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.

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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Apples and Autumnal Dessert Shenanigans

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Good morning, invisible internet blog friends!

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I have apple-y, fall-y dessert for you today! And can someone explain to me how it’s almost November already? That snuck up on me… but whatever, I have baked apples (or at least I did, they’re all gone now, what a shocker) so it’s all good.

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Despite looking and sounding kind of complicated, these apples actually aren’t so bad, they just require some advance planning. But there’s no prolonged dough chilling involved, and the dumpling dough is very forgiving (all good things in my book).

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I’m keeping it short and sweet today — apples, fall, cooler weather, rain, and caramel sauce. All that’s needed on a lazy October weekend.

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In other news, I’m sitting with my legs wrapped in a blanket because it’s cool this morning and when I just went to get up, I got all tangled up and almost ate it. But I didn’t! I’m basically a mermaid…

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I don’t think desserts get more autumnal than this: apples stuffed with oats and walnuts, wrapped in pastry dough and baked in a caramel bath. Highly recommended both for dessert (with ice cream, obviously) and for breakfast, alongside eggs and something green. Happy Fall!

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Quinoa Flour Apple Dumplings with Caramel and Maple Glazed Walnuts

Gluten free, refined sugar free! Can be dairy free with a very easy swap (coconut oil for the butter in both the dough and the caramel); a delicious and quintessentially autumnal dessert. Despite looking tricky, these aren’t especially hard — they just take a little planning. Yield: 6 apple dumplings + sauce + walnuts; we found that 1/2 an apple was totally sufficient in one sitting but this could easily be 6 servings if that was all you were eating! Recipe adapted from The Kitchn, here!

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For the crust:

  • 3 c quinoa flour, toasted*
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • large pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4.5 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 c unsweetened almond milk

*toasting reduces the natural bitterness of quinoa — I do mine in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently for about 3-5 minutes, until the flour is fragrant and the flour is just barely starting to go golden. Let cool before using.

For the filling:

  • 6 small baking apples (I used Gala and Jonagold)
  • cinnamon & coconut sugar to taste
  • heaping 1/8 c rolled oats
  • large pinch of fine sea salt
  • a handful of glazed walnuts (reserve the rest for topping)
  • 2 tbsp salted butter, cut into 6 pieces

Glazed walnuts:

  • 1 c raw walnut pieces
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • large pinch of fine sea salt

For the caramel sauce:

  • 6 tbsp salted butter
  • scant 2/3 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp arrowroot starch

These have a lot of parts, but they’re not very complicated when you break it down! I made the walnuts several days ahead, which I recommend.

Heat a saute pan over medium until warm. Add maple (it should fizz when it hits the pan), walnuts, vanilla, and sea salt. Stir to combine and let cook, stirring frequently, until the maple has caramelized and the liquid is gone. The walnuts will feel soft until they cool, which is fine. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread them out to cool, breaking up any large chunks. Store in an airtight jar for several weeks (but, yeah right. Mine were gone in a day!)

To make the pastry: In a large bowl, stir together toasted quinoa flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, and sea salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, until the butter pieces resemble small peas. Add in maple, and vanilla. Add milk, 1/4 c at a time, stirring until the dough just comes together (I like using my hands for this, I find it easier than a spoon). Once most of the milk is added, the dough should form a largish shaggy ball. Turn it out onto a floured surface and roll it out to about 1/8″ thick. I found it easier to roll out two sections of dough separately, as my counters are slightly small. Cut a piece of parchment paper into a 6×6″ square, and use it to trace and cut 6 dough squares. Stack them on a plate with pieces of parchment paper in between, and let them chill in the fridge while you prep the apples for the filling.

Peel and core each apple. In a small bowl, mix together oats, cubed butter, cinnamon and a few glazed walnuts — this goodness should be chunky, which is fine since it’ll just be stuffed into the space where the apple core was.

Preheat the oven to 450, and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish (or large cast iron skillet).

