Ginger Molasses Cake with White Chocolate Glaze {+ a giveaway!}

Ginger Molasses Cake with White Chocolate Glaze

Ultra soft and moist, perfectly spiced ginger molasses cake with a decadent white chocolate glaze. This cake is the perfect combination of flavors to get you in the holiday spirit, but secretly gluten-free and lightened-up with NO butter or oil!

Ginger Molasses Cake with White Chocolate Glaze

I know, I know…it’s a little early, but I couldn’t give you a holiday themed giveaway without giving you some ginger molasses. Plus, it’s post Halloween, which is the rule in my book. In fact, I have asked Steve no less than 4 times whether we could put out Christmas tree up after Halloween. He still makes me wait until after Thanksgiving, which I think is so rude because Thanksgiving has been so late these last 2 years!

Ginger Molasses Cake with White Chocolate Glaze

Anyway, it’s finally November, and I’m ready to get into the holiday spirit! I’m ready to get out Winston’s Hanukkah sweater, my candy cane shirt, and of course LIGHTS! Not to mention, every year I start teaching my performance troupe holiday songs in AUGUST,  so I’m ready to actually enjoy them.

Ginger Molasses Cake with White Chocolate Glaze

So let’s start with this cake. It is so simple, but filled with all of your favorite holiday flavors. It is also one of the softest, most tender cakes I have ever eaten. Not just out of the healthy cakes I make, but like, ever. That Taylor Swift lyric was totally unintentional. But I’m not deleting it. I just wish I had accidentally quoted Shake it Off instead because I’m kind of obsessed with it.

Ginger Molasses Cake with White Chocolate Glaze

Anyway… This cake uses pumpkin puree (a great use for your fall baking leftovers!) in place of oil. It doesn’t taste like pumpkin. The very mild flavor that pumpkin puree contains on its own pairs perfectly with the gingerbread spices and, along with the buttermilk, is what makes this cake so unbelievably soft. Pumpkin is a great oil/butter replacement all year round! The glaze is thick with just the right amount of sweetness to balance out the bite of the spicy ginger. It is so good, you’ll find yourself making it in July!

Ginger Molasses Cake with White Chocolate Glaze {+ a giveaway!}

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 9 large pieces, or 16 smaller pieces

Serving Size: 1/16th recipe

Ginger Molasses Cake with White Chocolate Glaze {+ a giveaway!}

Ultra soft and moist, perfectly spiced ginger molasses cake with a decadent white chocolate glaze. This cake is the perfect combination of flavors to get you in the holiday spirit, but secretly gluten-free and lightened-up with NO butter or oil!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups gluten-free baking blend (or white whole wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup reduced fat buttermilk
  • For the White Chocolate Glaze:
  • 4 ounces white chocolate (preferably a good quality white chocolate, but white chocolate chips will work)
  • 2-3 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9" square pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together baking blend, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. In a large bowl beat together pumpkin, molasses, brown sugar and lemon zest. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in half the dry ingredients, followed by buttermilk, then remaining dry ingredients. Mix until just combined--do not over mix.
  3. Transfer to prepared baking pan and bake until browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 35-40 minutes. Cool completely.
  4. To make glaze place white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl (if using a bar, make sure it is chopped into small pieces). Heat for 20-30 seconds just to warm the white chocolate. Heat almond milk until almost boiling, then pour 2 tablespoons immediately over warmed white chocolate. Stir until melted. Add last tablespoon of milk if desired to get a thinner glaze. Frost and serve. Leftovers may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 5-7 days.
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To ring in the holiday baking season, my friends and I on the Real Housemoms team are bringing you a Holiday Baking Giveaway! One winner will receive $500 in prizes, including a 4.5 quart KitchenAid Stand Mixer, a signed copy of Dessert Mash-Ups, $150 in PayPal cash, and more! And to give you some baking inspiration to make with your winnings, we’re sharing 40+ Holiday Baking Recipes too! Happy baking and good luck!





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Snickers Stuffed Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Snickers Stuffed Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Rich, fudgy, brownie-like chocolate cookies stuffed with melty mini Snickers and topped with sea salt for the perfect extra bite. These gluten-free Snickers Stuffed Chocolate Brownie Cookies are the perfect way to use up Halloween candy, a great Christmas cookie, or perfect for any occasion!

Snickers Stuffed Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Oh, hello cookie. Cookie that tastes and feels like a brownie. Cookie that is stuffed with one of my very favorite candies. Cookie with melty chocolate, caramel and nougat in every bite. Cookie with big sea salt crystals adding the perfect balance to all that candy sweetness. Just wanted to say heyyyyy.

