Rice Cereal and Chocolate Easter Eggs

rice cereal and chocolate Easter eggs
rice cereal and chocolate Easter eggs

It’s the time for baskets filled with themed treats, especially goodies that are homemade and vegan. These “eggs” are quick and easy, and also fun to make with the entire family. The only hard part is waiting for them to be cool so they don’t burn the roof of your mouth!

I’ve posted about rice cereal treats before (see Halloween Rice Krispie Monster), but I thought to add a chocolate spin on the usual recipe. Not wanting the result to be overly sweet, I used Blissfully Better’s Coconut Thins that are sweetened with coconut sugar. A few chopped up bits of the chocolate mixed in with the other ingredients made a tasty addition.

Rice Cereal and Chocolate Easter Eggs

2 TBS vegan margarine
2 TBS refined coconut oil
10 oz. bag vegan marshmallows
5 cups brown rice cereal
4-6 pieces Blissfully Better’s Coconut Thins, diced

Line a 9 x 13-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a saucepan, melt the margarine and coconut oil on low heat. Add marshmallows and melt, stirring often to avoid burning. Be patient; low and slow is best with vegan marshmallows.

Once melted, remove from heat and quickly stir in the cereal. Wait a moment for the mixture to cool slightly, then carefully stir in the diced chocolate bits.

Blissfully Better vegan chocolates
Blissfully Better vegan chocolates

Place the mixture in the lined pan and pat down gently. Let cool for 15 minutes. Tip the pan over onto a cutting board. Gently remove the parchment paper from the slab. Cut into individual treats with a large egg-shaped cookie cutter.

Until next time, happy Easter and happy non-baking!

Want to get Blissfully Better’s chocolates at a discount? Use the code BBSOCIAL2022 in their Shopify store for 20% off. (I make nothing sharing this code with you — I’m just spreading some holiday joy!)

Chocolate Granola Two Ways

chocolate granola two ways
chocolate granola two ways

Over the years, hubby and I have come to love granola. We eat it almost everyday with yogurt or, in the summer, with a smattering of fresh berries. A new favorite is chocolate granola, but the store nearby stopped carrying it. So, into the kitchen with me for a little experimentation.

Another reason to make DIY granola is that we prefer different types — he likes simple oats whereas I like nuts and seeds mixed in. The solution is to make a granola base and then portion it out for different add-ins. With little effort, hubby gets a decadent chocolate granola while I get the same with the addition of almonds, pumpkin seeds, and cocoa nibs.

Which would be more popular in your house — the simple chocolate granola or the chocolate granola with added nuts and seeds? Either way it makes a yummy breakfast.

Chocolate Granola Two Ways based on Lavender Granola

for granola base
1/4 cup vegan butter or margarine, melted and cooled slightly
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon loose-packed brown sugar
pinch sea salt
2 cups rolled oats (gluten-free, if preferred)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (and a bit of chili powder, if you like it spicy)
for nuts and seeds granola
1/4 cup unsalted almonds, or other nuts
1/4 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds, or other seeds
1 tablespoon cocoa nibs

Preheat oven to 250F. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, maple syrup, cocoa powder, brown sugar, and salt. In a large bowl, stir together oats and cinnamon. Pour the butter mixture over the oats and combine with a spatula.

Pour half of the mixture onto a small sheet pan and spread it out evenly. Add the nuts, seeds, and cocoa nibs to the remaining mixture and stir to combine. Pour this mixture onto a small sheet pan and spread it out evenly. Place both baking pans in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Remove both pans from the oven and transfer to wire racks to allow the granola to cool completely. Once cooled, transfer to airtight containers and store in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.

Until next time, happy baking!

A Quartet of Snack Bites: Cinnamon Raisin Bagel, Cranberry Raspberry, Chocolate Blueberry Chipotle, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

from left: chocolate blueberry chipotle, cranberry raspberry, chocolate chip cookie dough, cinnamon raisin bagel

Protein bars have become a ubiquitous part of snack time, handy for whenever blood sugar takes a dip. I like to eat them when my tummy begins to rumble, but they are too big to be considered a snack. Instead of eating a partial bar and tucking the rest away for the future (yes, I do this), I decided to make a smaller version that I call “snack bites.”