Retrieve the dough squares. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon and coconut sugar on the bottom of each, put the apple in the center of the dough, stuff some of the filling in the cored space (I used a few walnuts per apple, and filled the rest with the oat/butter blend), and bring the corners of the dough up to meet over the top of the apple. Pinch the sides together to seal the seams. Repeat for all remaining apples, and if you’re an overachiever like me, make little leaves out of the excess dough for decoration.

Place the apples in the prepared baking dish or skillet, about 1″ apart. Bake for 20 minutes, until the crust begins to brown. While the crust is baking, make the caramel: in a small saucepan, melt butter / add almond milk, sea salt, and vanilla over medium, until it comes to a simmer. Stir in maple and arrowroot, and let simmer for a few more minutes until thickened. Remove from heat.

Lower the heat to 350, and bake the apples for 30-40 more minutes**, until the apple is soft when poked with a fork and the dough is browned (quinoa flour is a little delicate, so if your dough cracks after baking, don’t worry! It’s still delicious). Remove from the oven once done, and pour caramel sauce over hot apples, and in and around them in the pan. Let cool for a few before eating — top with sauce and walnuts and ice cream for serving!

These keep well overnight in the fridge, and are delicious for breakfast (as well as for dessert, obiovusly, I can vouch for both). Store in the original pan, loosely covered with foil.

**I have some beef with the original apple dumpling method, which is to pour the caramel over after the initial par baking, and then continue baking for about a half an hour. That’s what I did, but I ran into some soggy dough and had to resort to some interesting pan switching techniques to continue baking them and THEN add the sauce back. SO. I would recommend the above method, which is how I would make them, when I make them again. That being said, they are delicious either way so you really can’t go wrong.

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Some desserts are actually breakfast in disguise

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It’s September, my favorite month ever! I love fall. So even though the days start getting shorter again and that’s kind of a bummer, I do love the lead up to fall…. and boots! and scarves! and apples! and pumpkin!

But… before we get there! It’s still arguably berry season, and I see no reason to end that prematurely unless I have to (which I don’t!). Which means… raspberries! Which pair oh so well with hazelnuts and dark chocolate. And then…

BREAD.

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Because, sometimes you just need some bread pudding. Besides that, I am spoiled to live near Acme Baking, which makes some of the best bread around: all the more reason to get on the bread pudding train. Furthermore, bread pudding is one of those glorious things that only gets better and better the longer it sits, which means breakfast this morning was FANTASTIC. Eggs & cholula + kale + bread pudding? Sign me up. Oh. And obviously caramel. Because bread pudding should ALWAYS have a sauce, no matter if you eat it with ice cream anyway (also recommended; talenti coconut gelato was a spot-on choice). Enter the five second blender caramel with heavy hazelnut overtones… and so full of good things it’s practically a health food. Don’t get me started ;)

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Apologies for the lack of pictures; bread pudding isn’t the most photogenic of all the desserts and also it pretty much got annihilated before I could get in there with a camera for some in situ shots of plated dessert… Sorry not sorry.

Happy September, enjoy the beautiful days of Indian summer!

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Hazelnut, Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Bread Pudding with Hazelnut Caramel

This is neither gluten free, vegan, or paleo. Sorry not sorry! Sometimes, you just need some bread. It is, however, dairy free and refined sugar free. It is also extremely easy to throw together, using whatever you have on hand. Yield: one 9 by 9 pan. Like many things I’ve made lately, this does double duty as breakfast and is even better the next day, so the serving sizes are contingent on how hungry you happen to be… A Wait are those Cookies original!

Bread Pudding:

  • 1 loaf of (stale!*) bread, cubed (I used Acme Pain au Levain)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 c coconut milk (mine happened to be light; use whatever you like)
  • 1/2 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 runneth-over shot of Fra Angelico
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 c roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • 1 c fresh raspberries (frozen is fine; thaw and drain first!)

Caramel:

  • 1/3 c roasted unsalted almond butter
  • 1/3 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp Fra Angelico
  • scant 1/4 tsp sea salt

* You can either cube it ahead of time and let it sit out, like I did, or slice and toast in the oven to stale it day of, if you’re short on time

You can make the caramel ahead of time, or while the pudding is baking (it comes together in about five seconds):

In a vitamix or a food processor, blend almond butter, maple, melted coconut oil, vanilla, Fra Anglico, and sea salt until smooth and incorporated. Adjust taste to suit your preferences!

