Sometimes, you gotta get messy

IMG_0236

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.

IMG_0226

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.

IMG_0231

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.

IMG_0239

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.

IMG_1885

IMG_0224

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

IMG_0228

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

In other news…

The SF series continues!

IMG_0206

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

IMG_0216

IMG_0214

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

IMG_0200

IMG_0237

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].

IMG_0222

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.

IMG_0230

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.

IMG_0225

IMG_0238

Sometimes caramel is the only thing that will do

IMG_4300

Three weeks. But who’s counting?! Not me, obviously…

Two weeks till I graduate, three weeks from today till I’m done done done! I feel like my posts of late are kind of like some version of a baked goods advent calendar until I’m done with my Master’s degree. Is that a thing?! Well whatever, I just made it a thing.

IMG_4297

I’m taking study breaks with baked goods! This week’s offering could  not be more different than the last post — that one was fruity and light, this one is shut-the-front-door dense, caramel-y, gooey, rich, and decadent (in the best way, of course). All while being paleo (it’s sweetened with maple so not strict paleo), vegan, free of the glutens, and full of healthy fats and real food! Because, well, because. Because real food is good for you! And it tastes better anyway, right? Right.

IMG_4302

Might I point out this also makes a great side dish for breakfast… alongside eggs and salad and leftover caponata. Don’t question. Just do it!

IMG_4298

Highly recommend to consume this in front of Monty Python and the Holy Grail with excellent company for full brain-rejuvenation effect and happy taste buds.

And that is officially all I got on the anecdote front. Brain is in maxed out mode, I think it’s time for bed. Yes, I know it’s 8:45 on a Friday night. Nope, I’m not sorry at all.

Happy Weekend!

IMG_4293

Vegan Salted Caramel Skillet Blondies

Vegan, paleo, gluten free, refined sugar free. Dense, fudgey, gooey, and delicious. Yield: 1 8″ cast iron skillet, which feeds however many you decide (1? 2? a dinner party? you do you). Lightly adapted from With Salt and Wit, here!

For the caramel:

  • 1/3 c almond butter
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c coconut oil, melted

For the blondies:

  • 1.5 c almond meal (or flour, also fine)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • heaping 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water)
  • 1/8 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1/8 c unsweetened applesauce
  • scant 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • heaping 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chippies

Preheat the oven to 350, and bust out your trusty little 8″ cast iron skillet! No need to grease it, such is the wonder of cast iron and the use of caramel under the blondie batter…

Mix the flax and water in a small bowl and let sit until gelled, about 5 minutes.

In a large liquid measuring cup (one of those pyrex ones works nicely) or other tall thing, vigorously whisk the almond butter, maple and coconut oil for the caramel until combined. You can do this in a blender if your almond butter is particularly thick — mine was runny enough to make a bicep workout feasible (and I decided I was too lazy to wash the blender later). Pour the caramel into the skillet and set aside.

In a larger bowl, combine almond meal, baking soda, sea salt, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Add in flax egg, melted coconut oil, applesauce, maple, and vanilla. Stir until combined (shouldn’t take too long). Toss in chippies and give it one last good stir. Pour the batter into the caramel — you may have to smooth it out a little, and it will cause the caramel to creep up the sides. All good!! The caramel forms a nice crust for the gooey blondies, which turn out almost like cookie dough. Don’t worry too much about it spreading out perfectly, I promise it will be delicious.

Bake until the top is firm and the caramel is crackly on the edges. I checked mine at 20 minutes, then let it go for another 5 minutes since the blondie wasn’t as firm as I wanted. Final bake time was probably closer to 30 minutes. It helps to bang the skillet on the stove a bit to get the batter and caramel to settle. Once done to your liking, remove from oven and let sit for a few before annihilating.

Absolutely delicious with paleo gelato, or whatever floats your boat! Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Sincere apologies for the strange coloration on the photo below; I have no idea what happened and sadly grad school nonsense takes priority over having a proper photo shoot for the last remaining piece of blondie. Le sigh. Three weeks!

IMG_4306

IMG_4302

All things legume

IMG_7068

Apparently I’m on a roll with the barz here… this isn’t intentional (and they do get a little redundant to photograph after awhile), but I guess legume-based dessert barz are my jam these days. Who knew.

BECAUSE THEY’RE AMAZING!

