Easy Vegan Peanut Butter Blossoms

Easy Vegan Peanut Butter Blossoms

Lol it’s been a month since I  last blogged. What can I say, other than sorry? Even though you probably didn’t even notice or care I didn’t post for a month, it bothered me. I just was under so much stress from the hardest semester of school of my entire academic career/finishing my applications and finals and my two jobs I just kind of drafted like, 9 different posts, got anxious they weren’t good enough, and didn’t publish them. Reminder to self: don’t let the obsession with being perfect prevent you from being good. Moving on. It’s Vegan Peanut Butter Blossom time.

Easy Vegan Peanut Butter Blossoms

^That was the worst transition ever. And why did I keep it in the first paragraph? Because according to SEO crap I have engrained into my brain, the search term should be in the first paragraph. So there it is. Here it is again in the second paragraph: easy Vegan Peanut Butter Blossoms.

Wow, this post is officially all over the place, and we’re only to the third paragraph! But such is life. I’m just pumped to be back home in Wisconsin, with ample time and creative energy to devote to creative pursuits, including this blog.

Simple Vegan Peanut Butter Blossoms

I also am very stoked to have a new camera. The upgrade was years overdue, but being a chronic student doesn’t leave much wiggle room for big purchases.

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Vegan Cocoa Puff Cake Mix Cookies

Vegan Cocoa Puff Cake Mix Cookies

3-Ingredients, 12 minutes, and delicious cookies? You betcha! These Vegan Cocoa Puff Cake Mix Cookies are where it’s at.

Vegan Cocoa Puff Cake Mix Cookies

You may be asking yourself: “How is this magic possible? How can I make fluffy delicious cookies that taste like literal cocoa puffs using only 3 ingredients?”

Well, the answer is: I cheated. Yup, I used a box. But not boxed cookie mix. Boxed cake mix. That’s the secret to these delicious too-good-to-be-true cookies.

Vegan Cocoa Puff Cake Mix Cookies

I actually learned this secret from my friend in elementary school (hello Allie, if you’re reading…improbable but if you ever see this, you da best!). Her genius mother taught us how to make cake mix cookies. I was skeptical, but one bite, and I became a believer.

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Chewy Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Protein Bars

Chewy Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Protein Bars

I have a love for sweet carb-y goodness that fuels me up without making me feel sugared out. Something that will appease my sweet truth, but also make me feel like I’ve eaten real food. That’s why I love things like VVegan Banana Bread, Blueberry Flax Muffins, and Chocolate-Dipped Nut-Butter Stuffed Dates. And now these Chewy Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Protein Bars.

Easy Vegan & GF Oatmeal Cookie Dough Bars

These are made with a secret ingredient – chickpeas! Now, before you abandon this post convinced I’ve gone mad, I promise you can’t really taste them. This is not a sweetened hummus bar (though I’d probably be down to eat that too). This is a neutral-based soft baked bar that is packed with protein, fiber, and flavor.

Vegan + GF Oatmeal Cookie Dough Bars

I’ve done the whole bean-based cookie dough thing before, and enjoyed it quite a bit. Only recently did I think “hey, maybe this will taste good baked!” So here we are.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzel Bites

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzel Bites

I love a salty sweet treat. And these peanut butter chocolate pretzel bites are the epitome of a salty, sweet crunchy creamy dream snack.

3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzel Bites

Bonus: they couldn’t be similar to make. If you can make cereal, you can probably make these delightful nibbly desserts.

All you need is pretzels, peanut (or your other favorite nut) butter, chocolate chips, and some salt. And the only fancy equipment you need a microwave, microwave-safe bowl, and a refrigerator or freezer. Now let’s get into it.

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Easy Raw Vegan Cheesecake for 2

Easy Raw Vegan Cheesecake for 2

All my life I’ve dreamed of a working blender or food processor. And thanks to Amazon Prime day, my dream has become a reality at last, and I can now part ways with my $12 Food Network brand mini food processor from Kohl’s circa 2009. This major upgrade has helped bring me (and you) this incredibly easy raw vegan cheesecake.

