We were invited over to some dear friends of ours a few weeks ago for a lovely outside dinner. My friends tend to be foodies and have no problem incorporating vegan and gluten free dishes into their meal plans so that I have plenty to eat. Being a good guest, I always like to at least offer to bring a second dessert—something gluten-free and vegan—to add to the meal. Dessert seems to be the hardest course for those who don't eat this way everyday to deal with. And with good reason! Most people don't have gluten-free flour in their pantry, nor do they have vegan alternatives usually in their refrigerator. And working with gluten-free flour isn't all that easy to do—throw in the vegan requirement as well and I can certainly see how it can overwhelm the hostess. Which is why I always offer to bring a dessert.
So why blondies? Because they are so yummy. And they are easy to make. And they aren't fancy. And they are always a crowd pleaser.
So I am one of those weird people who makes their own vanilla extract. Pure vanilla extract is expensive!!! And what is vanilla extract made up of? Vodka and vanilla beans. Yep, it's that easy. I use Madagascar vanilla beans and cheap vodka. I started this batch 10 years ago in a large mason jar. You have to let it initially sit for 6 months to infuse before using. Since you don't tend to use the actual beans that often, they stay around for a few years just getting fat and drunk. When you start getting low on either the vanilla beans or the vodka, you just top off. Make sure to store in a dark corner of your pantry or kitchen cabinet. If you bake a lot, this will end up saving you lots of money.
This recipe comes together so quickly and is very easy to make. They also freeze really well, so you can make a batch and enjoy it for a few weeks (if you can resist). The other cool thing is that no one will ever know they are gluten-free or vegan.
Time: 1 hour
1 c. gluten-free flour all purpose mix (or regular flour if you aren’t gluten-free)
1 c. gluten-free old fashion oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. natural low sugar, low sodium creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk
1/3 to 1/2 c. chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine the first 4 dry ingredients and blend together. Set aside.
In a standup mixer, beat the sugar and peanut butter about 2 minutes until light and fluffy, adding in the vanilla extract at the end to blend. On a lower speed, slowly add in the dry mixture and once combined, mix for 30 seconds until it starts forming loose clumps. Then slowly add in the almond milk until the dough just forms and all the dry is incorporated into the wet mixture. Remove from mixer and stir in your preferred amount of chocolate chips.
In the pan, press in the dough with wet fingers to a level it out. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool and cut into blondie squares.
Nutritional Estimations: Calories 291. Total Fat 13 g. Cholesterol 0 mg. Sodium 227 mg. Potassium 4 mg. Total Carbs 36 g. Fiber 3 g. Sugars 16 g. Protein 7 g. Vitamin A 1%. Vitamin C 0%. Calcium 4%. Iron 8%.