Dark & Peanut White Chocolate Granola Cups

Hello and happy Monday!

Another sweet treat recipe today as, let’s face it, they’re the most fun to make (and eat). While chocolate nut butter cups have, rightly, been all the rage, I wanted to switch things up a bit by combining the silky smoothness of chocolate with the hearty crunch and hint of saltiness from the granola.

Hands down the best granola I’ve come across is the one by Nuts & Friends, a Swiss company that makes insanely delicious, organic granola in, currently, four flavours: No. 1 The Original (my personal fave), No. 2 The Basic, No. 3 The Kokos and No. 4 The Chocolate. This recipe is part of a collaboration with Nuts & Friends.

Besides the granola I’m also obsessed with the peanut white chocolate – it’s basically the love child of peanut butter and white chocolate and therefore literally my idea of foodie bliss. The peanut powder, which I originally brought back from London, I wasn’t able to find it stores, but could order online (see link below). The powder has most of the fat removed, so is not quite the same as simply grinding peanuts. If you don’t have any on hand, feel free to make a regular chocolate version or melt your favourite chocolate bar.

Dark & Peanut White Chocolate Granola Cups

Makes: ca. 10-15 mini cups (depending on the amount of granola used)

Ingredients:

  • 50g cacao butter (you can find cacao butter in the baking section of health food stores or online)
  • 50g cacao powder or peanut powder (the peanut powder I ordered online)
  • 3 tbsp rice syrup
  • granola (I used No. 2 The Basic from Nuts & Friends, whom I collaborated with for this recipe)
  • optional: large pinch of ground vanilla bean

Method:

  1. Melt the cacao butter in a small pan over medium heat. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the cacao or peanut powder, rice syrup and vanilla, if using. Stir until smooth and there are no lumps. (If you find yourself without any of these ingredients or in need of a sweet treat ASAP then simply melt some of your favourite chocolate)
  2. Method 1: Fill some of the chocolate mixture into praline or mini cupcake forms, sprinkle some granola on top, cover with more chocolate and finish off with further granola. This is the way to go if you want to have chocolate cups with the extra crunch and excitement of the granola. If, however, you want a more equal ratio of chocolate to granola use Method 2: Add the desired amount of granola directly into the chocolate mix in the pan and combine before evenly distributing in the paper cups. (Or, like me, try both: I used Method 1 for the Peanut White Chocolate Cups and Method 2 for the Dark Chocolate Cups).
  3. Place the cups on a plate in the fridge until set.
  4. Enjoy either directly out of the fridge or at room temperature!

For more information on Nuts & Friends as well as further recipes with granola (most of which are in English) check out the N&F website.

 

Enjoy!

xoxo

Fluffy Vegan Pancakes with Chocolate Sauce

Hello and happy Saturday!

My second pandemic post.. Anyone else initially thought they would get a whole lot more done during self-isolation than they have so far? 😀 I pictured myself trying out more recipes, posting more, doing at-home workouts every day … but I quickly realized that what I felt like doing most when not working (from home) was just going with the flow, unwinding, reading (I’m loving reading more again!), journaling, talking to friends and family, and going for mindful walks.

And while I’ve been cooking as much as ever, I’ve also been relying a lot on meal prep so as not to require too much time for preparing food during the work week.

Part of me is definitely appreciating the slow, intentional, mindful pace of this unusual time, when there’s a lot less to coordinate, plan and decide. And I consciously resisted any self-imposed pressure to reach targets in my free-time that I didn’t feel like working towards. For me it feels as if, outside of work, I’m focusing on just being and becoming even more in tune with myself and what makes me feel good.

But now, let’s get to what really matters: These fluffy pancakes which are my favourite homemade pancakes so far! Taste-wise they’re similar to the cakey-ier ones I usually make, but they fluff up nicely while cooking and remind me a lot more of the pancakes I had as a child. This change in texture is due to: less banana, more baking powder and the addition of baking soda.

I find them sweet enough as they are but if you prefer you can add some sweetener (sugar, maple or rice syrup, for example).