Butter or use coconut oil to grease a 9 by 9 pan. Sprinkle coconut sugar over the inside of the pan if desired; this gives the bottom a little somethin’ extra…

Put the cubed bread into a large bowl. In a slightly smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut milk, maple, Fra Angelica, vanilla, and sea salt. Pour this goodness over the bread cubes, using your hands to evenly distribute everything. Toss in hazelnuts, chocolate chips, and raspberries (reserve a few raspberries for topping if you’re feeling fancy). Let this sit for about a half hour so the bread can absorb the custard.

Preheat the oven to 350, and once the custard and bread have sat for a bit, bake for 30-40 minutes, until there is no visible liquid at the bottom when you separate it with a fork (you don’t want it dry though, so just look for pooling liquid). Mine was perfect at 40 minutes. Let cool completely, then refrigerate if you’re like me and like cold bread pudding! Or serve warm, it’s awesome either way. Store leftovers in the fridge and eat them for breakfast — highly recommended.

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Even fruit likes to get dressed up sometimes

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I’m on sort of a roll here to see how many desserts I can make in my fave 8″ cast iron skillet… I’ve recently re-embarked on a cast iron love affair, and it is PERFECT for dessert. Points for charm, too, of course. So! This week’s incarnation is cobbler. Or some type of fruit dessert with topping. There are so many different ones: crisp, crumble, cobbler, grunt, slump, pandowdy, buckle.. now that I’ve listed them all, I feel compelled to go look up the differences. Hold that thought…

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Holding?

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Okay. I’m back.

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Woah. Information overload. Apparently grunts, pandowdies and slumps are the New England version of cobbler, whereas cobbler is more traditionally from the Deep South. Huh. Who knew. Anyway, they’re basically the same thing anyway: take some delicious fruit and smother it in a biscuit dough / pie dough incarnation / crispy crumble thing and bake that thang in a skillet. Any way you slice it, they’re obviously delicious, so let’s just leave it at that. Despite the research I’m still not sure if this is *technically* a cobbler, but who cares. Let’s not get technical, it’s the weekend!

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Look at me doing research for fun not even a week out of graduate school! What. Weird. I’m going to stop now, that was quite enough, thank you.

Cobbler! Ahhhh. Summer fruit. Probably one of my favorite eating seasons. For when you have all the fruit and can’t possibly sit and eat it all. And for when you want your fruit to have a crunchy, crumbly delicious topping. Because even fruit likes to get dressed up sometimes.

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Peach, Blackberry and Blueberry Almond Quinoa Cobbler

This could easily be gluten free — just sub the spelt flour for more quinoa flour or any other gluten free flour of choice. Could also be dairy free: sub in melted coconut oil for the butter. Refined sugar free, healthy fats, and full of antioxidants. Perfect summer dessert, and a perfect reason to bust out that smallish skillet of yours. Yield: 1 8″ skillet, serves 2-4 depending on how hungry you are and whether this gets eaten for dessert and then for breakfast…  A Wait are those Cookies original!

For the fruity goodness:

  • 2 c peaches, chopped into 1/2″ chunks
  •  1 c blackberries*
  • 1 c blueberries*
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp organic cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp date sugar

*mine were previously frozen; if yours are too, just thaw them first

For the cobbler topping:

  • 1/2 c almond meal
  • 1/2 c quinoa flour, toasted**
  • 1/4 c spelt flour
  • 1/4 c date sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp salted butter, melted and cooled

**toast the flour over medium heat in a smallish skillet, stirring occasionally until fragrant (less than 5 minutes usually; take it off just before it starts to brown)

Grease an 8″ cast iron skillet, or another 8″ pan of choice with coconut oil. Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large bowl, toss fruit with cornstarch, lemon juice, and date sugar. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond meal, toasted quinoa flour, spelt flour, date sugar, baking powder, sea salt, and cinnamon until combined. Stir in whisked egg, maple, and vanilla, followed by the melted butter. Stir until just incorporated.

