Vegan Dark Chocolate-Dipped Homemade HobNobs

Vegan Dark Chocolate-Dipped Homemade HobNobs

Do you ever just randomly get the urge to bake something British in the middle of a Saturday afternoon? Because same. I’m not sure if Mary Berry was whispering in my ear as I was sleeping last night, or what (okay, more likely that I saw a pile of HobNobs in the clearance section at Sendiks the other day), but for some reason, I had quite the hankering to make some homemade dark-chocolate dipped homemade hob nobs this weekend.

After chanting “On your mark, get set, Bake!” to myself, I got to the kitchen and made my British bake-off homemade Hobnob dreams come true.

Homemade Vegan HOBNOBS.jpg

Now what is a HobNob, you may ask? ‘HobNobs‘ are a brand of commercial biscuits popular in the UK (and according to Wikipedia, parts of Ireland).

They’re simple, salty-sweet, crispy cookies that are similar to digestive biscuits, but are visibly studded with oats, making for a rustic-looking round cookie.

Easy Vegan Hob Nobs

The best way I can think to describe the flavor of a Hobnob to someone who has not yet experienced their glory is as follows: imagine a salty and more-textured-than-usual, oat-studded circular graham cracker. That’s kind of what you get when you eat a Hobnob. And they are nothing short of glorious.

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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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Vegan Chocolate Sheet Cake with Chocolate Buttercream (And How to Veganize A Non-Vegan Cake Recipe)

Vegan Chocolate Sheet Cake with Chocolate Buttercream (And How to Veganize A Non-Vegan Cake Recipe)

Do you ever just feel the need to eat deliciously rich, Bruce Bogtrotter-worthy chocolate cake? Because I do. That’s where this Vegan Chocolate Cake with Vegan Chocolate Buttercream comes in.

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Vegan Chocolate Buttercream

One thing a lot people don’t realize about vegan baking is that it’s actually quite easy to veganize a lot of “conventional” recipes with a few simple swaps.

Non-dairy milk for regular milk, vegan butter in place of butter, and an egg replacement (1/4 cup applesauce or canned pumpkin, 1 tablespoon chia seed or ground flax + 3 tablespoons of water, or 1/4 cup silk tofu, to name a few) for the egg, whipped aquafaba for egg whites, etc, and viola! You’ve veganized your desired “conventional” baked good.

Vegan Chocolate Cake + Vegan Chocolate Buttercream

Now, it may take a couple of attempts to figure out which replacements you like best, and/or which ones work best for your old favorite “conventional” recipes, but it’s truly not as scary as it sounds, and experimenting in the kitchen, though it can lead to some epic fails, can also lead to exciting new and wonderful creations of your own.

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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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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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Salted Peanut Butter Cup Brownies (Brownie Mix Shortcut)

Salted Peanut Butter Cup Brownies (Brownie Mix Shortcut)

The same says it all: salty sweet rich and decadent brownies swirled with luscious peanut butter and topped with peanut butter cups and crunchy sea salt. These salted peanut butter cup brownie mix brownies are tastebud heaven.

I made these a few weeks ago for Vegan Bites (which airs Thursday evenings on @spoonuniveristy Instagram stories) and wasn’t planning to put them on the blog, but the response to the episode was so positive I decided despite only having mediocre phone pics they deserved a place on kbaked.com.

You’ve probably noticed based on the title of the post that these brownies are made with a box mix. Now you may be saying “that’s cheating” or that “true bakers never use mixes.” To which I say your opinion is fair, however, I’ve come to find times and places for box mixes and like to keep them on hand for such occasions. They’re especially nice when you need to whip something up and find your baking pantry bare.

Making a cake for a special occasion is not, in my opinion, the place for a mix, but these brownies definitely are. All you have to do to make these is grab a box of brownie mix, some peanut butter cups, sea salt, oil/vegan butter, and an egg substitute, and you’re on your way to peanut butter cup brownie mix magic in a matter of minutes.

