All the change, all at once. Why not?!

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Internet friends!

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Hello! It feels like it’s been forever. I started my new job last week – though I had two first days, one in Dallas for the marketing group and then one in SF at my actual office – and I signed the lease on an adorable little apartment today! I can’t wait to live in the same city in which I work, AND the apartment building is a 1920s original. The architecture nerd in me is doing the biggest happy dance. Not to mention that it has an incredible renovated kitchen and I can’t wait to bake in it!

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My walk to work is also substantially awesome:

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Minus the fact that I move the day before camp starts (somewhere, the universe is laughing at me), I am SO excited for all of these changes. I already love my new job!

Dallas was a great trip too – I got to see some incredible sunrise skies and the Thanks-Giving chapel’s amazing ceiling – photos were too good not to share!

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C also has a birthday coming up! We celebrated early since he’ll be off on a cycling trip (wheee!) for his actual birthday but it’s me and of course I couldn’t let it go unmarked – had to provide baked goods! Obviously.

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I have to say, this cake makes an awesome breakfast. It’s kind of like cornbread? Only lightly sweet and super delicious. C and I are only mildly obsessed with fennel right now, so stay tuned for more fennel-y things, as soon as the utter insanity of my life calms down. There might be one or two things before I leave for camp, but no promises.

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I actually made two cakes from one batch – one in an 8″ pan, and the leftover batter in a 5″. It’s a really adaptable cake; you can use an 8″ springform, a 9″ cake pan, 8″ cake pan + a smaller one (cupcake tins would probably work also)… you do you!

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Happy Monday! I hope the rest of your week goes swimmingly :)

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Apple & Fennel Ricotta Polenta Cake

Gluten free and refined sugar free! The fennel and apple balance each other perfectly for a lightly sweet dessert that has a dense crumb. I love it with ice cream, but it’s great on its own as well. Yield: 1 8″ or 9″ cake, serves several. A Wait are those Cookies original!

6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 c maple syrup, divided
zest of 2 meyer lemons
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs, separated
1.25 c almond flour
3/4 c fine polenta
scant 1/2 tsp sea salt
1.25 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 granny smith apple, diced
1 bulb of fennel, grated
1/2 granny smith apple, thinly sliced, for garnish
1/3 cup slivered almonds, optional for garnish
a sprinkle of coconut sugar

Preheat the oven to 325, and either use an 8″ springform pan OR do like I did and use a 8″ cake pan, well greased and lined with two strips of parchment paper so that you can lift the cake out onto a cooling rack easily (the leftover batter went into a 5″ pan; two cakes for the price of one!)

Using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer) , beat butter, half the maple, lemon zest, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add in egg yolks and beat until combined, another minute-ish. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond flour, polenta, and sea salt. Add the dry ingredients into the larger bowl, add ricotta, and stir to combine.

In a separate, non-reactive bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form (preferably with your hand mixer or stand mixer so that your arm doesn’t fall off) – drizzle in the rest of the maple while mixing.

Fold the egg whites into the batter in two batches, then fold in chopped apples and grated fennel. Pour the batter into the cake pan, and top with sliced apples and almonds, if using. Sprinkle with a bit of coconut sugar. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean (mine was done closer to 50 min). Let cool for at least 10 minutes, then lift out onto a cooling rack to cool completely, removing parchment from underneath if you used it. Let cool completely before serving; also delicious cold if you want to stick it in the fridge for an hour or two.

Excellent with a bit of vanilla ice cream (really, what isn’t) for dessert or eat it alongside eggs for breakfast. Keeps well for several days, covered in the fridge or stored in an airtight glass container.

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Nature’s ombré: blood oranges!

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Hello!

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Fun fact of the day – did you know that ricotta is actually *technically* not a cheese? It’s considered a dairy product since it’s made from a dairy by-product, whey. The name comes from the Latin recocta, or ‘twice cooked’. Fascinating! I love things like this.

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Anyway! I’ve got ricotta on the brain since I made this tart for the weekend.

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Blood oranges are very much in season right now, which is making me very happy – I LOVE their color (and flavor!) They pair so well with vanilla bean, it’s almost criminal.

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This tart is lightly sweet, as is everything I make – but packs a powerful orange punch. As a child, I really didn’t like the orange and chocolate combination – what was I thinking?! Thankfully, I aged into more accepting tastebuds, and am happily part of the citrus+chocolate tribe these days.

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Perfect for breakfast or dessert – as usual, we ate it both ways. Last weekend, we did a 9 mile hike from Taraval to Lands’ End & back; this weekend was a lighter 5.5 mile up to Twin Peaks and back. I don’t have any photos from today’s; it was hazy and I wasn’t feeling super motivated – so here is one from last weekend! It was a gorgeous day, and those 9 miles flew by.

