Sometimes, you gotta get messy

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Homemade It’s-Its!

Somewhat less aesthetic & refined than my fruit desserts of late, but sometimes you have to trash up your dessert a little. And it photographing such a hot mess (or at least attempting to) is lots of fun! Somehow I managed NOT to get ice cream on my phone, I consider that a rousing success.

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Okay… So we all know that I lovelovelovelove ice cream. But actually I lovelovelove ice cream and I LOVELOVELOVELOVE ice cream sandwiches. There is a world of difference when it comes to this. And no, a cookie with a scoop of ice cream on top is so not the same thing. Close, but no cigar.

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In a pinch it is definitely an acceptable substitute, but give me ice cream smooshed between two chewy cookies and I am one happy camper.

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It’s-It ice cream sandwiches are undeniably delicious but why buy them when you could level up and make some that were even more delicious and with better-sourced/pronounceable ingredients and more nutrition (with minimal effort)?! Right. My thoughts exactly.

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Besides that, these are SO easy and involve really only two steps: make cookies, then play with your food! Who doesn’t like that?

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Besides, these were consumed with berries, so that makes them virtuous…  I kid.

In other news…

The SF series continues!

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Always fun to find new viewpoints and perspectives on old favorites:

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Happy springtime! Mother Nature needs none of your silly filters.

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Homemade Oatmeal Ice Cream Sandwiches (ie, it’s-it… probably trademarked, so I won’t call it that…

These are ridiculously easy! The cookies I used are whole wheat and sweetened with maple, which mollifies me a bit in terms of avoiding refined sugar (yes, I know I’m also eating ice cream… It’s all about balance). I think these are best fresh, so I would only make as many as you’re going to eat in one sitting. Can be gluten free, dairy free, or vegan depending on dairy or nondairy ice cream of choice and cookie recipe [mine were none of the above – sub a gf/vegan/dairy free cookie & ice cream].

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Sooooo easy. Lez do it:

  • 1 batch of chewy oatmeal cookies (recipe I used is below)
  • 1 pint of super delicious, good quality ice cream
  • 3/4 c chopped dark chocolate (mine was 70%)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Make favorite chewy oatmeal cookies. Let cool. Melt chocolate and coconut oil either in a double boiler or in the microwave on 30 sec intervals, stirring in between until fully melted. Set aside.

Take favorite ice cream (I prefer Straus vanilla chocolate chip) and smoosh in between two cookies. Eat ice cream out of the carton because… just because. Squash other cookie on top of delicious pile of cookie and ice cream, and then, working quickly to prevent meltage and structural failure, roll it around in melted chocolate. Pretend to shake off excess (but actually don’t, because chocolate). Place on a parchment paper lined plate and stick them into the freezer until the chocolate hardens, five minutes or up to two hours. Unstick carefully from plate and stuff face!

Grin happily and pat yourself on the back for leveling up.

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Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These were SO perfect for making sandwiches. They didn’t turn into rocks in the freezer, and they stayed chewy until the next day. Whole grain, refined sugar free, and lower in sugar than most chewy cookies out there. Mmm cookies.. Recipe slightly adapted from Amy’s Healthy Baking, here. I made a batch and a half, sorry for some of the strange measurements. Yield: 18

  • 1.5 c whole wheat flour (spooned and leveled)*
  • 1.5 c rolled oats (leveled)
  • 2.25 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1.5 eggs (ugh sorry! for the .5, beat one egg, measure & use half)
  • 3/4 c pure maple syrup (I use grade B)
  • 3 tbsp salted butter, melted
  • 1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and sea salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together egg, maple, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Pour wet into dry and mix until just barely combined, stirring in chocolate chips. Cover the dough and refrigerate for minimum 30 minutes, up to 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 325, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop refrigerated dough by the tbsp onto the baking sheet, flattening each slightly (they won’t really spread). Bake for 11-13 minutes (mine were done at 12), until the tops spring back when touched and the sides are firm. Cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before turning into sandwiches! Store in an airtight tupperware at room temp unless you eat them all immediately.

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Pink celery!! Just kidding. Rhuuuubarb!

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Dumb question… Is rhubarb a vegetable? Wait. I have to go look this up.

It is! Okay good. I’m not going (too) crazy… I was pretty sure it was, given that it looks like celery’s pink cousin. ANYWAY, moving on after that little aside…

Spring has officially sprung! Asparagus with dinner last night and rhubarb for dessert (and for breakfast, obviously). Besides the seasonal produce (yay!) literally everything is in bloom right now — my yard looks and smells amazing!

