FREE WHEELIN’ VEGAN WAGON WHEELS

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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 awfully 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, 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. 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.

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 abundance of raspberries from my parents garden), vegan chocolate, and a creamy filling made from coconut butter. 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 :D

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vegan wagon wheels recipe
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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