Oatmeal Waffles

Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}It seems like every July my mind goes to Maine while my body stays in New York and bakes in preparation to join it…in Maine. That’s how it’s been for the last five years, but this isn’t most years. My mind has been in Maine since March 13th, but I didn’t think I’d physically get there this year, considering literally everything.

I think most of you will agree with me when I say that 2020 blows. It blows hard. That said, as of this past weekend, one thing this year from hell has not taken away (yet) is our annual trip up the coast. It won’t be during the summer and there will be face masks and social distancing and many considerations we would never have imagined six months ago, but—2020 permitting—we will head north in 70 days.Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I’m not saying I manifested a Maine trip, but I’m not saying I didn’t (with a lot of VJ’s help and a big check). What I am saying is that when I started testing these gluten-free, vegan Oatmeal Waffles a few weeks ago, I could only daydream about making them on a sunny Swan’s Island morning…someday. Ten test-batches later, I’m looking forward to making them this October, while sipping a hot cup of coffee and doing some leaf-peeping out our kitchen window.Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Until then, these Oatmeal Waffles are my current weekend breakfast obsession. They’re fairly quick and easy to make, and have a slightly sweet whole grain flavor—no cardboard here, I promise. These are real, delicious, syrup-in-every-divot, Saturday morning-worthy waffles, just without the gluten, eggs and dairy.Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}The batter is made with eight ingredients: gluten-free old-fashioned oats, non-dairy milk, applesauce, touches of oil and sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. It comes together in the blender and, after resting for ten minutes, makes four burnished, crispy-edged, fluffy-centered waffles—enough for two or four people, or eating one now and freezing three for when a craving hits. And oh, it will hit.Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}For those who don’t need or want their waffles to be vegan—something I did intentionally so that VJ and my other friends with dietary needs can enjoy them—the change over to traditional eggs and dairy is very simple to make. Swap the non-dairy milk for whole milk, the applesauce for two large eggs, the oil for melted butter, and bump the oats up to 3 cups. If you don’t need your waffles to be gluten-free, you can just use regular old-fashioned oats—simple as that. The rest of the recipe remains the same, including waiting for the steam to dissipate to determine doneness, rather than trusting the manufacturer’s light on your waffle iron. VJ taught me that last piece of advice, and that lady knows. her. waffles.Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Again, I’m not saying I manifested a trip to Maine, but if you put intention—in this case, waffles and a dream—out into the world (and write a check and ask VJ to send a series of emails to the powers that be), sometimes good things happen. Like vacation and a freezer-full of Oatmeal Waffles.Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}
makes about 4 large waffles

For waffles:
2 2/3 cups old-fashioned oats (certified gluten-free for gluten-free)
2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons canola or coconut oil
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

For waffle iron:
cooking spray

For serving:
butter (vegan or regular)
maple syrup
fresh seasonal fruit

To make this recipe with traditional eggs and dairy, see the post for swaps.

Combine all waffle ingredients in a high-powered blender. Blitz 45-60 seconds, until mostly smooth (there will be some small flecks of oat). Let batter rest at room temperature for 15 minutes while the waffle iron is heating.

Preheat oven to 200F. Place a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet.

Grease waffle iron with cooking spray. Pour about 3/4 cup of the waffle batter into the center of the iron and close the top. Let cook until steam dissipates and the waffles are crisp and browned, about 8 minutes.

Transfer cooked waffles to the prepared rack-over-pan and place in the oven to keep warm. Re-grease the waffle iron and cook remaining batter.

Serve waffles with butter, maple syrup, and seasonal fruit, if desired. Enjoy immediately.

Leftovers may be layered with parchment, placed in a freezer bag, and frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat in the toaster.Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Peach Upside-Down Cake

Peach Upside-Down CakeI have a long history of hating cooked peaches—something about the texture—but I am coming around. I mean, peach is never going to be my first-choice flavor for anything, but I’ve embraced a peach tart, so maybe miracles do happen.Peach Upside-Down CakeOne peach dessert that I am crazy about? This Peach Upside-Down Cake. Not only is it very delicious and very peachy, but it couldn’t be easier to make.Peach Upside-Down CakeMelt some butter and brown sugar together and lay some thin slices of peach on top in any design you like. I overlapped mine slightly because I didn’t want much “plain” cake peeking through. There’s no need to get too fussy with it, as the peaches release quite a bit of liquid during baking and lose some definition.Peach Upside-Down CakeNext up, spoon some cake batter over the top of your peaches. I’ve used a brown sugary version of my vanilla layer cake batter in past upside-down cakes, but changed it up with a simple vanilla-almond torte batter this time and…well, I don’t think I’m ever going back. The batter is a snap to make, and produces a thin, buttery layer of cake that nestles perfectly into the peaches.