Fluffy Vegan Pancakes with Chocolate Sauce

Serves: 2 (makes 6 medium pancakes + 1 taster 😉 )

Pancake Ingredients:

  • 140g flour, I used wholemeal spelt;
  • 10g ground flaxseeds;
  • 1 pinch salt;
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder;
  • 1/2 banana, mashed;
  • ca. 230 ml plant mylk, I used rice mylk;
  • 1 tsp baking soda (Natron in German);
  • drop of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice;
  • oil for cooking, I used cacao butter.

Optional extras: some ground vanilla bean and, if you have this, some ground tonka bean (only just discovered this as an addition to baked goods).

Chocolate Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp cacao powder (I used 1 tbsp cacao and 1/2 tbsp carob powder to experiment, which is why the sauce looks so dark);
  • 2 tbsp runny hazelnut butter (can be subbed for another runny nut butter);
  • 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup;
  • ca. 1 1/2 tbsp plant mylk / until you reach the desired consistency.

Method:

  1. Add the baking soda to the mylk, along with a drop of apple cider vinegar and set aside while you mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, flaxseeds, salt, baking powder, ground vanilla and/or tonka bean, if using).
  2. Stir the mashed banana and mylk mixture into the dry ingredients, gently stirring until combined. The mixture should be slightly lumpy, i.e. not very runny. Leave the mixture to rest for ca. 10-15 minutes – you should see some bubbles on the surface when you return.
  3. Heat up some oil on high heat in a non-stick pan. When melted add the batter with a large spoon, roughly shaping into circles. Reduce to a medium heat and cook on both sides until golden brown.
  4. While the pancakes are cooking you can prepare the chocolate sauce by simply mixing all the ingredients together.
  5. Serve your pancakes with the chocolate sauce and anything else you desire. As you can see we had ours with the rest of the banana, some fresh berries, an extra dash of maple syrup and a sprinkling of hemp seeds.

Enjoy!

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Chocolate Peanut Snack Attack Squares

Hello and happy Sunday evening!

I hope you’re all well and staying healthy and sane. In a time where it’s not as easy or advisable to go to the shops too often and where your favorite local cafe is most likely closed, it’s all the more important to be able to whip up some satisfying treats using simple, ingredients you have in your cupboard and fridge. I’m sure I’m not the only one who enjoys having a little pick-me-up to look forward to mid-afternoon…

Which is where these delightfully easy, fun and delicious chocolate peanut date squares come into play. They don’t require too much prep and use ingredients that you can keep for ages. Whether you’re at home working, studying or just chilling, one of these with a cup of tea or coffee is the perfect way to have a mindful moment.

The bottom layer, which sets the stage for this stack of goodness, is a crumbly oaty base with a hint of vanilla. The fudgey date layer is sandwiched between the oats and a layer of peanut butter, which is in turn topped with some luxurious chocolate and salted peanuts, for extra crunch and a salty kick to all that sweetness.

What I love about these slices is that they taste WAY more indulgent than the list of ingredients would suggest (mainly oats, flaxseeds, dates, peanut butter and dark chocolate, with the main sweetness coming from the dates). This also makes them a suitable pre- or post-workout snack, for instance, or breakfast on the go (for a time when we have places to go to again! 😀 ).

Makes: 6 squares

Ingredients:

Base

  • 100g oats, ground into flour
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground vanilla bean
  • 2 tbsp neutral coconut (or other) oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp liquid sweetener (I use agave / brown rice or maple syrup)

Layers

  • 200g soft and pitted dates (I use these sukkari dates; if yours are dry, try soaking them in hot water first before draining and blending)
  • ca. 3 heaped tbsp peanut butter (mine was a thick, spreadable 100% peanut one; avoid one that is too runny)
  • ca. 100g of your favorite chocolate (I like using 70-85%, depending on my mood and what’s in the cupboard);
  • optional: salted peanuts for on top

