Gluten-Free Soft-Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies.

These Soft-Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies are so soft they taste like they just came out of the oven, and they’re so good no one will know they’re Gluten-Free!

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Today’s National Donut Day, but I much prefer chocolate chip cookies over donuts, so I’m popping in with an awesome cookie recipe for you today. I think these are the best gluten-free chocolate chip cookies I’ve had yet! Now, let me go ahead and say this is one of those cases where gluten-free does NOT equal healthier. There’s plenty of real sugar, butter, etc. If you’re looking for a “healthified” gluten-free chocolate chip cookie, you might want to try these.

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you know chocolate chip cookies are my favorite dessert.
And you also know I am super picky about my chocolate chip cookies.
I want them SOFT. Not crispy, not crunchy, and definitely not super crumbly.
I found the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, but then last year I found out I had a wheat allergy, and I’ve been looking for a replacement ever since.
Ladies and gents, this is it!

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They hold up together really well, but aren’t hard at all. The edges are just sliiiight crispy, but the rest of the cookie is perfectly soft. Sticking the cookie dough balls in the freezer before baking was key in this recipe. Also, as with any cookie, you want to take them out of the oven when they still seem slightly underbaked because they continue baking while cooling on the pan.

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These cookies will stay fresh for up to 2 days in an airtight container.  I mean, obviously, they were best fresh out of the oven, so you’ll definitely want to have one then. I don’t even need to tell you that though because honestly…does anyone actually bake cookies and not taste one fresh from the oven? I didn’t think so.

Gluten-Free Soft-Batch Chocolate Chip Cookie

Ingredients:

  • 1 7/8 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur’s All-Purpose GF mix)
  • 1 teaspoon xantham gum (check your flour mix–if it’s already listed as an ingredient omit it)
  • 6 1/3 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable shortening, melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk both at room temperature, beaten
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, mixed with 1 teaspoon cornstarch

1). Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a baking pan or cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside.

2). In a large bowl whisk together the GF flour, xantham gum, corn starch, salt, baking soda, and sugar. Once that’s all blended, add the light brown sugar. Make sure there are no clumps.

3). Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients by pushing them up towards the sides of the bowl. Add the following ingredients, stopping to mix well after each one: butter, shortening, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. The dough should be thick and soft. Add the cornstarch-coated chocolate chips and mix well. (Bonus: there’s no risk of overworking the dough with gluten-free flour!)

4). Roll about 2 1/2 Tablespoons of dough into balls and place on the lined cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. DO NOT flatten the balls–leave them rounded. Place the baking sheets in the fridge for 1 hour or in the freezer for 10 minutes.

5). Remove from fridge/freezer and bake for 12 minutes. Again, the center of the cookie will appear underbaked. Let them cool for at least 10 minutes on the cookie sheet–they will continue baking as they cool. Remove from the cookie sheet and let them finish cooling on wire racks. Store in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days. Enjoy!

Servings: about 20. Approximate Nutritional information per Serving: Calories: 216 Carbs: 30g Fat: 10g Protein: 2g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 18g Points+: 6 Recipe from here.

Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies. (GF, DF)

Soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies that are gluten-free and are sweetened naturally instead of with refined sugar! All the ooey-gooey goodness of traditional chocolate chip cookies, but a little bit healthier.

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Valentine’s day is Saturday! Got any plans to make a sweet treat for your loved ones?

My all-time favorite dessert is chocolate chip cookies. So, you can imagine my frustration when I found out about my wheat allergy over the summer and realized I would no longer be able to enjoy my beloved chocolate chip cookie recipe. I had to find a replacement. Stat.

This recipe is an excellent alternative to my aforementioned traditional wheat-filled chocolate chip cookie recipe. The first time I made it, I was seriously skeptical. I mean, look at the ingredients! Can almond flour really work here? Can honey bind it all without even using an egg?

The answer: yes.

