Appropriately autumnal baking

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There is something so soothing about early morning baking. I don’t necessarily choose to bake at 6:30a, but when a workout and work have to happen before I can deliver & eat dessert, baking by necessity becomes an early morning activity. That being said, though, it’s a very meditative way to spend a morning, especially when it’s still dark outside.

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Of course, then of course there’s that moment when you go to put socks on and somehow find some crystallized ginger stuck to your foot… um… no comment.

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It also gives me a great sense of productivity to know I’ve created something before I even leave the house that day – and then add a workout and a highly productive work day and by 6p I feel extraordinary accomplished.

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And THEN I get to eat cake! Ha. Win win, all around. Besides, coming back into my apartment after work, I’m greeted with a waft of OMG THIS CAKE SMELLS AMAZING – always a good sign.

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This cake was well loved by both of us – it is definitely going on the to-make-again list – and I have high standards for that list! The cornmeal/polenta give it great texture – it’s a cross somewhere between cake and cornbread, in the best way possible. It’s amazing with ice cream for dessert, and equally so alongside eggs and kale for breakfast – see exhibit A below.

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Besides that, just in case you needed proof as to how loved this cake was, see exhibit B:

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No crumbs. One (large) slice left – that is after a stint of very productive yard work & leaf raking – that cake had NO chance.

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I can’t believe it’s already November. What happened to October?! Happy autumn!

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Apple Ginger Polenta Cake

Gluten free, refined sugar free, and dairy free. Lightly sweet, sort of like a cross between cake and cornbread – perfect for dessert (served with ice cream!) and breakfast alongside eggs and leafy green things. Yield: 1 8″ cake, serves… um… 2! Ha.

1 c almond meal
2/3 c yellow corn meal (I used medium grind)
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 c rice flour
Heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs
1/6 c maple sugar
1/6 maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla
2 Granny Smith apples
1/3 c crystallized ginger chunks, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350, and line an 8″ cake pan with parchment paper, or do like I did and use strips of parchment paper for easy removal. Be sure to grease the pan first though to prevent any stockage.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the maple sugar and maple syrup until soft and fluffy. Add in olive oil and vanilla. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond flour, polenta, rice flour, and baking powder. Stir dry into wet. Cut one and a half apples into cubes and thinly slice remaining half. Add the apple cubes and chopped ginger and stir until just combined. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan, and smooth it out a bit.

Arrange a few apple slices on top of the cake, sprinkle with a bit of maple (or coconut) sugar. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes. Check the cake after 35 minutes; mine was perfect at 40. If the top of the cake is browning too quickly during baking, you can always tent it with a sheet of tinfoil.

I stuck mine in the fridge for a few hours of storage, which didn’t hurt it at all. It keeps well on the counter overnight (covered with foil), and makes a ridiculously amazing addition to breakfast the next day!

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IMG_1632Early morning mis en place…

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Pie in the sky(line)!

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I’ve discovered in the last year that I really love making fancy pies! That’s probably fairly obvious to anyone who reads this on a semi-regular basis — I’m still dreaming of one day starting a pie/dessert business – we shall see!

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This is a start at least – to benefit the Lamplighters at their annual Champagne Gala auction, I made pie! Excited to report that it went for $45 — not too shabby! Besides, it was such a joy to make and to help benefit a group I love — everyone is just winning all around :)

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This one is an ode to my beloved Bay Area – despite all its issues (traffic and ridiculous cost of living, to name a couple), there is nowhere I would rather live. Besides, since the Lamps are based in SF, it was a fitting auction contribution.

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The recipe is the same I’ve made before; namely the Death Star pie (here) – I find wild blueberries are optimal for decorative pies, since the small berries don’t create distortions in the top crust like chunkier things do (think blackberries, rhubarb, and apples). Plus, they look like night sky, AND they’re delicious – what’s not to like. This pie was refined sugar free and whole wheat.

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I’m excited for so many top crust ideas – since I draw my own templates, the options are endless! Watch this space for further pie shenanigans ;)

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Eat, drink, and be even MORE rosemary!

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Despite the name of this blog, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a cookie recipe on here – it’s high time I think.

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Additionally, I should note – the light was not playing nice with me the several times I photographed these little guys so apologies for the inconsistencies in the photos! (I am nitpicky about this kind of thing and therefore have to point it out… just in case you might have overlooked it. Ha!)

