Tag Archives: Gluten-Free

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

I’ve been holding out on you.

This recipe? These pictures? They’re from last summer! I did a bunch of work ahead so I could spend time with my family in New Mexico, which was a good idea, in theory. The trouble is, I forgot to write down the finished recipe, so I had to wait until I had a spare moment to re-test it…and that didn’t happen until about two weeks ago.

What can I say? I’m busy.

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

Please believe me when I tell you this one was worth the wait though. I mean, it’s Peanut Butter Caramel Corn. How could it possibly be anything but wonderful?!

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

Oh yes, all the crispy, crunchy, sweet and glossy deliciousness you love about traditional caramel corn is here, but with a big punch of peanut butter. Roasted peanuts optional, but recommended.

If you’re intimidated by the idea of making your own caramel corn, fear not! The caramel coating is made with my go-to no-stir method—just toss all the ingredients together and let them do their thing. Trust me!

When it’s ready, toss the peanut butter caramel with a whole bunch of plain popcorn (and peanuts!) and bake it low and slow until it’s super glossy and your kitchen smells amazing.

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

This recipe for Peanut Butter Caramel Corn makes a huge batch and keeps for two weeks, which is a good thing because you’re going to want to bring it everywhere. It’s a positively dreamy addition to just about any occasion. Family vacations, movie nights, picnics, beach days, cookouts, sitting around in your pajama—whatever you’ve got going on, this is *the* thing to bring. Just promise me you won’t wait a year to make it.

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn
Peanut Butter Caramel Corn
makes about 12 cups

1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil
3/4 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
1 1/2 cups peanuts (optional)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, sliced into 8 pieces
3 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup creamy-style peanut butter (not natural-style)

Pour oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add 4-5 popcorn kernels. Heat over medium heat until kernels begin to pop. Add remaining kernels and cover with lid, leaving it a little bit ajar. Jostle constantly while popcorn pops, until pops are 2-3 seconds apart. Do not burn.

Remove pot from heat and pour popcorn into a bowl. Measure popcorn to ensure there are 12 cups. Set aside excess or pop more, as needed to meet the 12-cup requirement for this recipe. Add roasted peanuts, if using.

Preheat oven to 250F. Heavily grease two rimmed sheet pans, your largest mixing bowl, and 2 silicone spatulas with oil or non-stick spray. Put popped popcorn in the bowl. Set aside.

Without stirring or jostling, combine sugar, light corn syrup, honey, salt, butter and water in a 4-quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Let boil 5 minutes. Do not stir. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and baking soda; be careful, mixture will bubble up violently. Whisk in peanut butter.

Pour peanut butter caramel over popcorn and use greased spatulas to toss together. Do not touch any coated pieces that fly out of the bowl—the molten sugar will burn you. Wait til they cool a bit before picking them up.

Divide coated popcorn among sheet pans. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Line a sheet pan or a surface with parchment. Pour baked popcorn on top. Let cool to room temperature. Serve.

Leftover Peanut Butter Caramel Corn will keep in a ziptop bag for up to 2 weeks. It may soften slightly on humid days.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake​

With Easter coming up next weekend, I’ve got carrot cake on my mind. To be more specific, I’ve got this moist, flavorful and incredibly simple Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake front and center in my brain. It’s everything I love about the classic cake—the texture, the spices, the frosting—just made a little more accessible. I totally love it!

Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

To make this sweet little cake, I began with my go-to vegan, gluten-free cake formula and then slowly, but surely, figured it out. I toyed with all sorts of different ratios of pumpkin to grated carrots, and adjusted the spices until they were just right. Ten practice cakes and two scrapped photoshoots later, I think I’ve finally nailed it.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

My Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake is tender, fragrant, and packed with carrots, raisins and walnuts, though you can leave out those last two ingredients if you’re not a nuts-and-fruit-in-your-cake kind of human. Paired with my go-to Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting, it’s so good, even the non-gluten-free, non-vegans (like me!) will go back for seconds.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake​

This recipe is written for a single layer of cake and a corresponding amount of frosting. I kept it simple because making layer cakes has seemed exhausting lately and it’s no fun to make something that exhausts you. If you’d like to make this recipe into a layer cake, I’d double the batter for two 9-inch round cake pans and triple the frosting. You could even quadruple it—nobody worth knowing has ever been unhappy about extra cream cheese frosting, especially when piped into little carrots.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake​
Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
makes a single layer 9-inch round cake

1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
~1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons pure pumpkin purée or unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1 cup grated carrots
1/3 cup raisins (optional)

If you would like a layer cake, double the recipe for two 9-inch pans. Triple the frosting recipe that follows.

