Love Crunch Granola (COPYCAT RECIPE)

Copycat recipe for LOVE CRUNCH GRANOLA ❤️ Dark Chocolate & Red Berries. ❤️ 

Trust me guys, if you haven’t tried this granola, then you haven’t lived. It’s chocolatey, it’s the perfect balance of sweet to salty, and it also makes the best cereal-milk. YUM.

They used to sell this Nature’s Path Love Crunch “Dark Chocolate & Red Berries” granola at Costco, but I haven’t seen it there for a while. I’m so glad I’ve got this recipe up my sleeve when I can’t find any at the store.

COPYCAT LOVE CRUNCH GRANOLA

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 3/4 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey (or agave)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or bar, roughly chopped)
  • 1 cup chopped freeze-dried strawberries

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. ALRIGHT, so first you’re gonna want to preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit (not any hotter than this, please).
  2. Combine dry stuff in a large bowl (oats, oat flour, coconut flakes, cocoa, flaxseed meal, cinnamon, salt).
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together wet stuff (coconut oil, maple syrup, honey, vanilla).
  4. Pour wet stuff over dry stuff and stir real nice. DO NOT add chocolate chips & freeze-dried strawberries at this point (or you may end up eating charcoal).
  5. Spread granola evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 40-50 minutes, and PLEASE stir every 10 minutes, as you want it to bake evenly and slowly (especially for those of us who don’t have fancy-pants convection ovens).
  6. Remove from oven and let cool for one whole hour in the same baking sheet (yes, you heard me right). This helps create those joyous little clusters!
  7. Stir in chopped freeze-dried strawberries and dark chocolate chips.
  8. Store in an air-tight container.
  9. EAT, obviously. There will be no problem there, I promise.

VELVETY CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM (DAIRY-FREE & NO PROCESSED SUGAR)

This ice cream. It’s non-dairy and has no added processed sugar. It’s creamy and rich. It’s seriously so yummy.

My sweet husband posed for this photo. He’s pretty patient when it comes to me taking photos of my food.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, he took me to The Melting Pot (a fondue restaurant). Although it was a little pricey, we had a great time. What did you do for Valentine’s Day?

VELVETY CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked mashed orange sweet potato (about 1 medium-sized one)
  • 2 cups room temp canned coconut milk (shake the can well)
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips* (see below for dairy free and sugar free options)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Instructions

  1. Cook your sweet potato, using your cooking preference. I baked mine in the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour. You can even cook yours in the microwave.
  2. Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips in a double-boiler on the stovetop—set aside once melted. Alternatively, you can melt your chocolate chips in the microwave.
  3. After the sweet potato is cooked through, allow it to cool for a few minutes, then peel off the skin. In a high-power blender (or food processor), add in the sweet potato and coconut milk. Blend for about 10 seconds.
  4. Pour in melted chocolate chips. Blend again on high power for about one minute, until completely smooth. You don’t want any chunks.
  5. Add in vanilla and salt. Blend for another 30 seconds.
  6. Taste the mixture. If you want it sweeter, add in a little sweetener of choice. I thought it was the perfect balance of sweetness to creaminess, so I didn’t add any additional sweetener. Also, if you want it more bitter/chocolately, then you can add in a spoonful of cocoa powder. Keep in mind—if you add cocoa powder, you’ll want to add a touch of sweetener. (Remember the story: “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”? Yeah, it’s kind of like that if you choose to add the cocoa powder.)
  7. Grab a freezer-friendly container and pour this ice cream mixture in there. Put on the lid and place in the freezer. Check it out and stir every 30 minutes (as the edges will freeze first)—this part is optional, but I found that it ended up freezing faster/more consistently this way.
  8. After about 3-4 hours, it should be frozen and ready to devour!

*Chocolate Chip options:
Dairy-free: Guittard, Enjoy Life, Thrive Market
Stevia-sweetened options: Lily’s Sweets, Wholesome Provisions

Recipe inspired by The Vegan 8

Valentine’s Cake (Strawberry Surprise Cake)

It’s finally here! The “surprise” Valentine’s Cake that has been in the back of my mind for weeks.

This cake was inspired. I had some leftover cheesecake batter, and I thought, “What if I made a layer cake with a cheesecake in the middle?” Then a few days later, I thought, “What if I added in a layer of powdered donuts? Oooh, some strawberry jam for the filling would be nice!” Then as I was making the cake, I thought, “I really need to cover this cake in cream cheese frosting to complete it!”