IMG_7063

Or maybe because I’m obsessed with all things legume. Whatever, one of my nicknames is Lentil for a reason…

IMG_7066

Also, I inadvertently had ice cream for dinner last Friday night. Sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do. See below for photographic evidence. I’ll give you one measly guess which one is mine…

IMG_2490

But back to barz. I’ll address your concern: no, you can’t taste the lentils (much like the time I made red lentil coconut ice cream — you get the earthiness from the lentils but once they’re hangin out with cashew butter and maple, your tastebuds don’t go LENTILS?! WTF?! No no. They’re actually a very neutral flavor. What’s more (because, there’s always more; just like parenthetical asides within a parenthetical aside; redundant much?! Jeez), the lentils add a whambam, no nonsense, whole food protein punch to your dessert, which is just winning in my book). I have other lentil barz on the blog but these are my favorites. They present kind of like an oatmeal cookie, with a similar texture, and I’m all over it.

IMG_7065

ALSO. By virtue of the fact that these are… virtuous… they qualify for breakfast-snack-lunch-snack-dinner-dessert; or some combination to that effect. You know, because LENTILS and OATS and CHOCOLATE. Which also happen to be three of my very fave things. I’m reserving them for dessert, for now… but I may have evened off a sliver to go with my breakfast. I mean, come on… the edge was uneven. You can’t have uneven bar cookies, it’s a crime. Luckily I am very adept (I learned this skill from my similarly-adept mother) at trimming and neatening all baked goods. It’s an essential skill, right up there with smoothing and leveling off the ice cream (though that one, I learned from my gram who was extremely wise in these kinds of things).

IMG_7064

So, barz. Sorry this is pretty much the umpteenth bar recipe on here and about the elevendyith that is made with a legume of some sort, but I’ve just been too lazy for indivudual cookies lately, and big chewy squares of bar cookie with a fork have been very appealing (they’re also fast, excellent when you’ve been out of the house for 12 hours including a workout, you’re famished and a nutrient-dense, satisfying sweet treat is necessary).

IMG_7065

Oaty Cashew Butter Lentil Bars

Vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, soy free. And delicious! They are lightly sweet and satisfying (both taste testers concurred, and one of them likes really sweet things — I’m looking at you, Vacuum Vati!), so they appeal to a broad range of tastes. Recipe yield is one 8 by 8 pan, and is inspired by Ambitious Kitchen, here.

  • 1/2 c red lentils (dry), rinsed
  • 1/2 c cashew butter
  • 1/3 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water; let sit 5 minutes)
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • heaping 1/4 c cashew meal
  • heaping 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips

In a small saucepan, combine red lentils and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Lentils are done when soft and all of the water has been absorbed. Set aside to cool. Once they’re cool, puree them with a tablespoon or two of water in the food processor, until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease an 8 by 8 pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together cashew butter, maple syrup, and vanilla (if your cashew butter is cold, arm strength is necessary… think of it as part of your workout). Once combined, stir in flax egg and pureed lentils. On top of all that, toss in the oats, cashew meal, sea salt, baking soda, and chocolate chips. Stir until combined. Pour the batter into your prepared pan, and smoothy smooth out the top if that’s your thing. Pop them into the oven for 28-35 minutes — 28 will give you gooey bars, and more like 33 will give you dense and chewy ones (I prefer the latter). For the chewy, dense bars at about 33 minutes, the top should be firm to the touch, and a tester should come out nearly clean with a few crumbs.

Store covered in the fridge for extra chewyness (my fave).

IMG_7062

Welcome to the inside of my brain box: Part 1. Useless math facts

IMG_6983

Mo’ cookies! Because cookies.

IMG_6976

Also because imminent GRE equals some amount of stress-baking. Or maybe a lot of stress-cooking. Or maybe both… not that I’m admitting to anything here. Definitely not.

IMG_6979

Basically I just want to take this stupid thing and be done. Like, now. Not in five days but NOW so it can get out of my head and I can have my brain space back. Ommm. Five more days. Ommm….

IMG_6977

I’m to that lovely point where your brain simply cannot take in any more information, no matter how hard you study and try to cram it in there. So I did what I do best and made soup and cookies and vegan lentil enchiladas and went to yoga and jazzercise and and took a study break. And now I’m blogging. Because there is no more information that wants to go into my brain. I will be SUCH a happy camper this coming Monday at five pm when I land on College Ave. and face plant into a Zachary’s pizza [all my East Bay peeps, you know why this is such a fantastic idea]. Ahhhh. Post GRE pizza nirvana.