You’ll notice that I left pie spices out of this cake completely. I tried the tiniest pinches of cinnamon and nutmeg in both the topping and cake batter, but they overwhelmed the fresh peach flavor. No, thanks—peaches or bust! The only flavor I added to this dessert is the tiniest bit of almond extract in the cake batter. Rest assured, it only enhances the fruit, rather than detracting from it.Peach Upside-Down CakePeach Upside-Down CakeThis cake bakes up in about 40 minutes and only needs to rest for fifteen before it’s flipped onto a serving plate. Again, don’t worry if your peach slices aren’t perfectly defined—mine certainly weren’t but they were still gorgeous and dang delicious.Peach Upside-Down CakeOnce your cake is out of the pan, it’s up to you whether you want to enjoy it warm, room temperature or cold. I personally like a warm room temperature slice, so that the cake slices cleanly and the brown sugar topping is pleasantly gooey. Whatever you do though, don’t skip the ice cream or whipped cream. I mean, I forgot them here and everything was still good, but there’s something about cold creamy anything and peach cake that is simply not to be missed.Peach Upside-Down Cake

Peach Upside-Down Cake
makes 1 9-inch round cake

For the peaches:
3-4 large ripe peaches (or 5-6 medium peaches)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Batter:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

For serving (optional):
vanilla ice cream
whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Heavily grease a 9-inch round cake pan. Set aside.

Slice peaches in 1/4-inch slices. No need to peel.

In a small saucepan, combine butter and dark brown sugar. Place over medium-low heat and stir constantly until butter and sugar are melted and fully homogeneous, 3-5 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Pour mixture into a 9-inch round cake pan, using a silicone spatula to spread it over the entire bottom of the pan.

Top the brown sugar mixture with single layer of sliced peaches, slightly overlapping them for the prettiest effect, in any design you like. Set aside.

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

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter until very light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in granulated sugar. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla and almond extracts. With the mixer on low, mix in dry ingredients. Batter will be thick.

Drop batter in spoonfuls over the peaches. Use an offset icing knife or the back of a spoon to spread it in an even layer. Tap the pan on the counter 5 times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes before running a small, thin knife around the edge a couple of times. Place a cake stand or large serving plate upside down over the top of the pan. Holding on to the plate and pan with oven mitts, quickly invert them so that the plate is right-side-up and the pan is now upside-down. Tap the top of the pan a time or two to help the cake release. Lift off the empty pan. If any fruit sticks to the pan, just nudge it back onto the cake with your fingers or a spoon.

Serve cake warm, room temperature, or cold, with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Cake is best the day it’s baked, but will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Peach Upside-Down CakePeach Upside-Down Cake

No-Churn Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream Ice Cream

No-Churn Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream Ice CreamDo you think Nancy Meyers knows how many lives she changed when she wrote peanut butter and Oreos into the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap? Mine, for one, and probably millions more. Certainly more than when she had Meryl Streep make croissants in It’s Complicated (and in an absurdly short period of time, I might add). Probably way less than when Steve Martin had a meltdown over the quantity disparity between packages of hot dogs and hot dog buns in Father of the Bride. That one still hasn’t been resolved.

Hi, I guess I am a Nancy Meyers completist.No-Churn Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream Ice CreamAnyway, since I started baking, I’ve thrown peanut butter and Oreos into many recipes because they just *work.* This salty, creamy, bittersweet combination is one of the easiest ways to take a dessert from fine to fabulous.

Exhibit A: my most popular recipe of last year (and all time), Peanut Butter Oreo Magic Bars. Regular magic bars are good. Oreo-Peanut Butter Magic Bars though? Ho-ly crap. Seriously, I’ve never once made a peanut butter and Oreo recipe and regretted it. Not once. They are a perfect pair. Period. End of story. Sorry friends with peanut allergies, I’ll get you next time.

*gets off soap box Costco-sized box of Oreos*No-Churn Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream Ice CreamToday’s offering is one you probably saw coming from a mile away: No-Churn Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream Ice Cream! Of course—of course!—I was going to combine them in an ice cream someday. And by someday, I mean today, which just so happens to be National Ice Cream Day. I swear I didn’t plan it like that.

