Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Pop Tarts (with a video!)


Delicious soft pretzel outside, gooey chocolate and peanut butter inside. Gluten free and vegan.

chocolate peanut butter pretzel pop tarts gluten free vegan soft pretzel

Earlier this year I mentioned (in another pop-tart post, actually) that my husband LOVES breakfast junk food.

He also loves chocolate peanut butter pretzels. If there are any in the house, I’m supposed to hide them and only let him have a few at a time. His idea, not mine. Otherwise, he’ll eat a whole 20 oz canister in one sitting, and then loll about on the couch, gripping his stomach and whimpering.

chocolate peanut butter pretzel pop tarts gluten free vegan soft pretzel

It was with the most loving of intentions that I took two of his favorite junk foods and combined them into one fantastic, decadent, sweet-salty-chocolaty treat.

In January, he’s buckling down on some hard training for a big race he has coming this summer. I had to throw him this one last hurrah before he turns away from all his naughty sugar treats. All the pizzas. All his favorite IPAs.

It’s a wonderful thing, actually, because I usually crave veggies and if he’s not in the mood for that, I’ll end up making two meals. This change will be a lot less work for me.

chocolate peanut butter pretzel pop tarts gluten free vegan soft pretzel

I’ll have to admit that I also made these pretzels for selfish reasons. It’s been so long since I’ve had a soft pretzel, and I used to love them. All slippery in their wax paper, chewy and warm with huge chunks of salt — ohhhhh.

Since the onset of my wheat allergy, those have been a no-go. But these treats brought it all back. The crust of these awesome pop tarts tastes just like you got it from a cart of Broad Street in Philly.

chocolate peanut butter pretzel pop tarts gluten free vegan soft pretzel


Since I enjoyed the crust so much, I didn’t want to totally douse it in chocolate. So there is just a drizzle of chocolate on the outside…..but on the inside, you get a pocket full of melty chocolate and peanut butter.  So good.

Obviously I’m excited about these pretzel treats, but I’m also excited because I’m posting my very first video today!  It’s not perfect, but it’s kind of perfect to me because I love it. When I get better at filming and editing, I’ll probably look back on it and cringe.

For now, the video makes me totally happy. I know – I know – that usually taking what makes you happy in the moment isn’t the best idea. But sometimes you gotta take that happy moment and run with it, run with all that you have.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Pop Tarts

Yield: 12


    pretzel dough
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened unflavored almond milk
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 1 package of active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 well sifted cups of gluten-free flour
  • filling
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 -2/3 cup chocolate chips
  • topping
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • other
  • 3 cups water
  • heaping 1/2 cup baking soda
  • melted coconut oil, for tops
  • chunky sea salt


  1. Warm up the almond milk. Don't let it get too hot.
  2. Pour the milk into a bowl and sprinkle the yeast over top. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add coconut oil, sugar, flax eggs, and salt. Stir.
  4. Gradually add the flour. You will eventually have to use your hands to knead it.
  5. Cover and let sit 1 hour. The dough will not rise as much as wheat-flour dough.
  6. Draw a 6 by 8 inch rectangle on a piece of parchment.
  7. Spread the peanut butter over the rectangle, to fill.
  8. Place the peanut butter rectangle in the freezer.
  9. Roll the dough out to about 1/8 -1/6 inch thick.
  10. Cut out rectangles that are 6x4. You should end up with 12 rectangles.
  11. Get your frozen peanut butter rectangle out and cut it into 12 equal squares, 2 by 2 inches.
  12. Press chocolate chips, pointy side down, into the peanut butter. Return to freezer.
  13. If you are working in stages, this is a good stopping point. You can cover the dough pieces and place them in the fridge overnight. That's what I did. If you choose to do this, you will need to allow the dough to warm to room temp.
  14. Get the frozen chocolate peanut butter squares and place each on a dough rectangle. Fold over and seal. Just use your fingertips and some warm water, no fork. If the dough is too cold, it will break when folded. In this case, you will need to cut each rectangle into two smaller 3x4 rectangles.
  15. Preheat the oven to 425.
  16. Place a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the three cups of water and the 2/3 cup of baking soda. Allow to come to a boil.
  17. Using a good spatula (maybe your favorite pancake-flippin' one) lower a tart into the water bath. Allow to sit there for 30-35 seconds. You can place two tarts in the water bath at once, but no more than that.
  18. Place the tarts on a parchment-lined cookie sheet as they come out of the water bath.
  19. Brush tops of tarts with melted coconut oil and sprinkle with chunky salt.
  20. Bake for 12 minutes. Tops will be dark and shiny.
  21. for the drizzle
  22. Place the chocolate chips and the maple syrup in a microwave-safe cup. Nuke until melted and runny, making sure you stir every 30 seconds. This will keep the chocolate from burning.
  23. Drizzle the chocolate over the tops of the tarts.
  24. Enjoy!


