Double Chocolate & Peanut Butter Streusel muffins

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit by calling these “muffins”. The crumb is so light and soft and chocolatey, that it’s really hard to tell it apart from a chocolate cupcake. But in the absence of frosting (and the appearance of streusel, which is definitely a “muffin thing”), we’ll go ahead and call these muffins. Besides, my fitness app (or my conscience) won’t judge me as harshly if I say I’m eating a “muffin”…

But seriously though, with the right buttercream crown, these beauties are absolute cupcake queens. In fact, I’m thinking about skipping the cookies this year and leaving jolly old St. Nick a couple of these on Christmas Eve (sealed in a “to-go” container, because it is a pandemic after all, and we don’t want the big guy taking off his mask while he’s here)

As decadent as they sound, these muffins are surprisingly not overly sweet, thanks to the roasted, salted peanuts and dark peanut butter. I used creamy Jif Dark Roast peanut butter which I find is less sweet than it’s regular counterpart, but any peanut butter will work just fine.

The muffin base has a peanut butter cream cheese filling stuffed in between two layers of super-fudgy chocolate crumb, and the tops are adorned with a salty-sweet delicious peanut butter and chopped roasted peanut streusel that cuts through the richness of the double chocolate batter.

This recipe is a little bit of work in that its definitely not a one-bowl treat, but it’s really worth cleaning up multiple mixing bowls afterwards. On the bright side though, you don’t need any mixers or beaters or fancy equipment to make them. Just a few bowls, a whisk, a couple of spatulas and some measuring cups.

So put on a pot of coffee and roll up your sleeves. Chocolate peanut butter goodness awaits.

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Streusel Muffins

Prep time: 30 minutes

Bake time: 30 minutes

Yields: 14-16 muffins

For the streusel topping:

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon vegan butter, softened

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

¼ cup chopped roasted peanuts

For the Peanut Butter Cream Cheese filling:

8oz dairy-free cream cheese, softened

½ cup creamy peanut butter

½ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon unsweetened non-dairy milk

For the muffins:

½ cup canola or vegetable oil

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

½ cup unsweetened dairy-free yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Make the streusel topping: In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup of flour, ¼ cup of brown sugar, butter and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. Using a pastry cutter or two knives or even a fork, cut the butter into the flour and sugar mix until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Add in the chopped peanuts and stir to combine. Set aside.
  2. Make the cream cheese filling: In a medium size bowl, combine the cream cheese and ½ cup peanut butter. Microwave for 30 seconds until soft enough to stir. Add ½ cup of granulated sugar, vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of non-dairy milk and stir with a spoon until combined. Set aside.
  3. Make the muffin batter: Preheat your oven to 350°F, adjust oven rack to the middle position and grease or line a standard muffin tray (two if you have them, otherwise you’ll need to reload for the second batch). In a medium size bowl, combine the canola oil, 1 cup of granulated sugar, ½ cup of non-dairy milk, applesauce, dairy-free yogurt, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa powder. Add the espresso or instant coffee, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips and stir to combine.  Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined and no flour streaks are left. Using a tablespoon or a 1 ½ inch ice cream scoop, fill each muffin tin 1/3 full with batter, spreading it out into an even layer.  Top the batter with one heaping tablespoon of cream cheese mix and then top with remaining batter until each tin is approximately ¾ full.  (Note: if you like muffins with extra muffin top, fill each cavity to the top. You’ll get less muffins overall but more surface for the yummy streusel).
  5. Sprinkle each muffin with a heaping tablespoon of streusel and bake on the center rack for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs. Let cool in the muffin tray for 10-15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I’m a history buff and I have a love for all things vintage – especially when it comes to the kitchen. I’ve been collecting vintage cookbooks and retro kitchenware for years, so it’s no surprise that when I decided to write a dessert cookbook, I packed it full of modernized, plant-based versions of classic retro desserts.⁣

My current obsession is this vegan adaptation of Purity Flour’s “Busy Day Cake”. It first appeared in their 1945 war-time edition of their famous “Purity Cookbook.” (Purity Flour was Canada’s largest flour milling company for generations, before being amalgamated with Maple Leaf Foods and is an iconic historical Canadian brand.)⁣

I found it as the lead-in for chapter 12 of @KarmaKBrown’s amazing novel, “Recipe for A Perfect Wife” (which is a must-read book whether you like cooking or not!) and I knew I just had to make a plant-based version of it.⁣

What I love most about this cake is that it really is great for a busy day. It’s a set-it-and-forget-it kind of recipe that takes just a few minutes up front and then the oven (and time) do all the heavy lifting. Pop it in the oven in the morning and you’ve got a fabulous cake for your afternoon tea.⁣

The original recipe calls for either a vanilla or lemon version but, if given the choice, I’ll always take lemon.

