Rhubarb, irises & other pretty spring things

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Hello there!

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More rhubarb today – we both love it so it’s an easy pick. I always grab it when I see it in the market – you can guarantee I always have some frozen around this time of year… the season is short enough that I get antsy! Ha.

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This crisp is jammy and delicious underneath but crispy and nutty up top – it comes together in a snap and is so delicious. As always, it works so well both for breakfast and dessert! I love it with ice cream for dessert, of course, but there is something extra delicious about having it for breakfast too.

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In other news, spring has definitely sprung – I love irises, they are one of my favorites.

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Keeping it short and sweet today… happy baking!

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Hazelnut Crisp with Rhubarb, Raspberry and Ginger

Gluten free and refined sugar free. Perfect for the spring when rhubarb is at the peak of its season. This is fruity and light – great for both breakfast and dinner! I use my 2 quart square 8×8″ baking dish – could also use a deep 9″ pie dish or a casserole of your choice – whatever is deep enough to hold fruit and crispy topping! Serves: 2 for dessert and breakfast the next day or… less greedily… probably 4-7 :) A Wait are Those Cookies original.

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For the filling: 

  • 4 c rhubarb, chopped*
  • 1 c raspberries*
  • 1/4 c candied ginger, chopped
  • scant 1/4 c maple syrup
  • zest of 1 meyer lemon
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon (or regular)
  • ¼ cup port (or water)
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot starch 

*I just approximate; I use however many it takes to fill my 2 quart, 8×8 baking dish
*I baked straight from frozen; fresh would also be fine

For the crisp: 

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free oats for a gluten-free crisp)
  • ½ cup firmly packed hazelnut meal
  • ½ cup chopped hazelnuts  
  • 1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut 
  • scant 1/4 c maple (or coconut) sugar 
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt 

Preheat the oven to 350. 

Toss chopped rhubarb, raspberries and ginger into your baking dish of choice (my dish is 8×8, 2 qt capacity; 9″ square or 9″ deep pie dish would also be fine). In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the maple and water/port until combined. Add the lemon juice and zest, arrowroot, cinnamon and allspice, and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture over the fruit and toss to combine. Bake for 20 minutes.

While the filling is baking, make the crisp. In a mixing bowl, stir together the oats, hazelnut meal, chopped hazelnuts, shredded coconut, maple sugar and salt. Mix in the vanilla, melted butter and the yogurt. Stir until everything is mixed thoroughly. 

Once the filling has baked for 20 minutes, stir it and and redistribute evenly in the dish. Plop spoonfuls of the crisp topping evenly over the filling – no need to pack it down. Return the dish to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 more minutes, until the filling is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden.

Let the crisp rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream, obviously! Keep leftovers, covered, in the fridge for about 2-3 days (yeah right. It would take some kind of major feat to make it last that long) – the crisp will get softer the more days it sits but is definitely still crispy the next day. 

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Vegetables for dessert? Sure, why not.

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Happy 2018! I hope your new year got off to a good start – mine certainly did, absolutely no complaints over here!

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I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of using a squash other than pumpkin in a dessert.

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Don’t be deceived by the cute little dumpling squash hanging out in these pictures – what really went in here is kabocha, one of these guys:

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I like the kabocha here – if you’ve never encountered one, they’re a bit of a cross between pumpkin and butternut squash. I really like it for the earthiness it brings here, which plays nicely against the apples. Side note: after some thought, we gave it mixed reviews – it feels a little vegetabley to be dessert – I almost wonder if it would work as a side dish. That being said, if you like not too sweet things / vegetables, go for it!

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Besides, this is my absolute favorite crisp topping – it has a little extra protein from greek yogurt and almond flour, and is just so fun to eat. It stays crispy even after hanging out in the fridge overnight, which makes this excellent breakfast (see exhibit A).

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I also love it for dessert with ice cream (obviously) – the crisp ends up covered in melty ice cream, making it into slightly indulgent granola/muesli.

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In other news, I’ve been museuming and drawing again, which feels great. I let it lag a little too long I think!

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Of course coffee.