Easy Vegan Raw Lemon Cheesecake

Now. Raw cheesecake is something I’ve wanted to make for…oh I don’t know basically forever. But my old mini food processor was so small, dull, and crappy, that it could barely dice a ripe banana.

I’ve dreamt about making raw cheesecakes and smooth hummus and nut butters for years but never had the right equipment to properly execute these desires.

Easy Raw Lemon Cheesecake for 2

Enter new Ninja blender. Enter happiness. And freedom and inspiration to make ALL OF THE THINGS. Stay tuned!

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Nut Butter-Stuffed Chocolate-Dipped Dates

Nut Butter-Stuffed Chocolate-Dipped Dates

These nut butter-stuffed, chocolate-dipped dates are like a 14/10 on the amazing scale. 5 Ingredients. No fancy equipment or oven required. Insanely delicious sweet treat.

Easy Salty Nut-Butter Stuffed Dates with Chocolate

All you gotta do is crack open some dates, de-pit them, slather their insides with nut butter, squash a whole nut in there (optional, but recommended), dip in some melted chocolate, and finish with sea salt.

Chocolate-Dipped Easy Salty Nut-Butter Stuffed Dates

A short chill sesh in the freezer later, you have a treat that’s chewy, crunchy, creamy, salty, sweet, and chocolatey. It hits every desirable snack element in one swoop.

Scruptious Stuffed Dates with Chocolate and Nut Butter

Honestly, the result is far better than it has any right to be. It tastes like a snickers but without any artificialness or sugar overload. They’re actually kind of like a lazy version of my favorite-ever Sunbutter Caramel Date Truffles with Sea Salt.

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Vegan Peanut Butter Fluff

Vegan Peanut Butter Fluff

You know what I adore? Fruit. And sweet graham cracker munchies. Like Teddie Grahams or Trader Joe’s Cinnamon School Book Cookies. Yum. Give me all the sweet (but not too sweet) carbs. And what better to dip all of these carbs in than Vegan Peanut Butter Fluff? Nada, that’s what.

Eeasy, delicious Vegan peanut butter fluff dip

This super easy Vegan Peanut Butter Fluff dip was inspired by fluffy fruit dips from my childhood. I remember raging on fruit and graham crackers with this mysterious white sweet fluffy dip and wondering what the heck it was.

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Vegan Strawberry Almond Butter Oatmeal Crumb Bars

Vegan Strawberry Almond Butter Oatmeal Crumb Bars

Today I was craving some comfort. The past few weeks I’ve felt uneasy, and I can’ quite figure out why.

Easy Vegan Almond Butter Strawberry Seed Jam Bars with Crumb Topping

Perhaps it’s a combination of stress of an 18-credit graduate school load, figuring out my summer practicum, some pressing family issues, or the mundaneness I sometimes feel after working on something (whether it be school work, work work, projects, or applications for practicums) from morning til evening with little relief.

Once I cross one thing off my list, it seems, 6 more pop up.

VEGAN Strawberry Almond Butter Oatmeal crumb bars

Yesterday I took a break and got brunch at Mathew’s with my good friend Raag. The outing provided not only a delicious meal and good conversation, but a much needed break, some peace of mind, and a fleeting moment or two of comfort.

But today, I was back on the grind. And today, comfort came in the form of Vegan Strawberry Almond Butter Oatmeal Crumb Bars.

Vegan Strawberry Chia Jam

I love a sweet but not-too-sweet breakfasty nibble, filled with oats, nut butters, and sometimes fruit to snack on in the afternoon with tea and to have to pack for snacks during the school week.

I wanted something with a soft bottom, a yummy fruity center, and a scrumptious oatmeal crumb topping. Crumb toppings are one life’s finest pleasures, as far as I’m concerned.

