Deceptively Decadent Brownies

Decadent healthy brownies. Which word does not belong? The answer is that they all belong, because there really is such thing as a decadent yet healthy brownie! Don’t believe me? Well, the proof is in the pudding… I mean batter.IMG_3508

It took many tries, but I finally perfected a recipe for the perfect brownies. I sacrificed myself as a brownie taste tester, and had to eat upwards of six different brownies and batters- what a rough life! It ended in triumph though, as this recipe was crowned the winner of the best brownie… possibly ever.IMG_3506

The best part about these brownies? They’re also secretly healthy, or at least healthier than most other brownie recipes floating around the inter web. How? Well first of all, they’re vegan so they’re not chock-full of artery-clogging, high calorie butter. Second of all, they have a healthy secret ingredient in them. Hint: it’s a ~trendy~ leafy green. If you guessed kale, you win a virtual brownie!IMG_3503

Yes, kale brownies. Am I crazy for creating these? Only slightly. I promise they don’t taste like kale though. Seriously. They just taste like gooey, cakey, chocolatey goodness. I got the idea of sticking veggies into dessert from the cookbook Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. The whole point of the cookbook is to encourage parents to sneak veggies into their kids’ diets, and you already know I love it. Anyone who likes desert but is trying to be a little healthier, or wants an excuse to eat more brownies, will love this recipe. They’re “healthy,” so you can eat more of them- right?!DSC_0010DSC_0046IMG_3505

FYI, these brownies are definitely more cakey than crunchy or chewy- they’re pretty tall and thick. That just means there’s more to love! But if you’re a fan of a very crunchy, chewy, crackly-topped brownie than these might not be for you. I encourage everyone to give them a try though, because why not be a little insane and sneak some vegetables into brownies?IMG_3504

Deceptively Decadent Brownies

Makes 16 brownies

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup oil (canola or vegetable)
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1 cup KALE WATER*
  • ½ cup chocolate chips, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. First make the kale water* by combining ½ cup water and 1 cup raw kale in a blender and blending on high for a minute, or until the kale is completely blended.

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3. Mix together the dry ingredients, from flour to baking powder.

4. Add in the wet ingredients, aka the rest of the ingredients including the kale water. Mix until just combined and add in a ½ cup of chocolate chips.

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5. Pour into an 9″ X 9″ oiled brownie pan and bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the brownies. Let cool for like 15 minutes, then cut and enjoy!

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Give these a try and let me know how you like them! Take a picture and tag me @peanutbutterandle on Instagram or email it to me at peanutbutterandle@gmail.com.

And lastly, how do you feel about sneaking vegetables into desserts? Do you like it, or are you offended at even the idea of it?

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decadent brownies

Festive Fourth of July Cake

Hi friends! I meant to post this recipe a few days ago, but I’ve had computer troubles the last week and a half so I’ve been unable to post. Everything is hunky dory now though. 🙂

Especially because of this festive American flag-shaped Fourth of July cake. 

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This cake is the perfect “I LOVE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” recipe. It’s shaped like a circle, like the shape of the earth as well as like a symbol for inclusiveness (everyone is in the circle + the circle never ends and neither does love). The inside looks like an American flag- it has the blue “stars” layer and the red and white “stripes” layers. It also takes advantage of American produce- fresh, local strawberries that I picked with my own two hands (I’ve got that industrial spirit!) and fresh blueberries. ALSO, it’s cake, and what American doesn’t like sweets!?

Anyway. This cake is pretty festive and fabulous if I do say so myself (a weird phrase). It came about because I wanted to make something special for fourth of July that also took advantage of all the strawberries my mom and I picked at our local strawberry patch.

Enter this cake.

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I found out how to make an American flag cake from Food 52 (here’s the link). The recipe, as well as others I looked up, were not vegan… so I decided to make up my very own vegan version of the fancy flag cake and frosting! I used fresh fruit as coloring instead of food coloring because I think food coloring is gross. What the heck is in it!??! I don’t want those creepy chemicals going into my body!

Strawberries make up the red layer and blueberries make up the blue layer. I used Food 52’s instructions to assemble the cake. Unlike Food 52, I’m including pictures in my recipe as I’m a visual learner so I find pictures extremely helpful.

