I went old school with this bake and did something I haven’t done in a very long time. I used a wooden spoon to stir. After a somewhat frenzied baking spree last Saturday evening, the beaters from my whisk were covered in some sort of batter and as my mountain of washing up grew, I decided I’d just do all the washing up in one go – a rookie mistake if there ever was one (trust me when I say it’s so much better to clear as you go!). Due to the growing pile of mess, I opted for a wooden spoon and I mixed.
Mixing by hand felt strange but familiar as it was something I always had the chance to do when I was little, helping out mum whenever she was creating something in the kitchen. She always whisked everything by hand, butter and sugar would get beaten together so fast, so much so I felt like she was the strongest women in the world. The magic of whisking ingredients together to create something gets lost when using electric mixers, it does all the hard work for you. I can’t say I’ll start doing everything by hand, but I will try to pick up my wooden spoon every now and again.
After being inspired by this recipe, I wanted to make a cookie hybrid of sorts. If you want to bake something a little bit different this Christmas to wow your friends, then these cookie bars are it. My housemate has actually declared her order for another batch. Loaded with peanut butter, these cookie bars are salty, gooey and incredibly moreish. The pretzels are there for added crunch and saltiness, but if you don’t want to use them then they’ll still taste great. Sprinkle the tops with flakey sea salt and even more chocolate drizzled over the top and serve warm with ice-cream for a very decadent dessert.
- 125g dairy free butter, melted (such as flora freedom spread)
- 50g caster sugar
- 150g brown sugar
- 225g plain flour
- 50g oats
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 3 tbsp aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas)
- ½ tbsp vanilla bean paste
- 100g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks (ensure it contains no dairy to keep vegan)
- 100g peanut butter, smooth or chunky
- 16 pretzels
- Flakey sea salt to sprinkle on top (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180oc and line a 20cm square tin with greaseproof paper
- Mix the melted butter and sugars together until no lumps remain
- Add the aquafaba and vanilla and whisk until combined
- Stir in the flour, oats, salt, bicarbonate of soda and fold gently until no floury patches remain
- Finally, fold in the chocolate chips until dispersed throughout the dough
- Spread half of the mixture into the tin and smooth out into the corners so it is even (you can use your hands or a spatula to do this as the dough will be sticky). Dollop small amounts of peanut butter all over the dough then use the remaining half of the dough to cover the top.
- Press the pretzels evenly over the top, then bake for 20 mins until golden and it has slightly risen
- Leave to cool on a wire rack before cutting into bars and sprinkling with flakey sea salt