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With that in mind, and given that there are a bunch of eating-type holidays this weekend (Eater, I mean.. Easter… I’m looking at you), might I recommend this rhubarb tart? It comes together in a snap and is delicious to boot.

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In other news… more drawing! (What else is new)

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Springy things!

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Keeping it short and sweet today – but do yourself a favor and get on that rhubarb before the season ends! It’s amazing — who doesn’t like pink celery? Just kidding…

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I love rhubarb in this galette because it can be it’s true tart self! I find that when it’s paired with strawberry it loses some of it’s punchiness, which is what I like about it — I prefer to let it shine on its own (accompanied by some ice cream, obviously). The almond frangipane keeps it from being overly tart and still desserty, but not too sweet – perfectly acceptable for breakfast alongside obligatory eggs & kale.

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Happy spring!

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Rhubarb Galette with Almond Frangipane

Grain & gluten free option and refined sugar free. Dairy free option is is probably a breeze – make the dough with cold coconut oil instead of butter. Yield: 1 galette – serves 4-6. Frangipane adapted from the Feed Feed, here.

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For the galette dough:

  • 1.5 c almond flour (not meal; you want the finer flour variety)
  • 1/2 c tapioca flour
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 6 tbsp salted butter, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

In a food processor or high-power blender (I used a food processor), pulse almond flour, tapioca starch, salt, and butter, and pulse to combine until it looks like coarse meal. Add in egg, coconut sugar, and almond extract and pulse just until combined. Turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disk and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

For the frangipane:

  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/3 c coconut sugar
  • 3 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour* (omit for grain free; replace with oat flour or rice flour for gluten free)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/3 c roasted unsalted almond butter
  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup (if needed)

In a food processor, combine almond flour, coconut sugar, and whole wheat flour (if using). Pulse once to combine. Add in eggs, vanilla and almond extract, and pulse once or twice, until combined. Add in almond butter, and blend again until smooth. If the frangipane seems too sticky, add 1-2 tbsp of maple to loosen it.

Topping & finishing:

  • 5-6 stalks of rhubarb
  • coconut sugar
  • beaten egg for brushing the dough

Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 375. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, keeping the circle to about 1/4″ thickness. Peel off the top piece of parchment, and slide the rolled out dough on its parchment onto a baking sheet. Top with the frangipane, spreading it carefully in order to not rip or crack the dough.  Add sliced rhubarb, in whatever pattern you like! Sprinkle with a little coconut sugar. Begin folding up the sides, creasing them together as you go – if the dough is cracking, that’s okay (you can crimp the cracks back together; remember: galettes are forgiving and rustic!); you can use the bottom piece of parchment to help fold up the sides. Brush the edges of the dough with the beaten egg and sprinkle a little coconut sugar around the sides. Bake for 35-40 minutes until edges are golden brown — mine came out just fine at 35 minutes, so check accordingly. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then carefully slide the whole galette onto a cooling rack to let it cool completely. Serve with your fave ice cream or whatever of choice! Keeps well covered in foil on the counter; mine didn’t last longer than about 2 days so I can vouch for it at least that long!

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Shortcakes for spring! (and for breakfast. and dessert)

April already?! Wow. That went fast. And for being April, the strawberries are looking quite delicious — and surprisingly are so! I guess they’re technically in season somewhere. I do try to eat local, but shortcakes really call for strawberries and these looked especially delicious, so I’m not complaining…

I had a request for chocolate, so of course I was going to work that in — I’ve never made chocolate shortcakes before now but I highly recommend them.

Let’s see, life things lately…

Happy 16th birthday to this little nugget! She just gets more adorable every day.

Further progress on the SF series! This one is located at 2020 California Street.

More flowers! In this case, March showers seem to have brought April flowers…

But back to this hot mess. Dessert! It doesn’t photograph especially well but I promise it’s delicious.

I prefer my shortcakes on the not-so-sweet side, so that a) I can eat them with ice cream and not send myself into a sugar coma (even if it is unrefined sugar!) and b) they really highlight the berries. As such, these shortcakes are really more biscuit-y than cake-y, but that’s only if you eat them plain! Load them up with all of the other goodies and they have a perfect sweet-not too sweet balance. Especially the caramel two ways. Don’t skip that!

Highly recommended for dessert AND for breakfast: whole grains, no refined sugar & healthy fats, what’s not to like? Excellent with eggs & salad, of course I speak from experience. Happy shortcake-ing!

