Category Archives: Chocolate

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}​

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there are a million way to make a chocolate chip cookie. Soft, chewy, crispy, thin, thick, as a cake, with nuts, whole grain, vegan, gluten-free, or some combination in between—there’s a recipe out there for everyone.

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}​

Today’s recipe, made with an almond flour base, is for the soft & chewy, gluten-free, vegan chocolate chip cookie people. And also, everyone (except the people with nut allergies; sorry y’all).

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}​

These chocolate chip cookies are so delicious, and not in a “delicious for being vegan and gluten-free” sort of way. They’re great, period. They’re pillow-soft, thick & chewy, have a perfect vanilla-brown sugar balance, and are loaded with chocolate chips. In short, they’re magnificent. A triumph, even.

But that’s just the final product—we haven’t even discussed ease of preparation! And I do mean “ease.” Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies are a no-mixer, no-chill recipe, and with the possible exception of almond flour, you likely have all of the ingredients in your kitchen right now!

The dough comes together in just a few minutes, then gets separated into two-tablespoon increments and flattened into disks before baking. Because this dough doesn’t contain gluten or a particularly high volume of sugar, it doesn’t really spread like a traditional chocolate chip cookie, though it does puff in the most satisfying way.

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}​

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies bake up in ten minutes, and then it’s just a matter of what you consider too-hot-to-handle when it comes to dessert. I’m a “room temperature, but the chips are still soft” lady myself, but just as there is a chocolate chip cookie recipe for everyone, I’m sure there’s an ideal temperature, too.

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}​
Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}
makes about 1 dozen cookies

2 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons vegan butter,* melted & cooled slightly
1 tablespoon lukewarm water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup dairy-free chocolate chips

Set oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together almond flour, brown sugar, confectioner’s sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together melted vegan butter, water and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry, then use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to combine. Mixture may be crumbly but should hold together when pinched. Fold in chocolate chips with the silicone spatula or your hand.

Scoop dough in 2 tablespoons increments, roll into balls, and set 2 1/2-inches apart on prepared pans. Use the heel of your hand to press each ball into a 1/2-inch thick disk. Smooth edges with your fingers as desired.

Bake cookies 10 minutes, until puffed and starting to turn light golden. Let cool on pans for 7-10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Serve cookies. Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for a few days.

Note:

I use Miyoko’s Cultured Vegan Butter (and occasionally Earth Balance) in vegan baked goods. You may use an equal volume of refined coconut oil in its place, or even regular dairy butter (though your cookies will not be vegan).
Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}​
Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}​
Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}​

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake

It is far too hot to bake today, but that’s okay because Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake requires no baking at all.

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake

We’re talking all the rich, creamy, irresistible texture of a classic cheesecake with none of the dairy and exactly zero reasons to crank your oven. Oh, and more deep dark chocolate-hazelnut flavor than you can shake a stick at. (What does that even mean?)

This take on vegan cheesecake is made with toasted hazelnuts for flavor and raw cashews for creamy texture. They’re soaked together overnight for maximum tenderness, then combined in a blender with coconut cream, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, salt, and—oh yeah—half a pound of melted dark chocolate. Put on the lid and then blitz-blitz-blitz until smooth.

This is the part where I get on my soapbox:

Please get yourself a good blender. You deserve a good blender. Good doesn’t necessarily mean expensive—it means a blender that actually blends things until smooth. Whether that’s a fifty year-old Oster (my parents’ amazing blender) or a Vitamix, a solid blender is crucial to vegan cheesecake success, and a million other things. I have a Ninja that I bought for $100 five years ago and it rules. Get a good blender!!!

*steps off soapbox*

Ahem…the batter is then poured over an Oreo crust—yes, Oreos are vegan!—and chilled until firm. Then it’s released from the springform and finished off with some Homemade Chocolate Shell and easy candied hazelnuts before being sliced and served. You can use a plate and fork if you’re fancy (or taking pictures) or just eat ice cold slices with your fingers like a wild animal, as I did.

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake

I’m pretty sure that’s what hot girl summer is all about.

