Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I’ve eaten a lot of desserts in my life—A LOT—but as far as sheer enjoyment goes, I still think it’s pretty hard to beat homemade chocolate chip cookies. The combination of caramelized brown sugar cookie and semisweet chocolate chips is about as perfect as it gets, don’t you think?Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe is in the archives along with a chocolate chip cookie cake that’s bigger your face <—make that! I’ve been working on another iteration of this classic for about a year, too. I wonder if the people I work for have noticed that every batch of cookie dough I’ve made for the last year has been just slightly different than the last…

But enough about old favorites and the cookies to come—today is all about Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies!Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}That’s right—these delectable chocolate chip cookies are made with creamy cashew butter in place of a traditional flour base, making them gluten-free. If you’ve been around here for a while, you know I have a bit of an obsession with reimagining classic cookies with a cashew butter base. The smooth, buttery flavor of cashews is a perfect jumping off point for revamping all sorts of cookie jar favorites! I posted Cashew Butter Snickerdoodles about a year ago and Cashew Butter Ginger Cookies around Christmas, but I think this is my favorite so far. I mean, hello—melty chocolate chips, y’all!Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Another great thing about these Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies? They’re vegan! The natural oil in the cashew butter negates the need for butter, and the usual egg is swapped for a few tablespoons of aquafaba AKA the cooking/canning liquid from chickpeas. Sounds weird, but it totally works, it’s inexpensive and readily available, and no, it will not make your cookies taste like beans. If you’re still skeptical, you can use a flax egg. Either way, you’ll end up with a batch of spectacular vegan, gluten-free chocolate chip cookies.Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}You’ll notice that these cookies don’t have the slightly raggedy edges of my other forays into cashew butter cookies. That’s because I finally figured out that these cookies bake up in a more aesthetically pleasing way if you flatten them before they go in the oven.Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}*cue “The More You Know” jingle*Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I’m going to gush a little more about these cookies and then I swear I’m done 😉 This recipe doesn’t require anything beyond a whisk, a silicone spatula, and a bowl. There’s no required chill either–if you turn on the oven right now, you can have an entire batch of cookies ready to go in just about an hour!Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Seriously, there are so many good things to say about Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Their shockingly-close-to-the-real-deal flavor and soft & chewy texture are enough to capture just about any cookie-loving heart ❤ My favorite thing about them though is that they’re vegan and gluten-free, so I can share them with more friends. I’m pretty sure that the only thing better than a fresh homemade batch of chocolate chip cookies is having people to share them with.Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}
makes about 2 dozen small cookies

1 cup creamy-style cashew butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons aquafaba (chickpea canning liquid) or 1 flax egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 1/4 cups dairy-free chocolate chips + more for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cashew butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar until combined. Mix in aquafaba (or flax egg) and vanilla. Use a silicone spatula to fold in cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Fold in dairy-free chocolate chips.

Scoop dough by the tablespoon and form into balls. Place dough balls 2 inches apart on prepared pans and press down to flatten. Bake 10-11 minutes, just until no longer wet-looking. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheets for ten minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Press more chocolate chips onto the tops of the warm cookies, if desired. Repeat baking process with any remaining dough.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Cashew flavor will mellow slightly over time.

Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal CookiesI won’t lie to you—I was tempted to take today off of blogging. I made fifteen cakes between last Monday and this Monday. I like making cake, but fifteen is A LOT.

My brain is fried and my feet hurt. I went to bed at midnight last night without protest. That never happens. I slept for almost nine hours (hooray for working from home!) and I’m still basically half-asleep.Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal CookiesBut I love this little corner of the internet, so I’m here anyway–just taking it easy this week. I’m saying a big “NO” to yeast doughs, frying, and things that require a million step-by-step photos. I’m taking a hard pass on petit fours.Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal CookiesBut I’m saying yes to tried-and-true cookie recipes.Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal CookiesYes to oats. (And butter and brown sugar and the tiniest pinch of nutmeg.)Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal CookiesChewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal CookiesYes to chocolate chips. Yes to dried cherries.Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal CookiesYes to dough that doesn’t need a chill.Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal CookiesYes to Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies.Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal CookiesYes.Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies
makes about 3 dozen cookies

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup dried cherries

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

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Add light brown and granulated sugars and beat until combined. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients in two installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Mix in oats, followed by chocolate chips and dried cherries.

