Every time we went to visit my grandma’s house in Fort Smith, no matter the circumstance, there were always two specific desserts: pumpkin pie and Texas sheet cake. Pumpkin pie was and still is one of my favorite desserts, so I always ate a lot of that and never really ate much of the sheet cake. As I got a little older, I branched out from my regular pumpkin pie and learned to love this delicious easy cake. My grandma would only put pecans on half the cake to cater to those who did and did not like the pecans on top.
Now that I live much farther away from Texas, I have realized that most people have never heard of a Texas sheet cake. It’s a single layer chocolate cake baked in a cookie sheet and spread with milk chocolate icing, and may or may not have pecans on top. Baking a cake in a sheet pan is also much easier to make and transport than a traditional cake. My grandma always put cinnamon in the recipe, creating a spiced chocolate dessert that is the epitome of fall. I’ve looked at a lot of recipes for sheet cake, which may call for > 1 stick of butter, sour cream, and cups of sugar. This recipe has a secret ingredient that makes this a healthy alternative to traditional recipes, without losing any of the indulgence!
Healthier Vegan Texas Sheet Cake
Servings: makes a half cookie sheet (recipe can be doubled for a full cookie sheet)
For the cake:
Cake base recipe adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie’s Chocolate Cake with a Secret Ingredient
- 1 cup white flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp ground flax
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 packets of stevia or 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2/3 cup chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/3 cup milk of choice
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
For the icing:
- additional 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or butter if not vegan)
- additional 1/8 teaspoon salt (1/4 teaspoon if using coconut oil)
- additional 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- additional 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- additional 3-4 tablespoons milk of choice
- additional splash vanilla extract
- pecans (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a half cookie sheet and set aside
- Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt, cocoa powder, and flax. Combine and set aside
- In a separate bowl, melt coconut oil. Stir in pumpkin, sugar, and stevia to combine. Add milk and vanilla to combine. Add in flour mixture and stir until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Spread onto cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Allow to cool
- For the icing: melt additional butter or coconut oil. Add salt, cinnamon, and vanilla and stir. Pour in powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and 3 tablespoons milk. Stir until combined and icing is shiny, adding additional milk 1 teaspoon at a time until the icing looks shiny as it does in the picture above. It should not be as thick as buttercream, but not as thin as a glaze. Spread over cooled cake and top with chopped pecans if desired.
Who else loves overnight oats? They are so simple to make and you can constantly change up the ingredients so you don’t get tired of the same thing. It’s becoming my favorite time of the year: Pumpkin Season! So I hope you are prepared for basically pumpkin everything recipes for the next few months. I have even made pumpkin chili before – it was delicious!
Vegan Pumpkin Overnight Oats
- 1 cup pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup (I used agave maple syrup)
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk of choice – I used coconut milk
- Combine pumpkin, chia, brown sugar and maple syrup. If you only have brown sugar or maple syrup, then I would suggest using either 1/4 cup brown sugar or 1/3 cup maple syrup depending on desired sweetness level.
- Mix in spices, salt, oats, and vanilla and stir. Add milk and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy!
Guys. I did something dangerous today. I made a whole batch of this pumpkin cookie butter, and I have to admit, most of it didn’t make it to the fridge. I have a weakness for cookie butter. It just has the perfect mixture of tastes and textures. You can’t go wrong. Every time we have gone home this summer, I had to get the cookie butter ice cream from Braums. (It’s so tasty, you should check it out before it’s gone!) I had a crazy idea today. What if you could make a pumpkin version? I did, and it lives up to everything you would expect. With only THREE INGREDIENTS this recipe is super easy and delicious!
Pumpkin Cookie Butter
Servings: 6-8 (or 1 if you’re me..)
- 18-20 gingersnap cookies or enough to make roughly 1 cup of cookie crumbs (I found pumpkin ginger snaps at the fresh market.)
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted but slightly cooled (or coconut oil + pinch salt)
- Add cookies to a food processor and process until you have mostly fine crumbs. Pulse for a few seconds at a time until you have a coarse meal. It’s okay if there are still a few small cookie chunks as this adds more a cookie-like texture. You can also use a tightly sealed bag and a meat tenderizer or rolling pin.
- Mix together pumpkin and butter. Add cookie crumbs and mix. Enjoy!
These chocolate chip peanut butter bars are so tasty. Eating one of these is like eating a big scoop of peanut butter cookie dough. Plus they are completely vegan and dairy-free so you could just eat the dough if you feel like it (hey, I won’t judge you.) They taste like you are eating a giant Reese’s peanut butter cup in bar form. They were a perfect addition to our Labor Day weekend at the lake.
Gooey Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blondies
Servings: 16-20 bars
- 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 8 x 13 inch baking pan and set aside.
- Combine peanut butter, apple sauce, sugars, almond milk, and vanilla.
- Add oats, flour, baking soda, and salt and mix well. It will be hard to mix at first. If you need to thin the batter out, add more milk 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Stir in chocolate chips.
- Transfer to greased dish and press down with a spatula.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes.
I never used to like chia pudding. I had tried a lot of recipes and just wasn’t a fan of the taste or texture. I have recently started trying recipes with the chia seeds mixed with different flavors, like raspberry. The raspberries themselves have seeds, so you brain is already expecting a little more of the texture and crunch. I made this pudding as a snack the other day and could not stop eating it. I got to the end of this Mason jar and wished I had another Mason jar full of this delicious pudding. The earthiness of the matcha mixed with the creaminess of the coconut milk and the sweet but tartness of the raspberries together was a divine combination.