The base of No-Churn Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream Ice Cream is rich, peanut buttery and incredibly easy to make. It’s made from just two ingredients: sweetened condensed milk and whipped heavy cream. Together they make for a thick, rich, airy and decidedly not-icy ice cream, no machine required. Here, I added a touch of salt, some vanilla and 1/3 cup of creamy peanut butter to the sweetened condensed milk before folding in the whipped cream. Just a warning that this is very difficult not to eat right out of the mixing bowl, but patience is a virtue and you should (mostly) hold off because Oreos.No-Churn Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream Ice CreamOh yes, it’s the big chunks of Oreo cookie that are the real magic here. That’s one thing I have a lot of feelings about: big chunks of cookie instead of cookie crumbs in my cookies & cream. It’s not called crumbs & cream, am I right?!

The “secret” (not a secret) to getting big chunks of cookie in your scoops? Quartering the Oreos before folding them into the base. The pieces will seem too big, but I promise they’re not. They’ll soften slightly while the ice cream freezes so that, when scooped, each portion gets some big pieces and some little, which is absolute heaven for a texture person like myself.No-Churn Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream Ice CreamActually, this whole situation is heaven. Cold, creamy, sweet & salty, Oreo-studded heaven piled in a cone.No-Churn Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream Ice Cream

No-Churn Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream Ice Cream
makes about 8 cups

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup creamy-style peanut butter (not natural)
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups heavy whipping cream, very cold
24 Oreo cookies, cut into quarters

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, peanut butter, salt and vanilla.

In a separate medium-large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whip heavy cream to stiff peaks. Stir 1/3 of the whipped cream into sweetened condensed milk mixture just until combined. Gently fold in the another 1/3 of the whipped cream, followed by the last 1/3. Carefully fold in quartered Oreos.

Transfer ice cream into a 9×5″ loaf pan, or other 8 cup vessel. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the ice cream. Cover plastic wrap with aluminum foil. Freeze ice cream for 6 hours or overnight, until completely frozen. Scoop and enjoy!No-Churn Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream Ice CreamNo-Churn Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream Ice CreamNo-Churn Peanut Butter Cookies & Cream Ice Cream

Creamy Avocado Salsa

Creamy Avocado SalsaI posted three salsa recipes in this blog’s first year and haven’t published one since. It’s not that I have stopped making salsa or fallen out of love with it. Ohhh no. I want to make it clear that I love salsa more now than ever. Men and friendships have come and gone, but salsa and me? We’re in it for the long haul.Creamy Avocado SalsaCreamy Avocado Salsa is a relatively new addition to my repertoire. I began tinkering with it a couple of years ago in an effort to match one of the offerings at a local taqueria, and it’s been a favorite ever since. Creamy Avocado Salsa is creamy, refreshing and delicious–we’re talking all the flavors of guacamole with a smooth, dippable consistency. Yum! If you’re going to try one new salsa recipe this summer, let this be the one.Creamy Avocado SalsaThis recipe is a snap to make. Simply pile an avocado, a tiny bit of onion, some garlic, half a jalapeño, fresh cilantro and lime juice into a blender with some salt and cold water, and let it rip. After about a minute, you’ll have a super smooth, bright green salsa. It’s pairs well with tortilla chips, of course, but may I also recommend trying it with cheesy scrambled eggs or sautéed shrimp or with zucchini noodles? Because it’s good with all those things.Creamy Avocado Salsa As with all my salsas, guacamole and other dips, this one is made with my own flavor preferences in mind. I love it the way it is, but I recommend that you taste and adjust as you go, adding more salt, jalapeño or lime until it’s exactly how you like it. You’ll notice that there’s a lot of wiggle room in the amount of water you can use in the recipe. The pictured batch was made with a large avocado and seven tablespoons of water to achieve the texture of a thick, creamy dressing, but you may like yours thinner or thicker. Start with a little water and adjust as needed until it’s to your preference.Creamy Avocado SalsaCreamy Avocado Salsa keeps shockingly well considering the usual trajectory of avocado-based treats. It’ll stay good in the fridge for a couple of days, but if you’re anything like me, it won’t last that long.Creamy Avocado Salsa

Creamy Avocado Salsa
makes about 1 1/4 cups

1 medium-large ripe avocado
2 tablespoons finely diced onion
1/2 clove garlic
1/2 jalapeño (with or without ribs and seeds)
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 medium lime)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
4-8 tablespoons cold tap water

For serving:
tortilla chips
cheesy scrambled eggs
sautéed or grilled shrimp
zucchini noodles
literally whatever you can imagine

Combine avocado, onion, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 4 tablespoons of cold tap water in a high-powered blender. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Continue to blend in more water by the tablespoon, until the texture is like a thick, creamy dressing (or to your specific liking). Taste for salt, acid (lime) and heat (jalapeño) and adjust as desired.