Busy Day Lemon Cake

2 ½ cups all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup vegan butter, softened
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup unsweetened plant-based milk, such as almond or soy
½ cup unsweetened applesauce

Lemon Glaze
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 7×12 inch baking dish.
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
3. In another large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with a hand mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add lemon zest and lemon juice and beat for another 2 minutes to incorporate. Alternately, use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.LikeForwardCopyUnsend4. Reduce speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Add the plant-based milk and applesauce and mix for one minute, then add the remaining flour and mix until just incorporated.
5. Pour into well-greased pan and bake for 60-65 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for 30 minutes before transferring to serving plate. Make lemon glaze by stirring together the confectioners sugar and lemon juice until a thick but pourable glaze forms, and pour over the cooled cake.


We may be in the midst of “Summer in November” here in Toronto, but 75F degree temps in Autumn isn’t enough to stop me from making my most favorite fall cookies ever: Snickerdoodles!⁣⁣
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These cookies have a slightly crispy cinnamon sugar exterior that covers a pillowy soft, rich butter cookie inside which literally melts in your mouth.⁣⁣

I’m not really sure which is more fun: saying ‘snickerdoodles’ or eating them, but one thing I do know for sure is that these are hands down the best ones you’ll ever try – and I speak from experience. I’ve tried at least a dozen different recipes – and this one is my favorite. It’s the addition of (dairy-free) cream cheese that makes the insides so rich and soft, and balances so perfectly with a spicy cinnamon sugar crust.

So whether Mother Nature is confusing November with June, or if your city is already blanketed in snow, a steaming mug of coffee and these cookies will make your day.

Best-ever Snickerdoodle Cookies

(yields approximately 36 cookies)

3 cups all-purpose flour⁣⁣
1 teaspoon baking powder⁣⁣
¼ teaspoon baking soda⁣⁣
½ teaspoon salt⁣⁣
1 cup vegan butter, at room temperature⁣⁣
1/2 ounces nondairy cream cheese, at room temperature⁣⁣
1 ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided⁣⁣
½ cup unsweetened nondairy milk⁣⁣
2 teaspoons vanilla extract⁣⁣
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon⁣⁣
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1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.⁣⁣
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2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.⁣⁣
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3. Using an electric hand or stand mixer, mix the butter, cream cheese, and 1 ¼ cups sugar for 3-5 minutes on med speed until fluffy. Add milk & vanilla and mix until combined. Reduce speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until incorporated. Chill for 15-20 minutes.⁣⁣
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4. Combine remaining 2 tbsp of sugar and 2 tsps of cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Scoop up approx 2 tablespoons of dough and roll between the palms of your hand to form a ball toss in cinnamon sugar mix to coat. Place on prepared baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart. Repeat with remaining dough until both trays are full.⁣⁣
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5. Use the bottom of a glass to gently press the cookies down to approximately ½ inch thick. Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until very lightly golden on the bottom. Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. ⁣
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We woke up to a light dusting of snow this morning – not enough to really stick (it’s all gone now), but enough to remind me that winter is on its way.⁣⁠
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Of course, as I’m typing this, I’m seeing the weather forecast will hit 60F again by Friday, but it’s just for a day or two. I live in a climate where winter is real and I best get used to it.⁣⁠
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That means it’s time to break out all the warm, creamy soup recipes – like my favorite Loaded Baked Potato Soup.

All the comforting flavors of a delicious fully loaded baked potato – in soup form. I guarantee this will become one of your favorite winter dishes in no time!

