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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Chewy Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Protein Bars

Chewy Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Protein Bars

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

Easy Vegan & GF Oatmeal Cookie Dough Bars

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

Vegan + GF Oatmeal Cookie Dough Bars

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

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Nut Butter-Stuffed Chocolate-Dipped Dates

Nut Butter-Stuffed Chocolate-Dipped Dates

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

Easy Salty Nut-Butter Stuffed Dates with Chocolate

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

Chocolate-Dipped Easy Salty Nut-Butter Stuffed Dates

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

Scruptious Stuffed Dates with Chocolate and Nut Butter

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

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Vegan Peanut Butter Fluff

Vegan Peanut Butter Fluff

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

Eeasy, delicious Vegan peanut butter fluff dip

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

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Vegan Lofthouse Style Frosted Sugar

Vegan Lofthouse Style Frosted Sugar

Every time I see Lofthouse Cookies in the store, I have a weird momentary urge to buy them. They look so sugary, colorful, fluffy and delightful and remind me of my childhood, since I feel like they were one of those treats that were regularly offered at kid events and birthday celebrations.

Vegan Lofthouse style cookes Delicious

I usually don’t buy Lofthouse Cookies, because I know deep down that inevitably I’ll buy them, eat maybe one, realize they taste not as great as they look, and wonder why I bought them. I tend to get bored of plain sugar cookies most of the time, and Lofthouse Cookies are filled with artificial stuff that I also don’t find to be so tasty, so these factors weigh in on my decision, as well. Oh, and on top of that – they’re not vegan. Boo.

Vegan Lofthouse style cookes with Sprinkles _ pink and white

So, I decided to make my very own Vegan Lofthouse Style Cookies – fluffy chewy sugar cookies on the bottom, and scrumptious frosting on the top – all free from dairy, eggs, and artificial colors/flavors/and dyes.

Vegan Lofthouse-style cookes

This was on my baking list for a long time. Does that happen to anyone else? You think about making something for months or even years, and it just itches at you until ya do it? It’s something that happens to me, and it makes it oh-so-satisfying to bake things off the bucket list.

Vegan Lofthouse style cookes with Sprinkles

Over spring break, I finally did the damn thing and made these cookies. It was a perfect relaxing project while recovering from my concussion.

Vegan Lofthouse style cookes

To color the frosting, I used raspberry juice that I made from mashing a few thawing frozen berries in a bowl. Feel free to do this with any vegetable/fruit you’d like that will give you a color you desire (beets, cherries, and blueberries could all be fun). You could also puree a few pieces of freeze-dried fruit and mix in the coloring produce as a powder instead. Or, you can always use a food coloring or food dye. You do you!

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Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies

Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies

Don’t you love it when you turn on the oven, throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl, hope for the best, and the result turns out amazing? Same here. And that’s exactly what happened with these Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies today.

Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies

So this blog post is rather spontaneous. To be honest I’m in the middle of a few others that are more intensive in terms of scope and research required (think nutrition and sustainability).

But I’ve done so much grueling brain-sucking work this weekend I decided to take a break and make some cookie muffin things and they turned out so yummy I decided I’m extend said break by snapping a few phone photos (I need to get out my real camera…I’ve just been so damn busy the past few weeks) and toss them (figuratively) on the blog.

Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies

The plus of spending so much time on the grind this weekend for work/school is that I suppose I learned a lot. Including that school is hard, I have a lot of self-reflection to do with professional development/relationships, having a working kitchen is very therapeutic to my existance and that people definitely notice dog hair in jam photos. Oops.

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Easy Vegan Banana Cake with Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

Easy Vegan Banana Cake with Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

It’s crazy to think I went 27 years without ever making a banana cake. Me. Yeah I know. What the heck.

Delicious Vegan Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Sure I’ve made banana breads and muffins a-plenty but never cake! When I realized this I had to change it. Since promises of cake for my birthday fell through for the second year in a row, I decided to make myself a cake.

I actually made this banana cake as a belated birthday celebration cake for a department luncheon, only to realize there was no luncheon this week. Oops. More cake for me I guess!

