Friday, December 4, 2020

Entry 37: Personal Favorite - Antivan Coffee Bars (I guess) + Dragon Age Day, December 4 2020

Image Description: A slice of coffee "bar" centered on a white plate with decorative blue lines. There is a dessert fork to the right of the plate and a dark blue mug partially visible to the left. A tiny bit of an orange bottom sits at the top of the frame next to the mug.

Hello, readers - it has been a few months. Most of a year, really. Things have been up and down all round. Wherever you are reading this, I hope you are coping the best you can for you, your family, and friends. Plague events like the COVID-19 pandemic are rare and profound. However you are coping, I also hope it includes some Dragon Age.

Today is Dragon Age Day! A fan-made annual online event celebrating all things Dragon Age! And it is because of this heart-melting and action-packed day, I am celebrating with a new recipe and blog entry. A few weeks ago, I asked Foods of Thedas twitter followers to decide what kind of Dragon Age Day recipe I should make to celebrate: A veganized recipe from the World of Thedas Vol. II cookbook or an original, Thedosian-inspired recipe. Original recipe won by a landslide. Thank you, followers! I am excited to share with you: Antivan Coffee Bars.

Yes, bars. Yes, your kitchen mage's spell went a bit array and in typical scamble-Skyhold fashion, your cook made due. It's 2020, life may not always offer you a proper cake, but we can have bars.

This bar recipe is quick and easy to make if you have a hand mixer or standing mixer. If you do not, crack those knuckles, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to experience a Champion Hawke-level arm workout because the most essential part of this process is creaming the vegan butter and sugar. It is the longest step and is what makes these thick and tasty coffee bars so delicious. 

Before beginning the recipe though, I want to thank you for reading and for being a Dragon Age fan. Dragon Age Day is what it is because of the fans who love the franchise. Throughout this year, Dragon Age and the fan community have pulled me through. I may not be able to play Dragon Age everyday, but thanks to this large and varied community, I can have a Dragon Age moment everyday. Thank you for being here and thank you for being a part of this amazing fan community. 

Dragon Age Day organizers have put together an excited lineup of live streams and Q&A's for the day. And there is a fundraiser with plenty of one-of-a-kind rewards to select! All donations for items will benefit the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Visit the Dragon Age Day website for all the exciting details and more fun!

Now, to the Skyhold kitchen! 

To begin, I like to assemble my ingredients on the counter: flour, salt, baking powder, vegan butter, sugar, ground flax seed, cashew milk, vanilla extract, an orange, and ground cinnamon. 

Ingredients listed above neatly presented on a white tea towel, as if they are Chevaliers on display for the Empress

Then I make a flax seed egg. 2 Tablespoons of ground flax seed and 1/4 cup of warm water gently stirred together and set aside for 10 minutes does the trick. If you do not have access to whole or ground flax seed, there is a substitution note in the recipe notes below. Recipe in full can be found there too. 

Image Description: Collage image: Top image - a downward facing image of whole flax seeds; Bottom image: a downward facing image of a small amount of ground flax seed in a glass jar.

Cream the sugar and vegan butter while the flax seed is gelling. Then sift dry ingredients together. And then zest the orange. Maybe even load up that Dragon Age: Legends game Ghil Dirthalen featured recently. Peruse the Dragon Age Day Tiltify rewards. You get the gist: cream the Void out of that butter and sugar. When the sugar and butter have come together and look fluffy, add the flax seed egg and milk. 

This concoction won't look pretty and you may get the feeling you've done something wrong. That's normal for the recipe. Stir wet ingredients together on a medium speed, occasionally scrapping down the sides and mixing them together by hand.

Image Description: A metal grater laid on top a small bowl, a partially zested orange is held by a well-worn thumb and finger.

Once wet ingredients are sort of combined, add the vanilla and orange zest. Mix for 1-2 more minutes on a medium speed. Then add the dry ingredients in 3 parts.

Image Description: A smooth cake-like batter mixed with a blurry standing mixer paddle.

From here, the steps are fast and easy. Add bar batter to a greased 9 by 9 inch pan and set it aside to spread while you wash out your bowl and prepare to mix the streusel. The streusel comes together very quickly, again by mixer, not as much by hand (good luck, you got this like Hawke's got class). 

