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The Best Pumpkin Cheesecake You’ve Had in Your Life Just Happens to be Vegan and Gluten-Free!

There’s no dessert quite like cheesecake. Smooth, creamy, sweet, decadent — what’s not to love? However, most of the cheesecakes you encounter in restaurants and coffee shops are made with tons of dairy and gluten. Since we love this delectable confection so much, we decided to make our own, using plant-based ingredients. The filling utilizes cashews and coconut milk, blended to perfection. Stunned by our stellar results, we decided to share the secret with you. You can thank us later.

CRUST INGREDIENTS

1 cup packed medjool dates, chopped
1 1/2 cups raw walnuts
pinch of sea salt

FILLING INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1 small lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup pumpkin puree (about 1/3 small can)
pinch of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

vegan whipping cream
additional chopped walnuts and/or pecans

INSTRUCTIONS

Pour cashews into a container filled with boiling water and let them soak, uncovered for one hour. Meanwhile, chop the dates and place them into a blender or food processor. Blend them until they turn into a thick paste. You may need to add a bit of water for smoothness.

Remove dates from blender or food processor and set aside. Wash and dry the interior, then pour in walnuts. Blend until they achieve a fine consistency. Add dates to the walnut mixture and blend together for a couple of minutes. They will be sticky, so add a little more water if necessary. Be careful — you don’t want your crust to be runny!

Press your mixture into a round cake pan or deep pie pan and spread thoroughly. Use a large spoon to tamp down the surface. Set the pan aside and prepare filling ingredients.

Wash and dry blender or food processor one more time. Drain the cashews, then place them into blender/food processor. Add the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla extract and spices and blend for 2-3 minutes. The mixture should be creamy and frothy. Pour it over the pie crust, making sure it is evenly distributed.

Place the pan in your freezer for 3-4 hours. Remove, thaw slightly, and dig in! You can top your creation with additional chopped walnuts and/or vegan whipping cream if you desire. But this cheesecake tastes heavenly all on its own!

Serves 4-6 people. Guests will be your friends for life. This is the best cheesecake you’ve ever tasted, guaranteed. You’ll want to make it again and again. It’s an excellent Thanksgiving dessert, and we’ve been known to have it for breakfast (but don’t tell anyone). Leftovers can be frozen for several weeks, and keep well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Don’t expect them to last that long.

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Vegan, Gluten-Free Pasta Puttanesca is Spicy, Hearty, and Delicious

Autumn is well underway, and our desire to devour pasta dishes continues in earnest. Pasta puttanesca is a traditional Italian dish that tastes great, even without the addition of anchovies. It’s hearty, filling, delicious, and so easy to make. Though most pasta puttanesca recipes utilize thin spaghetti noodles, we had some dried, gluten-free fettucine noodles in our kitchen and decided to use those instead. We were delighted by the results. You don’t need many ingredients to make this wonderful meal. It’s super inexpensive! In fact, you probably have most of the ingredients in your cabinet or refrigerator already.

INGREDIENTS

1 large jar of spaghetti sauce (approximately 26 ounces) or equivalent amount of diced tomatoes
1/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives
1/3 cup capers
1 tablespoon Kalamata olive brine (from your container of olives)
1 tablespoon caper brine (from your container of capers)
2-3 cloves chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves
fresh ground black pepper
sea salt to taste
8 ounces gluten-free noodles of your choice

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large saucepan, combine spaghetti sauce, olives, capers, caper juice, olive juice, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Simmer at low to medium heat for 20-30 minutes until ingredients are thoroughly blended. An incredible aroma will fill your kitchen! Make sure to stir your sauce frequently so it won’t stick or burn.

As the sauce simmers, boil your pasta noodles in a separate, large pan. Drain in a colander and set aside. Toss with a bit of olive oil so they won’t stick as they cool.

Turn off the heat and remove sauce pan from burner. Stir in the chopped parsley leaves and a tablespoon of olive oil. Season with a bit of ground pepper and sprinkle with sea salt if desired. The sauce will already taste salty, so you might not need any more. Use your best judgement! Pour sauce into the pan with the noodles. Stir until combined, making sure the noodles are well-coated with sauce.