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I’ll be back in mid-Feb with some new posts – C and I are going skiing this week (wooo!!!) and after that I’m taking a bit of time off for some r&r with my mama in a nice, tropical location (which hopefully will allow some of annoying & uncomfortable AF autoimmune symptoms to calm down. Ideally, I’ll just spend a ton of time in the water…)

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Happy weekend!

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Ricotta, Vanilla Bean and Blood Orange Tart on a Chocolate Polenta Crust

Lightly sweet but with plenty of orange flavor – for those who love the orange and chocolate combination! Perfect for dessert with a blob of ice cream, or for breakfast. Gluten free and refined sugar free. Yield: 1 9″ tart. A Wait are Those Cookies original! Adapted from my other ricotta tart, here.

For the crust:

1.5 c almond flour
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 c cornmeal
1/4 c unsweetened cacao powder
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
6 tbsp coconut oil, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, cornmeal, cacao powder, coconut, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, 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 9″ tart pan or 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.

For the filling:

1.5 c (15 oz) full fat ricotta
1/2 c full fat coconut milk
scant 1/4 c maple syrup
2 egg yolks
1 egg
zest of 2 blood oranges
Juice of 1 blood orange
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste

This is as easy as it gets: toss ricotta into a large bowl, and stir in the rest of the ingredients: coconut milk, maple, egg yolks + egg, orange zest + juice, and vanilla paste, mixing well to prevent any lumps (heaven forbid).

Tart Assembly:
Pour the ricotta filling into the baked and cooled tart shell. Place in the oven at 350 and bake for about 40-45 minutes, until filling is set. Let cool completely before serving.
Top with sliced blood oranges and shredded coconut if desired! Keep refrigerated until serving. Keeps well overnight in the fridge, covered loosely in plastic wrap – arguably it’s almost better the next day!

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Cake for breakfast? Sign me up.

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Hello! December is progressing at a ridiculously fast clip, as it always seems to….

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I’ve been enjoying all the holiday things – spent yesterday at the Dickens Fair to see friends and fave human do some performing; and happened to come upon these hilarious dead rat gingerbread (clearly I need some new cookie cutters…)

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C and I loved this cake! I riffed on my last ricotta cake to see if I could get it to be more like a cheesecake – this one is definitely that. It reminds me most of cornbread crossed with cheesecake, which sounds weird but I swear it’s amazing. It’s light but dense at the same time, but in a way that isn’t heavy. As per usual it’s not very sweet – the chopped apples in the batter bring just the right amount of sweetness.

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Aside from the extra bowl required to beat the egg whites (which I find super fun – it’s my favorite bit of kitchen alchemy), the cake comes together super quickly and with a minimum of fuss. Arguably could be made in the morning for brunch, but it also keeps excellently in the fridge overnight and is almost better cold, in my opinion, making it a great candidate to be made the night before.

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It goes superbly with ice cream for dessert, but is equally amazing sliced in simple wedges for breakfast. Of course we at it alongside eggs & kale – it would be really perfect to feed a holiday morning crowd!

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I am so very tempted to make this again, and soon – it’s definitely a favorite of mine. Luckily, I’m out of ricotta at the moment, so I’ll settle for brunch with a friend. Happy holidays!! Hug your loved ones and bake them things, I promise they’ll be happy!

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Ricotta Polenta Cake with Apples and Pomegranate

I LOVE this cake. Only lightly sweet, it’s somewhere closer to being a cornbread crossed with a cheesecake. The apples bring just the right amount of natural sweetness – it’s perfect for breakfast. Yield: 1 9″ cake. Adapted from my last ricotta cake, here.

6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 c maple syrup, divided
zest of 2 meyer lemons
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs, separated
1.25 c almond flour
3/4 c fine polenta
scant 1/2 tsp sea salt
1.25 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 granny smith apple, diced
1/2 granny smith apple, thinly sliced, for garnish
1/3 cup slivered almonds, optional for garnish
a sprinkle of coconut sugar
thinly sliced apples & pomegranate arils for garnish
a bit of chopped crystalized ginger, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 325, and either use an 8″ springform pan OR do like I did and use a 9″ cake pan, well greased and lined with two strips of parchment paper so that you can lift the cake out onto a cooling rack easily.

Using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer) , beat butter, half the maple, lemon zest, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add in egg yolks and beat until combined, another minute-ish. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond flour, polenta, and sea salt. Add the dry ingredients into the larger bowl, add ricotta, and stir to combine.

In a separate, non-reactive bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form (preferably with your hand mixer or stand mixer so that your arm doesn’t fall off) – drizzle in the rest of the maple while mixing.

