Archive for Author Rebecca Coleman

Blueberry Lemon Bars {Vegan}

Vegan Blueberry Lemon Bars

Well, it’s officially summer here in Vancouver, though the weather seems to be a bit confused as to what season it is. However, July 15 is Blueberry Day, so hence today’s recipe.

To add to the long list of why 2020 sucks, our summer has been pretty cold and rainy so far. OH! And! Apparently it’s also a banner year for mosquitoes. So yeah. Good times.

What this situation calls for is baked goods, because, let’s face it, there’s no situation that cannot be improved by the application of cake.Lemon Blueberry Bars

Given that none of us can venture too far this summer, Michael and I are making plans to explore our “backyard,” by which I mean, our province. We recently headed out to Fort Langley last week to explore.

If you’ve never been to Fort Langley, it’s pretty awesome. It has such charm, and some really lovely places to browse. In addition to the historical Fort (which is only half open, sadly), the town itself has some pretty interesting things to see, including Blacksmith Bakery, which I highly recommend.

BC Blueberries

On our way home, we hit up a couple of berry farms, and came home with some locally-grown berry booty; strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.

Pie ensued. Also a lemon tart with garnished with glazed fresh berries.

Lemon Tart

But the blueberries… what to do with them?

Lemon and blueberries make good friends, so I decided to pair the two. This is a really simple recipe that I think turned out quite elegant and lovely.

Blueberry Lemon Bars Vegan

Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Bars {Vegan}

Ingredients for the crust:

  • 1 cup vegan butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • zest of one lemon
  • ½ teaspoon salt

ingredients for the filling:

  • 1 ½ cups blueberries
  • ¼ cup water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour or cornstarch

Method

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, or using a hand-held mixer in a large bowl, cream together the vegan butter and the sugar. Mix well together until they are light and creamy. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and mix to combine. Add in the flour in three batches, mixing in between each until incorporated. Take a little more than half of the mixture and press it into a 8″x8″ greased (or parchment-lined) square pan. Set aside while you make the filling.
  2. In a medium-sized pot, place the water, blueberries, half the lemon juice and sugar. Bring up to a boil and then turn down the heat and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. Us a potato masher to squish up the blueberries a little. Place the flour or cornstarch in a small mason jar with the remaining lemon juice and shake well to combine. Add the slurry to your blueberry mixture, bring it back up to the boil and allow to cook down for an additional 5 minutes, until thickened.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Pour the blueberry compote over the shortbread layer in your pan. Then break the remaining shortbread up into chunks with your hands and scatter it over the blueberry mixture. You want there to be peeks of blueberries through the crust. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, until the top is golden and the blueberries are bubbly. Cool and cut into squares to serve.

Vegan Yogurt

Y’all know how much I love my gadgets. I really, really do. And one I’ve had for a really long time is my Cuisinart yogurt maker. It makes yogurt really simple. Just add milk, starter, stir, and let it go for 8 hours (see that recipe here).

How about non-dairy yogurt though?

Making vegan yogurt poses special problems. You see, milk or cream is made up of three components: water, fat  and proteins. When milk is homogenized, they all hang together. But add heat or bacteria (or both) and the mixture breaks, creating solids, which is how yogurt and cheese are made.

Vegan Soy Yogurt

Vegan milk is different in its chemical makeup. The biggest challenge with making a dairy-free yogurt is that it won’t thicken in the same way. You often have to add something to thicken it, like agar or some kind of starch.

A few months back, before the world shut down, I was attending a trade show and was excited to discover a vegan yogurt starter from Yogourmet. This is a product I’ve been using for years to make dairy yogurt, so I was super stoked that they had created a non-dairy version.

It’s supposed to be as simple to make as the regular stuff; you heat your soy milk to just over 100 degrees, then add the starter, and then put it into the yogourt maker for 6-8 hours.

Soy and coconut (find my coconut yogurt recipe here) are most often used in non-dairy yogurts. Soy is most like dairy in terms of its chemical makeup, and coconut has lots of fat, giving it that creamy mouth feel.

You can watch the entire process (this was the first time I tried this ever) here:

The final result was… okay. It was kind of lumpy and not as thick as I ideally would have liked for it to be. I think maybe no matter which milk you are using for a vegan yogurt, you need to use some kind of thickener. I’ll experiment next with oat milk and thickeners… stay tuned!

Download the directions on how to make Vegan Soy Yogurt here.

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