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I won’t ramble on for too much longer, other than to say that 1) this cake took me a long time to make, but it was worth it for the delight of eating it as well as for the compliments I got on it, and 2) this cake is really good and you should definitely make it for your next patriotic celebration (Labor Day??). Don’t be intimidated by the size- you CAN do it.

I hope you love this cake. My family and I ate it for dessert of dinner on the Fourth and enjoyed it immensely- our favorite layer was the blueberry one. Please let me know if you try this recipe. Send me a picture via email (peanutbutterandle@gmail.com) or tag me in a picture on Instagram so I can see your wonderful creation!

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American Flag Cake

makes 1 HUGE 5-layer cake that serves around 24-32 people

(depending on how large your pieces are- it serves 32 if you cut the cake into 1/4 inch pieces)

*JUST SO YOU KNOW: This cake takes a while to make. Like 3 hours or more. You can always spread the baking and assembling out over the course of 2 days, like I did! The cake stays fresh as long as you wrap it up. I just thought I’d warn you!

For the STRAWBERRY cake

(makes 2 8-inch round layers)

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3 + ½ cups of flour (all-purpose is best)
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (white)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I like almond)
  • 1 cup strawberry puree- process an overflowing 1 ½ cups of washed and stemmed berries in the food processor until it’s a liquid puree- it takes about a minute of processing.
  • Feel free to add some red food coloring here to amp up the red color of this cake.

Instructions-

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Measure and whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, measure and whisk together the liquid ingredients EXCEPT the strawberry puree in a medium-sized bowl.
  4. Add the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients.
  5. Mix the wet ingredients together until just combined.
  6. Make the strawberry puree, then measure it out and add it into the batter. Whisk it in until the batter is entirely pink!
  7. Oil the bottoms of 2 8-inch cake rounds. Pour batter into the pans until each pan is 3/4 of the way full with batter. Use all the batter!
  8. Bake the cakes for 35-38 minutes, 0r until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the cake.
  9. Let cool.

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For the VANILLA cake 

(makes 2 8-inch round layers)

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3 + ½ cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup vegetable/ canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups nondairy milk

Instructions-

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Measure and whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, measure and whisk together the liquid ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
  4. Add the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients.
  5. Mix the wet ingredients together until just combined.
  6. Oil the bottoms of 2 8-inch cake rounds. Pour batter into the pans until each pan is 3/4 of the way full with batter. Use all the batter!
  7. Bake the cakes for 35-38 minutes, 0r until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the cake.
  8. Let cool.

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For the BLUEBERRY Cake

(makes 1 8-inch round)

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 + 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup vegetable/ canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (white)
  • 1 + ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup nondairy milk
  • ½ cup blueberry puree: process an overflowing 3/4 cup of washed and stemmed blueberries in the food processor until it’s a liquid puree- it takes about a minute of processing.
  • Feel free to add some blue food coloring here to amp up the blue color of this cake.

Instructions-

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Measure and whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, measure and whisk together the liquid ingredients EXCEPT the blueberry puree in a medium-sized bowl.
  4. Add the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients.
  5. Mix the wet ingredients together until just combined.
  6. Make the blueberry puree, then measure it out and add it into the batter. Whisk it in until the batter is entirely blue!
  7. Oil the bottom of a 8-inch cake round. Pour batter into the pan until it is 3/4 of the way full with batter. Use all the batter!
  8. Bake the cake for 35-38 minutes, 0r until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the cake.
  9. Let cool.

IMG_1638Buttercream Frosting Recipe

  1. Measure out the vegan butter into a large bowl or a stand mixer (the best option).
  2. Beat the butter until it’s soft and spreadable (medium speed). Use a hand mixer or a stand mixer if you have one.
  3. Add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Stir on low speed until the sugar is incorporated.
  4. The frosting should be clumpy- add in the vanilla and nondairy milk to thin it!
  5. Beat the frosting until it’s a thin and spreadable consistency. Frost the cake(s) with it!