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

Place chopped nuts of choice (if using) on a dry rimmed sheet pan. Roast in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until fragrant. Remove and set aside to cool while you prepare the cake batter.

Pour apple cider vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Add non-dairy milk until liquid reaches the 1 cup mark. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes, until curdled. Stir in pumpkin (or applesauce) and vanilla. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together brown sugar, granulated sugar, potato starch, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, almond flour, and salt. Stir in grated carrots, raisins and toasted nuts (if using).

Add liquid ingredients in two installments, stirring until combined. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure thorough mixing.

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 32-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs (not wet batter).

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.

Place cake on desired platter. Frost as desired with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below).

Frosted cake will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days or 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

2 ounces (1/4 cup) vegan butter, room temperature (I like Miyoko’s)
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) shortening, room temperature (I like Nutiva)
1 ounce (2 tablespoons, 1/8 of an 8 ounce tub) vegan cream cheese, slightly softened
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
green food coloring, for piped carrots (optional)
orange food coloring, for piped carrots (optional)

Frosting may get very soft at room temperature depending which vegan cream cheese you use. Plain Miyoko’s brand vegan cream cheese is my gold standard for flavor and holding up well at room temperature.

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.

If piping carrots, dye 2 tablespoons of frosting green and 2 tablespoons orange.

Use plain frosting to frost the top of the cake as desired. If piping carrots, put colored frostings in separate piping bags, snip small corners and pipe as desired. I make carrots by following the method on this video.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Icing Thumbprints

Vegan, Gluten-Free Icing Thumbprints

Have I made icing thumbprints on here before? Sure have! But I’ve never made them vegan and gluten-free, probably because I didn’t have a great vegan, gluten-free cookie base yet.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Icing Thumbprints

But, as you might have guessed, I do now. On my never-ending quest to feed all my various people, I spent a good chunk of the holiday season figuring out a dairy- and egg-free almond flour dough that works for a multitude of cookie applications. So far, I’ve made some stellar gingerbread and linzers that taste shockingly close to the real deal, and I’ve got all sorts of variations ready to be doled out as the need arises (as it has today).

Vegan, Gluten-Free Icing Thumbprints

While using this dough for a completely different cookie recipe last week, it occurred to me that I hadn’t checked to see if it would make good thumbprints. My traditional sugar cookie recipe thumbprints (using it as a verb) like a dream with a tiny adjustment, but would this one?

Well, yes. Yes, it would. It does! And with no adjustment at all, which is a dang delight. These cookies bake up somewhere between crisp and chewy and are sturdy enough to hold up against all that icing. What can I say? With a quality base recipe, I am unstoppable. Unstoppable and full of cookies.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Icing Thumbprints

As for the filling, don’t you love these little wells of colorful icing? Say what you want about food coloring, but you can’t deny its cheer factor. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I went with a vibrant pink and red motif for these, but do whatever makes you happy! I imagine that a display of these in team colors would make for a very festive Super Bowl dessert.

That said, if you’re making these for any occasion, please invite me.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Icing Thumbprints
Vegan, Gluten-Free Icing Thumbprints
makes about 2.5 dozen cookies

Cookie Dough:
3 cups blanched almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup vegan butter, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup or light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Icing:
1 1/3 cups confectioner’s sugar, divided
pinch of salt
2 vegan gel or liquid food colorings of choice
2-3 tablespoons (6-9 teaspoons) unsweetened non-dairy milk, divided

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate medium-large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat vegan butter until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add sugar and confectioner’s sugar and beat until fully combined (about 2 minutes). Beat in maple syrup and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients in two installments, mixing completely after each addition. Dough may look rubbly, but should hold together extremely well when pinched.

Divide dough in two. Form each half into a disk, then wrap with plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour or up to 3 days.

Place oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 325F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

Remove dough from the refrigerator. Scoop dough by the tablespoon and roll each int a ball. Place dough balls at least 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Use the back of a very small spoon (like a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon) to slowly press a well into each dough ball. They may crack a bit—just smooth them with your fingers. If dough gets too warm and sticky, freeze for 10 minutes.

Bake cookies 13-14 minutes. Cookies are done when puffed and no longer wet-looking. When you remove the cookies from the oven, press the back of the small spoon (I use 1 teaspoon measuring spoon) into the centers again. Let cookies cool on the pans for 10 minutes before carefully removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling and baking process with all remaining dough, letting the cookie sheets come back to room temperature between batches.