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These cookies are super chewy, which is exactly the way I love them.
And they’re soft.
Really soft. In fact, don’t even think about attempting to eat one as soon as you take the pan out of the oven because they will appear underbaked. This worried me at first, but sure enough, after they cooled for a while they firmed up and could be held just fine. (By the way, underbaking is one of the tricks for making my original chocolate chip cookies amazing, and it works here too!)

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Obviously if you’re making cookies you realize there’s going to be some serious sugar-intake happening, but I do appreciate that these cookies use honey instead of refined sugar. Honey is still a form of sugar, but if you buy good quality, raw, local honey, you are at least also getting some nutrients from the sweetener. The flavor of the honey does come through a little bit, but I love honey so that did not bother me at all. If you don’t like honey (is that possible?), then these might not be the cookies for you!

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A note on the almond flour–I used Trader Joe’s almond meal/flour. I am not sure how well any other brand would work. Almond flour can vary greatly depending on what brand you purchase, so just be aware!

Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (use enjoy life for dairy free)
  • 1/4 cup softened butter (coconut oil for dairy free)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

1). Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with silpat liner or parchment paper.

2). In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except chocolate chips together until well-incorporated. Add in the chocolate chips.

3). Scoop about 1 tablespoon of cookie dough and place on the prepared baking sheet. Keep 2-3 inches of space between cookies. Gently press down on the cookie dough to flatten each cookie slightly.

4). Bake for 6-10 minutes, depending on your oven. The cookie should be slightly golden on the bottom and will appear underbaked, but they will finish baking as they cool.

5). Important: cool for 10-15 minutes on the cookie sheet before enjoying! You absolutely must let them cool or else they will be too soft to handle. Enjoy!

Yield: about 19 cookies. Approximate Nutritional Information per cookie: Calories: 135 Carbs: 11g Fat: 10g Fiber: 1g Protein: 2g Sugar: 9g Points+: 4. Recipe originally from here.

Coconut Key Lime Energy Bites + 2 Year Blog Anniversary! (GF, DF, Paleo)

Slightly tangy but sweet, these coconut lime energy bites are a perfect light dessert or healthy on-the-go snack option!

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My blog turns 2 today, and I’m celebrating with a healthy little sweet treat: coconut key lime energy bites! If you’ve been reading Audrey’s Apron from the beginning, you know this blog idea had been a long-time dream of mine since college and I finally put it into motion 2 years ago today. A lot has changed in the 2 years that I’ve been blogging. I’m thrilled that so many of you follow this little cooking journey of mine. And it really does make my day when you comment that you made a recipe and loved it!

The biggest change on the blog this year? Probably my photography skills! It’s still a work in progress, for sure, but at least I’m not taking pictures with my phone camera anymore! OH the horrors! My ever-supportive husband got me a real, legit DSLR camera for my birthday this year and it has been so fun using it!

So, I just want to say THANK YOU for following, reading, commenting, tweeting, etc. I love sharing our culinary successes together!

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Back to this yummy recipe. I found these to be a perfectly delicious paleo substitute for key lime pie. They’re much healthier, and bite-sized, so that’s a win!

The coconut is totally optional, by the way.
I just love how it makes them look sort of like little snowballs.
Or truffles.
Yum!
So for all you coconut-averse readers, just know it’s more for aesthetics and you can definitely leave it off.

A word of wisdom: make sure that your dates are in fact pitted before you throw them in your food processor and turn it on.
Otherwise it will begin to jump wildly all over the counter while making an AWFUL noise.
Don’t ask me how I know, just promise me you’ll double check, ok? Ok.
P.S. The dates I bought from Costco most definitely did have pits in them. #IwishIwouldhavedoublechecked.

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So the great thing about this recipe is that the food processor does all the work for you! Throw in some cashews, almonds, dates (pitted!), lime zest & juice, and turn it on! Then all you have to do is form the mixture into little balls and roll them into coconut if you so choose.

Pack them in your lunch, serve them as dessert, or keep a few in your purse for emergencies–these chewy energy bites are perfect for whenever you need a quick boost!