Chocolate Shortcakes with Strawberries, Coconut Cream, Maple Almond Caramel and Chocolate Caramel

Whole wheat, refined sugar free, dairy free/vegan option (replace butter with coconut oil & buttermilk w/ coconut buttermilk – see note). Lightly sweet shortcakes with fresh berries and coconut cream… plus caramel two ways because, why not? Shortcakes adapted from the cakes I made previously with peach filling, here. If you choose to go the coconut cream route, make sure you refrigerate the can overnight. A Wait are those Cookies original! Yield: 6 shortcakes + extra caramel (or maybe not, depending on how liberally it gets poured… no judgement here)

For the shortcakes:

  • 1 c + 1 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 4 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into smallish pieces (or coconut oil for dairy free – make sure it’s chilled & solid)*
  • 3/4 c buttermilk*
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

*if you’re not concerned about being dairy free/vegan, go ahead and use regular buttermilk & butter. I used 1 c (canned) coconut milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice as I was out of buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 450, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cacao powder, baking powder and soda, salt, and coconut sugar. Cut in the butter using your fingertips (my preferred method) or a pastry cutter, until things start looking like coarse cornmeal and the butter is distributed evenlyish. Make a well in the center (look! You get to play with your food!), pour in the buttermilk, then use a spoon or spatula to stir it all together, until just combined (do try not to over mix). Stir in chocolate chips. Divide the dough into six little balls, flatten slightly and place on the baking sheet. Bake for just about 13-15 minutes, until the tops are firm and lightly browned. Let cool slightly on a rack before serving.

While the cakes are baking, make the caramel sauce:

For the caramel sauce (two ways!)

  • 1/3 c coconut oil
  • 1/2 c unsalted, creamy almond butter
  • 1/3 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 runneth-over tsp vanilla extract
  • scant 1/4 c dark chocolate chips

In a small saucepan over medium, heat coconut oil, almond butter, maple, and sea salt over medium until all are melted and incorporated. This shouldn’t take more than a minute or two, which is excellent for instant gratification. Turn off the heat and stir in vanilla. Pour half the warm caramel into a heat-safe jar, and stir the chocolate chips into the remaining half still in the saucepan. They should melt as you stir, but you can turn the heat back on if necessary to melt them completely. Store the chocolate caramel in a separate jar. Serve warm or cold.

For assembly! The best part.

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • copious amounts of strawberries

Open the refrigerated can of coconut milk, and scrape out the solid cream into a large bowl. With an electric mixer, beat until smooth, then beat in vanilla.

Serve shortcakes sliced in half (to maximize cake square footage), topped with coconut cream, strawberries, caramel drizzle, and extra ice cream. Because, ice cream! Obviously. Also makes excellent breakfast, sans ice cream (or not, you do you!) Store any leftover shortcakes covered on the counter overnight or in the fridge.

Wait… no citrus?!

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Hold the phone. NOT CITRUS?!

Surely you must be joking.

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Don’t worry, my love affair with all things citrus hasn’t ended, it’s just taking a week off so I can give apples some love. Apples haven’t really featured heavily in my desserts of late, so this is a nice change. Besides, apples, honey and almonds all pair so nicely together.

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This cake is a riff on the honey cake with blackberries & hazelnuts I made back in the fall, and this one once again reminds me of something you’d eat in the Shire – skillet and all, it’s very Tolkeinesque. Which of course appeals to my extraordinarily nerdy nature…

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Besides that, it’s light, delicious and comes together in a snap. I used a combination of apples since I love the tartness of Granny Smith but wanted a more complex flavor – Fujis are in here too.

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Excellent for dessert with some ice cream, and of course for breakfast alongside eggs & kale. Cake for breakfast? Sure, why not – it’s a great source of Vitamin E and healthy fats, plus it’s grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free so everyone wins.

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Besides cake, a few snaps of what’s been occupying my time lately:

More SF series, of course.

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No filter on this next one — I couldn’t believe how bright it was!

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Enjoy your cake! It tastes best in good company :)

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Apple Honey Cake with Blackberries and Maple Almonds

Gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free, dairy free, paleo depending on your definition. Light almond honey cake studded with apples and topped with blackberries (mo’ fruit!) and mapled almonds. Yield: 1 8″ skillet cake; serves 2-8. Recipe is a riff on the honey cake with hazelnuts & blackberries, here. Note: I’ve adapted this recipe over time to fit my 8″ cast iron skillet perfectly, hence the odd measurements. Feel free to make this in a 9″ cake pan or skillet, just keep in mind the bake time will be less & you’ll have a slightly shorter cake.

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For the cake:

  • 1.5 c almond flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c honey (I use raw usually) – runny and thick honey are both fine
  • 1/8 + 1/16 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 1/2″ pieces (I used a mix of Fuji & Granny Smith)
  • 1 apple for topping, sliced into 1/4″ thick wedges + 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • Cinnamon for topping

Peel, core and chop 2 apples, and set aside. Lightly grease your skillet or pan of choice with coconut oil and set aside. Preheat oven to 325.

