3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheerio Bars

Hello! It me. I bring to you another dessert recipe from Wisconsin since my flight to NYC was canceled this morning due to the wind! Blah. I suppose this means even more time to experiment with dessert recipes since I will no longer have the opportunity to stuff myself with Van Leeuwen vegan ice cream this weekend (my absolute fav).easy-vegan-3-ingredient-peanut-butter-chocolate-cheerio-bars

Now I will preface this recipe by acknowledging that I’m aware I did not break any culinary boundaries in creating these. And that’s fine. But these bars are beauties because they’re super duper easy and super duper delicious. They’re also vegan and gluten-free, if you’re into that kinda thing.

They’re also highly addictive. My mom ate like 3/4th of the tray in one sitting. We are definitely related. Chocolate is a food group, according to us. vegan-3-ingredient-peanut-butter-chocolate-cheerio-bars

So a lil history on these bars: they came about because as a constantly-on-a-budget TJs fanatic, I am always looking up ways to create cheap after-dinner sweet snacks. In grad school I starting buying bags of chocolate chips for $1.99 (yup, TJ’s chocolate chips are vegan) and boxes of TJ’s Joe’s O’s (which are the Trader Joe’s equivalent of Cheerios) also for $1.99. I would mix chocolate chips and Joe’s Os in a wee little bowl and nibble on the mixture while studying.

The mix is a bit sweet, a bit carby, chocolatey, and crunchy. It’s highly satisfying, easy-to-prepare, and cheap as can be! It really stretches out a bag of chocolate chips, and has the added bonus that Joe’s O’s are decently not-too-shabby-for-you, making it a snack that’s easy to eat every night without feeling icky.

Then one day last month, I  was making puppy chow for my sister when she was in town, and I ventured to the grocery store to get a box of Chex. And then I got home and saw my Cheerios and I was like…I wonder if….!

And so this month, I tried it. I basically used the puppy chow idea (melted chocolate + pb) with Cheerios in place of Chex, but pressed them into a pan instead of coating them with powdered sugar.vegan-gluten-free-3-ingredient-peanut-butter-chocolate-cheerio-bars

The result is a crunchy, easy peasy snack that satisfies any crunchy chocolate peanut butter craving. They’re just damn good and damn delicious.

Anyways, without further audieu, I present to you…

3-Ingredient Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerio Bars [Vegan & Gluten-Free]vegan-3-ingredient-peanut-butter-chocolate-cheerio-bars-gf

Prep Time:  10 mins
Cook Time:0 mins, but require at least 20 minutes refrigeration
Total Time: ~30 minutes
Servings: 12 bars

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups plain Cherrios or Joe’s O’s
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • sea salt (optional)

Method:

  1. Grease a 12″x12″ inch pan.
  2. In a large microwave safe bowl, heat chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments until almost melted (roughly 90 seconds – 3minutes). When chips are almost melted, add peanut butter and microwave an additional 30-60 seconds, until chips are fully melted and peanut butter is melty.
  3. Stir chocolate peanut butter mixture. Add cereal. Toss to coat cereal in chocolate mixture.
  4. Press into prepared pan.
  5. Place bars into the refrigerator or freezer until set, at least 20-30 minutes.
  6. Slice and enjoy.

Vegan Salted Coconut Milk Caramel

Caramel! Do you say it “CARA-uh-mel” or “CAR-uh-muhl” or “KAR-mul?” I say it “delicious,” and something I enjoy swirled into my ice cream or as a dipping sauce for a hot doughy pastry (hello, mini churros).yummy-vegan-coconut-milk-caramel

So once upon a time I found and fell a bit infatuated with these vegan caramels made from coconut milk. Me being me, I instantly starting working on how I could recreate something similar.

I typically make my vegan caramel from dates, which is delicious, but this was a fun new challenge and I can’t wait to bake with this stuff and incorporate it into other fun desserts and treats.coconut-milk

What are you up to right now? As I’m typing up this post, I’m watching Vanderpump Rules. It’s the best worst show ever.