Snickers Stuffed Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Let’s chat about candy for a second. I have really strong opinions. For example, 3 Musketeers–WHAT IS THE POINT? It’s just so fluffy, and soooo overly sweet, and there’s nothing to it. Ick. And then there’s Milky Way. That’s just like a lesser Snickers. It’s like it’s trying to be a Snickers for the poor people with nut allergies, but without the salty peanuts to add crunchy and bite, what is even the point?? Then we get to the good ones. Snickers, Butterfinger, Reese’s and Twix.  Those are the ones that, come Halloween time (okay…any time), I can’t resist grabbing a mini, or 7. In fact, the leftover Snickers from these cookies were totally bad news. I usually end up taking them into work and using them as bribery to toss at the kids that impress me in rehearsals. I know, I know…I should give them carrot sticks, probably, but I’m a terrible influence.

Snickers Stuffed Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Snickers Stuffed Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Anyway, these cookies are a bit indulgent, but they are whole grain, gluten-free, and shockingly don’t contain any butter or oil! They taste like a rich, buttery brownie, so you’ll never notice the little healthier adjustments. Of course, you are free to use real butter and white flour–they will still be great, but I honestly can’t taste the difference!

Snickers Stuffed Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Prep Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 2 dozen

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Snickers Stuffed Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Rich, fudgy, brownie-like chocolate cookies stuffed with melty mini Snickers and topped with sea salt for the perfect extra bite. These gluten-free Snickers Stuffed Chocolate Brownie Cookies are the perfect way to use up Halloween candy, a great Christmas cookie, or perfect for any occasion!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten-free baking blend (or white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hershey's special dark or Dutch process)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash salt
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons apple butter
  • 2/3 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 24 mini Snickers candies (I bought a combination bag with regular, peanut butter and dark chocolate)
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together baking blend, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together melted chocolate, eggs, vanilla, apple butter, and sugars until well combined, then slowly beat in dry ingredients until just combined. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Spray hands with nonstick spray (this sounds weird, but it will prevent dough from sticking to your hands during rolling) and roll dough into about 1" balls. Press the center with your thumb to make a whole for the Snickers. Gently press 1 mini Snickers into the center and then re-roll dough around it. Make sure dough is completely covering the candy. Add more dough if necessary. Place onto prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough. Sprinkle each cookie with a small pinch of coarse sea salt (if desired) just before baking.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes until just set. Cool completely on pan. Store in an airtight container for one week (these cookies stay pretty darn soft and gooey for days!).
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White Chocolate Cranberry Scones

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones {gluten-free}

Rich, crumbly white chocolate shortbread-like scones filled with sweet and tart dried cranberries are the perfect treat on Christmas morning, or any time year round. Vegan & gluten-free.

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones {gluten-free}

Okay, let’s take a quick break from cookies for a minute. Actually, I have a confession. These were supposed to be cookies. I wanted to make white chocolate cranberry cookies, and I took one of my chocolate cookie recipes and started to modify it, and at the end I looked at the dough and thought “these are not cookies”.

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones {gluten-free}

So I went rogue, and decided they would be scones. I had no idea how they would actually turn out, but as soon as they came out of the oven, I knew I had made the right choice.

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones {gluten-free}

These scones aren’t flakey like a traditional bakery-style scone, but more crumbly like a shortbread. They have that buttery (without butter) melt-in-your-mouth kind of feel, and you will find yourself picking at every last crumb.

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones {gluten-free}

Instead of using white chocolate chips, the white chocolate is melted into the dough so you get tons of delicious white chocolate flavor in every single bite. Ya know when you’re eating something with chocolate chips, and you get a bite without chips? How it’s basically the most disappointing bite ever? Yeah, none of that here.

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones {gluten-free}

And as if there wasn’t enough white chocolate flavor in the scones themselves, of course I had to drizzle a little extra on top because, well, it’s my favorite. I know I should choose dark chocolates, and blah, blah, blah, antioxidants, but I’ve always been a white chocolate girl at heart, and mixed with cranberries? Let’s just say these babies didn’t last long, and I am already craving more!

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6-8 scones

Serving Size: 1 scone

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones

Rich, crumbly white chocolate shortbread-like scones filled with sweet and tart dried cranberries are the perfect treat on Christmas morning, or any time year round. Vegan & gluten-free.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces white chocolate*
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons gluten-free baking blend, or white whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • dash salt
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a small baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan heat white chocolate and coconut oil over medium heat until melted, stirring constantly. Alternatively, you can heat them in a small bowl in the microwave in increments of 30 seconds stirring after each.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together baking blend, sugars, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in melted white chocolate and coconut oil. Mix in cranberries
  4. Roll dough into a large ball and press down into a 1-1 1/2" thick disk. Cut into 6-8 equal pieces. Do not separate.
  5. Bake as if for 10-12 minutes until golden and set. Set baking dish on wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle extra melted white chocolate if desired, and let set for about 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Notes

*For vegan scones, use vegan white chocolate.