Method

  1. Base: Mix the ground oats with the ground flaxseeds, salt and vanilla powder. Next add the melted oil and your sweetener. Line a loaf tin with baking paper and press the mixture down (first with your hands – bit easier if they’re slightly wet – and then smooth with a spoon). Depending on the size of your tin and the desired thickness of your base you may not need to use the whole tin. Place in the fridge while you turn your attention to the dates.
  2. Date layerIf your dates are super soft you can mash them with a fork or even your hands. I like adding some carob powder but if you don’t have any you can omit this step. Remove the oat base from the fridge and press the date paste down evenly with your fingers before spreading a layer of peanut butter on top. Put back into the fridge while you melt the dark chocolate.
  3. Chocolate: Gently melt the chocolate in a pan on low heat. Pour the melted chocolate on top of the peanut layer and sprinkle some salted peanuts on top before placing back into the fridge.

Once the chocolate has hardened enough for you to cut it (shouldn’t take too long), use a sharp knife to slice the layered loaf into even squares.

Hope you enjoy!

Variation ideas: use other nut or seed butters (e.g. hazelnut, almond or tahini); add a layer or raspberry jam after the oat or peanut butter for a PB&J-vibe. For extra nuttiness add some nut butter to the date layer.

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Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Hello and happy Sunday,

I’m excited to finally be back with another recipe! What with the notoriously hectic lead-up to Christmas, a wonderful break with lots of offline time and a busy start to the new decade, shooting recipes and writing posts just hasn’t been on my agenda. Eating food, however, obviously has and I’ve been sharing some impromptu recipes in my instagram stories (check out my account @blueberrysmiles22 for more plant-based inspo). One of these recipes is this easy one here for a simple but so delicious creamy mushroom sauce – especially perfect for cold winter days.

I made this the first time for Christmas Eve dinner. As my family was having a more traditional festive meal I brought this mushroom sauce along, which I had with vegan Chnöpfli my Mom and I made (check out the recipe linked for the Chnöpfli – they worked so well with this sauce and only took 10 min from start to finish!). 

Serves: ca. 3

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ca. 10-12 large brown button mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 200-250ml plant-based cream (I used this one out of soya; I’ve also tried a rice one which worked well)
  • Plant-based mylk, according to desired consistency (I used rice mylk)
  • 1 heaped tbsp brown miso paste
  • 1 tbsp runny almond butter
  • salt to taste
  • pinch of black pepper
  • some fresh or dried thyme
  • olive oil, for cooking
  • optional: some fresh kale or spinach
  • optional: cooked lentils or vegan chick’n (I tried Planted chick’n, which is from a Swiss startup. It’s pea-based and was absolutely delicious in this dish!)

Instructions

  1. In a large pan heat up some olive oil, add the onion and garlic, a pinch of salt and cook for a few minute, stirring frequently.
  2. Next add the sliced mushrooms (if using chick’n add this first) and cook for a few more minutes before pouring in the cream, miso paste and almond butter. Stir until all is well combined.
  3. Finally add the thyme and black pepper and leave to bubble away for a few more minutes (if using kale or spinach add now) checking the taste and adding more miso / salt if needed as well as mylk, until you reach the desired consistency. (This is a contentious point whenever I am cooking with my boyfriend – he likes runny sauces where as I prefer more “concentrated” ones with less liquid. Play around and see what you like with this one!)

Serve with: pasta (in the above photo I used spelt noodles) or Chnöpfli/Spätzle (check out the recipe for this Swiss/German pasta-type dish here – it’s in German but so short and simple that you can just run it through a translator 😉 ). 

Hope you enjoy and have a wonderful rest of the weekend!

Celine

Healthy Vegan Pancakes

Hello and happy Sunday!

I’ve had a wonderful weekend filled with workouts and lots of good food with friends, enjoying the gorgeously golden autumnal weather here in Zurich. It’s a beautiful time of year and I’m feeling very mindful and satisfied with enjoying the little things, like the yellow and orange leaves on the ground, the smell of chestnuts in the air and lighting candles in my apartment while catching up with friends or cooking my Sunday meal prep.