Pour the fruit into the prepared skillet, and top with spoonfuls of batter. Bake for 30 minutes, until the topping is lightly browned. Cool for at least 10 minutes before eating.

Highly recommended with your ice cream of choice (in this case it was paleo gelato made from cashews and maple syrup, I’m obsessed). Store any leftovers in the fridge!

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Crisp = dessert, then breakfast

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Woah woah woah I graduate a month from yesterday! Wheeeeee almost time to decorate my mortar board. Because I care not that I’m getting a masters and that any display of creative originality might be frowned upon for grad ceremonies; any flat, otherwise boring surface is acceptable for yogic doodle decoration and glitter. Also, it’s probably time to make a dent in that giant pile of work I have to do between now and my practicum presentation but…. nah. I made crisp instead.

Because… CRISP!

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Infinitely more fun than papers and literature review and and and.. ew. Someone make all that go away so I can enjoy my crisp in peace, mmk?! Great.

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This one is full of springy, fruity deliciousness. Good for the soul and the bod — brightly colored (food should be fun!) and full of whole-food nutrients. Because all desserts should be able to do double duty as breakfast! Obviously.

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And with that… I’m back to work. Because even that little respite couldn’t last long (waaah).

Let’s get to it. Happy weekend!

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Vegan Raspberry Crisp with Meyer Lemon and Coconut

Fruity, lemony, springy, delicious, and good for your bod! All you could want out of a dessert / breakfast / fruity whole food shenanigan. Full of whole grains (oats), healthy fats (coconut and almonds), antioxidants (raspberries) and all kinds of textural fun. Vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free. Yield: one 8 by 8 pan. A Wait are those Cookies original!

For the fruity goodness:

  • 4 c raspberries (frozen is totes fine; just thaw them first)
  • 2 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp meyer lemon juice*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the crispy fun:

  • 1 c almond meal
  • 1 c rolled oats**
  • 1/4 unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • zest of one meyer lemon*
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c melted coconut oil

*regular lemon will do but Meyers are SO fabulous; find them if you can!

** gluten free if desired

Preheat the oven to 350 and locate your trusty 8 by 8 pan that you make EVERYTHING in. Or maybe that’s just me…

In a large bowl, toss together raspberries, tapioca, maple, meyer lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Once it’s all combined, spread this evenly into the bottom of the 8 by 8.

In another largish bowl, stir together almond meal, oats, sea salt, and lemon zest. Add in maple syrup and melted coconut oil, and stir until combined, mashing out the largest lumps. Spread this goodness evenly over the raspberries in the prepared pan, and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the crumble topping is golden brown and the filing is bubbly and juicy (omg yum). Let sit for a few before annihilating. Leftovers (ha) store best in the fridge and are excellent for breakfast, just saying.

Top with any kind of iced dessert of choice – i.e.. vegan paleo gelato, dairy deliciousness, whipped coconut cream?! The sky’s the limit. You do you!

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Ode to Cake

Happy Eater! I mean… Easter.

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And yes. I have absolutely no excuse for the dearth of posts, minus the fact that grad school owns my life for another 10 weeks (how is it possible that I graduate in 10 weeks… can someone explain this?!). At which point I will hopefully get back to posting on a semi-regular basis… Until then…. we’ll just see. But I’ve missed my invisible internet friends! I hope you’re all doing just wonderfully.

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To tide us over, here is an ode to cake. This is the same whole wheat banana cake with dark chocolate ganache that I’ve made umpteen billion times because it’s basically the most perfect banana cake I know. It’s not vegan, or grain free or even gluten free, but for what it is, I love it. It’s also large enough to feed a crowd, which was called for in this particular sitch.

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I’ve made this for birthdays of loved ones, thank you-s for advisors, and welcome home presents for besties. It’s a winner: silky chocolate ganache surrounding soft, not too sweet, not too dense but just dense enough banana cake. This particular iteration is refined sugar free, sweetened with a combination of date sugar and coconut sugar. Perfect for a mid afternoon Easter treat, no post-cake nap necessary. The link to the original post is here.

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In other news…

Sunbathing adorable Jessie.

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Flowers.

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Perfect avo.