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Here’s hoping you’re enjoying the beginning of the new year! I have good feelings for this one. If you’re in the mood for a lightly sweet, perfectly healthy desserty-breakfast, I’ve got you covered! Happy baking :)

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Kabocha Squash and Apple Walnut Crisp

Gluten free, refined sugar free, and whole grain. Full of healthy fats AND fruits & veggies! Feel free to eat this as breakfast, I certainly did. Side note: we gave it mixed reviews – it feels a little vegetabley to be dessert – I almost wonder if it would work as a side dish. That being said, if you like not too sweet things / vegetables, go for it! Adapted from the Raz-Apple crisp I made around Thanksgiving, here. Yield: 1 2-quart baking dish (it’s about 8 by 8 and deep). Serves: 2 for dessert & then breakfast! Or… you know, a normal amount of people.

For the filling:

2-3 largish Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced into thin wedges*
1 small kabocha squash, peeled & cubed*
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 c port**
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons arrowroot starch
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice

*I just approximate as I slice; I use however many it takes to fill my 2 quart, 8×8 baking dish; for ease of cutting kabocha squash, I recommend slicing it in half, then in wedges and using a knife to carefully peel it. The peel is totally edible, but I didn’t want its texture in the crisp. You’ll still get an arm workout peeling these babies, believe me!

**the port is optional but amazing; if you don’t use it, use 1/4c water instead

For the crisp:

1 cup old-fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free oats for a gluten-free crisp)
½ cup firmly packed almond flour
½ cup chopped walnuts
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tbsp maple sugar
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350.
In a veggie steamer (I use a metal steamer inside a pot), steam the kabocha squash for 10-15 minutes, until just barely fork tender.

Slice apples into a deep baking dish, and add steamed kabocha squash (my dish is 8×8, 2 qt capacity; 9″ square or 9″ deep pie dish would also be fine). In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the maple and water/port until combined. Add the lemon juice, arrowroot, cinnamon and allspice, and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture over the squash and apples and toss to combine. Bake for 15 minutes.

While the filling is baking, make the crisp. In a mixing bowl, stir together the oats, almond meal, walnuts, shredded coconut, maple sugar and salt. Mix in the vanilla, melted butter and the yogurt. Stir until everything is mixed thoroughly.

Once the filling has baked for 15 minutes, stir to redistribute it evenly in the dish. Plop spoonfuls of the crisp topping evenly over the filling – no need to pack it down. Return the dish to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 more minutes, until the filling is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden.

Let the crisp rest at least 5 to 10 minutes before serving; or do like I did and make it earlier in the day, and have it later. Serve with vanilla ice cream, obviously! Keep leftovers, covered, in the fridge for about three days (yeah right. It would take some kind of major feat to make it last that long; ours was gone in just over 1!) Serve cold alongside breakfast because it’s extra awesome that way.

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Breakfast disguised as dessert

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Ahh, the post-thanksgiving stupor….

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Just kidding! No such thing. First thing Friday morning was jazzercise, of course; I hate sitting still for too long. Thanksgiving itself was full of family and laughter & lots of croquet (ha!) – and of course, food. I was asked to bring the cornmeal apple & ginger cake that I made a few weeks ago; I made it with fresh ginger this time instead of crystallized, and I’m happy to report it’s amazing both ways.

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But for the days after Thanksgiving, a fruit-heavy, non-pie dessert was definitely required.

Perfect mornings look like this:

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Plus, I discovred a glut of late-season raspberries at the market a while back and pounced on them, knowing I’d want to pair them with apples strictly so I could go around saying RAZAPPLE! Ha.

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This crisp bakes up so well, you find yourselves eating bits of the crisp topping with your fingers.. not that we did that or anything…

It makes a stellar addition to breakfast alongside – what else? eggs and kale! – and I could argue that it’s even better the next day. We both liked that the apples retain their integrity – they don’t become a pile of mush, but they’re not crispy either – they’re somewhere in between & are absolutely delicious. This is one of my favorite things that I’ve made lately – simple, delicious, and seasonal. Happy baking!

