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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.