IMG_6978

But anyway. Until then I am trapped in my head with useless math facts. So cookies. Because the math involved in making 3/4 of a recipe of cookies is WAY more fun than weighted averages. And “real life” (ha) word problems. Also lovely, that this batch makes roughly 19 cookies, which is the exact number that I’m really good at cramming onto a cookie sheet. Why, you ask? I did this because a) I’m lazy and b) I had to study so I could only procrastinate by cookie baking for so long. Also I apparently developed an aversion to using more than one cookie sheet when I was living in Salem with Kira and we only had one, and rotating batches was too annoying. So maybe that’s where this comes from?! Ingrained behavior. And laziness. And studying. Let’s not forget that…

The wise mistress of the otherworldly cat realm who hangs around me says… ‘Sit in your favorite blanket and eat cookies and I will sit on you. Because it’s actually my blanket and you are actually my human’. And then she smiles at me, like the darling cute thing that she is:

IMG_1361

And I probably take her advice and eat cookies with her on my lap. Because life and studying are more more appealing when there are cookies and smiling cats.

IMG_6975

 Almond Butter Gingerbread Cookies

Gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free [date sweetened!], and vegan! These cookies are sweetened with dates and molasses—both nutrient-dense natural sweeteners. They’re full of healthy fats from the almond butter, and good fiber from coconut flour. Go ahead and indulge with glee! Yield: 19.

  • 1 c roasted, unsalted almond butter
  • 3 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed+6 tbsp water [2 flax eggs]
  • 3/4 c pitted dates, packed [soaked if needed]
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1/4 c coconut flour [sifted if lumpy]
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • scant 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • a twist or two of fresh black pepper
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips

IMG_6982

In the bowl of a food processor, process soaked dates with a bit of their soaking water (only about a tbsp or two) until a mostly smooth, slightly chunky paste forms. Set aside. In a small bowl, stir together 2 tbsp flax eggs and 6 tbsp water; let sit aside to gel.

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet (or two if you’re not like me) with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together almond butter, molasses, gelled flax egg, date paste, vanilla, and grated ginger until smooth and incorporated. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together coconut flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, sea salt, and pepper. Add dry into wet, toss in chocolate chips with reckless abandon, and stir until the dough is combined and all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared cookie sheet (it’s sticky, so prepare to eat leftover sticky on your person). Cram all 19 cookies onto a sheet if you’re feeling adventurous. Pop them into the oven for at least 12 minutes—they will start to form a chewy crust on the outside, but we need the inside to be NOT mushy. I checked mine at 12, then baked them for another 4 minutes, checking at the two minute mark. They should be not too squishy on the top, with just a little give and a chewy crust on the outside.

Let them cool on the cookie sheet before removing them to a cooling rack—they’re soft when they’re warm! Let cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge for chewy-fudgy cookies, or on the counter in an airtight container for soft cookies.

IMG_6974

Ready, set… PUMPKIN

IMG_6926

Pumpkin!! And stuff. But actually… mostly just pumpkin.

IMG_6924

Because the air finally smells different, the wind is cooler, scarves are necessary, and the leaves are starting to change and fall. This is my FAVORITE time of year, especially since it gives me an excuse to wear an excessive amount of scarves and boots and eat mass amounts of pumpkin. Also fall = flannels, hot tea, holidays, and eatingcookingeatingbakingeating.

IMG_6925

The other day/night it was really fallish weather here, so I was cooking with the windows open so I could smell the air at every opportunity. It didn’t hurt that the neighbors had a wood fire going somewhere, and obviously that smelled delicious.

And the best part of all this means I can use pumpkin for baking with reckless abandon. Which I’ve already started doing. Two pumpkin breads in less than a week? Oh yeah. Easy money. Bring on endless cans of squash puree, and I will speedily dispatch them. Ooooh I love this season!

IMG_6928

Also. Food is more fun when it’s colorful, don’t you think?

IMG_1239

Apparently everything I eat from now on is going to be orange. A spanish tortilla happened last night and this is partly what went in it. Ooooorange!!! Ha.

IMG_1251

This bread is delicious—light, but densely moist (let’s stick to hydrated, mmk?) and spiced. It’s grain free, gluten free, vegan, and refined sugar free [they’re sweetened only with dates!], so there are no excuses not to enjoy. It’s also full of healthy fats and good squash-carbs, as well as enormous amounts of Vitamin A and beta carotene. Wheeee!