I know it's super tempting to want to bite into one of these right out of the oven, but they taste so much better after they've been sitting out for an hour or two. These are so crazy decadent that you might not want to have them all at once. I recommend storing the tarts in the freezer. This will keep the pretzels nice and soft when you re-heat them. Storing in the fridge is not recommended.

Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes

chocolate peanut butter pretzel pop tarts gluten free vegan soft pretzel


Chocolate Stuffed Gingerbread

Soft gingerbread cookies stuffed with a dark chocolate fudge. Gluten free and vegan.

soft gingerbread chocolate stuffed gingerbread vegan gingerbread gluten free gingerbread

Isn’t holiday baking just wonderful?!  The house brimming with sweet and spicy scents. Poring over Christmas lists to decide which cookie to send to which friend. Licking the fringes of dough from the mixing spoon.

These cookies were inspired by the carol of The Friendly Beasts. It’s the start of a four-part mini series, each recipe  dedicated to a different beast in the song. There is a Tomie DePaula book based on the carol. My mother says I recited the book for my family when I was little, but I have no such memory. The tune has its roots in 13th century France, and has many versions — English and French and Latin and German. My favorite is the one by Sufjan Stevens.

soft gingerbread cookies chocolate stuffed gingerbread vegan gingerbread vegan ginergread

“I”, said the donkey, shaggy and brown/ “I carried His mother uphill and down/ I carried her safely to Bethlehem town/ I” said the donkey, shaggy and brown.

I’ve called these cookies “shaggybrowns” after that donkey. They are a bit raggedy and coarse in appearance, but are hearty and spicy and comforting. And who doesn’t enjoy chocolate-stuffed cookies? My little 8 year old niece loved them, and my she’ll-kill-me-if-I-tell-you-how-old-she-is mother loved them, and everyone in between did too.

soft gingerbread cookies chocolate stuffed gingerbread gluten free gingerbread vegan gingerbread

The cookie base is a little less sweet and spicy than traditional gingerbread. I didn’t want the sweetness or pungency of the cookie overwhelm the wonderful fudge filling. This version has no ground cloves or allspice, and less molasses than usual. I also swapped out the butter for unsweetened applesauce. The dough will be rather sticky but still manageable. Just make sure you chill the dough and dust it before rolling.

They bake up all puffy and chewy. They stay chubby as they cool, which makes it easy to slice and stuff them. As I mentioned in some earlier posts, I’ve recently taken to a lazy-but-efficient way of melting chocolate. Simply fill a thick freezer bag with chocolate +maple syrup and immerse in hot water till melted. Snip off the a corner of the bag to pipe the chocolate onto the cookies. I wouldn’t try this method with chocolate that I wanted to look shiny and tempered, but it works very well here.

I added these to the list of must-makes at holiday time, and I hope you will too.

soft gingerbread cookies chocolate stuffed gingerbread cookies gluten free gingerbread vegan gingerbread


On Thursday, I’ll be posting the next part in the series, “the cow all white and red.” Don’t worry, it’s not beef!!

Chocolate Fudge Stuffed Gingerbread

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 9 minutes

Yield: approx 45 cookies

I like to use Bob's Red Mill cup-to-cup GF flour (not sponsored). But I have found over many trials, that even the finest GF flour needs to be very well sifted in order to yield the best results. I like to sift at least twice. So take your time sifting, and you will be rewarded.

Oh...I forgot to tell you! This is a one-bowl kinda thing. Isn't that the best? Less dishes, hurrah!