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake
Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake 
makes one 9-inch cheesecake

Filling:
1 cup whole raw hazelnuts
1 cup whole raw cashews
1 14-ounce can coconut cream (not cream of coconut)
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons coconut oil (preferably refined), melted and cooled
8 ounces dark chocolate, melted

Crust:
24 Oreos (or other chocolate sandwich cookies)
5 tablespoons coconut oil or melted vegan butter

Candied Hazelnut Garnish:
1/3 cup whole raw hazelnuts
3 teaspoons granulated sugar
Homemade Chocolate Shell

The night before you want to make the cheesecake, toast and peel the hazelnuts. Place hazelnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir frequently until fragrant, 7-10 minutes. Immediately transfer hazelnuts to a clean, dry hand towel. Fold towel around the hazelnuts and then rub the towel with the palm of your hand. This will allow the hazelnut skins to loosen. This step does not have to be done perfectly.

Place peeled hazelnuts in a 3-4 cup container that has a lid. Add cashews. Cover with water. Refrigerate for 4-12 hours.

Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan with coconut oil.

Make the crust. Place Oreos in a high-powered blender and blitz until they are crumbs. Add coconut oil or melted vegan butter, and pulse until the mixture can be pinched together. Transfer crust mixture to prepared pan, and press it to the edges to form an even layer. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to set.

Very carefully wipe it out the blender with a paper towel.

Make the filling. Drain soaked hazelnuts and cashews and place them in the blender. Add half of the coconut cream (~2/3 cup), maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. Process until the mixture is smooth. Add remaining coconut cream & coconut oil, followed by melted chocolate. Continue processing until everything is fully combined and smooth.

Pour filling mixture over crust and smooth with an offset spatula. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or freeze for 1 hour).

Make the candied hazelnut garnish. Line a plate with parchment and set aside. Place hazelnuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Toast for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant and shiny. Add sugar by the teaspoon, stirring until it dissolves (it may smoke up a bit). When all sugar has dissolved, remove hazelnuts to prepared plate. Let cool completely. Place on a cutting board and give them a rough chop with a large, sharp chef’s knife.

Run a thin, flexible knife around the edge of the pan. Release the cheesecake from the springform pan, and allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Drizzle with chocolate shell, then immediately scatter on the candied hazelnuts. Slice with a large, sharp chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve.

Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for a few days. Filling may slump slightly in very hot weather.
Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake
Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake

One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways

One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways​

This is my fifth single-serving cookie recipe. Or fifth and sixth, if you want to get technical.

You see, when I set out to make One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, I had just planned to make it one way: the classic cross-hatched way. But then I realized that at least a few of you would ask “can I put chocolate chips in it?” so I got real wild and made a second version, and then I put them together in this one lone post. You’re welcome, super-small-batch cookie bakers of the internet.

One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways​

This is yet another twist on the classic three ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe that has been around since long before it ever occurred to me that baking might scratch all my creative itches. You’d think a three ingredient recipe (1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 large egg) would be pretty difficult to manipulate more than once or twice, but I’ve managed it many times. This is my fifth (?) vegan variation, and as none contains any flour, they’re all gluten-free too.

The method here is simple. Use a fork to whisk together two tablespoons each of peanut butter and packed brown sugar. Add some cornstarch and water to bind, some salt for balance, and a teensy bit of baking soda for lift. Though baking soda cannot be replaced in most recipes, here you can swap baking powder in as the leavener with the only major difference being that your cookie will be a touch lighter in color.

This is where things get exciting (as far as cookie baking goes). You can either roll this dough into a ball, coat it in granulated sugar and crosshatch it with a fork, or you can mix in chocolate chips and flatten it slightly with the heel of your hand. You could even nix the sugar coating or use M&Ms as your mix-in! Do whatever makes your little dessert-for-one heart sing. However you choose to proceed, your cookie will need to bake for about 12 minutes in a 350F oven.

One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways​

Once it’s cool enough to handle, your minimal effort will be rewarded with one of *the* peanut butteriest peanut butter cookies you’ve ever had. Sweet, salty, rich & thick, studded with chocolate or not, this is one hell of a dessert for one. Or…two…hells?

Who’s writing this thing?

One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways​

Have a great weekend, y’all. Make yourself a cookie (or two).

One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways​
One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways
makes 1 large cookie, about 1-2 servings

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (not natural-style)
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/8 teaspoon baking soda*
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon water

If making a classic peanut butter cookie:
2 tablespoons granulated sugar, for rolling (optional)

If making a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie:
2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips + more for topping (use dairy-free for a vegan cookie)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together peanut butter and brown sugar. Add baking soda, salt, cornstarch and water, and whisk to combine. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to make sure your dough is fully combined.