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Raz-Apple Walnut Crisp

Gluten free & refined sugar free, with an easy dairy free/vegan option. Full of healthy fats and whole grains. Perfect for fall when there’s a glut of late summer berries at the market but apples are starting to be in season… for that matter, frozen raspberries work just fine too. Lightly sweet, tart and perfect for dessert and breakfast. Adapted from Cookie and Kate, here! Yield: 1 8×8 deep pan, serves 2 w/ leftovers for 1, haha…. kidding, only not really! Serves more like 6 normal humans.

  • For dairy free/vegan, sub coconut oil for the butter & non-dairy (coconut would be good!) yogurt for the dairy yogurt; bake as directed

For the filling:

5 largish (or 7 small) Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced into thin wedges*
2 c raspberries (frozen is fine)
scant ⅓ cup maple syrup
1/8 c port**
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons arrowroot starch
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice

*I just approximate as I slice; I use however many it takes to fill my 2 quart, 8×8 baking dish

**the port is optional but amazing; if you don’t use it, use 1/8c water instead

For the crisp:

1 cup old-fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free oats for a gluten-free crisp)
½ cup firmly packed almond flour
½ cup chopped walnuts
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 c maple sugar
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350.
Slice apples into a deep baking dish, and add raspberries (my dish is 8×8, 2 qt capacity; 9″ square or 9″ deep pie dish would also be fine). In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the maple and water/port until combined. Add the lemon juice, arrowroot, cinnamon and allspice, and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture over the apples and toss to combine. Bake for 20 minutes.

While the filling is baking, make the crisp. In a mixing bowl, stir together the oats, almond meal, walnuts, shredded coconut, maple sugar and salt. Mix in the vanilla, melted butter and the yogurt. Stir until everything is mixed thoroughly.

Once the filling has baked for 20 minutes, stir it to redistribute evenly in the dish. Plop spoonfuls of the crisp topping evenly over the filling – no need to pack it down. Return the dish to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 more minutes, until the filling is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden.

Let the crisp rest at least 5 to 10 minutes before serving; or do like I did and make it earlier in the day, and have it later. Serve with vanilla ice cream, obviously! Keep leftovers, covered, in the fridge for about five days (yeah right. It would take some kind of major feat to make it last that long; ours was gone in 2 days!) Serve cold alongside breakfast because it’s extra awesome that way.

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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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Rhubarb Stalking

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Rhubarb stalking!

… see what I did there? I’m especially proud of that one…

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Sometimes, you just gotta stalk the seasonal produce of your dreams (especially when it has stalks… heeheeehe!) Luckily, I found a big bunch at my local market a few weeks ago, chopped it up and threw it in the freezer for later use. And what a smart plan that was! Frozen rhubarb bakes like a dream, which meant this crisp was in and out of the oven in an hour, including prep time.

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We seem to be getting full-on summer weather (90+ degrees, ew someone save me) here for a few days — I trotted out my old trick of baking at 6:30 in the morning so that the oven doesn’t heat up the apartment overly much (definitely warranted when you live in a studio… no one likes a furnace for an apartment).

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But! This crisp is worth a slightly warm apartment… especially since we’re getting close to the end of the rhubarb season I think (at least around here); I’m not seeing it in the market as much lately. If it’s still around you, stalk those suckers! You need this crisp in your life.

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Tart-sweet, with an unexpected earthiness from the sage – this one is a winner for dessert with some ice cream, and for breakfast the next day (obviously, that’s what leftover crisp is made for, it’s basically granola and fruit!) Not really sure what prompted me to try sage in dessert but I am NOT sorry – I think it might become a reoccurring thing around here, that’s how good it was! I really like the flavor paired with fruit, and it would be interesting to see where else it might play a role.

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Another from the SF series – I photographed the dome when I was over at the Herbst Theater a bit over a week ago.

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Happy May! Go stalk some rhubarb before it disappears for the season, make crisp & eat it with your loved ones. I promise it tastes even better in good company :)

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Rhubarb Blackberry Crisp with Sage

Tart-sweet, with an unexpected earthiness hit from the sage. Perfect for dessert with ice cream of choice, and for breakfast the next day. Refined sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, vegan. Yield: 1 9″ pie plate; serves 6-8 (or 2… not that I speak from experience). A Wait are those Cookies original.

