Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies {Gluten-free + Dairy-free}

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies {gluten-free + dairy-free!} | Kneading Home

These cookies smell and taste like a soft gooey version of girl scout's thin mints (without all the chemicals!). They're made with almond meal which makes them gluten-free and surprisingly loaded with protein. They're also dairy-free and made with coconut oil, which makes them sort of healthy, but still ridiculously delicious.

They're great right out of the oven but better the longer they sit. Topped with crunchy sea salt, they're crispy around the edges and soft and brownie-like in the center. I don't mess around when it comes to chocolate so I more than tripled the amount of chocolate chunks from the original recipe. Each cookie is filled with big puddles of chocolatey goodness. Also, they will make your house smell amazing!

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies {gluten-free + dairy-free!} | Kneading Home
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies {gluten-free + dairy-free!} | Kneading Home
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies {gluten-free + dairy-free!} | Kneading Home
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies {gluten-free + dairy-free!} | Kneading Home
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies {gf & dairy-free}
Makes 18-20 cookies
Adapted from: Sprouted Kitchen

1 1/4 cups (137 grams) almond meal
1/2 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (65 grams) brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (I used the frontier brand)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping cup (120 grams/6 oz) dark chocolate chunks
chunky sea salt for serving

In a small bowl combine the almond meal, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. Whisk to combine. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut oil (make sure it's melted but not hot as you don't want scrambled eggs!), peppermint extract, and vanilla extract. 

Gentle whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. Pour in the chocolate chunks and stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate into the dough. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Note the dough can be made a day in advance.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop, place the dough balls onto the parchment then flatten slightly. Cook for 7-10 minutes until fragrant. Sprinkle with chunky sea salt. Best served when cooled completely. 

Chunky Vegan Queso

Chunky Vegan Queso | from Kneading Home

My dad’s side of the family lives in El Paso, Texas. We've visited every couple of years for as long as I can remember. There isn’t much in El Paso but it’s proximity to Juarez means it has some pretty excellent Mexican food. We've been going to one particular family-runned restaurant called Avila’s for decades. I have such fond memories of going there with my immediate family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. As a kid, I remember staring in wonder when my dad told me his mole had chocolate in it. I remember thinking chocolate steak, gross! 

As a kid (and who am I kidding, as an adult too) our favorite was always the sopapillas, these puffy, deep-fried hollowed Mexican doughnuts. We’d poke a hole in the corner and pour in as much honey as possible. It was always a delicious mess. The last time I went they began offering cinnamon sugar covered sopapillas, but I still prefer the original. Every meal ended with sopapillas, a dessert we never seemed to be able to find after we headed back to southern California. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who had even heard of them, which to my brothers and I, made them feel even more exclusive and special. They were our best kept secret. 

Chunky Vegan Queso | Kneading Home
Chunky Vegan Queso | Kneading Home

Every meal ended with sopapillas but every meal also began with chile con queso. Sharp white melted cheddar with soft roasted green chilies. We’d slather it on tortillas and eat it with chips. Most of the time we ate so much chile con queso that we were full before the meal got there, but that didn’t matter because everyone knew it was the best part anyway. And as delicious as it was, this queso is nothing like that.

The first time I made this queso over Super Bowl weekend, I promptly texted my dad and his siblings “vegan queso!”. My dad's side of the family is hispanic and they know a thing or two about good Mexican food. I got a range of reactions and even some suggestions from my chile obsessed Uncle Mike. So I applied said changes and the result is something even my Texas family members could appreciate. It’s creamy and spicy and full of green chiles and fresh pico de gallo, and although you’d never know it, it’s completely vegan. Trust me, you won’t miss the cheese one bit, or even be able to tell it’s missing. 

Chunky Vegan Queso | Kneading Home
Chunky Vegan Queso | Kneading Home
Chunky Vegan Queso
Makes about 3 cups
Adapted from: Food52

1 large tomato, seeded & diced
1 jalapeño, seeded & diced
1/4 large red onion, diced
1 small handful cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice, divided
1 cup raw cashews, soaked at least 4 hours
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup + 2 tablespoons water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (see notes)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 4-ounce can diced green chilis

Notes: 1/4 teaspoon cayenne makes this dish mild, 1/2 teaspoon makes it pretty spicy. I recommend starting with 1/4 teaspoon and adjusting from there. 

Make the pico de gallo, in a small bowl toss the tomato, jalapeño, red onion, cilantro, and green onions with 1 tablespoon lime juice and set aside. 

In the bowl of a blender blend the remaining tablespoon of lime juice, cashews, chili powder, paprika, nutritional yeast, water, salt, cayenne, and tomato paste until completely smooth. Adjust to taste, adding more lime/cayenne if needed. 

Reserve a scant 1/4 cup of the pico de gallo. Stir the remaining pico de gallo and the green chilies into the queso and top with the reserved 1/4 cup. 


