Pumpkin Brownies (Gluten Free, Vegan)

Pumpkin Brownies (Gluten Free, Vegan)

It’s fall and that means pumpkin is finding it’s way into everything, including these dairy free, grain free, vegan pumpkin brownies. Your taste buds will thank you for being so damn festive. 

Pumpkin Brownies | gluten free, dairy free, nightshade free, egg free, vegan

love brownies.

As in LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. brownies.

They are perhaps one of the greatest food inventions ever. The gooey chocolately awesomeness just cannot be replicated. Chocolate cake is great, but it’s NOT brownies. Chocolate mousse? Also great. Also not brownies. Chocolate cookies? Yeah. SO not brownies.

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Flourless Blondies a la Ambitious Kitchen

Flourless Blondies a la Ambitious Kitchen

Flourless Chickpea Blondies

I’m just gonna go ahead and say it.

These blondies are freakin’ amazing.

There is no need to beat around the bush or to build them up and taunt you.

Flourless Chickpea Blondies | Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Nightshade Free

Simply put, these are the best “healthy” dessert I’ve had in a really long time. Better than the flourless brownies. Better than the chocamole (and y’all know how I feel about that).

I’ve already made 2 batches. In 4 days.

And The Hubster (who hates chocolate) finds them to be as irresistible as I do.

Flourless Chickpea Blondies | Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Nightshade Free

Just do yourself a favor and make sure to always keep the ingredients on hand.

I plan to. Because I also plan to bring these to any event that requires food.

Flourless Chickpea Blondies | Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Nightshade Free

Flourless Chickpea Blondies

Flourless Chickpea Blondies

A decadently healthy dessert courtesy of [url="http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2013/04/flourless-chocolate-chip-chickpea-blondies-with-sea-salt-vegan-gluten-free-healthy/" target="_blank"]Ambitious Kitchen[/url].
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12 -16
Author Emily Levenson | emilylevenson.com


  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup cashew butter or any other nut butter you prefer
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips plus additional chips for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray 8x6 or 8x8 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In a food processor, add all ingredients except chocolate chips and process until batter is smooth, about 2 minutes.
  4. Fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips.
  5. Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with additional chocolate chips.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and edges are a tiny bit brown.
  7. Let cool for 20 minutes before cutting into squares.

Allergen Information

Nightshade free, dairy free*, gluten free*, wheat free*, soy free, corn free, and egg free.
*If you need to avoid dairy and/or gluten, make sure to use something like Enjoy Life Brand chocolate chips. They are the top 7 allergen free plus a few more.

PS—A huge shout-out to Ambitious Kitchen for creating such an amazing treat.

Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Coconut Bites

Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Coconut Bites

Pupkin Truffles (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nightshade Free, Vegan) | Emily Levenson

There is something that happens every year around September. It starts out innocently at first, with a few recipes here and there. And then turns into an all out rampage, with everyone trying to one-up the other for the best flavor combination one could dream up.

What am I talking about?

Pumpkin season, of course.

Pupkin Truffles (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nightshade Free, Vegan) | Emily Levenson

And while I’m all for pumpkin flavored things (I prefer things like Pumpkin Bread and Pumpkin Flax Granola), there is such a thing as taking it too far (I’m talking to you Pringles and Extra).

So when I stumbled upon this recipe for Pumpkin Truffles, I kind of knew it was going to blow up.

Turns out a lot of people were interested in the pumpkin-chocolate-y goodness.

Pupkin Truffles (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nightshade Free, Vegan) | Emily Levenson

I will admit, when I first found the recipe, I was geeked that it was dairy-free. On closer examination, it was also gluten-free, grain-free, vegan and paleo-friendly. Score!

When it came time for me to try my hand at them, I apparently didn’t read the directions too closely (I’m guess it had something to do with a screaming baby) and subbed coconut flour for the coconut butter. I also decided that it would be fun to make them into more a buckeye (chocolate peanut butter truffle) and less of a healthy snack.

So, yeah.

Pupkin Truffles (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nightshade Free, Vegan) | Emily Levenson

With all of that in mind, I’m going to rate these bad boys at an 8 out of 10.

They are delicious, don’t get me wrong. They just weren’t what I was expecting. You know?

I plan to make another attempt at the pumpkin infused truffle-like balls. And this time, I’m going to know that coconut butter is a totally different ingredient than coconut flour. Also, I probably won’t use either. I’ll probably end up using another ingredient altogether. Because I’m crazy like that.

Pupkin Truffles (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nightshade Free, Vegan) | Emily Levenson

Pupkin Truffles (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nightshade Free, Vegan) | Emily Levenson

Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Coconut Bites

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 12 -18
Author Emily Levenson | emilylevenson.com


  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 3 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tbs pumpkin pie spice
  • 6 oz dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 1 tbs spectrum vegetable shortening


  1. Combine pumpkin puree, coconut flour, maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice in a large mixing bowl and combine until all ingredients incorporated.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Spoon 1-2 tbs of mixture and form into balls (I made mine about 1" diameter) and place on parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Transfer to refrigerator to firm up (about 5-10 minutes).
  5. While your balls are chilling (heh), prepare your chocolate: put the chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl and melt the chocolate in the microwave: Heat on high for 60 seconds, and then stir well. If it’s not quite smooth, heat in two or three 10-second bursts, stirring well after each burst. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate, stirring frequently, in a double boiler, over just-simmering water. Avoid overheating, which can cause chocolate to seize up into a stiff mass.)
  6. Take the sheet of balls from the refrigerator; use a toothpick to dip each one most of the way into the chocolate, leaving a round or oval opening of undipped pumpkin mixture on top. Return to the wax paper, undipped side up.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
  8. Store in the refrigerator or freezer and serve chilled.

Allergen Information

Nightshade Free, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Corn Free, Soy Free, Egg Free.
Note: Enjoy Life Brand chocolate chips are free of the top 7 food allergens, meaning they have no wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish or shellfish and are also made without casein, potato, sesame and sulfites.

Chocolate Dipped Almonds

Oh, and if you’re like me and always have leftover chocolate… grab whatever you have and dip! I love dipping almonds. I also think orange slices, bananas, and strawberries are excellent choices.

Maple Pecan Cupcakes

Maple Pecan Cupcakes

Maple Pecan Cupcakes

Did you watch the Grammy’s on Sunday night? I did. And was taken by how much of a production it was this year.

From the opening number by Taylor Swift (awesome, by the way) to the torrential downpour on stage for fun.’s number (seriously, why would you do that on purpose) all the way through to the final performance with LL and friends.

A. total. production.

PS—how about those jewel adorned nails by Miranda Lambert?!

chopped pecans for maple pecan cupcakes

You know what doesn’t have to be a production? Cooking.

Or baking, for that matter. Though, with me baking usually turns into a production of epic proportions.

Not for these cupcakes.

maple buttercream frosting for maple pecan cupcakes

Even the idea seemed to flow naturally.

It started with the question: what kind of cupcake can I make that doesn’t involve chocolate? It moved into a search for cupcake flavors (hello, Pinterest). And ended as a tried and true flavor combination (why, yes, maple pecan granola, you are my favorite.)

When I started to Google recipes for maple pecan cupcakes, I was kind of shocked that they didn’t exist. Seriously. THEY DIDN’T EXIST.

Such a crime.

maple pecan cupcakes getting frosted

What did exist, was a plethora of recipes for maple walnut cupcakes a la Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World.

I guess that just meant it was time to get creative. I used a vanilla cupcake recipe from my pal Ashley over at Dairy Free Cooking as my base, and then played around with a vegan buttercream frosting.

The results? Abso-freaking-lutely amazing.

maple pecan cupcakes

These bad boys are incredibly moist, sweet (but not too sweet), and good enough to make you want to eat all 18 in one sitting. I was exercising restraint by eating only 1.5 in the first sitting.

