Flourless Almond Cake

Flourless Almond CakeThis is my third gluten-free recipe in a row. As far as my inspiration goes, when it rains, it pours.Flourless Almond CakeYou might think that since I kept it for last, it’s subpar in some way. Quite the opposite—Flourless Almond Cake is really something special. It’s one of those recipes you’ll want to have in your repertoire not only because it’s grain-free and relatively quick and simple, but because it can adapt to any occasion. It’s as perfect for a dinner party as it is for a cookout or taking to a friend who needs a pick-me-up. The holidays are still a while away, but I can imagine this cake being a welcome addition to any dessert spread.
Flourless Almond CakeBut it’s barely August and I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me show you how this cake comes together.Flourless Almond CakeIt starts by measuring out some blanched almond flour. I measure using the spoon & level method, as I do with all my dry ingredients. It’s just what it sounds like—spoon the almond flour into the measuring cup until it heaps over the top, then level it with the flat edge of a table knife.Flourless Almond CakeFlourless Almond Cake This may sound tedious if you’ve never done it before, but it only takes a few seconds longer than other common volume-based measuring techniques. While it’s appealing to scoop ingredients with a measuring cup directly, it may cause your final product to be too dense.Flourless Almond CakePut your almond flour in a large mixing bowl and mix in some light brown sugar, salt, and touches of cinnamon and nutmeg. Next come four egg yolks, vanilla and almond extracts, and a little butter. You may certainly just use plain melted butter here, but I like to use brown butter for the extra toasty flavor it imparts.Flourless Almond CakeNext up, wash and dry your mixer attachment and whip four egg whites to stiff peaks. Don’t skip the wash/dry step or your egg whites won’t whip, and you’ll be cursing my name while you separate four more eggs. I tried bypassing this step and using the egg whites as-is, and the result was a dense, flat cake. No, thanks.Flourless Almond CakeFlourless Almond CakeStir 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the almond mixture before gently folding in the rest.Flourless Almond CakePour the batter into a prepared pan, scatter sliced almonds over the top, and bake until the center is firm.Flourless Almond CakeFlourless Almond CakeTurn the cake out onto a serving platter and let it cool completely. Slice it up and serve it any way you see fit.Flourless Almond CakeLike Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, this cake toes the line between celebration cake and everyday cake, and it does it with style. The soft, sweet cake and elegant sliced almond top are party-ready on their own or with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar. Or you could add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle caramel over the top. As you can see, I am partial to a little whipped cream and a side of seasonal fruit.Flourless Almond CakeNo matter which suggestion you go with, this simple little cake is sure to be a winner.Flourless Almond Cake

Flourless Almond Cake
makes one 8-inch round cake

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour (measured by spoon & level)
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 cup raw sliced almonds

For Serving:
whipped cream
seasonal fruit

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8-inch round pan. Line the bottom with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 3-6 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately transfer the brown butter into a small bowl. Set aside.

Separate egg yolks from whites. Set whites aside.

Combine almond flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer on low speed to mix the ingredients together—this will take all of 15 seconds. Add egg yolks, brown butter, vanilla and almond extracts and mix until combined. It will be very thick, almost like cookie dough.

Wash and dry mixer attachments, along with a medium mixing bowl. I also like to wipe down the equipment with vinegar, just to ensure that everything is completely clean before I add the egg whites. There is no way to salvage this recipe if the egg whites are contaminated with oil, yolk, or even water.

Transfer egg whites to the very clean, dry medium mixing bowl. Use the very clean, dry electric mixer to whip them until stiff peaks form, about 2-3 minutes.

Stir 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the almond mixture. Gently fold half the remaining egg whites into the mixture, followed by the other half.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Scatter sliced almonds over the top. Bake for 21-23 minutes, or until firm in the center.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before running a thin, flexible knife around the edge of the cake. Invert cake onto a clean plate. Remove parchment. Revert onto a serving plate or cakestand. Let cool completely before slicing. Serve with whipped cream and fresh fruit, if desired.

