The Canadian Food Experience Project: Vegan Chocolate Haystacks (Gluten-Free)

Vegan Chocolate Haystacks
Somehow virtually all of my Christmas shopping is done but I have barely started on Christmas baking. What is wrong with that picture? Well I had to get my act together and make SOMETHING for the December round of the Canadian Food Experience Project, a Canadian Christmas tradition. When it comes to Christmas traditions in my family, my grandma always gives us about a years worth of baking. Now that she is older, I have taken responsibility for a lot of it. One of our family favourites is straight out of the Lutheran Church cookbook. I love that thing, it is hilarious to flip through it and read the recipes.
“Mix and bake at 350F.” Ok but for how long?
“Bake and eat with hunger.” Do I ever eat any other way?
It goes to show that people used to actually have cooking knowledge and instinct. They didn’t need a recipe to tell them that cookies take about 10-12 minutes, you just have to look and see if they are browned to know they are done.
Anyways, as I was saying, one of our favourite recipes in the book is for no-bake chocolate cookies. Me being me, I couldn’t leave it alone and decided to veganize the recipe into vegan chocolate haystacks. All that meant was replacing the butter with coconut oil and removing the milk, adding a slash of water instead to get everything going. Oh and I guess I used brown sugar instead of white sugar (more flavour) and no coconut (this was a logistical thing, I just didn’t have any on-hand). All in all, I actually preferred this recipe to the original. It would be even better with some shredded coconut which would accentuate the flavour of the coconut oil. If you have some, feel free to stir about 1/4 cup into the oats.
These vegan chocolate haystacks are a start but I still have a lot of baking to go! Shortbread, icebox cookies, coconut balls and who knows what else. What Christmas baking traditions do you have in your family?  Is there a recipe you have been eating at Christmas time for as long as you can remember? I would love to hear all of your stories and traditions and perhaps get some inspiration for the rest of my baking!
Vegan Chocolate Haystacks
Vegan Chocolate Haystacks

Vegan Chocolate Haystacks (Gluten-Free)
Makes 12-14

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup rolled oats (make sure they are non-contaminated)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch salt

Instructions

1. Measure out your oats and put them in a bowl. Also, line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar and cocoa. Stir to get rid of any noticeable lumps.
3. Add the coconut oil and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once it reaches a rolling boil, let it go for a minute or so before removing it from the heat and stirring in the vanilla.
4. Pour the hot sugar/cocoa/oil mixture over your rolled oats and stir to combine.
5. Dollop the mixture onto your lined cookie sheet. Let the haystacks cool to room temperature as this will allow them to harden into a cohesive mound. You can speed up the process by popping them in the freezer for a couple of minutes.
6. Store in an airtight container either at room temperature or in the fridge. If you end up stacking them, separate the layers with parchment to prevent them from sticking. Enjoy!

Vegan Chocolate Haystacks
Vegan Chocolate Haystacks

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