Life is still a bit of a doosey for me lately. I’m experiencing multiple transitions and am exploring new platforms for freelance, and in the meantime I find I have a lot of create energy and am unsure where to place it. It feels like I’m going to pop creative juice all over the carpet. So when this happens I end up baking breakfast cookies and making homemade vegan caramel. I need a life. Or a friend who will eat my food that isn’t my dog.vegan-coconut-milk-caramel

In other news, I am experiencing a really adorable adult acne breakout. This acne does not help me in the she-looks-like-a-teenager-don’t-take-her-seriously-department. Which is starting to get a wee bit frustrating. But that’s okay. I recently read a tweet from a vlogger I follow about letting people who doubt you and try to take advantage of you be your motivation to succeed. So I’m going to try to go this route. Which I guess means caramel, among other things.

Enough of my talking. On to the caramel:delicious-vegan-coconut-milk-caramel

It’s easy, delicious, and has a lovely coconul undertone. It’s wonderful swirled into yogurt, on top of ice cream, AND in the recipe I am going to post next (stay tuned ~ I’m really excited about this one).

Oh, and if you’d like the mini vegan churros recipe here it is: 1) Go to Trader Joe’s. 2) Buy frozen mini churros. 3) Eat.

Prep Time:  2 mins
Cook Time: 35-40 mins
Total Time: ~40 minutes
Servings: ~1/2 cup caramel sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar or coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Method:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine coconut milk and sugar.
  2. Heat mixture to a boil over medium heat. Maintain slow boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened, roughly 35-40 minutes. Stir in coconut oil and vanilla and remove from heat.
  3. Transfer caramel sauce to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!

Vegan Macaroon Bars

Once upon a time I lived very near to exceptional vegan eatery called Peacefood Cafe.

From the famous chickpea fries to the best vegan burger I have ever put in my mouth, you really can’t go wrong at Peacefood (minus the raw sushi, I’d skip that).

Then, of course, there is the dessert case. HOLY COW that dessert case. It is beautiful and extensive and wonderful and delicious. The carrot cake is a frequent subject of my day dreams. The raw key lime pie is super tangy and refreshing. The raw cocoa mousse pie tastes like heaven took slice-form. And the deceptively simple coconut macaroons are other-wordly.vegan-coconut-almond-macarron-bars

I’m proud to say I’ve eaten everything in their dessert case at one time or another (seasonal/daily specials aside). But I’m sad to admit I skipped over the chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons for a long time.

Until, one day, my friend Dan ordered one post-dinner, so I got one too. It was phenomenal. Moist, sweet, but not overly so, and dipped in dark, dark chocolate. HEAVEN.vegan-coconut-macaroon-bars

It took me several attempts to recreate macaroons that tasted half as good as Peacefood’s. The key, I have decided, is almond extract, and enough melted coconut oil to keep the inside moist and luscious.

The macaroons are yummy, but a bit putsy to make, so I turned the recipe into a bar form so there is less messing around/time between me and ma macaroons.

If you want to create the regular babies, just use an ice cream scoop and shape into small mounds and place onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet  before putting into the oven instead of pouring into a pan. delicious-vegan-gf-macaroon-bars-with-almonds

Vegan Macaroon Bars with Almonds

Prep Time:  20 mins
Cook Time: 10-12 mins, plus at least 1 hour to chill
Total Time: 1 hr, 30 mins
Servings: 12

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces shredded coconut (unsweetened, I got mine for $1.99 at Trader Joe’s)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract (optional, but truly the MVP here; if you don’t have any, sub an additional teaspoon vanilla)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
  • 1/3 cup almonds, chopped
  • dash of sea salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 12×12″ pan.
  2. Place shredded coconut in a food processor or blender and pulse until a rough crumb forms (it should still have some shredded texture, but aim for tiny shred pieces).
  3. Transfer shredded coconut to a bowl.
  4. Microwave coconut oil until melted (about 1 minute). Pour into bowl with shredded coconut. Add maple syrup, vanilla extract, and almond extract, and stir until well combined and sticky. If the dough does not seem sticky enough, add an additional tablespoon or two of maple syrup.
  5. Pour dough into greased pan and press into pan with a spatula. Flatten and pack dough as much as possible.
  6. Place pan into oven for 10-12 minutes, until top is just lightly browned.
  7. Remove pan from oven and place in the refrigerator to cool.
  8. Meanwhile, microwave chocolate chips in 30 second increments until melted, stirring at each increment. This will take about 90-120 seconds.
  9. Chop almonds.
  10. Remove pan from the refrigerator or freezer and pour melted chocolate over the coconut bars. Spread chocolate with a spatula to evenly cover bars. Sprinkle chopped almonds over melted chocolate. Sprinkle with salt, if desired.
  11. Place bars into the refrigerator until the chocolate top sets, at least one hour.
  12. Slice into bars and enjoy!