  • 3 cups of very well sifted gluten free flour (just under 12 oz)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp vanilla or rum
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • more flour, for dusting
  • filling
  • 2 cups of chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup


  1. Combine brown sugar, molasses, applesauce, ginger, vanilla/rum, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Stir.
  2. Gradually add the flour to the molasses mix and stir till combined. Dough will be sticky.
  3. Cover dough with plastic and allow to chill for at least two hours.
  4. After dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350.
  5. Roll some parchment paper out on the counter or table, and dust it with flour.
  6. Place the dough on your prepared surface, add more flour to the top of the dough, and a second piece of parchment. Roll dough out to 1/4 inch thickness.
  7. Use a biscuit cutter (about 2.5 inches) to cut out the cookies. Re-roll and cut as needed.
  8. Place the cookies on the baking sheet. You can crowd them (they can even be touching), as they won't spread a single inch.
  9. Bake for 9 minutes, or just under. They will have puffed up wonderfully.
  10. Allow cookies to cool and then gently slice each cookie in half.
  11. Put the chocolate chips and maple syrup in a big plastic freezer bag. Let them melt, but not too drizzly. You want the chocolate to be stiff enough to pipe without melting all over the place.
  12. Pipe just under a tablespoon of chocolate onto each bottom cookie half. Top with other cookie half.
  13. Serve and enjoy! Store in an airtight container for up to a week, but are best within the first three days. These freeze very well.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes

cookie base adapted + modified from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe


Super Easy Sweet & Salty Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

aka Study Break Bars. I made these bars over and over when I was studying for my board exam. Super easy and quick, these ideal for dorm-room cooking because they’re made in a microwave. 

Study Break Bars Easy Salty Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

I’m so glad to be done with school and college. As some of you may know, I recently finished up a degree in a completely different field from what I studied in college. It feels good to not have homework hanging over my head, the constant worry of I-really-should-be-studying right now. I had a massive box of note cards and I made a little ceremony of disposing of them. It felt good.

I very much want to learn sign language next, which means more school, or night classes at the very least. I’m not quite ready to jump back into that world, so right now I’m just sort of teaching myself with some apps. Some of my co-workers know sign, which means I can practice with them.

super easy salty chocolate peanut butter bars study break bars

Aaaaannnnyway, I know that some of y’all are still stuck in school. Being able to go is a privilege, but it usually doesn’t feel that way. Luckily, there’s always chocolate. These bars are super easy to make and ridiculously addictive. Sweet and salty and chocolatey and nutty and crispy.  Jason gobbles them up whenever I make them, so I have to hide a few for myself.

The cleanup for these is also quite quick. You don’t have to bother with a messy bowl full of melted chocolate. Just add the chocolate to a zip lock bag and immerse the bag in hot water. The chocolate will melt, and then all you need to do is snip the tip off the bag and let it pour all over the bars. And then you’re done, which means you can get back to the books in no time. Um….is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

super easy salty chocolate peanut butter bars study break bars


Super Easy Salty Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Yield: 20 bars

One of the key ingredients in this recipe is quick-cook oats. When patting the mixture into the pan, it is essential to make sure the oats are evenly distributed. This helps the bars stick together. You also want to make sure that you pat the mix down hard. The bottom of a mug is a great tool for this.


  • 2 cups of rice Chex
  • 2 cups of peanut butter Captain Crunch
  • 1 cup of quick-cook oats
  • 1/3 cup of crushed up salted peanuts
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 super heaping cup of dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter


  1. Line an 8x8 glass pan with parchment paper
  2. Stir up the the Chex, the Captain Crunch, the oats, and the peanuts
  3. Place the coconut oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, and salt in a small bowl. Microwave until coconut oil is melted, about 1 minute. Stir.
  4. Pour the coconut oil mix over the cereal mix and stir well to coat.
  5. Press the now-coated cereal mix into the pan, ensuring even distribution of the quick-cook oats.
  6. Microwave for 2.5-3 minutes (2.5 if you have a high-power microwave, 3 if it's little whimpy)
  7. Place in fridge for 15 minutes to harden.
  8. Fill a glass bowl with very hot water. Place chocolate chips and peanut butter in big zip-lock bag. Immerse bag in hot water until chocolate is very melted.
  9. Cut a tip off the bag and pour the chocolate over the cereal mix. Spread to cover entire pan.
  10. Allow chocolate to cool and harden. Sprinkle with additional nuts if desired.


I've made these tons of times and the edges would always crumble and the bars would break into uneven shards. I finally discovered how to prevent this from happening. Flip the bars upside down to cut them. So instead of cutting into the chocolate, cut into the cereal. Use a large knife and a gentle rocking motion. Once you've cut 4-5 long logs, turn the logs on their side (so you can see both cereal and chocolate) and proceed to cut the logs into individual bars

Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes


Almond Joy Almond Butter

Almond Joy Almond Butter

Even though I’m a big chocolate fan, I tend to dislike candy bars. They’re just not chocolaty enough for me, too sweet, never worth the calories. The one exception used to be (pre-soy allergy) almond joy bars.