Now let’s talk brownie mix. Some are better than others. Look for an ingredient list that contains things you’d add at home and doesn’t contain too many things you wouldn’t (like DATEM and mono- and do-triglycerides, etc). I like Trader Joe’s, Annie’s, and Cherrybrook Kitchen mixes. Also check the ingredient list for animal ingredients. You’ll find many are accidentally vegan, making your life a wee bit easier.

You’re going to cook the brownie mix according to the package with a few modifications, swapping animal products for non-animal products. While many mixes call for oil, should yours call for butter, simply swap in vegan butter (like Earthbalance).

Now on to the milk. Should your box’s recipe call for milk, simply add your favorite unsweetened non-dairy milk. I would go for the unsweetened, since box mixes tend to be far sweet enough already.

Lastly, the egg. This is the trickiest to swap but you can handle it. For quick breads, cookies, and muffins, swapping each egg with 1/4 cup applesauce or a flax or chia egg works fabulously. If you don’t mind a subtle banana taste, 1/2 a small ripe mashed banana will also work. For brownies, replacing an egg with a chia or flax eggs or 1/4 cup puréed silken tofu or canned pumpkin will do the trick. Cakes are a bit trickier and sometimes with delicate crumb, aquafaba is best, but know that chia and flax eggs will do just fine.

To make a chia or flax egg, simply combine 1 tablespoon flax or chia seeds + 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl and allow to thicken for at least 10 minutes. Fabulous.

Now back to brownies: despite this long and winding post these truly couldn’t be easier. Make the brownies according to the mix instructions with swaps mentioned above, swirl in 1/4 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter, and bake according to time listed on the package.

When there’s a minute or two left in the bake time, chop up vegan peanut butter cups (like Justin’s dark chocolate) and when you pull the brownies out of the oven to cool, sprinkle the cups over the top of the hot brownies. You’ll notice the cups will start to melt slightly; this is perfect. Sprinkle with flakey sea salt to finish, allow to cool, and enjoy, preferably crumbled atop your favorite non-dairy ice cream (I’m partial to Van Leeuwen or So Delicious Cashew Milk – particularly their Caramel Cashew Cluster ice cream myself).

I hope you make these or that this recipe has inspired you to use that box of brownie mix in your pantry that has been sitting there lonely for months.

Salted Peanut Butter Cup Brownies (Brownie Mix Shortcut)

Level: Easy
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 20-30 minutes
serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 1 box egg and dairy free brownie mix (just check labels, many brands are vegan)
  • oil / water that the mix calls for -1/4 cup apple sauce, silken tofu, mashed sweet potato or 1 tablespoon chia + 2 tablespoons water per egg called for on box.
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (optional)
  • 10-12 nondairy peanut butter cups (optional, I like Justin’s dark chocolate)
  • 1-2 tablespoons flakey sea salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven and prepare mix per box instructions, subbing your egg replacement for eggs.
  2. Pour into well-greased pan.
  3. Swirl in peanut butter evenly throughout batter.
  4. Bake per time called for on box.
  5. Remove from oven. Immediately too with sea salt + chopped pb cups.
  6. Enjoy! 🤗

Vegan Salted Caramel Date Truffles

Vegan Salted Caramel Date Truffles

Hey there! I’m really excited to share with you my first attempt ever at a hands-only video. I decided to revamp/revisit one of my old favorite recipes from my ebook, with a slightly modified recipe, new photos (the old ones were meh), and a brand new video!

Now I should disclaimer this by saying I KNOW I’m new to video and that I have improvements to make. But, I thought I’d give it a whirl. Only up from here, right?

salted-caramel-date-truffles.jpg

These are easy to prepare, no-bake, and free of all major allergens. And they got that delicious salty/sweet thang going on that I so enjoy. I hope you make them and enjoy them too! I am ob.sessed.