In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Add in eggs, honey, coconut oil, and vanilla extract, and stir until all ingredients are just incorporated. Stir in 2 chopped apples. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and set aside momentarily. Cut up the last apple, slicing it into 1/4″ wedges and toss it with the tbsp of melted coconut oil. Fan these out across the top (this is totally optional of course), and sprinkle a little cinnamon on them. Bake for 60-65 minutes (if you left the apples off the very top of the cake, your bake time will be slightly less – check at 45), until the top of the cake is lightly browned, firm, and a tester in the center comes out clean. You can cover the cake with foil during the last 15 minutes of baking if the cake is browning too fast. Remove and let cool before topping & serving.

For the maple almonds

  • 1 c slivered almonds
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt

Heat an empty saute pan (not nonstick) over medium heat; once heated, add maple (it will bubble and fizz) and hazelnuts. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring continuously until the maple has caramelized. The nuts will feel a little soft, which is fine. Spread parchment paper on a baking sheet, pour out the nuts and spread them out a bit. They will harden as they cool. Store in an airtight jar at room temp for as long as they last which is realistically about five minutes.

For serving: top cake with blackberries and maple almonds! Slice and serve, especially good with vanilla ice cream. Store any leftovers covered, in the fridge for a few days.

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I’ll just take everything citrus, thanks

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Hello hello internet blog friends!

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What’s new with you? Business as usual over here, still very obviously obsessed with all things citrus. If you’re like me and just can’t get enough of all varieties these days, make this! You won’t be sorry.

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Meyer lemons are still going strong (at least over here in northern California) – I’m lucky enough to have access to a full tree of them but I’m still seeing them in stores too, so you should be good to go. Meyer lemons make the most perfect curd – light yellow and perfectly lemony. I’ve reached the point where I use very little sweetener in the citrus curds that I make – I want to have the tart citrus flavor at the forefront, not the sweet!

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Eat this for dessert, for breakfast, for snacking purposes… it’s delicious any way you slice it. I just want all the citrus, all the time!! Just make sure lemon is your thing before making this — it’s not for the citrus faint of heart ;)

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Let’s see, what else…

Mother Nature has been doing some spectacular things in the sky lately!

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Happy spring! Go eat some lemon tart with your loved ones.

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Meyer Lemon Tart with Blackberry Sauce on an Almond Crust

Not for the faint of heart! If you love tart & citrus things – this is calling your name. Lemons and berries are a natural pairing, and almonds are basically the food of the gods. Tart, lightly sweet, and perfect for spring. Gluten free, grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, paleo. A Wait are Those Cookies original recipe. Yield: 1 9″ pie plate; servings: 2-8!

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For the meyer lemon curd

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c coconut oil
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 c meyer lemon juice
  • zest of 3 meyer lemons
  • 1 tsp vanilla

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine eggs, coconut oil, honey, sea salt, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla. Whisk to combine and continue to cook, whisking constantly for about 10-15 minutes – it should be just on the edge (but not there yet!) of a low boil. The curd should thicken and your whisk will make tracks – don’t let it boil. It will still be slightly runny but will firm up in the fridge. While it’s still warm, strain curd through a metal strainer into a glass container and let cool completely before storing in the fridge (overnight is preferable, but at least 4 hours if pressed for time).

For the blackberry sauce:

  • 2 c blackberries
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

In a high powered blender or food processor, puree the blackberries until smooth. Push the puree through a metal strainer into a large bowl to remove the seeds, then stir in lemon juice and maple. Store in a glass jar in the fridge until ready to use – you’ll only use a tablespoon or two to make the swirl on the top of the tart, so keep the rest for extra tart topping.

For the crust:

  • 2.5 c almond flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • scant 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 c unsalted almond butter
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and sea salt. Add in melted coconut oil, vanilla, almond extract, almond butter, and maple syrup, and stir until combined – the mixture will be crumbly.

Preheat the oven to 350, and press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie plate. Poke the bottom a few times with a fork, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and fill with the lemon curd. If you’re planning on the blackberry swirl, use a ziplock bag with a teeny corner cut off to pipe the sauce into the curd, and then use a knife to swirl it around (alternatively, use a pastry bag if you’re less lazy than me!). Bake for 8-10 minutes to set the curd, then let cool completely at room temperature. Top with slivered almonds and shredded coconut if desired. I prefer to chill mine in the fridge for at least two hours before serving.