These are probably my most frequently made cookies – not even probably, they ARE my most frequently made cookies, so they really should be on here!

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They’re so easy to put together – the flour is really adaptable & I’ve never had a bad batch, even with many substitutions. This is my favorite version of the recipe though; as I said a few posts ago – you’ve been warned against the excess of rosemary & herby desserts upcoming!

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More rosemary! I just can’t get enough these days in a dessert setting. It is just so good – subtle and not overpowering, but just perfectly there to remind you that you’re eating something out of the ordinary. Besides, it pairs unbelievably well with dark chocolate and coconut.

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Let’s see, what else besides cookies lately?

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Another opera trip on a beautiful evening! Three times in one week, that has to be a record even for me.

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I’m behind on drawing, I need to get back on that boat but I’ve just been too busy or distracted with one thing or another (might have something to do with the large pile of new books I just acquired).

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So! Cookies. Make yourself some rosemary goodness – these come together in just about 10 minutes; the most time consuming thing is chopping the rosemary and even that doesn’t take long. Instant cookie gratification in about 20 minutes – not too shabby! Also, you’ll end up smelling like a heavenly combination of rosemary and chocolate, and I really can’t think of anything better.

Happy baking!

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Rosemary Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Why stick to standard chocolate chip cookies when you could have rosemary in them?? It’s not overwhelming, just there in the background livening up your cookie experience. Chewy, thick cookies – these are perfect hiking snacks (or anytime snacks, really). Refined sugar free, dairy free, vegan (depends on your chocolate). Probably very easily adaptable to gluten free – a blend or oat flour would work nicely here I think! Yield: somewhere between 16-20, depending on how outrageously large you make them ;) A Wait are Those Cookies original!

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour (whole spelt works nicely here too)
  • 1 c almond flour
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water)*
  • 1/3 coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 c maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate, chopped (I use chunks and then chop them further so that I have a variety of chunk sizes & chocolate shavings)

*these are also great with an egg, if that’s your jam – I’ve made them both ways numerous times!

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper. I usually shoot for 16 cookies and squash them all onto one baking sheet, because I can be lazy sometimes…

In a small bowl, combine flaxseed and water to make the flax egg, and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, almond flour, oats, coconut, baking powder & soda, and salt. Chop the rosemary VERY finely and add it into the dry ingredients (large flecks of rosemary are slightly undesirable here). In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients, including flax egg, into dry and stir to combine. Stir in chocolate chunks until fully combined. Drop by the large tablespoon onto the prepared cookie sheets – I roll mine so they’re vaguely ball-shaped and then smash them down with the heel of my hand so they flatten a bit.

Bake for 11-12 minutes, until the top is nearly firm when you touch it. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheets for 5ish minutes, until cool enough to handle, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely (these aren’t super fragile, but just be aware when moving them to the cooling rack).

I like these cold out of the fridge, but they’re great at room temp too. You do you! Happy snacking :)

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Eat, drink and be rosemary

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THIS CAKE.

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OMG.

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Okay okay I know the rule is you’re not supposed to say your own cooking is amazing, but… I’m going to break it. For this cake.

Because, it is OUTSTANDING.

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Probably my favorite cake I’ve ever made, to date. And I’m not the only one – it got rave reviews from the lucky duck who got to eat most of it. So, I consider that a win.

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I am loving rosemary and more ‘savory’ herbs in desserts lately – apologies in advance if there’s suddenly a bumper crop of rosemary or herby desserts on here. It’s just SO good! This cake teeters on the edge between sweet and savory – it’s really not all that sweet, but it’s perfectly satisfying for dessert with some ice cream and strawberries, and perfect for breakfast alongside some eggs and kale (and coffee. obvs).

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I will absolutely be making this again (I think other parties would be amenable to this as well… no, I KNOW they would, they said so!) – it really is my new favorite, go-to cake. It’s also really quick to throw together – the most time consuming part is likely mincing rosemary. But it’s worth it, when your hands and kitchen smell deliciously like rosemary and chocolate and lemon zest.

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In other news, I did some *colorful* art the other day! A short break from my black ink and paper usual beat. It was lovely to paint again – I miss having paint on my hands! I’ll have to rectify that, and soon.

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Do yourself a favor and bake. It’s not so hot right now; the weather is perfect for baking and sharing. Make cake. Feed the ones you love!