Vegan Salted Caramel Truffles with SUnbutter

Vegan Salted Caramel Date Truffles

Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes, but need at least 1 hour to freeze
Servings: 6-8 truffles

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces pitted dried dates
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter, plus an additional 3-4 tablespoons (divided)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate or dairy-free chocolate chips
  • sea salt
  • hot water

Method:

  1. Soak dried pitted dates in hot water for at least 10 minutes, until softened.
  2. Drain dates. Transfer to a food processor. Add vanilla. Process until smooth.
  3. Transfer date mixture to a bowl. Add 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter. Mix well.
  4. Roll dough into balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  5. Freeze for 20 minutes.
  6. Add an additional dollop of sunflower seed butter.
  7. Freeze for 20 minutes.
  8. Melt chocolate in 30-60 second increments in the microwave until melted. This should take about 90 seconds total.
  9. Dip each dough ball into melted chocolate and return to baking sheet. You may also use a spoon to cover the ball.
  10. Freeze for 20 minutes.
  11. Enjoy. Store in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container or bag.

Vegan Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies

I did the damn thing! I made a vegan Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookie! Yippee!

Vegan Cookie Levain Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Yum

I have spent time living on the Upper West Side of New York City, and UWSers and tourists alike are all familiar with the famous Levain Bakery.

Vegan Cookies Delicious Dough Levain Style

They have these ginormous, cookies that are unbelievable delicious, with a perfectly crisp exterior, and a gooey almost underbaked center.

Vegan Cookie Levain Bakery Style Chocolate Chip

I remember my first Levain Bakery experience. My mom was visiting me while I was at NYU and I had heard of this place called Peacefood on the Upper West Side (yup, before they had a downtown location!) that I really wanted to try. So I dragged her from the East Village to the Upper West and we had a delightful lunch at Peacefood. I got the Asian Greens salad and Chickpea fries (still two of my favs on the menu). And then I said, “hey, since we’re over here, we should go to this famous cookie bakery.” And she agreed.

Vegan Cookie Dough Scoop

We got one chocolate chip walnut, and one double chocolate. The OG stood out to me. It was almost like the double chocolate was so chocolately it didn’t let the other elements of the cookie shine. Anyways, I digress, that cookie stayed in my mind for a very long time.

Cookie Dough Vegan

Back in my NYU days, I rarely trekked up to the UWS, but during my MS at Columbia, I ended up reluctantly relocating there. And I ended up loving it. To this day, it is still one of my favorite neighborhoods in NYC.

Cookies Vegan Levain Bakery

But since my NYU days, I have gone vegan. Which means my options at Levain bakery include their whole wheat raisin walnut rolls (which TBH ARE SO GOOD), and a few other bread products.

Delicious Vegan Levain Style Bakery Cookies

So here we are. I veganized the Levain Bakery Cookie. And I’m pumped about it.

Vegan Levain Style Bakery Cookies Delicious

These vegan Levain Bakery style chocolate chip cookies are delicious. Full of chocolate chips and whole chunks of walnuts, they are a texture junkie’s dream. They also have that gooey middle thing going on in the best way possible. Paired with a glass of almond milk these are utter perfection. Now let’s get on to how I did the damn thing.

Vegan Levain Bakery Cookies

After doing some research online, I decided to play around and give them a whirl. A common characteristic I noticed in copycat Levain recipes was the use of cold butter. If you’re a baker, you know that typically cookies are made with room temperature butter. Yet all Levain cookies had this in common, so I went with it.

Vegan Cookie Dough Scoop on Baking SHeet

I also used half cake flour and half all-purpose. You can use all AP if you want. I also tried half bread flour with a pretty good result. Do you, honey. Use what ya got (with varied results).

Vegan LEvain Bakery Style Cookies

I highly reccomend chilling the dough before baking. I think it helps them maintain that gooey middle quite a bit. If you’re low on time, pop them in the freezer for a bit.

Levain Bakery Style Vegan Cookies

Anyways, these are wonderful plant-based nuggets of joy and I really hope you make these vegan Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies! If you do, please let me know! Gimme an @ on InstaGimme an @ on Insta or comment on this post. I love to see when people make my recipes!