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Eggnog Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Meal Cookies

Eggnog Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Meal Cookies {vegan + gluten-free}

Soft, nutty almond meal cookies with bold eggnog flavor, and melty chunks of dark chocolate. Vegan, gluten-free and unlike any cookie you’ve ever tasted!

Eggnog Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Meal Cookies {vegan + gluten-free}

How do you feel about eggnog? It seems to be one of those holiday things that people either LOVE or find totally disgusting. I never understood how anyone could dislike it, but then again, if I had it my way, I’d eat my cereal with half and half. ;) Rich, thick and creamy has never been something I turn down. In fact, in my, um…less healthy days, I could probably drink a carton of eggnog in one sitting. Okay, now that does actually gross me out now, but that’s how much I love it.

Eggnog Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Meal Cookies {vegan + gluten-free}

But don’t worry, if drinking eggnog isn’t your thing, these cookies have got you covered in the flavor department, without that creamy texture. They also use the soy nog. I’m usually not a big fan of soy anything, but I’m also a big fan of saving calories, and it really is the lightest one around. Not to mention, it means you can share it with all your vegan and lactose intolerant friends. Or keep them all to yourself, because you probably won’t want to share. That’s where using the lowest calorie eggnog comes in handy. ;)

Eggnog Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Meal Cookies {vegan + gluten-free}

If you’ve never had almond meal cookies, they are unlike any other cookie you will ever eat. It’s not one of those times where I’m gonna be like “I swear, it tastes exactly the same!” because it doesn’t, but not in a bad way, but in a totally unique, surprising kind of way. The almond meal gives them tons of texture without having huge chunks of nuts in your cookies. I hate that. I love nuts, but I don’t usually like them in my desserts. I like to save room for things I love more. Like chocolate, which these babies are loaded with.

Eggnog Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Meal Cookies {vegan + gluten-free}

Okay so about the chocolate…You want to use the good stuff. I mean, don’t spend a fortune, but don’t buy one from the check out stand. I always use a salted dark chocolate. It’s my favorite. I’m a 65-75% kinda girl. Some people love their 90%, and I don’t think that’s dessert, but if you like it, more power to you! Pretty much, just use what you like because you will be the one unable to keep your hands off these little gems. On second thought, maybe you should use something you hate…

Eggnog Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Meal Cookies {vegan + gluten-free}

A couple hints before you get started: Don’t worry if the dough seems really wet, and more like muffin batter. It will firm up a bit when it chills, but it still won’t be a traditional cookie dough. Use a scoop if you want your cookies to come out not looking like aliens. You can use a large spoon as well, but the scoop will yield much prettier and more even cookies. DO NOT try to roll them in your hands unless you like doughy fingers. Oh, and if you love these as much as I do, you have got to try this version using Baileys instead of eggnog!

Eggnog Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Meal Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 2 dozen

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Eggnog Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Meal Cookies

Soft, nutty almond meal cookies with bold eggnog flavor, and melty chunks of dark chocolate. Vegan, gluten-free and unlike any cookie you've ever tasted!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • dash freshly ground nutmeg
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 cup soy nog (or light eggnog)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp rum extract
  • 5 oz dark chocolate, chopped into chunks

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond meal, baking soda, cornstarch, brown sugar, nutmeg and salt. Add eggnog and extracts. Mix until well combined. Fold in dark chocolate. Cover and chill for 30-60 minutes
  2. Use a small cookie scoop to drop onto prepared baking pan. Bake until tops just begin to brown, about 11-14 minutes. Cool completely on cookie sheet. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
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Peppermint Blossom Crinkle Cookies

Peppermint Blossom Crinkle Cookies

Ultra soft and fudgy mint chocolate crinkle cookies topped with a smooth and creamy peppermint Hershey’s kiss.

Peppermint Blossom Crinkle Cookies

All my life, I’ve always been obsessed with those peanut butter cookies with the chocolate Hershey’s kiss on top. I know, I know…they’re called “Peanut Butter Blossoms”, but to me, they will always be those peanut butter cookies with the chocolate Hershey’s kiss on top.

Peppermint Blossom Crinkle Cookiespeppermintblossomcrinklecookies-2

If I ever saw them at a party, I’d immediately grab a couple, and then try to secretly make my way back all night long. What can I say, I’m a classy lady.

Peppermint Blossom Crinkle Cookies

A few years ago, Heather and I made some peppermint crinkle cookies during our holiday baking extravaganza. This baking extravaganza was no joke. Heather made a spreadsheet dictating how many pounds of butter, flour and sugar we needed to stock up on at Winco. Oh Winco…best grocery store ever.