Leftovers keep well covered in the fridge (though I dare you to have any!).

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Come to the Dark Side… I have pie.

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Pie! Such a perfect food. Especially when it resembles… the Death Star! Because why have plain pie when you could show off your nerdiness to the world? I almost didn’t want to eat this… but I did.

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Pie crust used to intimidate me, which is pretty stupid given that it’s basically just flour and water and butter… yet I think sometimes the simplest things end up being the trickiest (in life and in baking!). But pie is also a fairly forgiving food, and will love you endlessly if you learn to make it with the confidence it deserves.

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I think I’m finally at that point — this one felt great! I am quite pleased with the way it came out both in looks and taste… the sci-fi nerd is strong in me ;) I think the key with pie crust is not to let on that it makes you nervous! It can probably sense that, ha! Maybe with its pie crust force powers…

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Thank goodness pie is so delicious – it makes all the potential crust shenanigans worthwhile.

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In other news, another drawing for the series!

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Anndddd…. the first skiing of the season! Wheeeee!!! And what great skiing it was. More to come, that’s for sure.

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But for now, pie. Because often the simplest things in life are the most enjoyable, especially leftover pie for breakfast in good company! Nothing better.

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Wild Blueberry Pie with Whole Wheat Dark Side Crust

Refined sugar free and whole wheat! Naturally sweetened with coconut sugar. Crust recipe yields a double crusted pie, enough for a Death Star of your own making if you so choose. Crust recipe lightly adapted from Carolyn McCuaig (thanks Carolyn, if you’re reading this!)

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For the crust:

  • 2.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/3 c vegetable shortening
  • 1/3 c butter (mine was salted), cut into chunks
  • 5-7 tbsp ice water

For the filling:

  • 4 c wild blueberries, or enough to heapingly fill your pie plate (frozen is fine)
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1/3 c whole wheat pastry flour

For finishing: 1-2 tbsp butter, 1 egg for egg wash

To make the crust: in a large bowl, whisk together pastry flour, coconut sugar, salt, baking powder, and lemon zest. Cut in shortening and butter either with your fingers or a pastry cutter until a coarse mixture forms and the butter chunks are the size of peas. Make a well in the center of the dough and add in the ice water one tablespoon at a time – mix as little as possible when incorporating the water to avoid overworking the dough. Once it will stick together, you’re good to go. Divide it into two even pieces, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 10 minutes and up to an hour.

While the dough is chilling, put together the filling. Toss blueberries, lemon juice, coconut sugar and flour in a large bowl.

Once the dough is chilled, roll it out between two pieces of parchment or on marble, whatever you have – I like parchment for easy removal. Aim for about 1/8″ thickness, and lay the bottom crust into a lightly greased pie dish. Shape it with your fingers, evening out the top as per your pie plate or design you want — this crust will make a double crusted pie, so keep that in mind. Toss in blueberry filling goodness and dot with butter.

If you want to get fancy and do the Death Star…

Cut out templates (thick paper or thin cardboard work nicely) for the Death Star and a TIE fighter. Have egg wash and coconut sugar handy (I use a beaten egg + 1 tbsp water). Use the templates to cut out the top crust shape, then use a chopstick or a knife to make the surface lines. Roll out thin pieces of dough for the details, and brush everything with egg wash to make it stick. Sprinkle coconut sugar where contrast is desired. Once finished, carefully lay top crust over the blueberry filling — there is no real need to seal the edges. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then 350 for 35-40 until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven when done and let sit to cool for at least an hour, preferably more so that the filling will set. Serve warm or at room temp, and store any leftovers overnight on the counter, loosely covered, or in the fridge for longer (assuming it lasts that long). Pie can be made a day in advance if needed and reheated briefly in a 375 oven to crisp the crust and warm the filling – 10/15 minutes. The pie filling will firm up if stored in the fridge overnight, making slicing easier.

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Blood oranges: Mother Nature’s ombre playground

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It’s blood orange season! They are just absolutely gorgeous, I never get tired of that beautiful color.

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They remind me of stained glass… appropriate, considering architecture and food are two of my fave things (really?! I’m sure you had NO idea). Case in point: old and new! A favorite juxtaposition.

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I love how they’re variegated in color too – you never quite know what you’re getting. Dark red? Ombre? Everything is fair game when mother nature gets involved.

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It’s sunny and beautiful today!! I’ve been enjoying the rain but I must say I’m not minding the sun either… AND it’s ski season! Tahoe-bound this week to get back on my K2 babies — it’s been way too long. Actually I’m currently sitting OUTSIDE to write this, what?! Weird. But awesome. Hooray for wifi that extends into the back yard!

