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Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan, Gluten-Free}

Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free}After I made Toasted Oat Graham Crackers a few weeks ago, I ran across the recipe for Ovenly’s Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies, which I had bookmarked in three separate places, including my copy of their book.Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free}I should acknowledge that I already have four recipes for chocolate chip cookies in my archives (see here, here, here, and here) and another I’ve been tinkering with for over a year. I don’t need another, but I made an exception for Ovenly because theirs’ is naturally vegan and doesn’t involve any egg substitutes or sticks of “buttery spread.”Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free}Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free}The original recipe calls for all-purpose flour, but as I had plenty of oats leftover from making from my adventures in graham cracker-ing, I figured I’d give it a shot with toasted ground oats. I also swapped out plain granulated sugar for an equal volume of light brown, added some vanilla, switched from chocolate chips to finely chopped dark chocolate, and nixed the extra salt entirely.Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free}Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free}The Ovenly overlords will tell you that theirs’ is a finicky recipe and to follow it to the T. They are correct—it’s a very precise recipe and works perfectly as-is. But I messed with it anyway because I can’t help myself.Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free}It took me five test rounds to get these cookies to work consistently with toasted ground oats, but I persisted and have been rewarded with super chewy, chocolaty cookies that anyone will love (not just your favorite local gluten-free vegan).Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free}I will, however, jump on Ovenly’s soapbox like a hypocrite and tell you not to mess with this recipe…any further than I have already.Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free}As with most baking recipes, the volumes of ingredients are very specific for a reason. In the case of this recipe, adjusting the liquid ingredients by 1 tablespoon (!) will either yield sad, soupy dough (and lacy cookies) or a chilled rock of inedible dough. Trust me, I know.Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free}And for the love of everything, don’t shorten the 12-24 hour chill. If you do, I guarantee you will be disappointed. But if you work ahead, as specified in the recipe, you’ll be rewarded with some seriously good Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies.Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free}For all my “don’t mess with the recipe” talk, these are remarkably easy and delicious cookies! They’re a guaranteed hit, not only for their chewy texture and perfect amount of dark chocolate, but because they’re vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free, so more people can eat them. Love that ❤Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free}

Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free}
adapted from Ovenly
makes 21-24 medium cookies

3 cups old-fashioned oats (certified gluten-free for gluten-free)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil (I use canola)
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 ounces dark chocolate (certified dairy-free for vegan), finely chopped

Place oven racks in the top and bottom positions. Preheat oven to 350F.

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

Transfer oats into the bowl of a food processor. Process for 3-4 minutes, or until there are no recognizable oats. Transfer ground oats to a large mixing bowl and freeze for 5 minutes, or until no longer warm.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine light brown sugar, oil, water, and vanilla. Whisk until the sugar has melted, and everything is fully combined and thickened slightly. Set aside.

Retrieve ground oats from the freezer. Whisk in baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold in chopped dark chocolate. Pour in liquid ingredients and fold together. Mixture will be pretty thin. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours. Do not skip or shorten this step.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Line a dinner plate with wax paper or parchment. Scoop dough (which will still be soft) in 2 tablespoon increments. Place dough balls on lined plate. Freeze for 10 minutes.

Place dough balls at least 4 inches apart on prepared pans (I get 6 on a half sheet pan). Place any remaining dough balls back in the freezer.

Bake 7 minutes. Rotate pans top-to-bottom and back-to-front. Bake an additional 6 minutes. Let cool for at least 7 minutes on prepared pans before removing to a rack to cool completely. Let pans return to room, temperature before baking remaining dough balls.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. They may also be frozen after baking and are shockingly good when they are ice cold.Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free}

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Friday Favorites: Berries

Every year, I look forward to all the berries that show up in the late spring and early summer. When I’m not eating them by the box, straight from the fridge, I’m tipping them into all sorts of baked goods and other warm-weather treats! There are loads of fresh berry-based recipes in my Recipe Index and there are at least a few more coming this summer, but I thought maybe you could use a little baking inspiration this weekend. Here are some of my “berry” favorites 🙂Friday Favorites: Berries
Blueberry Muffins

