Dairy Free,  Dessert,  Recipe,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

Mocha Almond Fudge Chess Squares (Vegan)

I know what you’re thinking, these look like brownies.


Okay, yes they look like brownie, they smell like brownies, and they may even have a lot of similarities to a brownie, but they are not brownies. These are chess squares people. No, they are not your typical chess squares. For one thing they’re chocolate, with the added flavors of almond and mocha, and they’re also thicker than any chess squares you’ve ever had, but they are in fact chess squares even though, fine, they look exactly like fudgy brownies.

For those of you unfamiliar with what a chess square is, let me fill you in. They are basically a base layer of something that is between brownie and cake, topped with a extra sweet cheesecake-like layer.  Kind of like cookie bars with baked on frosting that candies on the top when you bake them. Can you spell YUM! They are usually plain vanilla and always super delicious but, come on, that’s a little boring. I wanted to try to make them a bit more interesting. I hope you guys are okay with that. As if!

So now that that’s settled, and speaking of mocha, I’ve got a confession to make. I am becoming a coffee addict……..

When I was younger I used to think that would never happen to me, that I would become a coffee drinker like my parents (heaven forbid!), because I couldn’t stand the bitter taste and I didn’t understand why they liked it. We always think that we won’t end up like our parents when we’re growing up and yet we always do. One of life’s annoying little inevetabilities. It’s like I woke up one morning and suddenly all I wanted to do was chug a mug of jo. Go figure.

I just really love coffee! Now my only thing against drinking way more coffee than I need, is that I hate the idea of becoming too dependent on it. I know it might seem dumb, but there will always be times in life when you can’t have your morning cup of coffee and I want to know that I can function without it, does that make sense? I don’t want to be one of those people that flip out when they don’t get their caffeine fix.

Anyway, yes I love coffee. I think you can expect to keep seeing it in things on the blog because I just can’t help myself, I always want to put it in everything

Mocha Almond Fudge Chess Squares (Vegan)

Chess bars are a classic treat but every good classic can use a little upgrade from time to time.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 16 bars

Ingredients

Bottom Layer:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup organic vegetable oil
  • 2/3 strong black coffee
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Top Layer:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup natural almond butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream warmed *see note
  • 1/4 cup strong black coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch or cornstarch

Instructions

Bottom Layer:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C) and grease and flour a 18x8 inch baking dish or pan. (Be sure to flour well)

  2. Whisk oil with sugar in medium mixing bowl. Add coffee, vanilla, salt, and baking powder; mix well. Stir in cocoa powder, flour, add the chocolate chunks.
  3. Scrape batter into pan with a rubber spatula and spread into a smooth layer. Bake for about 18-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out of center clean. (Stick a toothpick in a few different spots because you will most likely find some of the melty chocolate chunks.) Remove from oven and cool for about 5 minutes.

Top Layer:

  1. Stir together the almond butter, coconut cream, coffee, extracts, and cocoa powder. Add the sugar and starch and stir until smooth. Pour the mixture over the brownie layer as evenly as possible and place the pan back in the oven to bake for 15 - 20 minutes until the tops starts to look slightly crinkled then remove from oven and cool for at least 15 minutes. If you want them to cut as cleanly as possible it's best to chill them for at least an hour. Cut into bars and serve.

Recipe Notes

If you have trouble finding coconut cream at your local grocery store it's completely fine to use full-fat coconut milk and scrape the cream off of the top. Just be sure that it's cold enough to separate.

 

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