free-wheelin’ vegan wagon wheels

healthy, vegan wagon wheels // via thefirstmess.compin it!raspberry bushes and a bunny // via thefirstmess.compin it!berry delivery // via thefirstmess.compin it!healthy, vegan wagon wheels // via thefirstmess.compin it!
Bringing you a forever-summer recipe today! The air’s still balmy around here, so something cool and sweet tucked into the fridge/freezer has been very necessary about 100% of the time. I was aaaawfully tempted to call these “back on the wagon wheels” but thought I’d spare you that major dose of cheese. Even if there’s an obvious feeling of fresh starts and all things good post-labour day (AND post-full moon in pisces whoooooa), I’m not gonna go there with dessert.

I do feel some deep down inspiration right around this time of year, always. Maybe that’s a leftover from school days, but it’s extra applicable with the work that takes up my days now. Every crop collides, grows wild, and comes into season with pretty much perfect results. The sun sets a bit earlier, pushing us to take better advantage of our days, to be more productive in a way that still feels human. There are breezes, cicadas, new bird songs, and just more sounds in general entering my baseline level of awareness. Even if I don’t go anywhere or do anything particularly remarkable, the days feel full to the brim.

I have a mini trip to California this week and a weekend in Montreal with friends at the end of the month, but other than that, I have some grandma-core plans to stay close to home with my party posse of 1 + puppy. This in-between micro season always feels like the best time to enact some new habits for a better life on the whole, so some extra time to devote to those new ways is what I’m looking forward to the most. We did a top-to-bottom clean of the house over the weekend, re-arranged some stuff, I had a minor freakout and purged probably too much clothing, and we’re finally getting some critical repairs done to our beloved porch. It was the one-two physical and mental de-cluttering punch that I needed. Perhaps to clamp down on a certain book? ;)

I thought about saving a recipe like this for a future project or something, but I think we could all use a jammy wagon wheel to enhance this time-pocket of things wrapping up and other things beginning all over again. If you’re not familiar with wagon wheels, they seem to be more of a sensation in the UK, Canada, and Australia. It’s essentially a chocolate-covered biscuit treat with marshmallow-like filling and a variety of jams, caramel etc. in the middle.

My version is maxed out with feel-good stuff like chia jam (made with the insane abundance of raspberries from my parents garden), vegan chocolate, and a creamy filling made from coconut butter. I’m a forever summer kinda gal, so I’d recommend enjoying these treats outside on a stoop, your deck, or just laying in the grass–straight from the fridge too. This recipe looks like a lot of stuff and steps on the surface, but I think I was just being extra thorough. It’s some minor food processor usage, some chocolate melting, and a little freezer wait time for the most part. Nothing major except the flavour, babes :D

Aaaaaall the big hugs!

making healthy, vegan wagon wheels // via thefirstmess.compin it!healthy, vegan wagon wheels // via thefirstmess.compin it!raspberry bushes and a bunny // via thefirstmess.compin it!
healthy, vegan wagon wheels recipe
cookie portion from Melissa King’s DIY Nut Milks, Nut Butters, And More: From Almonds to Walnutsas first seen on This Rawsome Vegan Life
Print the recipe here!
serves: makes 6 huge wagon wheels or 12 more-reasonably sized ones ;)
notes: You could use raw agave nectar in the creamy filling, make yourself a raw version of chia jam, and whip up some raw chocolate if you want these babes to vibrate at a higher frequency. Also, coconut butter is a product that has the coconut flesh AND oil all smoothed out into a luscious butter-like substance. I buy Nutiva’s Coconut Manna. The dates I used were quite moist. If yours are on the dry side, I would soak them in hot water for 5-10 minutes, and then drain them before mixing into the cookie mixture.

berry chia jam ingredients (makes a little extra):
1 1/2 cups berries, chopped into smaller pieces if using strawberries or other larger berries
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon chia seeds

cookie ingredients:
1 cup rolled oats (certified gluten-free oats if needed)
10 pitted dates, or about 1 packed cup-worth
1 cup nut/seed butter of choice (I did a mix of raw cashew and almond)
1 teaspoon vanilla powder/paste
pinch of sea salt
1-2 tablespoons plant-based milk

cream ingredients:
1/2 cup coconut butter/manna, very soft
1/4 cup liquid coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla powder/paste
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

chocolate coating:
1 heaped cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon liquid coconut oil

First, make the chia jam. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the berries, maple syrup, and chia seeds. Stir about and squish the berries until you have a jam-like consistency, about 10 minutes. Scrape the jam into a bowl and place the it in the freezer to chill down for about 15 minutes.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, pulse the rolled oats until you have a coarse meal. Then, add the pitted dates, nut/seed butter, vanilla powder, and salt. Pulse until the dates are mostly chopped up. Then run the motor on high until you have a dough-like consistency. Pour some plant-based milk into the feed tube if necessary.

