Cookies and Bars

Salted Peanut Butter Cookies

Gluten-free, dairy-free peanut butter cookies with only 4-5 ingredients. Wow! These cookies are amazingly good. I love the salt and sweet combination. If you don’t like the salt, leave it out. My daughter, Megan, made these and the grandkids loved them, as did the adults.

Salted Peanut Butter Cookies

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups smooth peanut butter (see note at end)
  • Coarse-grained sea salt, to finish
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together the light brown sugar and eggs until incorporated. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Add the peanut butter and mix with a spatula until smooth and completely incorporated, and until no ribbons of peanut butter can be seen. You know the dough is ready when it has the consistency of Play-Doh.
  3. Using a scoop or a spoon, form the dough into 12 approximately 2-inch (2- to 2 1/4-ounce) balls and place them on the prepared rimmed sheet pan. For smaller cookies, use a heaping tablespoon.
  4. Sprinkle the dough balls lightly with coarse-grained sea salt just before baking. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, turning the rimmed sheet pan once halfway through baking (for smaller cookies, bake for 16 to 18 minutes). When finished, the cookies will be lightly golden and cracked on top. Let cool completely before serving.
  5. You can bake these cookies as soon as the dough is prepared, but they will retain their shape better if you freeze them for 15 minutes before baking. 

Chef’s Tip: While the all-natural stuff works just fine, Skippy is our peanut butter brand of choice for this recipe as we’ve found it retains the dough shape best. These tasty cookies are gluten-free!

Recipe from Oven.ly

New Favorite · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

Asparagus Tapenade…almost Springtime treat!

Tender stalks of asparagus at the store are a sign that Spring is upon us (or at least we hope it is). This recipe for Asparagus Tapenade has been in my stack of ‘must try’ recipes for a long time.  I wish I could remember where the recipe came from so I could give proper credit.

Asparagus Tapenade is a great recipe for anyone, but is a tasty treat for those practicing a Vegan or Vegetarian diet.

I served the Tapenade with vegetables and bits of bread.  It was great with both but I LOVED it on artisan bread. 

ASPARAGUS TAPENADE

1 pound asparagus (thick spears work fine)
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 large cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh basil or fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, optional
1/4 teaspoon fresh pepper
Additional salt and pepper to taste
  • Bring pan of water to boil over high heat.
  • Rinse and trim ends from asparagus, then cut in 1 – 2 inch pieces.
  • Add asparagus to water, return water to boil, reduce heat to medium. Cook until just soft and still bright green, about three minutes. Drain well.
  • Meanwhile, toast pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium high, stirring occasionally, watching carefully to avoid burning.
  • Add remaining ingredients to a food processor. Add toasted pine nuts and cooked asparagus. Pulse until thoroughly blended but still roughly chopped.
  • Transfer to clean container and refrigerate until fully chilled. Serve with crackers, vegetables and/or on crostini/bread.

 

Desserts · New Favorite · New Traditions · Vegan · Vegetarian

Cherry Crisp (Gluten and Dairy Free)

Sour cherry desserts are a big favorite. While trying to avoid gluten, I was craving a cherry something, crisp…pie…cobbler. I decided to try a Cherry Crisp with almond (instead of wheat) flour using applesauce instead of butter. The result is a gluten and dairy free dessert. The girls likened the Cherry Crisp to a really good cherry granola bar.

If you prefer to skip the whole gluten and dairy free scene, substitute all-purpose flour for almond flour and margarine instead of applesauce.

Cherry
Cherry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CHERRY CRISP

2 cups cherry pie filling (gluten-free)
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Spray 8×8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Spread the cherry filling in the bottom of the baking dish.
  • Combine the oats, almond flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and applesauce together.
  • Crumble evenly over the cherry mixture.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.

 

My Roots

Wacky Chocolate Cake…childhood memories

It was a special treat when my Mother made chocolate cake WITH hot chocolate sauce, topped with a scoop (or two) or vanilla ice cream.  I can vividly remember my Mother making the cake, putting it in the back porch to cool then making the sauce at the last-minute before serving.  Don’t be stingy with the sauce.  I love it when the cake soaks up the sauce and the cold ice cream compliments the yummy, chocolate-drenched cake.

Wacky Chocolate Cake with Hot Chocolate Sauce

Wacky Chocolate Cake was popular during the depression since the recipe did not call for eggs, milk or butter all of which were scarce during the Great Depression.  This cake, without the hot chocolate sauce, is a great vegan chocolate cake or good for those with sensitivity to dairy products.  Just make sure the cocoa is dairy free!

This weekend I made this for my daughters and their guys.  I am certain I have not made this recipe for over 20 years but a flood of childhood memories came rushing back.   I talked to my sister about the recipe and she recalls our Mother referring to the recipe from our Grandmother Mary Smaha. She also recalls that our Mother would say that you need to add enough cocoa powder to the dry mixture, to where it looks like cinnamon.  After discussing this memory, we decided it would be fun to try adding a little cinnamon to the hot chocolate sauce next time.  I’m not waiting another 20 years to try this version!

Have a little chocolate cake with hot chocolate sauce today to celebrate your inner child and your fond memories!

WACKY CHOCOLATE CAKE

Wacky Chocolate Cake

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups water

  • Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt. Add oil, vinegar, vanilla and water. Do not use a mixer and do not sift flour. Pour in greased 9×13″ pan.
  • Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

HOT CHOCOLATE SAUCE

Hot Chocolate Sauce

1 cup sugar
1 rounded tablespoon cocoa
pinch salt
1 tablespoon white Karo
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 to 2/3 cup milk

  • Mix all ingredients together (except vanilla) and bring to a rolling boil. Boil 1-2 minutes. Remove and add vanilla and let set for a few minutes.
  • Serve warm over individual pieces of chocolate cake. This recipe is enough for an 8×8″ cake pan. Double the recipe for a 9×13″ cake.