Category Archives: Vegan

Homemade Peanut Butter Shell

Homemade Peanut Butter Shell​

My favorite thing about having a baking blog during the summer is not baking at all: it’s making ice cream toppings. I’ve tackled all the major ones—hot fudge, caramel sauce, butterscotch—you name it, I’ve made it. Of all of them, Homemade Chocolate Shell is the one I go back to over and over. It’s a quick two-ingredient recipe and, when poured over ice cream, results in the thin & thwackable topping we all love. It’s impossible to improve upon, so I won’t try…but did you know you can make a peanut butter version?

Homemade Peanut Butter Shell​

Oh yes, Homemade Peanut Butter Shell is a thing, and it is indeed magical. Made with just creamy peanut butter and coconut oil, it has all the salty, creamy flavor you love, but hardens within a minute of meeting a scoop (or three) of ice cream.

I’ll admit that I didn’t quite get the “thwack” photos I’d hoped for with this recipe, mostly because I shot them in the throes of a heatwave. Still, you can see the definition and how the shell is, in fact, a shell. Once hardened, it can easily be lifted off the ice cream (or other cold thing) it’s molded over. 97 degree weather, be damned.

Homemade Peanut Butter Shell​

I enjoy Homemade Peanut Butter Shell over vanilla ice cream (and some peanut butter cups), but I know it would be perfect paired with chocolate, No-Churn Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream, or pretty much any flavor that goes well with peanut butter…which, I think we can agree, is basically all of them.

Do yourself a favor a make a little jar of Homemade Peanut Butter Shell this summer. While it absolutely can be too hot to bake, it’s never too hot for a salty-sweet bowl of ice cream.

Homemade Peanut Butter Shell​
Homemade Peanut Butter Shell
makes about 2/3 cup

1/3 cup creamy-style peanut butter
1/4 cup coconut oil (preferably refined)

While any coconut oil will work in this recipe, refined coconut oil will have the least noticeable flavor.

Combine peanut butter and coconut oil in a small bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until melted. Let cool a few minutes for optimal pouring consistency (so it doesn’t melt off whatever it’s coating). Pour or drizzle over ice cream or use as a dip for other frozen treats.

Leftover peanut butter shell will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for at least two weeks. Reheat by microwaving in 10 second increments, stirring in between, until pourable.
Homemade Peanut Butter Shell​
Homemade Peanut Butter Shell​
Homemade Peanut Butter Shell​

Friday Favorites: No-Bake Recipes II

Every year I consider doing a “No-Bake Summer,” wherein I only make desserts (and other things) that don’t require cranking the oven in my already-too-hot apartment. I’ve never gone through with it though, mostly because I just really love to bake (regardless of the potential for heatstroke). That said, I have a whole new appreciation for no-bake desserts after the searing hot temperatures we had in NYC this week.

I’ve done a no-bake round-up before, but it’s been a few years. In the intervening time, I’ve added to my repertoire of creamy pies, non-traditional s’mores, puddings, and mason jar desserts. Instead of relying on ambient 350F (or so) heat to provide structure and flavor, all of these recipes rely on things like stovetop cooking (double boilers!), stiff peaks of whipped cream, coconut oil, and long chills for their deliciousness. There’s no wrong way to get your no-bake on! Here are a few of my oven-free favorites from the archives.

Friday Favorites: No-Bake Recipes II​

Chocolate Pudding

Homemade Chocolate Pudding is simpler than you may think, and takes all of fifteen minutes to whisk up. Made rich with whole milk and egg yolks and flavored with both cocoa powder and dark chocolate, this classic stovetop dessert is not to be missed!

Friday Favorites: No-Bake Recipes II​

Vegan Cheesecake (3 ways!)

Vegan cheesecakes require a bit more planning ahead than your average no-bake dessert, but they are so worth the minimal effort. These concoctions of soaked cashews, coconut oil, coconut cream, maple syrup and other delicious things come together in a blender, then firm up in the fridge. Their texture is as luxurious as any dairy cheesecake, and they are sooo delicious. Try a plain & peachy version, a decadent chocolate one, or the new chocolate hazelnut variation I posted on Wednesday. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Friday Favorites: No-Bake Recipes II​

Lazy Lemon Curd & Lemon Meringue S’mores

You’ve almost certainly had classic lemon curd, but have you tried my Lazy Lemon Curd? It couldn’t be simpler—just whisk together lemon juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk, then simmer the mixture over a double boiler until it’s luscious and lemony. My all time favorite way to use it is stacked with toasted marshmallows and graham crackers for Lemon Meringue S’mores…

Friday Favorites: No-Bake Recipes II​

Little Lemon Pie Jars

…but I also love it whirled with cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar, lightened with whipped cream and nestled onto loosely-packed graham cracker crusts.