Make the icing. Place 2/3 cup of confectioners sugar and tiny pinches of salt in each of two small bowls. Stir 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) of non-dairy milk into each bowl. Add desired food colorings to the separate bowls. Whisk each with a fork until combined. Add more milk by the 1/2 teaspoon until icings are very thick, but pourable.

Transfer icings to piping bags (or ziptop sandwich bags) twist them tight and snip off very small corners. Fill wells in cookies as desired.

You can serve the cookies almost immediately, but the icing won’t set to a non-drippy texture for a few hours. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days. Place parchment or wax paper between layers for easiest storage.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Mousse Cake

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Mousse Cake​

I am not a fan of strawberry desserts in February. They make exactly zero sense. We’ve got months before fresh berries are worth eating! That doesn’t seem to stop everyone from wanting them for Valentine’s Day though.

As a blogger, I can either resist or lean into situations like this. It’s safe to say that, in the case of this Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Mousse Cake, I’m leaning all the way in—all the way. With my favorite flourless chocolate cake base, a thick layer of strawberry mousse in the middle and a rich ganache topping, this is a Valentine’s Day dessert even I can’t resist!

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Mousse Cake​

This recipe looks fancy, but is actually very simple. The flourless chocolate cake base is a one-bowl whisk & bake situation that turns out fudgy and decadent every time. With a texture somewhere between an excellent brownie and the center of a chocolate truffle, this cake is fantastic all on its own, but today, it’s just the beginning.

Next up: the strawberry mousse—the star of the show! It’s airy and creamy, but still stable enough to layer thanks to a tiny bit of cream cheese and a whole lot of pulverized freeze dried strawberries. Why freeze dried? Because unlike February strawberries, they have a super-concentrated flavor and are delicious year-round. I buy mine at Trader Joe’s and Target, but I am sure there are plenty of places to procure them online.

You’ll notice that I introduce heavy cream into the mousse in two phases. First, I add a cup of liquid cream to the strawberries and cream cheese to help them become one mass. Then, I whip two more cups of cream and gently fold them into the strawberry mixture until it’s mousse. This may seem like a lot of fuss, but it results in a super light texture, which is exactly what we want. Layer the mousse on top of the cake, smooth it to the edges of the pan, and refrigerate for a few hours to set.

The last step in making Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Mousse Cake? Making the chocolate covering, of course! In this case, it’s just a soft ganache (mix of dark chocolate and heavy cream) that is poured over the mousse, then coaxed over the edges so that it drips down to the cake layer. I am sure there is some very fancy and precise way to do this, but I like it a little irregular.

Once fully assembled, the cake needs to be refrigerated just a little longer so that it slices well. I threw some styrofoam-flavored February strawberries on mine for flair, but feel free to decorate (or not) however you like. This thing is going to look gorgeous and taste like chocolate-strawberry magic no matter what.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Mousse Cake​

Would you look at those layers? They’re a thing of beauty! And that’s to say nothing of the flavor, which is outstanding. The rich chocolate and creamy strawberry mousse balance each other perfectly, and are truly irresistible. And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t like fruit with chocolate anytime of year.

Yeah, I know. I’m no fun. But I’m leaning in.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Mousse Cake​
Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Mousse Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake

Cake:
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
7 ounces unsalted European-style butter*, cut into small pieces
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (natural or Dutch process)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Mousse:
2 ounces (1/4 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese
2 1.2-ounce packages freeze dried strawberries, pulverized
1 1/3 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups heavy cream, very cold, divided

Ganache:
8 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream

Garnish:
fresh strawberries, if desired

READ THE ENTIRE RECIPE BEFORE PROCEEDING.

Make the cake. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter. Set aside.

In a double boiler or the microwave, melt dark chocolate and butter together, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Whisk in sugar. Allow to cool slightly.

Whisk in one egg at a time, combining completely after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Whisk in cocoa powder and salt, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the center jiggles just slightly when the pan is jostled. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack, about 90 minutes to 2 hours. Do not remove the springform. Cake may be made up to a day in advance.

Make the mousse. In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until fluffy (1-2 minutes). Add pulverized strawberries, confectioner’s sugar and salt, and mix again. It will be very powdery. Add 1 cup heavy cream and mix on high until combined.

In a separate mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whip 2 cups heavy cream on low for 30 seconds before whipping on high for 1-2 minutes, until stiff peaks form.

Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture. Working with 1/4 at a time, gently fold remaining whipped cream into the strawberry mixture, until very fluffy with no white streaks remaining.

Pile the mousse on top of the cooled cake (still in the pan). Spread it into an even layer and tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any large air bubbles. Stick a layer of plastic wrap to the surface of the mousse. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Remove cake from the refrigerator. Remove plastic wrap. Run a thin, flexible knife dipped in warm water around the edge of the pan before removing the springform. Smooth the sides of the released cake as needed. Refrigerate if not topping immediately.