Serve with a sprinkle (or two, or three) of additional chopped parsley for extra zest and visual excitement. This dish serves four hungry people. We like to serve our pasta puttanesca with a nice green salad and a chewy loaf of gluten-free French bread (with vegan butter, of course!) You can store leftovers in your refrigerator for a couple of days. You know what they say about tomato-based sauce dishes — they taste even better the next day. Bon Appetit!

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Vegan, Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Bread is Like Heaven on a Plate

Do you still have a few leftover zucchinis from your summer garden? You may be wondering what to do with them. Most likely, you’ve given several of them away to friends, and they’ve made it clear they don’t want or need any more. Try as you might, you can’t get rid of all of them! Never fear — our sweet bread recipe will give a whole new purpose to those succulent, green vegetables. The addition of unsweetened cocoa and walnuts will send you into orbit. Good thing this recipe makes two loaves, because you won’t have any trouble devouring the first one.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 tablespoons boiling water
3 cups gluten-free flour (Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose is our favorite)
2 cups coconut sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cups coconut or olive oil
3/4 cups plant-based milk (we used unsweetened coconut milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 3 medium-sized zucchinis)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Boil 3 tablespoons of water and whisk in the cocoa. Continue to whisk until it forms a thick paste and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, sea salt, and baking soda. Stir until thoroughly combined, then fold in the oil, plant milk, and vanilla extract. Keep stirring, then add the cocoa mixture, grated zucchini, and walnuts. Your batter should be creamy but not too thick. The zucchini will add a lot of moisture. Don’t fret!

Grease two small (8 x 4 x 2 1/2) bread pans with coconut oil or vegan butter or margarine such as Earth Balance. Pour the batter evenly into the two pans. Bake in 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes. Your kitchen will smell divine. You can insert a toothpick or fork into the center of the loaves to make sure they are done. The surface should be slightly cracked but not burned.

Remove both loaves from your oven, and do your best to allow them to cool before digging in. This bread is great either hot or cold. You can serve it as is, or with a dab of vegan butter, margarine, jam, or cream cheese. Feel free to experiment! Serves 6 guests with ease, but your bread will probably disappear fast. If you have any left in the morning, it’s great as a quick breakfast with coffee. Since this bread contains two cups of coconut sugar,it is decidedly not a diet food. But, when it’s this delicious, who cares? Not us! Dig in and enjoy!

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Eat Hearty With Our Vegan, Gluten-Free German Potato Salad (Stovetop and Instant Pot Recipe Included!)

Fall is coming on strong! We don’t know about you, but we’re craving some carbs! It’s best to stick to the healthy kind, like organic potatoes. Recently, we found ourselves with a small sack of red potatoes — don’t ask how THAT happened — and wanted to do something fancier than just boiling them and slathering some Earth Balance over the top. So we modified a German potato salad recipe, substituting tempeh bacon for the animal variety, and were wowed by the results! We purchased smoky bacon tempeh from the supermarket, and discovered that it imparted the delicious flavor that is so essential to German potato salad. Try this dish, we think you’ll be impressed by its authenticity.

INGREDIENTS

6 cups sliced red potatoes (you can use small white ones, as well, or a mixture)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
4 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
1/2 chopped red onion
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 cup stock water (from boiling potatoes)
1 package tempeh bacon strips

INSTRUCTIONS

Slice potatoes into 1/2 inch disks, cover with water, and boil on stovetop, or place in steamer basket over water in Instant Pot and cook on manual for 3 minutes and natural pressure release. The potatoes should be tender, but not too soft. Meanwhile, fry the tempeh strips in a bit of olive oil until they are crispy but not burned. Remove from pan and set on a paper (or cloth) towel to drain off excess oil. Combine vinegar, mustard, onion, liquid smoke, and black pepper in a large bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Crumble in bits of tempeh bacon. Scoop 1/4 cup of water from the top of the boiling potato pan, or take 1/4 cup water out of the bottom of the Instant Pot once potatoes are cooked, and add to mixture. Stir some more until everything comes together.

Remove potatoes from stovetop or Instant Pot and drain excess water by placing them into a colander. Shake off any remaining water and pour the potatoes into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Stir with a large spoon. The mixture will smell divine! You’ll be able to tell when it’s done, because it’ll look delicious and you’ll want to dig right in.

