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! 🤗

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…

vegan-3-ingredient-peanut-butter-chocolate-cheerio-bars-gf

Vegan Olive Oil Lemon Blueberry Muffins

I’m not one to tell anyone what to do with their lives but can I tell you that you need to make these muffins? Because you do.

Easy Vegan Olive Oil Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Well, not really. But if you’re looking to increase your daily intake of deliciousness or happiness, I’d strongly urge you to make these muffins.

Vegan Olive Oil Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Why? I believe it’s rather obvious just by looking at the title. First of all, who dislikes muffins? Can you name one single person? Me either.

Delicious Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Blueberry Muffins !

Moving on to what’s inside: olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh juicy blueberries. When I was little my mom used to always serve blueberries with lemon juice and sugar for dessert or as a snack sometimes in the summer. It’s a wonderly simple, refreshing, and easy treat. The lemon juice makes the blueberries sparkle, and the sugar tempers the bitterness of the lemon. Yum.

Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Blueberry Muffins

So the other day I was eating my blueberries with lemon juice and sugar just like I did 20 years ago (omg I’m so old), and I simultaneously wanted a muffin. As you may know, blueberry muffins are my favorite muffins, which I discuss in this post, Vegan Blueberry Flax Breakfast Muffins. And then when it comes to summery treats, I think citrus/sour, so I decided to make a muffin that paired lemon and blueberry together.

Easy Vegan Olive Oil Lemon Blueberry Muffins

When it came to choosing a fat, I went with olive oil. Because this Lemon Olive Oil Coconut Cake is quite literally still one of my favorite things I’ve ever made. These muffins are basically a portable muffin-version of the cake. Aka perfection.

Vegan Olive Oil Lemon Blueberry Muffins

The blueberries add a luscious burst of juiciness and flavor, and a nice textural contrast to the super moist cake. Which leads me to mention that in the world of muffins, I always believe there are two categories: breakfast muffins and desesrt muffins. These are definitely more on the dessert-y muffin side of life. But you can also eat them for breakfast. Because yum.

Easy Vegan Olive Oil Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Hope your summer is going splendidly~! And if you need a little sunshine in your life or in your mouth, make these muffins and cuddle your puppy and have a lovely day. 😀

Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Blueberry Muffins

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 20-25 minutes
Level: easy

Delicious Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Blueberry Muffins!

makes 24 muffins / cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups olive oil
    • can sub up to half with coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk or almond milk, unsweetened (can use ‘lite’ canned coconut milk, or out of a fat-free out of a carton, like the kind you put in cereal. both work!)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cider (or any) vinegar
  • zest of 2 large lemons (about 3-4 tablespoons)
  • juice of 2 large lemons (1/4-1/2 cup)
    • *note, you can make this as lemony or as plain as you desire, by increasing or decreasing lemon juice and zest within given ranges
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
    • could also sub 1 cup cake flour & 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • gluten-free: use 2 cups gluten-free flour blend, or oat flour with varied results
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small bowl or measuring up combine almond/coconut milk and vinegar. Allow to sit, at least 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine olive oil and sugar and whisk together. Zest lemons and place zest aside. Juice lemons and place juice aside n another small bowl.

3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add lemon zest and whisk again.

4. Add half flour mixture to olive oil and sugar mixture, and fold gently with spatula. Add half non-dairy milk and vinegar mixture. Repeat with remaining half of flour mixture and remaining half of non-dairy milk mixture.

5. Fold in blueberries

6. Pour batter into lined or well-oiled muffin tins

7. Bake for 18-22 minutes until lightly golden, fragrant, and/or cake begins to pull away from sides of pan, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean upon removal.

Delicious Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Blueberry Muffins !

Chocolate Covered Plantain Chips

You know what the best section is at Trader Joe’s?

Chocolate Covered Plantain Chips Vegan 3 Ingredients !

Okay that’s a faulty question. Because there is way too much good stuff at Trader Joe’s to pick a favorite product, let alone a favorite section. One time my manager asked me what my favorite products were “right now,”, which I thought was a better question than asking me what my “favorite products” were because that list would be overwhelming.  Right now in this 30 second increment of my life I can say that my favorite section is the candy section. In particular, anything that starts with the three magic words, “Dark Chocolate Covered…”

Vegan Chocolate Covered Plantain Chips Vegan

Yes, all those magical tiny rectangular boxes are full of the bestest things covered in the bestest chocolate. When I’m not eating Gone Bananas by the box, I also love the Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds with Sea Salt and Turbinado Sugar (which inspired this recipe), and the Dark Chocolate Lover’s Bar. Holy balls is their chocolate good.

Chocolate Covered Plantain Chips. Vegan & So Easy!