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It’s good to be back! Enjoy the rest of your weekend — I hope it has a treat in it somewhere!

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Can someone explain how it’s already 2016?

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Woah. Apparently I’ve totally fallen off the blogging wagon. It’s nothing personal, don’t worry — I still love you, invisible internet friends!! But life seems to be taking me in different directions these days, so time to blog is few and far between.

That’s not to say I haven’t been baking…. or cooking… or eating… because all of those have been happening in spades.

AND I made cookies last night  apparently several days ago since I really failed at actually posting this when I thought I was going to… AND the cookies are fantastic.

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AND my winter quarter started today, how on earth is that possible?! I swear I just started break. Can I rewind and redo and have an extra month of break please?

In other news, my contribution to the Scott Fam holiday card was quite fun to execute, especially in fun new leggings…

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I’ve been drawing again, wheeee!

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But anyway, cookies! These are fantastic — chewy edges with softer centers, and extra chewy when you keep them in the fridge, which is my fave.

Happy 2016! I think this year is going to be pretty fabulous.

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Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan, refined sugar free, full of healthy fats and whole grains. Just sweet enough for the post holiday season. Thick, chewy edges with a softer center. Perfection. Yield: 17. Recipe lightly adapted and gratefully borrowed from Pralines and Greens, here!

  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed+3 tbsp water)
  • 1 c almond flour
  • 1 c whole spelt flour
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • sprinkle of fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • scant 1/4 c maple syrup
  • scant 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3  c extra dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine flaxseed and water and let sit for the flax egg.

In a larger bowl, whisk together almond flour, spelt flour, oats, baking soda and powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt. In a smaller bowl, combine melted coconut oil, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and vanilla. Pour wet into dry, and stir until just combined. Add flax egg. Toss in chocolate chips. Form the dough into little balls, and flatten slightly once they’re on the cookie sheet. Bake for just about 11-12 minutes, then let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temp for softer cookies, or in the fridge for cookie with chewier edges (my personal fave).

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Bring on the avalanche of holiday baking

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SO!

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Holiday baking because NO MORE FINALS, wheeeeee!!!!! I literally don’t know what to do with myself. I constantly have this feeling that there is something I need to be doing, or turning in, or preparing for… or wait. NO. I’m done!

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So brownies! Also because work potluck + holiday season called for dessert. But of course I had to put my own spin on them, so they are whole wheat and made with unrefined sugar (sucanat! It’s making a resurgence in my baked goods because there happened to be some left in the pantry… end of finals = dislike of expending extra effort on anything except maybe jazzercise…which also includes going to the store and swimming upstream though the holiday masses. No thanks, unless I’m out of something I absolutely can’t live without)

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These brownies are spectac! We already know I’m ludicrously picky about brownies but these totally make the cut. Dense, fudgy but with a crackly crust, chewy edges, chunks of chocolate… all things a brownie should be. And the port soaked dates are just fun and festive — I don’t NOT drink but I don’t drink either, as most of you know, but I will occasionally have a glass of good port if it’s on offer, and it is literally amazing in brownies.

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One final doodle to usher in your weekend. Happy Saturday!

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Fudgy Whole Wheat Brownies with Port Soaked Dates

Fudgy, dense, dark and deeply chocolatey. Because who doesn’t want a little death by chocolate now and then? The port soaked dates add a little extra je ne sais quoi. Whole wheat, {less} refined sugar… and good for your soul around this time of year. Adapted from the awesome blog Sis. Boom. [Blog!], here! Yield: 1 8 by 8 pan, so somewhere between 9 and 36 brownies, depending on how much death by chocolate you want.

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  • 3 tbsp good port
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 c chopped dates
  • 5 tbsp salted butter, cut into smallish chunks
  • 6 oz extra dark chocolate, chopped (I used chips for ease; 73%)
  • slightly heaping 1/2 c sucanat (or coconut sugar)
  • 2 eggs, cold
  • scant 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 4 oz extra dark chocolate chips (again, 73%)

Preheat the oven to 325, and line an 8 by 8 pan with foil. Butter the foil (trust me. you think you can skip this, and be lazy like me, but don’t do it. consider yourself warned).