If making a classic peanut butter cookie, place granulated sugar in a shallow dish. Use your hands to form dough into a ball, then gently roll the ball in the sugar to coat. Place on the prepared pan.

If making a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie, use your silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in chocolate chips. Use your hands to form dough into a ball and place on prepared pan. Dot the top with more chocolate chips (for aesthetic purposes), if desired. Use the heel of your hand to press down gently on the dough, just so that the dough is a 1-inch thick puck.

For both cookie variations, bake for 12-13 minutes or until puffed and no longer raw-looking.

Let cookie cool on the pan for at least 10 minutes before using a spatula to remove it to a plate. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Note:

An equal volume of baking powder will work in place of baking soda. The cookie it produces will be a bit paler, but still delicious. I do not recommend swapping baking soda and baking powder in any other recipes.
One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways​

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting​

My birthday is coming up this weekend, so this week is all about birthday cakes!

I have made a lot of birthday cakes—a lot!—and they have all been highly personal. I’ve had requests for everything from mousse cakes to Funfetti to Neapolitan to Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut, but Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting is the favorite by far. For whatever reason, it just screams “birthday” to a lot of people. And while I am inclined to rebel against anything that everyone seems to love (hello, I am a Gemini), I can’t say I’d be anything but delighted to blow out candles on a Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting.

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting​

I mean, what’s not to love about an egg-yellow vanilla butter cake with rich chocolate frosting? Nothing, that’s what. This cake is a classic for a reason.

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting​

That said, not all yellow cakes are created equal. Yes, they’re all made rich and yellow from lots of eggs, yolks and butter, and they all have some amount of vanilla, but that is frequently where the similarities end. Some are too dense, others too light. Some taste vaguely like cornbread despite containing zero cornmeal (so weird). Even the really good ones vary wildly in terms of flavor and texture. I can say that from experience—I’ve tried a lot of them.

This Yellow Cake though? I like to think it strikes a balance. Yellow, buttery, vanilla-scented, not too dense, and not a hint of cornbread flavor to be found (seriously, it’s a thing). It’s made using the reverse creaming method I use for white cake. You mix the butter into the dry ingredients, then add loads of eggs and a mix of milk and sour cream. It feels wrong, but it’s so simple and produces tender results every time.

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting​

I haven’t even mentioned the Chocolate Frosting, but as you can hopefully tell from the pictures, it’s absurdly good. Made with cocoa, melted dark chocolate and just enough confectioner’s sugar, it’s pure luxury. I like to frost this cake simply for a homemade look with lots of swoops, but feel free to increase the batch size if you want to pipe. Birthday person’s prerogative, you know.

Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting​
Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
makes one two-layer 9” round cake

Yellow Cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup full-fat sour cream

Chocolate Frosting:
3 ounces dark chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
rainbow sprinkles, for garnish (optional)

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Combine flour, cornstarch, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk ingredients together (I like to do this by running my mixer on its lowest speed for about a minute).

Add butter to dry ingredients. Gradually turn the mixer from low up to medium, to mix in the butter until there are no large pieces and the texture is sort of rubbly. This will take a few minutes.

With the mixer running, add eggs and yolks one at a time, followed by vanilla. Mix until combined.

In a measuring cup or small mixing bowl, use a fork to whisk together milk and sour cream. Running the mixer on medium, add the milk mixture in two installments and mix until combined. Scrape down the bowl well to ensure even mixing.

Divide batter among prepared pans. Tap each full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake layers on the center rack for 31-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let let layers cool in their pans for 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edges of the layer before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

Make the Chocolate Frosting. Place chopped dark chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring just until melted. Cool to room temperature (this can be done quickly by putting it into the fridge for 5-8 minutes, then whisking with a fork).

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until very light and fluffy (about 4-5 minutes). Beat in confectioner's sugar, followed by cocoa powder and salt, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Mix in melted chocolate, followed by vanilla and heavy cream. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes, until very fluffy.

Fill and frost the layers as desired. Garnish with rainbow sprinkles, if desired. Serve.

Layer cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.
Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Neapolitan Bundt Cake

Neapolitan Bundt Cake

Why have one flavor of cake when you can have three?! This Neapolitan Bundt Cake has them all: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.

Neapolitan Bundt Cake

All the flavors start together with a batch of my favorite go-to bundt base. It’s ridiculously easy: just dump everything in a mixer, then mix on low for 30 seconds before turning the speed to medium for 3 minutes. Easy easy easy.