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Rosemary, Meyer Lemon Yogurt Cake with Dark Chocolate

This cake is a breeze to throw together; and it’s absolutely beyond delicious for either dessert with ice cream & sliced berries, or for breakfast. Lightly sweet and very aromatic, the rosemary is perfectly complemented by the chocolate and hint of lemon. Coconut oil makes for a slightly denser cake with a moist (hydrated?!) crumb. Easily could be gluten free and dairy free – substitute any gluten free all purpose blend for the whole wheat and non-dairy greek-style yogurt for the whole milk greek I used here. Refined sugar free and whole wheat. Yield: 1 8″ cake, serves…. 2! Jk. More like 8 (but save some for breakfast!)

  • 1 c plain Greek yogurt (I use whole milk greek)
  • 2/3 c coconut oil, melted, plus more for coating the pan
  • 1/3 + 1/6 c maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated meyer lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 c dark chocolate chunks (mine were 70%)

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease an 8″ or 9″ round cake pan with coconut oil (I used 8″ and it was perfect with no spillage; you’ll have a slightly shorter cake if you use a 9″).

In a large bowl, whisk together greek yogurt, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, rosemary, lemon zest, and vanilla until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, one at at time. In a smaller bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Add dry into wet, stirring until just combined. Roughly chop the dark chocolate chunks (I like how that yields a variety of chunk size) & add them to the batter. Scrape the batter into your prepared pan, and bake for 40-45 minutes. The top should be golden brown & a tester should come out clean – I took mine out at 40, but realistically it probably could have used another 2-3 minutes to get the center full done (there was a small spot that was less done than I would prefer).

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the edge, flip the cake onto a plate and then back onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve with ice cream (why not?); sliced strawberries are also excellent.

Store any leftovers covered in the fridge overnight – the cake will solidify a bit & be extra delicious for breakfast the next morning.

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Gettin’ figgy with it

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My morning yesterday was perfect: zesting meyer lemons early in the morning, to the sound of rain in the leaves and thunder overhead, under cloudy skies.

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Well, it would have been extra perfect with a latte, but no such luck!

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I LOVE the rainy weather we’ve been having – we don’t get summer storms all that often out here, so I’ve really been enjoying them (minus the super muggy nights – I could really do without that). We’ve also had cooler days, hooray! No more turning my apartment into a sauna by virtue of turning on my oven…

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A few shots from life lately… My last series of weekend snapchats was so stereotypically Bay Area Californian, I had to laugh at myself. Latte –> poolside lounging (with sci-fi novel, obvs) –> whole foods flower display –> sushi….

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However. This is a food blog (well, okay… dessert & baking blog these days), so let’s back to the topic at hand!

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This pudding cake is really fun to make – it totally looks like it’s not going to work when it goes in the oven (fingers crossed, beseeching the baking gods) – the cake batter sinks into the pudding underneath and you think to yourself “OMG THIS IS NOT GOING TO WORK AND I WILL BE SCREWED!” but then… you put it in the oven 25 minutes, try to walk away and ignore it….

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Lo and behold, when you take it out, there is CAKE on top of your PUDDING SAUCE! Borderline baking miracle right there, just the sort of thing to make you feel like you’ve won your day, even when it’s only 7am.

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Happy almost-weekend!

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Meyer Lemon Vanilla Pudding Cake with Port Roasted Figs

Refined sugar free and whole wheat. I reduced the sugar heavily & used maple for unrefined-ness, because of personal proclivities… Lightly sweet, super fun concept where the cake bakes into a pudding bath, basically. Essentially it becomes a self-saucing cake, which looks like it won’t work, but it does! Adapted from King Arthur Flour, here. Yield: 1 8″ cake, serves 2-5 (but really 2, for dessert & breakfast w/ a few snacking leftovers…)

The port roasted figs are also a great way to use an abundance of figs if you can’t eat them all fresh – they freeze well, and can be kept into the dark winter months when you want some figgy goodness!

For the roasted figs:

  • 1 lb fresh figs (however many you need or want!)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp port wine
  • zest from 1 meyer lemon

Preheat the oven to 400, and procure a baking sheet. Slice the ends off each fig, and then halve them. In a large bowl, toss the halved figs with honey, coconut sugar, port, and lemon zest, then place them cut-side down on the baking sheet.