Fold the egg whites into the batter in two batches, then fold in chopped apples. Pour the batter into the cake pan, and top with sliced apples and almonds, if using. Sprinkle with a bit of coconut sugar. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean (mine was done closer to 50 min). Let cool for at least 10 minutes, then lift out onto a cooling rack to cool completely, removing parchment from underneath if you used it. Let cool completely before serving; also delicious cold if you want to stick it in the fridge for an hour or two.

Garnish with pomegranate arils before serving! Excellent with a bit of vanilla ice cream (really, what isn’t) for dessert or eat it alongside eggs for breakfast. Keeps well for several days, covered in the fridge or stored in an airtight glass container.

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Life is just peachy

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Hello friends!

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It’s been a few weeks; life has been busy with little time for baking, ugh! Thankfully, I caught a break and a chance to bake this…

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I love making tarts; they’re so effortlessly pretty! This one is almost a quiche – C and I were laughing about that over brunch (of eggs, kale and tart, obviously). I mean, it’s eggs and cheese in a crust, couldn’t we arguably call that a quiche?! Ha. Never mind that it’s studded with chunks of dark chocolate… no matter. Dark chocolate has antioxidants, which are definitely part of a healthy breakfast.

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We both LOVED this one – lightly sweet, sturdy wedges that you can pick up and fly around like a Star Destroyer (what?? I’m a nerd) and which make a great breakfast.

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I believe the ricotta tart idea might be Tuscan in origin, which makes quite a bit of sense… no matter its provenance, it’s delicious! I fed some leftovers to the fam and they loved it too, so rave reviews all around.

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Not only that, but it comes together in no time! Which is doubly excellent when your life has gotten inexplicably crazy busy and the only time to bake is early in the morning. Added bonus of early morning baking is that my apartment is still cool, so running the oven doesn’t seem like quite such an offense.

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Happy August! Stone fruit season is in full swing, I highly recommend a market trip with a dessert in mind :)

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Ricotta Peach Tart on an Almond Coconut Crust

Gluten free, grain free, and refined sugar free. Delicious all around! Very lightly sweet, perfect for breakfast (and also dessert, of course, but I really love it for breakfast & snacks!). Yield: 1 9″ tart. A Wait are Those Cookies Original

For the crust:

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

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut,, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, 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 your tart pan or pie dish of choice 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 10 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes.

For the ricotta filling:

1 2/3 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
Scant 1/4 cup maple
2 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs
4 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped
zest of 2 lemons
2 peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into thin slices

Preheat oven to 400°F

Make the filling:

Combine the ricotta with the eggs and maple. Add the zest and chocolate. Pour the filling into the slightly cooled tart shell. Top with sliced peaches. Bake for about 50-55 minutes or until the ricotta filling is set; the top will be firm and golden brown.

Allow the tart to cool in the pan, then remove the ring and cool completely before refrigerating. Serve cool or at room temperature; store leftovers covered in the fridge.

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Holiday weekends require dessert!

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Happy Memorial Day weekend!

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This dessert could not be more well timed – of course, holiday weekends call for dessert but more obviously – I inadvertently made a patriotic dessert on Memorial weekend! I love when things like that happen.

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Mostly I got lucky – blueberries and strawberries are amazing (and on sale! woohoo!!) right now, so of course I have those sitting in my fridge in spades. I always feel that tarts like this need some embellishment, and BOOM! Helloooo, berries.

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This is light and fresh – just what you want for a summer dessert.

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We ate it with softly whipped cream for dessert (I haven’t had whipped cream in far too long, I’m glad we fixed that particular travesty) and then again – of course – for our brunch/lunch thing around 1p. Is that lunch? Or could it be brunch since we didn’t eat anything except a bit of chocolate and a banana after sleeping in, before hiking?? Hmm. I think it can still be brunch. Anyway… it tasted especially good the second time around; we’d just finished a great hike up to Twin Peaks – somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 miles and over 1000′ elevation gain in less than two hours. Booyaaah! No wonder we were hungry.

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Hike stats! I am a nerd and as such I find these things fascinating. And pictures, of course.

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The weather was beautiful, with a really nice breeze off the fog (since my body is still having major issues these days, especially with regulating its temperature, cool breezes are a MUST).

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We both loved this tart – it’s delicious on its own, or with whipped cream. Highly recommended – we blew through this thing in two sittings (well, the hike definitely helped the second go-round, ha!) and I think there are about two servings left… although that could have changed since I last assessed the situation.

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Happy holiday weekend! Enjoy the extra day and do some baking :)

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Lemon Ricotta Berry Tart on a Walnut Coconut Crust

Light, lemony and a perfect for a summer dessert: the lemon ricotta filling is tart and creamy, balanced nicely by the walnut-oat-coconut crust. Fresh berries are a must! Gluten free, refined sugar free and whole grain. For those who like their desserts a little on the tart side ;) Yield: 1 9″ tart, serves… several, or else two really hungry people who just took a long hike! A Wait are those Cookies original.