Happy baking!

maple pecan cupcakes

Maple Pecan Cupcakes

Maple Pecan Cupcakes

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 18
Author Emily Levenson | emilylevenson.com


For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans plus 1/4-1/2 cup for garnish

For the frosting:

  • 5 tbs Earth Balance or vegan margarine
  • 3 tbs vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tbs almond milk


For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Line muffin pan (or two) with cupcake liners and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the almond milk and lemon juice, whisking until combined. (Mixture will curdle.) Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  5. In another (medium) bowl, combine almond milk mixture with the canola oil, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing until just combined.
  7. Pour batter into cupcake liners about two-thirds full.
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean.
  9. Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely.
  10. Repeat with remaining batter.

For the maple buttercream:

  1. Cream Earth Balance and vegetable shortening together with hand mixer.
  2. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.
  3. Add maple syrup and combine completely. Frosting should start to be creamy and smooth.
  4. Add almond milk to achieve desired texture (smooth and light).
  5. Frost cupcakes.
  6. Garnish with chopped pecans.

Allergen Information

Nightshade Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, and Egg Free.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 2.52.12 PM

This recipe came as the result of a botched attempt (see above) at making something that turned into something infinitely better as a result.

It all started with a clothing swap and the need to bring a tasty treat. It ended with cookie carnage, fab new (to me) clothing, and a cookie resurrection. Plus, a bit of smartassery and anxiety thrown in for good measure.

(Baking is so not my thing.)

Cracked caramel for salted caramel chocolate chip cookies

The main problem? Trying to make vegan caramel chews without any of the proper ingredients. You know, things like candy thermometers, light corn syrup, and MimicCreme (which I just learned is a thing).

Of course my initial attempt at making vegan caramel chews wasn’t a total fail. It turned into a delicious caramel sauce. Which would have been great, except for the fact that all of the recipes I found online called for chewy caramel candy.

In the end, I went back to a tried a true caramel (that you may remember from the salted caramel hot chocolate mix) and went on my merry way.

powdered caramel

And let me just say that this caramel was the exact right choice.

And the cookies? Well, they were the exact right choice, too. They satisfy in ways that a cookie has never satisfied me before. They are chewy, and sweet, with a hint of saltiness added for balance. Quite simply put, they are exactly amazing.


And, frankly, they are making me wonder about things like “Will my pants button in the morning?” or “Is it a bad idea to have three cookies for breakfast, and then another three again for lunch?” or “Should I make another batch and freeze them so that I always have them on hand?!”

They even have other people wondering similar things.

So go ahead and make yourself a batch. Your family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and complete strangers will thank you. Profusely. Over and over and over again.



Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 3


For the caramel powder:

  • 1 1/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the cookies

  • 3/4 cup 1.5 sticks earth balance, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup caramel powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups white whole wheat or unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
  • sea salt


To make caramel powder:

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Heat sugar in a large pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to keep from burning.
  3. Once the sugar is completely melted, carefully add the vanilla. (It may sizzle, that’s okay.)
  4. Stir the caramel until smooth again, and remove from heat.
  5. Immediately pour the melted sugar onto the lined baking sheet, allowing it to spread without touching it.
  6. Set aside and let the caramel harden, at least 1 hour.
  7. When caramel has cooled to room temperature, use the back of a large spoon and tap the caramel several times to break it into small pieces.
  8. Put pieces in a food processor or Cuisinart and pulse until the caramel turns into a fine powder.

To make the cookies:

  1. Line an ungreased cookie sheet with parchment paper (you can use the parchment paper used above when making the caramel). Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer cream the earth balance, brown sugar and caramel powder together on medium speed until fluffy and light in color.
  3. Mix in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  4. Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Chill for about 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 350F.
  8. Roll 1 tbs of dough into ball and drop onto cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt.
  9. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until just turning golden brown around the edges.
  10. Remove and let cool for 3-5 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to cooling rack.
  11. Continue until all the dough is gone and you have about 3 dozen cookies.

Allergen Information

Nightshade Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free.