Another recent favorite Trader Joe’s combination of mine is the epic duo of the Spicy Chunky Guacamole with the Roasted Plantain Chips. A co-worker (hi, SG!) informed me of this dynamic marriage of salty/sweet/crunchy/smooth/spicy and I have been hooked since the first bite. It is love.

Chocolate Covered Plantain Chips  Vegan

I went a little overboard last time I purchased Plantain Chips and bought three bags forgetting that I had two at home. Which left me with five bags of plantain chips. So what’s a girl to do? Dip ’em in Dark Chocolate, of course, and combine my love of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate with by dipping their other products in the stuff and calling it bliss.

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So that’s just what I did. I dipped me some crunchy, salty, carby plantain chips in dark chocolate. It’s kind of like chocolate covered banana chips, but better in my humble opinion, because you also get the salty element from the roasted plantain chip. And you know I’m utterly in love with anything salty/sweet.

Chocolate Covered Plantain Chips. Vegan & So Easy !

These are very simple to make and require only a few minutes and 2-3 ingredients depending on your level of fussiness when it comes to them staying not-melty at room temperature (a tablespoon of coconut oil should help you avoid any melty chocolate!) but they work perfectly without it.

Chocolate Covered Plantain Chips. Vegan : So Easy!

I urge you to make these and please know that summer is coming as is a bit less stress and more sanity which means lots more tasty treats and a really exciting baby project coming to your internet waves soon. Until then, please view Millie with an emoji banana.

Millie & Banana Emoji

Yes, I thought this SnapChat was so funny I sent it to myself so I could open it later and lol at my own terrible humor. Yes I do that and yes I’m aware that’s perhaps not normal. But like this guy says, stay weird stay different. (Also yes, I am stalking Columbia’s instagram lately…and yes there might be a very exciting reason !) #staytuned #stayclassy #eatchocolatecoveredplantainchips [side note, you can totally tell which photos have “wet” chocolate, pre-setting, and which ones have “set” chocolate. total color change. goooooey] Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooling Time: 20 minutes Level: Easy Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup plantain chips (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips (I used Trader Joe’s 72% Dark Chocolate Pound Plus bar)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional, but will help prevent meltiness if left out at room temperature)

Directions: 1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a microwave safe bowl, warm chocolate until melted. Use 30 second microwave increments, and stir after each increment until chocolate has melted. This should take about 60-90 seconds total. Stir in coconut oil until smooth and melted into chocolate. 2. Dip each plantain chip on each side into melted chocolate. Place each on parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with chips until you run out of chocolate. 3. Place baking sheet full of plantain chips in the freezer  to set, at least 20 minutes. Store in an airtight container (preferably in the refrigerator) for up to two weeks. Enjoy 🙂

Vegan Lemon Olive Oil Coconut Cake

Before yesterday, I had never in my life gotten a car wash. True fact. It was something someone always did for me in high school, and then when I was in college, I rarely drove because that’s just not something that happens at NYU. I actually used to chuckle when people asked me if I had a car “out there.” I’d be like HECK NO and I don’t want one.

Easy Lemon Olive Oil Coconut Cake Vegan kbaked

I’ve just never been a fan of driving, nor have I ever been particularly good at it.  Some people enjoy it; it not my piece of cake. Cake is my piece of cake, thank you very much.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake Vegan Coconut

Back to the carwash. So, I finally get my car washed for the first time EVER at the ripe age of 24 and feel super adult and whatnot, and manage to somehow almost die and get my car totaled in the process. During a carwash. I kid you not. It was a highly stressful two minutes full of James-Bond worthy car-escape-ism, fast running, dramatic yelling of “STOP IT’S AN EMERGENCY” and returning to my car and saving my cute little car’s butt just in the nic’o time. It was a stressful two minutes, to say the least.

Lemon Olive Oil Coconut Cake Vegan

Anyways I decided to listen to “Shake it Off” like a basic bitch, go to Target to walk around, space out and calm down. I even treated myself to an iced coffee with soy milk, just to prove how basic I could be, in case anyone had doubts. I proceeded to realize it was beautiful out, and took my dog to froyo. Any time life feels a bit off, I look at my dog and feel like life is going to be okay because she’s so damn cute.

The nice weather had sunny vibes had me craving spring. The stress of the day had me craving sugar. I wanted something fresh and light. I wanted an old favorite, Lemon Olive Oil Coconut Cake. This was the cake I made for my sister’s bridal shower. *excuses self for nostalgic moment/sigh* She digs it. So do I. Somehow it’s still one of my most “viewed” recipes according to stats. Probably because it’s darn tasty.