PS ~ Have you checked out the kbaked Facebook page yet? 🙂 😉

Other fun links!

Linking to the HOST

Single Serve Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello again friends.baker_katherine_chocolate_chip_single_serve_vegan-1

I know, I know. I disappeared again. And I’m not going to make any excuses. I was busy doing what you do in your 20s: making mistakes, enduring set-backs, moving multiple times, and coming out stronger and more certain of who I am and who I want to be.

I also spent time writing a bunch more for Spoon University (check it out here), but after some soul searching and debating and squandering self-doubt, have decided to make my way back to blogging.

baker_katherine_chocolate_chip_single_serve_vegan_dip_vertical

And after decided to come back to blogging, I spent a considerable amount of time debating starting a new blog or re-starting kbaked for like the 4th time. I ultimately decided on the later, but am planning to give it a serious lift in style, layout, and quality.

All while eating cookies, of course.

I love chocolate chip (oatmeal) cookies. I mean, do you know someone who doesn’t? If you do please let me know; I’d legitimately be interested in interviewing them. Send me their contact info ASAP.

baker_katherine_chocolate_chip_single_serve_vegan_air

Back to cookies: one of my favorite things to make because 1) They don’t take very long, and 2) Holy moly, delicious!

But when you live alone, sometimes you just want one or two. Because if you have a dozen, you most likely eat a dozen. And then you feel icky and out of balance. At least, if you’re me.baker_katherine_chocolate_chip_single_serve_vegan_air_2

That’s why single serve cookie recipes are important to keep in your arsenal. The oatmeal is  hypothetically optional, but highly preferable, in my opinion.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and my promise to blog more frequently in the coming months. It’s my goal to improve my content, layout, and start blogging about more than just recipes, but also nutrition, health, and life.

I hope you enjoy!

Single Serve Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookiesbaker_katherine_chocolate_chip_single_serve_vegan-1

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon non-dairy butter or coconut oil or nut butter or neutral oil like canola
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract optional
  • 1/3 cup all purpose whole wheat oat flour or any combination thereof
  • 2 tablespoon rolled oats optional or substitute addition flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon chia seeds optional
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon water or milk add more if dough appears too dry
  • Dash salt
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until just combined.
  3. Roll dough into two medium or one large cookie dough ball and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 8-12 minutes until the edges begin to turn golden brown and cookie becomes fragrant.

Recipe also shared on Spoon University

Check out some more noms on a link share on runningwithspoons.com!

Quinoa Sunflower & Chia Seed Crackers

Mmmmm crackers. I love me a good cracker. Oddly, however, I rarely buy crackers. It’s one of those things I just never grab when I’m on autopilot at the grocery store. So maybe I enjoy crackers so much because they’re novel to me. Or maybe it’s just because I love carbs.

Vegan & Gluten-free Quinoa Sunflower Chia Seed Crackers

Well, I guess these crackers aren’t that carby. They got quinoa in them, but they also pack a buttload of healthy fats – polyunsaturated from the sunflower seeds, and omega fatty acids in the chia seeds. Also, hello holy fiber. These babies are packed full of them.

Quinoa Sunflower & Chia Crackers - Sunflowers

Can we talk about sunflower seeds for a minute? I seriously think they’re underrated. They’re not only tasty, but mega-cheap, and seriously nutritious! They’re one of the foods highest in polyunsaturated fatty acids – aka the best fatty acids, and the ones that can help you lower your blood lipid profiles when used to replace other fats and/or carbs.

Quinoa Sunflower & Chia Crackers - Quinoa

Anyways back to crackers. These were kind of made on a whim based on what was in my pantry at my mom’s house in Wisco last week. And then they turned out really great. Like, way better than I had expected. I love when that happens. It makes me happies. Much more happies than when you make something you think is gonna be great and then it’s totally meh or you leave it in the oven way too long by accident because you can’t get your dog back inside from playing with frogs in the lawn and then you totally burn the crap out of whatever your’e making. Not that I speak from experience.

