janet @ the taste space

Chocolate Cherry Hemp Bars & YumUniverse Cookbook Giveaway

In Book Review, Desserts on October 29, 2014 at 7:40 AM

Chocolate Cherry Hemp Bars

I am no stranger to Heather Crosby’s fabulous recipes (seen here previously: Peruvian Bean Bowl with Fried Plantains, Blueberry Tarragon Dressing and more recently the Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream), I was excited to be able to review her first solo cookbook creation, YumUniverse as part of the #YUBlogTour and #YUHealthyHalloween Blog Tour

However, it is more than a cookbook. It is a fabulously complete introduction (and then some) to eating plant-based whole foods. Her book is built in three parts: why, how and do (let’s eat). First, why eat plant-based? Heather details numerous reasons to eat your vegetables. Her second part, teaches the reader the ins-and-outs of how to cook plant-based. She addresses protein and calcium needs and how to craft a week’s worth of eats. There are tables of how to properly store fresh and pantry ingredients (fruits/vegetables, oils, nuts, spices, flours, etc; whether they go in the fridge/freezer). She explains soaking and sprouting with times for common nuts and seeds. She explains different cooking methods and even how to correct oversalting. Once you have mastered feeding yourself, she has tips for social situations. She really has left no gaps. She even explains how to get rid of pesky fruit flies.

Next, the recipes. With adventurist recipes including Mung Bean and Eggplant Curry, Jerk Lentil and Avocado Wrap, Beet, Apple and Onion Gratin and Skillet Crusted Sweet Potato Gnocchi, there are boundless possibilities. That was just in the lunch/dinner section. Heather also includes breakfasts, dressings, dips/spreads, breads, beverages, snacks and other desserts and treats.

In short, this is the cookbook I wish I had when I first began my journey becoming a vegan.

Chocolate Cherry Hemp Bars

I made her Chocolate & Cherry Hemp Bars which are a spiffied rice krispy treat. Like Ange’s Glo Bars, brown rice syrup is the binder of choice but the bars are not that sweet. Calling them hemp bars is a bit of a superfood marketing ploy: they are barely detectable amidst the sunflower seeds, rolled oats and flaked coconut. Furthermore the chocolate chips melted seamlessly into the sweet binder, so the major flavour was from the tart cherries with a faint chocolate background.  Below is the photo you would actually find in the cookbook. Enjoy!

Chocolate Cherry Hemp Bars & YumUniverse Cookbook Giveaway

YumUniverse recipes spotted elsewhere:

Buckwheat Noodle Pad Thai
Dark Chocolate, Sweet Potato & Black Bean Brownies
Hot Fudge Sauce
Maple Spice Sandwich Cream Cookies
Orange and Pepita Granola
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Mash
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Bisque
Salted Caramel Sauce
Shredded Brussels Sprouts & Kale with Miso Dijon Sauce
Toasted Super Seedy Power Bread

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to share the recipe AND giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the cookbook, please leave a comment below telling me your favourite meal (no recipe required). The winner will be selected at random on November 7, 2014. Good luck!

Chocolate & Cherry Hemp Bars
As printed in YumUniverse, Reprinted courtesy of Ben Bella Books

Pack up these guys for a hike, or enjoy them as a simple treat. They’re an amped-up, gelatin-free, antioxidant- and protein-rich version of a rice crispy treat

1 teaspoon coconut oil, plus more to grease the dish
3/4 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
1 cup flaked coconut, toasted
1/2 cup rolled oats, toasted
1 cup dry cherries, chopped
2 1/2 cups brown rice crisps cereal (not puffs)
3/4 cup gluten-free, vegan chocolate chips
1 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons almond butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup hemp seeds

1. Grease a 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish with coconut oil. Set aside.

2. Place sunflower seeds, coconut, oats, cherries, rice crisps, and chocolate chips into a large glass bowl.

3. In a medium saucepot, bring brown rice syrup, vanilla extract, almond butter, coconut oil, and sea salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk often.

4. Once boiling, pour over dry ingredients in the bowl. Use a silicone spatula to fold everything together until well integrated; chocolate will melt. Fold in hemp seeds.

5. Transfer to the greased baking dish and use a spatula to really press mixture into the dish so it reaches all corners evenly. Or try laying a sheet of unbleached parchment on top of treat mixture and pressing down with your hands—easy peasy and less mess.

6. Allow to cool, then slice.

Makes 10+ bars.

psst! You can use a chopped gluten-free, vegan chocolate bar instead of chips if that’s easier to find.

Try dried blueberries, goji berries, raisins, or cranberries instead of, or in addition to, cherries.

Make them poppers! This preparation is a bit sticky to work with, but it’s worth it for fun bite-sized treats. Toast 1/2 cup of almonds and throw them in food processor, and pulse them into fine bits. Keep the bar mixture on the stove top over low heat while you work. Using your hands, pinch off a bit, drop it into a bowl of almonds. Sprinkle entire dollop with almonds to cover as much as possible. Pick it up and roll it into a ball. Cover with more almonds until outside isn’t sticky anymore. Repeat until bar mixture is all used up.