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Orchard Grocer Review

Orchard Grocer Review

Monday was my last day of winter break before spring Semester started up again. My friend Caty had off work so we planned a late lunch date to orchard grocer to celebrate MLK day.

Orchard Grocer is an all-vegan deli on the Lower East Side, stocked with vegan spreads, sauces, faux meats, cheeses, snack foods, and candies. They also have a deli counter where you can order some vegan sandwiches and soft serve.

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Vegan Carrot Cake Banana Bread

Vegan Carrot Cake Banana Bread

Once upon a time I made these chocolate banana penguin things for my Vegan Bites bit on Spoon University’s Insta stories. They were fun. Putsy, but fun.

Loaf Vegan Carrot Cake Banana Bread

In an ideal world, the feet and noses were to be made with orange candies. But I didn’t have any and wasn’t motivated to spend money on a bag of them only to use a few (Spoon doesn’t pay me for VB for the record, and I buy all the materials for cooking with my own money…and as a grad student I have about $40 a week to feed, water and caffeinate myself…so I gotta be selective with where my money goes) so I improvised and used cut carrots.

While eating them and being like wow bananas and carrots frozen together is rather awkward, I had an epiphany that perhaps baked together they’d be delightful. And so, the incident inspired this Vegan Carrot Cake Banana Bread.

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So a few weeks later, I made some. And now I’m going to share it with you. I ended up enjoying the loaf. I think I like carrot cake as dessert with lots of icing and banana bread the regular way the best, but this was a really fun way to mix it up. Truly, if you like carrot cake and/or banana bread, you will probably enjoy this recipe. If you want, you can add a vegan cream cheese icing on top.

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Personally, I wanted it as a not-too-sweet snacking/breakfast loaf, so this is the frosting-less route I went. But you do you. Live your best life.

I made this recipe with shredded coconut, too, and eventually decided it distracted too much from the rest of it and have concluded it is better without it. If you want dem coconut shreds tho, add in about 1/4 cup unsweetened.

Vegan Carrot Cake Banana Bread.

Cheers to 2018, baking new things, and of course, BANANAS!

For regular banana bread, click here.

For dog banana bread, click here.

Vegan Carrot Cake Bread

Prep Time:  1 hour

Bake Time: 30-40 minutes

Yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients:

  • 2 large very-ripe mashed bananas (or 2.5 small)
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, softened (or sub neutral oil like canola or vegetable)
  • 1/3 cup brown or coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (can sub regular whole-wheat, all-purpose or additional oat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (made by pulsing rolled oats in a food processor or blender until a flour forms)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax (can sub chia seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup raisins or golden raisins

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease a banana loaf pan with softened non-dairy butter or oil.
  2. Mash bananas in a large bowl. Shred carrots, or pulse into small pieces in a food processor. Set carrots aside
  3. Add melted butter or oil, sugar, non-dairy milk, and vanilla to bananas. Whisk together.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine whole wheat flour, almond meal, oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, rolled oats and flax in a bowl. Whisk together until combined.
  5. Add half of dry mixture to wet. Fold together. Add remaining dry ingredients, and fold again.
  6. Add walnuts, pecans, and raisins to the mixture. Fold until combined.
  7. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake 45-60 minutes until fragrant, lightly golden, and a toothpick or fork inserted in the center comes out clean upon insertion and removal.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Slice and enjoy.

Vegan Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

Vegan Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

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

delicious vegan hazelnut cake chocolate buttercream

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

Vegan Gluten-free Hazelnut cake with chocolate buttercream

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

Easy Vegan Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate buttercream

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

Vegan Hazelnut Cake - Gluten-free, Chocolate frosting

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

Vegan Hazelnut Cake - Gluten-free

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

Gluten-free Vegan Hazelnut Cake

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

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

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

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnutcake_With_Chocolate_Buttercream

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

Vegan Hazelnut cake with chocolate buttercream

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

Happy 2018 everyone!

Vegan Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

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

Ingredients:

Cake:

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

Chocolate Buttercream:

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

Method:

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