Quinoa Sunflower & Chia Crackers - Vegan & Gluten-free

These crackers are hearty, flavorful, and satisfying. They pair great with avocado. They would also be pretty great with hummus, or are perfect on their own. You can also omit the garlic and pair them with sweet toppings, like nut butter or jam. You do you.

Vegan Quinoa Sunflower & Chia Crackers

Let’s take a second to acknowledge the avocado in the photo above is a little bruised. Let’s also acknowledge that it is still perfectly edible and since I hate wasting food and avocados are darn expensive, no, I did not run to the store to buy a new one for this photo. Sorry, guys. But this is about the crack-tastic crackers anyway.

Quinoa Sunflower & Chia Crackers Vegan

Say cracker again. *cracker.*

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes
makes about 6 large crackers

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 clove garlic (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mince garlic clove if making savory crackers. Otherwise, skip this step.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well.
  4. Line a baking pan with parchment paper (I used a 9″ x 9″ pan). Spread cracker mixture over parchment paper.
  5. Place in oven for 30 minutes. Carefully remove from oven. Place a second piece of parchment paper over the crackers, and flip crackers. Return to oven and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until just set/crispy.
  6. Remove from oven. Allow to cool and enjoy.

 

Vegan Gluten-Free No-Bake Cookie Dough S’mores Bars

I should be writing my thesis. Really, that’s what I should be doing. Not baking, not rearranging my apartment to put my table by the window to take pictures of my baked goods, and definitely not blogging about them either. But here we are.
Vegan S'mores Bars Cookie Dough

Finishing this thesis has been like so meh. I’ve never been so good at procrastinating anything in my life. So many other things just seem important right now. Like frantically finding a job. And signing up for a free barre class and arriving wearing sticky stocks to realize that you and your friend missed the memo that it’s actually a free HIIT/cardio kickboxing class. And then doing that class wearing sticky socks. And then trying really hard not to roll your eyes while biting your tongue listening to their partner “holistic nutritionist” talk about “good molecules” for your body after. Phew. Stay calm, Kathy.

Vegan S'mores Cookie Dough Bars  Gluten-Free

Anyways, part of me procrastinating editing my thesis involved S’mores bars. I know right? Vegan, GF S’mores bars. Now what if I told you that these are also better-for-you. Like the cookie dough layer is actually pretty healthy.

Vegan Cookie Dough Healthy

Shut the front door, right? Right. But this magic is REAL.

Vegan Marshmallows

So recently Trader Joe’s debuted their vegan and gluten-free marshmallows for $2.99. G’bless you TJs for real. Normally, vegan marshmallows are like $6 for no apparent reason. And thus I’ve refrained from buying them and haven’t had a damn marshmallow in like 3 years. Until these puppies hit the shelves and like a dream come true.

Vegan Marshmallows Trader Joe's

Speaking of dreams, you could take a nap of one of these marshamllow-topped bars. Marshmallows are fluffy, just like pillows. Except then you’d have crumbs and chocolate in your hair. But if you surround yourself with the right types of people they may actually dig that sort of thing.

Vegan Gluten-Free S'mores Cookie Dough Bars

Back to the bars: what do I dig about these? Well, they have all the things I look for in a dessert: they are carby and sweet but not too sweet, and they have chocolate, and they have a graham cracker crust, and when you eat them they don’t make you feel like you just ate a garbage truck.

Vegan and Gluten Free S'mores Cookie Dough Bars

In fact, marshmallows aside, these puppies ain’t bad for you. The middle layer is full of whole grains, protein, and plant-powered goodness. And dark chocolate is rad, too.

Vegan Gluten Free S'mores Cookie Dough Bars

The graham crackers and the marshmallows? Well, those are for fun. Which is allowed when you’re eating. Because eating should be fun and not boring. In fact it should be s’mor-ing. <—I’m the worst. Kudos to you if you’re still reading this post and putting up with me being a cluster.

Vegan &amp; Gluten Free S'mores Cookie Dough Bars

Now let’s do this.