Friday Favorites: No-Bake Recipes II​

No-Bake Strawberry Cream Pie

Creamy pies are a classic no-bake treat. Here, billowy whipped strawberry filling is layered over fresh strawberries and a puddle of ganache, all nestled in a crumbly Oreo crust. Yum!

Chocolate Mousse Pie

If berries aren’t your bag, by all means, make this No-Bake Chocolate Mousse Pie. I don’t even think I need to talk you into it, except to say “make this.” Make this.

Have you made these or any of my other no-bake recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

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​

Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I posted my Oscar Night Pesto Mozzarella Grilled Cheese on Wednesday, but that’s only one part of my tradition. The other? Red velvet. Cake, cookies, cookie cake, cheesecake bars, you name it. It just has to be red, like the red carpet.

This year’s Oscar weekend offering? A vegan, gluten-free Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Yep, you read that right. This vibrant red velvet cake with swoopy cream cheese frosting is as delicious as any traditional version I’ve had, but completely devoid of animal products and flour, so you can share with all your vegan, gluten-free friends. You know I love an inclusive bake. Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}The cake itself is another spin on my go-to vegan, gluten-free cake base. It’s made primarily of almond flour and potato starch, but also contains classic red velvet ingredients like cocoa powder, vanilla and red food coloring. The batter comes together without a mixer and bakes like a dream, producing a thin sheet of cake, perfect for slicing and sharing.Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}But I’m getting ahead of myself! Let’s talk frosting—you simply can’t have red velvet cake without cream cheese frosting. I’m pretty sure it’s the law, even if the cake is vegan. Here, the cream cheese in the frosting is the dairy-free stuff that comes in a tub. You’ll notice that this recipe uses a tiny amount of cream cheese compared to dairy versions, but I promise you that the signature tang is there in those swoops. I don’t mess around with cream cheese frosting, y’all.

A quick word on temperature and storage. While 90% of the cakes I make do well at room temperature, this one does not. Thanks to its water content, vegan cream cheese is softer in texture than its dairy counterpart, so if this frosting gets too warm it will begin to droop a bit. It won’t liquefy and it will taste fine, but it won’t be pretty. I don’t know about you, but I kind of need my Oscar Night red velvet cake to be pretty.Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Vegan, gluten-free Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is so good, y’all. So. Good. It’s soft and tender with all the chocolate-tinged vanilla flavor you love, and those swirls of vegan cream cheese frosting are the perfect counterpart. It’s traditional with a twist, like so many of the best things are.

Happy Oscar weekend, dear readers! May your ballots be winners. May the telecast be worth watching. May your grilled cheeses be gooey. May your desserts be red velvet.Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}
makes a single layer 9×13-inch sheet cake

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
~1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or pure pumpkin purée)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2-3 teaspoons liquid red food coloring (according to preference)
2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
3/4 cup potato starch
2 tablespoons cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

For finishing:
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
red velvet cake crumbs (optional)

This recipe may be halved and baked in an 8- or 9- inch square pan. Start checking for doneness at 25 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Pour apple cider vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Add almond milk until liquid reaches the 1 1/4 cup mark. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes, until curdled. Stir in applesauce and vanilla, followed by 1 1/2 teaspoons red food coloring. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together blanched almond flour, potato starch, cornstarch, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add liquid ingredients in two installments, whisking until combined. If you’d like a more brightly-colored cake, add more food coloring by the 1/2 teaspoon (up to 1 1/2 teaspoons).

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth to the edges with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap pan on the counter 5 times to release any large air bubbles. Transfer to the oven and bake 28-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs.

Let cake cool completely in its pan on a cooling rack. Run a thin knife along the edges of the pan before inverting to release onto a platter (alternatively, you may keep it in the pan and serve from there). If you want to top the cake with red velvet crumbs, trim off very thin pieces from the 9-inch edges. Crumble with your fingers or by gently pushing through a wire mesh sieve.

Frost as desired with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below). Sprinkle with reserved red velvet crumbs, if desired.

Frosted cake will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Unfrosted cake may be triple-wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before frosting.

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
makes enough for the top of one sheet cake

4 ounces (1/2 cup) vegan butter, room temperature (I like Miyoko’s)
2 ounces (1/4 cup) shortening, room temperature (I like Nutiva)
1/4 cup vegan cream cheese, slightly softened (I like Trader Joe’s)
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat vegan butter, shortening, and vegan cream cheese until light and fluffy. Mix in confectioners sugar in two installments, mixing until combined and fluffy. Mix in salt, followed by vanilla.

Use to frost the top of sheet cake. Frosting and frosted cake should be stored in the refrigerator; they will get very soft at room temperature.

Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Red Velvet Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting {Vegan & Gluten-Free}