Lay out a large piece of parchment paper and dump the cookie dough mixture out onto it. Place another sheet of parchment on top of your mound of dough and roll the dough out to to an even 1/2 inch thickness with a rolling pin. By carefully lifting a corner of the parchment, transfer the rolled out dough to a large sheet pan, and then slide that sheet pan into the freezer for about 10-15 minutes to firm up.

For the cream, whisk together the coconut butter, coconut oil, vanilla, and maple syrup. Set aside.

Retrieve the rolled out cookie dough from the freezer and cut it with a round cookie cutter–either a 1 1/4 inch one for smaller cookies or a 2-ish inch one for bigger portions. Re-gather and re-roll the scraps. Place cut out cookies back on the parchment on the sheet pan. Slide the tray back in the freezer.

Fix yourself up a double boiler with a medium saucepan and a non-reactive bowl. Place the vegan chocolate chips and tablespoon of coconut oil in the bowl. Once the water in the saucepan is simmering, stir the chocolate and oil with a spatula until you have a totally smooth/melted chocolate. Remove from the heat.

Get out your cookies and chia jam from the freezer, and place them on the counter. Place 6 (or 12 if you made smaller ones) of the cookies on a wire rack over some parchment/newspaper. Divide the coconut butter cream amongst the 6 cookies. Pat it out with your fingers so that it evenly covers the surface of the cookie. Try to make a little depression in the middle of the cream for the jam. Drop about 1 heaped tablespoon of jam onto the center of the cream. Place another cookie on top of the jam and press lightly to squish the cookie down a bit. Spoon the melted chocolate over the wagon wheels, trying to drip it over the sides as well. Store the finished wagon wheels in the fridge.

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  • eleanor08/09/2015 - 4:11 am

    oooh they look so creamy and satisfying! ii always look forward to your blog posts and your cookbook will definitely be added to the collection when it’s out! so much love + vibes from Australia ReplyCancel

  • Sabrina08/09/2015 - 5:41 am

    Hmmm… these look so moreish! Would love to bite into one right now – despite the current cold and rainy weather who rather calls for apple pies instead of treats from the fridge ;-)ReplyCancel

  • Synnøve08/09/2015 - 6:06 am

    These look summer yummy!ReplyCancel

  • valentina | sweet kabocha08/09/2015 - 7:49 am

    Damn, you’re so perfect.
    Can I come over and have one wheel?? :D Btw, I’m totally with you in your thought about this time of the year… ^_^ReplyCancel

    • Laura08/09/2015 - 8:53 am

      I got a bunch in the fridge still, sooooo… ;) xoReplyCancel

  • Kris08/09/2015 - 8:35 am

    These look so amazing! Can’t wait to give these a try! Wagon Wheels remind me of being at school — I think there was one in almost every lunch I carried! Your recipes are pretty inspired!ReplyCancel

    • Laura08/09/2015 - 8:52 am

      Thanks Kris! I only got to Wagon Wheels later on in life, but they’re still a memorable/nostalgia-y treat to me :)ReplyCancel

  • Honey's Quilling08/09/2015 - 8:46 am

    oh yum!! I love that they use chia jam! It’s perpetually summer here in Malaysia, so I’m saving this recipe to make as soon as I have some room in my freezer, gotta eat up a bunch of watermelon popsicles first!ReplyCancel

    • Laura08/09/2015 - 8:51 am

      I’m still eating tooooons of watermelon, too! ;)ReplyCancel

  • Olivia : Olive Oil Sweet Pea08/09/2015 - 8:48 am

    Can I live in your kitchen?! These look like heaven! Do you think pomegranate seeds could be used instead of berries? Looking for something special to make here in Tel Aviv for the Jewish New Year coming up.ReplyCancel

