This recipe is inspired by an absolutely magnificent creation I have had twice from Chau Veggiexpress. It's a vegetarian - almost entirely vegan - restaurant on Victoria Drive that has a menu with a Vietnamese lean. All their savory menu items are incredible: mainly nourishing, steamy rice noodle bowls packed with fresh herbs, vegetables, sauces and served with deliciously salty broths. I have never been disappointed. In fact I've always been delightfully surprised by the aromatics, textures, flavours and colours of my meals at Chau.

But you know me by now (I hope): I am all about that sugar. So when I realized they had a dessert window and A VEGAN ICE CREAM FREEZER - creations thanks to Chef Andrew Han - I immediately started panting heavily. I spilt a pint of their Thai Iced Tea ice cream with a friend and MY GAWD my life has never been the same. They use rice flour as an ingredient and it's my hunch that that's what brings it to the next level. It was so thick and creamy it was almost chewy, in the best way imaginable. Another delicacy that I got to enjoy on two occasions is their Chocolate Hazelnut Praline Bar. AGH. WHAT. HOW. As soon as I took a bite I knew I had to try my hand at recreating the sweet magic in my own kitchen. My friend and I sat on her bed for a good 15 minutes taking very slow, thoughtful bites as I wrote down notes on what I thought the ingredients might be. #research

I am far too lazy so I actually didn't even put hazelnuts in my version here. I ran out so I used pecans instead, because I made a whack load of pecan butter a couple weeks ago. My version is freaking LEGIT - make it, live it, love it - but you really need to get your booty to Chau on Victoria and try their bars as well. See ya there!?

Note: Chau has not paid me to speak so highly of them in this post, honestly there is no professional relationship here whatsoever, I'm not being compensated in any way (although if someone from Chau reads this and wants to give me free food: heeeeey). I have simply fallen in love with them and their menu over the past couple months and want more people to know they exist and are serving up fresh and fancy plant-based eats and sweets.


[ makes 9 fat bars ]

Cookie base:
1 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup cacao powder
Pinch sea salt
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup gooey pitted dates

Praline cream:
1 cup full fat coconut cream
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup pecan butter
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon melted cacao butter
Pinch sea salt

Salted chocolate:
2 tablespoons cacao powder
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel 

To make the cookie base: grind the coconut into rough flour then process all the ingredients together in a food processor, until they form a moist dough that holds its shape when pressed between two fingers. Press into the bottom of a lined baking pan. I used a 6-inch square pan lined with parchment paper. Leave in the fridge.

To make the praline cream: blend all ingredients until smooth and thick like cream. Adjust according to taste. Pour over your cookie base and leave in the fridge until it has solidified, preferably overnight. 

To make the chocolate: whisk the ingredients together until you have formed liquid chocolate. Pour over your praline cream layer, sprinkle on the fleur de sel and leave in the fridge until solid. Slice into bars and enjoy!