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Light & Silky Chocolate Pudding Cups {Vegan}

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As we gear up for Valentine’s Day, chocolate recipes abound. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with splurging on decadent desserts every once in a while, (especially on a holiday), there are plenty of healthier versions of those indulgences if you’re interested in feeding your sweet tooth without consuming loads of sugar and saturated fat.

This chocolate pudding is one such dessert; it is rich, satisfying, and delicious, but it contains zero refined sugars or animal fats. Cashews comprise the base; and when they’re soaked and blended with water, cocoa powder, and a bit of maple syrup, a silky smooth pudding-like consistency emerges that makes the perfect vegan treat.

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These pudding cups make a great snack or dessert for kids and adults alike, so bust out your high speed blender and whip up this easy chocolate treat for those you love on Valentine’s Day!

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Light & Silky Chocolate Pudding Cups {Vegan}

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Ingredients (2-4 servings)

  • 1 1/2 cups raw whole cashews
  • 6 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp instant espresso powder, optional (I would suggest omitting this if you’re serving the pudding to kids)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup cold filtered water

Instructions

Place cashews in a bowl of cold water and let soak for at least 4 hours, (or 8 hours if you do not have a high speed blender such as a Vitamix), then drain.

Place drained cashews, maple syrup, cocoa powder, espresso powder if using, and 1/2 cup cold filtered water in a high speed blender or food processor, and blend/process until perfectly smooth, adding more water (1 tablespoon at a time) as needed to reach desired consistency. Take care not to let the mixture start to heat up if you are using a high speed blender!

Chill in the refrigerator until fully cooled.

NOTE: If you are using a high speed blender, the end consistency should be light & airy. You may not achieve this exact texture if you are using a regular blender or food processor.

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Chocolate & Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies {gluten-free}

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Thanks to a generous birthday gift from a sweet friend, I recently attended a cooking class at Sur la Table. The theme of the class was superfoods, and everything we made was delicious. Not surprisingly, dessert was one of the stand-out courses, so I was pleased when the instructor handed each attendant a packet with the recipes from the course; I would definitely be making the Chocolate-Coconut Crinkle Cookies at home.

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A week went by, and instead of making the cookies exactly as we had in class, I decided to alter the recipe a bit and make the dough into a completely different cookie.

My adapted version yields a softer cookie due to additional coconut oil, as well as a richer chocolate flavor thanks to a bit more chocolate; I omitted the powdered sugar called for in the original crinkle cookie recipe and instead made a peanut butter-filled thumbprint indentation on top of each cookie.

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These cookies are to be enjoyed both by those who do and those who do not follow a gluten-free diet. If you can’t (or choose not to) eat wheat, then let me introduce you to your new favorite gluten-free dessert! If wheat is part of your diet, you’ll still love these cookies because seriously… chocolate & peanut butter. Enough said.

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Chocolate & Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies {gluten-free}

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Keywords: bake dessert gluten-free almonds chocolate peanut butter cookies

Ingredients (24 cookies)

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup melted virgin coconut oil (measure after melting)
  • 2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour (NOT almond meal, which is coarser and includes the almond skins), sifted to get rid of any lumps
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, preferably organic
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • natural salted peanut butter, preferably organic, well-stirred (look for one that lists only peanuts and salt in the ingredient list)

Instructions

Combine the chocolate chips and liquid coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for 30 seconds, stir, then heat for another 30 seconds; stir again (chocolate should be fully melted at this point) and set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sifted almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, coconut palm sugar, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, and cooled melted chocolate/coconut oil mixture.

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until well-combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 15-20 minutes, or until dough is firm.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line two large baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Using a cookie scoop, mini ice cream scoop, or a spoon, scoop dough out onto prepared baking sheets. Cookies will not spread, so no need to leave much room between them.

Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes.

While cookies are still very soft, carefully press thumb into the center of each to form a shallow indentation.

Let cookies cool completely on the baking sheets.

When cookies are completely cool, fill each indentation with about 1/2-1 tsp of peanut butter.

Store cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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