When I came across a jar of coconut-cocoa-almond butter in the discount bin at the grocery store, I was super excited. Upon arriving home, I discovered why it was discounted. It was rather dry and crumbly and somehow heavy and gloppy all at once. The chocolate and coconut flavors were indiscernible, and even the almond presence was rather lacking. I tried to salvage it by mixing in a little maple syrup, but it just wasn’t worth it. I had to throw it away, which I hated doing because food waste unnerves me. (insert rant here) 

almond joy almond butter

In stereotypical food blogger fashion, I decided instead to make my own coconut-cocoa almond butter. We live in the Pinterest era. DIY or bust.

I started this recipe with slivered raw almonds, which were somehow cheaper than whole raw almonds. Beginning with slivered almonds also means your blender has to do less work, thus reducing the risk of blender burnout. And the maple syrup supplies a wonderful blade lubricant without adding extra oil.

I will conceded that the added maple makes it somewhat less healthy than regular almond butters. On the other hand, it is a protein rich snack that’s perfect to satisfy a chocolate craving.

This is a wonderful back to school recipe because it’s so quick and easy. And if you don’t have kids (or your kids hate coconut, gah, why) you should make it for yourself anyways. It’s a candy bar in a jar, which is pretty much the cat’s pajamas.


Almond Joy Almond Butter


Almond Joy Almond Butter

Yield: approx 2 cups

Because of the maple syrup, this will become a coarse butter quickly, but it will take about 8 minutes to smooth out. Remember to give your food processor/blender a break every few minutes so that it doesn't overheat.


  • 2 cups slivered raw almonds
  • 3/4 cup unsweet coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder


  1. Grind the almonds down to a coarse meal.
  2. Add the coconut and grind again.
  3. Add the cocoa powder and maple syrup. Process until it becomes a paste.
  4. Enjoy!
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes

easy vegan almond joy almond butter

The Best DIY Chocolate Syrup

  • no soy
  • no weird ingredients
  • vegan
  • works great in non-dairy milks (almond milk pictured below)

The Best DIY Chocolate Syrup vegan chocolate syrup easy chocolate syrup soy free chocolate syrup

We went to dinner at the in-laws’ a few nights ago and the kids (my niece and nephew) broke out the chocolate milk. It looked so sweet and cool and tempting an pretty soon the ankle-biters weren’t the only ones drinking it. Don’t you miss the days when you could have chocolate milk next to your broccoli and mashed potatoes?

I very much wanted some, but couldn’t have any. Many chocolate milk mixes contain soy, and I’d already gotten a few allergy attacks from eating leftover Christmas candy. I knew shouldn’t have it, but I eat it anyways and then I pay.  I needed to get my soy-sneezes back under control. That chocolate milk looked so good, but luckily there was some wine there to distract me.

A few days after that, I was restocking Jason’s snack cupboard an a tin of Carlos V milk mix fell out onto the counter. Tempted again! Speaking of his snack cupboard, can I just go on a little tangent for a sec?

He likes to mix chocolate power and protein powder into milk for his breakfast and it rather grosses me out.  It gets gloppy and lumpy and the powder never fully dissolves into the milk. I don’t know if this is actually gross, or I just think of it as gross. But I can’t be in the room when he makes his breakfast. Maybe it’s that he puts protein powder into milk, which I dunno, I imagine would feel like a rock in your stomach. Aren’t you supposed to put protein powder into water? Am I crazy? Why are so many of the paragraphs in this post ending in questions?

Are you tired of hearing my talk about Jason’s weekday breakfast habits?

Let’s talk about leche instead!

I recipe tested this a over a few nights, mixing individual glasses here and there to get the ratios right. Testing chocolate milk….whew…hard work.’ll notice that there’s quite a bit of powdered sugar in the recipe. Whoops? Yes, it tastes more sweet than chocolaty, but I have a firm belief that that is how cold chocolate milk should taste. A little trashy, a little nostalgic, and a lot comforting.

The Best DIY Chocolate Syrup vegan easy chocolate syrup soy free chocolate syrup

Simple DIY Chocolate Syrup


  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (Dutch process if you have it)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Stir together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.
  2. Add the water, stirring until there are no pockets of dry powder.
  3. Stir in the almond extract
  4. for chocolate milk
  5. add 1-2 tbsp of syrup to 8 oz milk. serve with love.