Peppermint Blossom Crinkle Cookies

Then we baked for probably a solid 24 hours, and gave away our treats to the entire musical theatre department, and used our talents to suck up to our professors. How could we not be your favorite voice student when we made you 70 pounds worth of holiday dessert???

Peppermint Blossom Crinkle Cookies

So I took two of my favorite cookies, and I made them one. I made them for a couple of Christmas parties last year, and they were the first thing everyone flocked to (we all have similar tastes it seems ;) ), and immediately asked “WHAT ARE THESE????” Then they quickly disappeared. Fluffy powdered sugar covering a rich peppermint chocolate cookie with a smooth, melty peppermint kiss on top. It’s everything you could ask out of your holiday cookie.

**Note: All photos on this post were taken by my husband. I made these last year before I was exclusively taking the photos for my site. I could make them again (they are so good), but his photos are gorgeous, so I decided to keep them. :)

Peppermint Blossom Crinkle Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: approx 4 dozen

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Peppermint Blossom Crinkle Cookies

Ultra soft and fudgy mint chocolate crinkle cookies topped with a smooth and creamy peppermint Hershey's kiss.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour (or gluten-free baking blend)*
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 and 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup light cream cheese
  • 4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • Approx 1 cup powdered sugar for rolling
  • 48 peppermint kisses (the mint truffle kisses would also be delicious!)

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together sugar, eggs and cream cheese. Beat in melted chocolate and extracts until well combined. Slowly beat in flour mixture. If dough becomes too thick, use your hands to mix the rest of the way. Cover and chill for 2 hours (or longer).
  3. Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or lining sheet. Pour powdered sugar into a wide, shallow bowl. Shape dough into 1" balls and roll in powdered sugar until coated, then drop onto prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes until set and crinkles have formed. Immediately press a kiss into the top of each cookie. Let stand on cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

*Recipe tested with white whole wheat flour, but I have subbed the gluten-free baking blend in many similar recipes and it has worked perfectly. Cooking time may be lower, so check cookies at 7-8 minutes.

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Soft & Fluffy Sugar Cookies {The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap}

Soft & Fluffy Sugar Cookies {gluten-free}

Pillowy soft, fluffy, and loaded with vanilla flavor, these sugar cookies are irresistible. Eat them plain, frost them, or decorate with your favorite holiday decorations.

Pssssst…Today is the last day to enter this awesome giveaway! Don’t miss out!

Soft & Fluffy Sugar Cookies {gluten-free}

So yesterday we were discussing cookie swaps, yes? I may not have a ton of experience with them, but this year is the second time I have participated in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, and it is AWESOME! You sign up, and then you are sent your 3 matches. You make and send a dozen cookies to each match, then you receive a dozen cookies from 3 surprise sources.

Soft & Fluffy Sugar Cookies {gluten-free}

I signed up for the gluten-free option so I could share my cookies with Steve. The last thing I need is 3 dozen cookies that only I will eat. As awesome as that sounds. Heather sent me spict gingerbread cookies, Marianne sent me chocolate snickerdoodles, and Rachel send me peanut butter blossoms. Everything was amazing. Steve loved the peanut butter blossoms, and I kept getting drawn back to the chocolate snickerdoodles, but I mean who doesn’t love gingerbread cookies this time of year too? Seriously.

photo (31)

I sent these sweet li’l sugar cookies to Dre, Amy, and Sara.

Soft & Fluffy Sugar Cookies {gluten-free}

First I made peppermint mocha cookies. They were amazing (and I will totally share them soon), but they just didn’t look pretty, and I couldn’t bring myself to send something that didn’t at least begin beautiful. Although, who the heck knows what they looked like by the time they arrived. Sending cookies makes me so nervous. What if they get smushed? What if they’re dry and cakey by the time they arrive? What if, what if, what ifffffff….????

Soft & Fluffy Sugar Cookies {gluten-free}

Well, I can’t tell you what they looked like when they got there, but I can tell you that I absolutely loved them. They were unbelievably soft and fluffy, and the vanilla flavor was so bold, but definitely a nice change from all the chocolate I’ve been devouring. ;)

Soft & Fluffy Sugar Cookies {gluten-free}

I used coconut oil + vanilla yogurt instead of my usual apple butter. I wanted to keep the color as light as possible. Between the brown rice flour, oat flour and almond meal in my baking blend, it’s really tough to get cookies that look like the original, and I couldn’t get past the idea of brown sugar cookies, so I did everything I could to keep these as white as possible. The little bit of coconut oil adds an immense amount of softness and richness to the texture, making the cookies satisfying and irresistible.

