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! 🤗

Quick and Easy Vegan Fruit Crisp

Yummy yummy yummy I have Fruit Crisp in my tummy!


….apparently I’m 5 years old. Anyways I thought I’d share the recipe for this easy vegan Fruit Crisp that I made on Vegan Bites this week, because it’s so incredibly simple. I usually eyeball these crisps because I’m lazy and because they are quite forgiving, but below you’ll find a general guideline for making your very own Fruit Crisp.

peach
This recipe serves 2. You can easily double, triple, or quadrupole it, depending on how many people you’re feeding or how hungry you are.

I used peaches, but you can use whatever tickles your pickle or whatever fruit happens to be spoiling around your house. Frozen fruit works well, too.

I suggest using almond or oat flour. This makes it gluten-free if you care and delicious regardless of if you care. If you don’t have these flours, you can use all purpose.

This tastes amaze with non-dairy or ice cream or whipped cream. DO IT.

Enjoy!

Easy Vegan Fruit Crisp

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes, but need at least 1 hour to freeze
Servings: 2, easily doubled

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fruit (I used peaches today, frozen berries are also fab)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar -1/2 tablespoon lemon juice -3/4 cup oats -1/4 cup flour (I recommend almond or oat, AP is fine too)
  • 1/4 cup brown or coconut sugar (regular will also be okay)
  • 1/4 cup softened non-dairy butter
  • cinnamon
  • dash salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Chop fruit into even pieces, add lemon juice, sugar, and toss. Place in well-greased baking pan.
  3. Combine oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Mix. Cube softened butter and mix in.
  4. Cover fruit with oat mixture and bake for 30-45 minutes until fruit is tender and top is crispy.
  5. Serve with non-dairy ice cream or coconut whipped cream!

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. 🙂

Mary Berry-Inspired Vegan Almond Cherry Cake with Lemon Glaze

So. A while back I made this cake. And it was amazing.

Vegan Almond Cherry Cake with Lemon Glaze - Kbaked.png

And for some reason, I saved the recipe as a draft, started 2 new jobs at the same time, and forgot about to post it.

But enough with my excuses; it’s time to share the recipe. I actually based this cake recipe from the beloved Mary Berry of the Great British Bake Off. Which btw is the greatest show of all times.

Kbaked_Cherries

I requested to follow Mary on Insta months ago and she never accepted. Oh well. I still gave her cake a whirl, and damn she did not let me down.

It’s super moist and delicate thanks to the non-dairy butter and almond meal, and the cherries add a beautiful sweet-tart ness.

Vegan Almond Cherry Cake Mary Berry GBBO Inspired

Cherries are one of my favorite fruits ever, so I loved them in this cake. I used frozen for this cake, although Mary Berry’s version used those syrupy jarred florescent ones. I feel comfortable with my choice. I also veganized the recipe. Sorry, Mary.

Give this cake a whirl, and let me know what you think. Tag me on Insta, or comment below.

Vegan Almond Cherry Cake Mary Berry GBBO Inspired

Vegan Cherry Almond Cake

Prep Time:  minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
Servings: about 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups flour all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds or flax
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 6 ounces non-dairy butter, softened (can sub neutral oil, like canola with varied results)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3/4 cup diced fresh or frozen/thawed cherries, tossed lightly in flour

For Icing:

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2-3/4 cup powdered sugar

For garnish:

  • Additional 1/4 cup cherries
  • 1/4 cup diced almonds

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch bundt pan.
  2. Dice cherries and toss lightly in flour to prevent them from absorbing moisture from cake. Set aside.
  3. Combine chia seeds and flax with non-dairy milk. Set aside to congeal as an egg substitute.
  4. Combine flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
  5. In a separate bowl, whip sugar into softened non-dairy butter with a whisk or an electric mixer. Add juice of lemon.
  6. Add non-dairy milk and chia seed mix into the non-dairy butter mix. Mix well.
  7. Fold the dry ingredients into the non-butter/sugar mixture.
  8. Fold in floured cherries.
  9. Pour batter into pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean upon insertion/removal (that’s what she said?).
  10. While cake is baking, prepare icing by combining juice of one lemon with powdered sugar. Add more or less powdered sugar depending on how thick or thin you like your icing.
  11. Drizzle icing over cooled cake. Garnish with diced almonds and cherries. Enjoy!

 

Homemade Graham Crackers

Do you ever get a baking itch you have to scratch? Like when you hear about something and the idea of making it sticks in your head and you find yourself googling all these recipes until you actually scratch that damn itch and make it already? I do. And that’s how I felt about homemade graham crackers.

Homemade Graham Crackers - Vegan

These are perfect for summer time. Since I guess that’s what it is now that it’s past Memorial Day.

Homemade Graham Crackers - Vegan - Kbaked

I used some vegan marshmallows from Trader Joe’s (for $2.99 whatup) and used some of their dark chocolate lover’s bar to make s’mores. It was epic. But I also like eating graham crackers with peanut butter.

Truth be told I made these last summer, but recently found the photos and realized I never posted this recipe! So here it is, from the archives :).  Enjoy!

Homemade Graham Crackers

Homemade Graham Crackers - Kbaked

Prep Time: 30-50 minutes
Cook Time: 15-25 minutes
Servings: about 24 crackers, depending on size

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or graham flour (Bob’s Red Mill and a few other brands make this; I found it at my local grocery store, but whole wheat pastry flour also works)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
  • 3 tablespoons non0-dairy butter, or coconut oil, melted

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flour, cinnamon, spices, baking soda and salt in a bowl and mix.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk brown sugar, butter, molasses, vanilla, and non-dairy milk.
  4. Add dry mix to wet mix and fold together until combined.
  5. Roll dough into a ball and allow to cool in the refrigerator for about 30-40 minutes, or in the freezer for 10. This is optional, but will help with rolling.
  6. Flour a surface and roll dough into a large rectangle, about 1/4th inch thick.
  7. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into triangles. I used a meat-cutter to make fun edges. This is optional.
  8. If desired, poke holes into surface to resemble graham crackers.
  9. Transfer to parchment-paper lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, until browned and slightly firm. Rotate halfway through baking.
  10. Allow to cool completely. Crackers will harden a bit as they cool.
  11. Enjoy!

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.

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!