Gluten Free Vegan Penguin Brookies


These adorable penguin brookies are gluten free and vegan.

Gluten Free Vegan Penguin Brookies penguin cookies brookie gluten free vegan cookie cute cookie penguin cute

As I went to write this post, I was suddenly curious about the history of the brookie. I’d certainly never heard of them until the dawn of Pinterest. My mom made cookies often, and brownies less so, but never together.  Were they a classic when you were growing up?

As a former history major, I certainly know the steps involving a full-blown brookie investigation. It takes more than just a Google, and I’m not that curious.  One thing is certain, the brookie takes many forms. Bars, pies, cake pops probably.   So I’m here to present my own version: the gluten free, vegan, totally adorable penguin brookie.

Gluten Free Vegan Penguin Brookies penguin cookies brookie gluten free vegan cookie cute cookie penguin cute

Speaking of adorable, do you have trouble eating “cute” foods?  I kinda do. Like when I get a chocolate bunny or something, I bite its head off first so it doesn’t know I’m eating it.  That’s not crazy, right? Anyways, that’s what I had to do with these. Eat the head first.

But still eat, because they were so good. I mean. Brownie + sugar cookie = holiday cheer!!!!

Gluten Free Vegan Penguin Brookies penguin cookies brookie gluten free vegan cookie cute cookie penguin cute

Especially for an indecisive person such as myself. I both love and hate a generous array of holiday cookies. My grandma would often make over a dozen different kind of cookies — in her later years. I’m told she would make twice that when she was younger. As much as I loved every last variety, it was so hard for me to choose. So I would choose them all and then end up with a bellyache.  Cookies were easy to sneak because they were kept in various tins the the chilly garage.

For these treats, you don’t have to choose. Isn’t that kind of the point of a brookie? They are an utter boon to the indecisive American.

They are also a boon to the frosting-fighter. You know, those folks who have lofty dreams of intricately designed  cookies, but end up with a melted mess. That’s me.  For this, you need to paint two dots and a triangle. If I can do it, you can do it. And free-form the scarf.  And to shape this, all you need is a three tier snowman cookie cutter.


See? the bottom part of the cookie cutter makes the outer part (the dark brownie) and the top part of the cookie cutter makes the inner white part (sugar cookie). Easy easy easy.

Even these are totally simple, there are some steps involved….but don’t be intimidated! You don’t have to do the steps all at once. The sugar cookie dough has to be chilled before cutting, and the brookie dough has to be chilled after cutting, and you can decorate them any time you like. Just take it fifteen minutes at a time here and there. So even if you’re busy, you totally have time to bake up these wintery little cuties.  🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧

Gluten Free Vegan Penguin Brookies penguin cookies brookie gluten free vegan cookie cute cookie penguin cute


Gluten-Free Vegan Penguin Brookies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 24

I always recommend sifting gluten-free flour prior to using. I like Bob's Red Mill Cup-to-Cup in the blue bag (not sponsored). For this recipe, it's okay to sift lightly.


    for the brownie
  • 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, solid
  • 1 tbsp espresso powder (optional)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted GF flour
  • for the sugar cookie
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • decoration
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 tbsp water
  • sprinkles