Is there any berry-based treat more iconic than Blueberry Muffins?! My version of this classic recipe stays super moist and tender thanks to a combination of both melted butter and oil, as well as a cup of buttermilk in the batter. And that’s to say nothing of all the soft, jammy, bursting blueberries ❤ Friday Favorites: Berries
Blueberry Kolaches

And speaking of blueberries, they are the stunning centerpiece of these soft, buttery homemade kolaches. I formulated the base recipe over the winter to go with a homemade grapefruit curd filling, but I am totally over-the-moon for this summery fresh berry version.Friday Favorites: Berries
Raspberry Fudgsicles

Now, one for the days that it’s too hot to bake. I am all too familiar—the kitchen is the only un-air conditioned room of my apartment. Luckily, there is no need to heat up your home to make these vegan, sugar-free ice pops! These frozen treats are made with super-nutritious ingredients like avocado, coconut milk, and medjool dates, and flavored with cocoa (I recommend dutch process) and fresh raspberries. If you want to jazz them up even further, you could give them a dip in my Homemade Chocolate Shell!Friday Favorites: Berries
Brown Butter Strawberry Shortcakes

As far as I am concerned, these are the best strawberry shortcakes on the planet. You may feel otherwise, but rich, flaky brown butter biscuits, whipped cream, and macerated fresh strawberries are pretty difficult to argue with!Friday Favorites: Berries
Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

There’s a brief window every year where rhubarb and strawberries are both in season at the same time—I highly recommend you take advantage of it and make yourself a galette! This freeform pie is simple to make and wrapped up in a Whole Wheat Pie Dough that plays beautifully off these seasonal flavors.Friday Favorites: Berries
Blackberry Pie

Another thing that goes well with Whole Wheat Pie Dough? Fresh blackberries! I picked every berry in the pictured pie while in Maine last summer, but if you haven’t scheduled a late summer vacation in coastal New England, grocery store blackberries will work just as well 🙂 Friday Favorites: Berries
Red, White & Blueberry Cake

The Fourth of July is coming up in a few weeks and this berry-centric is a perfect centerpiece! Thin layers of white cake, whipped cream frosting, sliced strawberries, and blueberries make for a delicious, festive dessert.Friday Favorites: Berries
Have you made any of these recipes? What do you like to make with fresh berries? Let me know on Instagram @e2bakesbrooklyn or in the comments!

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}A few weeks ago, my boss asked me to cater a small engagement dinner for two of her friends. Normally, my job consists of grocery shopping and making dinner for her, her husband, and twin teenage boys, but every once in a while, she’ll ask me to pull out the big guns and cater a party. This wasn’t my first rodeo (I cater frequently for different people and organizations around Brooklyn), but this party had me a little nervous.

You see, the grooms-to-be are paleo. As in, they don’t eat grains, legumes, sugar, or dairy, among other things. I am used to having specific guidelines when I cook for others, but they’re usually something akin to “cut the salt” or “no nightshades,” not “cut out four food groups.”

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}I spent the days leading up to the party scouring the Internet for dinner party-worthy paleo recipes. I was apprehensive about choosing any of them–I am not paleo and don’t know many people who ascribe to that lifestyle, so I really felt like I was walking in blind. After much agonizing and many frantic late-night emails to my boss, I settled on this paleo Shrimp & Grits recipe (which is fantastic, by the way). One thing I didn’t have to worry about was dessert. I had seen a paleo cheesecake on Brown Eyed Baker several months before, and knew it would be perfect topped with ripe peaches. It was such a huge hit with the guests of honor that I knew I had to put it on here.

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}This Peachy Paleo Cheesecake is vegan, grain-free, and refined sugar-free, but is definitely still dessert. It’s sweet and creamy, with a nutty cinnamon-spiced date crust, and a topping of sliced late-summer peaches and a drizzle of maple syrup. It may not be anything like traditional cheesecake, but it is really delicious.