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But back to food. This tart is perfect winter dessert — I’m also pretty sure I’ve said that about the last five citrus desserts I’ve made but that’s because it’s TRUE! Citrus + winter = made for each other. The brightness of the citrus perks up even the greyest of days, even for someone like me who *likes* the grey! (I like sun too, don’t get me wrong)

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Highly recommended, easy and delicious. This can also be made in stages and left overnight in the fridge before serving, so it’s a user-friendly experience all around. Lightly sweet, lightly tart, orangey & chocolatey.

Happy weekend!

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Blood Orange Curd Tart on a Chocolate Coconut Crust with Candied Ginger

Blood orange curd is like lemon, only it’s orange! Brilliant, no? Ha. Lightly sweet, somewhat tart (though less so than it’s lemony cousin), complemented by a chocolate coconut crust and candied ginger… for breakfast and dessert! Gluten free, grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, pretty much paleo. Yield: 1 9″ pie dish; serving sizes are up to your discretion. A Wait are Those Cookies original – the curd is riffed off of my usual go-to, and the crust is an easy favorite I’ve modified many times for different tarts.

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For the curd (make at least one day ahead so it can chill overnight in the fridge)

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c coconut oil
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 c blood orange juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • zest from 3 blood oranges
  • 1 tsp vanilla

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine eggs, coconut oil, honey, sea salt, blood orange juice, lemon juice and orange zest. Whisk to combine and continue to cook, whisking constantly for about 10-15 minutes – it should be just on the edge of a low boil. The curd should thicken and your whisk will make tracks – it will still be runny but will firm up a bit in the fridge. Strain curd through a metal strainer into a glass container and let cool completely before storing in the fridge (overnight is preferable, but at least 4 hours if pressed for time).

For the crust:

  • 1.25 c almond flour
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 3.5 tbsp coconut oil, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, cacao powder, coconut, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, and melted coconut oil and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a pie plate with coconut oil. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool.

For garnish:

  • 2 small blood oranges, sliced thinly
  • candied ginger
  • shredded coconut

Assembly:

Once the crust is cool, pour the curd into the crust and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until the curd is just set when you jiggle the pan. Let cool completely and chill for an hour or two before topping.

Top the cooled tart with sliced oranges & candied ginger + shredded coconut if that’s your jam (melted chocolate wouldn’t come amiss either, I’m sure)… Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for a few hours before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers – I usually just cover the original pie dish with foil but an airtight container works just fine too.

Happy eating!

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All the citrus, all the time

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Helloooo! Happy Friday :)

I have lemon for you today! Because I still haven’t gotten tired of the citrus theme – winter weather and citrus are just made for each other. Besides that, meyer lemons are perfect right now and I’d be crazy not to get on that (again).

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We’re also enjoying a break in the rain — though I do love rainy weather, it’s good to dry out a little in between and enjoy the sun. Today is absolutely beautiful: sunny weather for sunny dessert!

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I caught one of the brightest rainbows I’ve ever seen during the last rains!

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More SF series, of course:

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But, back to dessert…

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I made torta di riso a few years back with blood oranges — this riff uses meyer lemons instead for a taste that is very citrus-forward. I love any rice based desserts so this is an easy sell for me, but regardless – the rice has a great chewy texture that contrasts nicely with the airy, eggy custard.

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This cake is Tuscan in origin I believe, and is usually described as a rice custard cake – completely appropriate. It’s lighter and fluffier than a baked rice pudding, but still has that all-important chewy rice-ness. Excellent for breakfast, if I do say so.

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A heads up – this is not for those who aren’t a fan of citrus or who prefer very sweet desserts! It is a very, very mildly sweet dessert, with more citrus-tart flavor profile than sweet. It was definitely a big hit over here, but we’re citrus & rice nuts so that goes without saying. Delicious with ice cream for dessert or a bit of jam for breakfast.

Happy baking!

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Meyer Lemon and Coconut Torta di Riso

Lightly sweet Tuscan rice custard cake. Gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free. Delicious served with ice cream for dessert or jam for breakfast! Yield: 1 9″ pie plate; serving size is left to your discretion ;) Recipe adapted from my previous blood orange incarnation, here, and from Cafe Lynnylu, here!

For the cake:

  • 2 c full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 c light coconut milk
  • 3/4 c arborio rice
  • scant 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c almond meal
  • zest of 2 meyer lemons (~2 tsp)
  • 2 tbsp meyer lemon juice
  • 1/3 c coconut sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated

Lightly grease your pie dish with coconut oil and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the coconut milk to a boil. Add in rice and salt, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then begin stirring continuously for another ~10 minutes, until the rice has absorbed the milk (the rice should be chewy but not underdone). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let cool for a few minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400.

