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.

http://arismenu.com/peppermint-bark-cookies/

Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins #glutenfree #vegan

Vegan and gluten-free ultra soft pumpkin banana muffins overflowing with melty dark chocolate chips. The perfect treat for a crisp fall morning.

Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins #glutenfree #vegan

Good morning! Is it morning where you are? It’s totally not here, but these muffins make me feel like morning. That probably sounds weird. Not just because they’re muffins. Muffins are more an afternoon snack than breakfast for me. They just make me feel like morning. Like cool, crisp autumn morning on the porch. I wish I had a table and chairs on my porch. A table and chairs just for muffins.

Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins #glutenfree #vegan

Perfectly imperfect muffins. Not at all smooth like your normally think of, but with a little character and personality, and a whole lot of flavor. You see pumpkin and banana are known for making perfectly *gross word*, soft, and tender baked goods. Put them together, and it only gets better. Add some melty dark chocolate, and you’ve got the stuff dreams are made of.

Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins #glutenfree #vegan

The muffins practically melt in your mouth. No dry, cakey-ness (Okay, serious how do you spell that word?? I get a red squiggly line every time with no suggestion. Rude.) that you would expect from a health(ier) muffin. Sometimes I don’t like pumpkin in cookies because it makes them taste like, well, muffins–which is why pumpkin muffins are just perfect!

Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins #glutenfree #vegan

These are super simple and easy to make, and a perfect fall treat to have around on Thanksgiving or any get together. That is if you don’t eat them all before your family and friends arrive. ;)

Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 1 dozen

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Vegan and gluten-free ultra soft pumpkin banana muffins overflowing with melty dark chocolate chips. The perfect treat for a crisp fall morning.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups gluten free baking blend
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • dash salt
  • 2 extra ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (I a combination of mini and full size)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Line muffin tins with paper liners and spray liners with nonstick spray. Do not skip this step--lower fat items will stick if you don't use spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together baking blend, pumpkin pie spice, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl mix together banana, pumpkin, brown sugar and vanilla until combined. Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Evenly divide batter between prepared muffin tins. Bake for 5 minutes, then lower heat to 350. Continue baking until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with just a few crumbs, about 12-15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
http://arismenu.com/pumpkin-banana-chocolate-chip-muffins/

 

Banana Cream Cupcakes

Banana Cream Cupcakes

Banana Cream Cupcakes

You guys you guys you guys you guys!!!!! I have the best house guest in the whole world right now!

Banana Cream Cupcakes

So I’m going to keep this short so we can commence with cooking, baking, wine drinking, and goat cheese eating. I made banana cupcakes. Then I stuffed them with cream cheese frosting. Then I topped them with salted caramel. I mean, how could that even possibly be bad?

Banana Cream Cupcakes

Did I mention that my “little” brother turned 16? He is also over 6′ tall, and has this deep man voice. When he calls me he just says “Yooooooooo” in this grumbly, ridiculously low-pitched man voice. Like, what IS that? I remember him being born. HOW CAN HE BE A MAN NOW????

Banana Cream Cupcakes

I try to imitate the “Yo” voice, but ummm, I have a high-pitched little girl voice, so it doesn’t work. At all. Everyone laughs at me. So I just let him stick to the man voice, and I stick to what I’m good at, like making him perfect birthday cupcakes. And they are. The banana makes the cupcakes ridiculously soft, and they are totally stuffed with the cream cheese filling, and that salted caramel is just the icing on the cake. Literally.

Banana Cream Cupcakes

Banana Cream Cupcakes

Ingredients

    For the cupcakes:
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 dash salt
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat buttermilk
  • fleur de sel caramel for topping, optional
  • For the filling:
  • 8oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 375. Line 2 muffin tins with 18 paper liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat together apples, apple sauce and sugar. Slowly, beat in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Slowly beat in half the dry ingredients, then buttermilk, followed by the last of the dry ingredients.
  3. Evenly divide batter between 18 muffin tins. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with just a few crumbs, about 20-25 minutes. Cool completely.
  4. To make the filling, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla together until well combined. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a large tip. Insert tip into the center of cooled cupcakes and gently squeeze out 1-2 tbsp of filling.
  5. Drizzle with caramel if desired immediately before serving. Cupcakes are best the same day, but can be stored refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
http://arismenu.com/banana-cream-cupcakes/

