I adore this time of year, not just because of the beautiful, colourful leaves but also seasonal produce growing in abundance, with the focus on warming comforting foods and flavours. One of my favourite combinations happens to be apples, caramel and all things spice – which inspired these delicious, vegan-friendly spiced autumnal squares.
An added bonus is the addition of some wonderful organic superfoods from Superoot, who I recently met at the Northern Vegan Festival in Manchester.
While the maca powder adds a hint of caramel, the chia seeds help to bind the mixture together and add texture, allowing the star of the show to shine through: INCA BERRIES. Seriously moreish and packed with flavour and goodness, these bad boys soften when baked and add a satisfying burst of sweetness. You could use sultanas or dates if you can’t get hold of any – but trust me, they will become your new favourite ingredient!
For the squares –
- 1 + ½ cups rolled oats (I used Quaker gluten-free)
- ½ cup ground almonds or almond flour (I used Sukrin)
- 3 tablespoons flaxseeds (I used Linwoods)
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar (I used The Coconut Company)
- 1 tablespoon maca powder (I used Superroot)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds (I used Superroot)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- Pinch of grated nutmeg
- Pinch of allspice
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 cup unsweetened cooked or pureed apples
- 150ml almond milk (I used Alpro)
- 2 tablespoons tahini (I used Meridian)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons date nectar (I used Beloved)
- 2 teaspoons white wine or apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup Inca Berries (I used Superroot)
Toffee caramel –
- 4 tablespoons tahini
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon maca powder
- 3 tablespoons chestnut puree or spread (I used St Dalfour)
- 1 tablespoon date nectar
- 1-2 tablespoons almond milk
To decorate: Toasted oats, coconut chips and dried apple crisps (I used Nim’s)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and grease and line a rectangular baking tray.
- Whizz up the oats in a blender to form a flour, then tip into a large bowl. Stir in the ground almonds or almond flour, flaxseeds, maca powder, chia seeds, coconut sugar, spices, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
- Place the cooked apples/puree in a blender along with the almond milk, tahini, vanilla,, date necta and vinegar. Whizz up until smooth.
- Pour this into the dry ingredients and fold in to form a batter. Mix in the Inca Berries to incorporate.
- Spoon into your prepared tin and smooth out evenly. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until golden and firmed up. Leave to cool in the tin before slicing up into 12 squares.
- Meanwhile mix together the toffee caramel ingredients, beating together to form quite a thick paste (add a little more almond milk if too thick).
- When your squares have cooled, spread a layer on top of each one. Decorate with your toppings – now you’re ready to enjoy!