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For the filling:

  • 3.5 c fresh rhubarb, chopped into small pieces (frozen is also fine – run briefly under cool water in a colander to thaw slightly before using)
  • 1.5 c blackberries (mine were frozen)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • juice of one meyer (or regular) lemon
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup

For the crisp:

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

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease a 9″ pie plate or 9×9 pan with coconut oil.

In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, almond flour, sea salt, pecans, 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 and chopped sage.

If using frozen rhubarb & blackberries, put them in a colander and run them briefly under cool water in the sink to thaw them slightly. Drain any excess water and toss into another large bowl. Add vanilla extract, lemon juice, and maple, and toss to combine.

Add the rhubarb + 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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Sophisticated cookies and a banana bread fail

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Holy balls, batman…

My house smells DIVINE.

Mostly because this just happened:

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Mooooore coooookies!! Because really. Do I even need to justify this?! You can never have too many cookies. It’s also Cookie Thursday so, um, HELLO it wouldn’t be Cookie Thursday unless there were cookies. Obvi.

Incidentally I also made some bomb paleo banana bread except that it freaking stuck all over the inside of the pan and now I have a very misshapen and structurally unsound loaf. It is, however, extremely tasty. So, no complaints. Besides, I got to eat the bits that stuck all over everywhere, so I’m obviously not complaining.

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I think I have chocolate on my face somewhere.

I haven’t looked in a mirror to ascertain this for certain, but somehow I am quite sure there’s a smear somewhere. Apparently this is standard protocol around here, chocolate-on-face. And on my camera, apparently. I’ve just discovered that as well.

Yes well.. moving on.

Considering I got an enormous batch of florentines and a loaf of banana bread in and out of the oven in about an hour, I am suitably impressed with myself. Quite a productive day, I must say. I located shoes for a June 1st wedding I’m in (wheeee!!!), and made things. And ate a really really delicious salad and some brussels. And now I essentially just want banana bread for dinner. That’s acceptable, isn’t it?? I’m an adult. Surely I can make these educated decisions for myself…

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Chocolate Pecan Florentines

Recipe adapted from Brave Tart, here! Yield: 43 cookies [aka an effton]. Thin, crispy-chewy, chocolately, nutty, and sweet. These are… delicious. And not particularly good for you. But hey, life is short and there is NO TIME for anything that isn’t delicious. So make these and eat them and be happy for eating them. And yes… you’re going to have to get out a scale. Soooorrryyyy but sometimes I have to get all technical on you.

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  • 12 ounces whole pecans
  • 4 ounces extra dark chocolate chips
  • 6 ounces whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 ounce unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 8 ounces coconut oil
  • 3.75 ounces raw honey
  • 8 ounces coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp finely ground espresso (mine was decaf)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper (or two, if you’re planning on rotating). And don’t even THINK about skipping the paper. You will hate life in about a half an hour. Preheat the oven to 350.

In the food processor, combine pecans and chocolate chips, and pulse until all the largish chunks are gone. It should be chunky though, not finely ground. Dump all this into a bowl, and add flour and cocoa powder. Stir to combine.

In a medium saucepan, heat coconut oil and honey until liquified. Stir in sugar, salt, and espresso. Bring this to a boil, stirring frequently to ensure the sugar is dissolving. Remove from heat once the sugar has gotten thicker—only a few minutes for me. It should smell like caramel! Stir in vanilla. Let this cool for a few minutes, then pour it into the dry ingredients. Stir to combine.

Drop dough by the tablespoon onto the prepared cookie sheets, leaving enough room between the cookies for them to spread (I got 12 to a cookie sheet). Bake for 13-15 minutes (Mine went more like 15), then remove from the oven and let cool completely on the cookie sheet. I was lazy and left mine irregularly shaped, but feel free to make them perfectly circular with a cutter.

Store in an airtight container. I will most likely store mine in the fridge.

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