IMG_6919

Pumpkin-Almond Butter Bread

Grain free, gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free. It might also be paleo, but I’m not the authority on that business. Makes 1 loaf or an 8 by 8 pan (I used the latter, so the cook time below reflects that. Add at least 10 minutes for a loaf pan and check as needed). Recipe inspired and heavily adapted from the Roasted Root, here!

  • 1 c pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 c unsalted almond butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flaxseed meal+3 tbsp water; let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 1 c pitted dates, soaked if needed
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tbsp coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp extra dark chocolate chips

Lightly grease an 8 by 8 inch pan and preheat the oven to 350.

If your dates are super hard, soak them in near-boiling water for about 10 minutes. Drain nearly all the water out, but reserve about a tablespoon or two. Puree the dates and reserved water in a food processor until mostly smooth, then set aside. Make flax egg, and set it aside as well to gel.

In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, almond butter, vanilla extract, and flax egg, then stir in the date paste. In a smaller bowl, whisk together cinnamon, allspice, ginger, sea salt, baking powder, and coconut flour. Toss dry into wet, add chocolate chips, and stir until everything is just combined. Scoop all that goodness out into your prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 35-37 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. The top should spring back just slightly when touched.

Let cool in the pan for about 10-15 minutes, then run a knife around the pan, top the pan with a cooling rack, and CAREFULLY (it’s delicate!) invert the bread onto the cooling rack to cool completely (you don’t have to flip it back over unless you want to…). Once it’s completely cool, I store it back in the pan I baked it in. Leftovers only lasted a day in my house, and I recommend storing this one in the fridge.

IMG_1247

Birthday Excess

IMG_6877

Happy Birthday to meeeeee!!!

IMG_6890

I made my own dessert. Is that weird?! I have no idea. I’m weird, so it’s probably fitting, right??

Besides, not much has changed:

10522437_10202751179084633_2125268902459090635_n

Yep. As my mom says, “To our sweet girl (who still attacks dessert with dedication and gusto–and looks just as cute doing it!!) Happy 24th Birthday!
Much much Love, Mom and Dad”. That’s fairly accurate, don’t you think?! And I know for a fact I still make that face…

IMG_6886

I’ve always wanted to make choux pastry. So I did!! Forget cake. I love it and whatnot, but it’s my birthday so I’m playing by my own rules. Besides, all you really need to do is makes something delicious that you can put a candle on. Because birthdays are definitely NOT birthdays without smelling candle smoke. Nothing reminds me more of a birthday than smoking candles!

IMG_6870

My birthday rules are thus (and I just made them up soooo they’re going to apply from now on):

1. Excess is required.
2. Jazzercise is an excellent way to start the day and possibly offset the excesses of dessert that will happen.
3. SPRINKLES.
4. Desserts must be excessive. Because… see rule number 1.

IMG_6876

IMG_6885

I think these are spot on. And I DID go to jazzercise yesterday morning which was fab and sweaty as usual and then I went and ate at least a cookie if not two (whoops, not quite sure how that happened) and then I ran around more and then I made these. And then I ate them! Muahahha.

24 is going to be excellent.

IMG_6882

Chouquettes with Vegan Banana Cookie Dough Ice Cream + Salted Date Caramel

Wow really?? Could that title be any longer?? But it’s my birthday sooooo I can do whatever I want, up to and including making excessive desserts that are actually refined sugar free! Because that’s how I roll. Healthy indulgences in celebration of turning 24. Wheeee!! There is gluten, butter, and sprinkles in this. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Chouquettes are lightly adapted from David Lebovitz (amazing!!), here. The date caramel is my own brainchild and the vegan banana ice cream is just embarrassingly easy… I made a half batch of chouquettes, which yielded 10. Recipe as listed yields 25 ish. And obvs made extra caramel and ice cream, obvs. These are also excellent stuffed with real ice cream… or pretty much anything.

IMG_6872

For the chouquettes (which makes me feel really sophisticated to say, even if I mangle the pronunciation):

  • 1 c water
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 4 eggs, at room temp
  • optional: chocolate chippies! I did them in half the batter

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 425.