Drink & Dish: Blueberry Pancakes {with video!}

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes #vegan via arismenu.com

I know that no one is *perfect*, but I’d have to say my mom is pretty darn close. So today, rather than tell you about how awesome the pancakes are (they are awesome, and make sure you check out the video at the end for all my pancake secrets!), I have compiled a list of a few of the many reasons I love my mom.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes #vegan via arismenu.com

1. My mom is the best listener. Any time I have a problem, she says all the right things. I can call her at any time of day and I know I can count on her to be my confidant, and give me A+ advice. She is a social worker, so in addition to her 28 years (gross, I’m old) of experience, she’s also legitimately educated in advice giving and people skills.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes #vegan via arismenu.com

2. She is hilarious and totally weird. When I was little, she would do this weird clap-in-patterns thing. I seriously don’t know how else to even explain it, but I was always so embarrassed. Now I see all my weird little quirks, and realize how alike we are. I appreciate that she taught me to be silly, and to be myself. Now I love all of her little oddities. They make her unique, and she wouldn’t be my mom without them.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes #vegan via arismenu.com

3. She is my biggest cheerleader, and also my biggest advocate. I love the positive support and encouragement I get from my mom, but it is the times when I see her stand up and fight for me that I am taken aback. My mom, rarely angry, occasionally turns into a real mama bear, and I can see her fight to protect me. I don’t care how old I am, I will always appreciate feeling protected, and I will also always need to hear her tell me “Good job. I’m proud of you.”

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes #vegan via arismenu.com

4. She is the most patient woman I have ever met. It doesn’t run in the family. I simultaneously admire, and am in awe of her patience. You know when you want to grow up and be just like your mom? Yeah, I still feel that way, and I keep hoping one day it will happen.

There are a million more things I could say, but I’ll try not to make this a novel. Check out the latest episode of Drink & Dish for my pancake secrets, Nicole’s amazing Blackberry Wine Cooler (check out the recipe–they are AWESOME!), and our favorite memories with our moms.


What is your favorite thing/memory about/with your mom?

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 pancakes

Serving Size: 2 pancakes

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes

Perfectly fluffy whole wheat and vegan blueberry pancakes are perfect for any brunch occasion!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp milled flax seed
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • dash salt
  • 2-3 tbsp brown sugar*
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together flax seed and water. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and brown sugar. Gently mix in flax mixture, almond milk, and vanilla, stirring until just combined, then fold in blueberries. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat griddle or large pan over medium-low heat, and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Cook until top forms small bubbles and bottom is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, until golden.

Notes

*I used 2 tbsp brown sugar, but you can easily use 3 if you like your pancakes on the sweeter side.

http://arismenu.com/drink-dish-blueberry-pancakes/

Buckeye Brownies

Buckeye Brownies via arismenu.com

Buckeye Brownies via arismenu.com

My favorite (and best) cooking inspiration has always been making things for the people I love. Especially birthdays. Birthdays are my favorite thing in the world, and nothing brings me more happiness than making the perfect treat to show my love.

Buckeye Brownies via arismenu.com

In fact, to date my favorite recipe I’ve ever made was for Steve’s birthday last year. I have to tell you, though–these give them a run for their money!

buckeyebrownies-10Buckeye Brownies via arismenu.com

When I saw this post on Brown Eyed Baker a couple of months ago, I immediately sent it to Nicole–the idea is genius, the photos are absolutely gorgeous, and I wanted to jump through my screen and lick every crumb.

Buckeye Brownies via arismenu.com

So when I was deciding what to make Nicole for her birthday this year, I knew exactly where I wanted to start. Of course, I changed a few things to make these a little less indulgent, but they still tasted rich and decadent. The brownie layer is the fudgiest brownie I have ever tasted, and the peanut butter tastes like the inside of a Reese’s cup, and then that perfectly glossy glaze? I diiiieeee.