Soft & Fluffy Sugar Cookies {The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap}

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: approx 4 dozen

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Soft & Fluffy Sugar Cookies {The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap}

Pillowy soft, fluffy, and loaded with vanilla flavor, these sugar cookies are irresistible. Eat them plain, frost them, or decorate with your favorite holiday decorations.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups gluten-free baking blend
  • 1 1/2 tbsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together baking blend, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat together sugar, yogurt and coconut oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add vanilla. Add dry ingredients and beat until just combined, scraping down sides of the bowl as necessary. Cover and chill for 30-60 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper. Use a small cookie scoop to transfer dough onto prepared baking sheet. Bake until outsides are just set, about 8-10 minutes. Cookies will look underdone. Do not over bake. Cool completely on baking sheet. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
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Dark Chocolate Cranberry Snack Mix

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Snack Mix

The perfect holiday snack mix with sweet and salty kettle corn, crunchy Chex, soft cranberries, and bold, creamy dark chocolate–you won’t be able to stay away from it. Vegan, gluten-free & even nut-free!

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Snack Mix

A couple of weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to film a segment with Health2Fit on (edible) DIY holiday gifts. The whole thing was kinda surreal, like too good to be true. I got to go to a real studio (eeee!), and although I was super nervous, everyone was so nice and welcoming! Natalie asked me to share 3 treats, so I baked up some of my new favorite cookies (those are coming very soon ;) ), put together my DIY Brownie Mix Jars, and made this snack mix.

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Snack Mix

The whole thing was a blast! I was (of course) really nervous while we were filming, but I’m excited to see how it all turned out. It was totally a dream come true, and I (and YOU!) get to see the final product this Saturday! The segment will air on local channel 7, cable channel 13, Saturday 12/14 at 11am (AZ time)! I will also be posting the video on here if you guys want to see it.

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Snack Mix

I actually don’t make a lot of snack mixes. I an such a snack monster that the last thing I need lying around the house is tempting snack food like this, but it’s always a hit at parties, and this one is actually pretty light for a dessert snack mix! Or at least that makes me feel better about the copious amount I consumed…

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Snack Mix

I love all of the different flavors and textures that come together in perfect harmony. The dark chocolate, by the way? Totally mandatory. And it has to be melted. I tried making it with chocolate chips, and although everything still tasted good, the melted dark chocolate is what really bring everything together. When it cools, it gives you those big, dreamy clusters that snack mix are all about. You could also use white chocolate–that’s been on my to-do list ever since I made this!

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Snack Mix

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: approx 5 cups

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Snack Mix

The perfect holiday snack mix with sweet and salty kettle corn, crunchy Chex, soft cranberries, and bold, creamy dark chocolate--you won't be able to stay away from it. Vegan, gluten-free & even nut-free!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups popped 94% fat free kettle corn
  • 2 cups Rice Chex cereal
  • 1 cup reduced sugar dried cranberries (or regular dried cranberries)
  • generous pinch sea salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate (or dark chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Evenly spread popcorn in a single layer over parchment paper. Top with Rice Chex, then cranberries. The goal is for all ingredients to be evenly dispersed. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  2. Melt chocolate and coconut oil in a medium microwave safe bowl by heating in 30 second increments, stirring after each, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Drizzle chocolate over other ingredients. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
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Peppermint Bark Cookies

Peppermint Bark Cookies

Rich, chocolatey cookies overflowing with pieces of sweet, crunchy peppermint bark, topped with crushed candy canes–a chocolate and peppermint lover’s dream! Peppermint Bark Cookies On a whim, I decided to buy a bag of peppermint bark baking bits at TJ’s. I knew it probably wasn’t the greatest idea. I took it out of my basket more than once, but I just kept imagining all of the wonderful things I could bake with it! Peppermint Bark Cookies I LOVE peppermint bark. Every year, it’s pretty much the biggest act of willpower to stop myself from buying a bag of the Ghiradelli peppermint bark, and eating the whole thing in one sitting. Buying the bag to eat a few in “moderation” isn’t even an option. I figured at least these ones were chopped into reallllly tiny pieces. Plus, when I bake, I give things away. If I try to give away the store bought candy I just purchased, I feel a little silly. Peppermint Bark Cookies So I bought this bag of baking chips, and I was trying to decide what to do with it. Then I looked at the back of the bag, and there was a recipe. A recipe that called for use of the entire bag. Perfect. No bark left over means no pieces getting shoveled down my mouth by the handful. It’s a win-win situation. Peppermint Bark Cookies Especially when the cookies turn out ridiculous-stop-everything-I’ve-found-the-solution-for-all-the-world’s-problems-amazing. Peppermint Bark Cookies These cookies are soft, chewy and filled with delicious chocolate flavor, complemented by the bright refreshingly sweet peppermint, and topped with crunchy candy canes for some extra texture. To me, the secret to a perfect cookie comes in the texture combinations. A slight crunch on the outside with an extra soft, almost dough-like inside. Peppermint Bark Cookies And you know how I KNOW they were a success? I brought them to a showcase where a bunch of kiddos happily gobbled them down without any clue that they were eating health(ier) cookies. Kids are the best testers because they are ridiculously honest, and happy, chocolatey faces tell all. **Note: All photos on this post were taken by my husband. I made these last year before I was exclusively taking the photos for my site. I could make them again (they are so good), but his photos are gorgeous, so I decided to keep them. :)

Peppermint Bark Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Peppermint Bark Cookies

Rich, chocolatey cookies overflowing with pieces of sweet, crunchy peppermint bark, topped with crushed candy canes--a chocolate and peppermint lover's dream!