German potato salad is best enjoyed hot! You can serve it all by itself, or with a side of gluten-free bread. It’s a great addition to potlucks! This dish is super-hearty, due to the winning combination of potatoes and protein-rich tempeh. Serves 4-5 hungry people. It keeps well in the refrigerator, securely covered, for 2-3 days. Warning — you may find yourself sneaking into the kitchen for late-night snacks! We feel confident that you’ll enjoy this autumnal favorite as much as we do.

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Peach Cobbler Tastes Great When It’s Vegan and Gluten-Free!

Is it even summer without peach cobbler? We don’t think so! When temperatures are hot and peaches are ripe, what’s an enterprising chef to do? The traditional recipe calls for large amounts of butter and white sugar, but you won’t miss the rich taste when you bite into our more subtle, but equally delicious version. This cobbler is inexpensive and incredibly easy to make. You can either peel the peaches or leave the peels on. We made our recipe with peels because that’s the way we roll. The peels become soft and pliable during the baking process. Also, they’re packed with vitamins, so it seems a shame to just toss them out. You’re going to love this recipe. We guarantee it!

PEACH INGREDIENTS

5 large peaches, cut into thin wedges
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

DRY INGREDIENTS

1 cup gluten-free flour blend (We used Bob’s Red Mill, excellent!)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 tablespoons tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of sea salt (not the iodized variety)

WET INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup plant-based milk (coconut or almond work best)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

Arrange the sliced peaches in a square baking pan. Sprinkle them with the two tablespoons of sugar, cinnamon, and fresh lemon juice. Allow the mixture to marinate for a few moments as you prepare the other ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients together until they’re thoroughly combined. Add vanilla extract and plant-based milk gradually, stirring continuously to make sure no lumps form. Batter should be smooth and creamy.

Pour the batter over the top of the peaches, spreading evenly. Don’t worry if the peaches aren’t completely covered. Bake in pre-heated, 375 degree oven for 35-45 minutes. The batter should form a nice crust that will attain a lovely golden brown color. Remove from oven and set on your counter to cool. But don’t let it cool too much — this dessert is best served hot!

Serves 4-6 people with ease. Your peach cobbler is sure to be a hit. You can serve it as is, or with a scoop (or two, or three) of vegan ice cream such as Coconut Bliss. (Our personal favorite is the coconut flavor. It’s perfect for this dessert). This dish keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. We have been known to enjoy leftover cobbler for breakfast. Shhhhhhhh — don’t tell anyone! You’re just going to have to try this dessert for yourself, and then you’ll know why we love it so much. Happy summer!

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Start Your Day With These Delectable Vegan, Gluten-Free Morning Glory Muffins

Morning glory muffins have been a favorite of ours for many years. However, when we started pursuing a vegan, gluten-free diet, we discovered that many of our favorite coffee shops had left us out in the cold when it came to these delectable muffins. Almost all of the recipes use butter, eggs and/or milk. This makes them decidedly off-limits. If you love morning glory muffins as much as we do, you may have experienced this depressing scenario, yourself. Have no fear! We’ve discovered a recipe that utilizes your favorite ingredients — raisins, walnuts, apples, etc. However, it substitutes flax seeds for eggs, and coconut oil for butter. The result is a melt-in-your-mouth concoction that will leave you wanting more!

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons flax seeds plus 6 tablespoons water
1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour blend (lighter is better)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or cloves
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plain, unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (almond is great!)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 apple, peeled and cut into small chunks
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup raisins (use golden variety for a special treat)
3/4 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix the flax seeds with water and set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg or cloves. Melt coconut oil on stove and combine in a second, larger bowl with flax mixture, coconut oil, vanilla, applesauce, coconut sugar, and non-dairy milk. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined. Your batter should be moist but not runny. Add carrots, walnuts, raisins, apple chunks, and coconut and make sure they’re evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Grease a 12-muffin pan with additional coconut oil, or use paper liners. Pour the batter into each receptacle. Bake in a pre-heated, 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Your kitchen will smell good enough to eat! The muffins are done when you stick a fork or toothpick in the middle, and it comes out clean.