Make the ganache. Place bittersweet chocolate in a small bowl. Pour heavy cream into a small saucepan over medium heat. When it just barely starts to boil, remove it from the heat and pour the cream over the chocolate. Once the chocolate looks soft (2-3 minutes), stir it together with a fork until you have a smooth chocolate sauce. Let cool 10 minutes.

Place a cooling rack over a rimmed sheet pan. Top with the cake. Gently pour ganache over the top of the cake, then use an offset icing spatula (or the back of a spoon) to coax the chocolate over the edges.

Lift the cake off the cooling rack and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish with fresh strawberries, if desired. Serve cake.

For clean slices, dip the knife in warm water and wipe dry between cuts. Leftovers will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator, though fresh strawberries may degrade over time.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies

Vegan, Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies​

After nailing the perfect snappy texture in last week’s Vegan, Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies, I couldn’t resist taking that formula and making it into linzer cookies.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies​

Traditional linzer cookies are made from a dough that isn’t much more than a sugar cookie with a smattering of ground nuts tossed in for depth and tenderness. My vegan, gluten-free cookie formula already gets all its structure from almonds, but I still found a way to make the final product uniquely linzery. Linzerian? Linzeresque? Anyway…

The gist is that I removed the dark molasses and spices from the dough, lightening the flavor profile with maple syrup and a small, but effective amount of toasted ground hazelnuts. If you can’t get your hands on hazelnuts, pecans will work just as well (plus you won’t have to peel them).

Vegan, Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies​

This dough requires a short chill before the usual rolling, cutting and baking. Don’t forget to stamp out a little window in half your cookies for that signature linzer cookie look!

As far as filling goes, you can use any spread you like, but jam is traditional. I’m not much of a jam person, but I had a jar of homemade blueberry jam from my friend Suzette up in Maine, so I used that. Raspberry and strawberry would give festive Christmas red vibes, but I think orange marmalade might be absolute magic paired with the nutty cookies. I’ll have to try that another day though—for now, I’m extremely into these blue-black little picture windows and the signature flavor of my favorite place.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies​

Vegan, Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies are initially very crunchy, but soften a bit as they soak up some moisture from the jam. This is not a bad thing at all, as it makes them easier to eat without getting crumbs on your shirt. That’s very important if, like me, you plan to casually snag a cookie every time you walk by the plate from now until 2022.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies​
Vegan, Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies
makes about 2.5 dozen sandwich cookies

1/2 cup whole hazelnuts (or pecans)
2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup vegan butter, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup or light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For assembly:
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
~3/4 cup jam or spread of choice

Special equipment:
rolling pin
2-inch cookie cutter
smaller cookie cutter (I used the large end of a piping tip)

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. (If you are using pecans, you do not need to peel them.)

Let hazelnuts cool completely. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until they are a fine meal. Do not over-process or you’ll have hazelnut butter (delicious, but not helpful here).

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together ground hazelnuts, almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate medium-large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat vegan butter until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add sugar and confectioner’s sugar and beat until fully combined (about 2 minutes). Beat in maple syrup and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients in two installments, mixing completely after each addition. Dough may look rubbly, but should hold together extremely well when pinched.

Divide dough in two. Form each half into a disk, then wrap with plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour or up to 3 days.

Place oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 325F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

Use confectioner’s sugar to dust a surface and rolling pin. Unwrap one disk of dough and place it on the surface. Use the rolling pin to roll it out to 1/8-inch thickness. A thin offset icing spatula or bench scraper (or similar) will make moving the dough much easier, as will adding more confectioner’s sugar to the surface and rolling pin.

Use a 2-inch rom d cookie cutter to cut cookies, then use the icing spatula to move them to the prepared pans, keeping them 1.5 inches apart. Use a smaller cutter (I used the wide end of a piping tip) to cut windows in half your cookies—these are the tops of your linzers. Bake cookies 12-14 minutes, rotating the pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back at the 7 minute mark.

Let cookies cool 10 minutes on their pans. Use a spatula to remove them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Repeat rolling, cutting, and baking as needed, re-rolling scraps as needed. Let cookie sheets come to room temperature between batches.

Set a cooling rack over a piece of parchment. Once all cookies are baked and cooled, set the cookies with the centers cut out on a prepared rack. Sift confectioners sugar over the tops.

Spread each whole cookie with jam (amount is based on your preference). Carefully sandwich cookies together. Serve.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. Place wax paper between layers for best storage. Cookies will soften a bit over time.