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}Let’s talk ingredients. As you may have gathered, this cheesecake contains no actual cheese. Here, the smooth and creamy filling comes from a combination of coconut cream, coconut oil, and cashews that have been soaked in water. When those three ingredients are combined in a food processor with some Grade B maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and a touch of salt, the result is ultra-velvety, coconut-scented magic.

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}The filling gets poured over a simple three-ingredient crust. To make the crust, combine 13 dates, a cup of almonds, and four tablespoons of cinnamon* in the bowl of your food processor. Whirl everything until the almonds are completely broken down, and the mixture holds together when you pinch it between your fingers. Then press it into an even layer on the bottom of a springform pan and top it with the filling.

*Yes, I said four tablespoons of cinnamon. When I first made this recipe, I thought that had to be a typo, but it’s not. I promise that this crust is not overly-spiced.

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}This cheesecake requires a long chill: eight hours in the refrigerator. It will seem absolutely endless. Lucky for you, I am the queen of impatience when it comes to waiting for my desserts to set up, so I found a little shortcut. The cake pictured was frozen for two hours after assembly, and looked and acted just like the paleo cheesecakes I’ve chilled in the refrigerator. Once your cheesecake is nice and cold, top it with sliced peaches (or any fruit you like) and drizzle it with a little more maple syrup!

This Peachy Paleo Cheesecake is delightfully smooth and creamy, with a crumbly crust and delicious fresh peaches. It’s absolutely delicious and guaranteed to be a hit with your paleo and non-paleo friends alike! Peaches will only be in season for a few more weeks, but I already have plans to try this recipe with sliced pears over the coming months.

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}Let me know if you try this or any of my other recipes! I’m on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter @e2bakesbrooklyn 💗

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}
adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
makes one 9-inch round cheesecake

Crust:
13 Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup raw almonds
4 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Filling:
2/3 cup raw cashews
1 14 ounce can coconut cream* (not cream of coconut)
1/3 cup Grade B maple syrup (or raw honey)
juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled

Topping:
2 large peaches, thinly sliced
Grade B maple syrup (or raw honey), for drizzling

Place cashews in a small Tupperware. Cover with water. Refrigerate for 4-12 hours.

Place coconut cream in the refrigerator for 4-12 hours.

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

Make the crust. Combine dates, almonds, and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor, and process until the almonds are broken down (about 15-20 seconds). Mixture will look dry, but should hold together when pinched. Pour crust mixture into 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 cashews and place them in the food processor. Open coconut cream. Scoop the chilled cream from the top of the can, and discard the water accumulated in the bottom. Add coconut cream, maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt to the food processor. Process until the mixture is completely smooth. With the food processor running, drizzle coconut oil through the feed tube. Continue processing until everything is fully combined.

Pour filling mixture over crust. Refrigerate for 8 hours (or freeze for 2 hours). Release the cheesecake from the springform pan, and allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Top with sliced peaches and a drizzle of maple syrup, and serve immediately.

Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Note:

If you cannot find coconut cream, use two 13.5-ounce cans of full-fat coconut milk. Chill them and scoop off the coconut cream, as written in the recipe.

Peachy Paleo Cheesecake {Vegan & Grain-Free}

White Chocolate Cranberry-Pistachio Cookies

 Hello from Austin! I am down here celebrating Christmas with my family at my older sister’s house. So far, I have gotten to play with my cute nephew-by-best-friend, do all the holiday food shopping at my beloved Central Market, sleep for nine hours straight (!), and have a very loud and raucous family caroling session in my Mom’s Acura.

