Our guest writer Lee is a recipe developer, food blogger, and food photographer. Her blog, The Rogue Brussel Sprout, focuses on colorful, seasonal dishes and whole-food ingredients. You can see more of her work on her blog and on Instagram at @TheRogueBrusselSprout.
Imagine your ideal gluten-free dessert. Does it involve chocolate chip cookies? What about a creamy, dreamy mousse? And maybe some colorful summer berries? Now imagine that it's also made with nourishing ingredients like oat flour and avocado. If this is sounding pretty darn perfect, then you've come to the right place!
Simply put, this cookie tart is all of my dessert dreams realized. It's crunchy yet creamy; chocolatey yet still light; fresh, colorful, and festive. I can guarantee you that we'll be making this for every special occasion all summer long, but especially July 4th!
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a huge sucker for a good chocolate chip cookie. They're simply the best. That's why I was thrilled when Meli's Cookies asked to partner with me on a recipe using their wonderful gluten-free cookie mixes. I'll choose a cookie over a cake or tart 100% of the time, but in this dessert you can have BOTH (!!!) because the tart crust is made out of a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie crumble. Swoon.
You'll just bake up the gluten-free cookies, crush them up, and bind them together with some peanut butter (double swoon!) and coconut oil. Easy! Because Meli's Cookies are made with whole foods like and oats (with no other flour substitutes), this crust is delightfully delicious but also made with wholesome ingredients. Their cookie mixes are certified gluten-free, kosher, and preservative free, and the resulting cookies are surprisingly protein-rich. You can find these great mixes at thousands of retailers nationwide!
Next up is the filling. Because I wanted to create a dessert that would be good for the body as well as the soul, the chocolate mousse filling gets its wonderful richness from avocados! If you've never tried an avocado dessert before, please keep an open mind! The chocolate covers up the avocado flavor completely, and the texture is creamier than any traditional pudding or mousse out there. I promise you'll be smitten.
Because the filling is just avocados (make sure they're ripe!!), cocoa powder, melted dark chocolate, vanilla, and a bit of maple syrup, it comes together quickly using a food processor. Like the crust, it's made with real food ingredients. (Hint: bookmark this recipe and make the avocado mousse any time you want a rich, chocolatey treat. It's dynamite just piped into cute serving dishes with berries on top.)
And finally the fruit! I used dragonfruit and strawberries cut into stars as well as blueberries, since I really wanted a red, white, and blue July 4th vibe. The end result is really unique and festive! But you can easily use whatever berries you love, or any fruit that pairs well with chocolate. I bet a raspberry version of this for Valentine's Day would be a masterpiece.
Even though this tart looks fancy, there's absolutely nothing tricky about this recipe. If you can make cookies from a box, then you can make this tart! I even tested it a few different ways to make sure it was friendly for preparing in advance. If you want to go that route, you have a few options; and since this tart does require a few steps, I suggest doing at least some of the pieces in advance. Because it's so make-ahead friendly, this is a great dessert for entertaining.
For the crust, you can make the cookies in advance and freeze them. Or, make the whole crust, carefully slide it into a big freezer bag, and freeze the whole thing. Either works great, but the latter will make your life even easier. The crust can stay in the freezer for as long as a couple weeks, so make it whenever you have some free time and it will be ready to go.
For the mousse, you can make it up to a day ahead of time. Then you can either fill the tart right before serving, or fill the tart and then chill it overnight. I recommend the overnight chill for easier cutting and minimal effort. Or, you can fill the tart crust and freeze the whole thing! The make-ahead options really are endless here.
You can even cut the fruit in advance! Just store it in a sealed container for up to a day. The only time-sensitive piece is that you'll want to add the fruit to the tart right before serving; otherwise, any extra fruit juice could make the mousse look messy.
Isn't this tart dreamy? The combination of crunchy cookies and creamy mousse is absolute heaven, and I love that it seems so fancy but is secretly easy. Everything about this dessert is begging to be invited to your next summer party.
I'm so excited about this recipe. Summer is definitely the time for celebrations and festive desserts, and this one is so perfect for July 4th. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have!
For the Crust
- Box of Meli's Monster Cookies Choco-Lot gluten-free cookie mix
- 0.25 c peanut butter
- 0.25 c melted coconut oil
- 0.5 c high-quality dark chocolate chips
- 3 medium avocados. They absolutely must be ripe for this to work! Please please don't try to make this recipe with unripe avocados.
- 0.5 c maple syrup
- 0.25 c high-quality cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Dragonfruit slices, cut into star shapes. Although any light-colored fruit will work if you can't find dragonfruit. Or omit it altogether and use raspberries instead.
Thoughts About Method
(These are all just suggestions, be creative and make it yours)
- Bake the cookies as directed on the package. As much as I love a slightly under-baked cookie, this crust will work much better if you bake them fully. Allow the cookies to cool completely.
- Put three quarters of the cookies into a food processor (this will be 12 if you followed the box directions; enjoy the others in another way!). Pulse the food processor a few times until you achieve an even, coarse crumb. Add the peanut butter and melted coconut oil, then pulse a few more times until the cookie crumble is evenly moistened.
- Spoon the crust mixture into tart pan and press it down firmly, along both the bottom and the sides. Try to achieve an even layer throughout. Push the mixture into all the ripples in the sides of the tart pan.
- Put the tart crust into a sealed container or bag and refrigerate it overnight. The coconut oil will help it set in the fridge, which you need to do before trying to spread the filling on it. Or conversely, you can freeze the crust for up to a couple weeks.
- To make the filling: melt the chocolate chips over a double-boiler, then set the melted chocolate aside to cool.
- Cut open the avocados and remove the pits, then scoop out the flesh. In a food processor, combine the avocado, maple syrup, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Process until you have a very smooth, pudding-like texture. Make absolutely sure there are no visible avocado chunks remaining!
- Add the melted chocolate once it is room temperature and process again just until combined.
- Remove the crust from the fridge or freezer and place dollops of the filling across the surface. Spread it gently into an even layer, using a spatula; be delicate so as not to disturb the crust below.
- Return the tart to a sealed container (or bag) and chill it overnight. Or conversely, you can also freeze it at this stage for a couple weeks.
- When you're ready to serve, top your tart with fruit. I used dragonfruit stars, strawberry stars, and blueberries, but you can use whatever fruits you love to pair with chocolate. Serve immediately! The tart will be much easier to cut while it is chilled. You can top it as much as a couple hours before serving, but I don't suggest doing it farther in advance than that since the juicy fruit can create little puddles of moisture on the surface of the mousse.
- Return any leftovers to the fridge (for a day or two) or the freezer (for a couple weeks).