Orange bars: like a creamsicle only WAY better

img_5192

Hello!! I have citrusy goodness for you today, because this time of year is all about the citrus and scurvy is bad news.

Besides that, I used to LOVE 50/50 bars when I was a kid (you know, those popsicle-looking things that were orange on the outside and vanilla on the inside? also known as a creamsicle?) and I wanted something that tasted sort of like that, only WAY better and not filled with all the junk. So I made these!

img_5182

Orange bars with a vanilla almond crust… pair them with vanilla ice cream and they are pretty much the perfect citrus dessert.

img_5179

img_5183

Let’s see, what else is new… more drawing, of course — still on the SF series, naturally.

img_5168

I think that’s about it, otherwise I’m business as usual over here — didn’t really bake diddly for Thanksgiving so I’ll have to make up for it at Christmas, which is (gasp) rapidly approaching.

img_5187

Citrus was requested and I was thinking of doing something along those lines anyway, but I really wanted to do something besides lemon. I LOVE lemon, but… it’s always the favored child when it comes to citrus desserts. Let’s let oranges have their time in the limelight, ya know? …. Limelight? Really?? That just happened. Let’s see how many citrus references can fit in one sentence…

img_5186

Anywayyyy. Make these! Eat them! Your neglected oranges will love you, and you’ll get a nice blast of creamsicle nostalgia.

img_5180

Orange Bars with Vanilla Almond Crust

(Otherwise known as Creamsicle bars but that’s probably trademarked…)

Gluten & grain free, refined sugar free, easy dairy free option, probs paleo depending on your definition… all around delicious. I was going for the creamsicle flavor profile here and I haven’t eaten a 50/50 bar in years, but I’m pretty sure this really close (and, frankly, better tasting… let’s be real). These bars are light and citrusy, easy, delicious, and free of all the junk!

Sorry for some of the strange measurements — I prefer this in an 8 by 8 pan and I like my layers a little thicker, which is why the measurements are a little weird. Don’t forget to zest your oranges and then juice them! Nothing like attempting to zest pre-juiced oranges, it might be one of the more annoying kitchen things I’ve inadvertently done.

img_5184

For the crust:

  • 1.5 c almond flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • heaping 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 + 1/8 c unsalted almond butter
  • 1.5 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1.5 tbsp salted butter, softened (or coconut oil for non dairy)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 4.5 eggs*
  • scant 3/4 c pure maple syrup
  • zest of 3 oranges, roughly chopped
  • 1/4c + 1/8c fresh orange juice
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 4.75 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

* to achieve half an egg: crack an egg into a small bowl and whisk it; then either measure or eyeball half and use that. or just use a whole one as long as it’s small, I doubt it would affect the consistency of the bars all that much…

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease an 8 by 8 pan.

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Add in almond butter, maple syrup, softened butter, and vanilla, and stir until combined and crumbly. Press the crust dough evenly into the prepared pan, and poke with a fork a few times. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside when done.

While the crust is baking, make the filling! In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, maple, orange zest and juice, seal salt, coconut flour (sifted if lumpy) and vanilla until smooth. Pour into the parbaked crust, and bake for 30-35 minutes. The top should be mostly firm and the filling set, with just a small amount of wiggle (it’ll firm up as it cools). Let cool completely and eat immediately or chill in the fridge for later (I like them cold!) — serve with vanilla ice cream for maximum creamsicle flavor :) Store any leftovers in the fridge.

img_5178

The only acceptable summer blues

IMG_4839

Hi! I made galette again because it was so good last time I just couldn’t stay away. Besides, it’s still gloriously late summer so I will stay happily buried in late summer fruit desserts until seasonality dictates otherwise.

These are the only acceptable kind of summer blues!

FullSizeRender 6

I also sojourned up to Portland for a minute last weekend and caught up with all the PNW buds and did ALL the EATING. No really. ALL of it. Rather glad to be back to eating my kale and eggs, I will say — love traveling and love eating but omg I need a break after awhile! So now I’m back and galetting around, blah blah the usual.

FullSizeRender 5

I may have gone a little overboard in my excitement of finding an enormous (2 pound!) clamshell of organic blueberries at whole foods for a reasonable price…. apparently they disappeared about 2 hours later too so obviously it was meant to be and my excitement is warranted. There were 2 full cups of blueberries in this thaaang, which meant that I was more than slightly concerned with its structural integrity. However! The crust held its own (barely) and all the goodness stayed contained within its slightly leaky exterior. Galette structural engineering for the win.