To come up with my one-bite nibbles, I thought about the basic formula for a whole food protein bar. They usually contain dried fruit, nuts, nut or seed butter, and spices or other flavorings. There are many choices in each category with substitutions galore, such as using sunflower seed butter in place of almond butter or cardamom instead of cinnamon. The possibilities are endless with an appeal for a variety of tastes.

Working with this template I made four combinations to suit any craving — there’s chocolate, sweet, tart, and spicy alongside a variety of fruit and nuts. So, grab whatever you have in the cupboard to mix and match for this quartet of tasty bites.

Cinnamon Raisin Bagel Snack Bites

2 dates
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons creamy almond butter
1 tablespoon maple sugar
for rolling in:
1 tablespoon vegan sugar
1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon

Soak the dates in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain but save the soaking water to add later if the mixture is too dry. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the rolled oats in a food processor fitted with the S-blade and pulse to make a coarse flour. Add the drained dates, raisins, almond butter, and maple sugar to the bowl of the food processor. Pulse until the mixture just starts to clump together and holds together when squeezed between your fingers. If the mixture is too dry then add a bit of date soaking water. If it is too wet, add more oats.

Combine the vegan sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl and put it next to the lined baking sheet. Scoop a tablespoon of mixture into your hands and roll it into a ball. Place the balls on the lined baking sheet as they are formed. When all the balls are formed, roll 2 or 3 at a time in the shallow bowl until each is coated with cinnamon sugar. Place them back on the lined baking sheet as you work.

Snack bites can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or the freezer for 2 – 3 months. Makes 10 – 12 bite-sized snacks.

Cranberry Raspberry Snack Bites

1/8 cup dates
1/8 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup walnut pieces
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon tahini
1/4 teaspoon ground flaxseed
1/8 cup almond meal
for garnish:
1/8 cup ground freeze dried raspberries

Soak the dates in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain but save the soaking water to add later if the mixture is too dry. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the drained dates, dried cranberries, walnuts, orange zest, tahini, ground flaxseed, and almond meal in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S-blade. Pulse until the mixture just starts to clump together and holds together when squeezed between your fingers. If the mixture is too dry then add a bit of date soaking water. If it is too wet, add more almond meal.

Scatter a bit of almond meal on a cutting board and put it next to the lined baking sheet. Place the ground freeze dried raspberries in a shallow bowl and put it near the lined baking sheet. Remove the mixture from the food processor and place it on the cutting board. Scatter a bit more almond meal on top of the mixture and roll it out to 1/4-inch thick. Use a small heart-shaped cookie cutter to portion the dough (my cutter made 12 hearts). Dip one side of a cut-out heart into the shallow bowl with the dried raspberry powder and place it on the lined baking sheet as you work to dip all of the hearts.

Snack bites can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or the freezer for 2 – 3 months.

Chocolate Blueberry Chipotle Snack Bites

1/4 cup dates
1/4 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup raw, unsalted almonds
1/8 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon almond butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
generous pinch chipotle powder
for rolling in:
1/4 cup ground freeze dried blueberries

Soak the dates in boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain but save the soaking water to add later if the mixture is too dry. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the drained dates, dried blueberries, almonds, cocoa powder, almond butter, vanilla, and chipotle powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S-blade. Pulse until the mixture just starts to clump together and holds together when squeezed between your fingers. If the mixture is too dry then add a bit of date soaking water. If it is too wet, add more cocoa powder.

Put the ground freeze dried blueberries in a shallow bowl and put it next to the lined baking sheet. Scoop a tablespoon of mixture into your hands and roll it into a ball. Place the balls on the lined baking sheet as they are formed. When all the balls are formed, roll 2 or 3 at a time in the shallow bowl until each is coated with the blueberry powder. Place them back on the lined baking sheet as you work.