  1. My favorite meal is my morning green smoothie with homemade granola!

    • So many favorite meals…but my favorite time/meal is breakfast (at home). When I have the time (on weekends) I simply LOVE having a pancake – made with chia, flax, spices, etc., served with some berries and a few nuts…add in some espresso and I am all smiles:))

  2. My favorite meal is brussel sprouts roasted with red grapes and balsamic vinegar. I serve this with grille portabella shrooms, a little fresh salsa on top, over either polenta or risotto.

  3. I think my favorite meal is a no-fuss breakfast with a large bowl of homemade granola with fresh fruit on top. Blackberries if I have some on hand make it just heavenly!

  4. I love your photos of these bars! Thank you for offering the giveaway. It’s so impossible to pick a favorite meal, but I definitely love blueberry oatmeal, which I eat almost every morning.

  5. Its hard to pick a “favorite” meal. I love anything healthy, quick, and delicious so it looks like I would have many favorites in this book!

  6. my favourite shared meal is tapas-style: salad, various vegan spreads, olives, veggies, rustic bread or crackers, sliced fruit. alone I prefer an easy one-pot vegan stew!

  7. I’ve noticed that according to the weather, my favorite meal varies. For example, in the summer, I enjoy legume salads – lentil, edamame or chickpea – with greens, etc. and dressed with cilantro vinaigrette. In the fall and winter, I prefer soups – loaded with root vegetables, legumes, tofu or tempeh, condiments and Asian noodles.

  8. Thanks for this wonderful giveaway and recipe Janet 🙂 Your photo is gorgeous…Yummm !!!

    My favorite meal ?! Ohhh wow…a good question. It depends of my moods, cause I change very often…hi hi !!! I would say my buckweat “creton”. It’s a a kind of thick spread served in the morning for breakfast. Yuuummmm !!! Or, a huge bowl of homemade vegetable soup 🙂

  9. Those bars look terrific, and the cookbook does indeed sound like a treasure anyone would be happy to own. My favorite meal down here in still-warm Houston is a cool, crisp, crunchy, smokey bowl of Chipotle Cantaloupe Gazpacho.

  10. My favourite meal has got to be spicy vegetable curry with a chapati or rice. The curry spice part can be switched around with different flavours – thai, Indian etc and the vegetables can be switched around too (but I love yams and brussel sprouts in the mix). I think I could have that for dinner nearly every night. And for lunch and breakfast as well.. haha.

  11. Greens topped with balsamic vinegar, spirullina and nutritional yeast.

  12. I’m kind of a sucker for good old rice and black beans with greens.

  13. I am crazy for Buddha bowls at the moment. A favorite combo is cooked farro, steamed dino kale, roasted sweet potatoes, chickpeas and a tahini-lemon dressing.

  14. So…if it were my last day on Earth the last things I would want are wine, pizza, and chocolate cake. So I’d have to say my favorite meal would be some vegan pizza loaded with veggies, a glass of wine to sip while eating my pizza, and finishing the meal off with a nice slab of vegan chocolate cake. Bliss!

  15. For supper last night I made veggie chili baked under a golden cornbread. YUMZ! And I also made a great salad – bagged coleslaw, chopped mint and parsley, extra grated carrot, avocado oil and apple cider vinger, smoked salt and a crank of pepper and a dash of sodium-free Mrs Dash.

    I grew up on the canadian prairies where if you didn’t eat meat at each meal, it wasn’t a meal — so I am discovering the joys of meatless meals and want to continue to learn more!!!

  16. My favorite meal is tofu quiche with roasted Brussels sprouts

  17. My favorite meal is shrimp tacos with guacamole!

  18. It’s hard to pick a favorite meal because I love to try new recipes. Soy curl fajitas and spaghetti with my husband’s marinara are always a hit though.

  19. These sounds delicious. I love treats like this to keep my going through the day. I don’t know if I could pick a favorite meal, but anything Indian featuring dal is ideal.

  20. a meal out, having someone serves me and cleans the dishes after! 🙂

  21. Cornbread and veggie chili

  22. My favorite meal is a good veggie burger and fries. I love veggie burgers. Thanks for the giveaway!

  23. This cookbook sounds great! Favourite meal: either margherita pizza or a mix of Indian veggie curries like aloo ghobi, some kind of dal, and palak paneer.

  24. Tofu pups in a blanket with french bakes, and SO MUCH MUSTARD. 🙂

  25. Thanks so much for this review/giveaway Janet. Your photos are fantastic and I promise calling them “Hemp” bars was not a ploy! I just want to get folks acquainted with hemp! 😀 Sometimes when I make them I create a nice thick layer of hemp seeds on the top, they are a great recipe to play around with—less or more. Thanks again and keep up the great work you’re doing. HC

  26. My favorite meal is any type of leafy greens cooked with onions and mushrooms and topped with hot sauce. I could eat those everyday.

  27. Thanks for the review & giveaway. I don’t really have a single favorite meal. Some days it’s a huge salad, sometimes it’s hummus with veggies, tonight it was veggie soup….. the list goes on and on….

  28. My favourite meal (right now) is curry.

  29. Mmmm thanks for sharing this bar recipe!
    My favourite meal right now is anything pasta-y.

  30. My favorite meal is French toast!!!

  31. My favorite meal is eggplant parmesan.

  32. My favourite meal is a homemade dip (e.g. hummus, hot sauce) with veggies. Thanks for the giveaway!

  33. Can’t say that I’m not jealous of Chrissieh’s win, but congrats to you my friend…fingers crossed for the next one though:)

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