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 was 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!

Milkshake for World Plant Milk Day Book Giveaway

milkshake for world plant day giveaway
milkshake for world plant milk day giveaway

When I started my journey of seeking milk that didn’t come from a cow, the options were very limited. It may have been rice milk and three brands of soy milk. These days you can find milk beverages made from those two bases, alongside others consisting of almonds, oats, peas, hemp seeds, coconut, cashews, macadamias, quinoa, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, bananas, hazelnuts, and flax seeds.

Plant milks are so popular now that they have their own holiday. Today is World Plant Milk Day, a celebration of plant-based dairy alternatives that is recognized internationally. People all over the globe can find a way to enjoy a milky beverage that is better for their health, the environment, and the animals.

The website behind this celebratory day explains that a “dairy-free lifestyle has the power to make you feel fantastic, now and in the long-term future. You may experience increased energy, less bloating, improved digestion, clearer skin, reduced asthma symptoms, less inflammation, and other lasting health benefits when you make the switch away from dairy.”

In honor of this day, and to offer you a way to easily get involved, I made a plant-based milkshake. The recipe below is from Alisa Fleming’s book “Eat Dairy Free.” If you like Alisa’s recipe and want more, you’re in luck! I’m giving away one copy of her book which includes recipes for meals, snacks, and sweets. To enter the drawing, comment on this post or my posts with the above book picture on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. **

Strawberry Cheeseshake

1/2 cup raw cashews
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon melted coconut, grapeseed, or rice bran oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cut frozen strawberries
1/2 cup unsweetened plain or vanilla dairy-free beverage
1 tablespoon agave nectar or sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Graham cracker crumbs (gluten free, if needed) for garnish (optional) (note: I used cacao nibs)
2 fresh strawberries, for garnish (optional)

Put the cashews in your spice grinder or food processor and whiz until powdered, about 30 to 60 seconds.

Put the cashew powder, water, lemon juice, oil, and salt in your blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Transfer the cashew mixture to an airtight container and refrigerate for 2 hours or more, to allow the flavors to mingle and the consistency to thicken.

Put the chilled cashew mixture, frozen strawberries, milk beverage, sweetener, and vanilla in your blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

Pour the shake into 2 glasses and garnish each.

Until next time, happy non-baking!

** Contest ends 8/27/21 at 11:00 AM PST. Open to US residents only. Void where prohibited. One winner will be chosen at random and announced in the comments.

Ice Cream Sunday

Hojicha Tea Ice Cream with Apricot Ribbons and Chocolate Crust
Hojicha Tea Ice Cream with Apricot Ribbons and Chocolate Crust

It’s so hot right now and I crave something deliciously satisfying to tickle my tastebuds. It’s Sunday and I need ice cream. And not just any run-of-the-mill ice cream, but a creamy delight with a chocolate crust. Luckily, I have a can of Twrl Hojicha Milk Tea that I’ve been wanting to use to make ice cream. The roasted green tea flavor will shine when complemented by a swirl of fruit jam and an earthy tasting cocoa crust.

I cobbled together two recipes to make my creation. The crust recipe was chosen for the earthy lucuma powder in it, although I reduced the amount so I could add cocoa powder in its place. If you don’t have lucuma, you could try another deep flavored dry sweetener, such as coconut sugar. The ice cream filling was altered to use the tea in place of water, with a little less sweetener so the green tea aroma could come through. The last feature of this dish was the apricot jam I swirled throughout the ice cream. Don’t leave it out — it’s a game changer for bringing the tastes together.

Thanks goes to the folks at Twrl Tea for providing the tea for my creative testing.

Hojicha Tea Ice Cream with Apricot Ribbons and Chocolate Crust adapted from Rouxbe Culinary School and VeganRicha

for the crust
3/4 cups almond flour
1/4 cup lucuma powder
2.5 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch fine sea salt
for the ice cream
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 3 hours then drained
7.5 ounce can Twrl Hojicha Roasted Green Milk Tea
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1.5 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons vegan sugar
3 Tablespoons refined coconut oil, in solid form
for the swirl
4 Tablespoons whole fruit apricot jam

Line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving excess hanging over the sides. Set aside.

Place the almond flour, lucuma and cocoa powders, maple syrup, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and sea salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse to combine into a fine crumble that just holds together when pressed between your fingers. Transfer this crust mixture to the lined loaf pan. Press it down firmly with your fingers, or the bottom of a glass, to create an even layer. Place the pan in the freezer while you make the ice cream.