In a small saucepan, combine port and water and bring to just boiling, add dates, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and the dates are soft (just a few minutes). Set aside. In a double boiler, melt butter and 6 oz of chocolate until the chocolate is just melted, then remove from heat and stir to fully incorporate (the butter should also be fully melted by the time you finish stirring).

Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated (the batter will look a little gritty and that’s okay), then each egg one at a time, stirring until the batter looks glossy. Stir in salt.

Transfer to a larger bowl if your double boiler is small like mine, then carefully whisk in the flour until just barely incorporated. Toss in 4 oz of dark chocolate chips + port soaked dates + any port left in the pan, and stir together. Scrape batter into prepared pan, and bake for 35 minutes. A tester should come out just barely clean and the top will be shiny.

Let cool for a few minutes in the pan, then grab the foil and lift the whole thing out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Slice and serve! Keeps well over night on the counter back in the original pan, covered with foil.

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Matching socks are overrated.

Really delicious half-eaten pumpkin loaf

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The first of the pumpkin loaves! I made one other pumpkin thing but this is more specifically FALL BAKING status. Because it’s suddenly freezing here and I’ve begun wondering how I survived in Oregon and also, where have all my warm clothes and layers gone?! I think I purged them from my wardrobe in a fit of frustration…. and now it’s become tank top, sweatshirt, scarf, fleece. Which is working tolerably well but… clearly I need help in the wardrobe department. Probably because whenever I try to buy sensible things I end up with boots and scarves and jewelry and don’t judge me, I know you have your weaknesses too, I see you over there on Etsy and Modcloth and Pinterest… oh wait, just me?!

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Also ps. Sorry for the slight awkwardness of the photos. I ate a bunch of the loaf before I realized it was good enough to share…. so you get half eaten loaf. I know that is sooooo appealing.

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On another semi unrelated note, I only have one more round of midterms and then it’s Thanksgiving! THANK GOODNESS. I have never been so grateful for the end of midterms in my life. Three rounds, so gross. I can’t really believe that I’m already only 3 weeks away from the end of the quarter. Can someone explain how that happened?! Mind blown. I have a feeling opera and jazzercise will get me through the last three weeks of medstats. And that will be my last three weeks of medstats EVER because obviously I am never doing that again.

I’ve been drawing again as a break from the madness:

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Jessie says hello, with drool:

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SO! Baking = coping mechanism. Let’s do this.

This bread is lightly sweet but so very fall-y and pumpkin-y and satisfying and delicious. I like the walnuts in there for texture but if that’s not your thing, chocolate would be just as good. It’s also stuffed full of beta carotene antioxidants, which is just generally fab.

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Quinoa Flour Pumpkin Carrot Bread

Vegan, refined sugar free, whole grain, can be gluten free! Friendly for IBS too since it has lots of great soluble fiber. Just in case you’re blessed with that sort of fun thing… it also might be fodmap friendly, depending on your fodmap tolerance; it was totes fine for me but it depends on you and your bod!

Yield: 1 loaf

  • 1 c quinoa flour, toasted*
  • 2/3 c whole spelt flour**
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • heaping 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 c pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water; let sit for 5 minutes
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 1/4 c walnuts, chopped

*toasting gets rid of the natural bitterness — I do it in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes or until the flour smells toasty

** Replace with more quinoa flour for gluten free!

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a standard loaf pan with coconut oil or your greasing thingy of choice.

In a large bowl, whisk together toasted quinoa flour, spelt flour, baking soda and powder, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a smaller bowl, whisk or stir or whatever with your fave implement the pumpkin puree, maple, coconut oil, applesauce, vanilla, and gelled flax egg. Toss this whole bucket of delicious into your dry ingredients, and stir until combined. Add in carrots and walnuts about halfway and stir until the dry mix is incorporated. The batter will be pretty thick – spread it into your prepared loaf pan, and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. I had my timer set for 46 minutes, but my loaf came out perfectly at 42 — I started smelling it baking, and I don’t trust my super hot and uneven oven, so I tested it and it was actually perfect, so out it came. Let cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Leftovers store best wrapped in foil in the fridge.

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