    for the sugar cookie
  1. Combine the flax eggs, the vanilla, the coconut oil, the salt, and the sugar.
  2. Add the baking powder and the flour.
  3. Pat into ball, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours
  4. for the brownie
  5. Place the chocolate chips, the coconut oil, the maple syrup, the flax eggs and the brown sugar in a double boiler over medium heat. Stir constantly until chocolate is fully melted and a dark, even consistency is reached. It will appear watery.
  6. Turn off the heat but do not remove from heat source.
  7. Stir in the espresso powder, the salt, and the baking powder.
  8. Gradually stir in the flour. The dough will be firm and shiny.
  9. Immediately turn the dough out onto a parchment-covered surface.
  10. Place another layer of parchment over top of the dough and roll it to just under 1/4 inch thick.
  11. Use the bottom two "balls" of a snowman cookie cutter to cut out the dark part of the penguin.
  12. Collect scraps and re-roll and cut as needed. You should end up with 24 pieces.
  13. Place the brownie penguin cut outs in the freezer.
  14. back to the sugar cookie
  15. Dust some parchment with flour.
  16. Place the dough over the flour and cover with more flour and a second piece of parchment.
  17. Roll the dough out to just over 1/6th of an inch.
  18. Use the top two "balls" of a snowman cookie cutter to cut out the sugar cookie part of the penguin.
  19. Re-roll scraps and cut as needed. You might end up with a little extra dough (more than 24)
  20. Preheat the oven to 300. Line cookie sheets with parchment.
  21. Remove the brownie parts from the freezer.
  22. Quickly assemble by placing the sugar cookie over the brownie.
  23. Bake at 300 for 10 minutes.
  24. Gently slide the parchment off the cookie sheet and allow brookies to cool completely before touching.
  25. to decorate
  26. Place the chocolate chips in a zip-seal baggie.Immerse in warm water until fully melted.
  27. Cut a small bit off the corner of the bag and carefully dot on the eyes and beaks. Allow to harden -- it won't take long.
  28. Combine the powdered sugar, the corn syrup, and the water. Use small paintbrush (or pipe with a second baggie) to paint on an icing scarf. Immediately add the sprinkles over the icing, shaking off excess.
  29. Serve with love.
  30. These keep best in the freezer, wrapped up. They taste fine cold, but I liked them best warmed up just a tad in the microwave.
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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.
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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

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Baked Apple Cider Caramels


Full confession: this started out as an apple cider blondie recipe. Toward the end of baking time, I peeked in the oven and saw that the batter was bubbling like hot sugar. Once baked and cool, they were soft and chewy and bursting with apple cider flavor.

But I was not convinced. So I tested the recipe several more times, playing with flour content until I was fully satisfied that the first go-through was not a one-time fluke.

Dude. Vegan, gluten-free, baked caramels.  No candy thermometer, no stirring, no burning, no sticky pot.

Wait…that’s a bit of a lie. These caramels get their deep, rich apple cider flavor from apple cider molasses. And in order to make the apple cider molasses, your pot will get sticky, but don’t let that turn you off. Apple cider molasses is even easier to make than these caramels.


All you need to do is pour a half-gallon of apple cider into a saucepan.Cover it, let it come to a boil over medium heat, and then take off the lid. Place the heat on medium low-medium and let it simmer for a few hours. No stirring, no baby sitting. When you have about a cup to one and a quarter cups of cider left, take it off the heat right away and put it in the fridge. It will still look kinda liquidy, but when it cools it will be fat and thick like honey. I liked to do this step in the early evening, while I was still busy. It pretty much makes itself, so the only work was literally pouring the cider into he pan. Then I’d pop it in the fridge before I went to bed and when I woke up….gooey, amazing apple cider syrup.

It must be noted that this molasses is a treat all its own, perfect on peanut butter sandwiches and oatmeal and waffles. Stirred into rum and whiskey.  The caramels require half a cup of this stuff, which means you’ll have a nice amount to play with afterwards.

Like any caramels, these will get hard and yucky if you don’t wrap them up, so do so as soon as you can. They are best on the first two days, but will last for about four or five days.



Baked Apple Cider Caramels

this recipe calls for a flax egg and gluten-free flour. substituting a regular egg and regular flour is not recommended.although I have not tested either item, I suspect that the protein in the egg and the gluten in the flour would yield significantly different results.


  • 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider molasses (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 flax egg*
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • a drip of vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup of scant, well sifted gluten-free flour (like bob's cup to cup)
  • optional toppings
  • chunky sea salt
  • pepitas


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line and 8x8 glass pan with parchment paper
  2. Beat together the melted coconut oil and the apple cider molasses.
  3. Add the brown sugar, flax egg, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.
  4. Carefully stir in the flour and add the baking powder at the very end.
  5. Scrape the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 22-23 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with pepitas and brown sugar if desired, and allow to cool completely before cutting.