FullSizeRender 2

For those who love lemon and blueberry, this is for you. Flaky crust, jammy blueberries and tart lemon curd. Late summer shenanigans don’t get much better than this! Messy, beautiful and delicious, just like summer should be.

IMG_4837

Grain Free Blueberry Galette with Lemon Curd

Grain free, gluten free, paleo, and refined sugar free! Easy to put together and obviously delicious or I wouldn’t be shoving these photos into your inbox. Yield: 1 largish galette; about 9″ across. Serving size is up to your discretion… like the last one, this one was dessert and breakfast with a bit of leftovers for 2. No shame.

FullSizeRender 3

For the crust:

I used the same one as I did for the last peach galette I did; but omitted the almond extract.

  • 1.5 c almond flour
  • 1/2 c tapioca starch/flour
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 6 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 eggs, divided
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • scant tbsp vanilla extract (yes, that is a tablespoon!)

Glaze:

  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar for sprinkling over the crust
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten for the egg wash
  • a few small chunks of butter to dot the top of the fruit

For the paleo lemon curd: I used meyer lemons for this recipe here from What the Fork blog (which was absolutely delicious); any lemon curd recipe will work just fine; here is a traditional one that I made a billion years ago that is also spectacular (just excuse the horrendous pictures). Make this a day before (or earlier in the day) so that it has time to cool completely before you put it into the galette. It will thicken / not run all over the place, and you’ll thank your foresight.

For the blueberry filling:

  • 1.5 c fresh blueberries
  • 2 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

For the crust: In a food processor or high-power blender (I used a Vitamix), pulse almond flour, tapioca starch, salt, and butter, and pulse to combine until it looks like coarse meal. Add in egg, coconut sugar, and vanilla extract and pulse just until combined. Turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disk and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

While the crust is chilling (or a day before, which I found to be easier), make the lemon curd! See links for recipes.

Once the dough has chilled, toss the ingredients for the filling into a large bowl: blueberries, tapioca, coconut sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon juice; toss to coat and incorporate.

Preheat the oven to 375, and roll out the dough into a circle between two pieces of parchment. It should be uniformly thick; about 1/4″ but no thinner. Slide the dough and the bottom piece of parchment paper onto a baking sheet. Spread a thick layer of lemon curd in the middle of the dough, leaving about a 2″ border all around. Pile the blueberry filling onto the lemon curd, and carefully fold the edges of the crust up around it, sealing any cracks that happen. Some juices will probably leak out when you bake it, but that’s no big deal. Brush the crust with the beaten egg wash, and sprinkle with a bit of coconut sugar. Dot the tops of the blueberries with a few small chunks of butter. Bake for 35-40 minutes – mine is usually always perfect at 35; the crust should be lightly golden and firm to the touch.

Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes; then slide the whole piece of parchment+galette onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve with extra lemon curd and vanilla gelato! Galette leftovers keep on the counter overnight and make a fabulous addition to breakfast; if you keep leftovers any longer I would store them in the fridge. Store any leftover lemon curd in the fridge!

FullSizeRender 4

Late summer galettes and camp shenanigans

IMG_4745

Hello! Long time no see.

Mostly because it’s summer so I had to do this:

IMG_7122

IMG_4718

IMG_4715

IMG_7119

IMG_4721

IMG_7219

Step off the grid for 10 days to reconnect, laugh, love and play in the dirt at my favorite place on earth. Two Sentinels will always be my mountain home, and there is nothing like my camp family!

IMG_4738

But now I’m back! And because it’s late summer, all the fruit desserts are called for. Especially galettes, because there is something about the rustic pie dough thing that is so forgiving and accepting of whatever fruit you have on hand that reminds me of late summer. Besides that, galettes play much nicer than pie in the sandbox: less time in the oven, less fussy dough (usually) and less crimping, fussing, and general worries about ice cold this and that and the other thing. Which is mostly why I love them, but also because they’re delicious (and I am totally not hating on pie; I love it equally!! But I also love not dying in a hot kitchen, so there’s that).

IMG_4742

This galette made the perfect dessert with a spot of ice cream, and then a rad breakfast accompanied by eggs and kale… you really can’t go wrong here.

IMG_4739

Grain free, lightly sweetened, almondy crust surrounds almondy peaches and a homemade almond paste. Very little sweetner actually goes into this, since the peaches are so sweet on their own. Pretty much any summer fruit can go into this, but I love the combination of peach and almond!