In a medium saucepan, heat water, salt, sugar, and butter, stirring often, until the butter is melted and the water starts to boil. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the entire amount of flour, stirring until the dough is incorporated and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan (it should clump up into a big blob). Let cool for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally to release heat. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until dough is silky and smooth. If adding chocolate chips, let the dough cool completely before adding them. If not, begin dropping dough onto the prepared cookie sheet (I found that a single large spoon worked well), about 2 tbsp’s worth per blob. They’ll spread just a little so don’t put them too close together. Bake for 35 minutes, until puffed and golden. Remove to a cooling rack and serve warm or at room temp. Freeze any leftovers (or really, just eat them immediately).

IMG_6873

For the vegan banana cookie dough “ice cream”:

  • several frozen bananas (however many you need depends on the amount of peeps you’re serving)
  • a good splash of plain almond milk
  • 1+ tsp vanilla
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp (ish) peanut butter

Blenderize all that good stuff in a food processor until creamy. The bananas magically turn into this great ice cream-like consistency!! Like magic. So wonderful and happily guilt free. You can flavor this however you like, I usually use about 1 banana per person, and freeze them in chunks for easy blending. Eat immediately! It’s best fresh.

Then throw all this in the food processor [dry ingredients first, then the wet until it all comes together] :

  • 1 c raw cashews
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/6 c dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp unsalted almond butter
  • excessive amounts of sprinkles. ha.

Et voila! Vegan, refined sugar free funfetti cookie dough. Muahahha. Mix it into your banana soft serve and be really happy about life.

THEN.

Make salted date caramel:

Soak 1 c of pitted dates in boiling water for at least 5 minutes.

Chuck them all into the food processor, followed by a judicious about of vanilla + unsweetened almond milk + a pinch of sea salt + giant heaping blog of almond butter and blendy blend blend until it’s all smooth.

AND THEN.

Stuff the cookie dough banana deliciousness into a chouquette, top with a ridiculous amount of date caramel, and more sprinkles. Because… it’s your birthday. Or at least it’s mine. So you have an excuse to indulge anyway ;)

IMG_6880

IMG_6878

The usual nonsense

IMG_6755

More of that light side/dark side dessertyness.

IMG_6761

I actually made these last weekend but have been too busy/lazy/my novel is too good lately to actually get around to posting them. But they happened to be a big hit with the fam so I thought I would be nice and share them. These went well together—the super dense fudgy almond butter brownies played nicely with the lighter caramel bars—those aren’t super sweet, so it made a nice contrast.

IMG_6753

IMG_6762

I’m feeling a little brain dead today so pardon the lack of text and written nonsense, I’ll just leave you with the photos and that drool that just hit your keyboard…

IMG_6759

Almond Butter Brownies

Super fudgy, tall brownies with a chewy crust. These are honey sweetened, and you could definitely taste the honey in my batch. I liked it, as a change from the typical brownies that I make, but if you’re not a fan of honey flavor in baked goods, I would sub maple or another liquid sweetener. Recipe only slightly adapted from Smells Like Brownies, here! Makes one 8 by 8 square pan (I had to use round since the square pan I have was currently in use, but I think there’s something weird about round brownies…). Gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free!

IMG_6754

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c raw, runny honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c organic almond butter (mine was unsalted)
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease pan of choice with coconut oil.

In a medium bowl using an electric mixer, beat together eggs, honey, and vanilla until smooth. Beat in almond butter. In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir dry into wet, mixing until just combined and adding in chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake 25-30 minutes. The center should be slightly puffed, and a toothpick should come out mostly clean (a teeny bit of fudgy is okay, but excessively under baked is ew). Let cool completely before slicing, and store any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge.

IMG_6756

IMG_6769

Salted Caramel Coconut Bars

This one is slightly adapted from Quiche-a-week (love that blog!) here! Chewy, thick salty-caramel-chocolate-spelt-coconut things. Vegan, refined sugar free! They’re made with spelt flour, which can be easier to digest than wheat, even if you aren’t wheat intolerant (though this is *not* gluten free). Yield: 9-12 bars, in an 8 by 8 pan.

IMG_6764

For the caramel:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
  • a hefty pinch (1/4+ tsp) sea salt

For the barz:

  • 1.75 c spelt flour
  • 1/4 c almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 c shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 4 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp peanut butter (preferably the separating kind)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed+6 tbsp water (2 flax eggs)
  • 1/3 c dark chocolate chips
  • up to 1/4 unsweetened almond milk

Make the caramel first so it has a little time to cool! In a saucepan, melt coconut oil, coconut sugar, and maple until it starts to fizz and thicken. When it starts bubbling, add the almond milk. Let it bubble for just a bit, then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 3 ish minutes. Stir only occasionally, but mostly just let it sit. Once it’s thickened a little (almond milk won’t thicken too crazy much), turn off the heat, stir in the sea salt, and let it cool.