Buckeye Brownies via arismenu.com

The good thing about cooking for your BBF (best blog friend–I know, we’re totally, like tweens) is they don’t mind that you cut into their birthday dessert to photograph it, and maybe sneak a tiny bite so that you can make sure it’s perfect before you give it to them. ;) Thanks for taking one for the team blog, Nicole!

Buckeye Brownies via arismenu.com

Buckeye Brownies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Yield: 32

Serving Size: 1 brownie

Buckeye Brownies

Rich and fudgy brownies topped with creamy sweetened peanut butter, followed by a chocolate peanut butter glaze--these brownies are to-die-for!

Ingredients

    For the brownies:
  • 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • dash
  • salt
  • For the peanut butter layer:
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2-3 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • For the chocolate peanut butter glaze:
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

Instructions

  1. To make the brownies, preheat the oven to 350. Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil and spray lightly with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, espresso powder and water. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until combined. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla and sugar. Stir in flour and salt until combined. Do not overmix.
  3. Transfer batter to prepared baking dish. Bake set and until a toothpick inserted a couple of inches from the edge comes out with a few crumbs, about 30 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.
  4. To make the peanut butter layer, beat together peanut butter, coconut oil and powdered sugar until smooth. Add milk 1 tbsp at a time until you reach a smooth, spreadable texture. Spread evenly onto cooled brownies.
  5. To make the glaze, place chocolate and peanut butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 20 second increments, stirring between each, until melted. Spread glaze evenly over peanut butter layer. Cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, then serve. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baked

http://arismenu.com/buckeye-brownies/

Plain Ol’ Chocolate Chip Cookies {vegan}

Chocolate Chip Cookies #vegan via arismenu.com

Chocolate Chip Cookies #vegan via arismenu.com

 

Sometimes you just need plain, simple, classic comfort food. This is one of those times.

Chocolate Chip Cookies #vegan via arismenu.com

Would you believe I didn’t have a chocolate chip cookie recipe on here? I’m actually more intimidated by simple, well-known recipes. I feel like it has to be *perfect* and I don’t want to post it, until I know I’ve gotten it right.

Chocolate Chip Cookies #vegan via arismenu.com

Chocolate chip cookies with no butter is not an easy feat, my friends. You see, with peanut butter cookies, it’s easy–the fat in the peanut butter works perfectly, and you don’t realize you’re missing the butter, but in a plain ol’ chocolate chip cookie? The flavors I associate are butter, brown sugar and, well, chocolate! But honestly, butter is probably number one.

Chocolate Chip Cookies #vegan via arismenu.com

The secret? It’s the combination of apple butter, which gives the perfect texture (far superior to applesauce or yogurt in cookies) and the tiniest bit of butter extract. That stuff is magical. Using cornstarch in place of an egg not only makes them vegan, but helps keep them thick and chewy, and the massive amount of chocolate chips is 100% necessary. Also, a tiny sprinkle of salt on your dough just before it goes into the oven will take your cookie flavor to the next level! Not quite salted, but it evens out the sweetness.

Chocolate Chip Cookies #vegan via arismenu.com

The result is healthier chocolate chip cookies that taste like the real deal. Thick, chewy, with a slight crunch on the outside, and that perfect soft, gooey, and extra chocolatey inside. I am finally ready to share my chocolate chip cookies with you, because I finally got it right.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Simple, classic, vegan and whole grain chocolate chip cookies that taste just like the real deal.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp butter flavoring (optional, but recommended)
  • 1 heaping cup dark chocolate chips
  • sea salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together apple butter and sugars until combined. Beat in almond milk, vanilla and butter flavoring. Slowly add in dry ingredients, beating until just combined. Beat in chocolate chips. Cover and chill dough for 30 minutes, or up to overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 375. Line a large baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.Use a small cookie scoop, or roll dough into 1" balls. Add a tiny pinch (or more if you want them to have the "salted" taste) of sea salt to the top of each cookie dough ball.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden and just set. Do not over bake. Allow to cool completely on cookie sheet. Store in a loosely covered container for 5-7 days.
http://arismenu.com/chocolate-chip-cookies/

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread #vegan via www.arismenu.com

Soft and tender vegan banana bread swirled with creamy cookie butter and topped with a crumbly cookie butter & oat streusel. 

