Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Vegan Blackberry Coconut Crumble Bars

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Lets chat about coconut oil. Have you tried cooking with it yet? 

Prior to a year ago, my only experience with coconut oil was slathering it liberally all over my sunbathing teenage self in Hawaii. I said "good riddance" to those days long ago in favor of healthy skin, but I'm happy to report that coconut oil still has a place in my heart. And kitchen. This delicious oil is thought to have numerous health benefits from weight loss to immunity source. Coconut oil can also be used as a hair treatment - I can't wait to try that out! 

Virgin coconut oil can be used in baking to replace most other oils, like butter or vegetable oil, and is a great vegan option. It has a mild coconut flavor that is masked by stronger flavors. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature. To melt it, fill a small bowl with hot water and let the closed jar of oil sit in the water for a few minutes.

This recipe is a yummy crumbly treat and the perfect excuse to try baking with coconut oil. You will be amazed that there is no butter in these bars - they're just so... buttery! They were a huge hit with our family and I'm sure they will be with yours too.

Vegan Blackberry Coconut Crumble Bars 
printer friendly recipe 


1/2 cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon
2.5 cups flour *I used Williams-Sonoma Cup for Cup gluten-free flour (I now recombined replacing 1 cup of the flour with oats, as per a reader suggestion!)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup coconut
1 cup virgin coconut oil, solid (NOT melted)
12 oz blackberries (about 2.5 cups)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 8" square inch baking dish with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

Stir together 1/2 cup sugar, flour/oats, baking powder, and coconut. Stir in coconut oil. Press half of dough into pan. In another bowl toss berries with remaining tablespoon sugar and lemon juice. Pour over dough. Crumble remaining dough over top. Bake for 40 minutes until top is golden brown.
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63 comments:

  1. Have you tried making this with any alternates to white flour/sugar? Just wondering if it could be made a little healthier, it looks incredible!

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    1. Hi! I forgot to mention that I did use gluten-free flour. I think it would be interesting to try substituting some oats in the flour mix. It would make it healthier and give it a heartier texture.
      I did not replace the sugar because I would worry about the texture being compromised. Still, much less sugar than your average chocolate chip cookie ;)

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    2. Thanks! Oats sound really good too

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    3. I've got a very similar apple bar recipe in my red plaid cookbook that uses oats in addition to flour, butter (coconut oil if you prefer) and sugar and it's delicious! This type of recipe is very flexible. You could use any type of sugar you wanted, I'm sure, and I bet you could even use honey and more oats and get more of a chewy granola bar crust.

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  2. This sounds delightful! I have yet to try coconut oil. I too have sworn off the sun, but I am afraid the damage has already been done :(

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  3. Coconut Oil, is pretty much my most favorite thing on earth!! Marina, this is such a wonderful recipe. Btw, I bought those pretty glasses a couple weeks ago...along with the green and white ones. Avery, will only drink out of the pink ones. Too cute. I hope you have a great day!!!

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  4. I just did the coconut oil hair treatment yesterday... loved it! It left my hair super soft and shiny.

    Sounds like a great recipe, can't wait to try it!

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  5. I only cook with coconut oil now!! Can't wait to try these!

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  6. Wow, this looks incredible! I love using coconut oil (both in cooking and as a skin/haircare product - it makes a great massage oil, too!). I just have to tell you how striking your photos always are, and these are no exception.
    Beautiful post, as always. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. oh hello!

    these look absolutely delicious and i will def make these. love the way you photographed them too. so cute!

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  8. These sound lovely. I love the pretty little packages they're in!

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  9. Oh, this looks so delicious!

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  10. Jessica Ballinger9:23 AM

    Maybe try subbing coconut sugar instead of the regular stuff?

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  11. Oh these sound delicious! I have heard so many wonderful things about coconut oil but have yet to try it!

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  12. I havn't tried coconut oil, I love all things blackberry though. These do look fab and gorgeous.

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  13. Try the coconut butter too. I buy mine at Whole-food. I eat that when I'm craving for something sweet. It's good for you.

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  14. I forgot I have some coconut oil, thanks for reminding me. I made some crunchy bars too yesterday, come check it out, please...