Image Description: A freshly mixed streusel perched at the rim of a mixing bowl over a pan of bar batter.

Sprinkle the streusel over the batter. If you want to top with nuts, like chopped almonds or crushed walnuts, this is the place to do that. 

Image Description: A downward facing image of a square cake pan with unbaked coffee bars and streusel.

Then place the pan in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool per instructions below and enjoy like a Crow on a mission. These dense and delicious bars are great for a quick bite on the go (if you have to go places - which if you do, stay safe and take care) or for an afternoon cozy coffee break at home. I hope you give this recipe a try! 

Image Description: A downward facing image of a coffee bar on a white plate on a white tea towel, there is a blue mug with coffee to the upper left and an orange next to it, to the right is a dessert fork.

Antivan Coffee Bars

Prep time: 45 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes
Yields: 6-8 servings



1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder*
1/4 cup vegan butter**
1/2 cup sugar***
1 flax seed egg - 2 Tablespoons ground flax seed + 1/4 cup warm water+
a scant 2/3 cup cashew or soy milk
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons vegan butter**
5 Tablespoons sugar***
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
(Optional: 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or almonds)

Combine flax seed and warm water, stir gently and set aside for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 375℉. Spread shortening to coat a 9 x 9 inch pan or fold parchment paper to fit a 9 x 9 inch pan.

Cream butter until soft. While butter is creaming, sift flour, salt, and baking powder together. Gradually add sugar until combined and fluffy-like. Beat flax seed egg into creamed sugar, then add milk. Once wet ingredients are combined, gradually add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three parts until just combined. Using a silicon or rubber spatula, scrap down the sides and check to make sure all ingredients are combined. Stir in any un-mixed ingredients swiftly. Spread batter into prepared pan. 

To make the the streusel, mix together flour, butter, and sugar, then add cinnamon. Sprinkle streusel on top of the batter. (Sprinkle nuts on top.) 

Bake in prepared oven for 25 minutes. Use a toothpick to test for doneness: insert a toothpick into the center of the cake, if it comes out clean, the cake is done. Test in 1 to 2 places. Allow to cool in the pan on a wire for 10 minutes. Carefully slice into bars, plate, and serve! Best served with coffee.

Store in an airtight contain. If you plan to devour this delicious bars within a day, you can leave it on the counter. If you are saving it for a few days, store in your refrigerator. Enjoy within 5 days. To reheat, place on a microwave-save plate and microwave for 10 to 15 second. 

If you need a recipe for delicious, homebrewed coffee, I have you covered.

Recipe notes: 
*The fresher the baking powder, the better: combine 1 part sodium bicarbonate ( a.k.a.: baking soda) + 2 parts cream of tartar to make fresh baking powder. Make fresh baking powder before you make the flax seed egg.
**If you have access to a variety of vegan butters, I recommend Earth Balance, it is the butterest of vegan butters
***Okay, I did not know this when I went vegan and started this blog two years ago, but apparently in the United States, where I live, basic white sugar is not vegan; it is treated with bone char. It's a bummer. However, USDA Organic grade sugar is not treated with bone char and is vegan. Organic sugar is out of my price range at present but if you have access to it and can afford it, I highly recommend going the extra mile and getting it.
+If you don't have access to flax seeds, you can use a scant 1/4 cup of aquafaba (chickpea brine) from a can of chickpeas.

Walk always in the Maker's light. Wash hands, wear a mask, stay home and play Dragon Age.

END NOTES: Truth be told, I wish I could say I have been playing lots of Dragon Age while my area  has been in and out of various levels of lockdown, but my life is about as busy. I have been cooking and baking (and cleaning) a lot more than gaming. I'm occasionally on social media (more so nowadays thanks to Dragon Age Day!); you can find me Instagram @foodsofthedas and on Twitter @FoodsofThedas. And though I don't have any new entries planned, there are many old ones to read! 

Thanks again for reading. Happy Dragon Age Day! Bare your blade and raise it high! And please check out the Dragon Age Day site for more fun.

Foods of Thedas, formerly Gourmet Vegan Thedas.