IMG_4740

Hopefully you have some late summer produce hanging around, begging to be made into a galette. Trust me, it’s a good plan. Definitely recommended to eat this for breakfast… Happy baking!

IMG_4737

Grain Free Almond Peach Galette

Grain free, refined sugar free, and paleo! Yay! Minus chilling time, the actual galette making comes together in a snap. Lightly sweet: the perfect vehicle to highlight late summer produce that is so sweet on its own. Yield: 1 galette; serves two for dessert and breakfast with leftovers, or somewhere between 6-8 peeps. Your call on how much you feel like sharing… Crust recipe lightly adapted from Running to the Kitchen, here! The almond paste and filling are Wait are those Cookies brainchild. Happy eating!

For the crust:

  • 1.5 c almond flour (not meal; you want the finer flour variety)
  • 1/2 c tapioca flour
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 6 tbsp salted butter, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • scant 1/2 tsp almond extract

For the almond paste*:

  • 1/3 c almond flour
  • 1/4 c almond butter
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • scant 1/2 tsp almond extract

*disclaimer: didn’t measure when I made this… so these are best guess estimates! Taste as you blend, and adjust the flavor as you like!

For the filling:

  • 3 peaches, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar

Last little beautification elements:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1-2 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter, chopped

Let’s make galette!

In a food processor or high-power blender (I used a Vitamix), pulse almond flour, tapioca starch, salt, and butter, and pulse to combine until it looks like coarse meal. Add in egg, coconut sugar, and almond extract and pulse just until combined. Turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disk and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

In the (cleaned) blender or food processor, combine the ingredients for almond paste: almond meal, almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and almond extract. The texture should be pretty thick, and should stick to itself when you press it between your fingers. Add more almond butter or flour, and adjust sweetness accordingly. Set aside once made.

Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 375. Slice the peaches, and toss in a largish bowl with tapioca, extracts, and coconut sugar. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, keeping the circle to about 1/4″ thickness. Peel off the top piece of parchment, and slide the rolled out dough on its parchment onto a baking sheet. Top the dough circle with the the almond paste, spreading it to about 2″ from the edge. Pile on the peaches, keeping them towards the center if possible. Begin folding up the sides, creasing them together as you go – if the dough is cracking, that’s okay (you can crimp the cracks back together; remember: galettes are forgiving and rustic!); you can use the bottom piece of parchment to help fold up the sides. Top the exposed peach filling with dots of butter, and brush the edges of the dough with the beaten egg. Sprinkle a little coconut sugar around the sides.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until edges are golden brown — mine came out just fine at 35 minutes, so check accordingly. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then carefully slide the whole galette onto a cooling rack to let it cool completely. Serve with your fave ice cream or whatever of choice! Keeps well covered in foil on the counter; mine didn’t last longer than about 2 days so I can vouch for it at least that long!

Galette in situ:

IMG_4743

IMG_4744

Master Status.

IMG_4531

oh hey! I DID IT! I’m actually DONE!

A masters degree in 10 months? Not too shabby.

IMG_4532

Somehow, that isn’t computing in my brain… I still feel like I need to be doing something. I’m sure you know the feeling? But… I don’t! I’m taking a mini break from adulting, so the biggest decisions I have to currently make are a) am I going to go work out (answer: pretty much always yes) and b) what will I eat afterward?

IMG_4536

My presentation went well, and it felt really good to end on a high note! I’m officially a master? Or something. Ha.

IMG_4535

But! I now have more time and mental energy to blog and make interesting things, which is just lovely. I got a notification today that my bloglet is 5 years old today! I can’t believe it. It’s growing up so fast!! *sniff* … or maybe that means I’m just getting old; that’s probably more likely.

SO! For mutti’s (rather belated) birthday dessert, I got fancy. Coconut milk panna cotta (dairy free, paleo, vegan, refined sugar free) with date caramel and walnut cookie crumble. So good! And actually fairly simple, when it comes down to it — there are just a lot of parts, but they come together with a minimum of fuss.

IMG_4533

Coconut Panna Cotta with Date Caramel and Walnut Cookie Crumble

Dairy free, paleo, vegan, refined sugar free, gluten free — everything EXCEPT taste free. Because these are delicious! And they really don’t heat up the house much if you’re making them on a day that it’s stupid hot outside (not like I did that or anything). Yield: 3 panna cotta servings (I chilled mine in small coffee cups; about the size of normal ramekins only deeper) + extra caramel and crumble left over after serving. Recipe lightly adapted from Kiss my Bowl, here!

