If vanilla cake and pecan pie had a baby, these would be the product. Imagine a moist, gooey bar that tastes like a vanilla buttery cake, but the texture of a gooey pecan pie and is all topped off with a creamy cashew icing. These are your way to break into Spring.
My daughter repeatedly kept saying "Mommy, these are sooo delicious!" over and over. I knew they were a winner. These bars are raw, gooey, moist, dense and just 8 ingredients. They are full of vanilla flavor, hints of caramel from coconut sugar and a butteriness from pecans. The cashews make them taste super creamy. I also add an odd ingredient, apple juice. It helps to balance out the flavors with a little acidity and aid in the vanilla cake-ish flavor.
They are more firm than they appear in the photos, as these sat out awhile and they soften some at room temperature. Keep them in the freezer for a perfect, firm right-out-of-the-freezer bite full of all your gooey vanilla dreams.
Coconut sugar. How I love you. It is my favorite sweetener that I use. It tastes just like caramel and is not heavily processed like regular sugar and is much lower on the glycemic index than cane sugar and even maple syrup. I love maple syrup and use it a lot in my baking, but I've actually started using coconut sugar more. It just makes everything taste better. Obviously, it is still sugar, so I would never call a sugar healthy, unless it is fruit, but it is one of the better ones to use out there.
There is coconut sugar in the bars and then some sprinkled on top of the icing and it's truly delicious.
I created these bars to feature Sprout Living's "Vanilla Lucuma" Epic protein powder. They recently asked me to review some of their new and improved flavors and I couldn't resist trying them. I have used their products in the past and know them to be top notch among other plant-based proteins/products out there.
Most people think of smoothies when it comes to protein powders, but I wanted to share something a bit more exciting, so these vegan Raw Vanilla Pecan Dream Bars were born. As far as smoothies go, I have to be honest, I stopped drinking smoothies many months ago and don't use protein powders the way I did in the past (everyday). I find I feel better and more satiated with eating/chewing my breakfast, versus drinking it. I will only drink them once in a blue moon now. However, I know smoothies are HUGE for many of you out there and a staple in your diet! Since so many ask me about a good plant-based protein powder, I was thrilled to try out their newest products and share a giveaway for some of them to one of you lucky readers! I'll just be using their products in food versus smoothies for me personally.
All of their products are some of the cleanest you can find, which is why I support them. Not to mention, they are the best tasting plant protein powder I have ever tried in my life. The "Vanilla Lucuma" is my absolute favorite and it tastes and smells delicious straight out of the bag, seriously. I've mentioned this a few times before on the blog. This is the same flavor I used for my Snickerdoodle Cookie Protein Bites.
So many protein powders on the market have so many weird ingredients, additives, preservatives or chemicals. Well, not their products. The ingredients in the Vanilla Lucuma are: Sprouted Brown Rice, Yellow Pea, Sacha Inchi, Cranberry Seed, Lucuma Fruit, Ceylon Cinnamon, Ginger Root, Vanilla Bean, Heirloom Red Banana, Jerusalem Artichoke, Baobab Fruit, Himalayan Pink Sea Salt and Stevia Leaf. Impressive.
One of the changes they made to their original mixes is that they added stevia. Now, if you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know I'm not a fan of it. I've had bad experiences before with it and loathed the aftertaste, but that was because I had used the highly processed powdered white stevia sold in the stores that tastes like pure death. After speaking to the owner, they are not using that awful stuff, instead they source a very high quality organic stevia extract that isn't even the same stuff in stores. This explains why the taste of this protein powder is exceptional and no weird aftertaste. I honestly couldn't get over the taste. It has a wonderful cinnamon and vanilla flavor and perfectly sweet. From the owner: "Our stevia undergoes a more gentle (no harsh solvents or other chemicals) process ensuring a very clean taste."
All of their protein powders contain between 19-26 grams of protein per serving. I personally don't believe in counting calories, macronutrients or obsessing over protein amounts, as it takes away the focus of eating healthy whole foods, but I know people have concern about plant protein out there. So, if you are always pressed for time and drink a lot of smoothies and want to throw in a protein powder, make sure it's a good one! I would rather fuel my body with brown rice protein than whey protein when given the choice. And all of their products come from whole foods, not chemicals.
According to Sprout Living, their products are: *Raw * Vegan *Organic *Non-gmo *Gluten-free
I know some of my readers do not use protein powders or supplements, so I'm providing an alternative so you can still make the recipe. It is important to me that all of my readers can enjoy my recipes! I'd love to hear your feedback below after you make these Raw Vanilla Pecan Dream Bars with Cashew Icing! You can also tag me on Instagram at #thevegan8 so I can see yo fancy creation!
Raw Vanilla Pecan Dream Bars with Cashew Icing
- 1 cup 100g certified gluten-free rolled oats, not instant
- 1/2 cup 56g pecan pieces
- 1/4 cup 40g coconut sugar
- 3 tablespoons Sprout Living "Vanilla Lucuma" Epic protein powder SEE NOTE below to sub
- 1/4 teaspoon 2g fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup 64g super smooth cashew butter, slightly warmed to a soft liquid if it is hard or from the fridge
- 2 tablespoons 40g pure maple syrup or agave
- 2 tablespoons 30g unsweetened apple juice
- 1/2 teaspoon 3g vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons 48g cashew butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (30g pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon 15g unsweetened apple juice
- 1/2 teaspoon 3g vanilla extract
- Extra coconut sugar to sprinkle on top
- Note: I know some of my readers do not use protein powders so if you still want to make the recipe, you can leave it out and just add 2-3 more tablespoons of oats and an extra tablespoon of coconut sugar (since the protein powder provides sweetness). The flavor will change slightly and be less vanilla-ish, but still delicious.
- Add the oats to a food processor and process until a fine flour forms. Add the pecans and coconut sugar and process again until it is finely ground.
- Add the protein powder and salt and process once more until just blended.
- Add the cashew butter, syrup, apple juice and vanilla extract to a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour over the dry ingredients into the food processor. Process until it all comes together in one large bowl and is chunky. As soon as it does this, stop so it doesn't turn into a butter.
- Line a 9x5 loaf pan with plastic wrap (or use a smaller one for thicker bars) and press the mixture out evenly to the corners. Flatten with a spatula.
- Combine the cashew icing ingredients and spread out over the bars. Sprinkle coconut sugar over the top. Place in the freezer until firm and set. Cut into 8 bars. Keep them stored in the freezer or fridge. The icing will be softer in the fridge and I prefer the texture from the freezer. If you leave them out for an extended period of time at room temperature, they will soften more.
Raw, vegan, gluten-free, oil-free
If you don't like or can't have cashews, then I would try subbing a creamy almond butter. I would probably use 3 tablespoons instead of 1/4 cup since almond butter tends to be oilier than cashew butter.
Nutrition per bar (based on 8) without icing: 194.75 calories, 10 g fat, 5.78 g protein, 21.5 carbs, 10.625 g sugars
With icing: 240.78 calories, 13 g fat, 6.9 g protein, 25.7 carbs, 13.5 g sugars
- 1 16 oz bag "Vanilla Lucuma" protein powder
- 1 16 oz bag "Chocolate Maca" protein powder
- 1 Sprout Living Shaker Cup
- 1 Sprout Living Tote Bag
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