 Loaded Baked Potato Soup with Kale

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free

Serves 6

Ingredients

3 tablespoons vegan butter

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped

1 medium onion, diced

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ cup water

2 yellow flesh potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes

1 (900ml) package low sodium vegetable broth

4 cups chopped kale, leaves only

1 cup shredded cheddar-style cheese

2 green onions, green parts only, diced

¼ cup simulated bacon bits (optional)

  1. In a large soup pot, heat the butter on medium heat. Add the garlic, leeks, onion, salt and pepper and cook until onions and leeks are softened, about 6 minutes. Add the potatoes and water and cook for 2 minutes, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
  2. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, 8-10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup. (Alternately, puree soup in a regular blender in small batches and return to the pot). Add the kale and cook until wilted, about 4 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  4. Divide evenly between bowls and top with shredded cheese, green onion and bacon bits, if using.   

It’s been quite a week trying to get started with online school.⁣

Our school district had a huge spike in students switching from in-person to online classes, and not enough teachers to cover them, so we’ve been in a holding pattern with one child and a delayed start with the other one.⁣

So we took this opportunity to get in the kitchen and do some #kitchenschool with mom to prep some easy on-the-go snacks the girls can help themselves to throughout the day – like these mini pumpkin spice muffins.⁣

Slightly sweet and full of fall flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove, these are a perfect little two-bite treat alongside some fruit that my girls can easily grab when they need a break – which means one less thing for mom to have to do!

Mini Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: 36-40 mini muffins (or 16-18 regular muffins)

¾ cup unsweetened almond or soy milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup vegetable oil

1. Preheat your oven to 350F and line 2 mini muffin tins with liners. Set aside.
2. In a measuring glass, combine milk and lemon juice and let stand for 5 minutes.
3. While the milk and lemon sit, use a large bowl to combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and granulated and brown sugars.
4. Add the milk, vanilla extract, applesauce and vegetable oil and mix until just combined. Divide evenly into both mini muffin trays, filling each cavity no more than 2/3 full. Bake for 19 minutes or until topsLikeForwardCopyUnsendare golden dark, and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before serving.

Note: If making full-size muffins, adjust baking time to 22-24 minutes.


Nothing Says fall quite like these Apple Spice muffins. With a streusel-like topping and chunks of apple, they are the perfect treat to cozy up with after a day of apple picking (and a great way to use up some of your bounty!)

To give these muffins even more texture, try chopping some walnuts or pecans – they both pair beautifully with brown sugar and apples and warm fall spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.

Apple Spice Muffins

Prep time: 10 minutes⁣
Cook time: 20 minutes⁣
Nut-free⁣
Yields 12 muffins⁣

Ingredients:⁣

1 tablespoon ground flax⁣
2 tablespoons hot tap water⁣
2 cups all-purpose flour⁣
½ cup granulated sugar⁣
3 teaspoons baking powder⁣
1 tablespoon cinnamon, divided⁣
¼ teaspoon nutmeg⁣
¼ teaspoon ginger⁣
½ teaspoon salt⁣
½ cup butter, chilled⁣
1 tablespoon brown sugar⁣
1 large Honeycrisp apple, diced⁣
⅔ cup unsweetened plant-based milk of choice⁣


Directions:⁣

1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a muffin tray with muffin cups or grease with butter/cooking spray.⁣

2. Combine the ground flax and hot water in a small bowl. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes until thick.⁣

3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, ½ tablespoon of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt. Using a pastry cutter or two knives working in a criss-cross motion, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.⁣

4. Measure out and remove ¼ cup of the mix, adding it to a small bowl with the remaining ½ tablespoon of cinnamon and all the brown sugar. Reserve this for topping the muffins.⁣

5. To the remaining mix, add the diced apple, flax mixture and the milk, stirring until just combined. The batter should be thick and lumpy.

6. Using 2” ice cream scoop to ensure even amounts, fill the muffin cups ¾ full. Lightly sprinkle the tops with the reserved topping. Bake for 15-20 min or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.⁣

Have you tried my ultimate ranch seasoning yet? It takes just minutes to make and lasts forever.⁣

 I make a huge jar of it and use it for everything – ranch dips and dressings, as a seasoning for roasted potatoes, and as a popcorn shaker or coating for roasted cashews.⁣

It’s delish and made from just 6 pantry staples so it’s easy to keep on hand for all your ranch needs.

I’ve included the recipe for my seasoning mix and how to turn it into a ranch dip. So the next time you’re craving some Buffalo Cauliflower Wings, you’re covered!

