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Peanut Butter Whimsies

In a quest to find delicious gluten-free recipes that gluten eaters will enjoy as well, I stumbled upon peanut butter whimsies – a buttery treat that requires no baking. Almost always when peanut butter is involved, the result is most delightful due to the rich flavor and filling nature of peanut butter. With few ingredients, these cookies will leave your kitchen smelling delicious and those who pass through yearning for some of the delivious treat. After one bite, you won’t be able to resist another.

Peanut Butter Whimsies

The recipe was taken from the Family Cookbook Project website.

~ 2 cups sugar
~ 1/2 cup almond milk (or regular milk)
~ 1/4 cup butter
~ 1 cups peanut butter
~ 3 cups rolled oats

Peanut Butter Whimsies

1. Mix sugar, milk and butter in a saucepan. Bring to a boil.
2. Add peanut butter and stir until smooth. Add oats and stir until well-integrated.
3. Drop spoonfuls onto wax paper. Cool and enjoy!

These treats are simple and quick to make and they’ll be sure to please the entire crowd. They taste great right after they cool or several days later. Be sure to have a glass of water or milk on hand as these are quite the decadent treats.

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Caramelized Chickpeas

After a hiatus from sweets and baking, swellsweets is back with new recipes to share. Beans are a wonderful staple to keep in your pantry, not only for adding to salads and stir-frys, but also for baking. Chickpeas are one of my favorite beans. I’m so addicted to them that sometimes I go through two or three cans a week. So why not make chickpeas sweet? After all, they contain loads of protein and fiber, along with other health benefits. So dive in and give these a try.

Caramelized Chickpeas

The recipe was taken from Whole Living.

~ 2 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
~ 1/4 cup honey
~ 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
~ coarse salt and black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Spread chickpeas on a baking sheet and roast until dry, about 30  minutes.
2. In a medium bowl, combine honey, oil and a dash of salt and pepper.

Chickpeas can burn quickly, so be sure to pay attention to the roasting. These chickpeas can be enjoyed as an appetizer or dessert by the handful, or as a cereal with milk or yogurt.

Flourless Chocolate Cake Parfait with Peppermint

It’s Christmas time and like everyone else, you’re probably trying to figure out what the best festive dessert to bring to the holiday party is. Well, look no further for a chocolate lover’s holiday dessert. What originally started out as mini flourless chocolate cakes turned into a piece of art.

Flourless Chocolate Cake Parfait with Peppermint (3)

The recipe for the flourless chocolate cake was taken from Sur La Table’s The Art & Soul of Baking.

~ 10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
~ 5 ounces unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
~ 5 large eggs
~ 1/2 cup sugar

Flourless Chocolate Cake Parfait with Peppermint (2)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat a mini bundt cake pan or a 9-inch square pan with melted butter or cooking spray.
2. Bring 2 inches of water to boil in the bottom of a double boiler. Place the chocolate and butter in the top portion. Reduce the heat to a simmer and place the chocolate mixture on top. Stir frequently, until melted and smooth. Set aside.
3. Whip the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a mixer on high. With the spatula, scrape the eggs on top of the chocolate mixture and gently by thoroughly fold in until no streaks of eggs remain.
4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of pan, until firm to touch and a toothpick inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Note: The cake will fall in the center a bit and look uneven, however this is normal.

Once the cake is cooled, remove it from the pan and crumble it into small chunks. In a serving bowl, preferably glass so that the layers can be seen, place one-third of the cake in the first layer. Using pre-packaged chocolate frosting, make a frosting layer and sprinkle with crushed peppermint (candy canes work well). Repeat the layers two more times to make three layers of each the cake, chocolate frosting and crushed peppermint.

Serve and enjoy! If a glass of milk is not needed for the dessert, you’ve got some major chocoholics in your bunch!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Imagine this: cookies baked without any flour that have the same delicious flavor as flour-baked cookies. For people who are intolerant or allergic to gluten or for people looking for decadent cookies, these gluten-free cookies are filled with peanut butter flavor and pieces of chocolate.

Don’t be scared when you read the ingredients because the combination makes the perfect cookie.

The recipe was taken from the Texanerin Baking blog.

~ 1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas
~ 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
~ 1/2 cup peanut butter
~ 1/4 cup honey or agave
~ 1 teaspoon baking powder
~ 1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Rinse and pat dry the canned chickpeas.
2. Combine all ingredients except for the chocolate chips in a food processor and process until very smooth. Scrape the sides and top to incorporate chunks of chickpeas. Process until combined.
3. Stir in the chocolate chips.
4. Form dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and place on greased baking sheet. Leave in a ball or press down to form a flat cookie.
5. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

The peanut butter component of these cookies distract you from the chickpeas included in these cookies. Instead of the normal flour-based peanut butter cookies, give these cookies with healthy fats a try!

