Almond Thumbprint Cookies with Dark Chocolate, Sea Salt and Cinnamon

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Food52 has some of the best recipes. When I saw this recipe for Almond Thumbprint Cookies, I immediately bookmarked it. The only issue I had in making this was my own personal error – when thinking I was using bittersweet chocolate for the filling, I was actually using unsweetened. I was able to adjust the sweetness, or lack thereof, by adding more sugar into the filling. Needless to say, I was skeptical how they would turn out…

Fortunately the cookies tasted amazing. My word of advice – try and stick to the original recipe listed below.

I topped the cookies with flaked sea salt, cinnamon, and turbinado sugar!

Ingredients:

  • 1 c flour
  • 3/4 c almond meal (ground almonds is what I used)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 Tbls butter
  • zest 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate broken into pieces
  • 2 tsp corn syrup
  • Sea salt, cinnamon and sugar to top
  1. Mix the dry ingredients – flour and almond meal, set aside
  2. In a mixer, add the sugar and lemon zest. Next, cream the stick of butter and lemon zested sugar for 3-5 minutes. Once the mixture is whipped, add the vanilla extract
  3. Now, slowly add in the dry mix and mix until just combined
  4. Scoop the cookies onto a lined baking sheet. I used a tablespoon to scoop my dough out. Make a thumbprint in each cookie
  5. Bake the cookies at 350F for 10-12 minutes
  6. While the cookies are baking, make your chocolate toping. In a double boiler, melt 2 Tbls butter, corn syrup, and chocolate. Set aside once melted
  7. Let cookies cool complete, fill with chocolate and top with sea salt, cinnamon and sugar
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Greek Yogurt Cheesecake Cupcakes with Balsamic Strawberries

 

I took a risk on these cupcakes a few weeks ago and it was well worth it. I tried out a new recipe just before meeting up with friends for a weekend at the beach. The downside was they needed to be kept very cool, but the upside was everyone helped eat these as soon as we arrived – so keeping them cool was never an issue. The Greek yogurt bring a healthier balance to the usually overwhelming amount of cream cheese that’s found in cheesecake. Also, the crust has a fair amount of flax which I absolutely love.

I modified the recipe from Lauren Kelly Nutrition.

Strawberry Topping

  • Sliced strawberries
  • Balsamic vinegar

Mix ingredients together and set aside.

Greek Yogurt Cheesecake Cupcakes

  • 7 graham crackers (14 halves)
  • 1/2 c ground flaxseed
  • 2 Tbls sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 c butter or coconut oil
  • 1 package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 small container of Greek yogurt
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c sugar

1. In a food processor, breakdown the graham crackers

2. Add cracker crumbles to a bowl, add flax, sugar and cinnamon 

3. Pour in the butter or oil

4. Press into cupcake liners. Let set in the fridge for 30 minutes

5. For the filling, combine cream cheese, yogurt, lemon, vanilla, sugar

6. Pour the filling (about 1-2 Tbls) onto the graham crust

7. Let the cupcakes set in the fridge for an hour or two. Top with strawberries

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

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I made these as a thank you to my neighbor who kindly watched my cat while I scooted down to Florida for a few days. I modified a recipe for a chocolate crinkle, omitted the powdered sugar and added some peanut butter chips. The pb chips make it vegetarian (they contain dairy), feel free to use a vegan friendly chip instead.

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 c flour
  • 1/2 c cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/4 c real-deal maple syrup
  • 1/2 c canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 Tbls non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 c peanut butter chips
  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together, set aside
  2. Mix the sugar, syrup, oil, vanilla and milk together, really well, and pour into the dry mix
  3. Stir everything together and add the chips
  4. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes

Cranberry Citrus Oatmeal Cookies with Cinnamon and Cardamom

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With winter settling in, I was in the mood for a hearty cookie. I absolutely love these oatmeal cookies. I used ground flax as a substitute for the eggs. Flax is a fabulous ingredient that is jam-packed with nutrients such as omegas and fiber. If you aren’t keen on cranberries, feel free to use raisins or chocolate chips!