Peach Bourbon Pecan Cobbler Ice Cream

Peach Bourbon Pecan Cobbler Ice Cream {dairy-free} | Kneading Home

Happy Friday! We've survived the week. We deserve something special. Luck for you, I've got just the thing. I've been wanting to share a peach recipe as well an ice cream recipe before it starts cooling down and peaches leave us for the season. Then I had the brilliant idea to combine the two. And guys, the final product is everything I dreamed and more. This ice cream is the sweet, sweet, love child of peach bourbon pecan cobbler and vanilla bean ice cream. Oh, and it's dairy free and probably the best thing I've ever created. 

Peach Bourbon Pecan Cobbler Ice Cream {dairy-free} | Kneading Home
Peach Bourbon Pecan Cobbler Ice Cream {dairy-free} | Kneading Home
Peach Bourbon Pecan Cobbler Ice Cream {dairy-free} | Kneading Home

I hope I didn't offend anyone when I said "dairy-free", and if I did, give me a moment to defend myself. You see, my husband is a bit of an ice-cream snob. It's one of the few things he makes in this house, it's sort of his "job" to make the ice cream. He also happens to hate coconut and is highly skeptical of healthy, particularly vegan, adaptations of classics (one time I made him vegan mac and cheese and he practically divorced me, let's just say that's never happening again).  So I knew I had my work cut out for me. And let me tell you, you let this ice cream soften on the counter a bit, and I swear to you, you cannot tell it's dairy-free. It is so creamy and smooth. The secret is 1. the egg yolk custard (sorry vegans) and 2. using coconut cream. It's also got lots of brown sugar, a touch of maple syrup, a homemade crumble, and perfect summer peaches cooked in bourbon, coconut oil, and more brown sugar and maple syrup. Oh and the ice cream has those perfect little beads of vanilla caviar that add that extra touch. Like I said, it may be the best thing I've ever made. 

And as for the husband, he happily served himself not one, not two, but three giant scoops of the stuff with a huge grin on his face while he insisted that it wasn't that good. Yeah, right. Actions speak louder than words, my friends. 

Peach Bourbon Pecan Cobbler Ice Cream {dairy-free} | Kneading Home
Peach Bourbon Pecan Cobbler Ice Cream {dairy-free} | Kneading Home
Peach Bourbon Pecan Cobbler Ice Cream {dairy-free} | Kneading Home
Peach Bourbon Pecan Cobbler Ice Cream {dairy-free} | Kneading Home
Peach Bourbon Pecan Cobbler Ice Cream {dairy-free} | Kneading Home

Peach Bourbon Pecan Cobbler Ice Cream {dairy-free} 
Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen 
Makes 1 overflowing quart 

For the custard: 
2 egg yolks, room temperature 
1/4 cup cane sugar 
1/4 cup brown sugar 
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 13.5oz can full-fat coconut milk 
1 13.5oz can coconut cream
1 vanilla bean 
pinch of sea salt 

For the peaches: 
3 ripe yellow peaches 
1 tsp coconut oil 
1 tbsp brown sugar 
1 tbsp maple syrup 
1 tbsp bourbon (optional) 
pinch of sea salt 

For the crumble: 
1/2 cup Earth Balance (or butter)
1/2 heaping cup of all purpose flour 
1/3 cup cane sugar 
1/4 cup pecan pieces 
pinch of sea salt 

1. Make the custard. In a double broil over, whisk egg yolks, sugars, and maple syrup together over medium heat until mixture becomes smooth and sugar has melted. Slowly whisk in coconut milk, followed by coconut cream. Slice open vanilla bean and using the backside of a knife scrape the beans out of the pod, add the vanilla "caviar" to the custard along with the vanilla pod. Add pinch of salt and whisk for 2-3 minutes until completely smooth and incorporated. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve, and discard vanilla pod. Refrigerate mixture for 1-2 hours.

2. Make the crumble. Cut earth balance (or butter) into small chunks and freeze for 15-30 minutes (this makes the crumble extra crumbling and keeps it from caking - it's worth it, trust me). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. And line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl, add cold butter and using your hands, work the butter into the flour until it becomes the consistency of very chunky (delicious) sand. Add the sugar and pecans. Bake for 25-30 minutes until slightly brown, removing from oven at about about 20 minutes to break the crumble into chunks, giving it a good toss so it cooks evenly. Once finished remove from heat and let cool completely. 

3. Make the peaches. Thinly slice peaches, leaving the skins on. Heat coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in peaches, sugar, maple syrup, salt, and bourbon and stir for about 5 minutes until mixture becomes extremely fragrant and peaches soften. Let cool. Then add mixture to a food processor and pulse until desired chunks are achieved. Refrigerate mixture. 

4. Make the ice cream. Follow the instructions on your ice cream making. Pour cold custard into maker, when the ice cream is about 75% done, add in peaches and about two thirds of the crumble (reserving the final third to sprinkle on top of the ice cream). Transfer to a container, top with more crumble, and freeze. 

5. Serve. This ice cream does best after sitting at room temperature 20-30 minutes. Because of the low sugar content and lack of actual dairy, it does have a tendency to get icy. Letting it rest until it just begins to melt around the edges is the way to go. To serve top with even more crumble and enjoy!

Recipe Notes: 

I've made regular ice cream enough times to know, there is no reason you couldn't do this same recipe using a combination of heavy cream and milk instead of coconut cream/milk. At some point, I will do this and post an update on here.