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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Grapefruit Curd Tart with Coconut Ginger Crust and Citrus Coconut Cream

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

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For the curd:

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

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

For the crust:

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

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

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

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

For the citrus coconut cream:

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

For topping:

  • candied ginger!

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

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

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Pie.

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Pie.

I love that word. It’s so simple, but it brings with it so many positive associations! Fruit. Ice cream. Family. Eating al fresco. I’m sure you have your own; those are mine. Besides all that, I love that I can pack a dessert full of fruit and then call it good for me… and then call it snack. And breakfast. And maybe lunch. Why not? Fruit+whole grains+healthy fats = a balanced(ish) meal, happy tummy, and happy soul.

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This post is rather short, as I’ve been a bit under the weather. I also loooove the photos, so this time, less is more!

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Life is short. Eat pie. Be happy!

Simple Blueberry Pie with a Coconut Oil Crust

I used the coconut oil crust recipe from Food 52, here, with only a slight modification (ww flour, always!). I wanted to use coconut oil, since it provides a nutritional bump in healthy fats (among other things like antioxidants, antimicrobials, and a host of other wonderful things). I always struggle with pie crust, partially from lack of patience and practice, and also probably because I’ve never used a trusted recipe. I really liked this one though—not only did it come together relatively easily, but it also was quite probably the best-tasting crust I’ve ever made. Winner. I’ll be making this one again, when I can get my hands on some peaches :)

I used blueberries I’d frozen in the summer—if you use frozen fruit, no need to thaw it first.

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Whole Wheat Coconut Oil Crust

  • 2.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar (or other granulated sugar)
  • 1/2 c coconut oil, cool enough to be solid
  • 1/3-1/2 c ice water

You can do this by hand, or use a food processor if you want to save time, like me. Food processor method: toss flour, salt, and sugar into the processor and pulse to combine. Add in solid coconut oil, and pulse again. It should start to come together when you pinch a bit. Pulse in 1/3 c ice water, until the dough starts to come together even more; adding ice water a tablespoon at a time until it holds together. You should be able to hold a handful without it disintegrating into crumbs. A few crumbly bits are okay, but it should be relatively easy to form it into a ball to roll out.

Flour your work surface and rolling pin. Toss dough onto the freshly floured surface (or, if you’re smart, onto wax paper so you can pick it up easily… definitely remembered that trick *after* I rolled it all out on the counter, oops), and roll it out until it’ll fit into your pie dish of choice. I used a deep-ish one, so I had enough crust left over for a few decorations but not for a lattice.

Gently lift crust into the pie pan, and crimp the edges so it looks nice! Prick the bottom a few times to prevent sogginess (no one wants that). I baked mine immediately—if you’re going to wait a bit, wrap the ball of it in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge, letting it come to room temperature before rolling it out.

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Blueberry Biz!

  • enough blueberries to fill your pie pan of choice. I probably had 1.5-2 c, and could have used a bit more if I’d had them.
  • squirt of lemon juice (about half a lemon’s worth, mine were Meyer lemons, hooray!)
  • 2-3 tbsp brown sugar, depending on berry sweetness
  • 1/6-1/4 c whole wheat pastry flour*

*apologies for the indefinite measurements… when I make pie filling, I usually don’t measure and taste as I go!

Preheat oven to 425, and make sure you have your prepared pie crust lurking around on hand somewhere.

Toss blueberries with lemon juice, brown sugar, and flour in a large bowl. Add blueberries into the prepared pie crust. If you have leftover crust and want to roll it out so that you have an excuse to play with cookie cutters, by all means do so! Place little pieces of crust on top of blueberries, and pop the entire thing into the oven for 15 minutes on 425, then lower the temp to 350 for another 45 minutes. Pie is done when the juices are a little bubbly and the crust is browned. I like my blueberries to have more body and be less like soup, so I took mine out at the hour mark. Let cool for a bit before slicing! Pie stores well in the fridge for the next day’s breakfast… and is reeeeally good with whipped coconut cream. Just sayin’. (I used a can of Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream, chilled it for a few hours, scraped off the cream and whipped it with an electric mixer. I added just a hint of vanilla and maple syrup).

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And one more… just because I happened to make this on Pi Day, and seriously, who doesn’t like extra pictures of pie??

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