I swear, my mind never stops!

Thus this cake was born…layers of fresh strawberry cake, cheesecake, powdered donuts, strawberry jam, cream cheese filling, and a cream cheese frosting on the outside. Topped with a fun pink drip, sprinkles, heart candies, homemade white chocolate sprinkle bark, and strawberry cream truffles.

If you’re thinking, “OMG Sarah…really?!” YES, REALLY. This cake was seriously delicious!

Recipes and step-by-step tutorial below!

Fresh Strawberry Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 and 1/2 cups (285g) sifted cake flour (spoon & leveled)*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks; 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (75g) sour cream or plain yogurt, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk, at room temperature*
  • 1/2 cup reduced strawberry puree (see note)*
  • optional: 1-2 drops red or pink food coloring

Instructions

  1. Make the reduced strawberry puree and allow it to cool completely. See note. You can make it a few days ahead of time and store it covered in the refrigerator or cover and freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw before using in the recipe.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch (or 8-inch) cake pans.
  3. Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  4. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamed, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the egg whites on high speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Then beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the milk *just* until combined. Do not overmix. Whisk in 1/2 cup of reduced strawberry puree, making sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick. Stir in food coloring, if desired. (I use 1 small drop.)
  5. Pour batter evenly into cake pans. Bake for around 24-25 minutes or until the cakes are baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
  6. Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Perfect Cheesecake Recipe (click link)

How to Make: Simple White Chocolate Sprinkle Bark

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place white candy melts into a glass bowl. If you’re starting with a bar/bar, chop it into chunks.
  2. Melt your candy melts in the microwave, until softened. This will take about 1 minute at 20 second intervals. Stir.
  3. Once melted, pour onto a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.
  4. Immediately top with sprinkles.
  5. Let cool for about an hour, until hardened. You can also hasten the cooling process by placing the baking sheet in the freezer.
  6. Once hardened, use a large chef’s knife to slice into triangles. Be sure to run the knife until hot water before each slice, to prevent cracking and to make sure the cuts are clean.

How to Make: White Chocolate Drip for Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup white candy melts, or white chocolate chunks
  • 1/4 Cup heavy whipping cream
  • small dab of food color gel of choice

Instructions

  1. Place white candy melts into a glass bowl. If you’re starting with a white candy melt bar or white chocolate bar, chop it into chunks.
  2. Melt your candy melts/chocolate in the microwave, until softened. This will take about 1 minute at 20 second intervals. Stir.
  3. Add in the heavy cream and stir well. If using candy melts, the melts may seize up for a second–just keep stirring and add in a touch more heavy cream if needed.
  4. Now you can color your drip.
  5. If using white candy melts, use your drip right away, as these cool quickly.
  6. Click this wonderful link for more advice on making a drip for your cake!

STEP-BY-STEP TUTORIAL FOR STRAWBERRY SURPRISE CAKE

Completing the steps incrementally (and not all in one day) will save you loads of time!

  1. 1-3 days before: bake both the fresh strawberry cake and cheesecake, and freeze (recipes above).
  2. The day before: make the cream cheese frosting (double the recipe) strawberry jam (store-bought is also a great option), and simple white chocolate sprinkle bark (recipe above).
  3. The day of: assemble the cake (see video above). Make sure the cake layers and cheesecake are completely cooled (if they were stored in the freezer, allow them to sit on the counter for 20 minutes prior to stacking).
  4. Once the layers are stacked, add supports to the cake. Do this by measuring and inserting a large straw in the center and 3-4 other straws in the cake, as well (see photo below for guidance). This will add structure and will prevent your cake from leaning.
  5. Crumb coat the cake in a light layer of cream cheese frosting. Pop in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  6. Do the final coat of the cake in a layer of cream cheese frosting.
  7. Make the white chocolate ganache drip (see recipe above) and then drip onto your cake. If you’ve never done a drip on a cake before, use this video for guidance. I used a spoon to do my drip, but you can also use a squeeze bottle.
  8. Once the drip is complete, complete the decorations for your cake.
Photo courtesy of Chelsweets.com
Simple White Chocolate Sprinkle Bark
Made the cake for my mother-in-law’s birthday

Copycat TWIX BARS (gluten-free & plant-based)

Copycat TWIX BARS (gluten-free & plant-based).