Almond Butter Strawberry Chia Seed Jam Bars Spread 2

I was trying to decide what to bake when I remembered the clearance frozen strawberries I purchased at the store yesterday, and the idea for a Vegan Strawberry Almond Butter Bar with an oatmeal crumb topping came to me. And just like that, I knew I had to make some.

Easy Cegan Almond Butter Strawberry Seed Jam Bars + Crumb Topping

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Easy Chocolate Hazelnut Bark with Sea Salt

Easy Chocolate Hazelnut Bark with Sea Salt

Last night I was cleaning out the fridge/freezer/pantry (party) and started making a bunch of random things to use up odds and ends to help the organization process along.

Easy Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Bark

I whipped up some dark chocolate hazelnut bark with sea salt and was SUPER thrilled with the result. Chocolate + nuts + salt = my favorite. So obviously, I was into this.

Easy Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Bark

It was a spontaneous creation, but so good, and so simple, I decided to snap some phone pics today to put it on the blog in case anyone needs some #inspo for an easy yet impressive homemade chocolate treat.Easy Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Bark

This is basically a no-recipe recipe. You can use whatever nuts you fancy. Or you can add in some chopped figs/dates if you like. You really can’t mess it up.Easy Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Bark

No matter what you add, you’ll end up with delicious, rich, chocolate bark. It’s impressive to put on a plate at gatherings (so long as you keep it elevated if you have doggos) and/or bring to a party or dinner. It also takes minimal effort and is perfect for using up odds and ends in your baking pantry.

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I hope you make this bark and I hope you love it. Let me know if you do! Tag or DM me on Insta (@katherinebaker4) or leave a comment below.img_0427

Peace, love, and salty nutty chocolate!

Easy Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Barki

Easy Chocolate Hazelnut Bark with Sea Salt

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Freezer Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 1-4, depending on how much you like chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped dark chocolate (or one bag dark chocolate chips) – I used Dark Chocolate Lover’s bar from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted or raw (based on your flavor preference, I used raw) whole or chopped hazelnuts, plus additional handful chopped for topping (about 1 3/4 cup total)
  • 1-2 tablespoon flakey sea salt

Method:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Melt dark chocolate in a microwave safe bowl using medium-high heat in 30 second increments, stirring after each increment until melted. This will take about 90-180 seconds, depending on your microwave.
  3. Stir in 1 1/2 cup hazelnuts. Chop additional handful for garnish and set aside.
  4. Spread mixture over prepared baking pan.
  5. Sprinkle chopped hazelnuts and sea salt over the top of the hazelnut bark.
  6. Place bark in freezer for at least 20 minutes or refrigerator for 60 minutes to set.
  7. Break bark into rough pieces with hands.
  8. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Vegan Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

Vegan Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

For Christmas this year, I really wanted to make a special kind of cake. Something that screamed celebration or occasion. I went back and forth over what to make. A Bouche de Noel? A fruit torte? An apple cinnamon spice cake with cream cheese icing? So many options, so few people (at least, at our holiday gathering) to feed.

delicious vegan hazelnut cake chocolate buttercream

Eventually, I settled upon the idea of a nut cake. I love a hearty, dense, nut-meal cake. It reminds me of holidays. Growing up I used to always go to my friend Michelle’s house and her mom would always have these delicious walnut cookies covered in powdered sugar and I could.not.get.enough. of them. I LOVE anything made with ground nuts.

Vegan Gluten-free Hazelnut cake with chocolate buttercream

I set out of to make a hazelnut cake with a the very clear idea in my mind that it would be a nut-meal cake. And to my surprise, recipes were hard to come by. I did some extensive googling and found many ‘hazelnut cakes’ made with hazelnut liqueur…not ground hazelnuts. Or regular cakes that had hazelnuts on top…or hazelnut liqueur in the frosting.

