These vegan cinnamon mocha bars are an easy to bake, delicious treat! Tender coffee-scented bars with a cinnamon kick, topped with chocolate and walnuts.
These cinnamon mocha bars are the baked good you didn’t know you needed. They’re somewhat similar to a blondie in texture, but a touch more cookie-like.
The cookie-cake part of the bars are buttery and laced with cinnamon and a hint of coffee, then the tops are covered in sweet chocolate and chopped walnuts.
The combination is completely addictive, even if you are not a fan of coffee! (Which is me, I’m not a coffee person!)
My family has been making (a non-vegan version of) these bars for Christmas since we were little kids, and I had to create a vegan version of them! There’s nothing like indulging nostalgia and family cookie baking memories with a batch of these mouth watering bars.
While we traditionally enjoyed these cinnamon mocha bars at Christmas-time, there’s no reason they can’t be a year-round treat! So if you’re seeing this in July, please, make yourself some cinnamon mocha bars!
Veganizing the cinnamon mocha bars:
Recipe testing for turning these traditional cookie bars was not the most straight forward process, but several batches later I got something worthy of obsessing over. I can’t say they’re 100% like the cookie bars of our childhood, but to be honest I think they’re even better?!!
Traditionally these bars were made with dairy butter and egg yolk.
Switching out the dairy butter for vegan butter is super easy. I recommend that you use the kind of vegan butter that comes in sticks for baking, as the more easily spreadable variety that comes in tubs is softer and often contains extra water.
The egg yolk was a bit harder to substitute. It acts both as a binder and as a mild leavener, and it adds more fat to the bars, making them softer.
Replacing the egg yolks requires more than one ingredient. To make the dough richer tasting and add a bit of fat I added silken tofu. This makes for a soft and dense cakey texture–but not too cakey! Trust me, you would never know that there is tofu in there!
Tofu on its own doesn’t add any leavening to the dough and the resulting bars are gooey like cookie dough.
For leavening, adding a bit of baking soda and baking powder into the dough does the trick!
Together this makes for a moist cookie-cake bar that’s addictively good.
Making the cinnamon mocha bars:
I think my favorite part about making these bars is how easy they are. Making the batter is similar to making cookie dough, but it’s softer like a thick brownie batter.
The process is pretty straight forward: using an electric mixer or a stand mixer (with the paddle attachment), beat the vegan butter until it’s soft, then cream together the whipped butter and sugars until they’re soft, spreadable and fluffy. Beat in the silken tofu, which might cause the mixture to look split at first, but keep mixing and it’ll turn pretty fluffy again.
Add in the instant coffee, dissolved in plant milk, and some vanilla extract. In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Mix in the dry ingredients to the creamed wet ingredients to make a thick and creamy batter, then spread it over an un-greased quarter-sheet baking pan.
Bake it until it’s solid but soft throughout (it shouldn’t have any wiggly spots if gently shaken). Like cookies, the bars will continue to bake and firm up as they cool. The sides will start to just pull away from the pan as well.
When bars come out of the oven, immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and let them sit for several minutes until they get all melty. Once melty spread the chocolate to coat the bars, then sprinkle chopped walnuts overtop.
Let cool for another 20 minutes or so, but before they cool fully cut them into bars. Leave the cut bars in the pan to cool fully. Trying to the move them before the chocolate has hardened and the bars have fully set makes for a crumbly mess!
And that’s it! I hope you guys love these bars! They’re a perfect holiday baking project, but equally tasty anytime of the year. Cinnamony, chocolatey, nutty, with a bit of coffee flavor–they’re as good as they sound! So get to baking already!
What if I hate coffee?
The coffee in this recipe isn’t overpowering, but instead is more coffee-scented, offering some bitter and smooth under notes to the bars.
That being said, if you are not a coffee fan, you could totally make these bars without the instant coffee for a cinnamon blondie. Your coffee loving friends, family, and coworkers will probably still love you. Probably.
Can I make this without silken tofu?
If you can’t use silken tofu for any reason, then I would use a non-dairy plain or unsweetened yogurt. This works similarly enough to tofu, though the texture of the bars will be a bit different.
For more holiday baking check out my:
- Vegan hazelnut cake with whipped chocolate ganache
- Swedish wishing cookies
- Peppermint candy cake cookies
- Red velvet cupcakes
If you make these vegan cinnamon mocha bars, leave a comment below and rate the recipe on the recipe card. And please share your photos with me on Instagram, tag @thecuriouschickpea and #thecuriouschickpea. I love seeing your recreations!
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- 2 tsp (2g) instant coffee
- 2 tbsp (30g) plant milk
- 1/2 tsp (2g) vanilla extract
- 2 cups (256g) all purpose flour*
- 1 tsp (2g) ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp (4g) baking powder
- 1/2 tsp (2g) baking soda
- 1/2 tsp (3g) salt
- 1 cup (22g) vegan butter sticks
- 1/2 cup (96g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (89g) brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/4 cup (56g) silken tofu, water packed or vacuum packed
- 1 cup (165g) semisweet chocolate chips*
- 3/4 cups (80g) chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350 ºF and set aside an ungreased quarter sheet baking pan (9 x 13").
- In a small bowl whisk together the instant coffee, nondairy milk, and vanilla extract until the coffee is dissolved. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl whisk together the all purpose flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to combine.
- Beat the vegan butter until it is creamy in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or using handheld electric beaters. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat until fluffy and creamed, scraping down the sides periodically.
- Add the silken tofu and beat until smooth. The mixture might break at first but will come back together. Add the prepared coffee mixture and beat to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, mixing to incorporate each time. After adding the last batch of the flour mixture, beat just until you get a smooth and fluffy dough, then turn the mixer off to not over mix.
- Spread the batter to cover the un-greased quarter sheet pan using the back of a spoon or a spatula.
- Bake at 350 ºF for 20-22 minutes, or until the bars have started to pull away from the pan in places and are soft but solid throughout and not jiggly in the center.
- Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the warm bars immediately and let sit until the chocolate is melty, 5-10 minutes. Spread the chocolate to cover the bars, then sprinkle the walnuts over top.
- Cut the bars while the chocolate is still soft, then let them cool completely before removing them from the pan and serving. Store the mocha bars in a sealed container at room temperature for up to a week, for longer storage keep refrigerated.
*To measure your flour by volume: whisk the flour to undo any settling, then scoop with the measuring cup and level with the back of a knife.
*not all chocolate chips are vegan, some contain milk ingredients so ingredients check to be sure.
Adapted from the 1985 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies recipe book.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 198
Nutrition is calculated automatically so should be used as an estimate.
This recipe was originally posted on December 18, 2018.