Vegan S'mores Cookie Dough Bars Gluten-Free

Ingredients – Crust:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about a sleeve and a half)
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Ingredients – Cookie Layer:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour or other flour (you can make oat flour by pulsing oats in a food processor or blender until a flour forms)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated white sugar (can sub coconut sugar, etc)
  • 3/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Ingredients – Topping:

  • 12 ounce bag vegan gluten-free marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Directions:

  1. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking sheet.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs and coconut oil. Press into baking sheet to form a bottom layer. Store in the freezer for at least 10 minutes to set.
  3. In a food processor or blender, puree chickpeas until a smooth paste forms. Add vanilla extract and pulse again. Transfer to a bowl and add oat flour, rolled oats, sugars, and mix well. Then add chocolate chips and pecans and mix again.
  4. Transfer cookie dough into pan and press on top of graham layer.
  5. Top with chopped marshmallows, chocolate chips and pecans. Torch with a fancy kitchen torch, or broil in your oven for 2-3 minutes to crisp up the marshmallows.
  6. Cut into squares and enjoy. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Vegan Peaches and Cream Chia Seed Pudding

Holy heck it’s finally happening: it is finally HAWT in NYC. Yes, HAWT. Not hot, or Hot, or even HOT, but HAWT. Like oh-my-goodness uncomfortable hot.

Peaches &amp;  Cream Chia Seed Pudding Vegan

While I’m admittedly a drama queen, the forecast does predict temps to be in the low 90s all week, which when combined with humidity that makes you feel like you’re swimming through thick, moist air when you’re walking down the street, combined with the urban heat island effect…well let’s just say I’m currently thanking my lucky stars for my A/C unit. So worth the $130. So. Worth it.

Peaches &amp; Cream Chia Seed Pudding Vegan

Life updates regarding post-grad-school life: I’m still confused. Transition periods and decision making are two things I find to be challenging and often turn me into a muddled anxious shell of already normally quiet anxious and insane self.

But hey, it may be hot, and I may be a mess, but at least my dog is cute, and at least I have prospects of potential pathways to go about after I wrap up my thesis. And at least I have chia seeds, which means I can make chia seed pudding.

peach

So you be thinking to yourself that this recipe is basically this recipe in chia seed pudding form. Well, you would be correct in that thought. But when I’m on a kick, I’m on a kick, and right now peaches are my go-to snack-thang. And there have been some super duper sales on the little stone fruit babies, so I’ve been going at them hardXcore. Next on my list is doughnut peaches. I saw them at TJs yesterday and almost bought them, but decided to wait until my regular peaches in my fridge run out. This pudding should help me reach this point fast.

Peaches and Cream Chia Seed Pudding Vegan

So this pudding. It is creamy dreamy and seriously refreshing on a day as hot as today. The cold chunks of tangy yet sweet peaches add the perfect flavor and texture punch to the pudding, and add so much extra delight for your palate that very little sugar is required.

Peaches and Cream Chia Seed Pudding Vegan

I used coconut milk, which was wonderful, but you can use any plant or regular milk your heart desires. And while it’s optional, I would highly recommend NOT skipping the coconut whipped cream, as it adds just that little bit of luscious love to take this chia seed pudding from regular chia seed pudding to tasting and feeling like an extra special treat.

Peaches &amp; Cream Chia Seed Pudding Vegan

And you deserve that treat. Because adulting is hard and no one is perfect, but whipping up chia seed pudding makes you sure feel like you’re doing something right. Kudos, kiddos. #BlessUp.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Chill Time: at least 4 hours, preferrably overnight

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (in a carton, or canned if you’d prefer something a bit richer) or other non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar or maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut whipped cream, divided
  • 1 ripe peach

Directions:

  1. Cut peach in half. Cover half and set aside in the refrigerator to save for serving. Meanwhile, chop the other half into bite sized cubes.
  2. Mash cubes with the back of the fork to allow juice to bleed from them slightly. Transfer to a small bowl. Add coconut milk, chia seeds, sugar or maple syrup, vanilla, and 1/2 tablespoon coconut cream, and mix well.
  3. Cover pudding and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight.
  4. Chop remaining half of peach and use to top pudding. Dollop 1 tablespoon coconut whipped cream on top of pudding and enjoy.