Coconut Key Lime Energy Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups medjool dates, pitted
  • Zest and juice from 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut for rolling, optional

1). In a food processor, add the cashews and almonds. Pulse until the nuts are finely chopped.

2). Add the dates and lime zest and juice. Pulse until the dates are finely chopped and the mixture begins to clump together.

3). Scoop about a tablespoon of the mixture out and roll it into a ball. Roll in shredded coconut if desired, then repeat with remaining mixture. Store in an airtight container on the counter for up to 4 days, or in the fridge. Enjoy!

Servings: about 15. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 74 Carbs: 9g Fat: 4g Protein: 2g Fiber: 1g Points+: 2 Recipe adapted from here. Adapted recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

Buckeyes. (GF)

The classic peanut butter and chocolate dessert–perfection!

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Peanut butter + chocolate.

It’s one of my husband’s favorite combinations, and over the years we’ve been married it has become one of mine, too!

I know buckeyes are a Christmas tradition for many families, but although that isn’t the case with mine, I’m quickly getting on board. If you’ve never had a buckeye before, it’s pretty much like eating peanut butter frosting dipped in chocolate.

Yup. They’re amazing.

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And, they’re gluten-free! Hooray!

I made these recently for a friend who just had a baby and I forgot how much fun it is to make these. It does take a while to dip the buckeyes in the chocolate, but just have fun and enjoy the process.

Now all you need to do is turn on some Christmas music and sing your way through making the recipe!

Buckeyes (GF)

  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup butter, room-temperature (can soften in the microwave if needed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Make sure you have enough room in the freezer for the cookie sheet.

2). In a large bowl, use a hand-held mixer (or wooden spoon) to mix the peanut butter, butter, vanilla extract, and salt together. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, and mix until fully incorporated.

3). Roll the peanut butter mixture into 1 inch balls (I cheated and used a cookie scoop!). Set them on the parchment-lined cookie sheet and add a toothpick in the top of each one. Freeze for about 30 minutes or until hard.

4). Fill a medium sized pot with about 1 inch of water. Place it on the stove over medium heat until simmering, then set it to low to keep it barely simmering. Combine the chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave, heat-proof bowl. Microwave for 1 minute, and stir. Continue microwaving in 30 second intervals for 1 more minute, stirring each time. Place this bowl on top of the simmering pot of water and stir until the chocolate and shortening are completely melted.

5). Use the toothpick as a handle to carefully dip the buckeyes in the chocolate, leaving the top center exposed. Place on the parchment-lined cookie sheet and either refrigerate for 2 hours or freeze for 30 minutes. Remove the toothpicks and gently smooth the peanut butter over the hole from the toothpick. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month!

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.

 

No-Bake Chocolate Almond Butter Cups. (GF, DF)

A rich gluten-free, dairy-free dessert without refined sugars! Keep a stash in your freezer to satisfy your next sweet tooth!

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Um, guys?

This recipe is a game-changer. I’m struggling to find the words to accurately convey to you how incredibly awesome these little chocolate almond butter cups are! The flavor. The texture. The chocolate!

They. Are. Delicious!!

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And the best part? This is a guilt-free dessert that doesn’t taste like one. Don’t you hate biting into a “healthy” dessert only to be left wishing for the real deal? Not here. My husband and I were absolutely SHOCKED at how good these were, and not in a that’s-good-considering-it’s-a-paleo-treat kind of way. These are just plain ol’ GOOD. I made these after having eliminated refined sugars for two months and I was on a mission to make something that tasted great but was not full of sugar. The only source of sweetness in these chocolate cups comes from a minimal amount of maple syrup, so they are refined-sugar free. But again, you’d never guess it!

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To make these amazing little cups of yummyness, combine almond flour, a touch of maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon, vanilla, and almond butter. One taste of this mixture and you know things are headed in a great direction. That all gets pressed down into muffin tins.

I used a regular muffin pan, but if you want to make them more bite-sized you can use a mini-muffin pan if you have one.

Then, the chocolate sauce.

Confession time.

I had no idea making chocolate could be this easy! Just mix melted coconut oil, maple syrup for sweetness, and pure cocoa powder. The result? Silky, rich chocolate sauce! Pour this on top of the almond butter mixture, top with flaked sea salt and/or sliced almonds, and freeze for about 30 minutes.

Seeeee? Easy! These are my new favorite dessert.

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You do need to keep these cold so the chocolate doesn’t start to melt, but I love having them in the freezer and pulling one out on occasion for a satisfying dessert made of real ingredients and minimal sugar.

P.S. I know these aren’t traditional Christmas cookies, but I think they’d be a great addition! They would cater to every family member’s special dietary needs (gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, etc.) and still taste amazing. Plus, you can make them ahead of time!

Here’s a quick video I made explaining how to make them!

No-Bake Chocolate Almond Butter Cups (GF, DF, Paleo, Vegan)

For the almond butter base:

  • 1 3/4 cups almond flour
  • 2 Tbsp almond butter
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup, warmed if refrigerated
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of fine grain sea salt, to taste

For the chocolate sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup, warmed if refrigerated
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • pinch of sea salt, to taste

Optional toppings: flaked sea salt, sliced almonds, coconut, etc.

1). Line a muffin pan with liners and make sure there is enough room in the freezer for the muffin pan.

2). In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the base. The dough should be a little bit sticky similar to the texture of cookie dough.

3). Equally distribute the dough into the bottom of the muffin pans (I got 9 thick cups). Press down until it is smooth and flat.

4). In a small bowl, combine the chocolate sauce ingredients, whisking together until smooth. Equally spoon the chocolate over the base of the cups. Top with flaked sea salt and/or sliced almonds, coconut, etc.

5). Place the muffin pan in the freezer for about 30 minutes before enjoying. Store remaining cups in the freezer until ready to eat. These are delicious straight from the freezer!

Servings: 9 (large) cups. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 266 Carbs: 11g Fat: 21g Protein: 6g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 8g Points+: 7 Recipe adapted from here.

Adapted recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron. 

1-Minute Gluten Free Chocolate Mug Cake.

A rich, indulgent chocolate cake that’s gluten-free, full of chocolate flavor, and made in a mug. It’s the easiest cake you’ll ever make! 

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Baking is fun, but it’s not something I do often. In fact, I rarely bake unless there’s an event coming up where a dessert is requested. With only 2 people in our home, there’s no need to have large quantities of desserts lying around, and I try to keep our sugar consumption to a minimum.

With that being said, every now and then there are times when one of us (ok, me) would really like a sliver of (gluten-free) chocolate cake. How am I supposed to have just a sliver without baking an entire cake and having the rest of it on our kitchen counter for days? Solution: 1-Minute chocolate mug cake.

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Have you ever made a mug cake? My first attempt was in college, and it was aaaaaawful. Talk about tasteless cardboard! Bleh. I blacklisted all mug cake recipes after that major fail.

But then, a few years ago, I had great success making a vanilla mug cake, and my faith in these types of recipes was revived. Just a couple weeks ago I came across this recipe and thought–why not?! I’m so glad I tried it because it turned out great and it was a fast way to make a small amount of gluten-free cake–perfect for 2 people.

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Reasons I love this recipe:

  1. It makes 1 large mug, perfect for two people to share.
  2. It does not require heavy clean-up. Just a measuring spoon, fork, and a mug!
  3. It is EASY. If you can measure and mix, you can make this.
  4. It is rich and will definitely satisfy your chocolate craving.
  5. It is super quick to whip up. Just 1 minute of cooking, after all!

All in all, you can probably make this in 3 minutes, and that includes measuring and cooking. I know some of you out there barely have 5 minutes to spare, so this recipe is perfect for you busy folks!

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Did I mention it actually tastes good? It’s sweet, chocolate-y, and rich. Mine almost had 2 textures to it: light fluffy cake towards the top and rich fudgey brownie on the bottom. This may have been due to the fact I didn’t mix in the baking soda enough, but I actually loved this happy accident. It’s like having my two favorite chocolate desserts in one!

I think if you leave the baking powder out completely you’ll end up with just a chocolate brownie. I haven’t tried that yet, so if you try it, let me know!

1-Minute Gluten Free Chocolate Mug Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil (or butter, if you prefer)
  • 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons gum-free all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used King Arthur’s GF mix)
  • About 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips

1).  Add coconut oil and sugar to a large mug, mason jar, or ramekin.

2). Put the mug in the microwave on high power for 30 seconds, then stir.

3). Whisk in the egg and vanilla until well-combined.

4). Mix in the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt with a fork. Mix until very-well combined, then stir in the chocolate chips.

5). Microwave for 1 minute and check to see if it’s cooked through. Mine was perfect at this point but microwaves vary, so add 15 seconds. Do not overcook it or it will become very tough.

Servings: 2, or 1 very generous serving. Approximate Nutritional Information: Calories: 263 Carbs: 33g Fat: 14g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 21g Protein: 4g Points+: 7. Recipe adapted from here.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing.

Looking for the best homemade red velvet cake recipe out there? Your search ends here.

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I know that’s a bold statement. But it’s true. This recipe is perfect. Not only is the flavor great, but the TEXTURE! Light, fluffy, perfectly moist. I had a cupcake in an airtight container in the fridge for an entire WEEK and it was still moist! You can thank the buttermilk and oil for that, but the low-and-slow baking time helps, too!

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There’s nothing crazy about the ingredients; in fact, I bet you probably have everything you need to make this cake right now. Except maybe the red food coloring. I had never bought food coloring before I started testing out red velvet cake recipes, and I had a hard time finding it at first. A word of wisdom: GEL food coloring is not the same as LIQUID food coloring. Trust me. The recipe calls for liquid, and, being a food-coloring-novice, I decided to try the gel variety (because that’s all I could find in my local Kroger). Mistake. That round of batter turned out a pale pink. Epic fail. Don’t do it, mmkay?

One more note about the food coloring: yes you will use the whole 1 oz bottle. Yes, that’s a lot of food coloring and your batter will be bright, bright red. Don’t worry! It’ll bake up beautifully like this:

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The frosting is super simple, too. The only way you can mess up the frosting is by not using room temperature butter and cream cheese. That’s non-negotiable, otherwise your frosting will be too thick, won’t mix well, and won’t be easy to spread.

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I am also including the instructions for other cake baking times (round cake, square cake, mini-cupcakes, etc.) at the bottom of the post. And guys, this is definitely a rich dessert, so no…it’s not exactly healthy. Just enjoy in moderation and share with friends!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk (you can also mix 1 cup milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice, stir, and let it sit for 5 minutes.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 oz bottle red food coloring

For the icing:

  • 1 box powdered sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese (full-fat), softened
  • 1 stick butter (I used salted), softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

1). Preheat the oven to 300F. If making cupcakes, place paper liners in muffin tins (I got about 16-17 in a standard muffin tin).

2). In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then add sugar, oil, and buttermilk.

3). Add the flour and baking soda, mixing well to blend.

4). Add the vanilla extract, vinegar, and red food coloring. Mix until well blended (it should all be red–make sure there’s no white batter hiding at the bottom!)

5). Carefully fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

6). For the frosting: in the bottom of a stand mixer or in a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar gradually, continuing to blend.  Add the vanilla extract and combine again.

Alternate baking times:
If making a 3 layer cake: bake 25 minutes.
If making mini-cupcakes: bake 15 minutes.
If making a 9×13 cake: bake 30 minutes.

Recipe from my go-to cooking friend at church. Thank you for sharing!! : )