Ingredients

– 1/3 c almond milk
– 2 Tbls ground flax
– 2/3 c light brown sugar
– 1/3 c canola oil
– 3/4 c flour
– 1/4 tsp baking soda
– 1/4 tsp cardamom
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1 1/2 c oats (I only had old-fashioned oats, which worked alright, but use quick-cooking if possible)
– 1/2 c cranberries
– zest of one orange

1. Combine the milk and flax in a small bowl and set aside
2. In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar, canola and vanilla. Next, pour in the thickened flax mix. Whisk until it’s well combined
3. Sift in the flour, and add the cardamom, cinnamon, baking soda, zest and salt
4. Stir ingredients until flour mix becomes incorporated. Fold in the oats and cranberries
5. Cook in a preheated oven (350) for 10-12 minutes

Brown Butter Pumpkin Bread with Maple Glazed Cinnamon Walnut Filling

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In theory, this should be amazing. I mean, sugary, gooey, nutty filling? Freshly pureed pumpkin? Ok, well I used the canned stuff, but the organic canned pumpkin. Either way, this wasn’t a total success. I pulled the bread too early and it was very dense and chewy. I would suggest using cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. Also, be careful of over stirring. This can cause your breads to be tough and chewy.

What I love about this bread is the subtle sweetness from the maple syrup and walnut glazed filling; combined with the earthy and rich taste of pumpkin. I found it to be even more delicious sliced and toasted in the oven, then slathered with a generous layer of coconut oil.

I hope you have fun experimenting with this recipe! I will write the vegetarian version which I tested, along with the veganized parts.

ingredients
– 1 1/2 c pureed pumpkin
– 1 egg (1 flax egg, 3 Tbls water+1 Tbls flax)
– 2 tsp vanilla
– 1/2 c maple syrup
– 2 Tbls heavy cream (or non-dairy cream)
– 1/3 c brown butter (or 1/3 c oil)
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp nutmeg
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 2 tsp baking powder
– 2 c flour (try cake flour, if possible)

for the filling
– 1 c roasted walnuts
– 2 Tbls maple syrup
– 2 Tbls dark brown sugar
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. First, prep the filling by combining all ingredients, and set aside
2. Next, preheat the oven to 350. Whisk all of the wet ingredients in one bowl, set aside
3. In a large bowl, add the dry ingredients, combine with a whisk or fork. Then, fold the wet ingredients into the dry
4. With cooking spray, coat a loaf pan then pour half of the batter into the pan. Add the walnut filling and top with remaining bread dough
5. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes
6. Test bread with a knife or toothpick, if it comes out dry, it’s done! Let cook for 10 minutes before removing from the tin. Allow the bread to sit on a baking rack for 30 minutes before cutting

Everything Bars

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These everything bars were inspired by Food52’s bulk bin bars recipe. I made these with just a few minutes on hand and had them ready to go in the morning. It was great! The bars could also be rolled into bite-sized balls for on the go snacks. Feel free to substitute any of the following ingredients, as I did with some of the original ingredients posted.

Enjoy!!

Ingredients

– 1 1/2 c oats
– 3/4 c cocoa dusted almonds
– 1/2 c cherry flavored cranberries
– 1/3 c chopped pecans
– 1/3 c chopped walnuts
– 1/2 c unsweetened coconut
– 1/4 c sunflower seeds
– 1/3 c ground flax
– 1/3 c honey
– 1 c peanut butter
– 1/4 c apple sauce (I just pureed a whole apple…)

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl
2. Line a 13×9 baking pan with parchment
3. Spread bar mixture in pan
4. Freeze overnight. Cut into bars/bites!

Mason Jar Brownies

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One thing I am not: craftsy. I avoid pinterest because I see a lot of cool things that I would like to do, but when it comes to the follow through, I quickly become frustrated at my inability to be creative (yes, I realize things other than craft projects exist on pinterest…) Regardless, there is one project that I’ve wanted to try for awhile and that’s making brownies in a jar. I’ve had a hankering to take this on over the holidays, but then when the time comes, I get consumed with a million other menial tasks. Thankfully, I have a bridal shower coming up and I am strapped for cash. Perfect time to test out a mason jar brownie recipe.

After some searching, I came across Alicia Silverstone’s post and it seemed like a perfect fit. Once I had the jar prepared, it occurred to me that I should actually test the recipe out…I am so glad that I did…Sigh. It’s way more cake than brownie and the whole wheat flour gives it a grainier/healthier feel, which is okay, if that’s what you’re going for. While this recipe is acceptable, I will definitely be on the prowl for a different one that offers a chewier and gooeyer consistency 🙂

Ingredients

– 3/4 c white flour
– 3/4 c whole wheat flour (or just do 1 1/2 c white…)
– 1/2 c cocoa powder
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1 1/2 c sugar
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 c chocolate chips (in her recipe, she uses these for the frosting…I use these for more chocolaty goodness inside the brownie; that and I loathe frosting)