For the panna cotta:

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk, well shaken
  • 1/3 c pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp agar flakes*

*agar powder is no doubt better, but all my Whole Foods carried was the flakes, and they worked fine

For the date caramel:

  • 1 c pitted medjool dates, soaked
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 heaping spoonful of almond butter**

**mine is salted; I like the salty-sweet combo so you may want to add a pinch of salt if yours isn’t

For the walnut cookie crumble:

  • 1/2 c raw walnuts
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder / cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • splash of maple syrup
  • pinch of salt

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the coconut milk until it steams. Whisk in the maple syrup and bring just barely to a boil. Whisk in the agar flakes and let cook for just about 5 minutes, still barely boiling/high simmering. Remove from heat and let stand in the pan, whisking occasionally, for another 5 minutes. Once cooled slightly, pour into molds of choice (I used small coffee mugs that are deeper and slightly less wide than a standard ramekin; ramekins are just fine if you have them!). Let cool on the counter until your fridge can handle it, then let them set up in the fridge for at least an hour.

While the panna cottas are chilling, use a food processor or a vitamix to make the date caramel. Pour the dates and a few tablespoons of their soaking water into the implement of choice, add vanilla and almond butter, and blend till smooth (or chunky. you do you!). Store in a jar in the fridge until needed.

I made the cookie crumble in the same vitamix as the date caramel without cleaning it overmuch, which worked totally fine. Add walnuts, cocoa powder, vanilla, maple, and salt and whiz away until it’s crumbly. Store in a jar in the fridge until needed!

The panna cottas should be firm to the touch on top and have lost most of their jiggle by the time they’re ready. Run a knife around the edge of the ramekin or coffee cup, and they should flip right out onto a plate. Top with excessive amounts of date caramel and cookie crumble for maximum effect, and indulge accordingly!

Any leftover date caramel (who are you?!) and cookie crumble keeps well in the fridge for at least a week (but I dare you to make it last that long).

IMG_4537

Lousy weeks = Angel Food Cake (Science. Obviously)

IMG_3068

Sooo…. Hi! It’s been awhile.

You can thank grad school for that (and for being a royal pain in my butt). My stomach was being a real winner today too, rude. On the bright side, one of the things it seems to tolerate with a minimum of fuss is this cake! Probably because angel food is basically egg whites and air and fluff, in the best possible combination. I’ve always loved angel food — I asked for it for a birthday cake at some point when I was a kid, and I’ve always thought it was delicious.

IMG_3060

It’s fun to make, too! Egg whites are my favorite piece of kitchen chemistry. I love watching them go from foamy… to glossy… to peaks! I never get tired of it. And besides, even though I am the one who hardly ever uses a mixer unless I really have to, angel food gives me the chance to get out my beautiful red kitchenaide stand mixer! Wheeeeee! It looked so happy to see me. And don’t tell me inanimate objects don’t have feelings… KITCHEN APPLIANCES totally do. They feel neglected and sad when you just leave them to languish in the pantry… which is also why I love my pegboard so much. It means that my pots and pans and whatnot can hang out and watch the action from their corner (and egg me on. It’s like “use me!!! I am so great for making eggs!!! … constant ruckus from the peanut gallery).

IMG_3061

But actually.

IMG_3066

I will stop anthropomorphizing my appliances for the time being in order to get back to the cake. But admit it… if you love to cook and bake, your favorite pans and appliances become your friends. Don’t try to deny it, I know you. You know where they stick, how they heat, if they affect the consistency of whatever you’re baking… they’re like friends!

But also, in other news…

Mother Nature puts on some pretty amazing shows:

IMG_3051

Day 4 of the Drawing Challenge! Favorite Place… this one was easy :)

IMG_3008

And E and I had a fun date night at the British pub Fox and Goose, in the historic R district of Sacto. Fun fun!

IMG_3018

But. Back to the regularly scheduled programming…

THIS CAKE! IS AMAZING!

Yep. still obsessed with this app.

Yep. still obsessed with this app.

And is gluten free, refined sugar free, and beyond delicious. When I made this, I actually ended up with a much denser consistency than angel food usually has (I have reason to suspect my oven; firstly, it is wee. It’s like half the size of a normal oven, so consequently all of my sheet pans are quarter sized. I feel like a Barbie. But also I do believe it runs hot and heats unevenly. Further research is required; until then it’s an interesting challenge) — but I don’t care, because it is AMAZING! It’s almost… custardy. But also kind of fluffy?! If you can possibly have custard and fluff at the same time, this is it. Mine got a tad overdone on the top half, and I actually pulled it out far sooner than it was supposed to go (hence the suspicion  that my oven runs hot), since it was done and browning quickly. It didn’t rise as much as they normally do, but it has that custardy wonderfulness so E and I definitely don’t care. Add to that, it’s tummy friendly and lower in sugar than most angel food cakes, so it just wins all around.