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

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Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}If you’ve been around here a while, you know that I spend 51 weeks of the year dreaming about my annual trip to Swans Island, Maine, and one week actually on the island. I hope to one day be able to make that more of a 40:12 situation (I’d settle for 50:2), but until then, I’ll just have to make the most of that week.Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}This is my fourth year going up to Swans Island, and my third organizing the trip. There’s something wonderful about the anticipation of it all. From the moment we start looking at vacation dates and rental houses, and then confirming guests, there’s a wonderful familiarity to the whole process.Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}We book the house. We choose a spot to stop overnight on our way up (usually Portland) and VJ books the AirBNB. We rent a car. We create a menu and make a grocery list. Throughout it all, we dream about this incredible place and probably annoy the crap out of the first-timers going with us 😉 Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}One of my favorite parts of the process is coming up with recipes we can all enjoy. VJ, my Swans Island ride-or-die, is a gluten-free vegan. In fact, she might be the world’s most adaptable gluten-free vegan—I’ve never seen her look at a menu and not be able to find *something* she can eat.Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}When it comes to my on-island baking adventures, VJ is always willing to help take process photos and is super supportive (she once sat on a rock in the dark outside the Swans Island Post Office with me so I could use their WiFi to post these Lemon Bars), but I rarely bake anything she can actually eat. As such, I’ve made an effort on these recent trips to make baked goods that all of us can get behind. Last year’s gluten-free vegan options included Cornmeal Pancakes and Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola. This year’s are going to include s’mores made with these easy Toasted Oat Graham Crackers!Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}The idea for these sweet little crackers came to me as I was falling asleep one night last week and the inspiration was so strong that I had to get up and type it all down before I forgot! Four test batches later, I’m serving up a delicious and deliciously easy recipe perfect for our vacation 🙂 Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Toasted Oat Graham Crackers are crunchy and nubbly, and have just the right amount of sweetness. They’re everything you could want in a graham cracker, except where the traditional treats start with a specialty coarse wheat flour, these are made with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry, like old-fashioned oats, light brown sugar, cinnamon, coconut oil, and pure maple syrup.Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Also, the dough is made entirely in the bowl of a food processor! Easy peasy.

Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Once the dough is made, roll it out between two sheets of parchment and give it a quick freeze before slicing it into crackers. A chef’s knife works well for this, but I am fond of this expandable pizza wheel.Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Score each cracker down the center…Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}…and pierce it a few times with a toothpick. I use a wire cake tester.Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Bake the graham crackers for twenty minutes. Let them cool for a few minutes and then, all bets are off! These crispy, crunchy, cinnamon-spiced Toasted Oat Graham Crackers are great by themselves, or topped with peanut butter. Or cream cheese frosting.

Don’t judge me.Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}These crackers can be kept whole or broken neatly in half along that score line. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m pretty sure these would make an amazing gluten-free vegan graham cracker pie crust!Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}One thing I know for sure is that they’re pretty damn good stacked with dark chocolate and toasted vegan marshmallow. Best vegan s’mores ever.Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I can’t wait for vacation.Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan, Gluten-Free}
makes about 3 dozen square crackers

3 cups old fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free for gluten-free crackers)
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3-4 tablespoons water

Place oven racks in the top and bottom positions. Preheat oven to 325F.

Spread oats onto a dry rimmed sheet pan. Place in oven and toast for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Let cool for about 10 minutes.

Transfer oats into the bowl of a food processor. Process for 1.5-2 minutes, or until there are no recognizable oats. Pulse in light brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Add coconut oil, maple syrup, and 3 tablespoons of water and process until a dough ball forms. Add 1 more tablespoon of water if the dough is crumbly.

Sandwich dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll until 1/8-inch thick. Transfer to the freezer (on a baking sheet, if desired) for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, line two sheet pans with parchment. Set aside.

Remove frozen dough from freezer. Slice in 2-inch squares (scraps may be re-rolled). Place about 1.5-inches apart on prepared pans. Use a sharp knife to score lightly down the centers. Pierce a few times with a toothpick or the tines of a fork.

Bake 10 minutes before rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let crackers cool for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Crackers will initially be slightly soft, but will harden as they cool. Repeat brief chill, slicing, scoring, and baking with any remaining dough.

Graham crackers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for at least a week.
Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}

Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}Did you know that you can make a spectacular chocolate cheesecake without ever opening a brick of cream cheese?Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}It’s true—this Chocolate Cheesecake is cool, creamy, chocolaty, and completely vegan!Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}It’s made primarily of softened cashews and coconut cream…Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}…and melted chocolate, of course 🙂 Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}

This cheesecake is grain-free, too. Where you might normally find a crunchy graham cracker crust under all that creamy filling, this crust is made of dates, almonds, and cocoa powder.Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}Both the crust and the filling come together in the bowl of a food processor before being layered into springform pan and chilled until solid. No need to crank the oven for this no-bake cake!Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}Once the cake is chilled all the way through, remove it from the springform and give it a drizzle of homemade chocolate shell.Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}Chocolate Cheesecake slices like a dream. It definitely stands on its own, but I couldn’t resist plating each piece with a few fresh sweet cherries!Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}You’ll love this smooth, creamy, chocolaty cheesecake! It’s easy to make, no-bake, vegan and grain-free—perfect for sharing with your favorite gluten-free vegans! Out of all the good things about this cake (and there are *a lot*), I think the number of people I can share it with is the very best one ❤ Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}
Want more vegan, grain-free cheesecake? Try my Peachy Paleo Cheesecake!

Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}
makes one 9-inch cheesecake

Filling:
1 cup raw cashews
1 14-ounce can coconut cream (not cream of coconut)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon espresso granules (optional)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly

Crust:
15 Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup raw almonds
3 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder

Topping:
Homemade Chocolate Shell

The night before you want to make the cheesecake, place cashews in a small container with a lid. Cover with water. Refrigerate for 4-12 hours.

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

Make the crust. Combine dates, almonds, and cocoa powder in the bowl of a food processor, and process until the almonds are broken down and the filling starts to form a ball. Mixture should hold together when pinched. Transfer crust mixture to prepared pan, and press it to the edges to form an even layer. Set aside.

Wash and dry the food processor, or wipe it out very well with a paper towel.

Make the filling. Drain soaked cashews and place them in the food processor. Add coconut cream, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, espresso granules, vanilla, and salt. Process until the mixture is smooth. Add melted chocolate and process again. With the food processor running, drizzle coconut oil through the feed tube. Continue processing until everything is smooth and fully combined.

Pour filling mixture over crust and smooth with an offset spatula. Refrigerate for 8 hours (or freeze for 2 hours).

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. 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.

Note:

If you cannot find coconut cream, use two 13.5-ounce cans of full-fat coconut milk. Chill them overnight and scoop off the coconut cream to use for the cake. Reserve the leftover liquid for another use.Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}Chocolate Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}

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}

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

Carrot Cake Baked OatmealIt feels like I’m jumping the gun by posting a carrot cake-flavored recipe in the middle of March, just after the third nor’easter in twelve days, but Easter is on the early side this year, so I suppose I’m right on time.Carrot Cake Baked OatmealI get that Carrot Cake is popular around Easter because of the whole Easter Bunny/rabbits + carrots thing but, like, is there ever a bad time for carrot cake?!Carrot Cake Baked OatmealI think not. I could eat it any day, anytime, on a boat/plane/train/any other Seussical place without complaint. Except for the whole general health and well-being and needing bigger pants thing. But if those obstacles weren’t standing in my way, let me tell you, it’d be all carrot cake all the time. That and things made with malted milk powder.Carrot Cake Baked OatmealAs it stands though, I just bought a pair of Levi’s 501s that make me feel like a supermodel and I am trying to eat well (outside of the occasional pie, kolaches, and Oreo-stuffed treats—job hazards, you know). So, I made a little compromise and put all the flavors of carrot cake in a delicious and deliciously easy baked oatmeal that works just as well as a make-ahead weekday breakfast as is does as part of an Easter weekend brunch.Carrot Cake Baked OatmealCarrot Cake Baked OatmealThis Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal comes together quickly and easily, and has huge flavor thanks to warming spices, the classic additions of raisins and chopped pecans, and maple syrup.Carrot Cake Baked OatmealIt bakes up in just half an hour. You could certainly serve it on its own, but I like an extra drizzle of maple syrup, just for kicks. A dollop of yogurt couldn’t hurt either.Carrot Cake Baked OatmealAnother great thing about this breakfast? It’s high in protein, so you won’t be starving two hours after you’ve eaten. Oh, and if you use certified gluten-free oats, it’s gluten-free too 🙂 Yep. This is the sort of everyday indulgence I can get behind.Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal
makes one 9-inch square pan

2/3 cup raisins, optional
1 cup water
2 cups old-fashioned oats (certified gluten-free, if needed)
2/3 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts), optional
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups milk of choice
1 1/2 cups grated carrots

For serving (optional):
pure maple syrup
plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish. Set aside.

Place raisins in a small bowl. Bring water to a boil and pour over raisins. Let sit while you prepare the oatmeal.

When oven is heated. Place oats and chopped pecans on a dry rimmed baking sheet. Let toast in the oven for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Pour into a medium-large mixing bowl and stir in cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat eggs with a whisk. Mix in vanilla, maple syrup, melted butter, and milk. Pour over dry mixture and fold together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Fold in carrots. Drain raisins and mix them into the oatmeal.

Transfer oatmeal to prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake uncovered for 30-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cool for a few minutes before serving with a drizzle of maple syrup and/or a dollop of yogurt, if desired. Oatmeal scoops best initially, but may be sliced after it cools.

Leftover baked oatmeal will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to five days. Reheat individual portions before serving.

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal