Vegan Peanut Butter Apple Crumble Bites

 I can’t even begin to express how ridiculously excited about this recipe I am! First of all, it comes together SO easily (I would know, because I made this on a whim), but also, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to stop letting food go to waste.  I never try to waste food on purpose, but sometimes you just let the bag of spinach sit too long in your fridge, or forget about the bunch of sweet potatoes you bought cause they’re sitting in the cabinet…(yikes) and I always just feel so bad when I end up having to toss the food.  I know that I won’t be perfect with this resolution because sometimes things just happen, but I’m hoping that if I put my mind to it, I can change my lifestyle and the way I make purchases going forward. 


Coming back from my last grocery run, I realized that I had accidentally bought new apples when I already had some old ones, and then putting away my snacks, I noticed some slightly stale peanut butter cookies sitting in the bag of my pantry (you see what I mean when I say I need to change the way I make purchases? I’m always forgetting what I already have :p ).  I didn’t want to break my resolution 3 weeks into the new year, so I got creative.  My aunt and uncle happen to be a fan of vegan foods even though they’re not vegans themselves, so I figured that I could whip up a dessert from these things to bring over to them.  


Turns out, apples, peanut butter and cinnamon crumble make for a bomb flavor combination.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since as I kid, I always had Ritz crackers with peanut butter and apple slices.  Let’s just say biting into these sweet and salty cuties straight from the oven brought me intense waves of nostalgia haha.  The one (and might I add, only) bad thing about these bits is that they definitely do get soggy if you decide to store them overnight.  Because of this, I’ve only made this recipe to make one batch (a full muffin tin), and would not recommend doubling the recipe unless you know you’re going to have a big crowd. 


In other news, my last first day of school (of the second semester) officially started Tuesday! Can’t believe that I’m hitting 18 years of being in school…man I feel old.  I’m sure it’ll be surreal once everything comes to an end, but for now, I’m going to concentrate on enjoying my classes and making as many memories as I can make in Big Apple.  And maybe making more of these lil’ apple bites!

VEGAN PEANUT BUTTER APPLE CRUMBLE BITES | Makes 12 bites

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 peanut butter cookies (the sweet kind, like Nutterbutters)
  • 2 medium sized apples – cored and sliced into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 tsp granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (for the struesel)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp of vegan butter
  • 12 Muffin tin liners

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350(F).
  2. Line a regular sized muffin tin with liners.
  3. Crush peanut butter cookies until a fine crumble is formed. I will usually just do this in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush cookies.
  4. Divide crushed cookies evenly between the 12 muffin liners.  Pack the crumbs firmly into the bottom of the liners.  The bottom of a 1/4 cup works super well to pack down the crumbs.
  5. In a separate bowl, toss the cubed apples, granulated white sugar and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon together.  Let the apples sit while you make the streusel topping.
  6. In another separate bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and 1/2 tsp cinnamon together.  Then cut vegan butter in with either a pastry cutter or two butter knives until a crumble forms.  It is SUPER important to keep the butter cold, cold, cold! If it starts to look soft/melty, just stick the bowl into the fridge for 5 or so minutes.
  7. Divide apples evenly between the 12 liners and place on top of cookie crumble base.
  8. Top with streusel.  Don’t be afraid to be generous!
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until streusel topping is golden. 
  10. Bites should be consumed immediately and not stored overnight for best texture (taste won’t be affected).

Enjoy!

Easy Palmier

 You’ve got guests coming over in an hour, you just got home and there’s no time to waste.  What do you do?
a) run around in circles and panic (perfectly acceptable answer, I do it all the time) b) check the freezer for some leftover cookie dough (highly encouraged to have frozen cookie dough at all times) c) decide to not make anything and hope tea will just do it d) scrounge up that puff pastry sitting in the corner of your freezer


Let’s be real, all answers are acceptable in this case and I’ve probably done them all one time or another, buuuuuttt if you happen to have frozen puff pastry on hand and are in a time crunch, this is your answer! Legitimately 20 minutes start to finish (in a pinch) and breathtakingly beautiful in addition to being absolutely delicious, your dad, mom, sisters, cousins, friends, or in-laws will think you’re a baking genius.


Don’t believe me? Give them a try, I’m serious! The key to perfect palmiers is to keep your puff pastry cold, which if you’re short on time, is actually better for you because then you won’t accidentally let it sit for too long on the counter.  If this happens, don’t panic, just pop it back into the freezer for a couple minutes until the butter solidifies again and you can be on your merry way.


I know a lot of other palmier recipes tend to be heavier on the sugar, this one uses just a third of what normal recipes call for, and I actually find that it gives a better bake, caramelizes faster and leaves the palmiers just flaky enough but not rock hard.  On the plus side, it’s less sugar, which means you can eat more 😀


I’m feeling pretty good at the moment because I’ve blogged two recipes after blogging NONE for the past 5 months, so yeah, I’m going to say that today has been a success.  I hope that all of you have been having a wonderful day.  The sun peeked out today for the first time in what seems like forever, so I’m pretty ecstatic about that.  I can’t believe that the week is half over, hang in there, the weekend is near! Much love and even more palmiers to everyone! 