IMG_3055

That all being said, I highly recommend making it on a Friday afternoon when your week has been rather wretched and you just need some cake. Not that I speak from experience or anything. Nope. Not me..

IMG_3064

Grain Free Maple Angel Food Cake

Made of arrowroot starch, this cake is tummy friendly for IBS, gluten-free, grain free, and paleo. It’s also refined sugar free and lower in sugar than most angel food cakes, which is a bonus in my book for sure. Recipe from Deliciously Organic, here! I didn’t change a thing, as it was perfect as is. Yield: 1 cake (standard angel food pan).

  • 12 egg whites (I used 1 carton = to 10 whites + 2 whites from whole eggs for convenience)
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1.25 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c maple sugar, divided
  • 1 c arrowroot starch
  • whatever toppings float your boat for serving — I made a simple raspberry compote and topped it with a little shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350, and get out your *un-greased* angel food tube pan. You might want to put a cookie sheet down below the cake pan in the oven to account for any leakage — my tube pan tends to leak just a bit out of the bottom. Adjust the rack for the cake to be in the middle of the oven.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites with the lemon juice on medium high until foamy. Add salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla, and continue beating on medium high until soft peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes.

With the mixer running on medium, slowly add 1/2 c of the maple sugar, a spoonful at a time. Sift the remaining maple sugar and arrowroot starch into a small bowl, and, with the mixer still running, slowly add this to the mixer bowl. Once it’s all added, whip on medium high until completely incorporated (you may need to scrape the sides of the mixer bowl, I did). Pour the batter into your tube pan, and bake for 35-45 minutes*, until the top is golden brown and the cake is puffed.

*Normal ovens are probably done at a minimum of 40 minutes. Mine was excessively brown at 35, and done, though not as puffy as it could be.

Remove the cake from the oven, and immediately invert over the neck of a wine bottle to cool completely — about 1 to 1.5 hours. Cooling it upside-down helps maximize loft! Once the cake is completely cooled, run a knife around the inside of the pans to loosen the sides, and pull the cake + the removable bottom out of the pan. Run a knife along the bottom between the pan and the cake to loosen it fully, then lift off to the serving plate. Decorate at will!

Angel food cake keeps well at room temp for a day or two if it’s not too hot or humid where you are. I’m keeping mine in the fridge and it’s totally fine — cover it with an inverted bowl and it will stay good for several days in the fridge.

Enjoy your perfect bits of cake fluff!

IMG_3058

Sanctioned Birthday Indulgences (ie. Vati’s Annual Cake Nirvana)

IMG_2988

Happy Birthday, Vacuum Vati!

12017647_147408362274286_1447584896946449137_o

His birthday was actually Sunday, but since my classes started again last week, I’m back on grad school time which means that all fun, personal things occur at least a day after I actually want them to, if not a few days or a week. Ha. Because grad school is just rude like that sometimes…

IMG_2991

A few days late, but I never want to miss out on a cake opportunity around here. Because, CAKE! Cake is awesome. Especially for birthdays (because then indulgences are sanctioned).

IMG_2986

Since we went chocolate-dark on the cake last year, Vati requested a lighter bourbon cake this year — sort of “dirty south” flavored, with bourbon, vanilla, and pecans. I lifted the cake recipe nearly intact from the Food Network, which is rare, but it was almost exactly what we had in mind, so why mess with a good thing?! I did, of course, make it whole wheat and reduced the sugar (though not quite on par with my usual reductions — it is a birthday, after all!), but then I put my spin on the glaze and candied the pecans (why use just toasted ones when you could candy them?!… Exactly).

IMG_2984

And since I actually made this on Sunday, Vati has been enjoying it since then with a verdict as such: delicious flavor combo, but the cake itself is ever so slightly dry. Solved by means of ice cream liberally spooned over the top, or an extra splash of bourbon poured over to hydrate it… because neither of those things is a bad thing when it comes to this cake.