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TO ASSEMBLE THE FULL CAKE (WITH PICTURES):

  1. Cut the dome top off all of the cakes. PLEASE keep them- you’ll need them later! I used a bread knife to do this, and just cut off the uneven top “dome” layer of the cake so the cake would lie flat. Put the dome tops on another plate or something for now.
  2. Place one strawberry round on a big plate (preferably the plate you plan to serve the cake on). This is layer one.
  3. Spoon frosting onto the top of the cake and spread it around until the cake top is covered.
  4. Place one vanilla round on top of the frosted strawberry round. This is layer two.
  5. Frost the top of the vanilla round.
  6. Place the second strawberry round on top of the frosted vanilla round. This is layer three.
  7. Frost the top of the second strawberry round.
  8. Place the second vanilla round on top of the frosted second strawberry round. This is layer four.
  9. Frost the top of the second vanilla round.
  10. Place the flat blueberry round on a separate plate. Using a bowl or another sort of template (about 4 inches in diameter), cut out the center of the blueberry round. Set the center aside (or eat it) as you won’t need it anymore.
  11. On a separate plate, take the strawberry round top “dome” and cut out the center of it with the same template you used on the blueberry round. KEEP the CENTER of the round (what you cut out), and discard the outside ring (or eat it) since you won’t need it anymore. Cut the center round in half, so it is half the height of the blueberry flat round.
  12. Place the O-shaped blueberry round on top of the frosted vanilla fourth-layer round.
  13. Place the baby strawberry round inside the O-shaped blueberry round. Stick it on top of the frosting covering the vanilla fourth layer.
  14. Frost the top of the baby strawberry layer.
  15. On a separate plate, take the vanilla round top “dome” and cut out the center of it with the same template you used on the blueberry and strawberry rounds. KEEP the CENTER of the round (what you cut out), and discard the outside ring (or eat it) since you won’t need it anymore. Cut the center round in half, so it is half the height of the blueberry flat round.
  16. Place the baby vanilla layer on top of the baby strawberry layer inside of the big O-shaped blueberry layer.
  17. Frost the entire cake. Dump frosting on to the top of the cake and frost from there. It doesn’t have to look perfect- mine sure doesn’t!
  18. Top the frosted cake with washed blueberries and strawberries. You can be extra patriotic and put the blueberries and strawberries in the shape of the American flag on top of the cake (with the blueberries as the stars and the strawberries as stripes).
  19. SERVE AND ENJOY YOUR PATRIOTIC CAKE!

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Steps 2-16

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Steps 10-13

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Steps 17-19

I hope you had the best holiday weekend ever!!

I hung out with my friends and family, went to the beach, went swimming, read and relaxed, watched the fireworks, and had a nice dinner with my family. What did you do? And what did you eat?! 🙂

xx Ellie

vegancake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Donuts

Guess what today is!?

The first Thursday of the month!

Guess what that means!?

It’s time for the monthly Peanut Butter Bash” hosted by Miranda of Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt.

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I decided to make mini peanut butter donuts with yogurt, our challenge ingredient for June, because I love donuts and haven’t made them for a while. Plus, mini donuts? SO fun! And you get to eat more of them… 😉

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Coincidentally, Miranda decided to make peanut butter-filled (chocolate glazed) donuts about a week before me, AND one of the other lovely peanut butter bash ladies ALSO made peanut butter donuts! I guess donuts, peanut butter, and yogurt just go reaaaaaallllly well together. 😉

Now I’m going to leave you with some mouthwatering pictures and the recipe because you have donuts to make and I have a state tennis tournament to go play doubles in! Wish my team and I luck as we try to win a high school state championship for girls tennis! 😀

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Soft and Yogurty Chocolate Peanut Butter Donuts

makes about 24 mini donuts/ doughnuts

loosely based on this donut recipe

Regular dairy yogurt and milk should work in this recipe, but I can’t guarantee it as I haven’t tried it. I prefer to bake vegan food since I’m vegan! 

For the Donuts:

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup vegan yogurt (I used one container of vegan Almond Dream yogurt that I found at my local grocery store, D&W)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup nondairy milk (I used almond milk but regular milk should also work here)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the Chocolatey Glaze:

  • peanut (or cashew) pieces to top the donuts with

To make the donuts: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Add the peanut butter, yogurt, sugar, milk, and vanilla into a stand mixer. Start out at a slow speed (2 or 4) to mix everything together, then when it comes together beat the mixture on high for about a minute, or until it’s light in color and creamy. Add in the other ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt), and mix everything at a low speed until just combined.**

** You can do all this by hand, but a stand mixer makes the mixing process 100 times easier! 

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Grease your mini donut pan (I used cooking spray). Spoon the mixture into the donut molds. You’ll need about a VERY large and full spoonful for each donut.