IMG_6770

For the barz….

Preheat the oven to 325 and grease an 8 by 8 pan with coconut oil. Make your flax eggs and then set them aside to gel.

In a largeish bowl, whisk together spelt flour, almond flour, sea salt, baking soda, and shredded coconut. In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, peanut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add in flax eggs, then stir the wet into the dry until just combined. You’ll need more moisture in the dough since spelt flour can be dry—I added about a 1/4 c of almond milk a tablespoon at a time until the dough was the right consistency. Fold in the chocolate chippies. Spread half the batter into your prepared pan (using your hands is encouraged), then pour half the caramel over the first layer. Add more chocolate chips to this middle layer because… just because. Spread the other layer of dough over the caramel (it’ll get messy but it’s dessert so who cares?), then pour the other half of the caramel over the top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool on a rack, then slice and eat/store!

IMG_6763

Things.

IMG_6518Ugh sorry sorry sorry I know it’s been forever since we’ve had an invisible internet friend chat… but I’m back now with random things so you can rest easy. I know, you suuuuper missed me. Or something.

IMG_6524This is pretty much going to be one of those photo dump posts… I’ve made and eaten a lot in the last weekish and am feeling a little braindead. Back with a normal recipe post shortly…

Firstly this.

IMG_0684

Because…. just because. I just think it’s way too good not to share. Agreed?

Just do me a favor and don’t take this out of context… no, my family does not lollop around dressed in early Californiana-esque garments… nor do we secretly own a saloon/tavern/gambling/dancing establishment. Just no. However, we did decide we needed a new family portrait. So that happened.

IMG_6512

IMG_0646

And then there was Father’s Day! Or rather, Father’s Day happened before all of the vintage photograph shenanigans but it’s family and therefore relatable so MOVING ON. Vati requested something chocolate and spicy, so I made him these!

IMG_6517Salted chocolate, cayenne and ginger ice cream sammies!!

The recipe is from The Artful Desperado, here, and I made a few changes:

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose (obvi)
  • 1/2 c avocado oil instead of canola
  • 3/4 c extra dark chocolate chips+some chunks from a 70% bar
  • 1 c brown sugar+ 1/2 c white***
  • baked for 13 minutes, yield 15 cookies+ one little baby one

***As you know, I pretty much never ever make things with refined sugar any more (some of the older recipes on the blog do though)… but as Vati specifically requested something sugary and decadent, there you go. It was Father’s Day, after all, and what he says goes.

He looooved them. They are dark and spicy and PERFECT with some good quality vanilla ice cream smashed in the middle. I only caution you if you’re not a fan of spicy things, as these are not particularly for the faint of heart. Especially if you don’t like spicy desserts. If you do, however, I can’t really recommend these enough.

They got annihilated.

IMG_0650Dinner was this spectacular steelhead with potatoes and bacon and red wine sauce. Gastro heaven, thank you Farallon.

IMG_0644Reason number one why I love summer [actually might be one of the only reasons since I hate being hot so much, but regardless]:

SO. MUCH. FRUIT. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

IMG_0677And also chocolate. Because… chocolate.

IMG_0683Oh oh oh!! One last random. HUMPHRY SLOCOMBE [quite possibly the best ice cream ever] opened a shop in the Ferry Building, which means it’s only a short hop away on the Oakland-SF ferry. Winninggggggg. E and I literally ate our way into an ice cream coma last week. Secret Breakfast [bourbon cornflake]+banana beach blanket [with peanuts!!!]+bourbon caramel for me; sea salted chocolate+vanilla honey+bourbon caramel+frosted almonds for him. All hail the ice cream mecca!

IMG_0660And now  I need a nap.

 

Do I even need a reason??

 

IMG_6335

Mo’ chocolate.

Because.. why?

Wait. Do I really have to answer that question?! Because… chocolate! End of story.

IMG_6334

Besides, I actually made these cookies over a week ago but I’ve just been too busy and then Easter happened and there was that fabulously drippy hippie cake and stuff… and these cookies kind of languished in my camera for a little bit but they were SO FREAKING GOOD that I knew I would share them eventually. So don’t worry. I promise not to hold out on you too much longer.

