Bars & Squares, Vegan

Vegan Nanaimo Bars

December 9, 2016

Vegan Nanaimo Bars //

Vegan Nanaimo Bars //

It finally feels like Christmas!

It’s snowing for the first time in December in two years. Even as an adult, I’m pretty excited. I’m hoping we have a white christmas.

We’ve also already hosted our first two christmas get togethers, and I’ve had my work staff party.

As a teacher, it’s pretty exciting to have an entire class of students watching out the window as the snowflakes begin to fall. Needless to say, we’re not getting a whole lot accomplished in these last two weeks of school.

Another reason it’s beginning to feel like christmas is that I’ve almost finished all my baking. I parked myself in the kitchen last weekend and cranked out what can only be described as an overload of sugar. My husband’s friend always ask how he is so thin with the amount of baking I do, but he always tells them that he’s not allowed to eat it. Which is true – I always tell him he’s not allowed to touch it until It’s out for guests, then he can finally have some. He’s so deprived.

I knew I had to make the classic christmas treats – and that included nanaimo bars. My grandma always made them as a kid, and then my aunt took over making them. She was the nanaimo bar queen. I asked her for her recipe before, and I try and make them as good as she does.

Vegan Nanaimo Bars //

This year however, I decided to try something a little different. After doing some investigating, Graham Crackers are actually vegan. They contain no egg or butter. So I thought why not try and make vegan nanaimo bars! I subbed the butter for coconut oil – which works perfectly as this is essentially a coconut dessert. And then I used a flax egg – which I wasn’t sure about, but it turned out great as well!

You can of course make the original, subbing butter and eggs, but I can honestly say these are AS good, if not Better – than the original.

Vegan Nanaimo Bars //

Happy Baking! & hope you get to enjoy some snow

Vegan Nanaimo Bars
These Nanaimo Bars are just as delicious as the original version, but made slightly healthier with coconut oil and flax seed eggs.
Write a review
For the Base
  1. 1 cup Coconut Oil
  2. 1/2 cup Sugar
  3. 10 tbsp. Dark Cocoa
  4. 1 flax egg ( 1 Tbs. Ground Flax Seeds + 3 Tbs. Water )
  5. 2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  6. 3/4 cup Walnuts, chopped
  7. 2 cups coconut
Second Layer
  1. ½ cup coconut oil, solid at room temperature
  2. 1/4 cup vegan butter
  3. 2 Tbsp Almond Milk
  4. 2 Tbsp. Birds Custard Powder
  5. 2-3 cups icing sugar
Third Layer
  1. Dark Chocolate
  2. tsp. of coconut oil
  1. In the top of a double boiler (if you do not own one, place a glass or metal bowl over top of a sauce pan filled with simmering water) melt together the coconut oil. Add in sugar and cocoa, whisk to combine. Remove from heat when fully melted.
  2. In a small bowl make the flax egg.
  3. Slowly whisk it into the melted butter and cocoa mixture. Continue to whisk until it thickens.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the crumbs, coconut and chopped walnuts.
  5. Press mixture into a parchment lined 9"x13" pan and place in fridge, covered.
  6. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment whip the coconut oil until pale and creamy. Add the almond milk and custard powder and continue to beat. Slowly add the icing sugar and whip until the consistency of frosting.
  7. Take the chilled base out of the fridge. Spoon the custard layer over top, using a offset spatula or spatula to smooth evenly over top of bottom layer.
  8. Place in fridge, covered to set 3-4 hours, or overnight.
  9. You want the base to set and harden completely.
  10. Once chilled, remove from fridge. Carefully lift out of the pan using the parchment paper.
  11. Using a long knife, cut evenly into 1.5 x 1.5 inch bars.
  12. Finally, after you have sliced the bars fully into squares place them onto a cooling rack with a piece of parchment paper underneath. Melt the Chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave in 1 minutes intervals, stirring until fully melted. Spoon the melted chocolate into a ziplock bag or piping bag and snip off the corner. Drizzle the melted chocolate over top of the bars. Place aside to allow chocolate to set.
  13. To store the bars, place them in an airtight container in the fridge separating the layers with parchment. Alternatively, you can place them back into the 9x13" pan and cover.
  1. The bars also freeze very well.
b a k e a h o l i c



Vegan Gluten-Free Gingerbread Waffles

December 4, 2016




It’s the first weekend of December, and the holidays are beginning!

Thinking forward to Christmas morning, these Vegan Gluten-Free Gingerbread Waffles would be perfect for breakfast. 

The aroma of gingerbread spices fills the air, topped with a light dusting of icing-sugar and drizzled with maple syrup. 

Gingerbread is one of my favourite holiday flavours to play around with. When I was thinking about what to make for a new waffle recipe, I decided I needed to create something a little spicy – like ginger. When I was younger, I loved making gingerbread cookies. But now, as an adult I can appreciate the other ginger-laced goodies. 

When Earth’s Own Almond Milk asked if I wanted to try their Almond Milk, I of course said yes. To be honest, It’s the one I use regularly already! I love that it’s Canadian, and using Almond Milk in recipes is an easy swap. I haven’t had ‘real’ milk in over 6 years! After learning about my dairy intolerances. 

These waffles come together quickly and easily. You probably already have everything on hand for them!

Add waffles to your Christmas morning recipes – they’re sure to be a hit with everyone! Bonus, they’re gluten-free and dairy-free. 