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Bake the donuts for 6-7 minutes, or until they’re golden and fluffy.

To make the glaze: combine the chocolate chips and milk into a small bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds or until the chocolate is mostly melted. Stir the mixture with a knife or spoon to smooth it out. You might need to add a teaspoon or so more of milk if the mixture is clumpy and thick. You want it to be like a glaze- sort of like a ganache.

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To assemble: dip the tops of the donuts into the chocolate filled bowl and twirl them around so the whole top of the donut is coated with chocolate. Sprinkle the top with crushed peanut or cashew pieces if desired for a pretty donut with a crunch.

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Check out the two other peanut butter yogurt recipes! Click the links below. 

Peanut Butter Brownie Dip from Gina of Kleinworth & Co.

Vegan Yogurt Peanut Butter Donuts from Emma of BakeThenEat

3 Delicious Peanut Butter Yogurt Treats

Have a lovely weekend! Eat lots of peanut butter!

xx Ellie

P.S.- Do you want to join in on the Peanut Butter Bash!? Then email Miranda and request to join the Peanut Butter Bash Facebook group! We post a dish, typically a dessert, with peanut butter and another chosen ingredient the first Thursday of each month. There is also a Facebook group, The Peanut Butter Recipe Box, if you want to join in the fun but don’t run your own blog.

“Nicecream For Breakfast” Ebook Review

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Nice Cream for Breakfast. How great does that sound?! This ebook shows you that it is totally okay to have nice cream (or other sweets) for breakfast.

It was created by my sweet friend Lara from Vanillacrunnch (who is from Switzerland- how cool is that!?). She used to eat like the majority of us: pints of dairy-filled ice cream, buttery cupcakes, and milk chocolate bars galore. That is, until she discovered banana ice cream. Banana “nice cream” (as it’s called by the majority of bloggers and Instagrammers) is frozen bananas blended up in a blender (with little to no liquid). It tastes like banana flavored ice cream. It’s so sweet and creamy. Lara loved nice cream from the moment it first entered her mouth (same girl!!) since it’s not only delicious but also nutritious!

My favorite “nice” cream: blended frozen bananas and peanut butter.

As Lara writes in her introduction, banana nice cream is great because bananas “contain lots of natural sugars, fiber, potassium and vitamins.” Add a little cacao powder to your nice cream and you have yourself a chocolate-y treat that is high in fiber and free from refined sugar and dairy. YUM.

Lara created this ebook to show that dessert can actually be good for you (when it’s made with the right ingredients). Her book is divided into six sections (not including the introduction): Raw Treats, Nicecream & Icecream, Baked Goods, Smoothies & Jars & Bowls, Puddings & Mousse, and Pancakes. There are 55 pages and 47 recipes. 

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Before we get any further into the review, I just wanted to let you know that you can get Lara’s ebook HERE. And guess what!? Lara rocks and is giving all of you 50% off her ebook so it is $2.50 instead of $4.99. A STEAL in my opinion! Just use the code “vanillacrunnch” at checkout.

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My Baking Bonanza: Lara’s chocolate vanilla swirl cupcakes along with her chocolate chip cookie dough bites (which I baked at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes). I also baked chocolate coconut cookies and peanut butter coconut cookies with recipes from my friend Demeter (The Beaming Baker) as well as my favorite banana bombs

For $2.50, GET THE BOOK. Seriously, that’s less than a coffee at Starbucks and you get wayyyyy more out of the ebook than the coffee. Lara has worked hard on it, as you can see from the beautiful photography and well-put-together recipes. Some of my favorite aspects of the ebook are…

  • The beautiful photography. There’s a nice picture for every single recipe, and all of the photos showcase the food very well. Seriously, Lara’s photos are photography #goals.
  • Most of the recipes contain simple ingredients that most people have like coconut milk, dates, cacao powder, and OREOS. Four recipes have Oreos in or on them.
    • However, there are recipes with ingredients that you might not have like rice malt syrup, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, and açai powder. You can buy these ingredients on Amazon though. The Chocolate Tofu Cupcakes with Surprise Frosting (pg. 34) contain beetroot and cranberry powder in the frosting but I’m sure you can leave that out.
  • A lot of the recipes are simple but sweet, like peanut butter cups, bounty bars, and vegan Nutella so you can easily satisfy your sweet craving.
  • Almost all the recipes are VEGAN and GLUTEN-FREE (there is yogurt in the Seven Layer Power Breakfast (pg. 46) but you can just sub it for vegan yogurt).