Store syrup in the fridge. Do not dip the milk-stirring spoon back into the syrup.

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Tarts

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Tarts

I know that it’s too early for Valentine’s Day things (well, Walgreen’s clearly disagrees), but since when are heart-shaped red chocolaty things just for Valentines?

insert a diatribe about cultural  food norms. i did this to save you having to read two rants. second rant below.

Okay, well maybe it’s not so much a rant as an observation. I think the whole Valentine’s Day being Singles Awareness day is true. When you’re single and it’s mid February, you are painfully aware of the fact. When you are in a blooming relationship, you freak out that you might become single if you mess this day up by either over celebrating or under celebrating.

But when you’re in a committed relationship, Valentines Day barely registers. You’re aware of the cute fuzzy animals in the store, and you maybe buy discount chocolate the next day, but that’s about it.  The year we got married, I got Jason a last-minute pink cake pop and he got me nothing.  I would have gotten him nothing too, but I just happened to already be at Starbucks and I know he loves those things.**   We made burritos for dinner. Nothing says romance like burrito breath and bean toots.

**And watching a big tall grown man eat a pink cake pop is pretty much the cutest thing ever. 

Valentines Day is also for your Nana, but that’s a different kind of love not applicable to this discussion. And maybe Valentine’s Day is also for very strict Catholics who still attend mass on every single Feast day. When I was in high school, my mom would get mad at me when I said I didn’t like 2/14, because I was apparently committing some sort of heresy by denouncing the Feast of Saint Valentine.

So…….I totally get if you don’t like Valentines or whatever, but you can still love chocolaty jam-filled things.

Speaking of love (or not love), here are some reasons to become enamored with — err get excited about — these tarts.

This almond-flour based crust is really easy and you can make in a blender. Cool! You use a banana as the binder, but make sure you use a greenish banana because riper ones will make the crust too wet.

The filling is made with my favorite homemade jam. Just dates and frozen raspberries. I love the pucker you get from raspberries, because it goes so well with the chocolate sweetness. But if you don’t like tart raspberries, I would recommend increasing the amount of dates in the recipe.

These freeze well (as long as you wrap them individually) so if you make them now, you can still have them in February. Make them for yourself, for someone that you love, or for a group of pals.

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Tarts vegan gluten free


Oh! I finally made a Facebook for this blogaroo. Check it out  here, and do the whole “like” thing. Please? 😀

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Tarts


  • 1 greenish banana
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • filling
  • 8 oz bag frozen raspberries
  • 5 dates*
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips


  1. Place the raspberries in a small saucepan and cover. Cook over medium heat until raspberries defrost and liquefy --- this should happen very quickly.
  2. Add the dates and continue to cook for another two or three minutes.
  3. Blend the dates and raspberries together until smooth, then return to heat. Cook over medium for 9-10 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Towards the end, you may want to reduce the heat some so you don't get splattered on. Remove from heat.
  4. Liquify the banana in a blender. Ad the rest of the crust ingredients, minus the baking powder. Blend till an even consistency is reached. Manually incorporate the baking powder into the dough.
  5. Divide the dough into six balls. Press the balls into a heart shaped cookie cutter. Remove the cookie cutter.
  6. Flatten & widen the hearts with your thumb, making large well in the center about (just under) 1/2 inch deep.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350
  8. Melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler.
  9. Fill the well in the hearts with the raspberry jam, and swirl in the chocolate,
  10. Bake for 16-17 minutes.
  11. Serve with love. Optional: Sprinkle big salt flakes over top.


*for a sweeter jam, use 7 dates


Flourless Three Ingredient Chocolate Cake

a soy-free solution to the two ingredient Nutella cake 

Flourless Three Ingredient Chocolate Cake

I’m sure you’ve all seen this two ingredient Nutella cake. Or maybe you haven’t because you were in a Nutella induced sugar coma or something. No judgement, no judgement. But that cake has only two ingredients, and this has three.

Why Annie, why? Why did you add the third ingredient, making it slightly more complicated? Well, sadly, I am allergic to Nutella. Whaaaat? 

Yep. It’s true.

I’ve always had pretty bad seasonal/environmental allergies, but I never realized I had food allergies as well. In the past 1 or 2 years, the food allergies got significantly worse, making their presence well known. I drank a cup of soy milk and my eyes swelled shut. I’d have a bowl of my favorite cereal and would immediately start sneezing. I ate a pizza (a really, really good pizza from Milton’s in Raleigh) and spent the entire next day in a darkened living room, plowing through tissue boxes. Luckily, they offer wheat-free pizzas now, but I don’t live in NC anymore, so it doesn’t matter.