Wipe out the food processor bowl, then add the cashews, Twrl tea, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, sugar, and coconut oil the bowl. (Note: if your food processor can’t handle this much liquid, then place the ingredients in a blender). Process until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl down as needed. The mixture may look lumpy at first; keep going until it is creamy.

ice cream with Twrl Hojicha Tea
ice cream with Twrl Hojicha Tea

Take the pan from the freezer. Pour the ice cream over the crust and smooth it out. Return the pan to the freezer for 15 minutes for the ice cream to harden slightly. After 15 minutes, remove the pan from the freezer. Drizzle apricot jam over the ice cream and swirl it in with a toothpick. Return the pan to the freezer for two hours. When the ice cream is firm, take the pan from the freezer. Remove the ice cream by grabbing the parchment overhang to lift the loaf out. Place the loaf on a cutting board and cut slices with a warm knife.

Until next time, happy non-baking!

Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

strawberry lemon cupcakes with raspberry frosting
strawberry lemon cupcakes with raspberry frosting

A friend’s birthday is coming up and I want to make a dessert that’s easy to share at a celebration. Cupcakes come to mind, but I need to bake some that are a little extra special. Fruity flavors are enjoyable in the summer, with strawberries and lemon reminding one of a cool drink, so they are perfect in my cupcakes. All these cupcakes need are a sumptuous fruity frosting to put them in the realm of ‘special enough for a birthday.’

I found a vegan cupcake recipe that included my combo of lemon and strawberry. To prepare at high altitude, I added extra liquid and flour while reducing the baking powder. I also used dry sweetener instead of wet to help keep the cupcakes light and fluffy. Next I switched to a deeply fruit-flavored frosting to embrace summery tastes. Tasters raved about the cupcakes noting how airy they were, and the mix of fruity flavors were a welcome surprise.

Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting adapted from One Green Planet and Food Network

for the cupcakes
1/2 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1.5 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup organic sugar
generous 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup pureed strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
for the frosting
6 tablespoons vegan butter, cold
2 tablespoons vegan shortening
3 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons soy milk, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons raspberry fruit spread

Preheat oven to 325 F and line muffin tins with 14 paper cups. Whisk soy milk and apple cider vinegar together in a bowl or container. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes to curdle.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a bowl. Place pureed strawberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add curdled milk and stir ingredients together. Add dry ingredients and stir just until the batter is smooth. Scoop batter into lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.

Bake for 23-25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through cooking time. The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out with a few tiny crumbs. Let the tins sit on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing the cupcakes to a wire rack to fully cool.

While the cupcakes are cooling, begin the frosting by beating the butter and shortening together in a stand mixer. Add the powdered sugar, a cup at a time, beating after each addition. Add the milk and vanilla and beat until creamy. Add the fruit spread and beat until smooth. Put the frosting in a piping bag with a star tip and frost the cooled cupcakes.

Until next time, happy baking!

Gluten-Free Blueberry and Cherry Bars

gluten free blueberry and cherry bars
gluten free blueberry and cherry bars

On a hot summer day, it’s nice to have an easy dessert recipe. Turning on the oven can take all of your energy, so slaving over a complicated treat is not welcome. Sometimes scooping out individual servings or cookies can be just too tiring. That’s when bar cookies come to the rescue. Mix, pour into a pan, bake, cool, and cut.

The bar cookie recipe I found was fruity (yay!), and I decided to make it gluten-free to share with friends (yay, again!). It was already vegan, and high altitude wasn’t much of an issue, so I subbed gluten-free ingredients, mixed up the fruit choices, and added a decadent icing. Now I had a dessert that was not only easy, but bursting with flavor and allergy-friendly goodness.

Gluten-Free Blueberry and Cherry Bars adapted from Blueberry Crumble Bars

1.75 cups gluten-free flour blend
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1/2 cup + 1/4 cup organic sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup vegan margarine, room temperature and cut into slices
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup + 4 teaspoons nondairy milk, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup frozen cherries, chopped into quarters
1/4 cup organic sugar
2 tablespoons potato starch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup organic confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8 x 8-inch pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, including an overhang of a few inches on two opposite sides.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, oats, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt to combine. In a medium bowl, combine the margarine, oil, 1/4 cup milk, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until mixed but with a few small clumps.

dry ingredients for blueberry cherry bars
dry ingredients for blueberry cherry bars

In a small bowl, gently combine the blueberries, cherries, 1/4 cup sugar, potato starch, lemon juice, and lemon zest.