Cover the baking sheet with foil, and roast for 20 minutes. They will be soft, with more liquid – if you want them drier, bake for 30 minutes, uncovered. When done, carefully remove the foil (watch out for steam!) and let them cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, or freeze – I’d say use them within 3 months if you freeze them, for best quality.

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
  • 3 tablespoons maple
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 meyer lemon, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp meyer lemon juice

For the cake:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, minus 2 tbsp
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 2 meyer lemons, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp meyer lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8″ square pan (I used a ceramic baking dish with nice results).

To make the sauce: place tapioca in a saucepan and add 2 tablespoons of milk, stirring until no lumps remain. Add the remaining milk, maple, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest. Heat, stirring occasionally, just until the mixture simmers, about 5 minutes. It will thicken slightly but no more than that. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

To make the cake: in a largish mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, butter, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice (Or, if you’re me and baking at 6 am and kind of sleepy, just dump it all in one bowl – it’ll turn out just fine). Add to the dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Pour the batter into the prepared pan over the sauce. It will kind of puddle into the sauce, which will creep up around the sides, and you will look at it and think that this will never work, but stick with me! Promise.

Bake the cake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. The top of the cake will be golden brown, with some bubbles from the pudding that has crept up around the edges. Remove from the oven, cool for 15 minutes, and serve warm, OR refrigerate until ready to serve. Reheat briefly before serving (or just leave at room temp for a few hours). Store covered leftovers in the fridge & eat for breakfast (it’s essentially breakfast food anyway: maple, milk & whole wheat…) Serve with roasted figs, warmed.

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Sometimes dessert is just messy and comical

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BEWARE THE BLOB!

I had to laugh when I took this out of the oven. I’m not sure if it was due to the humidity or what, but when I made cream biscuits this time, instead of staying all nice and biscuit-y shaped, they all just decided to merge and become… the BLOB!

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You can kind of see the divisions between the biscuits (there are technically 8 of them), but I still cracked myself up when I took it out. Not to mention the very red berry juice making its escape over the sides…

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Add to that the explosion of berry juice that occurred in my oven – thank heavens for precautionary foil; I only had one really (quite large) entrepreneurial drip escape its confines and end up on the oven floor – this is one of those desserts that definitely tastes better than it looks! Although if you’re going for comic value… well…

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Also not helped by some odd overcast light this morning when I was trying to photograph before running off to the office.. sorry for the slightly off photos. If I promise it’s delicious, will you believe me?! I wouldn’t virtually feed you subpar food, promise.

Regardless of what it looks like, this cobbler is a great excuse for using up the last of summer berries – no more white shoes for you! It’s after Labor Day! Not that I really ever follow that rule, or even own white dress shoes…

A few things from late-summer life lately:

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Anyway. You really don’t need an excuse to make cobbler, so what are you waiting for? Go create a blob of your very own! But… don’t say I didn’t warn you…. BEWARE THE BLOB!

Hehe.

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Summer Berry Cobbler with Meyer Lemon Cream Biscuits

Lightly sweet and (barely) naturally sweetened, and perfect for showcasing the last of summer’s berries. Strawberries, blackberries and raspberries play perfectly with meyer lemon, present both in the filling and in the cream biscuits. Whole grain and refined sugar free. Adapted from the rhubarb ginger mint cobbler I made awhile back, here. Yield: 1 9″ cobbler; serves… several. Or two. Your call!

For the filling:

  • 4 c strawberries, quartered (unless they’re really small, in which case halved is fine)*
  • ~1 c mixed blackberries & raspberries**
  • zest of 1 meyer lemon
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c arrowroot starch

*Basically, you want as much fruit as you need to fill your pan of choice. This about does it for me in my 9″ pie plate; I need a larger dish though since mine totally overflowed this time… whoops

**I bake straight from frozen (usually I buy mine when on sale & freeze them for later); fresh would also be fine

For the cobbler topping:

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c whole grain spelt flour
  • zest of 2 meyer lemons
  • 2 tbsp meyer lemon juice
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar + a little extra for brushing the biscuit tops
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 c heavy cream (I prefer Straus because… it’s the best!), divided + a little extra for brushing the biscuit tops

Preheat the oven to 375, and grab a 9″ pie dish (or an 8 by 8 pan would be fine too I’m sure; so would a cast iron skillet if you’d rather) Just make sure whatever you use is deep enough! Not that I speak from experience…. Stick some foil on the rack below the rack on which you’ll bake the cobbler, just in case of drips.

