Let’s start our day with a jolt of adrenaline shall we? If these are filled with sugar, straight up (homemade) chocolate covered coffee beans and protein-packed hazelnuts and pistachios, I think it’s totally fair to call these energy bars. Right? RIGHT???!!! (Is it just me, or does it seem like there’s an earthquake happening right now? No? The whole universe doesn’t seem like it’s continuously shaking slightly from your perspective? Hmmm…maybe I should cut down on the “energy” bars 😉 ).
Some interesting factoids about the origin of the word coffee for your daily dose of intelligence. Apparently, it derives from an Arabic word that initially meant a certain type of wine, whose meaning in term translated to “to lack hunger” (likely a reference to coffee’s appetite suppressing qualities – so see?? If you eat these, you’ll be totally satiated for hours! Coffee, it does a body good. Plus, a word that also means wine? So you’re saying an acceptable way to consume alcohol and caffeine first thing in the morning? Where do I sign up??!! 😉 ).
While I was looking up coffee origins, I figured, since these bars are essentially chocolate covered coffee bean shortbread topped with a Baklava-esque topping (although not “officially” Baklava since the topping is sans phyllo pastry. I suppose that makes it the equivalent of a knock off brand like this one:
In case you’re interested, here are a few more awesomely terrible names for knock-off brands. Seriously check this out because, in store for you, is my other favourite from this page – the “Robert Cop 3” action figure. Oh that crazy Robert and all his mechanical parts. Another fun find is that apparently bananas are a name brand? Who knew? 😉 :
So what would my Baklava knock-off name be? Fauxklava perhaps? (seems fun and folksy 😉 ). Anyway, now I’ve gone so far into left field on this one, I’m one of the fans in the stands instead of a player 😉 . Baklava people! While looking this one up, apparently one of its origins is thought to be the “Roman Placenta Cake” …. ????😲
Upon reading that, I did an immediate double take (and possibly threw up in my mouth a little. Now that’s a dessert I have no interest in making…I mean, where am I supposed to get a placenta at a reasonable price at this time of year? I’m sure Whole Foods has some, but who can afford the exhorbitant price they charge for these? 😉 ). Upon researching this however, the name is a bit misleading in so much as no placentas were harmed (or even used! 😌) in the making of this dessert. It’s actually “...a dish from ancient Rome consisting of many dough layers interspersed with a mixture of cheese and honey and flavored with bay leaves, then baked and covered in honey”. The name comes from the Latin word for “cake” which was Placenta. And the reason that’s also the name that caused me to go into shuddering paroxysms of “eww” thinking it was in a dessert? It’s referred to as such because of it’s shape that apparently was considered to look very similar to the cake. So next time you know someone who’s having a kid, remind them that they will have 2 babies. The “regular” one, followed by a cake baby. Ewww….that was kind of creepy sounding.
On that deliciously appetite-inducing note, I’ll leave you with the recipe for these completely placenta-free (in all senses of the word) recipe for “Baklava” Topped Espresso Bean Shortbread.
So don’t sell yourself short(bread), make it at home instead. You’ve got this (espresso) covered.
Yield: a dozen brownies
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoon shortening
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons cane sugar
- 1 egg replacer (feel free to use hazelnut or chocolate liqueur to replace the water you’d use here)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped chocolate covered espresso beans and coarsely chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips). Feel free to do the ratios to your liking (or all espresso beans if you’re a super coffee addict 😊)
- 1/3 cup vegan butter
- 1/3 cup honey
- 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon hazelnut liqueur (optional)
- 3/4 cup finely chopped toasted hazelnuts
- 3/4 cup finely chopped toasted pistachios
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vegan yogurt (or vegan cream cheese)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 cup vegan white chocolate chips (optional – for drizzling)
- Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment (or grease the pan – parchment will make removal after easier).
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the coconut oil, shortening, sugar and egg replacer. Beat in vanilla and salt.
- Sift in flour and cornstarch and beat until combined.
- With a mixing spoon, stir in chopped chocolate covered espresso beans and chopped chocolate.
- Press dough into prepared baking dish and freeze for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 325F and bake shortbread for 15-20 minutes (until edges have just started to set and maybe slightly golden, don’t overbake!)
- While cookies are baking, prepare the “baklava” topping by combining the butter, honey and brown sugar in a small saucepan and cooking over medium-low heat, stirring until the butter, honey and sugar have dissolved. Stir in the vanilla and hazelnut liqueur (if using).
- Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil, boiling for 3 minutes before removing the pan from the heat.
- In a heatproof, medium sized bowl, add the chopped hazelnuts, pistachios, yogurt, and spices and stir in the warm caramel butter mixture until evenly combined.
- If you haven’t had to do so already, remove the baking dish from the oven and spread the warm filling over the crust, tilting the pan to get an even distribution of topping and smoothing it out as best you can.
- Increase oven temperature to 350F and return the baking dish to the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges and parts of the center are bubbling and the bars have turned caramel in color (it should still be fairly liquidy, but it will set up as it cools).
- Allow the bars to cool completely prior to removing from the pan. This may take several hours (although you once it’s cooled a bit, feel free to place in the refrigerator to help it set up faster).
- If you’ve lined you’re baking dish with parchment, it should be a snap to remove at this point and slice into squares.
- Drizzle with melted vegan white chocolate if desired.