a raw recipe and they were very tasty! I had some trouble getting the cake base to hold together - perhaps not enough dates? Any recommendations?

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    Replies
    1. Hmm yeah more dates :) You can always adjust to what you need or want!

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  19. eva @VegucatingMyKidsFebruary 12, 2013 6:22 am

    i just made these yesterday and now sitting down with morning coffee and savoring every bite of this creation!...i have been a plant-based/non-processed eater for almost 3 years now...although i've kicked cravings for unhealthy foods like the starbucks cranberry bliss bar, i can't help but smile when i see one in the case every year...i kept hoping one day that i could find a recipe that was close enough, but nutritious as well...and your recipe came to my inbox!...i made your recipe exactly, except that i added 1/4 cup coconut oil to the base and baked at 350F until the sides were lightly brown...(i include alot of raw into my eating, but not a purist)...thank you for this inspiration...already placed in my keep file..

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  20. Hi, about to make these tomorrow, do the buckwheat groats need to be soaked or something? I have a bag of dried buckwheat groats...Many thanks for your help, always impressed with your photos, makes me want to try all of your recipes!

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  21. I made these today. They taste great! But they do not look all drippy and yummy like the photo. The cashew topping came out cakey not drippy. How can I correct that? I used dates with the cashews, as you suggested, since I don't like using agave.

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    1. Hmm... add more liquid. Even water or some vegan milk would be fine! =)

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  22. Should I soak the buckwheat groats beforehand? I can only locally purchase dried buckwheat in the uk :-(

    Kindest regards,

    Doc :-D

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    Replies
    1. Yes, soak them for an hour or so in water =)

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  23. Made these today and they are totally awesome! Didn't know I needed to soak the groats - guess that's why my batter was dry to begin with and then I added a little orange juice to form the dough because it wasn't coming together...missed the soaking of the groats...but they turned out great anyway :-)

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  24. I love the starbucks cranberry bliss bars, so am anxious to try these out. I am confused though...looking through your recipes you seem to frequently use Agave Nectar.

    More and more I am reading that, pretty definitively, Agave nectar is bad for you. It’s not traditional, not natural, highly refined, and contains more concentrated fructose than high fructose corn syrup.

    I do take note that you don't seem to use a lot of it, but I wonder if there is something that could take the place of it.

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    1. Mm yes, I'm getting several comments on that and to be honest - I'm with ya. I am not a fan of it. Another option is maple syrup but that's almost as troubling. So I think for people who want a truly whole foods sweetener - try date paste. As soon as I finish up my agave nectar that's what I'll be using.

      =)

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  25. I've tried these at Starbucks and your version looks MUCH better! Can't wait to try!

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  26. i really want to make these but i'm allergic to nuts... can i sub in something else? thanks!

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    1. Yes! You can sub in coconut meat or banana. If you use banana though, it will taste VERY banana-y =)

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    2. thanks! banana sounds perfect!

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  27. Hi Emily! I really want to make these but I am gluten intolerant. Can I use something besides oats in the base?

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    1. Yep! Just sub in an extra cup of buckwheat groats to make up for the oats! Buckwheat is GF =)

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  28. The buckwheat I have says "Buckwheat brown" will this still work? Thanks :)

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  29. I Can't wait to try this! I also can't wait for your book!!! Get on that would ya?! ;P

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  30. Hiya! I'm so keen on making these, but I live in Thailand and I can't get buckwheat groats anywhere :-( Is there anything I can sub them for? x

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    1. Yeah! You can use oats instead :) Or any nuts or seeds.

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  31. Oh boyohboy, you are so good at feeding my raw food obsession (I'm not totally raw just yet, I'm slowly transitioning from vegan to raw vegan). And I am going to make these badboys this weekend. I suppose oats wouldn't be considered 100% raw would they? I'm cool with that, just curious. Also, as a fellow Vancouverite- I'm wondering, where do you buy your cacao butter? I have no idea where to look. It seems the healthy markets I shop at on Commercial don't have it in stock.

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    1. You can buy raw oats (online is easiest) but regular rolled oats work just fine too. Depends on how strict you are. Also - I buy my cacao butter at Choices or Whole Foods. If you can't find it there - you can buy it online from Upaya Naturals. :)

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  32. I made these last night, but the base turned out too crumbly. I used my vitamix style blender instead of a food processor for the dates/oats n groats flour mixture. Perhaps I needed to add more dates (and possibly buy a food processor)? Anyway, it still tastes delicious. I think I'll experiment with the base though to see if I can get it a little more solid :)

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    1. Yep! Whenever a mixture is too crumbly, just add more dates or coconut oil or whatever :)

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  33. What size pan did you use to make these?

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  34. And how do you store these?

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  35. I read your amazing recipes and enjoy your web layout and I realize that I sooo don't have the time to perfect my blog with everything else I want to do. I'm still going to work on it when I can, but I'm so glad that I can go to sites like yours and find great recipes that are healthy for my family!!!! I'm not vegan, but my diet is levitically strict so it is a valuable resource!!

    www.firstfruitfullyliving.com

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  36. Excellent recipes!! Would I have the honour of including some of your vegan pics in my mobile app. It's a free app (for Androids and iphones)! I am doing this to promote vegan foods to Singapore and especially friends who say they need more ideas for vegan foods. Your URL will appear in a credits page. HELP me reach out to more, please! Get in touch with me soon. God bless!

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  37. I can't wait to make this recipe! Do you think i could substitute the groats for buckwheat flour if i had to?

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  38. I've saved this recipe under bookmarks about five times, because each time I stumble across it I am delighted and tell myself it is a "must" to make! I see in your comments that buckwheat flour can be used instead of the groats - I've never used buckwheat before but got a pack the other day - how does using the flour change the consistency? Does the flour act like a type of almond flour, in that it doesn't require baking (so that the cake remains raw)? Yum!

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    1. It doesn't change it much; it's not QUITE as smooth but that's about it. I love the flavour. Yep! You could use almond flour if you want...

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