Snack bites can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or the freezer for 2 – 3 months. Makes 10 – 12 bite-sized snacks.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Snack Bites

1 graham cracker sheet
1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews
4 teaspoons date paste or caramel
1 teaspoon chocolate tahini (I used Soom Chocolate Tahini) or chocolate syrup
1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the graham cracker in a food processor fitted with the S-blade and pulse to make small crumbs. Add the cashews, date paste, and chocolate tahini. Pulse until the mixture just starts to clump together and holds together when squeezed between your fingers. If the mixture is too dry then add a bit of chocolate tahini. If it is too wet, add more graham cracker crumbs.

Put the mixture in a bowl and stir in the mini chocolate chips. Scoop a tablespoon of mixture into your hands and roll it into a ball. Place the balls on the lined baking sheet as they are formed.

Snack bites can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or the freezer for 2 – 3 months. Makes 10 bite-sized snacks.

Until next time, happy non-baking!

Ginger Maple Shortbread — vegan and gluten-free

ginger maple shortbread
ginger maple shortbread

Something odd is going on. Gluten-free recipes are catching my eye and not scaring me. Usually I grimace when someone asks me if I make no-gluten treats as part of my high altitude and vegan baking repertoire. Making too many changes can ruin a baked good, but I must be adapting because this is my second recipe of that style in just a few weeks.

What intrigued me about this shortbread-type recipe was that it called for coconut or palm oil. The cookbook I found it in was from 2009 and so many new vegan butter substitutes have become available since then. It seemed like a good opportunity to test out the recipe with a newer product.

Shortbread cookies have so few ingredients that each one needs to shine. Fortunately I had Miyoko’s Cultured Vegan Butter in my fridge, so that became the base of my bar. With no leavening in the cookie, high altitude wasn’t much of an issue. But I did add ginger because maple syrup and ginger are a match made in heaven.

Ginger Maple Shortbread based on Maple “Butter” Bars

2.75 cups brown rice flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 cup unsalted Miyoko’s Cultured Vegan Butter, at room temp
1 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 10 x 10” (or similar-sized) pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Add the rice flour, salt, and ginger to a bowl and whisk together. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the vegan butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. (This may take several minutes.) Slowly add the flour mixture a half cup at a time, and mix until well combined.

Spread the batter into the lined pan, then smooth the top. Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until the edges are firm. Place the pan onto a heat-safe surface and immediately score the dough into 16 equal portions. (Hubby cut the bars or they wouldn’t look so even; see the picture below.)

scored ginger maple shortbread
scored ginger maple shortbread

Place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, the bars can be fully broken apart and removed from the pan. They can be drizzled with chocolate syrup to keep hubby happy 😉

Until next time, happy baking!

Apple Blueberry Streusel Pie — vegan and gluten-free

apple blueberry streusel pie
apple blueberry streusel pie

If you are working your way through Veganuary and it seems difficult, don’t worry. You’re half the way there (congratulations!). If you are unfamiliar with the term, it refers to a challenge to try vegan throughout the month of January.

Eating vegan can be tough for some, especially when it comes to dessert. Many pastries include eggs and butter and can appear impossibly hard to make at high altitude. But, today I offer you sweet encouragement.

I wanted a recipe that wasn’t too complicated, so I decided to use a pre-made pie shell. Never having baked one, it was an experiment for me. In the vein of experimentation I decided to go with a gluten-free version as well. The results were surprisingly delicious.

The dessert recipe I found was vegan once I used the pre-made crust. No changes were needed for high altitude, but I did have to adjust filling quantities for the smaller ready-made shell.

After ingredient amounts were altered, I added blueberries because you can always use extra antioxidants, right? I then removed the nuts to make it very allergy-friendly. May this decadent treat get you through the rest of the month, and beyond.

Apple Blueberry Streusel Pie adapted from Apple Crumble Pie

for the pie
4 apples, cored, peeled, and sliced into 1/8” slices
1/2 cup fresh blueberries, washed and patted dry
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup gluten free flour
1.75 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup vegan sugar
1 store bought pie shell (I used a gluten free one by Wholly Gluten Free)
for the streusel topping
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup gluten free flour
1/3 cup unsalted vegan butter, melted and cooled slightly

Add the apples, blueberries, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1/4 cup flour to a large bowl. Stir carefully with a spatula to coat the fruit. Place 1.75 teaspoons cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and sugar in small bowl. Stir to combine, then sprinkle over the fruit. Stir carefully with a spatula until the fruit is evenly coated with the spices. Set aside while the oven preheats.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Take the pie shell out of the freezer to defrost per manufacturer’s instructions. Meanwhile, make the streusel topping.