The Raspberry Almond Smoothie topped with banana slices and Dark Chocolate Berry Granola

The only complaints I have about the ebook are a) that I wish the titles of each recipe were on the top of each page instead of the bottom so you automatically knew which recipe you were looking at and b) some typos (but I know sometimes those can’t be helped!). The pros most definitely outweigh the cons, though, and I am so impressed with Lara for creating an ebook as I can’t even imagine how much work it took!

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The Dark Chocolate Vegan Nutella (pg. 16). I didn’t like it much because I don’t like hazelnuts, but I thought I’d at least give it a try. If you like Nutella, you’ll probably like this spread! I wouldn’t know though because I don’t know what Nutella tastes like- I’ve never tasted it before (believe it or not)!

I sampled a diverse selection of her recipes (almost all of them actually!) so I could say with complete assurance that the whole ebook is good! The ebook is full of perfect healthier recipes for any meal of the day. 

My favorite recipes in the book are (in order of appearance)… Highlighted in blue are recipes you need to try ASAP.

  • Nut-Free Oreo Cheesecake (pg. 5). I really like Oreos so I loved this cheesecake (it was more like a pie, actually). The crust was AMAZEBALLS.
  • Chocolate Caramel Pretzel (Brownie) Bites (pg. 10). I loved the caramel in this recipe. I used almonds, and I didn’t put pretzels on top because I didn’t have any.
  • Raw Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (pg. 11). They taste like Reese’s peanut butter cups but are wayyyy healthier! I loved them since I love chocolate and peanut butter.
  • Raspberry-Almond Smoothie (pg. 22). It’s super simple and yummy.
  • Dark Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Loaf Cake a.k.a. the recipe I am sharing with you today (pg. 30). I made them into cupcakes. They were sweet and good!
  • Classical Green Smoothie with Cranberries (pg. 37). I love green smoothies, and this one is no exception. I used almond milk instead of coconut milk.
  • Death by Chocolate smoothie (pg. 39). Bananas and chocolate- need I say more!? I didn’t get a picture of this one because it was gone (in my belly) like two minutes after I made it.
  • Sunday Oatmeal (pg. 42) minus açai because I didn’t have it. Like the chocolate smoothie, this oatmeal was gone before I could take a picture of it.

The Classical Green Smoothie with Cranberries (minus the toppings).

This ebook would be a good, cheap birthday or Easter/ post Lent present for someone to kickstart clean eating!

Today I am sharing with you one of Lara’s recipes- the “Dark Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Loaf Cake” – but made into cupcakes!

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Dark Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Loaf Cupcakes from the “Nicecream for Breakfast” ebook

by Lara Delilah of VanillaCrunnch

I made 8 cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cup coconut flour (PB&E Note: I subbed homemade oat flour for the coconut flour and it worked fine!)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp cacao powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. First, mix all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl except for the cacao powder.
  3. Add the liquid ingredients and mix until well combined.
  4. Depending on the brand of your coconut flour you might need to add more almond milk if too dry or more coconut flour if too liquid.
  5. Divide the dough in 2 separate parts, and mix the cacao powder in one of them
  6. Randomly pour in the two doughs alternately in an oiled cake tin lined cupcake tins. Bake for about 40-45 20-25 minutes and wait for your personal marbled cupcakes to come out of the oven.
  7. I topped my cupcakes with a chocolate ganache I made by melting 1/4 cup chocolate chips with a splash of almond milk in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then I mixed the ganache together until it was smooth and spooned it onto the cupcakes. Mmm.

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Whew, that was a long post. Thanks for reading, and make sure to snag a copy of Lara’s ebook and check out her blog and her incredible Instagram!!

Here’s to the weekend! Make it a great one!

xx Ellie

 

Surprise Spice Cupcakes

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Guess what the surprise in this cupcake recipe is! It’s a very special secret ingredient.