One thing that is always part of a good weekend, if you ask me, is some soul-satisfying brunch food. And while my go-to is usually a smoothie bowl, I also have a never-ending love affair with  pancakes… They remind me of childhood and taste super indulgent, while actually being really nourishing (well, these ones at least 🙂 ). They’re also very quick to whip together and only take a few minutes to cook – perfect for when you’re hungry after a weekend workout or just in the mood for something comforting.

Easy to vary, this is the basic recipe I use when making pancakes for myself. You could sub some of the flour for cacao powder, add some nut butter or play around with different spices. I’ve also made turmeric pancakes as well as a saffron version once – you just can’t go wrong!

Serves: 1 hungry individual

Ingredients:

  • 80g flour (such as wholemeal spelt or buckwheat)
  • 3/4 large, ripe banana
  • ca. 110 ml plant mylk (I like oat or rice)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax-/chia seeds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ground vanilla bean
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • oil for cooking (e.g. coconut oil)
  • optional: a little bit of sweetener, like rice/date/maple syrup

Serve with:

  • the rest of the banana, sliced
  • nut butter (I like almond for pancakes)
  • fresh or frozen fruit
  • maple syrup
  • hemp seeds

Method:

  1. Mash the banana and stir together with the flax/chia seeds and mylk.
  2. Stir together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, ground vanilla & cinnamon), before combining with the banana mix.
  3. Heat some oil in a non-stick pan and cook the pancakes on medium-high heat for ca. 1-2 minutes on each side.
  4. Serve as desired and enjoy!

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Harissa-Tahini Chickpea & Veggie Stir-Fry

Hello and happy Sunday!

Now that fall has arrived I’m loving cooking warming and slightly heartier dishes, such as this harissa-flavored chickpea stir-fry with mushrooms, kale, aubergine & carrots. I’ve served it with my go-to turmeric quinoa, but you can just as well accompany it with some brown rice, wholewheat pasta, potatoes etc.

Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • optional: 1 small red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
  • coconut or olive oil, for cooking
  • 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained (skins off, if you have the time)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled & chopped into small cubes
  • 2 small or 1 larger aubergine, chopped into cubes
  • 2 large stems of kale (or 2 large handfuls)
  • ca. 6-8 small mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 heaped tbsp runny tahini
  • 3 tsp of harissa spice mix
  • 1 tbsp sambal oelek / chili sauce
  • salt, to taste
  • optional: 1 tsp smokey paprika

Serve with: quinoa (ca. 80g uncooked quinoa per person), brown rice, wholewheat or spelt pasta, potatoes, etc.

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan or wok and cook the chopped onion, chili & carrots for a few minutes, stirring often. Next add the chickpeas, harissa & paprika powder as well as the tomato purée, sambal oelek and salt. Cook for a few more minutes.
  2. Add in the chopped aubergine and cook until soft.
  3. Next pour over the tahini and stir until incorporated, before adding the sliced mushrooms and, a few minutes later, the kale. Cook for another few minutes until everything is combined and cooked through.
  4. Do a taste test and season with more salt or spices, if desired.
  5. Serve with the quinoa.

Enjoy!

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Healthy Chocolate Mousse Bowl

Hello and happy Sunday!

Sometimes all you crave is something rich and chocolatey – whether for dessert or, like me yesterday, for breakfast. That’s why I created this creamy concoction out of wholesome fully plant-based ingredients. The banana, sweet potato and dates are a nutritious source of carbs (lots of fiber, vitamins and minerals), the avocado and flaxseeds provide healthy fats and the cacao is chockfull of antioxidants. This powerhouse combo is also super filling and should keep you satiated for quite a while.

You could also serve this up after dinner in little glass jars for a smaller portion of goodness.

Ingredients (serves 1 or 2, depending on whether or not you’re sharing 😉 )

Chocolate Mousse

  • 1 ripe banana
  • ca. 80g sweet potato (cubed, cooked)*
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 2 large, soft dates
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp flaxseeds

* I used frozen sweet potato for a more smoothie bowl-like vibe, but do whatever is more preferable / practical.