Easy Vegan Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate buttercream

Those might be all fine and well and good but those were not what I had in mind for my holiday hazelnut cake. I very specifically wanted a cake that contained quite a bit of ground hazelnuts.

Vegan Hazelnut Cake - Gluten-free, Chocolate frosting

My mom also speaks highly and frequently of a hazelnut-meal cake her Italian great aunt used to make, the dense cake made from hazelnuts all grated by hand. That’s what I wanted. No regular cake with liqueur for this gal (also, I hate liqueur).

Vegan Hazelnut Cake - Gluten-free

Lucky for me, hotforfood had a recipe that was sort of what I was looking for. I based the base of the cake loosely off her recipe, tweaking it to my liking and going a different direction with the frosting. Also lucky for me, food processors now exist and I didn’t have to grind hazelnuts by hand.

Gluten-free Vegan Hazelnut Cake

This cake turned out delicious. Rich, light, and dense, fluffy, sweet and nutty, all at once. The frosting pairs oh-so-perfectly with the cake.

Gluten-Free-Vegan-Hazelnut-Cake-.jpg

This is not the fastest easiest cake you will ever make. It requires prep work and planning ahead, but I assure you it is worth it. The nutty hazelnut cake offers a rich hazelnut flavor, the dense texture of the nut meal lightened by the oat flour. The ultra-rich deeply chocolatey buttercream elevates the cake from special to spectacular, the flavors reminiscent of Nutella, with far more finesse.

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnutcake_With_Chocolate_Buttercream

This is most definitely a special occasion cake. It feels festive and delicious. The recipe below with give you two layers, and enough buttercream to cover them both. The photos you see are of a cake that only had one layer, made into two, due to a dropped cake incident and making do with what was available. Didn’t matter tho, still tasted delicious!

Vegan Hazelnut cake with chocolate buttercream

I hope you make this and I hope you love it. If you do give the recipe a whirl, be sure to take me on Insta (@katherinebaker4). I love seeing what y’all make!

Happy 2018 everyone!

Vegan Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

Prep Time:  1 hour
Bake Time: 20-30 minutes
Servings: 6-8 people

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 2 cups hazelnuts
  • 2 cups oat flour (or sub all-purpose)
  • 3 tablespoons flax
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • aquafaba (liquid) from one can of chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (sub additional vanilla if you don’t have it)

Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 1 cup vegan butter, softened (I like Earth Balance baking sticks for frosting)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powder sugar, more as needed
  • 2-3 tablespoons non-dairy milk, as needed

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If aquafaba is not cold, place in the fridge to chill.
  2. Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat. Toast for 8-10 minutes until lightly toasted brown. Remove from oven and rub hazelnuts with a paper towel or clean towel to remove skins. If you can’t remove them all, that’s okay. Just do your best.
  3. Allow hazelnuts to cool completely. Meanwhile, lower oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans generously with oil or melted vegan butter.
  4. Combine oat flour, flax, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Once hazelnuts have cooled, pulse in a food processor until a flour/fine-ish meal forms. Some chunks are okay. It adds texture.
  5. Add hazelnut meal to dry mixture. Whisk well.
  6. Whip aquafaba with an electric mixture until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, non-dairy milk, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. Stir into dry ingredients until just combined.
  8. Fold aquafaba into mix until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pans. Place in the oven for 20-22 minutes until lightly golden browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean upon insertion and removal. Once baked, allow to cool completely.
  9. Meanwhile, prepare frosting: combine softened vegan butter with cocoa powder and powder sugar. Use an electric hand or stand mixer to beat until light and fluffy. Add non-dairy milk if a thinner texture is desired. Add more cocoa powder and/or powder sugar (up to 1 additional cup) if thicker texture is desired. Personally, I added no non-dairy milk because I wanted a super rich thick and fudgy icing. But if you want something a bit thinner and fluffier, add non-dairy milk, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is achieved.
  10. Frost cooled cake, top with hazelnuts, and serve!