If you play your cards right, you’ll have twelve muffins that are more or less the same size. They’re great for breakfast, lunch, or as a mid-afternoon snack. Though small, they’re surprisingly hearty and really pack a wallop! You can eat them as is (scrumptious!) or with a dab of vegan butter. If you invite folks over to your house for muffins, they’ll be your friends for life. Enjoy!

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Our Yummy, Vegan and Gluten-Free Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Will Fill You With Summer Nostalgia

Many of us have fond summer memories of sitting outside in the warm sun, digging into generous helpings of pineapple upside-down cake. Of course, the traditional recipe utilizes eggs and milk, but these ingredients aren’t necessary for our delicious version. Our recipe uses fresh pineapple instead of canned. Colorful pomegranate seeds replace the usual Maraschino cherries. We recently baked this dessert for a Memorial Day barbeque, and were delighted by the stellar results. Try it for yourself, and we think you’ll agree.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped into small chunks
1/4 cup coconut oil
scant cup plant-based milk (coconut or almond works best)
juice of 1/2 lemon
8 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
1 1/4 cups almond meal
1 1/4 cups all purpose, gluten-free flour
2 heaping teaspoons baking powder (make sure it’s aluminum-free)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pomegranate seeds for topping (optional)
Vegan whipping cream (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Grease a square baking pan with vegan butter, coconut oil, or other oil of your choosing. Line the bottom of the pan with the pineapple chunks, making sure they are evenly distributed and not too lumpy. Melt the coconut oil, keeping a watchful eye so it won’t burn. Pour oil in a large bowl and add the milk, lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and almond meal. Stir thoroughly, then add flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix well until the mixture is moist but not runny. Add additional flour if mixture is too moist, or milk if it’s too stiff. It should have a slightly fluffy texture.

Ladle the batter into the baking pan, making sure it is evenly spread across the pineapple chunks. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. You can employ the toothpick or fork-in-the-middle method to see whether it’s done. Remove your cake from the oven and set on your counter to cool. Once it’s cooled, you can flip the cake over onto a large plate. If you like, decorate your creation with a pomegranate seed garnish (or fresh, de-pitted cherries, if you prefer). Serve as is, or get fancy with some vegan whipped cream.

Serves 4-6 happy people with ease. This cake keeps well in your refrigerator, securely covered, for several days. We sincerely doubt that it will be around that long. It works well as a dessert, but certain individuals have been known to enjoy it as a breakfast food. We won’t reveal their names. Enjoy your cake, and welcome to summer. At last!

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Vegan, Gluten-Free Chocolate Muffins for Your Sweet Tooth

Sometimes, when you crave something sweet, nothing but chocolate will do. It’s rich and decadent, lifts your spirits, and has a seductive flavor that can’t be beat. You can almost believe these vegan, gluten-free muffins are actually healthy. They’re much better for you than the store-bought variety, at least. This recipe features coconut sugar and maple syrup and utilizes either gluten-free rice or oat flour. You can have these muffins for breakfast or pack them in your lunch box and take them to work. Give our recipe a try, and you’ll soon find yourself in Chocolate Heaven. This treat is inexpensive, quick, and incredibly easy to make!

DRY INGREDIENTS
1 ½ cup gluten-free brown rice flour (oat flour works, as well. Try Bob’s Red Mill, it’s our favorite)
1 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder (check label to make sure there are no milk solids)
1 teaspoon baking soda (aluminum-free, please!)
¼ teaspoon sea salt (NOT iodized table salt!)

WET INGREDIENTS
½ cup water+ 2 extra tablespoons
½ cup non-dairy milk (we used Forager organic coconut-cashew milk, it tastes delightful!)
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut sugar
¼ cup pure maple syrup (just say no to pancake syrup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and fill each compartment of muffin pan with cupcake liners. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and slat in large bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Meanwhile, melt coconut oil in small saucepan and warm milk in another pan. Pour milk and oil into a smaller bowl and add coconut sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and water. Stir briskly and then pour the mixture into the larger bowl with the dry ingredients.

Combine all ingredients until blended. The batter should be thick and creamy but not stiff.
Spoon a couple of tablespoons of batter into each compartment of the muffin pan. Place pan on the center rack of your oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes. You can stick a toothpick or fork in the center of one of the muffins to make sure it comes out clean. Your kitchen will smell divine in the meantime.

