Saturday, December 20, 2014

25 gluten free vegan holiday treats!


It's the most wonderful time of the year! With the kids jingle-belling and everyone telling you, "be of good cheer!" It really is the most wonderful time of the year. Time spent with the ones you love most. Making gifts for cherished friends. Spending hours in the kitchen preparing meals and baking lots of yummy treats. Sharing old memories together and making new ones that you'll remember for years to come.

This Christmas (and every Christmas), I've spent a fair share of my time in the kitchen making goodies to share with family and friends. For parties, for get togethers, for sending to family far away. Makes my heart happy to bake, bake, bake and then share the love. 

I've put together a roundup of gluten, dairy and egg free holiday treat, just for YOU! Are you excited? It's a long and fabulous list of some of my faves for making this time of year. From decadent cakes, to sugar cookies for decorating, to pies that are too tempting to resist. I've also included a few recipes that are perfect for gift giving! I hope this helps in deciding what to make for your family and friends this year. I'd love for you to share photos and comments on either facebook or instagram of your gluten free vegan holiday goodies. Be sure to tag @sarahbakesgfree!

























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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

gluten free vegan peanut butter chocolate thumbprint cookies


Christmas is next week. NEXT WEEK. How in the world did that happen? I'm pretty much done with all of my shopping. Gifts have been made. No presents have been wrapped. A couple packages still need to be sent. I'm feeling the pressure as the day draw nears. I wish the only two things on my to-do list were being present with my family and baking. Lots of cuddles and lots of cookies.

These little peanut butter chocolate thumbprint cookies are my newest baking creation. I love making cookies at Christmastime, especially ones that remind me of my childhood. My mom would make these with little Hershey Kisses on top. We would eat the chocolate kiss and then the cookie. I've taken the classic peanut butter cookie and filled the center with soft, creamy chocolate. Doesn't get much better than peanut butter and chocolate.

Need a new cookie recipe to bring to your Christmas party at work or cookie swap with your girlfriends? Here you go! Hard to resist, these peanut butter chocolate thumbprint cookies are a tiny, tasty treat.

gluten free vegan peanut butter chocolate thumbprint cookies

makes 38-40 cookies

peanut butter cookies
  • 2 1/4 cups Sarah's gluten free flour blend
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

chocolate center
  • 1 cup dairy free chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons So Delicious coconut milk creamer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In medium bowl, sift together flour blend, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In large bowl, cream together brown sugar, peanut butter and coconut oil. Add coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla. Mix until blended. Add flour mixture and stir until combined.

Roll tablespoon size scoops of cookie dough into balls. Place onto prepared baking sheet. Flatten dough slightly by pressing with fingers, indenting center with thumb. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow cookies to slightly cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes. While still a bit warm, indent center of cookie with thumb or back of teaspoon. Place cookies on cooling rack to cool completely.

To make chocolate center, place chocolate chips and creamer is small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on low for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave an additional 20 seconds. Stir until smooth and creamy. Top each cookie with about 1 teaspoon chocolate, filling center. Allow chocolate to set for 20 minutes.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

dairy free hot cocoa mix


Nothing like a cup of homemade hot cocoa. Chocolatey, warm and oh so good on a cold winter day! I always seem to crave hot cocoa more around the holidays. Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's the time for celebration. I just think hot coca (with tiny marshmallows, of course) and Christmastime, go hand it hand. They were meant to be together.

I was a bit sad when I first discovered every brand of hot cocoa mix contained dairy. "Powdered milk." Blah. I've tried a couple dairy free hot cocoa mixes, but they are so gosh darn expensive. I FINALLY made the super easy switch to homemade. Seriously, only 3 ingredients. Mix it and add to a cup of hot non-dairy milk. I prefer unsweetened almond milk. So creamy and just puts you in the holiday spirit!

Be sure to double this simple recipe. One for you, one for a friend. Package in a glass jar, tie on a piece of twine or ribbon and add a little personalized tag. Everybody loves homemade gifts, especially when chocolate is involved. Cheers, friends!

dairy free hot cocoa mix

makes 10-12 servings

  • 1 1/4 cups cane sugar or coconut sugar
  • 3/4 cup good quality cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Place ingredients in food processor or high-powered blender. Blend 1-2 minutes to combine. To store, scoop into glass container and cover with lid. To serve, add 2 heaping tablespoons cocoa mix to 1 cup hot non-dairy milk. Stir to dissolve. Top with mini marshmallows (optional).

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Friday, December 12, 2014

sarah's favorite things 2014!


It's here! My list of this year's favorite things...and a giveaway too! I'm sharing baking goods, baking tools, must-haves in the kitchen and my favorite cookbook to come out in 2014. These would all make FABULOUS gifts for the baker in your life. I've included links to each of the items, making it even easier for you to finish your Christmas shopping! 

1. Green and Blacks Organic Cocoa Powder
I'm a firm believer that good, quality cocoa powder makes all the difference in baking. This Green and Blacks organic cocoa powder will surely make your chocolate peppermint layer cake even more decadent!

2. Get It Right Ultimate Spatula
I have a bit of an obsession with rubber spatulas. I have them in all shapes and sizes. Most of them are green (cause that's my color). This Get It Right spatula is on my "wish list" this year. So many great reviews and I can't wait to add one to my collection!

3. Le Creuset Heritage Stoneware Loaf Pan
Got to give a shout out to Le Creuset. We all know their products are amazing, but not all of us can afford their hefty price tags. I only have a few of their stoneware pans and I LOVE them! Sometimes you need to splurge on items you use most, like a pan for making many loaves of gluten free bread.