Scoop dough in 2 tablespoon increments and drop 2 inches apart on prepared pans (I like to use a medium cookie scoop for this). Bake 6 minutes. Rotate pans top-to-bottom and back-to-front. Bake another 4-6 minutes, until golden at the edges. Let cool on pans for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining dough.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Banana Snickerdoodles

Banana SnickerdoodlesIn the last few weeks, I’ve been posting recipes I developed in my pre-blog days. It’s been way fun to revisit all the things I was making back then! And by “back then,” I mean four years ago 😛
Banana SnickerdoodlesI inadvertently started this little project when I posted some Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter Blondies last month. Then it was the Vanilla Malt Cookies from two weeks ago. I came home from a weekend trip to Boston (more on that soon!) to find a bunch of overripe bananas, so today is all about Banana Snickerdoodles 🙂
Banana SnickerdoodlesY’all, these cookies are as easy as they are delicious…and they’re really delicious. If you are into banana and cinnamon, you’ll love these rumpled beauties ❤
Banana SnickerdoodlesBanana SnickerdoodlesWe’re having a blizzard here in NYC, so it’s a great day to stay home and bake. You likely already have all the ingredients for this simple dough, with the exception of the overripe bananas. If you have any bananas at all though, you can give them a quick bake and they’ll be recipe-ready!
Banana SnickerdoodlesThe dough comes together in just a few minutes. You’ll notice there are no eggs in this recipe—adding them would make the cookies cakey, and I don’t go for cakey cookies. Let the dough chill for an hour; this will allow the butter to firm up and the cinnamon and banana flavors to meld.
Banana SnickerdoodlesBanana SnickerdoodlesWhen you’re ready to bake, roll the dough into balls and coat them in cinnamon-sugar. There’s already cinnamon in the dough, but they’re not snickerdoodles without the sweet, crispy coating!Banana Snickerdoodles
Banana SnickerdoodlesBanana Snickerdoodles bake up thick and chewy with big banana flavor and just enough cinnamon. You’ll dig the contrast of the soft centers and crispy edges, too. Trust me–you’re going to love these ❤ Banana Snickerdoodles

Banana Snickerdoodles
makes about 2.5 dozen cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup mashed overripe banana (about 1 1/2 large bananas)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Coating
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter until light and fluffy. Beat in sugars, followed by mashed banana and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, mixing until completely combined.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour (or up to 3 days).

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Make the coating. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together granulated sugar and cinnamon.

Scoop the dough in 2 tablespoon increments and roll into balls. Roll each dough ball in the coating mixture. Place dough balls at least 2.5 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 9-10 minutes, until puffy and no longer raw-looking. Let cool on pans for ten minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat scooping, rolling, and baking with any remaining dough.

Cookies will keep covered at room temperature for up to a week.

Banana Snickerdoodles

Vanilla Malt Cookies

I got these Vanilla Malt Cookies right on the first try. That doesn’t happen very often, so it warrants a mention.

Vanilla Malt CookiesIt was a random Wednesday three years ago and I was making five-or-so dozen of whatever I wanted for a weekly cookie order I had at the time. I could have just made a batch of chocolate chip cookies every week and they would have been happy, but instead, I took this standing commitment as an opportunity to try new ratios, methods, and flavors. Every Wednesday night, I’d bring in a couple of new recipes and take feedback from the group. In case you are wondering, in addition to being a good way to do some experimental baking, being the “cookie lady” is also a great way to make friends.

Vanilla Malt CookiesRecipes that got the group’s approval include my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Cookies, Banana Pudding Cookies, and Maple Creme Sandwich Cookies, among others in the archives. Luckily, I was smart enough to write almost all of the recipes down…you know, just in case I ever started a baking blog 😉

Vanilla Malt CookiesAll that is to say, these Vanilla Malt Cookies were a last-second experiment-turned-instant-hit, and I’m here on this snowy Wednesday three years after their debut to tell you all about them.

Vanilla Malt Cookies Trust me, the minute you sink your teeth into one of these Vanilla Malt Cookies, you’re going to lose your cookie-loving mind. While these are a bit thinner than most of the cookies you’ll find on this site, what they lack in puffiness, they more than make up for in chewy centers and crispy edges.

Vanilla Malt CookiesOh, and flavor. Between the big hit of vanilla extract and the richness of the malted milk powder (and the butter! and the white chocolate chips!), there’s plenty going on here.

Vanilla Malt CookiesI know there’s at least one person out there wondering why I chose to make these malted beauties with vanilla instead of chocolate. To that person, I say that vanilla malt may not be as popular as its chocolate counterpart, but it is just as delicious, if not more so. The vanilla and malted milk powder complement each other beautifully and make everything about these cookies just…divine.

Vanilla Malt CookiesBut if you really can’t wrap your mind around malt without chocolate, see here, here, here, and here, for everything chocolate-malty.