    • Laura08/09/2015 - 8:50 am

      Thanks! I think pomegranate could work… Might take a bit more time on the stove though. You’d have to be a bit more diligent with the smushing of the seeds while they were in the pan, too. A splash of pomegranate juice in the pan might be helpful to get things gelling with the chia as well. Hope it works because that combo would be delicious :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Lindsey08/09/2015 - 9:07 am

    ha! me and husband did a big purge this weekend and gave our bedroom a new coat of paint – making room for new energy i suppose! wow, big thanks for sharing that article from elephant journal, it totally put a lot of things into perspective :) ugh, these wheels are perfection! late summer is the best time for cool, but indulgent snacks! have the best time in cali! xoReplyCancel

    • Laura09/09/2015 - 8:34 am

      Yes to new energy. Bring it ooooonn! :) xoReplyCancel

  • Maya | Spice + Sprout08/09/2015 - 9:17 am

    WOW these look like the coolest sweetest most satisfying summer treat! The photos of your outdoor space are so gorgeous. They make me crave green smells and earth between my fingers <3ReplyCancel

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan08/09/2015 - 9:44 am

    Oddly enough, I’ve never made chia jam OR had coconut butter, whhhat?! I need to combine the two and get on these! Hope you are enjoying the last of summer girl! xoReplyCancel

    • Laura09/09/2015 - 8:27 am

      Oh you got to! Chia jam and a lil’ soft coconut butter on some toast? So satisfying. xoReplyCancel

  • Allyson08/09/2015 - 10:47 am

    Oh man. I’m from the US and I’ve never heard of wagon wheels before but these look perfect for an end of the summer treat. I love this time of year- warmer days, cooler nights, and full of exciting potential. Here’s to a happy late summer/early fall.ReplyCancel

    • Laura09/09/2015 - 8:26 am

      It’s definitely a special time with all this potentiality and good energy flowing around. Happy late summer to you, too!
      -LReplyCancel

  • I am so glad I found your blog through Molly Yeh! These wagon wheels are a dream come true! SO delicious!ReplyCancel

    • Laura09/09/2015 - 8:24 am

      Whoop! I do love that Molly Yeh. Glad to have you here :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Sophie08/09/2015 - 11:27 am

    I seriously haven’t thought about wagon wheels for ten years, at least. But growing up they were always a special school treat for my sister and I. She’s going to freak out and demand these as soon as she sees them! Beauty!!ReplyCancel

    • Laura09/09/2015 - 8:24 am

      I hadn’t really thought about them for a while either, but randomly saw a picture of one on Instagram last week (a malted one, no less) and just instantaneously NEEDED one, ya know? Such a classic nostalgia treat. xoReplyCancel

  • Sydney | Modern Granola08/09/2015 - 1:10 pm

    I’m unfamiliar with wagon wheels, but after these gorgeous pictures, I’m anxious to change that. These sound so insanely delicious! Can’t wait to try them out!
    xx SydneyReplyCancel

  • Hilarious that you mention the full moon in pi(e)ces, because these look the American treat called Moon Pies! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_pie

    But… yours look waaay better! Love the chia jam addition!ReplyCancel

  • Aysegul08/09/2015 - 3:33 pm

    Oh so yum! Something that looks like this is healthy at the same time!! YAY to that!
    :)ReplyCancel

  • Sophie | The Green Life08/09/2015 - 8:07 pm

    Ooh, these look AMAZING. It seems like the most perfect combination of flavours and textures. These photos are truly gorgeous. And your garden is beautiful! <3ReplyCancel

    • Laura09/09/2015 - 8:18 am

      Thanks so much, Sophie! Although, full disclosure: the shots of the raspberry bushes and the bunny lurking in the garden rows are from my parents place in the country :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Sarah | Well and Full08/09/2015 - 10:23 pm

    I love your conceptualization of the transition between late summer + early fall as its own mini-season. I definitely also get reminiscent of my back to school days during this time. I remember the chilly September mornings waiting for the school bus, then a few hours later sweltering in the fervid heat of late summer afternoons. The trees would start timidly shedding their leaves and I’d try to crunch as many as I could while I waited for the bus. I loved school so this was a magic time for me. I miss not being a student anymore but there are still some autumn traditions that hold true :)
    P.S. I’ve actually never heard of a “wagon wheel” as a dessert before, they look very good! :DReplyCancel

    • Laura09/09/2015 - 8:17 am

      I totally remember wanting to wear my new jeans and other fall gear at the start of the school year, and then just wilting in the heat by lunchtime! Such a funny, but dreamy and wonderful, time of year :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Sarahhh09/09/2015 - 2:06 am