Toppings:

  • Granola – I used the Original from Nuts & Friends, a new brand of homemade. organic granola from Zurich, which I kindly got sent to try and absolutely loved! It only uses ‘honest’ ingredients (by that I mean ingredients you would use if making it in your own kitchen yourself) and has an amazingly warm and subtly sweet flavour, enhanced by the added vanilla and cinnamon. There are also two more flavours (the Basic and the Kokos) to check out.
  • Fresh strawberries, or other berries
  • Nut butter, I used cashew butter but peanut or almond would work well too

Instructions

  1. Blend together the banana, sweet potato, avocado, dates and flaxseeds.
  2. Stir in the cacao powder and do the taste test – if you prefer it sweeter you can add more dates or some maple syrup.
  3. Serve with delicious toppings – the granola adds a great contrasting crunch and the strawberries a burst of fruity freshness.

IMG_8653Enjoy!

P.S. Let me know if you try this and feel free to tag me on Instagram (@blueberrysmiles22) if you’re sharing it there – would love your feedback 🙂

Simple Smoothie Bowls: Mango Spinach & Cherry Blueberry

Hello and happy Sunday!

My love of smoothie bowls knows no bounds, especially during summer time. There is nothing more refreshing, nourishing and satisfying to me than a vibrant smoothie bowl with an array of gorgeous toppings. The fact that they’re so easy to whip up and don’t require any ingredients you can’t keep stored, makes them such a great breakfast, snack or even lazy weekday dinner.

There is no exact recipe I follow, but as I’ve received some questions I decided to share two variations of my super basic, standard smoothie recipe.

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Cherry & Blueberry Smoothie Bowl

Blend:

  • 1 large banana (or 1.5 smaller ones)*
  • 1 cup (ca. 120g) of frozen cherries & frozen blueberries
  • 1 tbsp flax and/or chia seeds

Mango & Spinach Smoothie Bowl

Blend:

  • 1 large banana (or 1.5 smaller ones)*
  • ca. 1/2 cup (or ca. 100g) frozen mango
  • 1 tbsp flax and/or chia seeds
  • ca. 1/2 cup frozen spinach (or more for extra greenness)

For both versions:

*I like using unfrozen bananas along with my frozen fruit. If I’m looking for a more ‘nice cream’-like texture I’ll use frozen (sliced) banana.

Toppings:

  • fresh, frozen or dried fruit – add sliced banana, fresh raspberries, kiwi cubes, goji berries, dried mulberries, passionfruit or whatever you have around or are craving
  • nut butter – this is a MUST in my eyes; whether peanut, almond or cashew butter, the nutty creaminess is a great complement to the silky smooth fruity-ness and the healthy fats in the nut butter allow your body to absorb the fat-soluble nutrients in the smoothie
  • granola – this adds a wonderful crunch and is a way to add some whole grains to your meal (I like to look out for wholesome ones with as little sweetener as possible, or make my own when I have time)
  • nuts & seeds – great for more crunch and nutrition; my favourite are hemp seeds; I’ve also found that pistachios go really well with cherry smoothies

Notes:

  • If you prefer a runnier texture or your blender is struggling, add 1-2 tbsp plant-based milk, such as rice or oat milk.
  • For an extra creamy smoothie bowl add 1/2 an avocado to the blender!
  • These are an ideal base for playing around with – e.g. you can also add some frozen spinach to your cherry blueberry smoothie (you won’t be able to taste it), you can add ‘superfoods’ such as maca or protein powders and use a bit of/ more liquid depending on your texture preference. For extra protein you can also add some sneaky silken tofu 😉
  • If you want your smoothie to go (e.g. at work), bring the smoothie and the toppings separately and assemble just before eating. You can also blend the nut butter into the smoothie to avoid bringing that along.

Enjoy!

 

Falafel Pitas with Tahini Sauce

Hello and happy Sunday! {ad}

You may remember the #grillitarier campaign by Migros, which is all about celebrating summer and firing up the barbecue. I shared the following vegan bbq recipes in collaboration with Migros last year:

And today I’m delighted to share this super simple recipe for filled (or topped) pita breads, using the falafels from Cornatur. It’s an easy way to turn these chickpea-based bites into a satisfying summer dish (serves 4).

