Thanks to the convergence of several new coronavirus realities, we have become a nation of home bakers: Our usual enthusiasms are off limits. Many of us feel an urgent desire to be self-reliant. And with our lives upended, we crave comfort, especially in the shape of cookies and cakes.

There’s a hitch, though. With so many of us stocking up on baking items, supermarket shelves have been denuded of flour. Fortunately, plenty of sweets, including these three recipes, don’t require it. And when this global nightmare is over, they’ll be handy for entertaining your gluten-free friends, too.

Friends coming over? A nice thought, that.

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Marie Elizabeth’s Flour-Free Blender Muffins 

Marie Elizabeth of Portland started making these flourless blender muffins after she got tired of eating oatmeal for breakfast and looked for something different to do with the oats in her pantry. She found the blueprint recipe for her muffins on passtheplants.com, then tweaked it to her own liking. Elizabeth has used this recipe to make muffins in a variety of flavors, including cinnamon raisin, blueberry and pumpkin. The muffins are vegan and gluten-free.

Makes 12 muffins

2 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup peanut butter, canned pumpkin or applesauce
1/3 cup sugar or other sweetener (maple syrup, dates)
3 cups plain oats
1/2 cup raisins or chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper liners.

Pour into a blender, in order, all the ingredients except for the raisins or chocolate chips. Blend on medium until well combined but not perfectly smooth, scraping the sides of the blender with a spatula if needed. After the ingredients are combined, stir in the raisins or chocolate chips.

Divvy the batter up among the prepared muffin tins, filling each cup to the top. Bake for 25 minutes.

Racines Cake

Recipe from David Lebovitz’s “Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes.” For a time some 25 years ago, soft, deeply chocolaty, highly decadent flourless chocolate cakes were all the rage. They are worth rediscovering – or discovering. The chocolate nibs (raw chocolate) called for here give the cake crunch and a bitter edge, that Food Editor Peggy Grodinsky especially likes, though they aren’t essential. You need just a very small slice, and you need whipped cream, too. True, this cake is a serious treat. But we are in need of serious treats just now.

Yields 1 (9-inch) cake

Cocoa powder for preparing the pan
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup salted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon freshly brewed espresso
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3-4 tablespoons cocoa nibs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Dust it with a bit of cocoa powder and tap out any excess.

In a large, heatproof bowl combine the chocolate, butter and espresso. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir occasionally until the mixture is melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whisk together the egg yolks and the 1/4 cup granulated sugar on medium-high heat until the mixture is light and creamy, about 1 minute.

In a clean, dry bowl with a clean whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on low speed until they begin to hold their shape. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and whisk on high speed until the whites hold soft peaks.

Fold the beaten egg yolks into the melted chocolate mixture, then fold in half of the whipped egg whites. Fold in the remaining egg whites, mixing just until there are no visible streaks of egg whites. Do not overmix or you will deflate the cake.

Scrap the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with cocoa nibs. Bake until the cake feels as though it’s barely set in the center, about 25 minutes. It shouldn’t feel too firm. Let cool completely.

Run a knife around the sides of the cake to help loosen it from the pan. Release the sides of the pan. Serve with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

Rice Krispies Treats

This recipe, from a 2003 issue of Real Simple magazine, makes an earthier, healthier version of a childhood treat. The recipe is very flexible, which is handy in this time of minimal grocery shopping. In other words, if you have hazelnuts in the pantry instead of pecans, or dried cherries instead of raisins, etc., just switch things up.

Yields 16 squares or fewer, depending on how you cut them

5 ounces marshmallows
3 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies
1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans
1/4 cup toasted, sliced almonds
1/4 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
7 dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Lightly grease an 8 by 8-inch baking pan. Melt the marshmallows and butter in a medium to large pot over low heat. When they are melted, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Do this promptly or the marshmallows will be a challenge to stir. The mixture will be somewhat stiff and the chips will melt. Press into the prepared pan. Cool for 15 minutes before cutting into squares.

Staff reporter Meredith Goad contributed to this story.


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