But if you’re ever in Raleigh, dude, go to Milton’s. And if you don’t have wheat allergies, order the eggplant topping on your pizza, it’s amazing. 

Flourless Three Ingredient Chocolate Cake

Days that were previously brushed off as a high pollen count began to cause suspicion. I always thought food allergies caused intestinal reactions, which is why I never connected two and two. I never imagined they would cause respiratory problems. A few months ago, I ate some tortilla chips from a restaurant that used soy oil. The next day was miserable (for me and everyone around me, who couldn’t concentrate because of all the sneezing and noseblowing).

i don’t know if i’m allergic to gluten. i only know i’m definitely allergic to wheat. and soy. 

I can have a tteeeeny bit of soy, about the amount that’s in a single Hershey’s kiss. So, not a lot. And Nutella as a ton of soy in it. 😫  Actually, many chocolate products have soy in them. I used Toll House 53% cacao dark chocolate morsels (this is not sponsored), which have no soy. Enjoy Life is also soy free, but I have no clue whether or not it would work here.
Flourless Three Ingredient Chocolate Cake

This came out fantastic! Chocolaty, sweet, and delicate on the tongue. We’re having an early Christmas with Jason’s family this weekend, since we’re gonna see my mom on actual Christmas. I’m totally bringing this over. And if they need to know why a slice or two missing, I’ll just tell ’em I had to make sure it tasted good. You know, takin’ one for the team. 😇

Flourless Chocolate Cake


  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • optional garnishes
  • -candied fruit
  • -rosemary
  • -or just a light dusting of powdered sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a springform pan with parchment paper
  2. Place the syrup and the chocolate chips in a double boiler and melt together to form a fudge sauce.
  3. Turn of the heat, but keep the sauce over the heat source so that it remains warm and fluid
  4. Beat the eggs on high for several minutes. If you have a high power mixer, it will take about 5-6 minutes, but I have a hand mixer and it took me closer to 8-9 minutes.
  5. Gradually (very, very gradually) pour the fudge sauce into the egg mix, folding it in with your spatula.
  6. When an even color and consistency is reached, pour the batter into the pan.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely before removing from pan.
  8. Slice and enjoy!


I used toll house 53% cacao dark chocolate morsels. They are they only soy free chocolate chip that is widely available, other than Enjoy Life. They didn't pay me to say that, it's just what I most often use.

adapted from Kirbie’s Cravings 

Flourless Three Ingredient Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Christmas Trees (gluten free)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Christmas Trees (gluten free) easy gluten free christmas cookies homemade christmas candy

I’m so excited to share this cheery little forest with you! 🌲 🌲 🌲

But first, how were y’all’s Thanksgivings?

Mine was wonderful. I worked in the morning, where I witnessed so much goodwill that I was literally jumping for joy (traditional sense of literal). It put me in a good mood right then and there.

I thought I was going to be wiped out by the time I got off, but everybody’s kindness must of energized me. I went home and changed and didn’t even need a nap before heading over to dinner.Chocolate Peanut Butter Christmas Trees (gluten free) easy gluten free christmas cookies homemade christmas candy

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, large gatherings make me nervous. But for some reason, I was fine almost the whole time. I got there late, so everyone had already eaten and where heading out for a walk.  That was really nice, too. I feel like in my family, everyone would have waited for me to get there. Then they would have laid on major guilt about making everyone wait.

Since everyone had eaten, there was no awkward “you go first no you go first” line and I just scooped up leftovers here and there, taking as much as I pleased. Mainly I ate cheesy potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Jason’s aunt makes some really good cheesy potatoes. I might try to steal her recipe, but add jalapenos or something.

It was the most relaxed Thanksgiving I’ve ever been to, and I got to hold a baby in my lap the whole time.*

*this does not mean I’m ready to have one of my own. 

So. I love my family, but Thanksgiving with Jason’s kin pretty much won over every Thanksgiving I had with my own folks.

Also, Jason’s family uses paper plates, which meant FEWER DISHES.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Christmas Trees (gluten free) easy gluten free christmas cookies homemade christmas candy

Okay, okay, enough about the holiday. Let’s talk about the cheery forest. I wanted to call it a magical little forest, that reminds me of bad paperbacks from the discount bin.