Using your hands, press three-quarters of the dough mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the coated fruit evenly on top of the dough. Sprinkle the remaining dough over the fruit layer. Bake for 50 minutes, until the top is crisp and bubbly. Place pan on a wire rack to let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make an icing by whisking the confectioner’s sugar over a bowl. Stir in the 4 teaspoons milk until well combined. When the bars have cooled, drizzle the icing over the bars. Then use the parchment paper overhand to lift the bars out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Cut into squares, and store in an airtight container.

Until next time, happy baking!

Gluten-Free Marshmallow-Studded Cookies

gluten-free marshmallow studded cookies
gluten-free marshmallow studded cookies

Marshmallows and chocolate — what a yummy combination. Just thinking of them reminds me of summer parties with marshmallows made oooey gooey from time spent over a fire’s flame. Add a graham cracker or two with a chocolate square and you have s’mores. Or you can bake these cookies in the oven for a similar tasting but easier to make treat.

I discovered a vegan cookie recipe with these flavors that I could make gluten-free and adapt to my circumstances. Aquafaba was used to make a super flax egg for extra moisture and structure that is lacking at high altitude and in many gluten-free desserts. Also, I made sure to use baking powder to help activate the dutch-processed cocoa powder. The last change made to add extra rise was to use vegan butter that was not melted. The result was a chewy cookie with a crisp exterior.

My gluten-free testers raved about the cookie. One said that each bite was a different combination of tastes and flavors, while another said it was the best cookie she ever had. Not too shabby for a gluten-free and vegan treat baked at high altitude.

Gluten-Free Marshmallow-Studded Cookies adapted from Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
3 tablespoons aquafaba
1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend
1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup vegan butter
1 cup vegan sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons non-dairy milk
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
1 cup vegan marshmallows, chopped large or unchopped minis

Preheat oven to 350F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together flaxseed and aquafaba and set aside to thicken.

In a bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place vegan butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, and combine on medium-high speed. Add flax mixture, vanilla, and non-dairy milk, and combine on medium speed until the batter is soft and smooth. Add dry ingredients and beat to combine. Add chocolate chips and marshmallows and stir with a spoon to combine.

Scoop up 2 tablespoons of batter at a time and roll into a ball. Place each ball on a baking sheet and flatten slightly with the heel of your hand. Bake for 12-13 minutes, one tray at a time, rotating halfway through bake time. Let cool on the baking sheet for five minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. They may seem too soft, but will become firm and crisp as they cool. Do not store airtight or they will get soggy. Yield: 24-26 cookies.

Until next time, happy baking and happy 4th of July!

Brown Sugar Rice Krispie Treats

brown sugar rice krispie treats
brown sugar rice krispie treats

With temperatures hovering around 100F I vowed not to turn on the oven. That meant no baking of any kind, including that of tasty desserts. Still I was craving a yummy snack so I turned to the classic Rice Krispie Treats. After the ingredients spend a short time in a saucepan and then a mixing bowl, they transform into a cool and decadent pleasure.

I have offered various versions of this in the past, but I delved deep into my archives to find a brown sugar cereal bar. The website I retrieved it from is defunct, so I am glad to share my take on these Krispie Bars. The recipe was already vegan and needed no high altitude adjustments. The changes made were to adapt the ingredient amounts for my tastes, including the addition of chocolate chips. These cereal bars taste a bit caramely, a bit marshmallowy, a bit chocolatey, and a whole lot of delicious.

Brown Sugar Rice Krispie Treats

2.5 cups brown rice crisps cereal
2 TBS + 2.5 tsp light brown sugar, packed
1 TBS almond milk
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 TBS vegan margarine or coconut oil, plus extra to grease the pan
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 oz (or 14 large) vegan marshmallows
1/4 cup mini vegan chocolate chips

Line and grease an 8 x 8” pan with foil, leaving an overhang to help lift the finished bars from the pan. Pour the cereal into a large bowl and set aside.

In a saucepan, over medium-low, heat the brown sugar, milk, salt, and 1 TBS margarine. Cook for 5 minutes, whisking continuously, until the mixture looks like caramel sauce. Add the vanilla and cook an additional minute. Whisk in the remaining 1 TBS margarine until completely combined. Remove from heat and immediately add the marshmallows, stirring until smooth. Pour marshmallow mixture over the cereal and stir until partially combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir until well combined.

Press the mixture firmly into the prepared pan. Allow to cool before removing from the pan and placing on a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares, or maybe just 9 squares as I did.

Until next time, happy non-baking!