Happy Birthday Vati!!! I know this year is going to be fantastic and I am thrilled you loved your cake :)

IMG_2990

Bourbon Vanilla Cake with Candied Pecans and Bourbon Glaze

Bourbony vanilla cake that has a lighter texture than a pound cake but is still fairly dense, complimented by a bourbon glaze and candied pecans. The whole wheat flour and addition of coconut sugar takes the sweetness down a notch, but this cake is definitely an occasion cake! And don’t feed it to the children (unless they have a taste for bourbon?!). Recipe adapted from the Food Network, here. Yield: 1 bundt cake + glaze + pecans for extremely liberal garnish.

Ps. This recipe isn’t complicated. But it will basically contrive to dirty every single bowl in your kitchen. Just saying. BUT. It’s worth it!

IMG_2992

For the cake!

  • 2 2/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2.25 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 c bourbon
  • 1/2 c milk bev (mine was 1% milk, as that’s what was on hand)
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) of salted butter
  • 1/2 c melted coconut oil
  • scant 1.25 c sugar (mine was about a 1/2 c coconut sugar, the rest white; use whatever blend suits you) + 1/4 c white sugar, divided
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

For the pecans:

  • 1 c raw pecans, chopped
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar

For the glaze:

  • roughly 1 c confectioner’s sugar
  • liberal 1/4 c bourbon
  • 2 tbsp salted butter, soft
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the pecans (I like to do them first, or even on another day, so that they’re cool when I need them). In a saucepan over medium heat, toast the pecans until fragrant, just a few minutes. Add butter and coconut sugar and toss to combine, stirring frequently until the pecans are evenly coated, the butter is completely melted and the sugar is incorporated. Take off the heat, remove from the pan and let cool in a heatproof container until needed or stored.

For the cake: preheat the oven to 350, and liberally grease a bundt pan with coconut oil or butter. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sea salt and cinnamon, and set aside. In a liquid measuring cup for easy pouring later, measure out the bourbon, milk, and vanilla and whisk together. It will look like it gets a little clumpy, but that’s okay! Set that aside too. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream together butter and coconut oil until fluffy. Add 1.25 c of the sugar (whatever blend you choose is fine), and beat to incorporate until fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the liquids, in four batches starting and ending with the dry.

In a non reactive bowl, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form, then dump in the remaining 1/4 c of sugar, and whip until you get stiff peaks, about five minutes more. Fold the egg whites into the batter in thirds. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan, and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes. This crust makes a great “crust” which forms down at the bottom (when you flip it right-side-up) of the bundt pan — that was my favorite part! Let cool until you can turn it out without burning yourself, then let it cool completely before glazing.

While the cake is baking, make the glaze! Combine powdered sugar, bourbon, melted butter and vanilla in a smallish bowl and whisk vigorously until it’s all combined and delicious. Adjust to your personal taste, but I prefer it heavily bourbony!

Once the cake is cooled, go to town with the drizzle factor and liberally garnish it with candied pecans. And then eat it in rapture because isn’t that what cake is all about?

IMG_2985

IMG_2993

An ecstatic moment involving some brûlée-d sugar and a spoon

IMG_6148

Not paleo.

Definitely not dairy free.

And there is no way this is vegan.

IMG_6145

Sorry I’m not going to be a teensy bit sorry… ever.

Because what this is, is nothing short of…

SPECTACULAR.

IMG_6142

Guys. CREME BRÛLÉE. Please excuse all the capitals but really. I’m having an ecstatic moment that I actually made this.

I kind of had some weird ingrained impression that creme brûlée was something fancy I could only get in a fancyschmancypants restaurant. You know, like how english muffins are mysteriously, perfectly english muffiny until you make them? Or maybe that’s just me. Whatever, anyway this is all beside the point as usual.

Point being, I used to looooove creme brûlée when I was a kid. I remember ordering a flight of them at the Ahwahnee in Yosemite when I was fairly little and being excited that it came in three flavors… and then realizing that I apparently still liked vanilla best. I’m a vanilla girl, don’t mess. Why tamper with something already so delicious?? But anyway, I really don’t remember much creme brûlée in the intervening years. What was wrong with me?! And why haven’t I made this before now?? Not to give away any trade secrets or anything, but it’s actually relatively simple (as long as a water bath doesn’t scare you).

IMG_6150

But seriously. Besides being delicious, creme brûlée is so fun! I’m like Amelie, I like smacking the top with my spoon and making the sugar crack. The little things are so satisfying…

And speaking of satisfying. This is made with nothing besides cream, egg yolks, and a bit of sugar and vanilla. Go ahead. Indulge yourself, because really—you’re worth it!