Lemon Olive Oil Coconut Cake Vegan

Lately I’ve been on such a kick of making new things that I haven’t made this old favorite in quite some time. But yesterday felt like the day. And so, I revisited my old recipe, revamped it a bit, and veganized it, which was super easy to do because the only thing that needed changing was nixing/replacing the eggs. It’s as light, luscious, fluffy and lemony as ever, and a seriously good recipe to place in your arsenal for crowd-pleasing entertainment, especially in the spring and summer months.

kbaked Lemon Olive Oil Coconut Cake Vegan

I made this cake two ways yesterday, to make sure I gave you guys the best vegan-ized recipe possible. My result was that both cakes were delicious. And then I had two cakes. Because kitchen experiments are my piece of cake. And for those of you love driving, I’ll leave that to you, and stick to cookies. Peace out gurlscouts. Happy Spring/Easter/Passover, etc. 😎

Lemon Olive Oil Coconut Cake Vegan

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 30-40 minutes
Level: easy

makes 2 9″-inch round cakes, 2 9×9″-inch square cakess, or one 9×13″ sheet cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups olive oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk or almond milk, unsweetened (can use ‘lite’ canned coconut milk, or out of a fat-free out of a carton, like the kind you put in cereal. both work!)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cider (or any) vinegar
  • zest of 2 large lemons (about 3-4 tablespoons)
  • juice of 2 large lemons (1/4-1/2 cup)
    • *note, you can make this as lemony or as plain as you desire, by increasing or decreasing lemon juice and zest within given ranges
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
    • could also sub 1 cup cake flour & 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • gluten-free: use 2 cups gluten-free flour blend, or oat flour with varied results
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • whipped cream, powdered sugar, and/or fresh berries for serving (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small bowl or measuring up combine almond/coconut milk and vinegar. Allow to sit, at least 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine olive oil and sugar and whisk together. Zest lemons and place zest aside. Juice lemons and place juice aside n another small bowl.

3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add lemon zest and whisk again.

4. Add half flour mixture to olive oil and sugar mixture, and fold gently with spatula. Add half non-dairy milk and vinegar mixture. Repeat with remaining half of flour mixture and remaining half of non-dairy milk mixture. Pour into 2 9″-inch round pans, 2 9×9″-inch square pans, or one 9×13″ pan.

5. Bake for 25-35 minutes until lightly golden, fragrant, and/or cake begins to pull away from sides of pan, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean upon removal.

6. Serve with powdered sugar, whipped cream, and/or fresh berries.

Lemon Olive Oil Coconut Cake Vegan whipped cream

Adapted from my original Lemon Olive Oil Coconut Cake, circa July 2013.

Coconut Cranberry Bliss Bars [vegan and gluten-free]

Mmmm Starbucks. Even the mention of the house of that blessed green goddess gives me the warm fuzzies. Nothing frosts my cookie more than their iced coffee with soy milk or their soy lattes. They just have the best soy milk there. Anyone else agree with me? Love it. It’s perfect.

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Another Starbucks menu fav is the Cranberry Bliss Bar that makes its delicious carby sugary appearance during the holiday seasons. Red cups and holiday themed baked goods? You better believe I buy into that. I’m a sucker for all things holiday and festive and cozy. Turns out despite all my sarcasm and outward angst, deep down I’m secretly a softie easily persuaded by good marketing.

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I’ve had a desire to make Cranberry Bliss Bars for a few weeks, ever since I had a bad day at work and stopped at Starbucks after (SOML) and saw them sitting there in all their million-ingredient-$2.45-per-bar-glory.

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Mmm. Cranberries. Cakieness. Cream-cheesy icing. A genius flavor combo that my body wants and needs. And the baker inside me just lives to recreate in my own kitchen.

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So on the last day of the year, I set out to make my very own Cranberry Bliss Bars. I added coconut because I’m cray cray for coconuts, but you can leave all the coconut ingredients out if you desire, by nixing the shredded coconut, and subbing coconut flour for oat flour and coconut oil/butter for nondairy spread. I think the coconut was a lovely addition though, and encourage you give it a whirl.

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What really ties these babies all together is the wee bit of orange zest in the frosting. I highly recommend you do NOT skip this addition. It adds such a brightness and tanginess to the cream cheese frosting; it is truly the mystery element that seals the deal and the reason behind the addictive nature of these babies.

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Make and enjoy a whole pan of unknowingly vegan and gluten-free Coconut Cranberry Bliss Bars for yourself and/or your loved ones. Wishing you a sweet and delicious 2015, xoxo, K-Bakes.