Ingredients

  • 1 and 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (or gluten-free baking blend*
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • dash salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (preferably Dutch process)
  • 1/2 cup light cream cheese
  • 1 and 1/3 cups brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 bag Trader Joe's peppermint bark baking bits
  • 1 candy cane, crushed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  3. In a large bow, beat together cream cheese and sugars. Add eggs one at a time, beating until fully incorporated, then beat in extracts. Slowly beat in dry ingredients until fully incorporated. Fold in baking bits.
  4. Use a small cookie scoop to transfer dough onto prepared baking sheet. Press a pinch of crushed candy cane into the top of each dough ball. Bake for 10-14 minutes until set. Let stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store fully cooled cookies in an airtight container for about 1 week.

Notes

*Recipe tested with white whole wheat flour, but I've subbed my gf blend in very similar recipes and it has worked great. You may need to reduce baking time, so check cookies around 7-8 minutes.

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Gingerbread Granola

Gingerbread Granola

All the flavors of classic gingerbread in a spiced, nutty flavorful granola with big snack-worthy clusters. Vegan, gluten-free, and the perfect edible gift! Gingerbread Granola #vegan #glutenfree Friends! I’m so excited. I’ve been waiting for months to share holiday recipes with you! I am still so full from Thanksgiving weekend that I almost can’t even think about anymore food. Almost… Gingerbread Granola #vegan #glutenfree But this granola is so special that I actually haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I made it. In fact, I’ve already run out, and usually I try to think of an other granola I’d like to make so I can share a new recipe, but I think I have to make this one again because it’s literally all I can think about. Gingerbread Granola #vegan #glutenfree I had my doubts going in. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get the pure gingerbread flavor to sit just right in a nutty granola, and when I tasted the batter (yes, I taste unbaked granola), I was sure the molasses flavor was going to overpower everything. Gingerbread Granola #vegan #glutenfree You know how the best ginger molasses cookies are the ones rolled in sugar? Well, they’re my favorite. Just before baking, I made a game time decision to sprinkle a little granulated sugar over the batch, and it was the BEST idea. I only used 2 tablespoons (on a 12ish cup recipe), but it added that extra sweetness that I would want from my gingerbread, and helped tone down the molasses a bit. Gingerbread Granola #vegan #glutenfree Feel free to altar the sugar and spices to fit your preferences. I use a very simple basic granola recipe for all of my granola and just tweak things here and there to bring the flavor profile I want. The recipe is hard to mess up, and super adaptable to your tastes. Gingerbread Granola #vegan #glutenfree   The recipe is super simple and easy to make, plus it makes a HUGE batch of granola, so if you’re doing edible gifts for any of your friends/family/teachers/coworkers/bike shop employees (my husband insists), you’ll only need one batch, and you’ll still have some left over for you, because trust me, you’ll want some. In fact, you won’t want to share any of it once you sample a cluster. Gingerbread Granola #vegan #glutenfree Trust me, those big granola clusters are even more addicting than even the softest ginger cookies.

Gingerbread Granola

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 12 cups

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Gingerbread Granola

All the flavors of classic gingerbread in a spiced, nutty flavorful granola with big snack-worthy clusters. Vegan, gluten-free, and the perfect edible gift!

Ingredients

  • 5 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups pecans, roughly chopped
  • 2/3 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • Generous pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup apple butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300. Line two large baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a very large bowl, mix together the oats, nuts, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt.
  3. In a small saucepan, warm the apple butter, molasses, brown sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until well combined, whisking constantly.
  4. Add the molasses mixture into the dry ingredients and toss to combine. Divide mixture evenly between your 2 prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle each baking pan with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar.
  5. Bake until browned and crispy, about 1 hour. Lightly toss granola half way through. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. The granola will stay fresh for at least one month. I’ve never made a batch last any longer than that, but it’s still great a month in!
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DIY Brownie Mix Jars {gluten-free}

DIY Brownie Mix Jars #glutenfree

A simple, easy, DIY gift idea for rich and fudgey gluten-free brownie mix. So easy to make, and a perfect gift for anyone in your life who loves chocolate! Includes dairy-free & vegan options.

