Like many of us, I have a sweet tooth. Dinners out with family or friends have always ended in dessert(s). Holidays have always been an excuse for me to dive into a pie or cookie platter.  Birthdays simply gave me an excuse to indulge in a piece of cake. Over the past two years, however, as I’ve attempted to tackle a plant-based diet, I have been determined to find healthy alternatives that still satisfy my very demanding sweet-tooth. These three recipes are simple, budget-friendly and packed with guilt-free ingredients. 

First up, vegan, plant-based, chocolate chip cookies

Who doesn’t crave a warm chocolate chip cookie every once and awhile? Now, I’ve used coconut oil here but you can easily use your favorite vegan shortening if you’re not a fan of the coconut flavor. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups Four (Bob’s Red Mill Flour) *I have also used 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Flour 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3/4 cup Vegan Shortening (I use coconut oil, but reduce to 1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup Water
  • 2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Cane Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life Foods Chocolate Chips (Hu Kitchen chocolate is also a great option)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 325° and line baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. In a larger bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the shortening, water, vanilla extract, brown sugar, and cane sugar until blended well.
  4. Stir in the flour, a little at a time until incorporated and then mix in the chocolate chips.
  5. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2″ between each dough ball (these cookies do spread quite a bit so be sure to leave enough room in-between).
  6. Bake approximately 12-15 minutes, until the edges begin to brown the center is a pretty golden color.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes before final cooling on a cookie rack.

Crunchy, Cinnamon Granola

Next, a healthy spin on your basic granola. Store-bought granolas not only break the bank but are typically packed with unnecessary refined sugars. This simple recipe is filled with some of the best plant-based superfoods, guaranteed to satisfy that sugar craving and keep you satisfied for hours. The best part, you can easily substitute and/or add your own ingredients that you have laying around the kitchen. Play around with seeds, nuts, dried fruits, and plant-based nut butters until you find your perfect combination. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 Cored Apples
  • 3 Teaspoons Coconut Oil
  • 3 Teaspoons Coconut Sugar (brown sugar or maple syrup work)
  • ½ Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Cup Rolled Oats (or use the granola recipe above)
  • Pinch of Salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Place apples in a square baking dish. Place ½ teaspoon of coconut oil and ½ teaspoon coconut sugar in each. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.
  3. FOR THE CRUMBLE TOPPING: melt coconut oil and combine with oats/any other desired filling Sprinkle over the apples. Cover and bake in the oven for 45 minutes (when a knife inserts easily, apples are ready)
Getty Images/PhotoAlto

Mom’s Baked Apples

Last but not least, a simple treat my mom (who is not plant-based, vegan, or anything in-between) has been making since I was a child. Baked apples are not only indulgent, but they are also a great way to sneak in seeds and nuts into your daily diet. Make this for breakfast, or an after-dinner treat! 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups Gluten-Free Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Coconut Flakes
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Raw Almonds
  • 3 tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 4 tbs Dried Cranberries
  • 2 tbsp Ground Flaxseed
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Smooth Almond Butter (I used cashew butter this time)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tbsp Melted Organic Coconut Oil
  • 2 tbsp Pure Maple Syrup

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Add the Maple Syrup, Nut/Seed Butter, Vanilla Extract, Cinnamon, and Salt to the base of a large bowl. Whisk until evenly incorporated.
  2. Pour the oats, dried cranberries, almonds, and coconut into the bowl and fold them into the wet mixture, until all pieces are evenly coated.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a greased or lined baking tray and press it into a think, even layer using a spatula.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven, then remove and use a spatula to toss/flip the granola. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 6-7 minutes, then remove.
  5. Let the granola cool completely on the tray before removing. Serve as desired.