EASY PALMIERS | Makes about 2 dozen palmiers depending on how you slice

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry (thawed)
  • 1/2 cup of granulated white sugar

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425 (F)
  2. Roll out puff pastry until it lays flat
  3. Sprinkle the 1/2 cup of sugar evenly over the entire rectangle
  4. Using a rolling pin, roll out the puff pastry, pressing just hard enough for the sugar to stick into the puff pastry.  You’ll want to roll the puff pastry out about an additional 1-2 inches on each side
  5. To make the palmier shape, start from one end of the puff pastry and roll until it reaches the middle.  Then roll the other end of the puff pastry until that reaches the middle.  It should look like two rolled circles right next to each other.
  6. At this stage, if you have time, I would refrigerate for about 30 minutes before cutting and baking.  If you don’t, throw it into the freezer for 5 minutes and then slice into 1/2″ pieces.
  7. Bake for about 5 minutes on the first side, the puff pastry should start to puff and turn a light golden brown.  Take palmiers out of oven and flip over.  Bake for an additional 2-3 minutes or until top of the flipped side is a golden brown.
  8. Cool before serving for crunchy flaky layers.
  9. Palmiers will keep for 3-4 days in an air tight container.

Enjoy!

Puppy Chow Ferrero Rocher Truffles

I say Ferrero, you say Rocher.  I say Puppy, you say chow! Now, imagine those two decadent treats fused together into one amazing, can’t contain myself, need to eat the whole bowl, chocolate truffle.  They’re addicting, they really are.  I brought them to work yesterday and they were gone before lunch time (who says dessert can’t come first?).


These “Ferrero Rocher” truffles were made with ingredients I have lying around in my pantry and I promise are in your pantry too. It comes together in less than 15 minutes, which basically means that if you’re in a pinch and need a sweet fix or a dessert to bring to that potluck, it’s your lucky day. I’m not sure if anything else can top a 15-minute dessert, but these babies are also vegan and gluten-free! No, you don’t have to make them vegan or gluten-free, mine just happened to be, and they were delicious.  No one complained, in fact, everyone was too busy trying to hide extras up their sleeves. 


I’ve been pretty busy lately, which I guess, when you’re working two jobs, that can happen, so I apologize for the lack of new posts!  I really can’t complain though because I get to learn about non-profits, and also write fun environmental health articles (check them out here!).  I am always so happy and humbled when I think about the field that I’m in, there really isn’t anything better than being able to improve public health. Sometimes it does get stressful and I always find myself running back to the kitchen.  There’s just something so calming about having flour up to your arms or fingers coated in melted chocolate (anyone else with me?). 


Speaking of stress, with all the awful stuff that’s happening right now about separating children from their families, it’s hard to remember the good.  But, we can’t forget that we each have a voice and there are things that we can do to help, starting from just a phone call.  I can’t imagine the pain that these families are feeling, and if you’re also needing a little sweetness to help get you through the day, these truffles will definitely help!  Make them tonight, you don’t regret it, and then share them tomorrow to help bring a smile to everyone  🙂 

A word about melting chocolate: Chocolate is finicky, especially when melted.  Here’s a pro-tip when it comes to melting chocolate, never zap it in the microwave for more than 30 seconds at a time. ALWAYS stop microwaving before all the chocolate has melted, otherwise you risk burning your chocolate and having to throw it all away. Instead, use the residual heat from the already melted chips to melt the rest of the chips just by stirring for a minute or so.

PUPPY CHOW FERRERO ROCHER TRUFFLES | Makes 12-15 truffles 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks*
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ cup rice Chex – roughly crushed*  
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate – melted*
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon and a pinch reserved separately
  • 2 tbsp cashews – crushed

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place peanut butter and chocolate pieces into a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals until chips are just beginning to melt. Mix together and let residual heat melt remaining chips
  2. Pour crushed rice Chex into melted peanut butter chocolate mixture and mix until evenly coated
  3. Add in powdered sugar and a dash or cinnamon into the Chex mixture.  Mix until mixture starts to clump
  4. Roll Chex pieces into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Freeze for 5 minutes.
  5. Mix 1/8 tsp cinnamon with melted chocolate
  6. Roll frozen balls into melted chocolate, place on parchment paper and sprinkle with crushed cashews
  7. Place in fridge until truffles are solidified, about 15-20 minutes
  8. Store in an airtight container in fridge for up to a week (if they last that long!)

*Both the melted chocolate and chocolate pieces can easily be substituted for your chocolate of choice (milk, dark, vegan). While I used rice Chex, regular Chex will work just as well, but keep in mind that the treat will no longer be gluten-free without the rice Chex! 

Enjoy!