IMG_6336

In other news… IT’S RAINING! Wheeeee!!! Which means I really want to bake something (because rainy weather=baking, everyone knows that), but as per usual I made a small batch of cookies last night because I was seriously (my autocorrect tried to change that to serially, also true) jonesing and I neededcookiesnow. So I made this awesome batch of vegan peanut butter-coconut-chocolate chippies, and they disappeared by 9:30 pm. I made them at 4:30. Ha. I did have quite a bit of help though, as prodigious as my stomach capacities are, I think that would have stumped even me.

But anyway, I really like cookies, can you tell?

IMG_6329

Also. I float in a hydrotherapy/sensory deprivation tank several times a week and even though I shower off really thoroughly afterwards, I always end up with epsom salts in my ear crannies the next day. I think it gets into my brain and then somehow works its way back out. I’m not really complaining, a good solid brain salting can’t be a bad thing now and then…

Soooo yeah. I’m endearingly random and salty but these cookies are ridiculously delicious—I highly suggest a cookie Friday incident. And if you make them, bring me one?! I’ve seem to have eaten all of mine…

IMG_6337

Grain-Free Chocolate Pecan Cookies

These are a little sweeter than the cookies I usually make for everyday consumption, but they are SO DELICIOUS. Fudgy, chocoaltey, pecantastic and they just happen to be gluten free, grain free, and vegan. AND refined sugar free! Winner winner. I adapted the recipe only slightly from The Healthy Family and Home, here! Yield: 22 cookies.

  • 1 c organic almond butter (mine was creamy unsalted)
  • heaping 1/3 c coconut sugar
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c roughly chopped pecans
  • 2 tbsp ground flax+6 tbsp water (2 flax eggs)

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

These are cookies, peeps: this doesn’t get any easier!

In a small bowl, stir together flax seeds and water. Let sit while you do everything else: in a large bowl and using your biceps, stir together almond butter, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, chocolate chips and pecans. Toss in flax eggs. Drop by the rounded spoonful onto the prepared cookie sheet, and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few, then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely. These are a little soft when cooling, so I just moved the whole parchment paper over and let them keep cooling completely on the rack. Store in the fridge, if they last long enough! Mine barely did…

Blah blah cookies blah blah blah

IMG_6215

Disclaimer: I actually made these forever ago and was holding out on you.

No, not really forever… just last week and I’ve been busy busy so sorry sorry but here they are. And also I have this really fab lunch I’m currently eating and will share that next. I’m just SO nice, aren’t I?! Actually kind of wishing I had some of that lunch left, because sadly it’s gone and it was delicious and chickpeas are my new favorite thing! Not really new.. at all… but in this combination they’re amazing and delicious and why are they gone??

IMG_6217

Also, my cats are adorable. Their adorableness never ceases to amaze me, which is why I apparently have so many cat photos. Here’s one more just because it’s my blog so if I can show you cats if I want to! Muahaha.

IMG_0092

ANYway. Cookies.

IMG_6221

These are pumpkin! Kind of like pumpkin pie consistency when they’ve hung out in the fridge for a bit. Happily nutritious too, since they’re grain free, gluten free, and vegan. AND refined sugar free! Wheee! If you like them with a slightly crunchier top, I recommend eating them after they’ve cooled slightly; otherwise, store them in the fridge for a soft, dense consistency. They’re delicious either way though, so do yourself a favor ;)

IMG_6209

Grain Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe gratefully borrowed and only a teeny bit adapted from cHow Divine, here! Yield: 14. Grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free, vegan. High in antioxidants, healthy fats, and beta carotene.

  • 2.5 c almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I make my own)
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed+3 tbsp water)
  • 1/4 c grade B organic maple syrup
  • 1/2 c pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (I used refined), melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

IMG_6211

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flaxseed and water and let that sit aside to gelatinize whilst you’re doing everything else..

In a smallish bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking soda, pie spice, and sea salt. In a larger bowl, (using a mixer or your incredibly large biceps—I opted for biceps since I was too lazy to wash the mixer) beat together maple syrup, pumpkin puree, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Add dry into wet ingredients, toss in flax egg, and stir to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop by the tablespoon-sized ball on the prepared cookie sheet, and flatten slightly (they won’t flatten as they bake). Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the cookies are lightly golden and mostly firm to the touch. Let cool on the baking sheet, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely (they’re a little delicate, be careful!).

I store my leftovers in the fridge–the texture gets a teeny bit softer but I think more delicious.

IMG_6214