Oh, and there have been puppies in costumes.  
But there have also been cookies. When my sisters, sister-in-law, and I went out for dinner last night, they all asked what was up next for the blog. After eleven holiday cookie recipes and not enough sleep, I said I needed some ideas for the twelfth recipe of Twelve Days of Cookies. My little sister, Eliot, brilliant woman that she is, suggested that I use cranberries and pistachios because a) they are delicious, and b) Christmas colors. She didn’t suggest the white chocolate because she likes to pretend it doesn’t exist (direct quote: “White chocolate is a lie and I refuse to acknowledge it!”) 😊 

White Chocolate Cranberry-Pistachio Cookies are simple to throw together, festive, and absolutely delicious. The cookie dough is very straightforward. Beat butter until it’s fluffy. Add in a cup of granulated sugar, followed by half-cup of light brown sugar. Now, 1 1/2 cups of sugar is a lot for the amount of flour in the recipe, but it makes for a super chewy final product. These cookies are a little on the thin side, but between the texture of the cranberries and the cookie itself, you’ll be in heaven. Next up are an egg and a yolk, followed by two teaspoons of vanilla for flavor. Beat in a mixture of flour, cornstarch, baking powder and soda, and salt. Fold in white chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and pistachios. Cover the dough and chill it for two hours. This will allow the butter to solidify, and prevent the cookies from over-spreading. The chill is mandatory. I suggest you take the two hours to have your own raucous caroling session. 

Once the dough is nice and cold, scoop it by the tablespoon and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350F. I decorated the tops with additional white chocolate chips, but this is purely for aesthetics and totally optional. Between the chewy cookie base and cranberries, crunchy pistachios, and melt-in-your-mouth white chocolate chips, these cookies need no adornments. And with the Christmas-colored mix-ins, White Chocolate Cranberry-Pistachio Cookies are perfect for your holiday entertaining. 

 This recipe concludes the Twelve Days of Cookies! Whew! If you need holiday cookie recipes, you’ve come to the right corner of the Internet. This month, I’ve posted recipes for Red Velvet Peppermintdoodles, Eggnog Sandwich Cookies, Whipped Shortbread Snowballs, Apple Cider Snaps, Oreo-Stuffed Andes Peppermint Crunch Cookies, Peppermint Mocha Cookies, Salted Caramel Chocolate-Covered Pecan Cookies, Chocolate Crinkles {Gluten Free}, M&Ms Potato Chip Cookies, Gingerbread Men with Chocolate Buttons, and Funfetti Sandwich Cookies. Let me know if you try any of these recipes this holiday season! I am on Instagram and Twitter @e2bakesbrooklyn. Use the hashtag #e2bakes so I can see all your wonderful cookies 😊

Merry Christmas!

White Chocolate Cranberry Pistachio Cookies
makes about 3.5 dozen cookies

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) 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
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1/3 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

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

In a separate large mixing bowl, beat butter until it is fluffy and lighter in color. Beat in sugars, followed by egg and egg yolk, and then vanilla. Add flour mixture in two installments, combining completely. Fold in white chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and pistachios. Cover dough and chill at least two hours, or up to three days.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two sheet pans with parchment.

Scoop dough by the tablespoon, and roll into balls. Place at least two inches apart on prepared pans. Bake cookies 8-10 minutes, until they are starting to turn golden brown. Let them cool on the pans 5-7 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

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

White Chocolate Cranberry-Pistachio Cookies

Funfetti Sandwich Cookies

 How is it December 22nd already? I have been so deep in the holiday rush that I just barely remembered to get to the airport this morning! Between the work, the parties, the shopping, and the work (did I mention the work?), I am mostly running on cookies and tinsel. But I am rallying with the eleventh recipe of Twelve Days of Cookies! Over the weekend, I looked through all my holiday cookie recipes thus far and realized I hadn’t used any of the five (yes, five!) jars of Christmas sprinkles that I purchased a month ago. When you love sprinkles as much as I do, that’s a travesty! So today, I am bringing you Funfetti Sandwich Cookies 😊 Two little cookies chock-full of sprinkles, sandwiched with a creamy filling. They are adorable, delicious, and simple as can be–just what we need this close to Christmas!

