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 mum, 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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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.