You know when there is a trendy clothing item that everyone starts wearing? First, you judge it (well…I do). Then, it starts to grow on you, and eventually curiosity gets the best of you, and you find yourself in a fitting room not even 100% sure why you’re trying this on, but then once it’s on your body you fall in so much love, and everything makes sense in the world?

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread #vegan via www.arismenu.com

That’s how I feel about banana bread. One day, I opened my reader, and almost all of the food blogs I follow posted banana bread. I’ve never been one to think “OMG, I really want to make some banana bread!’, but that day all the cool kids were doing it, and I totally wanted to fit into their crowd.

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread #vegan via www.arismenu.com

PS: I was NOT a cool kid in school. I was that awkward kid that fit into absolutely no social groups, and didn’t really have any friends until high school. Somehow awkward clothing choices, bad jokes, and an obsession for musical theatre don’t equal popularity? It’s a total mystery. But I mean, let’s be honest…those things still pretty much apply…

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread #vegan via www.arismenu.com

Anyway, I was on a mission to make banana bread, but it couldn’t just be regular banana bread. That’s not the way I work. So I filled it with melted cookie butter, and topped it with what might be my favorite thing ever–cookie butter streusel.

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread #vegan via www.arismenu.com

You guys. First of all, I made streusel with no butter. I didn’t think it was possible to achieve the right texture, but I did. Not only that, I made streusel with no flour, and, this streusel is…so….good. I wish I could give you a better description–I mean, it’s crumbly and it tastes buttery (magic), but words can’t describe how amazing it is, so we’ll stick with “….so….good.”

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread #vegan via www.arismenu.com

And the banana bread? It’s so soft and that m word that I really hate. I really wanted the cookie butter to stand out, so I didn’t want to just mix it into the batter where the flavors get muted–that’s my biggest pet peeve about cookie butter (and Nutella for that matter) in baked goods. I wanted to sink my teeth in and get slapped in the face with cookie butter flavor. Can you think of anything better?

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread #vegan via www.arismenu.com

I don’t think I can. This was one of those recipes that made my dance-around-my-kitchen-giddy, and I had to give it away to my family immediately so that I wouldn’t eat the entire loaf. It was that good.

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 12-16

Serving Size: 1 slice

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread

Soft and tender vegan banana bread swirled with creamy cookie butter and topped with a crumbly cookie butter & oat streusel.

Ingredients

  • For the banana bread:
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 extra ripe medium bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cookie butter or Biscoff spread, melted
  • For the cookie butter streusel:
  • 1/4 cup raw oats
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cookie butter or Biscoff spread

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x5" loaf pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Begin with banana bread. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Let stand.
  3. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together mashed bananas, applesauce, sugars and vanilla until well combined. Add half the dry ingredients, followed by almond milk mixture, then remaining dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  4. Pour half the batter into prepared loaf pan. Pour 1 cup melted cookie butter on top in an even layer. Top with remaining batter.
  5. To make the streusel, combine oats, brown sugar and 1 1/2 tbsp cookie butter. Mix by hand until ingredients are combined and form a crumbly texture. Sprinkle evenly over batter.
  6. Bake until golden and set, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, about an hour. Cool completely. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
http://arismenu.com/cookie-butter-streusel-banana-bread/

 

Drink & Dish: DIY Funfetti Cake Mix {with video!}

DIY Funfetti Cake Mix #vegan via www.arismenu.com

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BEST BLOG FRIEND NICOLE!!!!DIY Funfetti Cake Mix #vegan via www.arismenu.com

You guys know how insanely obsessed with birthdays I am, right? I jump on any chance to celebrate, and I consider birthdays the day you celebrate that people you love are in your life. My normal birthday message goes something like “Happy birthday! I’m glad you were born!”

funfetticakemix-660

So okay, it might sounds a little silly and cheesy, but how often to we actually tell people we love that we’re glad they’ve in our lives? It’s nice to have a day where we’re reminded. Or maybe I’m just sentimental…

funfetticakemix-664

The beginning of April is crazy birthday time! Within a week, Steve, Nicole and her husband Lance all have their birthdays. I’m the odd man out, but that’s probably a good thing, because I have a total sharing problem when it comes to my birthday. I reallllllly like attention (in case you haven’t figured that one out yet), and I don’t want to share my thunder with anyone.