Makes 10-12 medium-sized muffins. These delicious confections keep well in a covered container. You probably don’t want to eat all 12 of them at one sitting. Invite ten of your friends over and have a party, instead. We guarantee they will disappear quickly. They’re great warm or cold. Enjoy!

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Black Bean Tortilla Soup—Vegan, Gluten-Free and Filling

tortilla soup

We love making soups in the winter. They’re warm, hearty, and help us feel better on a cold evening, especially at the end of a long day. If you’re under the weather, a good soup can nourish you like nothing else on the planet. We recently discovered this black bean tortilla soup at a friend’s holiday party and were so wowed that we begged her for the recipe. She was delighted to share it, and so are we. The concoction only takes about 45 minutes to prepare, so it’s a great dish if you’re on the run.

SOUP INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth
1 28-ounce can, stewed tomatoes (check label, make sure no chemicals are added).
2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon sea salt (not iodized!)
2 cans black beans (or 3 cups boiled black beans, if you have time)
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)

GARNISHES
3 small corn tortillas
1 avocado, sliced
1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges

Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into a large pan and add chopped onions and garlic. Fry on medium heat until onions and garlic are slightly brown. Your kitchen will smell terrific, and you’re just getting started! Add vegetable broth, stewed tomatoes, both chili powders, salt, and cumin. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until tomatoes are cooked through.

Add black beans and corn and continue simmering for 10 minutes until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Meanwhile, cut tortillas into thin strips. Place strips in olive oil in a medium-sized frying pan (cast iron is great!) Fry strips on both sides until brown and crispy, then remove from pan. Place them on paper towel to absorb excess olive oil.

Serve soup in festive bowls with avocado slices, a squeeze or two of lime juice, a liberal dash of cilantro, and as many tortilla strips as your heart desires. We love tortilla strips and find that it’s hard to put too many into this soup. But eat fast, because they do get soggy.

Serves 4-6 hungry guests. This soup is especially good with vegan, gluten-free cornbread and/or beer. If you do end up with leftovers, you can freeze them, or devour them in the next couple of days. You will be utterly delighted by this simple, inexpensive, and satisfying meal. Stay warm and enjoy!

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Incredibly Simple Vegan, Gluten-Free Banana Bread

bread

Some folks persist in thinking that folks who follow a vegan, gluten-free diet eat nothing but nuts and seeds. If you have a friend or relative who harbors this belief, slice a couple of pieces of banana bread from this rich, moist loaf and place them in front of her/him. Then sit back and smile. S/he will be singing a different tune after the first bite and might even beg you for the recipe. You’ll be amazed by how easy it is to make this bread, and how delicious it tastes. Here’s how:

INGREDIENTS
1 3/4 cups gluten free flour blend (Bob’s 1/1 is still our absolute favorite for baking).
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder (check label to make sure it’s aluminum-free)
½ teaspoon sea salt
7/8 cup organic turbinado sugar or coconut sugar (these sugars are always vegan, unlike
commercial sugar, and they taste much better, as well)
1/3 cup coconut oil or organic canola oil (coconut oil is our favorite—naturally sweet).
2 very ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ cup water

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS
¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
¼ cup vegan, gluten-free chocolate chips (be sure to check ingredients on package)
¼ cup poppyseeds

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
If you choose coconut oil, heat in pan on stove top or for 15-20 seconds in microwave until
liquefied. In large bowl, mash bananas with fork until all lumps are gone. Pour coconut or canola
oil into bowl and combine with banana mixture. Add apple cider vinegar, water, and vanilla
extract and beat to a nice froth. A large spoon will do well for this task. Blend in the dry ingredients, starting with baking soda, baking powder, and salt, then add the sugar and flour. When all ingredients are thoroughly combined, grease a small bread pan with coconut oil and pour mixture inside. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a fork or toothpick placed in the center comes out clean. Meanwhile, your entire kitchen will be filled with the most delectable aroma!

Serve as is, or with maple syrup, Earth Balance, vegan butter, almond butter, or any other topping of your choice. It’s great for breakfast, dessert, or a late night snack. Serves 4-6, but two people can gobble down this bread in a matter of hours, if not sooner. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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