This past weekend I invented an accidentally amazing vegan dessert…and it’s rich in magnesium!
It all started with an impulse buy. I picked up a giant tub of Vega All-In-One Nutritional Shake in Mocha flavour, one sale at Whole Foods. Now Mocha sounds like a great idea to a coffee lover, but I’m a greens and fruit smoothie girl, and I challenge you to imagine a green coffee-flavoured smoothie without a shudder.
So what to do with my new supply of Mocha Vega?
Vega powders are naturally quite sweet, so in the past I’ve mixed it into energy balls. I blend up raw oat flakes with the powder, adding in coconut oil, nut butters and cacao, and then rolling the mixture into bite-sized little bombs of goodness. After cooling in the fridge they set to a nice fudge-like consistency.
My plan was to do the same with the Mocha powder.
Only, something went wrong – and then it went unexpectedly, amazingly right.
The trouble was with the oat flakes. Instead of using old-fashioned oats as I usually do, I tried a blend of 8 grains with flax seeds that I had kicking around. The grain mix included flakes of rye, barley, quinoa, spelt, and more, but I think the difficulty was with the millet. Millet is a small, tough seed that becomes soft with cooking. Raw, even blended, it stayed crunchy.
I tried letting it sit for an hour mixed with coconut oil and cashew-brazil nut butter, but the mixture never fully softened. There was just a hint of crunch that I didn’t fancy for an energy ball.
It did, however, strike me as a credible imitation of a graham-crumb-pecan crust. You know, the kind of base that you press into a pan and top with pie filling or cheesecake.
But what to put on top? I had no raw cashews or soft tofu on hand to make vegan cheesecake. But I did have chocolate: a nice stash of dark chocolate vegan chips, which when melted and poured onto the mocha base became the finale of a truly fine vegan dessert.
I am kind of amazed at how good it really is.
However…is it reproducible?
At no point in this creative process did I measure. So, the recipe that follows is very loose, but frankly, it would be tough to mess this one up if you pay attention to consistency. There’s no hard and fast rule about how thick your mocha base should be relative to the chocolate topping, and you can always add more chocolate.
It’s easy and it’s guilt-free.
Sure, it’s rich – I didn’t stint on the coconut oil and nut butters, but you won’t find a hint of refined sugar. These bars also boast a great nutrient profile thanks to the Vega powder and the naturally-nutritious properties of grains, flax seeds, nuts, and dark chocolate.
Sold? Ok, here’s what you need to do:
- Blend/process about 1 cup of a hearty oat-based cereal blend. Mine was Rogers Ancient Grain blend with millet, oats, barley, flax seeds and more. A good substitute would be Bob’s Red Mill 5 Grain Hot Cereal mix. (These minimally-processed grains are a good source of magnesium.)
- Add 1 scoop Vega Mocha Nutritional Shake. The mocha flavour really makes this dessert, however, if you don’t have this product on hand, use another sweet protein powder or a combination of raw cacao and stevia or maple syrup. You might be able to reproduce the mocha flavour by mixing instant coffee granules with coconut oil and stirring over heat to dissolve the granules.
- Add in coconut oil and nut butter by the tablespoon, starting with 1 tbsp each. I used Nuts to You Rainforest Nut Butter, which is a combination of cashews, brazil nuts and coconut oil. (Both of these nuts are high in magnesium, by the way.)
- As you add in each tbsp, mix completely, taking note of the emerging texture. You want a crumb base, so it needs to hold together when you press it into the pan. It should be fully moist and not at all sandy.
- Press the crust mixture into the bottom of a loaf pan.
- Melt very dark vegan chocolate (a good source of magnesium) with a bit of coconut oil to keep it from burning. I used a regular sauce pan with the heat at minimum and stirred regularly.
- Once melted, sweeten the chocolate mixture with a bit of maple syrup, if desired. Pour chocolate over the crust.
- Refrigerate until completely cool, and then use a very sharp knife to cut out squares. In retrospect, it might have been easier to also oil the pan, or use parchment paper, but because of the coconut oil in this recipe the squares popped out cleanly without much difficulty.
If you try this yourself, let me know how it works out! And if you’re the measuring sort, share how you nailed down the precise amounts.
More the experimental type? Then take it to another level with add-ons. I suspect the crust would be even more amazing with blended or shredded coconut, and I can definitely see topping the finished product with fresh berries or adding a dollop of vegan whipped cream or vegan ice-cream.