DIY Brownie Mix Jars #glutenfree

Every year I do a huge holiday baking day. I usually invite hermano to “help”, and he’ll mix a few things, and then he just lays around…that is until I need a taste tester. ;)

DIY Brownie Mix Jars #glutenfree

I do enjoy it, but I usually end the day totally exhausted and swearing off ever stepping foot in my kitchen again. And don’t even think about getting me to cook dinner. It always ends up being a Chipotle night, even though all I really ever want at the end is greasy, cheesy pizza. But let’s be honest, all I ever want is greasy, cheesy pizza. And chocolate. And fro-yo.

DIY Brownie Mix Jars #glutenfree

The truth is, DIY mixes are so expensive at places like Starbucks or the Hallmark store, and they seem like a novelty item, but they are really easy to put together, far less time consuming than huge batch baking, and really inexpensive. The biggest expense ends up being the jars, but if you go to the dollar store, a thrift store, or hit the clearance section of your craft store, you can get them very reasonably.

DIY Brownie Mix Jars #glutenfree

Not to mention, the store-bought mixes are loaded with refined flours, and often times lots of weird preservatives. By making them yourself, you can control what goes in, and that includes changing things up, and adding your own mix-ins. If you know the person you’re giving it to loves chocolate and peanut butter, you could add some mini peanut butter cups, or Reese’s Pieces.

DIY Brownie Mix Jars #glutenfree

I just joined The Recipe ReDux which is a challenge hosted by dietitians to create unique and delicious recipes that are also healthy. While brownies are still somewhat indulgent, it is the holidays, and these are 100% whole grain, and the butter is replaced with nonfat yogurt. So you can have your cake brownie and eat it too. ;)

I just took my favorite brownie recipe, and layered the dry ingredients in a jar–it literally took less than 5 minutes, and you can easily do the same thing with any of your favorite recipes. I use my gluten-free baking blend, but you could use white whole wheat flour, or almond meal, or any blend of your own. All you need to add are eggs and some nonfat vanilla yogurt–everything else is included. You could also keep it dairy-free by using coconut oil instead of yogurt, or vegan by replacing the eggs with 2 tbsp cornstarch and 1/3 cup almond milk–so it can work for anyone in your life!

DIY Brownie Mix Jars {gluten-free}

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 16

Serving Size: 1 brownie

DIY Brownie Mix Jars {gluten-free}

A simple, easy, DIY gift idea for rich and fudgey gluten-free brownie mix. So easy to make, and a perfect gift for anyone in your life who loves chocolate!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp gluten-free baking blend (or white whole wheat flour
  • dash salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
  • 1/2 tsp espresso powder
  • 5 1/2 oz dark chocolate, about 1 scant cup
  • To make brownies:
  • 1/2 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk flour and salt together. In a 3.5-4 cup jar, layer ingredients in order listed. You may change the order as long as you leave the chocolate chips on top. Use a tablespoon to smooth down after each layer for the best visual effect.
  2. To make brownies, preheat oven to 350. Line a 9" square pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, melt the chocolate and let cool. Stir in yogurt, whisk eggs in one at a time. Gently fold in remaining ingredients until just combined.
  4. Transfer to prepared baking tin and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with a few crumbs, about 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan then serve. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Notes

Recipe easily doubled in a larger jar. Feel free to add mix ins of your choosing.

For dairy-free brownies, replace yogurt with melted coconut oil For vegan brownies, also replace egg with 2 tbsp cornstarch and 1/3 cup almond milk.

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Truffle Stuffed Candy Cane Cookies

Truffle Stuffed Candy Cane Cookies

Everyone has their holiday candy of choice.

Truffle Stuffed Candy Cane Cookies

I’m not usually a candy person. I mean, don’t get me wrong, if it includes sugar, I almost always enjoy it, but candy is certainly not my dessert of choice. If it isn’t frozen or baked, it’s usually pretty easy for me to pass up. For me, candy is a topping or an ingredient, not a dessert. It goes on top of my fro yo, or in this case, inside of my cookie.

Truffle Stuffed Candy Cane Cookies

Have I ever told you about birthdays in my family? I’m sure it won’t surprise you to know that they have always been a big deal. The other day I was talking with some friends about how our families are big on celebrations and my friend Lauran said “If we could, my family would celebrate Tuesday!” Well, that pretty much sums up my dad. Birthdays, half birthdays, quarter birhdays, 5/16 of a century birthdays. You think I’m joking. He never fails to remind me juuuust how close to 30 I’m getting by giving me fractional decade updates. Thanks dad. Being 7/8 of my way to 30 or whatever the last number you gave me is really something I want to celebrate.