Vegan Ranch Seasoning

(makes about 3 cups)⁣

¼ cup ground black pepper⁣
1 ½ cups dried parsley flakes⁣
3 tablespoons kosher salt⁣
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons garlic powder⁣
¾ cups onion powder⁣
3 tablespoons dried dill⁣

Combine all ingredients in an airtight glass container. Cover and shake well to mix. Store in the pantry for up to 6 months.⁣

To make a vegan ranch dip, combine:

3 tablespoons ranch seasoning

2/3 cup vegan sour cream

1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise

juice of one lemon

Mix well and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes before serving.

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I had an abundance of red radishes recently and, after roasting a few and pickling a bunch, I needed a creative way to use up the rest of them.⁣

Cool, creamy, tangy tzatziki is one of my favorite dips, and I’ve got a wicked dairy-free version in my first cookbook that has fooled many non-vegans into thinking they were eating the “real deal”.  I decided to mix it up by swapping the cucumber for radishes, which add a nice peppery bite (and gorgeous pink hue) to this delicious condiment.

Radish Tzatziki pairs perfectly with my soy curl shawarma recipe from The Budget-Friendly Vegan Cookbook, and also works well as a veggie burger topping, a veggie platter dip and so much more. And since radishes are always in season, you can enjoy this condiment all year long.

Vegan Radish Tzatziki

6 red radishes, scrubbed clean and grated on a box grater⁣
2/3 cup vegan sour cream (or unsweetened vegan Greek-style yogurt)⁣
1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise⁣
1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill⁣
1 teaspoon lemon zest⁣
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice⁣
1 teaspoon salt⁣
1 garlic clove, minced⁣
 ½ teaspoon onion powder⁣

Squeeze grated radishes to remove as much water as possible and place in a medium-size bowl.  Add all remaining ingredients and mix well to combine. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.  Serve or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.⁣

I came across a non-vegan version of this recipe in a vintage cookbook and decided I needed it in my life. And being that it’s a yeast-free bread, it was right up my alley. (My breadmaking skills leave much to be desired. I have this unfounded fear of working with yeast. Yes, I know…I need to get over that, pronto!)

As a child, I lived on peanut butter. Literally lived on it. I was that kid that skipped pizza and burgers for a PB sandwich (sans jelly- I was never a fan of anything jiggly). And as a teen, if I didn’t like what was being served for dinner, peanut butter came to my rescue.

Now I’m raising two peanut-butter loving daughters, so when I saw this recipe, I knew we had to try it.

I used dairy-free peanut butter chips to boost the peanut butter flavor. You can find dairy-free flavored chips, like white chocolate, peanut butter or butterscotch in most kosher grocery stores, or online. If you can’t find them, just add a little extra peanut butter.

I recommend baking this bread the night before so it’s ready first thing in the morning. The flavor gets better overnight and all you have to do when you get up is make a cup of coffee!

Peanut Butter Quick Bread

prep time: 5 minutes

bake time: 60 minutes

2 cups all-purpose flour⁣⁣
1/4 cup granulated sugar⁣⁣
4 teaspoons baking powder⁣⁣
1/4 teaspoon salt⁣⁣
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter⁣⁣
1 1/3 cups unsweetened almond milk⁣⁣
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Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a standard loaf tin.⁣⁣
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Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix just until a dough forms. Transfer to prepared tin and bake for 55-60 min or until a cake tester in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 min then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. ⁣⁣
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So… remember that just-like-grandma-made blueberry muffin recipe I shared last week?⁣ Turns out they also make the best-ever Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Muffins.⁣ Soft and fluffy on the inside with perfectly baked crunchy sugar tops.⁣

I always find myself making a double batch of these because they disappear so quickly. Its that crunchy-sugar topping that makes them so irresistible.

Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Muffins

yields: 12 muffins

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 25 minutes

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cups granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup unsweetened almond milk, or more as needed
1 ½  cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon turbinado or raw sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a standard muffin tray with liners.

2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Make a well in the center and add oil, applesauce, and almond milk. Stir just until a batter forms (it will be thick and sticky.) Gently fold in 1 cup of chocolate chips.

3. Scoop out batter into the prepared tray, filling each well about 2/3 full. Top with remaining half cup of chocolate chips, pressing each one gently into the muffin batter. Bake for 22 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean and the muffins are lightly golden.