Steps…
1) Combine above ingredients in a large mason jar (at least 32oz, I struggled squeezing my chips in)
2) On a card, write the instructions below, and additional ingredients

1). Add mason jar ingredients to a large bowl
2). In a medium bowl, whisk together the following wet ingredients:

– 3/4 c non-dairy milk
– 3/4 c brewed coffee
– 1/2 c canola oil

3). Add wet to dry, mix until everything is combined
4). Bake at 325F for 25-30 minutes. Let cool before cutting

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

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Vegan Richa really knows what she’s doing. This recipe for the Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites is seriously amazing. However, I wasn’t totally sold on it at first. The yield seems really small and I wasn’t sure about the texture. After I let the bites sit in the fridge, I had one…and another…then realized I was hooked.

It would be fun to play around with this recipe, perhaps using soaked cashews rather than almond meal, but that may change the consistency quite a bit.

Either way, these taste very similar to raw cookie dough and are a much healthier option!

Here is how I went about making them…

Ingredients

– 2 Tbls vegan butter
– 1/4 c brown sugar
– 2 Tbls almond milk
– 1 Tbls vanilla
– pinch of salt
– 3/4 c ground oats
– 3/4 c ground almonds
– 1/4 c sugar
– 1/2 c chocolate chips

1. Melt the butter in a small pan. Once melted, remove from heat and add the sugar, almond milk and vanilla
2. In a separate bowl, add the salt, oat flour and almond meal. Pour the wet mix into the dry. After everything is incorporated, fold in the chocolate chips. Set in the freezer for about 5 minutes
3. Roll into bite sized balls. Return to the freezer or enjoy right away!

Chocolate Coconut Almond Crispies

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I’ve been on a crispie bar kick lately. Partly due to the fact that I have a gianormous box of rice crispies to use up.

These Chocolate Coconut Almond Crispies are excellent! The one downside is you should keep them cooled, especially on a warm day. So after they chill and set up, cut them into desired pieces then put them back into the fridge. Silver lining: they aren’t laying on the counter and tempting you every time you walk through your kitchen.

Ingredients
– 4 c rice crispies
– 1/2 c corn syrup
– 1/2 c maple syrup
– 1/2 c chocolate chips
– 1/2 c almond butter
– 2 Tbls coconut oil
– pinch of salt
– 1 tsp almond or vanilla extract

topping (optional)
– 1/2 c chocolate chips
– 1 Tbls coconut oil
– slivered almonds
– coconut flakes

1. Pour 4 cups of rice crispies into a large bowl
2. In a small pan, add the corn syrup and maple syrup. Bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add almond butter, chocolate chips, coconut oil, salt and extract. Stir until everything is combined
3. Add the syrup mixture to the crispies and stir
4. In a 8×8 pan, line with parchment paper and with wet hands, press crispie mixture into the pan
5. Let chill for an hour. If using the topping, melt the chips and oil in a small pan. Once the mixture is smooth, pour over crispies. Top with almonds and coconut
6. Return to the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy!

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Vegan Peanut Nutter Butter Crispie Bars

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Despite being MIA the past few weeks, I have no doubt been cooking and eating up a storm. I recently visited one of my favorite cities, Madison, WI, where I enjoyed testing out new eateries such as The Spot, Alchemy, and Marigold Cafe. All were pretty good, but the latter two were especially great.

Last night I whipped up a batch of these awesome bars. Yet, I must warn you, these are far from healthy and are quite addicting. With that in mind, these are great for gatherings and are a total hit with non-veg folk. It is reminiscent of a scotcheroo or special-k bar. Definitely worth trying!

Ingredients
– 1 package (16oz) Nutter Butter cookies
– 4 1/2 c puffed brown rice/rice crispies
– 1 c corn/brown rice syrup
– 1 stick butter (Earth Balance)
– 1 c lightly packed brown sugar
– 1/2 c unsalted peanut butter
– 1 tsp vanilla

1. In a food processor, chop the cookies into a crumble
2. Add Nutter Butter cookie crumble with the puffed rice and set aside
3. In a small pan, melt the butter and then add the corn syrup and brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add peanut butter and vanilla
4. Once all of the sauce ingredients have blended together, add to the cookie/rice mixture
5. Transfer into a greased 9×14 pan and chill in the freezer. After the bars set you can add the optional topping
6. Topping: Melt 1/2 bag of chocolate chips on the stove. Spread on top of the bars. Let cool and harden before cutting

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