Chef Leonard’s Famous Cheddar Chive Biscuits

We made these biscuits for a pop up brunch and people still rave about them. They are perfect for a Christmas morning treat. The dough can be made a night to 2 days in advance, cut out on a cookie sheet, refrigerated and baked that morning. You can also leave out the cheddar and/or chives if you want something more plain. They are brushed with melted butter which keeps them egg free!!
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Makes 1 dozen biscuits
2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces), plus additional flour for work surface
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening , cut into ½ inch chunks
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into ½ inch chunks
¾ cups plain whole milk yogurt
¾ cups whole milk
1½ cups grated cheddar cheese (good quality)
½ cup chopped chives
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Add shortening to flour mixture; break up chunks with fingertips until only small, pea-sized pieces remain. Working in batches, drop butter slices into flour mixture and toss to coat; pick up each slice of butter and press between floured fingertips into flat, nickel-sized pieces. Repeat until all butter is incorporated; toss to combine. Freeze mixture (in bowl) until chilled, about 15 minutes.
Sprinkle flour on your work surface. Combine yogurt and milk and add all but 2 tablespoons to flour mixture; stir briskly with fork until ball forms and no dry bits of flour are visible, adding remaining yogurt-milk mixture as needed (dough will be sticky and shaggy but should clear sides of bowl).  Carefully fold grated cheese and chives into dough. Transfer dough onto center of prepared work surface, dust surface lightly with flour, and, with floured hands, bring dough together into cohesive ball. Add more flour to work surface and lightly roll the dough about a ½ inch thick. Dip a 3 inch round cutter in flour and cut out 12 biscuits, dipping cutter in flour every time.
Brush biscuit tops with melted butter. Bake until tops are golden brown and crisp, 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Homemade Nut Free “Whatchmacallit” Bars

This was one of the most popular desserts from my bakery. People who are feeling nostalgic love Whatchamacallit bars. This recipe is a great match. It is also another great candy that is a good for Christmas. Don’t worry about making them perfect, we want them to look homemade!

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12 servings

1 cup Sunbutter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup Rice Krispies (you can use gluten free)
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon shortening (I like Earths Balance)

Mix together sunbutter, sugar, Rice Krispies, and melted butter. Form with your hands into 2 inch squares and place on foil until all mixture is used. Melt chocolate chips and shortening together. Dip bars into this mixture, set on foil again and let harden.

No Nut Brittle Candy

This is an easy recipe with only a few ingredients. It is a fun Christmas giveaway also. Candy thermometers are fairly easy to get, you can pick one up at your local supermarket.

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Serves 16
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 cup any Enjoy Life Seed and Fruit Mix (I like Mountain Mambo)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking soda
Grease a large cookie sheet. Set aside.
In a heavy 2 quart saucepan, over medium heat, bring to a boil sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in Seed and Fruit Mix. Set candy thermometer (you can get one at your local grocery store) in place, and continue cooking. Stir frequently until temperature reaches 300 F or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard and brittle threads.
Remove from heat; immediately stir in butter and baking soda; pour at once onto cookie sheet. Let cool and snap candy into pieces.

The BEST Nut-free and Vegan Chocolate Cake EVER

I actually like this recipe more than my real chocolate cake. It is rich and delicious and can be decorated any way you choose. It can also be made into a dozen cupcakes, just make sure that whatever cooking spray you use is totally vegan also.

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Makes 2 perfect 8-9 inch layers
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup  Hershey’s Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup plain unsweetened Motts Applesauce mixed with 2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup water
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
 Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add applesauce/baking powder mixture, water, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with chocolate frosting.
Vegan Chocolate Frosting
Makes 3 cups
1 cup solid vegetable shortening (I like Earths Balance)
3½ cups powdered sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons water
Cream shortening for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment or with a spoon in a mixing bowl on medium speed.  Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the shortening. Add vanilla extract, salt, and water and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional water 1 tablespoon at a time.

Nut-Free Scotcheroos

A classic dessert made nut-free!

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Serves 12
6 cups Rice Chex (Gluten-free Rice Krispies will work also)
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups sunbutter
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups Vermont Nut Free butterscotch chips
1/2 cup sunbutter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Grease a large round bowl and pour the cereal in. Set aside. Grease a 9×13 inch pan. Set aside.
In a pan on the stove, combine the corn syrup and sugar. Stir over medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups of sunbutter. Immediately pour this mixture over the cereal and fold in. Pour into the 9×13 pan.
In a microwaveable 4 cup measuring cup (or other microwave save dish) combine the butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, 1/2 cup of sunbutter, and vanilla. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring very well after each interval, until it is completely melted and smooth. It should take about 1 minute and 30 seconds. Pour over the bars. Allow to cool completely at room temperature before cutting.

Nut-Free (and Gluten and Egg Free!) Snickers Bars

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These were one of the most popular desserts in my bakery and they are so simple to make. Sunbutter gives it the nutty flavor and sunflower seeds give it the crunch.

Homemade Nut-Free Snickers Bars

Makes 1 dozen bars

First Layer:
1¼  cups milk chocolate chips
¼ cup sunbutter
Second layer:
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup evaporated milk
1½ cups marshmallow Fluff
¼ cup sunbutter
1½ cup Gerbs sunflower seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
Third layer:
1 14-ounce bag of Kraft brand caramels
¼ cup heavy cream
Top layer:
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup sunbutter

For the First Layer:
Spray your baking pan well (Bakers Joy spray is nut free!). Melt ingredients together in a saucepan or microwave, then pour into the baking dish and spread until even. Let cool and harden completely.

For the Second Layer:
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in sugar and milk, stirring until dissolved and bring to a boil. Let cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in fluff, sunbutter and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Turn off heat and fold in sunflower seeds, then pour over bottom chocolate layer. Let cool completely.

For the Third Layer:
Combine ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Let melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth – this took about 10 minutes for me. Pour over nougat layer and let cool completely.

For the Top Layer:
Melt ingredients together in a saucepan or microwave, then pour over caramel and spread until even. Let cool and harden completely.Refrigerate for at least one hour, then cut.