    “Vibrate at a higher frequency”? I like your choice of words.:) And those cookies do indeed look delicious especially since I’ve been wanting to bake/make healthier treats.ReplyCancel

  • Patrizia09/09/2015 - 4:22 am

    Just 1 word: WOW.ReplyCancel

  • Wagon wheels were always my dad’s favourite – so nostalgic! I just love your high vibe version here and with the crazy heat still happening, they look like the perfect treat! As much as I’m craving Autumn, I really do want to stretch out summer just a little longer. Have a fantastic time in Cali, we were there in February and had the best time! xoReplyCancel

    • Laura09/09/2015 - 8:09 am

      This heat has been wild, eh? But it makes for some amazing end-of-summer produce goodies, so I’ll resist complaining about it :) Thanks so much Christine! xxReplyCancel

  • Grace09/09/2015 - 10:02 am

    oh what i would give to hangout on your lovely porch with you, one of these absolutely amazing(!!!) moon pies (as we call them down south) melting between my fingers. We could talk about nothing and everything or just watch summer turn into fall.ReplyCancel

  • Shanna | Kiss My Bowl09/09/2015 - 11:21 am

    Oh my gooooooood! I NEED these right now! It’s been pretty chilly in Calgary/area this week, so much rain.. turning to snow. These gorgeous wagon wheels would brighten up the day, though that’s for sure!ReplyCancel

  • Heidi Kokborg09/09/2015 - 11:27 am

    Gosh, this looks amazing! :)ReplyCancel

  • These looks splendid! If only I had this in middle school way back when. I have never heard of wagon wheels, we had Moon Pies growing up that were nowhere near as pretty or flavorful as your recipe, never mind all the fillers and junk they contained! My boys will just squeal with delight when they see this in their lunchbox. I just may have to keep more than a few for myself, you know, for quality control purposes! Thanks for sharing :)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah from Soymilk + Honey09/09/2015 - 1:04 pm

    Holy cow these look amazing. I’ve never heard of a wagon wheel but I think we need to become friends!ReplyCancel

  • Keara McGraw09/09/2015 - 2:01 pm

    These sound amazing! Fresh and vibrant yet a cozy treat at the same time. Definitely speaks to that in-between seasonality. Summer hasn’t let go of it’s swelter-y hold quite yet, so these are a must.ReplyCancel

  • renee (will frolic for food)09/09/2015 - 9:52 pm

    i absolutely LOVE these. blender vibes and freezer easiness. done and done. also that Pisces full moon!!! all the feels. can’t wait for your book!ReplyCancel

  • Diane Powell09/09/2015 - 10:30 pm

    I haven’t seen wagon wheels for a lo-o-o-o-ong time. Like around 30 or more years. (I’m from the NE US and these cookies were common in my childhood, but slowly disappeared from store shelves.) I was recently thinking I should experiment and make my own version of them, but you beat me to it! What a delight to see! Definitely gonna give these a try.ReplyCancel

  • jaime10/09/2015 - 1:59 pm

    i’m totally going to let your positive vibes rub off on me this season. i’m not sure why, but this end of summer/early fall business is always a struggle for me. this particular one has been way more emotionally weirded than others, and your link to elephant’s piece on full moon in pisces was the first i’d heard of that phenomenon. i think i’m only slightly on board with astrological analysis as a general rule (or at least as a basis for making personal decisions), but if there’s encouragement to be found that the weirdness is coming to a close, than i’m gonna hold onto that real tight. haha. xo.ReplyCancel

  • thefolia12/09/2015 - 2:10 am

    Come to Mama…these look incredible…happy feasting!ReplyCancel

  • Tori@Gringalicious.com13/09/2015 - 1:34 pm

    These look to die for amazing and I can’t believe they’re vegan! So amazingly yum!!!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel // hearts & beets13/09/2015 - 9:58 pm

    The photo of the rabbit in the field looks allllllmost as amazing as the wagon wheels do. Makes me wanna eat em while listening to some Old Crow Medicine Show!(Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gX1EP6mG-E)ReplyCancel

  • Kate13/09/2015 - 11:13 pm

    Oh good grief. I’ve never heard of this wagon wheel phenomenon until now, but WANT. Love to hear your perspective on this time of year. I can feel fall coming and I am not ready to slow down. :)ReplyCancel