DIY Funfetti Cake Mix #vegan via www.arismenu.com

Once my dad told me he was dating someone with the same birthday as me. He thought I would think this was “cool”. I told him he should probably break it off. Some people are bad at sharing books and m&ms (I love you Heath), I’m bad at sharing birthdays.

DIY Funfetti Cake Mix #vegan via www.arismenu.com

So I have some pretty serious character flaws. Sharing, over sharing, and obsessive sprinkle photographing. I’m sorry. I took, like, 100 pictures because…sprinkles, they’re sooooo pretty. It was one of those magic days where I loved shooting from every angle, and of course, I wanted to share every single one of them with you because God forbid I leave out the one that looks the same, but it slightly closer up. I don’t know what my problem is.

DIY Funfetti Cake Mix #vegan via www.arismenu.com

That’s why I made the little collage. I figured it would make this post, maybe not 500 years long. Some people just post, like 2 pictures, say a few words, and then post a recipe, but I have SO MANY things to say and OMG SO MANY things to show you!

DIY Funfetti Cake Mix #vegan via www.arismenu.com

Oh, and I guess I should talk about the cake mix, eh? To put it concisely (because lord knows I’ve talked enough in this post), I can’t believe I ever bought a boxed cake mix! This was so much easier than driving to the store! I know sometimes we like to have a little bit of cake mix on hand for when other recipes call for it–well friends, you just put some together, and have it ready in the pantry. It’s so easy. And when I baked it into cupcakes, all I did was mix everything together in one bowl (all you have to add is applesauce, almond milk and vanilla!), and my cupcakes were done in NO TIME! Not to mention, they domed up so beautifully!

DIY Funfetti Cake Mix #vegan via www.arismenu.com

It was a great excuse to throw some sprinkles around with the birthday girl, and film the latest episode of Drink & Dish! Make sure to check out Nicole’s Boozy Birthday Cake Shake. It is ridiculously, sinfully good.


DIY Funfetti Cake Mix

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Serving Size: 1/24th mix

Easy, homemade, whole grain, vegan funfetti cake mix in less time than it takes to run to the store to buy a box.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • small pinch salt
  • 1 1/3 cups Jimmies sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Whisk all ingredients in together in a large bowl. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Notes

To bake cupcakes, simply add 2/3 cup applesauce, 2 and 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk, and 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract to mix. Stir until combined. Evenly divide the batter between 2 dozen cupcake tins and bake @ 350 until a toothpick in the center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. You can also bake into 2 8-9" rounds, or one large sheet cake, just adjust baking times accordingly.

http://arismenu.com/drink-dish-diy-funfetti-cake-mix-with-video/

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies #vegan via www.arismenu.com

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies #vegan via www.arismenu.com I’m sorry. I know my title is so long. Ridiculously long. I promise I tried to change it, but I just needed to tell you all of those things about these cookies. They are too important to leave out.

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies #vegan via www.arismenu.com

 

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but my best friend from high school is having a baby!! She’s due in less than a month, and it’s so strange. I’ve seen a lot of people have kids, but never someone my age and close to me. It’s like we’re becoming adults, and I can’t even handle it.

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies #vegan via www.arismenu.com

I’ve also never been so excited for someone to have a baby. There are no two people in the entire universe that could make more amazing parents than Lisa and Sam. Whenever I need to talk something through, Lisa is one of the first people I call, and she is always so loving, supportive, and filled with amazing, insightful advice. It has been so amazing to watch her meet the perfect man who loves her like crazy, and watch them build their life together.