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  15. These looks absolutely gorgeous, and sweet little bites! I love the light in the first photo, and the napkin with the little purple flowers, I want it!

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  16. Yummy! I love using coconut oil in place of butter or other oils, it's so delicious! Your bars look fantastic, especially with that beautiful blackberry filling :)

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  17. Ahh I love coconut oil. These bars look scrumptious and I adore blackberries.

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  18. What a wonderful recipe. I have just started cooking with coocnut oil and I love it. Your photo's look gorgeous.

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  19. Marina,
    Yummy, no pun intended...these look delicious. I love coconut and haven't bought coconut oil yet. Thanks for the primer. I'll have to try these.
    Karen

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  20. I must be out of the loop...I always thought coconut oil was BAD for you (i.e. high in fat). Must do some research by baking these! Thanks, Marina. We always love a gluten-free treat around our house.

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    Replies
    1. The old fashioned coconut oil that you see listed on processed food is bad (hydrogenated). Virgin coconut oil is not hydrogenated = good. It is still a fat though and should probably not be eaten by the spoonful ;)

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    2. Thank you for clarifying! I will definitely try these.

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  21. i discovered coconut oil about a year ago and loved it since. makes such a good substitution and doesnt affect my cholesterl levels :)
    your bars sound and look so good

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  22. These bars look so lovely! And I love the colors in your photos!

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  23. I saw coconut oil at the grocery the other day and almost bought some. I'll add it to my list for this week!

    Those bars are just beautiful!

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  24. Hi Marina!!

    Oh this is absolutely fabulous!!! I was vegan for a few yrs due to health issues, but I am now vegetarian - so I love it when I find wonderful vegan/vegetarian recipes!!! Thank you for sharing - I will have to try this AND love your amazing photos!!!


    XOXO's,
    Jessie

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  25. I can't wait to try this - I love that there are so few ingredients.

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  26. wow...these look amazing. The photos are stunning and I am sure just as delicious

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  27. These look delicious! I've never tried baking with coconut oil, but it sounds lovely. I'll have to try! Thanks for sharing.

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  28. awww my two favourite sweets: blackberry and coconut!!! defintely to try :)
    great pictures as well!!!! take care. xoxo, Haus of Gala

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  29. While us southerners a very reluctant to giving up our butter, I can't wait to try cooking with coconut oil! I'm always grateful for a healthier option and love the flavor of coconut too. Pinning it now :)

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  30. How interesting - I have not used coconut oil for cooking or baking, but I'm intrigued by its properties. It's fascinating that it doesn't overpower everything it comes in contact with and that it's solid at room temp... Thanks for sharing...

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  31. I have always wanted to try using coconut oil! These bars look heavenly!

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  32. I love your blog. It is such a joy to visit. As always today's pictures are terrific! Come visit us. We have some wonderful things this week to share.

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  33. This looks almost too pretty to eat! I bet this is sooo good! Yes coconut oil rocks!

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  34. Anonymous9:21 AM

    so, i tried making this today and wished that i had used an 8x8 inch pan instead of a 9x13 as called for in the recipe. not sure why, but i didn't have enough crust to cover the 9x13. also, do you crush the berries before baking or did you put them in whole?

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    1. Sorry about the size issue. Thanks for your feedback. I actually used a 7 x 11 I'm now noticing. I'll change the recipe to 8" square.

      I did not crush the berries before baking. The lemon juice/sugar breaks down the berries a little. You could definitely mash them first if you did not want them to be so firm though!

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  35. Thank you so much for your beautiful work and inspiration! These look gorgeous.....!!
    /Karolina

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  36. I have to get on board with this coconut oil business. I've actually never had it or slathered it on my body, but I'm excited to see what it brings me in the kitchen :)

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  37. I'll be at Trader Joe's tomorrow buying this coconut oil! Thanks, Marina:) These bars look so delicious!
    When I was a teen I slathered baby oil all over my body at the beach~Yikes!

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  38. Anonymous10:10 AM

    Okay, what am I doing wrong? I've stirred together the flour mixture and the texture is more like thick pancake batter. I checked and double-checked the measurements. Should the amounts listed for the coconut oil and the coconut be swapped? Or did I warm the coconut oil in hot water for too long (it's supposed to be pourable, right?).