Add the rice to a larger bowl, and stir in almond meal, lemon zest and juice, and coconut sugar until combined. Whisk in egg yolks. In a non-reactive bowl (I use the bowl of my stand mixer, with a handheld electric mixer), beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Fold them into the rice mixture. Once incorporated, pour all this goodness into the prepared pie dish. Bake in the center of the oven for 30-35 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. If the top browns too quickly, cover it with foil. The cake develops somewhat of a crust as it bakes, so be sure to test the middle and make sure it’s done – the tester should come out clean, but sometimes it’s tricky to tell.

Let cool before serving and serve warm or at room temperature (or cold, I like it all three ways). Garnish with shredded unsweetened coconut and meyer lemon segments if desired. Leftovers keep well in the fridge, covered.

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Tarts for days. Grapefruit is the new lemon (at least for today)

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Sometimes, you just need all the citrus. ALL the citrus! Lately I’ve been eating a ton of mandarins and clementines – they have been so delicious and they’re such a great snack!

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But sometimes you need more than just a citrus snack… you need citrus DESSERT. When that happens, I usually gravitate toward lemon curd for it’s bright, citrusy, sunshine-in-my-kitchen scent and taste. But I’ve never actually made grapefruit curd until now, despite loving grapefruit even more than lemon.

I’m not so sure how it translates into photos, but I promise it was incredibly delicious…

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This is definitely going into the rotation. I actually added a slight bit of lemon to bump up the citrus flavor – next time, I might even reduce the honey a bit to really bring out the citrus tang. It makes a great change from lemon curd, and a great tart filling. I had no idea grapefruit and ginger were flavor affinities, but they are! And it’s a match made in gastronomic heaven, at least for those of us who love grapefruit.

By the way, this tart make excellent breakfast. Just a suggestion…

A bit more progress in the SF series, of course.

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Keeping it short and sweet today, and finishing with this to my beloved grandpa who transitioned off this earth plane this past weekend: You are responsible for so many wonderful memories, and for my fierce love of malted milkshakes. Happy travels, you are so, so missed. Om Shanti, Grandpa.

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Grapefruit Curd Tart with Coconut Ginger Crust and Citrus Coconut Cream

Citrusy, relatively light on the dessert-intensity scale, and perfect for the winter season. Dairy free, gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free, paleo if that’s your jam. Full of healthy fats and vitamin c! The crust is a riff on my usual citrus bar crust, but I’ve discovered it makes a good tart shell too. You’ll want to make the grapefruit curd ahead of time, and chill the coconut milk overnight. Yield: 1 9″ pie dish.

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For the curd:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 2/3 c grapefruit juice
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • zest of 2 large grapefruits, about ~1 tbsp zest
  • scant 1/4 c honey
  • 1/4 c coconut oil, solid
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

In a non-reactive saucepan, combine eggs, grapefruit and lemon juice, zest, honey, coconut oil, and sea salt. Heat over medium-low, whisking constantly. The curd will begin to thicken as it cooks, and usually is as thick as it’s going to get after about 10 minutes. I usually strain mine to get rid of any erroneous bits – a metal strainer over a bowl works just fine; I recommend straining it while it’s still warm. Let cool completely in a bowl sitting in an ice bath, then move to the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours before using (overnight is preferable, which is why I usually try to make this the day before).

For the crust:

  • 1.5 c almond flour
  • 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • heaping 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp almond butter
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, sea salt, ginger, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, almond butter, and melted coconut oil, and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a pie plate with coconut oil. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes.

Once the crust is cool, pour the curd into the crust and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the curd is just set when you jiggle the pan. Let cool completely and chill for an hour or two before topping.

For the citrus coconut cream:

  • 1 can of full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight in the fridge
  • zest of one grapefruit
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp grapefruit juice

For topping:

  • candied ginger!

Zest the citrus, and rub the coconut sugar into it until fragrant. Open the can of coconut milk and scrape out the cream that has solidified at the top, leaving the coconut water at the bottom (save it and use it later!). Scoop the cream out into a bowl, add vanilla, coconut sugar-zest, and grapefruit juice, and use an electric mixer to beat into the consistency of whipped cream. Use immediately, or chill for later use.

To serve, top the tart with segmented grapefruit and citrus coconut cream. Don’t skip the candied ginger! It’s awesome. Store any leftovers in the fridge!

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2017: the tale of demanding, reincarnating bananas

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Happy New Year! Here’s hoping 2017 treats everyone a little better than last year – 2016 was a rough one for many. But as they say, onward and upward! Preferably with cake, which is where I come in.

