Sometimes I have way too many things that I want to make all at once and I find it difficult to determine which thing to bake. Do I want to go healthy(ish), or go for all out decadence? Will I have anywhere to bring said baked good afterwards and if so, what will this audience of people be more likely to want? There are times where I end up with decision paralysis and just end up making multiple things. In theory this sounds great, however, opening your fridge and realizing that 50% of it’s contents is cookies and sugar can make you feel a twinge of guilt (until you resolve the issue by eating half of them, so that now your fridge is only 25% unhealthy stuff! Can you say mission accomplished? 😉 )
Anyway, this particular weekend I was jonesing for something a tad healthier….well…not even so much healthier, but I just wasn’t in the mood for something overly sweet. On the other hand, I used to really love Nanaimo bars and have had it on my list of things to attempt for a really long time.
Then inspiration struck – combine the two into one glorious cookie! I very heavily adapted this recipe from Oh She Glows. I’ve made this particular thumbprint cookie recipe a few times, but I’ve done it differently almost every time because I forget to write down the changes I’ve made. In this particular instance, I replaced some of the kamut flour with regular flour, and some of it with cocoa powder. I never seem to have rice syrup, so I pretty much always replace that with whatever liquid sweetener I have on hand (agave, maple syrup, or if you’re the kind of vegan like me who’s cool with honey, then honey). This recipe lends itself perfectly for Nanaimo bars as well because it’s already incorporating the crushed nuts into the cookie base which is one of the nice textural things I’ve always loved about Nanaimo bars. I suppose if I’d thought about it and wanted to be more authentic, I would’ve added some shredded coconut as well, but I felt like there was already enough going on here (…and I didn’t have any shredded coconut on hand. It’s easy to rationalize a reason if it allows you to just be lazy and not go out to the store for a missing ingredient).
The other benefit to me deciding to make this is that when I started researching vegan custard to put in the middle of the cookies, I accidentally discovered that many brands of custard powder (I used Bird’s) are actually vegan (and make custard super easy to make). I’m normally not the kind of person who uses premade stuff, but in this instance, since the ingredients in custard power are pretty basic, I let it slide 🙂 FYI – if you decide to make this, the custard goes in the thumprint space after you bake the cookies.
Finally of course was the required chocolate on top layer which is just straight up melted vegan chocolate chips drizzled on top. Well…I actually originally tried to just drizzle it on top with a fork, but either I’m incompetent, or there’s some secret trick to this drizzling business. My first couple attempts looked like I’d handed a can of paint to a toddler and just told them to go to town. Problem solved by cutting the corner off a sandwich baggie and squeezing it on like icing intead (or use a pastry bag if that floats your boat).
And thus I bring you the Nanaimo bar thumbprint cookie – with just the right amount of crunch, sweetness and creaminess, I think we can safely say, craving crushed.