Serve with tortilla chips or whatever you like. Creamy Avocado Salsa will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Stir before serving.Creamy Avocado SalsaCreamy Avocado SalsaCreamy Avocado Salsa

Little Lemon Pie Jars {No-Bake}

Little Lemon Pie JarsThese Little Lemon Pie Jars are are the best no-bake dessert I’ve had in quite some time. They’re cold, creamy and tangy, but not overly rich, and their single-serve presentation makes them ideal for any socially-distanced gathering during these hotter months.Little Lemon Pie JarsLittle Lemon Pie JarsLittle Lemon Pie JarsLittle Lemon Pie JarsLittle Lemon Pie Jars are incredibly simple to make. The lemon filling is made with a fluffy combination of cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, whipped cream, and my favorite Lazy Lemon Curd. While the curd takes a little forethought so it can cool completely, it’s very easy to make—sweetened condensed milk does all the heavy lifting. You could certainly use store bought lemon curd or make a traditional recipe, but I really want to encourage you to try this easy version. It’s dead-simple to make, perfectly balanced, and one recipe makes twice the amount you’ll need for these little pies, meaning you’ll have plenty leftover for toast or biscuits or slapping together a few Lemon Meringue S’mores. Yum.Little Lemon Pie JarsOnce the curd is made and cooled, the filling takes all of ten minutes to mix and spoon over the crust. Oooh, this crust. While the lemon filling is plenty sweet and refreshing on its own, the crust provides textural contrast and cuts the richness.Little Lemon Pie JarsLittle Lemon Pie JarsSimply mix up some graham cracker crumbs, confectioner’s sugar, a pinch of salt and melted butter until everything is lightly moistened, then press the mixture into the bottoms of eight small mason jars. It won’t set hard, instead staying a little on the crumbly side. Where this wouldn’t work particularly well for a traditional pie, it works like a dream here. I love that I can dig my spoon into the bottom of the jar and get a little crust in every bite.Little Lemon Pie JarsYou can garnish these little pies however you like or not at all. I’ve been saying some version of this a lot lately, but it’s the truth: we’re in a pandemic and there are no dessert rules. I dressed these pictured pie jars up with whipped cream, teensy lemon wedges and extra drizzles of lemon curd for their glamour shots, but I ate the leftovers plain out of the fridge and they were just as delicious. Little Lemon Pie Jars

Little Lemon Pie Jars
makes 8 4-ounce pie jars

Crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 8 whole graham crackers)
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
6 tablespoons heavy cream, very cold
3/4 cup Lazy Lemon Curd (or other lemon curd), recipe below
4 ounces (1/2 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For Garnish:
whipped cream
Lazy Lemon Curd
small lemon wedges

Special Equipment:
8 4-ounce mason jars or ramekins

Make the crust. In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together graham cracker crumbs, confectioner’s sugar and salt. Add melted butter and whisk until everything is lightly moistened and resembles damp sand.

Divide mixture among 8 4-ounce mason jars (or ramekins), about 2-3 heaping tablespoons each. Tamp down the crust with the back of a spoon. Set aside.

Make the filling. Pour heavy cream into a small-medium mixing bowl, and use an electric mixer to beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together Lazy Lemon Curd and cream cheese. It may be a little lumpy. Add confectioner’s sugar and salt and beat to combine. Mix in vanilla.

Use a silicone spatula to stir half the whipped cream into the lemon mixture. Gently fold in the second half of the whipped cream. Spoon filling into mason jars, smoothing the tops with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or press plastic wrap to the surfaces and chill up to 2 days. If you are short on time, these may be frozen for an hour.

To serve, top with whipped cream. Drizzle with more Lazy Lemon Curd (I did this with a snipped piping bag) and garnish with a lemon wedge.

Lazy Lemon Curd
makes about 1 1/2 cups

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3-4 lemons)
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 large egg yolks, room temperature

Make the filling. Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove bowl and bring water to a simmer.

In the heatproof bowl, whisk together lemon juice, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks. Place bowl over simmering water, creating a double boiler. Let cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat and transfer filling to a heatproof container. Press a piece of plastic wrap to the surface. Let cool completely at room temperature before storing in the refrigerator.Little Lemon Pie JarsLittle Lemon Pie JarsLittle Lemon Pie Jars