Cranberry Oatmeal Bars

After a short hiatus from baking, I’ve lured myself back into the baking world. Usually my inspiration for a recipe comes from the flavors that I’m craving. This time it came from a  mistakenly purchased tub of Greek yogurt. While Greek yogurt is one of the many health foods that I spoil myself with every day, only the non-fat or low-fat varieties satisfy my stomach – the others proving to be too rich. Since I stick to the same brands of Fage and Chobani usually, I decided to give Oikos a try per a friend’s recommendation. With good intentions to try a new brand, I mistakenly bought the whole milk variety.

Instead of throwing away the tub of yogurt, I decided that perfect use of it would be in baking. So many baking recipes call for tons of butter or vegetable oil, when yogurt is a sufficient substitute. Hence, we get the cranberry oatmeal bars. They have a dense oatmeal base and a thick, rich yogurt topping. Friends commented that they are so delicious and rich that they couldn’t even consider having another piece, yet others came calling back to me for another piece the next day.

Ironically enough, the recipe was adapted from one taken from Chobani.com.

For the oat-based crust…

~ 1 cup all-purpose flour
~ 1 cup quick-cooking oats
~ 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
~ 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
~ 1/4 tsp baking soda
~ 1/4 tsp salt
~ 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
~ 3 tbsp vegetable oil
~ 3 tbsp orange juice

For the yogurt topping…

~ 3/4 cup Oikos plain whole milk Greek yogurt
~ 1/2 cup sugar
~ 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
~ 1 large egg white
~ 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
~ zest of 1/2 orange

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly coat an 11×7-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Whisk together the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
3. In a small bowl whisk together the butter, vegetable oil and orange juice. Add the juice mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until crumbly.
4. Reserve 1/2 cup of mixture for later. Press rest of mixture into pan and up sides, using bottom of a measuring cup to even out crust.
5. Whisk yogurt, sugar, flour and egg white in a medium bowl. Stir in cranberries and orange zest.
6. Spread over crust in even layer. Sprinkle reserved oat mixture on top.
7. Bake until edges are golden-brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool completely and slice into bars.

If you’re looking for a healthy yet rich recipe high in protein and calcium, these cranberry oatmeal bars are sure to please. They are quite sweet so if you’d like to reduce the amount of sugar in the yogurt topping, I would recommend adding only 1/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup. To give it a little more of a kick and flavor, you can add some sprinkle of cinnamon on top before baking.

Nutella Fudge Pops

What better way to beat the summer heat than with chocolatey popsicles? Better yet, these popsicles are made mainly with banana, nutella and chocolate. The simplicity makes the flavors stand out. When I served the fudge pops, I asked the lucky dessert-eaters if they could identify what the ingredients were – they identified all of them.

The recipe was taken straight from Chocolate-Covered Katie, the healthy dessert blog.

~ 3 frozen bananas
~ 1 tbsp cocoa powder
~ 1/2 cup Nutella
~ 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor until super smooth. (A blender may also be used.)
2. Eat as ice cream, or scoop into popsicle mold and freeze for fudgsicles.

Note: The bananas are best thawed a little so that they blend easily.

The recipe makes 6 to 7 servings. Each serving has 95 calories, 5g fat, 12g carbs and 5g protein. Not too bad!

These delicious fudge pops are decadently delicious. Even chocoholics will want a glass of water or milk at hand.

Raw Brownies with a Twist

Every so often I come across a recipe that inspires me to do something different. I stray from the tried-and-tested recipe completely to give my own recipe a try. After making the raw brownies with avocado, dates, pecans and of course chocolate, I decided that I wanted to try making a different version of raw brownies. I loved the consistency from the sticky dates and crunchy pecans, but I wasn’t too sure about the flavor from the avocado.

To change it up but keep a similar consistency, I thought of ingredients of similar texture to the original ingredients. Banana replaced avocado, dried apricots replaced dates, walnuts replaced pecans and the chocolate stayed the same! Since I was trying something new and just wanted to get the ratios right, I made a small portion.

~ 1/2 banana
~ 7 dried apricots
~ 1/3 cup walnuts
~ 2 tbsp cocoa powder

1. In a food processor, mix all base ingredients.
2. Press down the mixture of base ingredients in a bowl.
3. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

While the ingredients created a slightly different consistency, overall I liked the flavor of the raw brownies with a twist more. Anything with banana flavor is going to lure me in. If I were to try the recipe again, I would use dates instead of apricots because the apricots were too dry and didn’t have the adhesive sticky component as well as the sweetness that the dates added to the original recipe.

What do you think of the raw brownies with a twist? What ingredients would you try if you created your own version? Share in the comments section!

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