Once the batter is ready, divide it in thirds. Leave one plain (vanilla), stir cocoa powder and melted chocolate into another (chocolate), and flavor the last with pulverized freeze-dried strawberries (strawberry).

Neapolitan Bundt Cake

I tried a few different methods for the cake assembly, including spooning them all in at random, but my favorite is the one you see here. I spooned one flavor at a time into the pan, then spread it around in a circle. It doesn’t matter if they’re all perfectly even—the layers of batter will produce a stripey marble effect. The imperfections are all part of the fun.

Neapolitan Bundt Cake
Neapolitan Bundt Cake

Neapolitan Bundt Cake takes just over an hour to bake and will need to cool completely before glazing…with three glazes! Gotta have one for each flavor, right? These glazes are all quick and easy to whisk together; the only thing you want to watch for is that they all have similar viscosity. Once mixed, drizzle to your heart’s content.

Neapolitan Bundt Cake

With a tight crumb, tender texture, and three flavors and colors, this Neapolitan Bundt will be a winner with everyone! It’s perfect for any occasion, including the first picnic or cookout back together after so many months apart.

Neapolitan Bundt Cake
Neapolitan Bundt Cake
makes one 10-cup capacity bundt

For the Cake:
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 16 pieces
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teasp Kosher or sea salt
1 cup milk (preferably whole), room temperature

For the Strawberry Batter:
1 1.2 ounce package freeze-dried strawberries, pulverized
red food coloring (I used 1 drop red gel), optional

For the Chocolate Batter:
2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 325F. Heavily grease a bundt pan with softened butter (or shortening) and dust well with flour. Set aside.

Make the cake. Make the cake. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes. Batter will be thick.

Make the Strawberry and Chocolate batters. Divide batter into 3 medium bowls, with about 1 2/3 cups batter going in each. Leave one plain. This is the vanilla batter.

To make the strawberry batter, whisk pulverized freeze-dried strawberries and optional food coloring into one of the bowls of batter.

Make the chocolate batter. Whisk cocoa powder into the last bowl of batter. Put chopped dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Whisk into batter.

To assemble the cake, spoon half the vanilla batter into the pan and spread around in a circle. Top with half the strawberry batter, and spread around in a circle. Top with chocolate batter, and spread in a circle. Add remaining vanilla, strawberry and chocolate batters one-by-one, spreading in circles before adding the next. It’s okay if this isn’t perfect—it will look great when sliced, I promise!

When all batters are in the prepared pan, smooth the top with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 65-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in several places comes out clean.

Let cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a thin, flexible knife around all exposed edges. Invert cake onto a cooling rack and let cake cool completely. Cake may be made up to a day in advance; it will keep double-wrapped in plastic wrap until you are ready to glaze.

Vanilla Glaze:
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Strawberry Glaze:
1 tablespoon pulverized freeze-dried strawberries (from about 1/4 cup pieces)
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons whole milk

Chocolate Glaze:
1 tablespoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of salt
2-3 teaspoons whole milk

Make your glazes. For the vanilla, combine confectioner’s sugar, salt, milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Use a fork to whisk ingredients together until very thick, but pourable. If it’s too thick, add more milk by the 1/2 teaspoon up to 1 teaspoons (1 tablespoon); if it’s too thin, add more confectioners sugar in 1 tablespoon increments.

For the strawberry, combine freeze-dried strawberries, confectioner’s sugar, salt, and milk in a small bowl. Use a fork to whisk ingredients together until very thick, but pourable. If it’s too thick, add more milk by the 1/2 teaspoon up to 1 teaspoons (1 tablespoon); if it’s too thin, add more confectioners sugar in 1 tablespoon increments.

For the chocolate, combine cocoa powder, confectioner’s sugar, salt, and milk in a small bowl. Use a fork to whisk ingredients together until very thick, but pourable. If it’s too thick, add more milk by the 1/2 teaspoon up to 1 teaspoons (1 tablespoon); if it’s too thin, add more confectioners sugar in 1 tablespoon increments.

Pour or drizzle glazes over cake. Let sit for 20 minutes to set. Move cake to a serving plate before slicing and serving.

Leftover cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five.

Note:

This recipe may be halved and baked in a parchment-lined 9x5-inch loaf pan. Start checking the cake for doneness at the 55 minute mark.
Neapolitan Bundt Cake
Neapolitan Bundt Cake
Neapolitan Bundt Cake