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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Solstice Profiteroles!

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What do you do when you’re under a heat advisory for a week? Well, I dunno, maybe bake profiteroles?

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I know, I’m crazy. But my logic is not completely illogical: a) it was already in the triple digits by noon, so my apartment was already hot despite the valiant efforts of my ceiling fan and occasional usage of the A/C (it’s a wall unit; I try to run it as minimally as possible to keep my costs down, ugh); b) I wasn’t going to bake until after yoga, which finishes at 7 pm so in theory, the apartment can then cool down overnight; c) I’ve already been sweating all day so why not turn my kitchen into a sauna? No big deal.

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Besides, making pâte à choux requires cooking the dough on the stove and a lot of stirring, and thus a bicep workout, which means I’d get hot anyway.

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SO! I made profiteroles on the second-hottest day of the year so far… and I survived. And they were delicious. Worth it!

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I will admit that I did a happy dance in my kitchen when I could see they were puffing appropriately – I was worried the humidity would defeat the puffiness. But no! I win. I win the battle of the puff. Heat: 0, Hayley: 1. Ha!

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In other news… more SF series, both drawn version and photographed version:

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Profiteroles seem like the perfect summer food, even if it requires turning on the oven. Light, airy, and filled with ice cream & summer berries – how much more summery can you get?! Especially if you make them during a heat wave. Double win.

Happy Solstice!

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Profiteroles with Salted Chocolate Ganache and Maple Almond Caramel

Spelt flour profiteroles are a perfect pastry shell for any kind of ice cream, making this the perfect summer dessert (minus baking in a zillion-degree kitchen). The spelt makes them a little lighter than whole wheat, plus possibly a little easier on your tum, depending on your biology; they are also refined sugar free (adapted from NYT Cooking, here). The chocolate ganache and the caramel are vegan, paleo-friendly & refined sugar free. Yield: 12-15 profiteroles, depending on how large you make them! & enough ganache & drizzle for serving.

For the profiteroles:

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 3/4 c water
  • 3/4 c whole spelt flour
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 3 eggs

Preheat the oven to 425, and line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the butter and the water to a boil, stirring until the butter is melted. Reduce the heat to medium and add the spelt flour all at once, stirring to incorporate and cooking until it pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball, about 30 seconds more. Remove from heat, and let sit to cool for a 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs to the slightly cooled dough one at a time, beating after each addition (you could use a mixer; I used a spoon & got a bicep workout). The dough will break and come back together each time, and you’ll feel it in your biceps!

Feel free to pipe these suckers onto the prepared sheet about 1″ apart, or just use a spoon like I did – they’ll be less uniform but no less delicious. They should be about 2″ in diameter. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until puffed and golden. Remove from the oven and carefully poke a hole in the bottom of each to release steam (careful to not squish them as you do it, preserve the puff!), return them to the cookie sheet, turn the oven off, and let them crisp up in the oven for 4 more minutes – prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Remove and let cool completely on a wire rack.

These can be made a day ahead (or more, if you want to freeze the finished product) – just let them cool completely and store loosely covered on the counter, or in your fridge if, like me, it’s in the triple digits and your kitchen is actually a sauna. If you like, you can crisp them up in the oven at 375 for 5 minutes, just before serving. Fill with ice cream of your choice, and serve with ganache & caramel (below).

For the ganache:

  • 1/4 c full-fat, canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 c chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • generous pinch of sea salt

Gently heat the coconut milk in a saucepan or in the microwave (I used the latter; too hot for the stove!). Pour over the chocolate chips and let sit for a few minutes, then stir until combined. Stir in vanilla and salt. Let sit at room temp until ready to use; it will harden in the fridge (which is fine, just reheat gently until it’s the consistency you like).

For the caramel:

  • 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

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. Let cool, then pour into a jar. Serve warm or cold (it will solidify a bit in the fridge).

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Summer = Shortcakes. Forever and always!

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I’ve decided that every summer needs to have at least one shortcake, because summer and shortcake are just made for each other. Gloriously excessive gluts of fresh berries, stone fruit, or both… shortcake is best friends with all of them.

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Shortcake is also fast, simple, and doesn’t heat up the kitchen (too) much; besides, even if it does, it’s worth it.

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These were definitely worth it! Not only were they a delicious very late night snack to accompany a prerecorded watching of the GC time trials from the TDF16 (nerd alert, sorry not sorry), they also made an awesome side to eggs and greens the next morning for breakfast. Nothing better than a versatile shortcake…

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In other news, the world’s most giant zucchini decided to make an appearance in the yard (it was subsequently turned into vegan, gf brownie bars as well as sautéed with kale for the obligatory savory part of dinner).

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I also brought back the dashboard cookie the other day since I really wanted cookies and it was way too hot to even consider turning on the oven. They turned out great as usual, and my car smelled amazing for about five seconds.

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But anyway. Back to shortcakes. The other funny thing is that I seem to always make them right before I leave for camp, which I do on Monday. Maybe summer = camp = shortcakes? Who knows. Whatever though, I’m just happy I made and ate them and sad that they’re gone. These were delicious with only strawberries, and with strawberries+raspberries… despite not really eating dairy these days, these were eaten with ice cream and it was SO worth it. Because sometimes you are reminded that life is short, and should be enjoyed to the fullest.

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That being said, it’s summer! Make shortcakes! These are grain free and paleo, so have at it. Give your summer berries a playdate with their best friends shortcake and ice cream. Your return on investment will be delicious!

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Grain Free Shortcakes with Summer Berries

Gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free, paleo (for those who eat butter). Lightly sweet, slightly vanilla-y. Excellent with any kind of berry (or stone fruit) that you happen to have on hand. I didn’t do anything to the fruit since it was so perfect; just slice and eat. Serve with ice cream, non-dairy, whipped cream, coconut whipped cream… the options are endless. Recipe lightly adapted from The Roasted Root, here! Yield: 7 medium sized shortcakes (go either bigger or smaller for 6 or 8 cakes, up to you!)

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  • 2.5 c almond flour (not almond meal, the consistency is different)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 tbsp salted butter, melted*
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Ice cream or whipped topping of choice for serving
  • Summer berries or stone fruit for serving!

*coconut oil also fine, though I used butter and they were awesome because…. BUTTER.

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, baking soda, and sea salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted butter, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla, eggs and vinegar until combined. Using a spoon, stir the wet into the dry until incorporated. The dough is moist but should be workable (you can chill it for a few minutes if it’s not). Scoop dough balls in the size of choice and roll them gently in your palms before putting them onto the baking sheet a few inches apart. Flatten them slightly with your fingers or palm.

Bake for about 15 minutes (mine were perfect at 15) until the top is golden and cracked. A tester should come out clean. Eat immediately, or let cool on a rack (I like them room temperature).

Serve with ice cream or whipped topping of choice (mine was vanilla caramel gelato) and fresh strawberries — I love my fruit so much, I didn’t do anything to it, but feel free to doctor your fruit as you see fit.

Store these overnight in the fridge — they’re also great cold for breakfast the next day!

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