Guys…this is one of my favorite treats. Seriously. Lightly sweet shortbread base, coconut caramel, with the perfect chocolate topping…this recipe you’ll want to save and make and remake.

I’ve been making these Copycat Twix Bars for a few years now, and dang…they are tasty! People don’t have a clue that these bars are both gluten-free and plant-based. WIN WIN.

I got the chance to try some amazing honey from Bumbleberry Farms (@bumbleberryfarms), which inspired me to make these bars. If you don’t eat honey, feel free to use agave.

P.S. I would LOVE to keep in touch! Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest to stay up to date with my posts! If you end up making one of my recipes, I would love to see it! Just take a photo, post it, and tag me @saltanddough

COPYCAT TWIX BARS (GLUTEN FREE & PLANT-BASED)


Cookie Crust:
½ cup coconut oil, melted
¼ cup @bumbleberryfarms honey (if making vegan, use agave)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2½ cups blanched almond flour
couple pinches salt

Caramel:
1 can (15 oz) coconut cream
½ cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
couple pinches salt

Chocolate Topping:
1 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
2 teaspoons coconut oil


DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9×9 inch square pan with parchment paper so you can easily remove the bars when they’re done setting (note: this step is very important!).

2. In a bowl, stir together the coconut oil, honey (agave), vanilla, almond flour, and salt. Stir well.


3. Transfer this batter to pan lined with parchment paper. Press the dough into the bottom of your pan to create an even base and bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. (Note: baking times vary due to type of pan used & how hot your oven is).

4. While the base is baking, make your caramel…In a saucepan, combine the coconut cream, coconut sugar, vanilla, and salt over medium-high heat. When everything starts to bubble, whisk frequently for about 10 minutes until it thickens up and the color darkens. Remove from heat.

5. When the cookie base is done baking, allow to cool for 10 or more minutes (feel free to place in freezer to cool).

6. Pour the caramel over the cookie base. Refrigerate this for an hour (or freezer for 30 min).

7. Melt the chocolate with coconut oil (in microwave or on stovetop) and pour over the top of your set caramel.


8. Put pan back into the fridge to set for another hour (or freezer for 30 min).

9. Remove from freezer. Slice into bars and sprinkle with a coarse salt.



Recipe inspired by Paige at Front Paige Bakes (@frontpaigebakes)

No Sugar Added Chocolate Ice Cream & Fudge Chunks (high protein/dairy-free/processed sugar-free)


Do you have a New Years Resolution to eat less sugar? I love creating dessert recipes that use no-to-little sugar. This is one of those! I’ve been making this ice cream and and fudge chunk dessert for about 5 years now, and it’s still one of my favorites.

Happy New Years Resolutions!

P.S. I would LOVE to keep in touch! Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest to stay up to date with my posts! If you end up making one of my recipes, I would love to see it! Just take a photo, post it, and tag me @saltanddough


CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM (NO PROCESSED SUGAR)


2-3 frozen bananas
1-2 scoops chocolate protein powder, about 1/2 cup (I love the Orgain brand)
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1/4 milk of choice

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
  2. Stop periodically to stir.
  3. Pour out of blender into a freezer-safe bowl. Freeze for about 20 minutes, until more firm.
  4. When ready to eat, remove from the freezer and scoop into a bowl.
  5. NOTE: Add in a spoonful of nut butter if you want it more creamy.

Toppings: chocolate protein fudge chunks (see below), cocoa nibs


FUDGE BARS/CHUNKS (NO PROCESSED SUGAR / HIGH PROTEIN)


1 cup peanut butter or almond butter (I love the Adams brand)
1 cup peanut butter powder, mixed with a little water to make a paste (I use PB2 Foods)
3/4 cup honey or agave
2 1/2 cups oats (quick or rolled-quick makes them less chunky)
2-3 scoops protein powder, between 1/2 to 1 cup (I love the Orgain brand)
1/8 cup milk of choice or water (add more if needed)


Directions:

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine nut butters and honey/agave and warm in microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir together well.
  2. Pour nut butter/honey mixture into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir very well. Keep mixing until combined. (Add more milk or water, if a little dry.)
  4. Pour into a 9×13 pan, lined with parchment paper on bottom.
  5. Pop into the freezer to chill for about 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from freezer and cut into squares (cut some into cubes for chocolate ice cream dessert).
  7. Store these in a gallon zippie, in the freezer.