A match-a made in heaven

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Tea! I love green things.

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This tart technically has *two* teas in it – or rather one tea and one herb that is dried to make a tisane. New info to me, but apparently steeped herbs, flowers, spices or fruit is actually considered a tisane, not tea (‘tea’ proper refers to leaves from the Camellia Sinensis plant, ie black tea). Tisane translates to ‘herbal infusion’ in French. Yay for trivia! But still – delicious either way.

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Both flavor are earthy, grassy and so fresh – they just go wonderfully together. Lightly sweet as all my stuff is – this works extremely well with ice cream for dessert, or by itself for a fun breakfast.

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Busy busy lately… I have one piece of news I can share publicly now – I have a new job! I will be starting June 10, but first flying to Dallas for onboarding and training. My official start in the SF office will be that Friday. YAY! I’m equal parts excited and terrified. I’ll be working as the marketing coordinator for a big architectural firm – they’re based out of Houston originally but I’ll be the marketing person for SF. Wheeee!

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That being said, desserts might take a slight hiatus for a few weeks, since I already know the next two weekends are going to be insanity. Hopefully I can squeeze something in, but no promises!

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I know there’s been a huge run of panna cotta tarts lately over here, but we both love them and they’re so convenient to make ahead when I’m working! Also, I’ve had my eye on this flavor combination for AGES so I was jonesing to make it before I didn’t have time to bake properly for awhile.

I hope you have a great holiday weekend!

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Matcha & Verbena Panna Cotta Tart

Earthy, grassy, and delicious. This is a sure bet for anyone who loves tea – since both matcha and verbena are such great fresh flavors, they go really well together. Lightly sweet, as always – great for dessert with ice cream or a special breakfast. Gluten free, dairy free & refined sugar free. Yield: 1 9″ tart, serves several. A Wait are Those Cookies original!

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For the crust:

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

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, cornmeal, 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 (w/ removable bottom) 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.

Panna Cotta:
1 package unflavored powdered gelatin
1.75 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/4 c dried lemon verbena
1.5 tbsp vanilla bean paste
Scant 1/4 cup maple
Scant 1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp matcha powder
1/4 c lemon verbena tea, cold*

*I use loose leaf dried verbena; I steep a small handful in 10oz of freshly boiling water for ~5min to make tea

Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan. Add lemon verbena, maple, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring consistently. Remove from the heat and cover to steep for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup of the cold lemon verbena tea. Let stand without stirring until the gelatin is moistened, about 10 minutes.

Strain the verbena out of the coconut mixture. Pour it back into the saucepan and add matcha (blend if necessary with an immersion blender if you have a few matcha blobs), then bring it back to a simmer. Remove from heat, and whisk in the gelatin mixture. Stir until completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Cool until lukewarm. Pour the panna cotta mixture into the cooled tart shell. Place in the refrigerator until set, approximately 4 hours.

Store in the fridge – keeps well overnight for breakfast the next morning :)

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Summer is for shortcakes

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Hi! I have cream biscuit shortcakes today.

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I’ve always thought that strawberry shortcake is just about the most June dessert there is.  I love shortcakes in most any form with pretty much any fruit, but C and I both agreed this one in particular is about the most perfect iteration. We might be a little biased since we both are obsessed with these cream biscuits, but whatever – this is pretty perfect.

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Simple, unsweetened cornmeal cream biscuits for the base, unsweetened sliced strawberries (they are just so perfect right now!), and some ice cream or whipped cream to finish it off: such a perfect trifecta.

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I did a bit of baking on Saturday morning, which was a great way to start the day. A batch of cookies for C’s studio recital, and then shortcakes for later! No complaints there – it was a good day.

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We both agree that these biscuits are also the perfect morning biscuit – not sweet, just so satisfying. They’re crumbly and flakey in the best way and go wonderfully alongside anything you might eat toast with (ie eggs and kale!). Of course, we did that – are you shocked? Ha. I didn’t think so.

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I’ll keep it short and sweet today: do yourself a favor and whip these babies out! They come together and bake up quite speedily, which is a boon when it’s hot out and you don’t want to run the oven excessively. Happy baking!

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Cornmeal Cream Biscuit Strawberry Shortcakes

Lightly sweet, perfectly biscuity. Summer dessert at its finest and most simple! Whole grain and refined sugar free. Yield: 8 biscuits. I adapted this one from my previous cream biscuit recipe; a Wait are Those Cookies original.

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For the cream biscuits:

1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 c cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp unsalted cold butter, cut into small chunks
1 pint heavy cream + extra for brushing the tops of the biscuits
coconut sugar for sprinkling

For serving:

Sliced strawberries
Whipped cream or ice cream

Preheat the oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder. Cut in the butter using a fork, your fingers (my preferred method!) or a pastry cutter until the butter is the size of small peas. Stir in the cream and vanilla with a fork until blended.