Any guesses?

I’ll give you a few hints.

1. It’s white.

2. It’s a vegetable.

3. It looks a lot like broccoli.

4.  This picture.100_6777

If the picture didn’t give it away, then I think you need to eat more vegetables. 😉

The secret ingredient in these cupcakes is cauliflower!

I first heard about putting vegetables, namely cauliflower, in baked goods in a cookbook called Deceptively Delicious.

“Cauliflower? In cupcakes?” you might think. “Eeeeew!!”

Take a chance. Make a (healthy) change (to the average cupcake). And breakawaaaaaaaaay (from your baking stereotypes).*

*sidenote: was anyone else a huge “Princess Diaries” fan when they were younger?? Those were my favorite movies (and the song “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson, which was featured in the second movie, was one of my favorite songs) for a good year in elementary school.

Back to cupcakes, since that’s probably why you’re here.

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They’re flavorful because they’re full of spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. They’re also crazy because of the cauliflower.

The only ingredients in these that you might not have are flaxseed meal and nondairy milk, both of which you can purchase at most grocery stores. If you can’t find flaxseed, you can always use a ½ cup of silken tofu in place of the flax egg. Not the most convenient substitution, but it’s the only one I’ve tried that doesn’t jeopardize the flavor of these cupcakes.

I tried making these with all tofu and no oil or nondairy milk… not a good idea. As you can see below, it creates HOLLOW muffins! That’s actually pretty cool… but it’s not that fun to eat. Trust me. I did a lot of taste testing on these for you. It was extremely difficult (not!). Multiple trials means I get to eat more cupcakes, which is always a good thing. Seriously, when are more cupcakes a bad thing!??

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My “what the heck!?” face because I made hollow cupcakes.

I didn’t really know what to do with the frosting on these, but I wanted to make it healthy… so I made the frosting out of tofu! I know, I went SO CRAZY with these cupcakes. I promise you though- they taste good!!

I also created my very first RECIPE VIDEO for these cupcakes to give you a step-by-step visual on how to create them. I hope you like it!

Cauliflower Spice Cupcakes

Makes around 14 cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup cauliflower puree
  • 1 cup nondairy milk (I prefer almond)
  • 1 flax egg (3 Tbsp water + 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal)
  • 1/4 cup oil, preferably coconut (melted so it’s a liquid)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1.5 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla

To make the cupcakes:

  1. Make a flax egg by combining 3 Tbsp water with 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal. Cover it and put it in the fridge for 15 minutes (so it can combine and become “eggy”).
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Steam the cauliflower in one of two ways. Either put it in a steamer and steam it for about 15 minutes (or until it’s soft) or put it in a bowl and fill it partway water and put it in the microwave for three minutes (until it’s soft, look HERE for a more in-depth description of how to steam veggies in the microwave).
  4. Drain the cauliflower and puree it in a food processor. You might need to add a teaspoon to a tablespoon water to get the cauliflower to blend.
  5. Add in the nondairy milk and process for 5-10 seconds (until combined).
  6. Take the blade out of the food processor and take the bowl off the stand. We’ll be mixing everything else by hand!
  7. Add in the flax egg and oil. Stir until just combined.
  8. Add in the brown sugar. Stir until combined.
  9. Add in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir until combined.
  10. Add in the spices (cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg) and vanilla. Stir until just combined.
  11. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  12. Scoop the batter into the cups. Fill each cup 3/4s of the way.
  13. Bake the cupcakes for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the cupcakes are no longer gooey in the middle when you put a toothpick in them (to test their done-ness).

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Frosting

loosely based on this recipe from Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld

  • 1 package of silken tofu (preferably soft, but firm silken tofu works as well)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • nondairy milk as needed to thin out the frosting (about a teaspoon)- add at the end only if you think your frosting is too thick.

To make the frosting:

  1. Open and drain the tofu, then process it in a food processor until it’s a paste-like consistency.
  2. Take out the blade and add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon, then stir until combined.
  3. If you think the frosting is too thick to spread on the cupcakes, add in a bit of nondairy milk (about a teaspoon). You probably only need to do this if you use firm tofu. Add in more nondairy milk if needed to attain the right consistency.
  4. Once the cupcakes have cooled for about 5 to 10 minutes, frost and enjoy!