Vegan Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes
Servings: 10 giant cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cold vegan butter (I used Earth Balance baking sticks)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (can sub additional all-purpose)
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water or unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 2 cups semisweet non-dairy chocolate chips (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 cups whole untoasted walnuts

Method:

  1. Cube butter and place in a bowl. Add sugars and beat using an electric mixer on low speed for about 3-4 minutes until creamy.
  2. Meanwhile, combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk together well.
  3. Add half of flour mixture and water or non-dairy milk to butter and mix by hand with a spatula or wooden spoon. Mix until just barely combined.
  4. Add remaining flour mixture and water and repeat.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  6. Using an ice-cream scooper, scoop dough onto a silicone mat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet, with a generous amount of space between each.
  7. Place cookies in the refrigerator for 40 minutes to an hour until dough is chilled. This will help the cookies maintain their shape in the oven, and give you that gooey gooey middle. If you’re short on time, pop in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  9. Remove cookie dough balls from the refrigerator/freezer and place directly in hot oven.
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes until just brown on the outside, but still gooey on the inside.
  11. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for at least 15 minutes. This is essential! They must have time to firm up before transferring to a cooling rack.
  12. Enjoy with almond milk. 🙂

Easy Vegan Puppy Chow

Easy Vegan Puppy Chow

Puppy chow!! Aka muddy buddies (apparently). Aka the best darn sweet crunchy snack of all times ever period!I remember puppy chow sales being a thing when I was little. Were they a thing where you grew up? Because when I went to college I realized they aren’t a thing everywhere. In fact all 3 of my freshman year suite-mates hadn’t heard of puppy chow. How sad, I know. MuddyBuddys_Katherine_baker

I think Puppy Chow is a Midwest thing. I could be wrong. All I know is that everyone I know from the Midwest knows what it is, and I’ve met lots of coasties who do not. But that could be an anomaly.

Baker_Katherine_puppy_chow_mix

If you look on the back of a Chex box for a puppy chow recipe, you may notice that that recipe contains butter and vanilla. I find these additions to be unessential. Like, when you’re eating puppy chow, I feel like they don’t add much. IMG_5461

At least to me. I just use peanut butter, chocolate, powdered sugar, and cereal, and I don’t miss anything. So I reason I’ll save vanilla and butter for instances where it really does add shine. Gotta save those valuable baking resources, amiright?

PuppyChow_KatherineBaker

So here is my coincidentally, stripped-down, bare-bones, completely delicious vegan puppy chow recipe. If you’ve never had it, make it right the fuck now. Trust me. KatherineBaker_Chocolate_peanutbutter

This is another adapted recipe I posted on Spoon University, but here you’ll find it completely unabashedly dairy-free and with slightly different photos. Enjoy!

-Kbakes

PS: If you want more p chow in your life, check out this Puppy Chow Granola post!

PuppyChow_KatherineBaker_

Easy Vegan Puppy Chow

  • Prep Time: 15-20 mins
  • Cook Time: nada
  • Servings: varies on how much you can eat at once (I can eat a lot of this at once)

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups Chex or other plain cereal
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter or other nut butter (almond or sunflower seed butter would also be yummy)
  • 1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (I use Trader Joe’s) or chopped dark chocoalte
  • 1/2-3/4 cup powdered sugar, depending on if you’re one of those people who likes a little or a lot of powdered sugar on your chow

Method:

  1. Melt the chocolate in a large microwave safe bowl by heating in 30-second increments in your microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring between each until chocolate is almost (but not completely) melted. Add peanut butter to the bowl and return to the microwave and heat for an additional 30-60 seconds, until peanut butter is also melty.
  2. Mix those two together. Enjoy the views and the smells.
  3. Add cereal to bowl and mix gently. You want to coat the cereal with the chocolate/peanut butter mixture, but also want to be careful as to not crush the cereal.
  4. Transfer to a large zip-lock, add powdered sugar, and shake it up until cereal is coated with powdered sugar.
  5. Eat the shit out of that delicious puppy chow.