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    1. I did not melt the oil. I used it room temp like shortening or room temp butter. Should still be okay, the top just won't be as crumbly.

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  39. Katie E.11:47 AM

    Well, that makes a lot more sense than what I did! Thanks for clearing that up for me--didn't mean to post that anonymously, I was just trying to hurry and hit the wrong button. I had everything all mixed up and ready to go, and in the time it took to write my question and get back to the kitchen the mixture had solidified and I was able to crumble it up. Not quite the same texture as in the picture, but it smells amazing and I can't wait to try it when it's cooled (if I can wait that long!). Thanks again!

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  40. these look wonderful - blackberry coconut is a lovely combination and I love that you used coconut oil. I've used in in savory cooking but not sweet - looking forward to trying this :)
    Mary x

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  41. Anonymous11:24 PM

    These sound delicious! I will put them on my baking 'to do' list. I was wondering if you have heard of coconut sugar? I saw it and purchased some recently and noticed that it has a lower glycemic index than regular sugar. I've been baking with it and LOVE the delicious results. :)

    P.S. I made your Polenta Cakes today for the first time and thought they were great! I brought a few to my mother who enjoyed them as well.

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  42. This is awesome! I love that you added coconut to the blackberry! Never tried that before but it looks amazing

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  43. i just found your blog through Pinterest. Me thinks I'm staying awhile...

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  44. I just bought some coconut oil today! I was more thinking of using it as a moisturizer but I might have to make these first!

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  45. I love the idea using coconut oil. I have tried it on my skin only, had a wonderful body massage in Philippines. I have coconut fat, looks like vegetable shortening. I wonder if I could use that instead of oil. What do you think, Marina?
    Beautiful pictures as always.

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  46. This looks incredibly delicious and so simple to make. I am thrilled to have stumbled across your blog; it's absolutely lovely! You are an encouragement and an inspiration to this mummy. Thank you!

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  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  48. These look so amazing! I just went & bought all the ingredients & cannot wait to try them! Just a heads up tho for any true vegans - the WS Cup for Cup gluten free flour is not vegan. It has milk powder in it, so you'll want to use an alternative to make these actually vegan.

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  49. Several things worth mentioning, fat = bad is not actually accurate. Our family does in face eat it by the spoonful specifically because of the fat (and resulting nutritional value) As for slathering it on your skin, we still do that too, because it has a natural SPF (not extremely high, but enough to keep us from burning most of the year as we live on the central California coast (in the dead of summer I need something a bit stronger) I'm sorry I don't have links off hand to back this info (I'm not supposed to be on the internet, I have WAY TOO MUCH to do!!!) But someone sent me this link as an idea for a baby shower dessert and I wanted to check it out! Looks great!

    You can also make a cup for cup gluten-free (and truly vegan, unless there's something not vegan about tapioca that I'm unaware of) flour out of the following:

    3 cups rice flour,
    1 cup potato starch (starch, NOT FLOUR)
    1/2 cup tapioca flour/starch

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  50. I made these for a party and the dissapeared almost instantly. The only dangerous thing (for me at least) is that when backing vegan you can eat the batter w/ no worries. (The raw dough is delicious!) Just becareful when they come out of the oven - the cooked dough is lava-hot.

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  51. As I am doing a nutrition change called metabolic balance I just learned about coconut oil and to use it for cooking. It is a wonderful alternative to other oils and I love your recipe for using it with the crumble bars!

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  52. Anonymous2:51 AM

    Thank you for sharing! I just tried this recipe out and these are absolutely delicious! I substituted a cup of flour for oats and it worked a treat! :-)

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  53. I absolutely love coconut oil, there is always one glass in my kitchen! Your crumble bars look amazing!

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  54. These look amazing! I have been doing some gluten free baking and have been using Bob's Red Mill gf all-purpose baking mix but have thought about trying Cup for Cup. Do you like it?

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    1. Hi Laura,

      I do like Cup for Cup. And Bob's! And now the Trader Joe's brand as it's the least expensive. Very easy to use :)

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  55. I wanted to let you know I made these and loved them! I posted about them on my blog and would love if you'd take a look :) http://piesandplots.net/vegan-blackberry-coconut-bars/

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