Lightly knead the dough a few times in the bowl, then turn it out on to a floured board or countertop and roll out to about 3/4″ thick. Cut 6 biscuits out – either circular or square, you do you! Reroll the scraps for 2-3 more. Place the biscuits on the lined baking sheet, brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with a little coconut sugar if desired, and bake for about 17 minutes until lightly golden.

Remove from baking sheet and let cool before serving.

To serve, split them in half & pile with whipped cream or ice cream & strawberries! Simple, summery.

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Strawberry Season!

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Happy Weekend!

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The strawberries are perfect over here right now – so, so perfect! I picked up a carton over the weekend and knew I needed to do something with them, besides just eat them over my sink.

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I love the idea of olive oil cakes – olive oil is one of my favorite things anyway, and putting it in cake just makes it that much better. Obviously all of my desserts trend not-so-sweet, and this one is no exception: the strawberries provide the necessary sweetness against the more mellow, lightly fruity cake.

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We decided that the cake itself is somewhat of a cornbread – shortbread hybrid (not so much in texture but in taste) – especially when eaten with ice cream and strawberries; we both go bonkers for cornmeal & polenta over here so it’s a win all around.

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Besides that, it’s a very easy cake that comes together in a snap and doesn’t require any overly unusual ingredients. We ate it for dessert and also (because it’s us!) for breakfast yesterday morning – no photos since it was a hurried morning, but never fear – it was eaten alongside the usual eggs, kale and coffee!

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Still loving the photos from last week’s hike to Twin Peaks – here is another of my favorites. This looks like it could be the Elysian Fields or something of that nature!

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Anyway – seize the moment of perfect strawberries, and put them on cake! Happy weekend!

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Olive Oil Polenta Cake with Strawberries

Fruity, very lightly sweet cake that is something of a cross between cornbread and a shortcake – we really noticed the comparison to shortcake with eaten with ice cream and strawberries, but it is also great for breakfast of course, with a little extra olive oil and strawberries. Gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free. A Wait are Those Cookies original! Yield: 1 8″ cake.

1/2 c olive oil
1.5 c almond flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 c maple
4 eggs
zest of one meyer lemon
3 tbsp meyer lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
strawberries for serving

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease an 8″ cake pan – if not using a springform, cut large strips of parchment paper to go underneath the cake with their edges hanging over the pan edge to make for easy removal.

Whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.

Using an electric mixer, beat eggs until pale yellow in color. Beat in olive oil, maple, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture in batches, beating until just incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until the top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out with crumbs attached, 35-40 minutes. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then cool on a wire rack completely for about an hour before serving.

I cut up strawberries a few hours before serving and tossed them with a drizzle of olive oil and meyer lemon juice – I let them sit until serving and they were DELICIOUS. Highly recommended.

Serve with strawberries and ice cream and maybe an extra drizzle of olive oil.

Cake keeps really well covered in foil on the counter overnight & is excellent for breakfast – I’d eat it within three days for maximal freshness.

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Dessert straight out of Dagobah

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Green things!

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Because of course I would make myself something ridiculously green for a (belated) birthday dessert!

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Naturally it would also have a tiny Yoda in it, because that seems to have become the birthday dessert tradition around here (reference this cake!) and I am unashamedly nerdy – besides that, this dessert looks like it’s just come out of Dagobah, so it only seems fitting that Yoda would take up residence, right?

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I have to say, I LOVED this (there I go again blowing my own horn regarding my baking, oops sorry). I already love matcha lattes, but this was something else. Earthy, lightly chocolatey, and not one of those desserts that put you into a coma – it’s the perfect post-opera snack and breakfast alongside eggs. Besides, then you can drink your coffee and eat your tea!

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Besides all that, how fun to have something so GREEN for dessert? And then alongside other greens at breakfast (because tea is breakfast food, obvs) – I was having fun with all of the tones of green (art history nerdiness is making an appearance, clearly).

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I mean, this thing is really aggressively green. It is not for the faint of heart, but luckily myself and the one I fed it to loved it, and is obviously fine with green dessert.

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Among other things, I will have been to the opera three times by Saturday night – YAY!  Green dessert + opera is my kind of week!

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So! Like green tea? Do yourself a favor and make a matcha tart! You won’t be sorry, and you can impress your friends with the GREEN-NESS of it all!

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Matcha Custard Tart on Cacao Coconut Almond Crust

Lightly sweet and perfect for those who love their matcha lattes! This is somewhere between a custard and a mousse – the filling is light & earthy, and plays perfectly against the chocolate crust. Grain and gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free, and paleoish (it’s sweetened with maple, so it depends on your def of paleo). Yield: 1 9″ tart. Serves: 2. Ha! Eat for dessert & breakfast, because tea = breakfast food.

For the crust:

1.5 c almond flour
1/3 c unsweetened cacao powder
1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
3.5 tbsp coconut oil, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, 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 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.

Increase the oven temp to 375. While the crust is baking, make the custard.

For the matcha coconut milk custard:

3 cups coconut milk
3 large eggs
1/3 c maple syrup
3 tablespoons tapioca starch
2 tablespoons culinary-grade matcha powder
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

Heat coconut milk in medium saucepan over medium-low heat until it just barely simmers, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, sugar, cornstarch, matcha powder, vanilla, and salt in medium bowl.