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The dead bananas are calling! I had a plethora lurking around my kitchen this weekend and they put me on notice that they really wanted to reincarnate into something amazing… not banana bread again, if you please (my bananas can get a little demanding sometimes…). That being said, I had a hankering for banana cake (fundamentally different from banana bread, you see), so THIS happened!

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Happily so. Have you ever had sautéed dates? No? Get into the kitchen immediately and make them! I love dates anyway, but they are mindblowingly good when given a little bath in some olive oil and sea salt. I’ve always been a salt monster, so salty-sweet desserts are absolutely my jam, and these little powerhouses deliver. Besides that, they’re full of good nutrients (dates are high in vit A & K, plus potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium & zinc. woohoo!).

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This cake is actually full of good things – you have healthy fats from almond flour, hazelnuts, and coconut, and all the good stuff in dates. And besides that, most critically: it’s delicious, which is good for your soul.

Let’s see, what else? Jessie says hello (this is her way of chatting me up during breakfast, adorable cat)

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More drawings, of course! New year, same series! This is the Havens Mansion, built 1884 on S. Van Ness in SF.

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My first activity of 2017! Shocked? Nope.

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More beautiful sky!

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Show your new and improved 2017 self some love with some sautéed dates atop your cake, and revel in all the possibilities of a new year. Onward!

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Banana Date Skillet Cake with Coconut Frosting, Maple Hazelnuts, and Sautéed Dates

Pretty freaking amazing, if I do say so! Lightly sweet banana cake with jewel-like date pieces, coconut frosting and OMG sautéed dates, please make them immediately. Serve with a bit of ice cream or non-dairy biz if that’s your jam! Can’t miss either way. Refined sugar free, grain free, gluten free, dairy free, pretty much paleo. Yield: 1 8″ skillet cake, enough frosting to frost the top (cake is served straight out of the skillet); extra hazelnuts because you’ll definitely want extras… and the amount of dates is up to you (make extra!). Skillet cake adapted from Confessions of a Confectionista, here!

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For the cake:

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 eggs
  • heaping 1/8 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1.5 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • heaping 1.25 c almond flour
  • 1.5 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 medjool dates, chopped

For the maple hazelnuts (make ahead, if desired):

  • 1 c roasted hazelnuts
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt
  • splash of vanilla

For the sautéed dates:

  • 1-2 tbsp good olive oil
  • 7-8 medjool dates, halved & pitted
  • pinch of sea salt

For the coconut frosting:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk, chilled upside-down overnight in the fridge
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

I usually make the hazelnuts ahead and store them in a jar until needed. Remove most of the skins from the hazelnuts by rubbing them together; it doesn’t matter if there are skins left, but I try to get rid of the majority. Heat an empty saute pan (not nonstick) over medium heat; once heated, add maple (it will bubble and fizz) and hazelnuts. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring continuously until the maple has caramelized. The nuts will feel a little soft, which is fine. Spread parchment paper on a baking sheet, pour out the nuts and spread them out a bit. They will harden as they cool. Store in an airtight jar at room temp for as long as they last which is realistically about five minutes.

To make the cake: preheat the oven to 350, and grease an 8″ cast iron skillet with coconut oil. In a large bowl, mash the bananas, then add eggs, melted coconut oil, honey, and vanilla. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond flour, flaxseed, cinnamon, baking powder and soda, and salt. Pour dry into wet, and use an electric mixer to beat until combined. Stir in the chopped dates, and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the top springs back when touched. The cake will brown because of the honey – if you feel it’s browning too fast, feel free to cover it with foil. Let cool completely before serving.

While the cake is cooling, make the sautéed dates! (good luck not eating them all straight out of the pan). In a small sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is warm, add the dates and sauté, stirring frequently, until they caramelize and are heated through, just about 2-3 minutes (the edges will start to get a little crispy). Watch them carefully, as they burn easily. When done, move them to a bowl to cool and sprinkle with sea salt (be sure to get all of the good oil out of the pan for drizzling!).

Also while the cake is cooling, make the coconut frosting. Open the can of coconut milk rightside up, and scrape out the cream that has solidified at the top, leaving the coconut water at the bottom (save it and use it later!). Scoop the cream out into a bowl, add vanilla and coconut sugar, and use an electric mixer to beat into the consistency of whipped cream. Use immediately, or chill for later use.

For serving: Frost the cake with the coconut whip (make sure to frost the cake once it’s completely cool! otherwise a melty mess will ensue); top with sautéed dates and maple hazelnuts. Indulge responsibly (i.e., have another piece)!

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