BRYANNA’S VEGAN PECAN-CRANBERRY CHEWIES (CAN BE GLUTEN-FREE)

Makes 32-36 squares or balls

(Adapted from a recipe in my book “The Almost No-Fat Holiday Cookbook”)

The original version these bars (called "Chinese Chewies", and I have no idea where they got the name!) have been a favorite Christmas cookie for years. The original recipe contained eggs. I veganized it, and now discovered that a gluten-free version works just fine!

The first time I tasted these was at a Hanukkah party at my cousins' Baba's (grandmother's) house many years ago. Had to try to make them myself! They were originally made with just dates and walnuts.

3/4 c. wholewheat pastry flour OR Bryanna's Gluten-Free High-Fiber Flour Mix (recipe below)

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

8 tsp. (2 T. plus 2 tsp.) powdered egg replacer mixed with 1/4 c. cold water

1 c. brown sugar

1/2 T. vanilla extract

OPTIONAL: 1 T. grated organic orange zest or 1 tsp. orange extract

1 c. chopped pecans

3/4 c. chopped pitted dates

1/4 . dried cranberries

OPTIONAL: powdered unbleached sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a small, deep bowl beat together the water and egg replacer with an electric or rotary beater until like softly-mounded beaten egg whites. (NOTE: You can actually beat this with a hand immersion beater for this recipe, beacuse it doesn't have to get really stiff.)

Beat in the sugar and vanilla briefly. Scoop this into the bowl with the flour mixture, along with the dates, cranberries, and pecans. Mix gently but well.

Scoop the mixture into a nonstick or lightly-oiled or sprayed 8" square cake pan (you can line the bottom with cooking parchment, if you like). Bake for 25 minutes, or until it begins to turn golden (it will be soft).

Cool slightly on a rack, then cut into small pieces (32-36) and roll in powdered sugar, if you like.

You can also take the squares while they are pretty hot and roll them and squeeze them into little balls, and roll in powdered sugar, if you prefer.

Cool thoroughly and store airtight.

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per 1 square or bar, recipe cut into 36): 80.1 calories; 24% calories from fat; 2.3g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 15.9mg sodium; 84.2mg potassium; 15.1g carbohydrates; 1.2g fiber; 8.4g sugar; 13.9g net carbs; 0.7g protein; 1.6 points.