These cookies start with creaming room temperature butter. Now, I know letting butter come to room temperature can be tedious, especially when you’re short on time, but it’s necessary here to give us the softest, puffiest, chewiest cookies possible. So cream the butter, and then add granulated sugar and just a bit of light brown sugar. These cookies will not turn brown from the molasses, but instead have a little more chew and softness. After that, an egg and an egg yolk. The yolk is–you guessed it!–for chew. What can I say? I live for chewy texture. Then, add some vanilla, for chew. Just kidding! It’s for flavor. Now, beat in a mixture of all purpose flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. And finally, turn the mixer to low and add 1/2 cup of sprinkles. Just beat the dough long enough for the sprinkles to be evenly dispersed. Then cover the dough and chill it for 90 minutes while you wrap all your presents or make some artichoke dip or take a nap. Insider tip: choose the nap. Once the dough is good and cold, scoop it by the teaspoon, roll it into balls, and bake for 7-8 minutes. They should be cooked through but not golden brown, and so festive, it’s ridiculous.

Once the cookies are cooling, start on the filling. The filling is very simple. It only has five ingredients: shortening, confectioner’s sugar, salt, heavy cream, and vanilla. I know, I know, shortening is bad for us. If you are fundamentally opposed to using it, you may use an equal volume of room temperature butter. Beat together the filling, and then pipe or spread it onto the bottoms of half the cookies, and top with another cookie. Repeat until all your cookies are paired up. These Funfetti Sandwich Cookies keep extremely well covered at room temperature. They will still be soft, chewy and delicious a week after you make them (if they last that long)!

And that’s it! You now have some seriously adorable, festive holiday cookies that your family and friends will love! These will definitely be one of the first desserts to disappear off of your cookie trays–I know from experience 😊

Need more holiday cookie recipes? You’ve come to the right blog! Check out Red Velvet Peppermintdoodles, Eggnog Sandwich Cookies, Whipped Shortbread Snowballs, Apple Cider Snaps, Oreo-Stuffed Andes Peppermint Crunch Cookies, Peppermint Mocha Cookies, Salted Caramel Chocolate-Covered Pecan Cookies, Chocolate Crinkles {Gluten Free}, M&Ms Potato Chip Cookies, and Gingerbread Men with Chocolate Buttons! If you make any of my recipes this holiday season, use the hashtag #e2bakes, or find me on Instagram and Twitter @e2bakesbrooklyn!

Funfetti Sandwich Cookies
makes about five dozen sandwich cookies

Cookies:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sprinkles*

Filling:
1/2 cup shortening*
2 1/4-2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

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

In a separate mixing bowl, beat the butter with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in granulated and light brown sugars until completely combined. Add egg and egg yolk, followed by vanilla. Turn the hand mixer to low, add in the flour mixture in two installments. Mix in sprinkles. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for 90 minutes or up to three days.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Scoop the dough in one teaspoon increments. Roll dough into balls, and set them two inches apart on your prepared pans. Bake cookies for 7-8 minutes, until the tops no longer look doughy. Let cool on the baking sheets for 7-10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Repeat process until all dough has been used.

To make the filling, place the shortening in a large mixing bowl, and beat with a hand mixer on low speed. Once it’s smooth, add in 2 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar and salt in two installments, until smooth. Beat in heavy cream and vanilla. If you’d like the filling to be thicker, add an additional 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar. If you would like to pipe the filling, place it in a plastic sandwich bag, and snip off a corner.

There are two options for filling.

1. To assemble a sandwich cookie by piping, apply filling by pipe a circle in the middle of the underside of one cookie, leaving about 1/4″ around the edge. Top with a second plain cookie, with the underside filling-side-in. Repeat until all cookies have been used.
2. To assemble a sandwich cookie by spreading, use an offset frosting knife to spread 1/2-1 teaspoon on the underside of one cookie. Top with a second plain cookie, with the underside filling-side-in. Repeat until all cookies have been used.
Notes:

1. Make sure to use jimmies (the cylindrical sprinkles). Do not use non-pareils (the little ball sprinkles), or they will bleed their color all through the cookie dough.
2. If you do not want to use shortening, you may use 1/2 cup room temperature butter.

Funfetti Sandwich Cookies