* tbsp water + 1 tbsp flax meal

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to make apple cider molasses

ingredients: 1/2 gallon of pure apple cider

Pour 1 1/4 cups of apple cider into a saucepan make make a note of where the liquid reaches. (dip a skewer into the cider so that it hits the bottom of the pan. then make a mark on the skewer of where the cider reaches) Pour the remaining apple cider into the pan, cover, and set over medium heat. Once boiling, remove cover and lower heat slightly. Continue to simmer for 1 1/2 -2 1/2 hours, until you have about 1 to 1/4 cups of cider left (use your skewer to measure) It will still appear to be liquid. Cool overnight. It will be think and gooey and marvelous. Recipe from Heather Plus Mike.




Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Recipe (seriously….3 minutes, 3 ingredients)

This simple chocolate peanut butter fudge is ready in minutes. It only dirties one bowl, and you whip it up in your microwave. Vegan.

Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

As it gets warmer out, I can’t help but think of warm weather foods. A mouthful of stinky ramps. Charred corn, hot off the grill. Cold watermelon, perfectly salted. And fudge.

I suppose fudge is technically a beach treat, and not specifically a warm weather treat, but you know….folks generally go to the beach in the summer.

And technically, if you asked me where I wanted to go on vacation right now, I’d tell you the mountains, and not the beach.  But fudge can be enjoyed anywhere.  Pack these up in a box and tuck them into your cooler for a long drive out to a quiet hammock.



This recipe actually started out as an attempt at chocolate peanut butter, for Jason to dip his pretzels in as an after-school snack. Er….after-work snack? Nah, that sounds wrong. I think we all understand that the idea of after school snacks carry far past our classroom days. Whether you’re removing your dirty soccer cleats or peeling of damn panty hose, it’s still an after-school snack.

Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Anyways, the pretzel-dip thing didn’t quite work out, but one thing lead to another and I retooled the recipe to become classic chocolate peanut butter fudge.

It makes a small batch, but it can easily be doubled or tripled if you wanted to bring it to a party.

The sprinkles are optional (I only added them for the photo aspect), but if you can put anything you want over top. An extra drizzle of peanut butter, chopped nuts, a sprinkle of big-flake salt, whatever.

Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge (seriously….3 minutes, 3 ingredients)

Prep Time: 1 minute

Cook Time: 3 minutes

Yield: 28-32 1-inch pieces

Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge (seriously….3 minutes, 3 ingredients)


  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup


  1. Place everything in a glass container. Microwave for 1.5-3 minutes, stirring at 30 second intervals, until the chocolate is fully melted. Pour into a parchment-lined loaf pan and cool until hardened. When fully cooled, slice and serve.
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easy vegan fudge

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


Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies (v, gf)

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies vegan sugar cookies gluten free sugar cookiesIt’s been so long since I’ve made sugar cookies. I’m not talking about since last Christmas or the Christmas before that.  The last time I made sugar cookies, I was in college and took a historic costume class, and I was giving a presentation on Marie Antoinette’s personal style. I made cookies in the shape of the Dauphine’s  hair to hand out during my talk.  I don’t know why I chose her hair, but then again, I don’t know why I chose to be a history major. I don’t know why it’s been so long since I’ve made sugar cookies!

Luckily, these sugar cookies really make up for that lapse. How good were they? Baked at 2 pm and gone by 6. I brought them to dinner at Jason’s parents’ house, even though the supply was already pretty decimated by the time we got there (not my doing, btw).

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies vegan sugar cookies gluten free sugar cookies

Anyways, everyone ate them up. Even my brother in law, who told me that he “wouldn’t have tried them before hand if he’d known they were gluten free and vegan, and that he couldn’t even tell.” That reminded me of this Onion article, so I tried to avoid eye contact when he said that. Please read the article, it’s hilarious.

I think the best part about them was when my little nephew’s face lit up after having a bite. Making people happy with food is a pretty wonderful feeling, don’t you think?

Speaking of making people happy, my mom was peering over my shoulder the whole time I was making these, and may have mentioned one or two or three times that she doesn’t like the new blog name. I thought that I might as well explain it to y’all.

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies vegan sugar cookies gluten free sugar cookies

It comes from a case of intentionally misunderstood lyrics. As in “we know they’re singing this, but it sounds like they’re singing this, and it’s funnier this way.” Lonely Starbucks Lovers.