  • Becca | Spices and Spatulas14/09/2015 - 8:10 am

    oh MY goodness these look incredible! Such beautiful colors..and those layers when sliced through? perfection! Totally agree about the fall inspirations too..there’s just something about a little crispness in the air that makes me want to accomplish things! xoReplyCancel

  • Austin14/09/2015 - 12:32 pm

    These look insanely good and chia seed jam sounds AWESOME!ReplyCancel

  • Jess | Urban Alchemy14/09/2015 - 5:34 pm

    I am obsessed with your blog! This looks beyond delicious! Thanks so much for posting:)ReplyCancel

  • Laura Nanette15/09/2015 - 6:19 pm

    I love this recipe already! I’ll definitely try out the glutenfree version of it – and lactose while we’re at it (and because I’m left with no choice). Thank you for sharing :)
    http://www.stylephantom.comReplyCancel

  • Kate16/09/2015 - 8:56 am

    I would take a freezer stocked with these–yes please!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Rosie @ Notes of Bacon17/09/2015 - 6:16 am

    Such gorgeous photographs and MOUTH WATERING recipe! And this is coming from a carnivore. How is that vegan?! Impressive, I must say.ReplyCancel

  • Renee Kemps18/09/2015 - 10:03 am

    These look so so so insanely good. The combination of everything, the bright jam, the beautiful layer of chocolate. Can’t stop staring and wishing I could have one right now.ReplyCancel

  • Lakshmi Mahas21/09/2015 - 2:25 am

    Wow, looks really yummy. I want to try this now. Thanks for the share.ReplyCancel

  • […] 1. Free-Wheelin’ Wagon Wheels from The First Mess 2. Peanut Butter Stuffed No Bake Cookie Bites from Minimalist Baker 3. Double Chocolate Almond Butter Trail Cookies from Oh, Ladycakes 4. Zucchini Bread Cookies With Pecans + Chocolate from me 5. Frozen Salted S’more Sandwiches from Dolly and Oatmeal 6. Oatmeal Raisin + Apple Sandwich Cookies from Nutrition Stripped 7. Jam Thumbprint Cookies from With Food + Love 8. Pecan Cookies With Chocolate Whipped Filling from me (see above) […]ReplyCancel

  • Velvet & Vinegar28/09/2015 - 4:32 pm

    This looks absolutely delicious, pinned and on my bucket list :)ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food29/09/2015 - 10:30 am

    I hope you get some time to relax once the book is finished. I can’t imagine how exhausting it all must be.

    I’m such a fan of Indian food, but I often leave it up to the pros and go out to eat it instead of making it at home. I’m making it my mission to try my hand at a few dishes this winter. Seems like a good activity for a brutally cold and snowy day.ReplyCancel

  • […] last but not least, these (vegan) Wagon Wheels from The First Mess made me seriously drool. I mean look at […]ReplyCancel

  • […] ∴ It is hard to believe something that looks this good is vegan and healthy: Vegan Wagon Wheels  […]ReplyCancel

  • Sarah05/10/2015 - 1:52 pm

    I stumbled upon your blog through the Local Milk’s blog. These will have to be made asap. Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Natalya Seabrooke23/11/2015 - 9:48 am

    I have a friend who’s vegan and we both enjoy trying out recipes. This will be the next one! Looks delicious. Thank you for the great tips! I will have a lovely Saturday in the kitchen :)ReplyCancel

  • Laura03/12/2015 - 6:12 am

    Hi, I want to make these as a Christmas present, how long will they last in the fridge and could they be frozen? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Laura03/12/2015 - 6:39 am

      Hi Laura, I would say these could keep in the refrigerator for a week at the maximum. Since this is a mostly raw cookie, the texture would definitely suffer if frozen.
      -LReplyCancel

  • […] crust adapted from the first mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] crust adapted from the first mess […]ReplyCancel

  • Shannon02/08/2016 - 2:35 pm

    Just wondering, what’s the difference really between the vanilla powder and using vanilla extract? I made these (and they’re great!) but with extract, after having a bit of sticker shock on the sac of vanilla powder (prices sting a bit more up here in Montréal). Just wondering! Thanks.ReplyCancel

    • Laura02/08/2016 - 7:12 pm

      Hey Shannon,
      Using the extract is honestly more or less the same. The powder just doesn’t have any alcohol present, and I like the little flecks it contributes too. For future reference though, I tend to use the powder and extract interchangeably ;)
      -LReplyCancel

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