4. KitchenAid Glass Bowl for 5-Qt. Stand Mixer 
Can't image my life, I mean my kitchen, without this glass bowl for my KitchenAid stand mixer. I love how I can see my ingredients mixing together and the volume is a bit more than the metal bowl.

5. Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
Coconut oil. This coconut oil. My pantry is always stocked with Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, the ginormous tub from Costco. A baking must in my house!

6. Blendtec Total Blender
Can we just pause for a moment and give thanks for the goodness of the Blendtec blender? I seriously use this thing EVERYDAY. From smoothies, to soups, to sauces, to vegan cheesecakes. With an amazing warrantee, this blender will always get the job done!

7. Nordic Ware Leakproof Springform Pan
If you're a fan of my vegan cheesecakes, then you know you need a good springform pan. It just makes life easier. This one from Nordic Ware is one to last you many years to come.

8. So Delicious Dairy Free Products
Sometimes I wish I could just give everyone ice cream for Christmas. Who wouldn't love that? So Delicious not only makes amazing coconut milk ice cream, they also have baking and cooking essentials, like their unsweetened coconut milks.

9. Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking Cookbook
My friend Cara, from Fork and Beans, released her gluten free vegan cookbook earlier this year. It is a MUST that you give this to a friend or family member with food allergies. Every recipe is gluten, egg and dairy free...and completely delicious.

10. KitchenAid 5-Qt. Artisan Series Stand Mixer
The KitchenAid Stand Mixer. The gift that keeps on giving. Seriously. I've had mine for over 6 years (that very green apple one) and my kitchen just wouldn't be as cheerful without it. Every baker needs a KitchenAid mixer. Totally worth the investment!

11. Wilton 6-Cavity Donut Pan
Have you tried any of my baked donut recipes? Well, you should. You also need to pick up one of these donut pans by Wilton. Christmas morning donuts sounds like a splendid idea!

12. Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flours
Bob's Red Mill has you covered with all of your gluten free baking needs. I buy all of their flours to make up my flour blend. Quality baking ingredients would make a most-welcomed gift for any gluten free baker!

Giveaway time! I'm so excited about this giveaway...because I would would want to win it too! It's a fabulous prize pack that is surely to brighten your Christmas. This year's holiday giveaway includes...

  • $50 Amazon Gift Card
  • Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Bakers Bundle
  • 10 VIP So Delicious Free Product Coupons

The Amazon gift card can be used towards that list minute gift on your list, the Bob's Red Mill bakers bundle includes all the flours you need for my blend and the So Delicious free product coupons will stock your fridge with dairy free deliciousness. Enter in the widget below and be sure to tell me in your comment "what is one kitchen gadget on your wish list this year?" You can receive extra entries by liking Sarah Bakes Gluten Free Treats on facebooktweeting about the giveaway or sharing it on instagram. The last day to enter is Wednesday, December 17. I'll announce the winner on Thursday. Happy Holidays and happy baking!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

gluten free vegan chocolate peppermint layer cake


I can't decide what I love more about this chocolate peppermint layer cake. The 3 layers of moist, dark chocolate cake. Those rustic, yet perfectly-peppermint layers of buttercream that compliment the chocolate cake. It could very well be the creamy chocolate ganache that is dripping down the sides of this glorious cake. Either way, it's all fantastic!

I made this chocolate peppermint layer cake for a dessert night we hosted at our house last week. All of the staff and board members of our church, as well as their spouses, came over for quite the spread. This cake was the star of the show, along with pumpkin pecan tartletts, mini soft gingersnap cookies, and mandarin cranberry crumb bites. All gluten, dairy and egg free (of course). I LOVE making desserts that can be enjoyed by all, even those without food allergies. They never know what's missing. I also LOVE hosting parties. It's my favorite. This was a great (tasty) event to kick of this holiday season!

gluten free vegan chocolate peppermint layer cake

serves 12-16

chocolate cake
  • 2 1/2 cups Sarah's gluten free flour blend
  • 2 cups cane sugar
  • 1 cup high quality cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup So Delicious Dairy Free unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cup canola or sunflower seed oil
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

peppermint buttercream
  • 3/4 cup organic non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 4 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 tablespoons So Delicious coconut milk coffee creamer
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract

vegan chocolate ganache
  • 1 1/2 cups dairy free chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup So Delicious Dairy Free coconut milk coffee creamer
  • 1/4 cup crushed candy canes or peppermint candies (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 3 8-inch round cake pans by lining bottom with parchment paper and spraying with cooking spray. In large mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Mix together coconut milk, water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Pour over flour mixture and beat for 1 minute. Evenly divide cake batter between 3 prepared 8-inch cake pans. Bake for 26-28 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack to cool completely.

To make buttercream, beat together shortening and vegan butter for 1 minute in large bowl of standing mixer. Add sifted powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons coffee creamer, vanilla and peppermint extract. Beat for an additional 2 minutes. Add another tablespoon of coffee creamer if needed. Beat buttercream until light and fluffy.

Place one layer of cooled cake on serving platter or cake stand. Top with half of buttercream and smooth out to edges. Repeat with second cake layer. Top with final cake layer and smooth out buttercream on sides with offset spatula. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour. While it's chilling, make ganache. Mix chocolate chips and coffee creamer in small bowl. Place in microwave for 30 seconds, stir. Microwave another 15 seconds. Whisk until chocolate chips are completely melted and ganache is smooth. Chill 15 minutes to only slightly thicken.

Pour ganache over the top of the chilled cake. With an offset spatula, immediately spread the ganache evenly on the top, allowing ganache to drip down sides of cake.  Place cake back in refrigerator for 15 minutes, just to set ganache. Remove cake from refrigerator and sprinkle crushed candy canes on top edge. Keep cake at room temperature to serve. Best served same day. 

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