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies #vegan via www.arismenu.com

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending her baby shower. I’ve never been so excited for one of those things! I got totally emotional picking out her gifts. I came *this close* to making her black & white cookies, but I ended up deciding to try something new…like always. ;)

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies #vegan via www.arismenu.com

I just lightly adapted one of my favorite cookie recipes which was originally adapted by one of my very favorite bloggers, and I now might have a new favorite cookie. These cookies are not for those who love a mild taste, or feel luke warm about chocolate. Oh no, these are rich, bold, decadent, and insanely dark. They have the kind of intense chocolate flavor that satisfies you with just one cookie.

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies #vegan via www.arismenu.comI mean, don’t get me wrong…You will want to eat 3 or 4, but one really does the trick. I always find dark chocolate to be more satisfying than milk chocolate. Sometimes I prefer a milk chocolate taste, but it always leaves me craving more, where as dark chocolate satisfies my sweet tooth. Anyone else? Am I just a total freak?

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies #vegan via www.arismenu.com

I originally wanted to make my own peanut butter chips. Natural, no sweetener, “healthy”. But then I got impatient, and I didn’t chill the peanut butter nearly long enough, and as I stirred it in, it just started swirling around. I was totally bummed for a hot second, then decided to just go with it. I ended up LOVING the peanut butter swirl! So pretty, so peanut buttery, so right. One of those happy accidents.

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies #vegan via www.arismenu.com

Add a little bite with so coarse sea salt on top, and you’ve got the makings of a perfect cookie. All sorts of things happening, but all working perfectly together.

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies

Prep Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 1 dozen

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies

Rich, decadent brownie cookies swirled with peanut butter and topped with sea salt. Vegan and whole grain.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter, slightly melted
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • dash salt
  • 4 oz dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 tbsp apple butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks
  • Sea salt for topping

Instructions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour peanut butter on in a thin layer. Transfer to the freezer to chill for 1 hour.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, corn starch and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together chocolate, vanilla, apple butter, and sugars until well combined,Add almond milk, then slowly beat in dry ingredients until just combined.
  4. Remove chilled peanut butter from parchment paper (it should be solid, but bendable. Gently, fold peanut butter and chocolate chips into batter. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Use a small cookie scoop to transfer dough to prepared cookie sheets. Add a small pinch of sea salt to each cookie. Press down dough balls to flatten slightly (they don’t spread when they bake, so if you don’t flatten them, you will end up with round cookies).
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes until just set. Do not over bake. They will continue to cook themselves as they sit. Let the cookies stand on the pan until completely cooled. Store in an airtight container for one week (these cookies stay pretty darn soft and gooey for days!).
http://arismenu.com/salted-triple-chocolate-peanut-butter-swirled-brownie-cookies/

S’mores Blondies

S'mores Blondies

S'mores Blondies

I have a confession. I’ve been trying to hide this little secret, but it is coming to the point where you will figure it out, so I’m going to spill the beans…

S'mores Blondies

Raise your hand if you guessed I was pregnant? You know like everyone else I know in life and stalk in fake internet life? That’s always the first thing people assume when I say I have a secret. You see, I’m an old married lady now who posts obnoxious pictures of her 4 legged kids all over the internet, so everyone seems to think it’s the “next step”. Sorry to disappoint (I’m not pregnant). In fact, my secret is pretty lame.

S'mores Blondies

I haven’t been eating dessert. That’s the whole secret. (See? Tolda ya I was lame.) You see, this whole going on 2+ months of no running has been doing me no favors, and I’ve gotten to a, um, less than ideal place with my weight. Nothing crazy, but nothing I wish to continue. So I’m trying to be pretty diligent about my eating, and kick my sugar addiction to the curb. This means I only got one tiny bite of these soft, gooey, sweet and drool-worthy blondies. Life is hard sometimes, friends.

S'mores Blondies

I had to take just the tiiiiiniest bite to make sure they were good, and so I could tell you all about them, and holy cow, they are beyoonnnnd good. I used my favorite graham cracker crust, topped it with smooth and creamy white chocolate blondie, then topped the whole thing with browned marshmallows for my favorite white chocolate and marshmallow lover.