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For the crust:

1 c rolled oats
1 c walnuts
1/4 c shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 c almond flour
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter or ghee, melted
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350.

Add oats into a food processor and pulse until finely ground (you’re making oat flour). Dump that out into a bowl, and add the walnuts into the processor – pulse these until very finely ground, but be careful you don’t end up with walnut butter! Add walnuts to the bowl, followed by the coconut, almond flour, maple, sea salt, melted butter and vanilla. Stir until everything is incorporated, then press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie or tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.

For the filling:

1.25 c (9 oz) full fat ricotta
1/2 c heavy cream
scant 1/4 c maple syrup
2 egg yolks
1 egg
zest of 3 lemons
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon juice

This is as easy as it gets: toss ricotta into a large bowl, and stir in the rest of the ingredients: cream, maple, egg yolks + egg, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mixing well to prevent any lumps (heaven forbid).

Tart Assembly:
Pour the ricotta filling into the baked and cooled tart shell. Place in the oven at 350 and bake for 35-45 minutes – the center of the tart should be set when done. Let cool completely before serving. Slide the tart pan ring off before serving if you used a pan with a removable bottom like I did.

Top with berries and shredded coconut if desired! Serve with softly whipped cream – I highly recommend it. Keep refrigerated until serving. Keeps well overnight in the fridge, covered loosely in plastic wrap – arguably it’s almost better the next day, of course for breakfast!

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Pancake Thursday :)

Pfankuchen!!

I put something green in my pancakes again, teeheehee!

And no, this time it was NOT spinach, and I didn’t get to use my baby food processor. Any guesses? Anyone? Anyone? …Bueller?

I’ll give you a hint.

My pet donated it.

And by pet, I mean Watson.

And yes. He IS my pet. I put him outside every day and water him…. and talk to him. He’s cute! But. Since you probably can’t guess…

BASIL! mmmm… fresh basil… there’s nothing quite like it.

Meet Watson. Watson, you're famous!

I really don’t think Watson objected to donating basil for our pancakes…at least, he didn’t seem to, and we didn’t ask him (rude, I know), since we’d been grocery shopping and came home ridiculously hungry. Not my fault that WinCo is basically a workout in of itself, and we stopped at a bunch of other stores (mega YAYY for Salem finally having a Trader Joe’s!). So suffice it to say that we probably would have eaten Watson for dinner (I covered his ears, don’t worry, he didn’t hear that), except he didn’t seem very filling. Luckily, we had an alternate plan, namely… Pancakes! What else would we make on Thursdays? Besides, when we double fist the skillets, we can have pancakes in no time, which satisfies two mega hungry college-types (ok, one soon-to-be-not-college type and once recent college type).

These pancakes were fantastic! They were unlike any pancakes I’d ever had (and Kira gave them thumbs up too)—sort of almost savory, but with a distinctive basil flavor. They are made with ricotta, and the flavor of that really comes out as well. They go really well with pear (and we may or may not have had some Nutella lurking in the cupboard, muahah), and also with almond butter (of course!). I was eating them plain, they were that good. I’d definitely make these again (and I’m sure we will, provided Watson continues to flourish).

Besides… I really like having green bits in my pancakes. Or entirely green pancakes, either way.

Ricotta, Basil and Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Serves 2. Adapted from here!

Whatcha need:

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 cup part skim ricotta
  • 3/4 cup milk (we subbed in coconut milk beverage, which was deeeelicious. and because we could, says Kira!)
  • 3 tablespoons ish Earth Balance, melted and cooled. I say ish because it was a few spoonfuls, a very ‘ish’ amount.
  • 1 egg
  • choc chippies, for chucking into the pancakes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil (FRESH, pleeease), finely chopped with your lovely chef’s knife.

Whatcha do!

Mix flour, salt, brown sugar, and baking powder. Sifting is probably a good idea… but obviously not crucial as I *ahem* didn’t. In a separate, cute small bowl, mix ricotta, egg, and milk type thing, along with melted buttahh. Mix wet into dry, and toss in basil from your trusty Watson pet.

Heat your skillet(s), preferably more than one in the interest of expediency, and make pfankuchen! Ideally speaking German whilst making them, because German is WAAAY more fun than English… wouldn’t you rather say Loffel for spoon? I know I would. And apparently moose is Amerikanisher Elk. Who knew?

Make pfankuchen. Add choc chippies according to your desired ratio… I like about 4 or 5 per pancake, carefully placed onto the top of the cooking pancake. So I’m particular… don’t judge!

Eat! Yayyy, this is the best part :)