But these trees really are magical. Peanut butter with chocolate is enchanting in almost any form, but particularly if said form is a Christmas tree!

They are wonderfully easy to make. Ground up cereal, melted PB, and coconut oil come together to make this nice pliable dough to form the trees with. Then just a dip in melted chocolate and you’re good to go.

Since they include ingredients almost everyone enjoys, they are a great choice to bring to your next Christmas party. I feel like they’re already a classic in our home, and I hope they’ll be a classic in yours too. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Christmas Trees (gluten free) easy gluten free christmas cookies homemade christmas candy


Chocolate Peanut Butter Chexmas Trees


  • 1 12 oz box of Corn Chex
  • 1 and 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • holiday sprinkles


  1. Use a food processor to grind the Chex to a fine, sandy powder. Mix in the salt.
  2. Use a double boiler to melt the coconut oil peanut butter together. It's melted enough when the peanut butter-coconut oil mixture drizzles in a thin, smooth stream off your spatula
  3. Turn off heat, but do not remove peanut butter from heat source. Mix Chex powder, 1/4 cup at a time, into the peanut butter.
  4. Allow mixture to cool slightly and then shape into a ball.
  5. Place the ball on a pan, then tap the pan against a hard, flat surface several times to allow the ball to flatten into a disk that is approx. 1/3 inch thick, diameter 9—9 1/2 inches.
  6. Cool disk in fridge for 5-8 min.
  7. Cut different size triangles into the disk — 28-30 of them.
  8. Stand the triangles up. For the larger triangles, curl the two bottom edges back slightly. They will resemble a slight c-shape from above. This will allow them to stand up without falling.
  9. Place triangles in freezer for 30-35 minutes.
  10. Melt the chocolate. Holding the trees on one side, use a silicone spatula to "paint" the chocolate onto the front and back of the trees. The larger trees will need to be set in the chocolate while you're doing this.
  11. Add the holiday sprinkles.
  12. Allow chocolate to harden before serving.


For a more kid-friendly method, melt the pb in the microwave and then put the pb bowl over a bowl of warm water while you mix in the cereal.


Double Caramel Banana Chocolate Oat Bars (vegan and gluten free!)

double caramel chocolate banana bars vegan gluten free


So. I might just be in love with caramelizing bananas before using them in baking. It adds an extra layer of flavor and sweetness, subtle and toasty. And a little nutty. Even if you cover the banana flavor with other things (like with the Sour Cherry Scones), the toasty nuttiness remains. Heck yes, I’m tooting the banana horn here.

I’m apparently 8 years old because saying banana horn makes me laugh.

I didn’t use to like bananas, not in smoothies, not in cake, not in anything. But life doesn’t stay the same, and tastes don’t either. Did you ever think that you’d be obsessed with roasting cauliflower? I certainly didn’t, yet it’s rather popular. Probably because roast cauliflower is awesome, as long as you slice it thin enough.bars4

Wait, why am I talking about vegetables at a time like this? Y’all are here today for the caramel chocolate.

These soft, gooey bars get their sweetness twice. Once from the caramel bananas, and then again from a generous pour of a vegan caramel sauce. They are very rich and sweet, which is why I like to cut them into smaller triangles instead of huge bars.  They are more enjoyable that way…and um, you can always go back and get another or two or three. Or call up your favorite people and have them all over for an impromtu caramel party.  That’s a thing, right?



Double Caramel Banana Oat Bars

Yield: approx 22 small bars, less if cut into large squares


  • 2 large, very ripe bananas
  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk, liquid part only (you'll use the solids for the caramel topping)*
  • 1 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp golden flax meal
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • topping
  • solids from the can of coconut milk*
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp old fashioned oats