Raspberry Matcha Coconut Chia Pudding
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon matcha powder
- handful of raspberries
- 1 tablespoon of sugar or other sweetener
- toppings: more raspberries, slivered almonds, coconut chips
Combine 1 tablespoon of chia and half of coconut milk and let sit for at least 2 hours or overnight. Combine the rest of the coconut milk and matcha and combine. Add chia and let sit for at least 2 hours or overnight. Add raspberries to a sauce pan and heat on medium until raspberries have come apart and start to form a purée. Add sugar and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Let cool before serving. Assemble, layering if desired.
Sometimes my chocolate chip cookie dough never makes it to the oven. I much prefer a big bowl of cookie dough to a baked cookie. It’s just better. I love cookie dough so much that I probably make a small batch of chocolate chip cookie dough at least once a week and eat it with a spoon.
Traditional recipes usually have at least 1-2 tablespoons of butter or coconut oil. Some recipes will use applesauce in place of oil, but that usually needs to be cooked in order for it to work. If I ever tried to substitute something like milk to bring everything together, the recipe would be more gummy and would be more the texture of scone or biscuit batter. While those batters are delicious, the recipe did not compare to the buttery deliciousness of a true chocolate chip cookie dough. The other recipes I have seen involve chickpeas. I have made many a chickpea cookie dough in my day, but no matter what I do, there is always an underlying grittiness to the dough. But yesterday I started to make my usual cookie dough and had a stroke of genius.
Trust me when I say that this recipe is super delicious. I have never seen a recipe that substitutes the fat of coconut cream for butter or oil in cookie dough. This recipe also isn’t super coconut-y. I mean, if you hate coconut, then you may not like this recipe. But if you enjoy something else with a hint of coconut flavor such as curry, then trust me, you will like this recipe.
Secret Ingredient Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough For One
- 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut cream (if you only have canned coconut milk, be sure to use the cream that you scrape off the top)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- 5 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Mix together coconut cream with vanilla. Add sugars and salt to combine. Add flour and mix completely. Fold in chocolate chips. Enjoy!
Overton Park this morning was magical. We’re so lucky to have a beautiful outdoor space and basically forest less than a mile from our house. We went on an early morning run before it got too stifling hot. Although it was muggy (wouldn’t be the south otherwise!), the air was still cool, which overall made for a surprisingly relaxing experience. I am not a fan of running, nor am I good at it, but something about being completely surrounded by ancient green trees while still in the middle of a city is very cathartic.
I came home from the run and picked a bouquet from my garden. I’m always amazed at how long the flowers continue to bloom in Tennessee. Being from such a windy state, I’m used to the blooms being blown away in a day or two. I’ve been here for two years but I’m still somehow surprised that the city is covered in flowers from the months of May to September.
Inspired by the bright pink of the blooms, and ravenous from running, I treated myself to one of my go-to protein shakes. It’s nowhere near my birthday, but I decided on a Birthday Cake Protein Shake anyways. This recipe is very filling, and actually makes either a rather large protein shake or two smaller-sized protein shakes.
Birthday Cake Protein Shake
Servings: 1-2 (depending on your preferred portion size!)
- 1 large frozen banana
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- few drops of almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar or sweetener of choice
- 1 scoop unflavored protein powder (I used Isopure)
- 1 tablespoon cashew butter
- Optional: sprinkles
- Optional: ice cubes
- Place ingredients in a blender, Vitamix, or Magic bullet. The ice is optional, but I prefer my protein shakes to have more of a frappuccino texture. Trust me, it turns out to be amazing! You could possibly substitute with another nut butter such as peanut butter or almond butter, but I expect the smoothie will not taste as cake batter-ey. Top with sprinkles (if desired) and enjoy!
This was my first venture into non-banana nice cream. What is nice cream, you ask? Traditionally, it is a vegan recipe for ice cream that usually involves frozen bananas pureed with various additives such as peanut butter, cocoa powder, fruit, etc. I have tried several variations that involve a frozen banana, although most recipes seem to taste more like a smoothie to me – not that there’s anything wrong with that! These recipes didn’t really cut it if I was looking for something more ice cream-like and indulgent. This is actually one of my favorite desserts I have ever made. Ice cream is one of my favorite foods, and this recipe is just as, if not more, creamy and delicious as home made ice cream. If you’re a fan of coconut, this recipe is a must.
I had some leftover canned coconut milk from making my favorite Lentil Coconut Curry that I used for this recipe. You do not need an ice cream maker for this recipe, although it would probably work if you used one. I have an ice cream maker, but wanted to test out the ice cube tray method.
Cinnamon French Toast Coconut Nice Cream for One
- 3/4 cup canned coconut milk
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup, depending on preference of sweetness. (I really like agave maple syrup, so that’s what I used!)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)
- splash of vanilla extract
- dash of salt
- cinnamon sugar for serving
- Mix together the coconut milk, syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Pour into an ice cube tray and freeze until solid, at least 6-7 hours. Blend ice cubes with milk of choice in a blender, Vitamix, or Magic Bullet. You can put back in the freezer for 20-30 minutes for a firmer ice cream. Top with cinnamon sugar and a splash of syrup, if desired. Enjoy!