We still had a bunch of hazelnuts left over from the holidays, so we decided to put them to good use. There’s nothing quite like the aroma and flavor of hazelnuts — slightly exotic, nutty but sweet, and so delicious! Combined with oatmeal and chocolate chips, they’re impossible to resist!
This is also a great, sneaky way to get some good vegan protein into your diet. Hazelnuts are incredibly healthy, and you don’t need to think so much about the sugar that you’ll be using to enhance their flavor. Once you combine the hazelnuts with oatmeal and flaxseed, you’ll end up with a nourishing treat that you won’t feel too guilty about devouring. Yum!
Vegan, Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Blondies
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups roasted hazelnuts (just roast them in your oven for a few minutes beforehand)
1/4 cup flaxseeds
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
3/4 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (check label, make sure there is no milk or gluten)
Pour the oats, roasted hazelnuts, and flaxseeds into your blender or food processor and give the contents a few whirls. If you use a blender, this process may take a while. Do persevere, however, because the results will be worth the effort. It’s okay if you end up with a few hazelnut pieces that aren’t completely ground up.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the applesauce, turbinado sugar, and vanilla extract. Pour in the dry ingredients from your blender or food processor, and continue stirring so you can avoid lumps. Add the baking soda, sea salt, and finally the chocolate chips. Your batter should be moist but not runny.
Grease a square baking pan with vegan butter, vegan margarine, or coconut oil, or spritz it with some coconut spray. Pour in the batter, smoothing the top with a spoon to make sure it’s evenly distributed. You can throw a few extra chocolate chips on the top for some additional pizzazz.
Bake for about half an hour at 350 degrees until your dessert is slightly brown around the edges. Let it cool for a while and then serve! You can enjoy it plain, or with vegan ice cream and/or vegan whipped cream. Why not go all the way?!
You can get 6-8 servings from the pan, depending upon how much of a sweet tooth you have. Cover any leftovers and keep them on your counter for up to three days. They do get stale after a day or two, so you’d better eat them without delay! You won’t have any trouble polishing off this dessert.
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