  1. Grease a small skillet with 1 tsp coconut oil and place over medium heat.
  2. Slice the bananas into the skillet, as thinly as you can get them.
  3. Cook the bananas for 9-12 minutes, stirring occasionally (about once every minute or so), making sure they aren't burning or sticking to the pan. By the time you're done, they should be in an lumpy and mashed in appearance. Remove from heat.
  4. Grind up the cup of oats to a soft, silky flour.
  5. Combine the oat flour, the cornstarch, the baking powder, the cinnamon, and the baking soda. Set aside.
  6. Measure out the liquid from the coconut milk. There should be about 1/2 cup. If you don't have half a cup, fill up as much as you can with the coconut liquid and then add water or almond milk to compensate the rest of the way.
  7. Puree the bananas with the coconut liquid, the vanilla, the flax, and the brown sugar. Blend till smooth.
  8. Add the banana mixture to the oat mixture and stir well until combined.
  9. Add the 1/4 cup of chocolate chips to the batter.
  10. Preheat the oven to 350.
  11. Line a 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment paper and grease with the remaining coconut oil (this step is optional, but it makes cleaning the pan so much easier and also you get all caramel staying on the bars, and not on the pan)
  12. Spread the batter evenly into the baking dish.
  13. Sprinkle the 1/3 cup of chocolate chips over the batter.
  14. Sprinkle the 2 tsp oats over the batter.
  15. Measure out 1/2 cup of the coconut milk solids. There should still be some solids left over, which you won't use for this recipe. If still in a very solid state, warm up in the microwave for a few seconds until it becomes liquid and pourable.
  16. Combine the 1/2 cup brown sugar with the coconut milkfat. Stir until an even color and consistency is reached.
  17. Pour the brown sugar mixture over the batter.
  18. Bake for 25 minutes.
  19. Allow to cool before cutting into small triangles.
  20. Enjoy with a cool glass of almond milk.



* In order to get the coconut milkfat and liquid to separate, leave a can in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. You can also put in the freezer for a shorter amount of time. Be careful not to shake the can. When sufficiently chilled, you should be able to scoop the milkfat right off the top.


If you are the kind of person who likes "extra caramel drizzle" at Starbucks, I suggest increasing the coconut milk solids to 3/4 cup, and the brown sugar to 3/4 cup. This will make them extra sweet and extra caramelly. I prefer to use 1/2 cup of each, but you do you boo boo. 😉

Make Your Own Girl Scout Tagalongs (gluten free!)

not just any ol’ tagalong. PUMPKIN SPICE TAGALONGS.


I love this classic Girl Scout cookie, but I always thought they’d be hard to make. I’m so glad I proved myself wrong. You only need eight ingredients, and you probably have most of them in your cupboards already.

I’d rolled out of bed early on a Sunday, cookies on the brain. I stirred and baked and dipped, and by the time that Jas woke up, he had some sugar waiting for him in the kitchen. He smelled the cookies baking and thought I’d made pancakes.  He wasn’t disappointed at not-pancakes. It’s hard to be disappointed with chocolate and peanut butter and spice.



Fall Spice Tagalongs

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies, or less if you used a bigger cookie cutter


  • Cookie:
  • 1 cup of pumpkin puree (not prepared pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup hard packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 2 cups of old fashioned oats
  • Peanut Butter Filling
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt (you can make it a full tsp if you like)
  • Chocolate Coating
  • 1 1/4 cups of chocolate chips


  1. Grind the oats into a fine, silky flour. I used my Nutribullet to do this. Set aside.
  2. Combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice. Mix well.
  3. Add the oat flour to the pumpkin mix. You can start out with your spoon, and once it starts balling up, use your hands. Roll into a ball and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  4. Set the bowl in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
  5. Once your dough is firmed up, roll it out to about 1/4 inch thickness.
  6. Preheat your oven to 350.
  7. Using a 2-inch diameter cookie cutter, cut out all your cookies.
  8. Place on a greased cookie sheet. You can crowd them as much as you want because they won't spread.
  9. Bake 15-17 minutes. Halfway through baking, pierce each cookie with a fork to let the steam out. They cook funny otherwise.
  10. Allow cookies to cool before adding peanut butter
  11. Melt the PB for about 20 seconds in the microwave, just enough to soften. This will allow you to mix the salt in easier, and also allow for easier spreading.
  12. Mix the salt into the PB
  13. Spread a heaping teaspoonful of PB over each cookie. I found a butter knife worked best to do this.
  14. Set the cookies in the freezer for about 15 minutes. This will prevent the PB from melting into the chocolate during dipping.
  15. Once the PB is really hard, remove from the freezer`.
  16. Melt or temper your chocolate.
  17. Using your thumb and index finger as tongs, carefully dip each cookie, PB side down, into the chocolate. You don't have to coat the underside of the cookie (the part with no PB).
  18. If your chocolate starts to harden, give it a quick stir or return it to the heat. You probably won't need to do this, because the dipping goes quite fast.
  19. Set aside to allow the chocolate to harden. Or don't. They taste just fine all melty.
  20. Enjoy!


P.S. If you use vegan chocolate chips, these can be free of all animal products.