Gingerbread Waffles
Perfect for christmas morning, vegan gluten-free waffles.
Write a review
  1. 1 1/2 cups of Earth's Own Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  2. 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  3. 1 small, ripe banana
  4. 1/4 cup molasses
  5. 2 cups gluten-free flour
  6. 1 tbsp baking powder
  7. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  8. 2 tsp ground ginger
  9. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Heat waffle iron according to directions.
  2. Using hand held blender, blend almond milk, coconut oil, banana, molasses together in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger and cinnamon together in separate bowl.
  4. Slowly add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing well until incorporated.
  5. Use 1/2 cup of batter at a time, ladle onto waffle maker.
  6. Close waffle maker and cook according to your waffle maker's directions.
  7. Top with icing sugar, and pure maple syrup.
b a k e a h o l i c

Thanks to Earth’s Own So Fresh Almond Milk for sending me their product!

Cookies, Italian

Nonna’s Biscotti

December 1, 2016



There’s that one memory everyone has of Christmas. A holiday tradition from childhood that you look forward to each year. For me, it has always been our Italian Christmas Eve. Maybe it’s because of the traditions; feast of seven fishes, midnight mass, opening presents at midnight, and all the delicious Italian food and desserts. Maybe it’s because It’s the holiday that my dad always truly enjoyed celebrating. Each year, just the two of us would venture out and pick out a tree from the nursery. Including those that were too large and towering over in our living room, sure to fall over. 

I always tell my husband Adam that he’s lucky he married me, because it means he gets to celebrate an Italian christmas. And if you’ve ever met my Nonna, she would remind you how everyone wants to be Italian. 


My Nonna has now lived in Canada longer than she lived in Italy. Still, Nonna is steadfast Italian, in every way one can be. She watches the Italian channel, buys shoes Made in Italy, only eats Italian food (except for their favourite Chinese restaurant), and she has a Pope calendar (I mean – I did buy it for her when we were in Italy, but it was replacing this years Pope calendar for next years).

When I was asked by Whole Foods to create a recipe for #MyHolidayTradish – I knew it had to be something Italian. I love the traditions we celebrate at christmas and I want to keep those traditions going. Mastering my Nonna’s biscotti recipe is top on the list. 

I called my Nonna Saturday morning to ask her for her biscotti recipe. The first thing she asked me was, “Didn’t I already give to you?” – which was probably true. I’m sure it’s scratched down somewhere on a piece of paper. But when I couldn’t’ find it, I figured it was faster to call her up and ask for it again rather than keep looking. And truthfully, I always like asking Nonna for her recipes, having her translate over the phone, always asking herself questions like “teaspoon? no, no tablespoon. How you say?” 

Biscotti is an italian christmas staple. Really, an anytime staple. However, growing up, christmas was always marked by the baking of biscotti, stored in her cookie tins – and my brother and I sneaking as many as we could off of the tray before dinner on christmas eve. 

Some things haven’t changed. 


My Nonna will always be the ultimate biscotti baker, however, I think mine are pretty dang close. I did substitute coconut oil for the vegetable oil she uses, and I really think it works great. You can’t taste it, and I feel better about using coconut oil. She also uses more eggs than others I’ve seen, and I think this accounts for the soft cookie texture and hard exterior. 

Here’s where I find most biscotti recipes differ, and why they’re not as successful. Most recipes I’ve seen say to chill the dough, or work it into a log and shape it. According to my Nonna’s recipe, you use a spoon and do it ‘little by little’ onto the baking dish. I think she’s right – being born in Italy and all. No need for chilling the dough, or rolling it into a log. This will create a tougher cookie, and you want one that has a nice crumb.

Note – this is half of her recipe. It makes quite a few, but feel free to double it.

Nonna's Biscotti
An Italian classic and holiday favourite. A crunchy, crisp cookie that's twice baked.
Write a review
  1. 3/4 cup sugar
  2. 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  3. 4 eggs
  4. 1 lemon, zested
  5. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  6. 1 Tbs. + 3 tsp. baking powder
  7. 1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  1. To toast almonds, heat them on medium pan and cook until fragrant, stirring frequently.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
  3. In small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
  4. In medium sized bowl whisk together the sugar, coconut oil, eggs and lemon zest. You can use a hand-held blender or whisk.
  5. Slowly add in the flour. If you're using a hand-blender mix on low slowly. If using a whisk, switch to spatula and fold in flour.
  6. Add Almonds and combine.
  7. The dough will be sticky, and not firm.
  8. Divide into thirds - You will bake three 'logs'
  9. On a lined baking sheet, spoon the dough out to form two long logs. *note* Do not use hands, it will be sticky and this will overwork the dough. Instead, use a spoon and divide batter onto prepared baking dish to form two - 10 to 12 inch-long X 2 or 3 inch-wide X 1 1/2 inch thick logs - spacing about 2 inches apart. They don’t expand much, so it’s ok if they are close to the edge of the baking sheet. You will have enough for a third log.
  10. Bake the logs until they’re golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool the logs completely on the sheet on a wire rack, about 10-15 minutes.
  11. While the first batch cools, bake the third log.
  12. Transfer the cooled logs to a cutting board. Use a serrated knife and cut logs into 1/2-inch-wide slices on a diagonal.
  13. Arrange the slices cut side down on the same baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Turn the biscotti over and continue baking about 8-10 more minutes, just until they’re starting to brown.
  14. Transfer the biscotti to a wire rack and cool.
  15. Store on the counter for up to 1 week. Or store them in the freezer for months.
Adapted from Nonna
Adapted from Nonna
b a k e a h o l i c


This post was sponsored by Whole Foods Market in collaboration with their #MyHolidayTradish campaign to share my holiday food memories.