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I hope you love these cupcakes. Please let me know if you try them!

Have a fantastic rest of your day!

xx Ellie

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hi friends! Happy Valentine’s Day!

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I just wanted to wish you all a lovely day (get it?!) and to let you know that I’ll be back next week with an ebook review and a sweet treat recipe (with a crazy ingredient- any guesses?).

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The pictures in this post are of Chlostess cupcakes (recipe HERE) that my mom and I made for a veggie club meeting this past week. I dyed the filling pink in honor of Valentine’s Day.

You need to make these cupcakes. They’re incredible.

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What are your feelings on Valentine’s Day? Do you love it or hate it? Are you doing anything special for it? I’ll be celebrating by devouring lots and lots of cupcakes.

xx Ellie

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

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It’s been FAR too long since I’ve posted a recipe. Why not break my hiatus with a sweet treat like these chocolate chip zucchini muffins!?

What I especially love about these muffins (well, what I love about muffins in general) is that they’re like healthy, portable mini cakes. So I guess they’re just healthy cupcakes?

I promise you that they taste just as good as any regular cupcake, especially when packed with loads of chocolate chips. They’re also two times better for you than conventional cakes, so you can eat twice as many! Win, win!

These muffins are a great on-the-go breakfast, sweet snack, or healthy dessert!

The chocolate makes them sweet, while the zucchini adds moistness (sorry) and nutrients. Zucchini is not the only “irregular-to-dessert” ingredient in these muffins- they also contain banana.

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Funny story about the banana in these muffins- I brought these muffins into my english class sophomore year for a party and people descended upon them because they were chocolatey (and who doesn’t love chocolate? Seriously?).

One of the girls in my class took a bite and said, “These are sooo good! What’s in them?”

I responded, “Flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, zucchini, banana….”

“BANANA!?” She shrieked as she spit out the bite she was chewing (not even kidding- she spit it out into a napkin). “Yuck! These are gross!”

Needless to say, she doesn’t like bananas in ANY way, shape, or form.

It’s funny how people freak out when they know exactly what’s in their food. I think the same thing were to happen if people found out what was in their meat (just saying).

Anyway, everyone in the class besides the banana hater really liked these muffins!

I hope you like them too! Leave me a comment or take a picture and tag me on Instagram (and hashtag #peanutbutterandellie) if you give them a try. I’d love to see your take on them!

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Makes 12-14 muffins

adapted from The Happy Herbivore’s Chocolate-Zucchini Muffins

  • 1 and ¼ cups flour (preferably whole wheat)
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder/ baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 banana (the riper the banana, the higher the chance of tasting banana in these muffins. I recommend using a yellow banana with no/ few brown spots on it.)
  • 3/4 cup sugar, preferably cane or coconut
  • 1 flax “egg” (1 Tbsp + 3 Tbsp water) OR ½ cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup nondairy milk (I use almond milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup zucchini, shredded
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (I love Ghiradelli semi-sweet)

Instructions:

  1. Make a flax “egg” by combining 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal with 3 Tbsp water in a small bowl. Cover it and put it in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Peel the banana, put it in the bowl of a stand mixer, and mix it on medium-high until the banana is a purée. ((If you make this recipe without a stand mixer, mash the banana with a fork and stir everything together with a whisk.))
  4. Add in the sugar and flax “egg” to the banana purée and mix on medium until combined.
  5. Add the nondairy milk and vanilla to the batter. Mix on medium until combined.
  6. Add in the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon (a.k.a. the dry ingredients). Mix on low until a thickish batter forms.
  7. Wash a zucchini, cut the ends off, and grate it. You’ll grate about three-fourths of a regular-sized zucchini to get a cup of zucchini shreds.
  8. Add in the zucchini shreds and mix on low-medium until combined.
  9. Fold in chocolate chips. Your batter is complete and ready to be spooned into muffin tins!
  10. Fill a muffin pan with muffin tins. Fill said muffin tins two-thirds of the way full with batter (I used a spoon to do this).
  11. Bake the muffins for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes cleanly out of them.
  12. Let cool for at least 5 minutes, then stuff your face with these marvelous muffins! 

Happy hump day, and happy almost spring!

xx Ellie