S'mores Blondies

So things might get a little dinner and savory heavy over here until I am back to double digit long runs that burn off all the cookies, but I promise to test a few more sweet bites like this one, so that you guys can still get your health(ier) dessert fill. :)

S'mores Blondies

 

S’mores Blondies

yield 16

For the crust:

  • 8 oz old fashioned graham crackers
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

For the blondies:

  • 5.5 oz white chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9″ square pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. To make the crust, place graham crackers in your food processor and pulse until fine crumbs. While food processor is running, stream in coconut oil and continue to process until combined. Press crust mixture into the bottom of your pan and bake until lightly browned and set, about 12 minutes.
  3. To make the blondies, in a large bowl mix together white chocolate and yogurt. Beat in brown sugar until combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until combined. Add vanilla. Add flour and mix until just combined.
  4. Transfer blondie batter to prepared crust and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs, about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove blondies from the oven and turn to broil. Evenly spread mini marshmallows on top, and return to oven to broil for about 5 minutes until the marshmallows have browned. Cool completely before serving. Blondies are best the same day, but can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

 

Skinnified Sunday: Banana Bread Tres Leches Cake

Skinnified Banana Bread Tres Leches Cake

Skinnified Banana Bread Tres Leches Cake

I don’t like to make things I’ve already made. I mean, I make the same thing for breakfast every single day, and I order the same thing every time at my favorite restaurants, but I don’t like to bake things more than once, even if it’s a different recipe. Well, unless it’s cookies. Cookies are my favorite. I will make them over and over and over for no reason at all. Cake on the other hand? Meh, I can take it or leave it. I will always eat a dessert, but cookies and fro yo are my true loves.

Skinnified Banana Bread Tres Leches Cake

Well, that is the case with most cakes anyway, but every once in a while, I come across one I really love. ;)

Skinnified Banana Bread Tres Leches Cake

I’ve already made a regular tres leches cake, and a vegan tres leches cake. I had no desire to make an other one, but when people make birthday requests, I can’t say no.

Skinnified Banana Bread Tres Leches Cake

I wanted to try something new and different, and I immediately remembered this recipe that caught my eye a few weeks ago. I’m pretty sure I’ve said about 5 billion times that Jessica’s blog is my very very favorite. She is my blogspiration–her writing, her recipes, her gorgeeeooouuusss photography….everything is just soooo good. If you haven’t you must go check it out rightthissecond.

Skinnified Banana Bread Tres Leches CakeAnd as usual, she doesn’t disappoint! Soft, gooey, milk soaked banana cake? Sign me up. I may even like it better than cookies.

My swaps:

  • White whole wheat flour for all purpose (+fiber, +protein)
  • Applesauce for butter (-fat, -calories, -cholesterol)
  • Less sugar (-sugar…obviously)
  • Unsweetened almond milk for light coconut milk (-calories)
  • Sweetened condensed coconut milk for regular condensed milk (-calories)
  • Regular sliced bananas for caramelized bananas (-fat, -calories, -sugar, -cholesterol)

Skinnified Banana Bread Tres Leches Cake

 

Skinnified Banana Bread Tres Leches Cake

adapted from How Sweet It Is

  • 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 medium bananas, mashed
  • 2/3 cup + 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, divided
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
  • 1-2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2-3 bananas for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. 
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  3. In an other small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together egg yolks, applesauce and sugars until creamy. Add vanilla and mashed bananas and beat until well combined. Add half of the flour mixture, followed by 2/3 cup almond milk, then the remaining flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Fold in egg whites.
  5. Transfer batter to prepared baking dish, and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs, about 25 minutes. Cool completely
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup almond milk, sweetened condensed coconut milk and evaporated milk. Pour the milk mixture over the cake in 3 small batches, brushing with a pastry brush in between each time. Cover and let cake sit in refrigerator for at least 1 hour (overnight is preferable).
  7. To make the whipped cream topping, in a large bowl, beat whipping cream on high until stiff peaks form. Add powdered sugar slowly to reach desired sweetness mixing on medium speed. Spread evenly over cake.
  8. Top with freshly sliced banana just before serving.

