Cherry and Walnut Bars



1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped


3 T. vegan margarine
2 T. apple juice
2 T. maple sugar crystals or unbleached cane sugar (or white sugar from sugar beets)
1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 t. almond extract
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 T. oat bran
2 T. wheat germ or wheat bran
1/4 t. cinnamon
safflower oil, for oiling the pan
Veganized Powdered Sugar Version 2, for garnishing

In a small saucepan, place the dried cherries and apple juice, and set aside to soak for 20 minutes. Place the saucepan over low heat and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor, and process for 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Add the walnuts, pulse a few times to combine, and set mixture aside. To prepare the crust: in a medium bowl, place the margarine, apple juice, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract, and stir until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to form a crumb-like dough.

Using a little safflower oil, lightly oil (or mist with oil) a 9-inch square baking pan. Place 3/4 cup of the crust mixture in the prepared pan, and using your hands, press it firmly to cover the bottom of the pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool for 3 minutes. Carefully spread the cherry filling over the prepared crust, and then sprinkle the remaining crust mixture over the top of the cherry filling. Return the pan to the oven and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting into 16 pieces. Sprinkle a little Veganized Powdered Sugar Version 2 over the tops of the bars before serving.

*Note: To create other variations of the bars, you can substitute other dried berries or fruits for the dried cherries in the filling.

Yield: One 9-inch pan


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The Vegan Chef
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