Ingredients:

  • 4 pita breads
  • 1 packet falafels (I used these)
  • 130g plain soy yogurt
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 1 pinch of salt (I used the chili sea salt from Migros)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 bunch coriander, chopped
  • fresh arugula
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • pomegranate seeds

 

Method:

  1. For the sauce: combine the yogurt, tahini, lime juice, salt and ca. 3/4 of the coriander.
  2. Cut the pitas open half way on the sides and dab some water onto both sides.
  3. Grill the pita breads on both sides while also cooking the falafels on the grill.
  4. Either fill (or top) the pita breads with the tahini dressing, washed arugula, falafels and sliced avocado, topping with pomegranate seeds and the rest of the coriander for extra flavor. Enjoy!

This recipe embodies my personal Grill Rule: Always dress to impress 😉 A tasty dressing and extra little garnishes are what can take simple ingredients to the next level.

Do you have a grill rule or tip to share?

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Hello and happy Monday!

After sharing some recommendations for plant-based eating in my last two posts, I’m finally back with another recipe. I’ve been making this fully plant-based banana bread pretty much weekly lately, as it’s so quick to throw together and perfect for snacking on at work or enjoying on the couch with a cup of tea. I love how fudgy it is when I don’t bake it quite through and how melty the dark chocolate chunks are, before the loaf cools!

The fact that it’s made from simple and nutritious ingredients and is only sweetend with fruit and maple syrup makes it even more irresistible (#begoodtoyourself 😉 ) and the perfect staple bake for week nights or lazy weekend mornings.

The recipe is actually an adaption from my Pumpkin PB Chocolate Chip Mini Loaves, which are perfect for fall. Definitely check them out too if you enjoy this recipe.

Makes ca. 6-8 slices.

Ingredients:

  • 250g mashed banana (i.e. ca. 2 large-ish bananas, peeled)
  • 2 tbsp ground flax- and/or chia seeds
  • 100g soft dates*
  • 5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup natural, unsalted peanut butter (almond/cashew/hazelnut should work too)
  • 1/4 cup (65 ml) plant-based milk
  • 130g wheat or spelt flour (wholemeal or regular; buckwheat flour should work too for a gluten-free version, but I haven’t tested this yet)
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground vanilla bean
  • 1 pinch salt (unless using salted nut butter)
  • Ca. 50g chocolate of choice (I use 75-85%), chopped
  • optional extras:
    • spices (e.g. cinnamon, cardamom)
    • chopped nuts: peanuts, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts etc.
    • dried berries: cranberries, raisins, goji berries etc.

* E.g. medjool or sukkari (I order ‘sukkari cooking’ dates from Palmyra Delights: Swiss website / EU website and am obsessed with them!). If your dates are on the dry side, try soaking them in hot water and draining before blending.

Method:

  1. Combine the mashed banana with the ground flax/chia seeds and set aside.
  2. Blend together the dates, maple syrup, plant milk and peanut butter and combine with the banana mixture (don’t forget to lick the spoon – it’s divine 🙂 ).
  3. Stir together the flour, baking powder, vanilla and salt (and spices) and combine with the rest of the batter. Finally, add in the chocolate chunks and chopped nuts and/or dried berries if using.
  4. Pour the mixture into a small loaf tin that you’ve greased (e.g. with coconut oil) or lined with baking parchment and bake in an oven preheated to 180°C for ca. 35-40 minutes. Oven times vary, so keep an eye on your bake. The top should be firm to the touch but the middle should still be slightly moist. Leave to cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes.
  5. Serve as is or with some extra nut butter, jam and/or (n)ice cream.

Note: Once cooled, you can slice and freeze this cake to save for later.

I hope you enjoy!

Celine

P.S. Tag me (@blueberrysmiles22) if you share your bake on Instagram! I’d love to know your feedback. 

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