Put the brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 3/4 cup flour in a medium bowl. Stir in the melted butter with a spatula. Break it up into small clumps using the spatula or your fingers. When the pie shell is defrosted, pile the fruit into it. Then sprinkle the topping over the fruit.

Place the filled pie shell onto a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Leaving the pie in the oven, carefully place a pie crust shield over the crust. Close the oven door and reduce the heat to 375F. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.

Place the pie with the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool for 3 hours. Cover leftovers tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

Until next time, happy baking!

A Duet of Vegan Holiday Cookies

chocolate peppermint cookies and oat thumbprint cookies
chocolate peppermint cookies and oat thumbprint cookies

Ah, holiday cookie baking. The sweet scents that emanate from the kitchen this time of year are drool-worthy. They make you want to bake every cookie recipe you see.

Recently I got inspired by a friend who was madly baking like some Keebler elf, so I joined in the frenzy. The flour was flying and baking sheets were in heavy rotation. I thought that others would also begin their boisterous baking, so I have not one recipe for you, but two.

I wanted a classic Thumbprint cookie to start, and I found a recipe that was healthy and tasty. But, variety is crucial in a cookie tray, along with a bit of chocolate, so I have a chocolate cookie kissed with peppermint and slathered in vanilla frosting. The Thumbprints were already vegan; I merely changed the cooking technique to allow the dough to rest and absorb fluids to combat dryness found at altitude. The chocolate cookie was veganized by using non-dairy milk, and adjusted for altitude with the addition of liquid. I hope you are as excited for holiday cookies as I am!

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies with Vanilla Frosting inspired by NutraMilk

for the cookies
3 Tablespoons almond butter
1 Tablespoon non-dairy milk
1 Tablespoon applesauce
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons almond flour (not almond meal)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
for the frosting
1/2 cup vegan butter
1.75 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 cup almond milk

Make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the almond butter, milk, applesauce, maple syrup, and peppermint extract in a bowl and whisk together. Combine the almond flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder in a bowl and whisk together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry bowl and stir until a dough forms. Roll the dough into 12 balls and place each ball on a baking tray, flattening each slightly. Bake for 11-13 minutes, until the cookies are firm.

Remove the tray from the oven and place on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove cookies from the tray and put on a wire rack to cool completely. Make the frosting: add the ingredients to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle blade. Start beating slowly and work up to medium speed. Beat until the frosting is light and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. When the cookies are fully cooled, add the frosting and decorative sugar.

Oatmeal Thumbprint Cookies with Jam adapted from Vegan Jam Thumbprint Cookies

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fruit jam, seedless

Place the oats, flour, and walnuts in a bowl and stir to combine. Whisk together the oil, maple syrup, orange juice, and vanilla, then add to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine everything. Place the bowl of dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the dry ingredients to absorb the liquids. It will become sticky.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets. Use the back of the scoop to create an indent on top of each ball. Fill the indents with jam. Bake for 14-16 minutes until the bottoms are golden. Remove the trays from the oven and place on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove cookies from the trays and put on a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 32 – 34 cookies.

Until next time, happy Holiday baking!

Cranberry Orange Almond Cookies

cranberry orange almond cookies
cranberry orange almond cookies

As I was adding cranberries and cinnamon to my fall oatmeal this morning, my thoughts went to holiday cookies. These two ingredients would make good additions to a cookie, along with orange to round out the flavor profile. The downside was that I was feeling lazy, but finding an easy recipe would make it a simpler task.

My search pulled up a quick cookie recipe, one that was already vegan. It had no leaveners so high altitude would not be an issue. The changes I made began with giving a nod to the holidays. My goal was to include my taste trio of cranberries, orange, and cinnamon. Upon adding those, I adjusted for the extra moisture and bulk. The result was a burst of seasonal goodness, wrapped up as a refined-sugar-free and gluten-free treat.