Whisk warm milk into egg mixture in slow, steady stream to temper the eggs. Return egg and milk mixture to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, until custard begins to thicken and forms a ridge on tip of spoon when bottom of pan is scraped and spoon is lifted, about 4-6 minutes. Remove crust from the oven and pour in the custard*. Bake until custard has set around edges but jiggles slightly in the center when shaken, 13-15 minutes. Cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Refrigerate until serving.

Decorate with raspberries, strawberries & coconut (and a tiny Yoda) if you’re so inclined! Serve with ice cream for dessert or eat straight up for breakfast. Refrigerate any leftovers, covered.

*Note – I had slightly more custard than what would fit comfortably in my pie plate. You have options here – bake it in some smaller ramekins until set, or maybe add some tapioca pearls and make pudding? I didn’t do that but now I wish I had! If you do, let me know how it turns out…

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Sometimes dessert is just messy and comical

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BEWARE THE BLOB!

I had to laugh when I took this out of the oven. I’m not sure if it was due to the humidity or what, but when I made cream biscuits this time, instead of staying all nice and biscuit-y shaped, they all just decided to merge and become… the BLOB!

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You can kind of see the divisions between the biscuits (there are technically 8 of them), but I still cracked myself up when I took it out. Not to mention the very red berry juice making its escape over the sides…

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Add to that the explosion of berry juice that occurred in my oven – thank heavens for precautionary foil; I only had one really (quite large) entrepreneurial drip escape its confines and end up on the oven floor – this is one of those desserts that definitely tastes better than it looks! Although if you’re going for comic value… well…

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Also not helped by some odd overcast light this morning when I was trying to photograph before running off to the office.. sorry for the slightly off photos. If I promise it’s delicious, will you believe me?! I wouldn’t virtually feed you subpar food, promise.

Regardless of what it looks like, this cobbler is a great excuse for using up the last of summer berries – no more white shoes for you! It’s after Labor Day! Not that I really ever follow that rule, or even own white dress shoes…

A few things from late-summer life lately:

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Anyway. You really don’t need an excuse to make cobbler, so what are you waiting for? Go create a blob of your very own! But… don’t say I didn’t warn you…. BEWARE THE BLOB!

Hehe.

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Summer Berry Cobbler with Meyer Lemon Cream Biscuits

Lightly sweet and (barely) naturally sweetened, and perfect for showcasing the last of summer’s berries. Strawberries, blackberries and raspberries play perfectly with meyer lemon, present both in the filling and in the cream biscuits. Whole grain and refined sugar free. Adapted from the rhubarb ginger mint cobbler I made awhile back, here. Yield: 1 9″ cobbler; serves… several. Or two. Your call!

For the filling:

  • 4 c strawberries, quartered (unless they’re really small, in which case halved is fine)*
  • ~1 c mixed blackberries & raspberries**
  • zest of 1 meyer lemon
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c arrowroot starch

*Basically, you want as much fruit as you need to fill your pan of choice. This about does it for me in my 9″ pie plate; I need a larger dish though since mine totally overflowed this time… whoops

**I bake straight from frozen (usually I buy mine when on sale & freeze them for later); fresh would also be fine

For the cobbler topping:

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c whole grain spelt flour
  • zest of 2 meyer lemons
  • 2 tbsp meyer lemon juice
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar + a little extra for brushing the biscuit tops
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 c heavy cream (I prefer Straus because… it’s the best!), divided + a little extra for brushing the biscuit tops

Preheat the oven to 375, and grab a 9″ pie dish (or an 8 by 8 pan would be fine too I’m sure; so would a cast iron skillet if you’d rather) Just make sure whatever you use is deep enough! Not that I speak from experience…. Stick some foil on the rack below the rack on which you’ll bake the cobbler, just in case of drips.

In a large bowl, toss together strawberries, raspberries & blackberries, maple syrup, arrowroot, lemon juice & zest, and vanilla. Let sit for at least 5 minutes — easiest to do this while you put together the cream biscuit for the cobbler topping.

For the cream biscuits: in a large bowl, stir together whole wheat and spelt flours, lemon zest, coconut sugar, baking powder and sea salt. Stir in the heavy cream and lemon juice until combined – the dough will be sticky & rather wet (but DELICIOUS). Spoon large dollops of dough onto the top of the cobbler – I used a large spoon and got about 8 biscuits; you can make them smaller if you like! Brush with a bit of extra cream and sprinkle with coconut sugar. Mine obviously all became one big blob, but whatever. Delicious.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the cobbler is beginning to go golden around the edges, and the fruit is bubbling (or the juices runneth over…). A thermometer (if you have one) is useful here – the internal temp of the centermost biscuit should be 200F. Let cool before serving – awesome either warm out of the oven, or room temp later – with ice cream either way, obviously. AND it’s even better for breakfast the next day; leftovers keep well, covered 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.