Vanilla Malt CookiesFor the rest of you, make a batch of this cookie dough, crank the oven to 350F, and prepare to fall in love.Vanilla Malt Cookies

Vanilla Malt Cookies
makes about 3 dozen cookies

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup malted milk powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
4 teaspoons real vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, malted milk powder, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Mix in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Mix in white chocolate chips. Dough will be very thick.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.

Place oven racks in central positions and preheat the oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

Scoop dough in 2 tablespoon increments, roll into balls, and place at least 3 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 9-11 minutes, rotating pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back at the 5 minute mark. Cookies are done when edges are just barely starting to turn golden and centers still look a bit underdone. Let cookies cool on pans for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Let baking sheets come back to room temperature before repeating process with any remaining dough.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Vanilla Malt Cookies

Almond Joy Shortbread Bars

Almond Joy Shortbread BarsI don’t want to write about baking today—I want to write about how much I love the Olympics. I’ve watched the coverage every night and had it on in the background while I’ve baked during the day. This isn’t a recent habit—I grew up in a family that gathered to watch the games (summer or winter) every night they were on, and I even once had a wall of my teenage bedroom dedicated to the decorated short track speedskater Apolo Ohno.

Yeah…when it comes to the Olympics, I’m a real big nerd. I’m also a baseball nerd and an Oscars nerd, so…well, maybe I just watch too much TV. That’s probably it.

Almond Joy Shortbread BarsAnyway, this isn’t an Olympics blog. It’s a baking blog. So, let’s talk about baked goods, specifically Almond Joy Shortbread Bars.

Almond Joy Shortbread BarsIf you’re going to try to improve on the practically perfect combination of chocolate, almonds, and sweet coconut filling, layering it all onto a buttery chocolate shortbread crust is a pretty good way to start.

Almond Joy Shortbread BarsAll the layers in these bars make them look like they take hours to prepare, but in reality, they take about 90 minutes from start to finish and are nearly no-bake. That easy chocolate shortbread crust is the only layer that has to spend time in the oven.

Almond Joy Shortbread BarsIt’s topped with a thick layer of coconut filling and dotted with whole roasted almonds…Almond Joy Shortbread BarsAlmond Joy Shortbread Bars

…and a layer of milk chocolate. You can use dark chocolate if you like, but apparently Almond Joys are made with milk chocolate. I’ve been wrong for two years. Oh well.

Almond Joy Shortbread BarsAlmond Joy Shortbread BarsBut back to the bars. Slice ‘em up and admire your handiwork. #thoselayerstho

The flavor is everything you love about sweet, chewy, crunchy Almond Joys, but better because they’re homemade. Oh, and because they have a crispy layer of chocolate shortbread offsetting all their sweetness. After sinking your teeth into one of these, you’ll never be able to go back to the mass-produced candy bar.

Y’all, these are seriously good. I know I say that about everything on this blog, but I really mean it today. These are a gold medal recipe for sure.Almond Joy Shortbread Bars

Almond Joy Shortbread Bars
makes one 9-inch square pan, about 16 bars

Chocolate Shortbread Crust:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder (natural or Dutch process)
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

Coconut Filling:
1/2 cup whole raw almonds
5 fluid ounces (10 tablespoons) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups sweetened flaked coconut

Chocolate Topping:
6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil and grease well with butter. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, light brown sugar, and salt. Use your fingertips to rub butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. It will be powdery, but should hold together when pinched. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom of the pan before using your hand to pack it down into an even layer. Prick several times with a fork. Bake 14-15 minutes, until no longer wet-looking. Let shortbread crust cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Make the filling. Place almonds on a dry baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, confectioners sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in coconut. Mixture will be very thick. Drop filling in spoonfuls over the cooled crust and spread across the entire surface. Arrange almonds in lines (or as desired) over the top of the coconut and press down to adhere. Freeze full pan for 15 minutes.

Make the chocolate topping. Combine chopped milk chocolate and butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, just until melted. Drop chocolate over filling one spoonful at a time. Use a small offset icing knife (or a silicone spatula) to carefully spread it over a section of the filling. Continue dropping and spreading chocolate until it’s all used and the almonds are covered. Freeze until chocolate has hardened, about 15 minutes.

Use foil overhang to remove bars to a cutting board. Carefully peel foil down the sides. Use a lightly-greased sharp chef’s knife to slice bars. Lift bars from foil with a thin spatula. Serve.

Bars may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. Layer them with wax paper if they are to be stacked.

Almond Joy Shortbread Bars