BitterSweet

Sweet Musings with a Bitterly Sharp Wit

Mocha Me Crazy

22 Comments

Crispy edges shatter upon the most tender, tentative of bites, giving way to a gently chewy interior rife with toasted nuts. Sweet, but balanced by the naturally bitter nuances of coffee and dark cocoa, this riot of flavor and texture all comes in a modest, unassuming little bar. While most holiday cookies are lavished with bold frosted jewels and colorful sugar crystals, the prettiest confections would be hard-pressed to compete with such unvarnished indulgence. Most would dub such an accomplishment as a resounding baking success, so it might come as a surprise that the whole lot of them was almost destined for the trash heap.

Though glorious in their own quiet sort of way, these treats were born of much loftier aspirations- Literally. Back in the very early stages of aquafaba awareness, many crazy experiments were carried out in the name of science, and sweet tooth-fueled cravings, of course. Admittedly, the frustration of failure has darkened the memory of their origins, so it’s hard to say exactly what I had intended while dutifully whipping chickpea brine into submission. A seriously nutty sponge cake, perhaps? Regardless of intention, the results fell flat.

Trying hard to salvage the thin, brittle sheet of confectionery matter, I picked up the pieces and dutifully went through the motions of styling and photography, but remained dispirited. If not for certain interlopers that kept swiping errant crumbs and strongly suggesting that a proper taste test was in order, the recipe would have immediately hit the digital dust bin. Thank goodness for that persistence which saved a new family favorite.

Rising from the ashes and crumbs, I’m pleased to finally present these Mocha-Nut Bars as part of Rodelle’s 2017 Holiday Cookie Campaign. Pooling together some of the brightest (and sweetest) minds in the blogosphere, there’s no shortage of sugar or spice here. In fact, the master bakers at Rodelle have taken it upon themselves to ensure that, and have generously offered to provide their unrivaled baking cocoa for many more rounds of delicious experimentation.

GIVEAWAY ALERT! Enter to win one of two 8-ounce jars of this superlative baking cocoa by telling me in the comment section: What has been your most delicious recipe “failure” or mistake to date? Log your submission and find more ways to enter though the official giveaway form.

Baking, as with most things in life, doesn’t always go exactly according to plan on the first try. The only real mistake, however, would be letting those challenges prevent us from finding entirely new successes in the process.

Mocha-Nut Bars

1/2 Cup Toasted Pistachios, Chopped
1/2 Cup Toasted Cashews, Chopped
1/2 Cup Toasted Pecans, Chopped
1/2 Cup Almond Meal
2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
1/3 Cup Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder
1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
2 Teaspoons Instant Coffee Powder or Granules
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Aquafaba
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3/4 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9×9-inch square pan.

Mix together the nuts, almond meal, confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, flour, instant coffee, salt, and baking soda. Make sure there are no clumps, and that all the ingredients are well distributed throughout before proceeding.

Place the aquafaba in the bowl of your stand mixer and whip on high speed for about 10 minutes, until light and fluff. Slowly add in about half of the dry mixture, mixing gently until incorporated. Fold in the remaining half by hand using a wide spatula. Add in the oil and vanilla last, stirring as little as possible to keep the batter nice and airy.

Spread the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until the top is glossy (but not wet) and slightly crackled in appearance. Let cool completely before slicing. Store in an airtight container for 3 – 5 days.

Makes 12 – 16 Bars

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

22 thoughts on “Mocha Me Crazy

  1. Sounds like one of the best failures around, Hannah. I don’t know if this counts as a failure, but one year we made a double batch of molasses crinkles, a family favorite. They have to chill in the fridge, but they never made it out to be baked. We ate them straight from the fridge. :-) I guess you could call that a failure to bake.

    janet

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well they look delicious to me (but everything you make does, so…)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I tend to make foods that look bad but taste good, although recently I managed to make some chocolate chip banana bread that both looked and tasted good!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How I would like to have one of these right now with a decaf cappuccino. As long as they taste good, that’s all that matters.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. These look perfect and I’m tempted to bring them to a company potluck, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Baking vegan brownies at high altitude has been a big hurdle, and I made a batch that looked uncooked. It didn’t stop my husband from eating them – if there is chocolate he will devour it. But there are no real failures with vegan baking because you don’t have to worry about getting sick with uncooked foods.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This looks very tempting and I love things containing nuts.. And it is great to experiment and nothing ever fails, :-) xxx <3 Love and Best wishes your way Hannah. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The best baking failure I have ever accomplished.. i had grand intentions of making a chocolate genoise cake for a coworker for her 60th birthday. I was going to decorate it with whipped cream frosting, and black accents.
    I prepped everything; preheat oven, got all my bowls, mixing utensils, and sheet pan prepared, ingredients measured carefully, it looked like a full on cooking show in my kitchen. i go about mixing the genoise together, mixing -mixing- mixing. Answer the phone, talk a few minutes, then fill the sheet pan and stick it in the preheated oven.

    I was so excited as i was cleaning up the mess, then I found the melted butter. DANGIT! it was far too late to even try to fix it.

    I went ahead anyway, rushed through my brain on other ways to salvage what I was doing, and decided to try a roulade.

    It turned out perfect. Firm enough to hold the shape of the roll, and whipped cream filling. Soft enough to not have the texture of rubber.

    Happy mistakes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, that really is incredible! Considering how demanding roll cakes are, it’s nothing short of a miracle that you created the perfect roulade while going against all traditional ratios. I hope you saved that “ruined” recipe!

      Like

  9. Sounds like an easy-to-make treat for kids. I usually love make very few bar cookies. This is on my weekend baking list.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My delicious recipe failure is pecan pie!

    Like

  11. Wow, your photos are so professional!

    Like

  12. My friend and I tried making ganache once and it didn’t work out, but it still was tasty.

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  13. I tried to make a lemon layer cake for my daughter but I’m horrible at cake decorating. I thought I was doing well by making a frosting wall before adding the lemon curd, but the whole cake pretty much toppled over. It was tasty though!

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  15. It should be a nice treat for my children in the holiday! Thanks

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  16. I was trying to make these Chinese red date and walnut candies, but they turned out too hard (tooth breaking) (the texture is supposed to be soft and chewy). So I blitzed them in the food processor and added them to a brownie batter; they came out great! The walnuts provided crunch and texture and the red dates complemented and added another dimension to the cocoa flavor. Really interesting combination.

    Like

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  18. My biggest failure that came out great was when I made lemon meringue pie the lemon filling was so runny I thought it would never set, finally after a day it set and was great. Thank you for the opportunity to win this!!

    Like

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