Cranberry Orange Almond Cookies adapted from The Easiest Almond Flour Cookies

1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon organic orange zest
2.5 tablespoons organic orange juice
1.5 cups + 1 tablespoon fine almond flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
pinch fine sea salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Place chopped dried cranberries in a small bowl with the orange zest. Cover with orange juice and stir to combine. Let sit for 15 minutes so the juice can soak into the cranberries.

Place the almond flour, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk. Add maple syrup and vanilla and stir. Add the cranberries and any juice from the small bowl, and stir to combine well. The dough will be shaggy but slightly sticky. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes to absorb fluid.

chopped cranberries for holiday cookies
chopped cranberries for holiday cookies

Scoop up 16 walnut-sized balls of dough and place on the baking sheet. The cookies will not really spread, so they can be placed fairly close together. Flatten the balls of dough using the bottom of a glass keeping a small piece of parchment paper in between to prevent sticking. Cookies should be about ¼-inch thick and 2 ½-inches in diameter.

Bake for 16-18 minutes or until the edges and bottoms of cookies are golden brown. Place the baking sheet with cookies on a wire rack until the cookies cool completely. Store fully cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days.

Until next time, happy baking!

Mini Allergy-Friendly Spider Bites

mini allergy friendly spider bites
mini allergy friendly spider bites

Are you looking for a Halloween Treat? I have an easy one that is also allergy friendly. It contains only three ingredients, and I modified it so it doesn’t contain common allergens. Now you have a snack to share with all of your favorite ghoul friends (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

The original recipe I found was from Food Network, but I made a few tweaks. I prepared it on the stove top and used a double boiler so the chocolate doesn’t scorch. Then I used ingredients that are generally safe for those with common food allergies. No changes were needed for baking at high altitude, but I made the goodies bite-sized so kids of all ages can enjoy them. Happy Halloween!

Mini Allergy-Friendly Spider Bites adapted from Spider Bites

12 ounces semisweet morsels or chunks (I used Enjoy Life Foods brand)
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter (I used Once Again brand)
6 cups gluten-free pretzel sticks, broken into 1-inch pieces (I used Fit Joy brand)

Place parchment paper on a baking sheet or two and set aside.

Put a few inches of water in a medium pot and put it on the stove to boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and place a heat-safe bowl on top. Place the chocolate chips in the bowl to melt; be sure that steam doesn’t enter from the pot below or the chocolate will seize. Stir the chips occasionally. When the chips are melted and smooth, turn the heat off and stir in the sunflower seed butter. Remove the bowl from over the pot and stir in the pretzel pieces.

spider bites allergy friendly ingredients
spider bites allergy friendly ingredients

When the pretzels are thoroughly coated with chocolate, pick up a few and place them on the parchment lined sheet. Next, take 8 pretzel pieces from the bowl and arrange them to form spider legs. Take a small amount of chocolate from the bowl and blob it over the top to form the body, and to cement everything together. Repeat with the remaining pretzels. You can get creative and anatomically correct, or you can drop them on the sheet to create haystacks instead of spiders. They won’t be Halloween themed, but they will still taste good. Heck, they taste good right out of the bowl.

Place the sheet of spiders in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden. Remove gently from the parchment paper and remove any drips that don’t look like spider.

Until next time, happy nonbaking!

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches

peanut butter chocolate cookie sandwich
peanut butter chocolate cookie sandwich

Gluten-free baking is scientific, with lots of math involved. When attempted at high altitude it also involves laborious recipe testing. Okay, that kinda sounds fun to me but it is not something I usually attempt. I start with tried-and-true gluten-free recipes and tweak then just a bit to compensate for altitude. Not today. Today I threw caution to the wind and made every type of substitution possible … all at once … with fingers crossed. Luckily I was successful.