In a large bowl, toss together strawberries, raspberries & blackberries, maple syrup, arrowroot, lemon juice & zest, and vanilla. Let sit for at least 5 minutes — easiest to do this while you put together the cream biscuit for the cobbler topping.

For the cream biscuits: in a large bowl, stir together whole wheat and spelt flours, lemon zest, coconut sugar, baking powder and sea salt. Stir in the heavy cream and lemon juice until combined – the dough will be sticky & rather wet (but DELICIOUS). Spoon large dollops of dough onto the top of the cobbler – I used a large spoon and got about 8 biscuits; you can make them smaller if you like! Brush with a bit of extra cream and sprinkle with coconut sugar. Mine obviously all became one big blob, but whatever. Delicious.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the cobbler is beginning to go golden around the edges, and the fruit is bubbling (or the juices runneth over…). A thermometer (if you have one) is useful here – the internal temp of the centermost biscuit should be 200F. Let cool before serving – awesome either warm out of the oven, or room temp later – with ice cream either way, obviously. AND it’s even better for breakfast the next day; leftovers keep well, covered in the fridge.

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Late summer stone fruit shenanigans

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Can someone explain to me how it’s already the latter half of August? That went FAST, yeeshh.

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At least I’m still getting my fill of stone fruit – pluots are amazing right now, I just found peaches on sale, and options are endless. AND it’s not so beastly hot right now, which means I can actually haul my loot home and bake with it and not give myself heat stroke in the process. I’m a happy girl!

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A few other pictures of life lately…

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I highly recommend this crisp, not only because it’s crisp which is basically the easiest thing ever but also because its insanely customizable. Can find pluots? No prob. Use peaches! Or nectarines. Or any other stone fruit that calls you. I’m loving the basil in here for some earthy freshness against the sweetness of the fruit, so I can’t in good conscience let you leave that out (also it’s summer, which means basil is going gangbusters. Get on that!)

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Keeping it short and sweet today – Go hang out in  your kitchen for the approximately 10 minute it takes to throw this together (okay, maybe a bit more if we include slicing up fruit), round up a loved one and enjoy the late summer bounty. Your sense of general wellbeing will thank you!

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Pluot, Apricot, Blackberry and Basil Crisp

Gluten free and whole grain, vegan, dairy free, and refined sugar free. Perfect for the late summer bounty of all the stone fruit – pluots, apricots and berries do the tango with a bit of basil thrown in for good measure. Peaches also work nicely here – I’ve also done a version with a few plums, peaches, and blackberries. Yield: 1 9″ crisp, serving sizes are up to your discretion ;)

  • 3.5 c assorted pluots, sliced*
  • 3 small apricots, sliced*
  • 1 c blackberries
  • juice of one meyer lemon
  • zest of one meyer lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 heaping tbsp fresh basil, chopped

*a combination of peaches and pluots works nicely here too

For the filling, you basically need enough fruit to fill your pie plate of choice. My approximate measurements are listed – I usually just cut it directly into my pie plate and estimate from there.

For the crisp:

  • 1 c rolled oats (gluten free if needed)
  • 1/2 oat flour
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • large pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 c raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil, solid
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350, and select your 9″ pie plate or 9×9 pan.

In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, oat flour, almond flour, sea salt, almonds, and coconut sugar. Cut in the coconut oil, using a fork/your fingers/a pastry cutter if you’re feeling fancy — I used a fork and my fingers and it worked just fine (crisp is exceedingly forgiving). Stir in vanilla extract.

In a large bowl, toss together pluots, apricots, and blackberries. Add lemon juice and zest, maple, vanilla extract, and chopped basil, and toss to combine.

Add the pluot-berry mix into the prepared pie plate or baking pan, top evenly with the crisp. Pop the whole thing into the oven for 45-50 minutes, until the fruit is bubbly and the crisp is lightly browned and… crisp!

Serve with your fave vanilla ice cream/non dairy of choice (whipped coconut cream would also be good here), and store any leftovers covered in the fridge. Makes EXCELLENT breakfast the next day – the crisp solidifies a little in the fridge and omg it’s good. Besides, who is going to pass up crisp for breakfast?! Not this girl.

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