Mini Chocolate Mousse Cakes for Mother’s Day

mini chocolate mousse cakes
mini chocolate mousse cakes

Mother’s Day requires a special dessert. The idea is that if you slave away all day at the oven, then you prove that you care. But all you really need is a treat that is decadent and delicious. These Mini Chocolate Mousse Cakes are all that, and more. They are fairly easy to make, too. The hardest part for me was cutting the parchment circles to fit the mini pans. (I am not very adept with scissors).

My search for a decadent Mother’s Day treat provided a recipe that made a 7-inch cake. Not having a pan that size, I decided to change it up to make mini cakes. I liked that idea because they can be served individually so Mom can get a fancy one made just for her. The recipe was vegan and no-bake, so I didn’t have to make those changes. I did make alterations to ensure the mini cakes would be firm. The result was the cutest mousse cakes that were deemed so delicious that they should be made on more than just special occasions.

Mini Chocolate Mousse Cakes adapted from Vegan Chocolate Mousse Cake

Cookie Crust
14 vanilla cream filled chocolate wafer cookies (such as Oreos)
4 TBS vegan margarine or butter
Mousse Filling
11 ounces dark chocolate, 65% or higher
12.3 ounces silken tofu, drained but not pressed
10.6 ounces vegan greek style yogurt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 TBS powdered sugar
1 TBS vanilla extract
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
4 TBS maple syrup
Garnishes
fresh raspberries
powdered sugar

For the crust: Cut parchment paper to line the bottom and sides of 8 mini cheesecake tins with removable bases. Set aside. Add cookies and vegan margarine or butter to the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture is like moist sand, up to 1 minute. Remove 1/2 cup of the cookie mixture and set aside. Press the remaining mixture into the bottoms of the 8 mini tins. Tamp the mixture down with the bottom of a small glass to compact it. Place the tins in the fridge.

For the filling: Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Set aside briefly to cool slightly. Place the tofu, yogurt, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, and maple syrup in a high speed blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, creamy, and slightly warm. (The heat will help the melted chocolate to blend in smoothly). Add the melted chocolate and blend again until the mixture is very smooth. Remove the tins from the fridge and pour the filling into them. Bang the tins on the counter to flatten out the tops of the mousse. Return the tins to the fridge for 4-5 hours, or overnight, to firm up. Once set, remove the cakes from the tins and remove the parchment paper.

To plate: Place each cake on an individual plate and place a raspberry on top. Sprinkle some of the remaining crust crumbs over the top and dust the cake with powdered sugar. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Until next time, happy non-baking and Happy Mother’s Day!

Charoset-Inspired Dessert Bites

Charoset-Inspired Dessert Bites

This time of year I get a little excited for Charoset, the classic Passover relish made from fruits, nuts, spice, and grape (in the form of juice or wine). The combined tastes of those food elements dance playfully on my tongue. Some traditions make charoset into a paste rather than a relish, so I thought it would be fun to make a food item that melded the two forms. That is how I decided on dessert bites. A little pureed and a little chunky, with all of the wonderful flavors that I love.

This recipe is raw so high altitude baking wasn’t an issue. I merely wanted to create my version of this treat and share it with you. These bites make an energetic afternoon snack, a quick breakfast, or a healthy dessert. They would be appreciated for Passover or Easter, or anytime you want to savor the combination of apples, nuts, and grape juice.

Charoset-Inspired Dessert Bites inspired by Haroset Balls

1 cup dried apple
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup grape juice
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/8 tsp powdered ginger
1/8 tsp powdered clove
2 TBS almond meal
powders to roll the bites in, optional

Line a tray or baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place dried apples, apricots, dates, and raisins in a bowl and cover with grape juice. Let sit for 15 minutes so the juice can soak into the fruit.

Place walnuts and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are roughly chopped. To the food processor, add the soaked fruit and any juices from the bowl. Add the spices and pulse until everything is finely chopped and well combined. Add the almond meal and pulse a few times to evenly distribute. The mixture will form a large ball in the food processor bowl.

Transfer the large ball to a bowl. Remove small amounts at a time to form balls the size of walnuts. Place balls on the lined tray and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. When firm, roll each ball into powder, if desired. I used ground up freeze-dried blueberries, dried raspberry powder, cocoa powder, goji berry powder, and maca powder. (Can you tell in the picture which bite has which powder?)

charoset dessert bites and toppings

Store up to 3 weeks in a covered container in the refrigerator. Yields: 24 sweet treats

Until next time, happy non-baking!