The massive changes I made were based on science, so that dialed down the luck factor. I started with a gluten-free cookie recipe from Bob’s Red Mill then used America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks as a reference for substitutions. I didn’t have all of the flours listed in the recipe so, armed with knowledge from the Test Kitchen, I made swaps based on what was in my cupboard. I added aquafaba and soy milk powder for enhanced vegan structure, as well as guar gum. Granulated sugars were used instead of liquid sweetener so the cookies wouldn’t be too mushy. The last step was to sandwich my cookies with a rich chocolate filling, because life can always be more decadent.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches loosely based on a recipe from Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook

for the cookies:
1/2 cup teff flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/3 cup potato starch
1 teaspoon soy milk powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon guar gum
1/2 cup + 2 TBS creamy peanut butter, salted but unsweetened
1/2 cup vegan sugar
1/2 cup vegan light brown sugar
1/2 cup neutral-tasting vegetable oil
1 tablespoon aquafaba
3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
for the chocolate filling:
1/3 cup vegan margarine
3 cups vegan powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-3 tablespoons non-dairy milk

For the cookies: Whisk the flours, starches, milk powder, baking soda, salt, and guar gum together in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, sugars, oil, aquafaba, and 3 tablespoons milk. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Cover the dough bowl with plastic wrap and put aside for 30 minutes to rest.

Meanwhile, line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Place oven racks in the upper-middle and lower-middle positions, and heat the oven to 350F.

When the 30 minutes rest time has passed, scoop out small balls of cookie dough, 2-3 teaspoons in size, and place them about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. (The dough will be moist and slightly sticky.) Flatten the dough balls with the palm of your hand.

Bake the cookies until golden brown and firm, 14-16 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets halfway through baking time. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for five minutes, then remove to wire racks to fully cool. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.

For the filling: Place the margarine in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar, cacao powder, and vanilla and beat for another minute. Keep beating, adding milk as needed, until the filling is light and fluffy. Fill a pastry bag with the filling.

To assemble the cookie sandwiches: Place half of the cookies upside down on a tray. Pipe filling onto the center of each cookie. Top each with a remaining cookie, pressing down gently until the filling spreads to the edges. Store assembled cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Until next time, happy baking!

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Krispie Rice Snacks

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Krispie Rice Snacks
Raspberry Chocolate Chip Krispie Rice Snacks

Ah, September. It may not be autumn yet, but it’s peeking around the corner. With the glimpse at future cool weather, we rush out to enjoy the last of summer’s sun. For me this means walks along the water, strolls at local farms, and outdoor cooking. And, with a weekend of sharing meals outdoors, there will be marshmallows. At least once.

Oftentimes I use marshmallows to make s’mores (with recipes here, here, and here), but my current inspiration was Rice Krispy Treats. Searching around I discovered that you can add jam to the melted marshmallows. Who knew?! With no baking required the recipe needed no high altitude changes, just a few vegan substitutions. I used vegan butter and margarine in place of the dairy versions. I also used seedless raspberry jam, as that is my preferred jam in desserts, and added mini chocolate chips to appease my chocolate craving hubby. These tasty treats can be enjoyed outside, before or after your dinner comes off of the grill.

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Krispie Rice Snacks adapted from Strawberry Jam Rice Krispies Treats

2.5 Tablespoons margarine or vegan butter
5 ounces vegan mini marshmallows
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
3 cups brown rice cereal
1/4 cup vegan mini chocolate chips, plus more for garnish

Grease an 8 x 8” baking pan and set aside. Be sure to have your ingredients measured and close at hand (called “mise en place”) because things go fast once the marshmallows have melted.

Melt the margarine in a large pan on a burner set to medium-low heat. Add the marshmallows and stir occasionally until they melt. When melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the jam to the pan. Stir to combine. Add the cereal to the pan and stir to coat. Add the mini chocolate chips to the mixture and stir just to combine. (They will melt a bit, but the smears are tasty.)

Krispie Rice Snacks mise en place
Krispie Rice Snacks mise en place

Pour the cereal mixture into the greased baking pan. Smooth the top of the mixture with a spatula, pressing down firmly into the bottom and corners of the pan. Sprinkle a few mini chocolate chips over the top and press them in gently with your fingertips. Let the treats cool for 2 hours, then cut into squares.

Until next time, happy non-baking!