 

Samoas Donuts {vegan}

Samoas Donuts #vegan

Samoas Donuts #vegan

It’s here. The season I love to hate. Or hate to love. Yes, definitely hate to love: Girl Scout Cookie Season.

Samoas Donuts #vegan

For the past few years, I’ve avoided purchasing any all together, but this year a special girl in my life was selling them, and I just couldn’t let her not win the special prize for selling the most boxes, right???? But really, girl scout cookies happen only once a year, and the two boxes I purchased aren’t going to be the end of the world, as long as I don’t eat them all in one sitting. In fact, I’m proud to announce that a week in, and only one box has even been opened!

Samoas Donuts #vegan

This is what we call MASSIVE WILLPOWER over in my house. Plus, now that I have these donuts, that opened box of samoas isn’t drawing me in quite so heavily. The unopened thin mints in my freezer? Well, that’s an other story. Those long tubes of cookies are portion control’s worst nightmare. Oh, you say all of these delicious cookies come in 2 tubes? Well, clearly one tube is a “serving”, right?

Samoas Donuts #vegan

I’m actually trying to save them for when I decide just how I want them to be a part of a cupcake, or milkshake, or cookie inside of a cookie.

Samoas Donuts #vegan

So how did I make these indulgent cookies into a completely vegan, and health(ier) dessert? Well, the donut part was easy. I have a pretty basic donut recipe that I love, and it didn’t require too much tweaking. Chocolate and coconut? Piece of cake. I don’t even buy that sweetened coconut. I love the finely shredded unsweetened low fat stuff. You can, of course, use whatever you want, but if I can get that delicious coconutty taste without the added sugar, I’ll take it!

Samoas Donuts #vegan

The caramel portion was tricky. I’ve seen date caramel all over the internet, and I’d been dying to try it. Dates are so sweet and gooey that it seemed like they could definitely do the trick! So I got out the food processor, played around, heated the mixture on the stove a little to get that extra-gooey effect, and voila! Now, I’m gonna be real with you here. It doesn’t just just like that gooey buttery caramel we’re all used to and love. It is not an exact replica, but it does give you a sweet, caramel texture with no added sugar. I could have just eaten it with a spoon if I didn’t have donuts to make!

Samoas Donuts #vegan

And not just any donuts–ultra soft, pillowy donuts that taste like biting into a sweet, fluffy cloud. I don’t know why anyone fries these things when they bake up perfectly soft and sweet on their own. Add rich, bold dark chocolate, and you have everything you could ever need in a dessert.

**Note: To get closer to the Samoas look, you can also coat the bottom in chocolate, but I was trying to keep this light, so I just drizzled it on the top. Also, you can totally drizzle it in a straighter line for the resemblance  I tried…we all have our strengths and weaknesses ;)

 

Samoas Donuts

yield 6 donuts

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • dash salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, divided use
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 20 pitted dates (and water for soaking)
  • 2 tbsp reduced fat unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil, at room temperature

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Spray a donut pan with nonstick spray, and set aside.
  2. Place dates in a bowl and cover with hot water. Allow to soak while you prepare the donuts.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, baking powder, corn starch and salt. Stir in 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp almond milk, vanilla and melted coconut oil. Gently stir until ingredients are just combined.
  4. Evenly divide batter between 6 donut molds. Smooth out tops. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely in molds.
  5. Transfer dates + 2-3 tbsp of water from soaking to your food processor. Process until dates begin breaking down to more of a paste, about 2-3 minutes. Add a pinch of salt (you can also add a dash of vanilla extract if you’d like) and 2 tbsp almond milk. Continue to process until a caramel texture forms, about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Transfer mixture to a small saucepan, and cook on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes whisking constantly. Return back to the food processor, and blend again for about one minute.
  7. Top donuts with date caramel sauce, followed by a heavy pinch of coconut.
  8. Melt chocolate and room temperature coconut oil in the microwave for about 90 seconds, stirring every 20-30 seconds. Transfer melted chocolate to a large ziplock bag. Snip off the corner of the bag, and drizzle chocolate over donuts. Allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for 5-7 days.