IMG_6146

Coconut Sugar Creme Brûlée

Apparently I can’t get too far away from my attempt to bring at least a little healthy into everything—-this is technically refined sugar free! Wheee! It’s made with coconut sugar, which is lower in fructose (good), and which retains the minerals, short chain fatty acids, and antioxidants found in the coconut palm from which it comes (also good). Besides that, it’s delicious. It tastes caramel-y and a little earthy to me, and goes spectacularly with vanilla. The awesome recipe came from Grain-Free Goodness, here! Makes six small ramekins.

Acquire the following, and let’s embark on culinary shenanigans:

  • 2 c heavy cream (1 500 mL container; or I think mine was 437 mL or something weird, but ended up exactly 2 c)
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract*
  • 6 tbsp coconut sugar+more for brûlée-ing

IMG_6147

Preheat the oven to 325, and boil a medium saucepan of water (or use a kettle if you’re lucky enough to have one). You’ll need the water for the water bath, so makes sure it stays at a boil until just before you need it. Procure whatever you’re making your creme brûlée in—-I used three ramekins and three oven-safe coffee cups that were about the same size as the ramekins. You’ll also need a big casserole dish (or two) with deep sides.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the cream and the vanilla over low-medium (no higher!), stirring frequently. You want it to come just barely to a simmer, but none of that scalding business– none of that! Once it’s just barely at a simmer, pour it into something with a  spout, for ease of pouring later.

While the cream is heating, beat egg yolks with the coconut sugar until creamy. It should lighten in color when the sugar is fully incorporated. With the mixer running, pour a small bit of the hot cream into the egg yolks, beating the whole time so that the eggs don’t cook. Keep pouring small amounts and beating them in, until all the cream is incorporated (once about half the cream has been added, you can add more to the eggs at each pour, since the eggs are already tempered). Skim the froth off the top with a  spoon. Pour all this back into whatever pouring thing you used for the cream, and then pour equal amounts of it into the ramekins/cups of choice. Set all the ramekins into the casserole dish, and (CAREFULLY) pour the boiling water into the casserole dish, avoiding the ramekins (no one wants watery pudding). Make sure the water goes about halfway up the sides of your ramekins.

Bake until custards are *just* set—-they should be jiggly in the middle, but not liquidy when you touch them. The surface should be set, with the jiggle happening just below a thin skin of set custard. They’ll set up quite a bit when they cool, so don’t worry if they’re jiggly—they’re supposed to be! No over-cooked custards around here… I baked mine for half an hour (the ramekins), and then 35 minutes for the coffee cups, which were a little deeper. Check them every five minutes after a half hour, just to be safe.

Remove from the water bath and let cool on a cooling rack completely before covering in plastic wrap and chilling in the fridge. They should chill for at least several hours before serving (I did mine the day before I served them, as they keep well in the fridge for several days before you brûlée them).

IMG_6151

When you’re ready to eat them, you get to play with fire! Ha. Sprinkle a bit of coconut sugar on the top, attempting to evenly distribute it. You can use a kitchen torch (if you’re lucky and have one, unlike me… anyone want to send me one??) or an old spoon if you’re janky like me. If you use the spoon, heat it over a gas burner on your stove (holding it with an oven mitt just in case, thank you) until you can feel the heat coming off it when you hold a hand a bit away, then press it down onto the sugar. It will caramelize immediately! If the surface of your custard is big, you might need to repeat this a few times. Beware… your spoon will never be the same. But it might encourage you to make this more often, if you have a designated brûlée-ing spoon…

Eat immediately! These don’t keep for more than an hour after they’re brûlée-d, so do yourself a favor and get cracking! Hehe.

to be eaten with a Pooh spoon, obviously.

to be eaten with a Pooh spoon, obviously.

I’m alternative… or awesome? Let’s go with awesome.

IMG_5004

I eat greens in three meals a day.

No joke.

IMG_5009

I even put spinach in my oats. (I can hear you ewwwing, you know, through my computer). NOT cooked, mind you—it only goes in my overnight oats. With a buhhnahhhnuhhh. And then I eat them in lunch. And dinner. And probably a snack, if I could finagle it. You know how in previous posts I’ve mentioned putting spinach where it totally doesn’t belong? Yeah. I suppose oats would be one of those places… as would a banana scramble…? Whatever. I’m kind of  alternative. Or awesome… let’s go with awesome.

Ahem..

Movingggg… on!