The opening lines to the Avett Brothers song Laundry Room are “don’t push me out.” If you don’t know them, Google the live version, not the studio version, please.  Avett fans know that the boys absolutely adore cats,  which is why don’t push meow is an amusing alternate lyric. Sometimes we all need an amusing alternate version to life,  so I thought this was a pretty good blog name. *shrugs

Of course, you don’t need an alternate version to anything when you have a sugar cookie in your hand. These are nutty and a tiny bit under-sweet. I made them under-sweet on purpose because I don’t like a super sweet cookie and then super sweet frosting on top…and I knew I wanted the frosting to be really sweet. The sticky finger kind of sweet, the sugar coma on a Sunday morning syrup kind of sweet. This frosting tastes exactly like the kind of goo that comes on cinnamon rolls.    Which is kind of making me wish they weren’t all gone. Oh well, guess I’ll just have to make more of them. Darn.

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies vegan sugar cookies gluten free sugar cookies


Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies (v, gf)


  • 9-11 roasted chestnuts
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 2 flax eggs (6 tbsp almond milk + 2 tbsp flax meal)
  • 1 cup of Bob's Red Mill GF flour in the blue bag, not the red bag
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • for the frosting
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • food coloring, if desired


  1. Grind the chestnuts and pecans to a flour. You should end up with 1 cup of nut flour.I find a get a finer meal if I add in a little bit of the GF flour towards the end of the grinding process.
  2. Combine the nut flour, the GF flour, the cinnamon, the salt, and the baking powder.
  3. Combine the flax eggs, the coconut oil, the vanilla, and the sugar.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones.
  5. You don't HAVE to chill the dough, but I always find it helpful. in the rolling and cutting process. I made the dough at night and didn't roll & bake until the next afternoon.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400.
  7. Roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment, to about 1/6th - 1/8th of an inch thick. Cut out the cookies -- you should end up with out 36-40.
  8. Bake for 6 minutes.
  9. for the frosting
  10. Combine all ingredients and spread or paint over the cookies. Frosting will harden.
  11. Enjoy with family and friends.

adapted from Ethel’s Sugar Cookies in the classic Betty Crocker Cooky Book

this is not sponsored content, I just like Bob’s 1 to 1 mix.


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.


Sweet and Salty Buckeyes

sweet and salty crunchy buckeyes

My husband is an Ohio native. We were living in North Carolina when we met, and I thought we would live there pretty much forever, but then life happened and we moved here.  He’s been here since January, and I came up in July.

It’s been an adjustment. I miss my favorite running trails, particularly because I feel that flat terrains are harder on the body.  And, um….there’s a lot of flat terrain here.

But I have gotten to do a bunch of fun Ohio things, like stuffing myself with fresh heartland produce, and going to a game at THE Ohio State University. We haven’t gone apple picking yet, but I hope to soon. And we’re going to a bonfire at his cousin’s farm, which I’m really looking forward to because I love love his folks.

sweet and salty crunchy buckeyes

But there’s still a lot of Ohio stuff I haven’t done — like survive the winter here yet, har har — and make buckeyes. So I had to make some buckeyes! But I’m not a real Buckeye, so I couldn’t make the traditional creamy centered powdered sugar kind. They are made with cereal, which gives them a very slight crunch.  And the peanut butter is a little salty, so they have that whole salty sweet thing goin’ on with you can love, no matter where you’re from.

sweet and salty crunchy buckeyes
I’m going to finish this Brutus eventually

I thought that my husband was a sturdy son of Ohio, through and through. Like, on one of our first dates, I put the accent on the wrong syllable in  “Tressel” and got a big long lecture. So I thought was prepared for the madness, but I was OH so wrong.  I still have a lot of learning to do, about history and traditions and what you can and can’t say during the week before Thanksgiving. So I gotta ask, what are y’all’s favorite Ohio traditions?