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Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Level: Easy

makes one 9×9″ pan; serves about 12

Ingredients – Bars:

  • 1/2 cup coconut butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour (or sub additional oat flour)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds or ground flax + 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries

Ingredients – Frosting:

  • 6 ounces non-dairy cream cheese (I use Trader Joe’s; I find it better than several expensive brands!)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • zest of half an orange (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9″ baking sheet with parchment paper and/or grease lightly. Set aside. Remove cream cheese substitute from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature by setting aside for later. Place chia or flax in a small bowl with water, and allow to congeal, at least 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, melt 1/2 cup coconut oil in a large microwave safe bowl. Add sugar and brown sugar and mix well.

3. In a food processor or blender, pulse oats until a fine flour is formed. Add to bowl with coconut oil and sugar. Add coconut flour if using, as well as baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add chia/water mixture. Mix gently until just combined and a batter is formed.

4. Fold in cranberries and shredded coconut. Pour batter into pan and bake for 25-35 minutes until golden, fragrant, and/or the sides of the cake begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and/or a toothpick comes out clean upon removal from the center of the cake.

5. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. You can speed this up in the fridge or freezer if you desire. Meanwhile, prep frosting. Take softened cream cheese and place in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons solid (unmelted) coconut oil. Add vanilla extract. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well with an electric beater between each addition. Fold in orange zest and coconut shreds.

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6. Once cake has cooled completely, cover with frosting using a spatula. Sprinkle additional dried cranberries and coconut shreds if desired. Cut into bars and EAT with a nice latte or cup of tea and feel just like you’re at Starbucks. 🙂

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Happy 2015 !

Homemade Chocolate Coconut Macaroon Larabars

Two non-related thoughts: 1) The holidays are here! 2) Larabars are delicious, but can be expensive. What do these thoughts lead someone like myself to do?! DIY, of course.

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Tis both the season of giving and eating. I knew I wanted to have an excuse to bake or create something in my kitchen, and thought it would be nice to gift something that’s not super-overly-indulgent, figuring that with the holidays as they are, everyone is drowning in plenty of gluttony and may actually be lusting for a healthy snack in the next few days.

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So I made some homemade Larabars. Actually, what also inspired me to make these bars is my sister. She LOVES Larabars. So does a toddler I know, who calls them “Spongy Cakes” which is so cute that I almost pass out every time I hear it. Anyways, I’ve wanted to try making homemade Larabars for my sis for a while, and since last night I was angsty and bored and didn’t feel like sitting still, I took pantry inventory and decided to make some and add them to the other food gifts I’m giving. I’m also giving some Chocolate Bark with Figs, Nuts and Sea Salt very similar to this recipe. And some Gingerbread Granola, which I’m planning to also post the recipe for within the hour.

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I’d like to say I chose to copy the Chocolate Coconut Macaroon flavor of Larabars because it fits so well with the holidays like Haunnukah and blah blah blah and honestly that was a partial deciding factor but if I’m honest, they are kind of a result of what was in the pantry, per usual.

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These babies have 4 ingredients: Cashews. Dates. Coconut Shreds. Dark Chocolate. That’s it. Plain and simple just like the OG Larabars themselves. They turned out really well and quite similar to a Larabar in texture, flavor, and yumminess. The key is not over-pulsing the nuts or chocolate in your food processor. Leave them a little crumby, just like the real ones.

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You can even use holiday cookie cutters, and/or wrap them up like wee little gifts if you’d like:

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Make these babies, customize them as you’d like, gift them, or keep them. They’re a perfect yummy high-energy sweet treat to keep your blood sugar stable through the holidays and beyond. Happy holidays and happy eating!

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes (but require at least 20 minutes to set in fridge)

Level: Easy

makes 8 mini-Larabars or 6 regular sized bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 3 tablespoons dark chocolate chips or 2 oz dark chocolate

Directions:

1. Pulse cashews in food processor until a fine, crumby powder. Make sure you don’t overdo the processing, you don’t want a nutbutter, rather a fine sticky dust. Set aside in a bowl.

2. Pulse chocolate in food processor until chocolate is a similar crumb to the nuts. Add chocolate to bowl with nuts.

3. Place dates and coconut in food processor. Puree until mixture reaches a fine paste. If it’s lumpy, add a small bit of water, 1-3 tablespoons, 1 tablespoon at a time.

4. Take date/coconut paste and add to bowl with nuts and chocolate. Mix with a wooden spoon and/or knead until well combined into a cookie-dough-like ball.

5. Line a small baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Transfer Larabar mixture onto sheet and spread until about 1/4th inch thick. Press with hands to create a smooth surface.

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6. Allow to set in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes, preferably an hour. Slice and enjoy! 🙂

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