Truffle Stuffed Candy Cane Cookies

Leading up to my mom’s birthday last year, he kept emailing her daily count downs. They haven’t been married for about 26 years. My family is…well, different. Those after school specials about there being “more than one way to have a family” must have been made special for me and my cooky family.

Truffle Stuffed Candy Cane Cookies

 

So….I made these for my dad. For his half birthday, because that’s something we celebrate. I always make my incredibly Jewish father Christmas themed half birthday desserts because his half birthday is December 1st, and that time of year, all I want to cook with is eggnog and candy canes. Best daughter ever.

Truffle Stuffed Candy Cane Cookies

Oh, but about candies (tangent much?), my holiday candy is the Lindt truffle. Pretty much any flavor, any time; always has been. When I was a kid, my dad would always buy them for me this time of year, and I’ve even gotten Steve’s family hooked on them! One of my students must have read my mind and given me a whole bag as a part of my secret santa present, and they were not doing me any favors by sitting there taunting me, so into the cookies they went, and the rest is history.

According to Hermano, these are “the best cookies I’ve ever made”. This was after he told me my lentil soup was “not his favorite soup”, so at least we know he’s being honest. To be fair, I loved the lentil soup, but nothing can really compare to a perfectly chewy cookie with pieces of crunchy candy cane stuffed with a rich, delicious Lindt chocolate truffle that melts into the cookie, and then perfectly into your mouth at first bite. The cookies are ridiculous.

 

Truffle Stuffed Candy Cane Cookies

yield 9 huge cookies

  • 1 cup + 2 tbs white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 cup light whipped cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 tbsp egg substitute (an egg white would work too)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 candy canes, crushed
  • 9 Lindt truffles, frozen (any flavor–they’re all good, but I used milk chocolate)

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugars. Add almond milk, egg substitute and vanilla bean paste and beat until combined. Add dry ingredients to cream cheese mixture and beat until combined. Stir in crushed candy canes. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper. Cover each frozen truffle completely with chilled cookie dough and roll into a ball, then place on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes (they are big cookies, it takes a while), turning half way through, until the edges are browned and cookies are completely set. Let stand for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cook completely.

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Eggnog Dark Chocolate Ganache Filling {Vegan}

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Eggnog Dark Chocolate Ganache Filling #vegan

Longest title ever?

I’m officially in a holiday cookie induced sugar coma and I may never come out. I mean, I’m beginning to wonder what I will do with my life once it’s December 26th? Will I have to go back to normal recipes??? THE HORROR!!

Can we talk about the whole concept of “seasonal” foods??? I mean, it’s bad enough that honeycrisp apples only exist for like 3 weeks out of the year, but eggnog and ginger exist YEAR ROUND my friends. So does peppermint. Why do we have to pretend it is only excited in the winter time?? I want to drink eggnog from the carton in July with no shame. You may ask for world peace. I ask for eggnog in July. I fail to see the difference.

I don’t really understand the idea that if you only have something once in a while, it’s supposed to be more special or something? I guess they call that moderation. I don’t have it.

And before you judge me, let me tell you, once you taste these whoopie pies, you won’t have it either. I was a little unsure how the eggnog flavor would go with the chocolate. Oooooooomg. Why have we not been eating chocolate eggnog every day for our entire lives????? Okay, blah blah blah, heart disease… Whatever. It’s amazing.

Whoopie pies are only, like, my favorite thing ever. They’re up there with cilantro and fro yo. Is it cake? Is it a cookie? What is that delicious filling??? Oh, it’s just a freaking WHOOPIE PIE. Soft and cake-like gingerbread cookie stuffed with rich dark chocolate and eggnog that is so delicious you’ll want to lick the crumbs off your silpat. Not that I did anything like that….

 

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Eggnog Dark Chocolate Ganache Filling

yield one dozen large whoopie pies

For the cookie/cake (adapted from Damn Delicious)

  • 1 3/4 cups + 2 tbs white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • dash nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the filling:
  • 2 oz dark chocolate, melted
  • 1/4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp rum extract
  • 2 tbs soy nog

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a large baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda, salt, and cornstarch. In a large bowl, beat together applesauce, brown sugar and molasses. Beat in half of the dry ingredients to the applesauce mixture, followed by the almond milk, apple cider vinegar and vanilla. Beat in remaining half of the dry ingredients.
  3. Using a small-medium cookie scoop, drop batter onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden. Let stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To make the filling, place all ingredients in a small microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds. Stir well. If chocolate if not completely melted after stirring, continue to heat for 15 second increments until stirring melts it completely. Allow mixture to cool at room temperature or in the fridge until it has thickened and is no longer runny (about 15 minutes in the fridge, or 20 at room temp). Do not keep it in the fridge too long, or it will harden.
  5. Spread filling over 1/2 of the cookies/cakes (whatever you want to call the gingerbread part…), then top with an other cookie/cake.