Crunchy Buckeyes

Yield: 28-30 buckeyes

Serving Size: 1 buckeye


  • 1 12 oz box of corn chex
  • 1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips
  • special equipment
  • toothpicks (duh)


  1. Use your food processor to reduce the Chex to a fine, sandy dust. Work in batches to end up with a better result. You should end up with about two cups of pulverized cereal.
  2. Add the salt to the Chex sand. I placed it in an airtight container and shook it up.
  3. Melt the peanut butter and coconut oil together in a double boiler set over medium heat. (I don't have a real double boiler, but an oven-safe bowl set over the pot worked really well). Stir constantly. It's melted enough when the peanut butter-coconut oil mixture drizzles in a thin, smooth stream off your spatula. If it plops, it's not melted enough.
  4. Without removing the peanut butter from the heat, mix in the Chex sand.
  5. Stir the peanut butter and sand until you get a crumbly mixture. Remove from heat.
  6. Using your hands, continue to mix the powder and the pb until it comes together more, something resembling a dry cookie dough. Although it looks and feels very clumpy now, it will get smooth once you start to roll the balls.
  7. Roll up the mix into balls just a little smaller than a tablespoon. Stick the toothpicks into the balls as you go -- it will help the toothpick stay inside the ball during dipping. You should end up with 28-30 balls, depending on the size.
  8. Place the balls in the freezer for about 5-8 minutes.
  9. Melt the chocolate (a double boiler works great once again!)
  10. Dip the balls in the chocolate. A swirling action ensures a good coating. You may need to return the chocolate to the heat once or twice.
  11. Allow the chocolate to harden. Or don't. Jason! They're not ready yet.


If the balls don't seem to be forming at first, let the mixture sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes or so. It will firm up some, making it easier to work with.

Even though they keep their shape well at room temp (thanks, coconut oil!), it's best to store these in the fridge.

Homemade Chocolate Sesame Candy Bars

Only three ingredients. And one of them is salt. 

Homemade Chocolate Sesame Candy Bars

Even though I’m now mumble mumble years old, my mom still likes to send me stuff. No complaints here! Her packages are invariable and predictable: A little note and a granola or nut bar of some sort. She really likes nut bars.  She occasionally sends me face cream. I’m going to use the cream and ignore the “you really should moisturize more often” implication. Ugh….because, you know, I probably should moisturize more often.

Homemade Chocolate Sesame Candy BarsAnyways, last time she sent me something, it was these two little packages of
sesame snaps, with strict instructions to share them with my husband. I tried mom, I tried. I was pizza night around here.

I put the snaps in the cupboard and forgot about them. Later, I was rooting around trying to find something to go along with some chocolate chips. Chocolate is wonderful all on its own, but it’s also wonderful with other stuff, too. Such as sesame snaps!

20150929_115623These are the kind you buy at Walgreens, and they are only 99 cents package. I know, because after I ate the ones my mom sent me, I went to go get more. So this recipe is easy and cheap. Ding ding. Winner! They come together very quickly. The only thing you even have to worry about is keeping vigil over them when they are under the broiler. Don’t even shut the oven door. Keep your eyes fixed on them the whole time (which is all of 30 seconds to a minute at most).


Homemade Chocolate Sesame Candy Bars

I try – ahem – try to send my mom something back. The last thing I sent her was a little travel coffee mug, which she immediate noted was not dishwasher-friendly. Sorry? I thought it was cute. Anyways, I think she would love love these, so I think it’s high time I sent her another care package. Very few things say love like chocolate, don’t you think?

Homemade Chocolate Sesame Candy Bars

Chocolate Sesame Candy Bars

Yield: 12 candy bars

Chocolate Sesame Candy Bars


  • Three packages of Nice! sesame snaps (8 snaps in each package)
  • One cup chocolate chips
  • About 1 tsp fine flake salt


  1. The snaps have a fluted side and a flat side. Lay 12 of the snaps fluted side down on a baking sheet.
  2. Carefully place the chocolate chips on the flat side of the snaps. I was able to fit 14 chips on each snap.
  3. Broil the snaps for about 30-60 seconds, keeping a close eye on them. Don't let the chocolate get too melty...just tacky and shiny is good. Don't even close the oven door.
  4. As soon as you remove the snaps from the oven, sprinkle a little salt over each snap, and top with another snap, fluted side up this time. Press down a little to make sure they stick.
  5. Allow the chocolate to harden and cool.
  6. Enjoy!


You can bite into these...but it's better to break them first. 🙂

p.s. Nice! didn’t pay me to say this. I just enjoyed the product and wanted to share.