IMG_5008

This time, spinach went in a smoothie! That’s at least a little more normal… but why I chose to make and eat this on day when it was cold and raining outside is beyond me. It was delicious but then I was promptly freezing. Whoops. Whatever, worth it!

And then you can do almond butter art on top of your smoothie, if you eat in in a bowl. Which is obviously reason enough to eat in a bowl, right?? Who doesn’t like an excuse to play with their food? Come on, channel your inner Jackson Pollock, you know you want to!

IMG_5006

Almond Coconut Green Smoothie

Gratefully inspired by The Edible Perspective, here! Makes one largeish smoothie bowl. Note that you need to freeze the coconut milk first, so make time for that if you want this later in the day!

  • 1 c light coconut milk
  • 1/2 c milk bev of choice (I used 1% milk)*
  • 2 c fresh spinach
  • 2 tbsp almond butter+more for drizzle
  • 1.5 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut+garnish
  • 1 medjool date, pitted
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

*I would have liked mine thicker, more like a milkshake consistency—next time I won’t add as much extra milk. Up to you!  If you want it drinkable (as opposed to spoon-able), use 1/2-1 c extra milk bev.

Freeze 1 c of coconut milk in ice cube trays. Once it’s frozen, pop them out into your food processor (or blender, if you happen to have a decent one). Add in spinach, almond butter, coconut, date, banana, and vanilla, and blend until combined. Pour into a bowl (because that’s more fun!), and top with almond butter and coconut, and maybe some chia seeds. Preferably eat when it’s not freezing outside…

IMG_5007

Chiseling mortar off of a 35 foot chimney…

This is what happens when you do labor on Labor day weekend! You make things to eat afterwards, duh!

Thanks to my lovely course schedule and a little national holiday, I had a four day weekend (hoooorayyy!). I decided to take advantage of the lack of work and lack of homework (what thesis??) to take a trip up to Govy to see Carl and Suz! YAY! Little did I know going in that I would, over the course of the weekend: wash 3 cars, watch the Ducks lose to LSU (We’re just going to pretend this didn’t happen, ok? ok… moving ON!), pick a quart of huckleberries, and chisel mortar off of a 35 foot chimney, after climbing said 35 feet of scaffolding to get up there. Can you say BALLER? Yes. I thought so. Anyway, it was a super fun and relaxing (yes, you read right) weekend… ideally I’ll be repeating it in the near future. (Although if there’s snow, the chimney might be a tad out of the question. ha.) Carl and Suz are probs the best people to stay with… and Whomp kitty is suuuuper cute.

Lookin' fierce with my chisel and Carl! Working hard? Or hardly working?

 

Working hard, obvi!

So.

Let me get back to the food, which is undoubtedly the reason you put up with my blather in the first place (and the whole reason for this blog’s existence… right. anyway.)

After all the exertions of the day, I wanted dessert! And food. But I have to prioritize, right?? Suz had a bunch of Hood River peaches (aww yeeee, locovore!) waiting to be sliced and eaten, so we turned them into a rustic peach galette. It was excellent on its own, but even better with a blob of ice cream! Duh. Like when would I EVER recommend that you eat anything WITHOUT ice cream?! I’m an a la mode girl, obvi. And apparently that’s an inherited trait, since my paternal grandfather is perpetually asking for a la mode. See? It’s in the genes, I’d like to see YOU try to alter your genetics! Ha. So there!

I’m not entirely sure where Suz got the recipe, and I’m adapting it loosely here. It’s insanely flexible—use whatever fruit you have on hand that’s seasonal, or I’m sure frozen would be fine too.

Rustic style

Rustic Peach Galette

For the dough:

2.5 c whole wheat flour (in this case NOT ww pastry flour, but it makes little difference which one you use here)

1 c butter (salted)

3 tbsp brown sugar

2/3 c ice water

scant 1/2 tsp salt

Filling:

A lot of peaches. Essentially however many will fit into your tart.

Sliced almonds are nice.

Vanilla extract.

Brown sugar. Flour.

Combine flour, sugar, and butter. Cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse sand (I find that your fingers are most effective for this). Add egg and ice water, and mold into a ball. Cover and let sit in the fridge while you go pick huckleberries (or something… not to rub it in, heheh).

Slice lots of peaches. Or other fruit. Or whatever is going in the middle of your tart. Galette. Whatever.

All sprinkled

After dough has chilled a bit, roll/flatten/rustically stretch your dough out so that it’s big enough to contain your filling. I crimped the edges on mine to hold it all in, but you can make a more traditional galette and pull the edges up and over the filling if you like.

Pile your peaches in a tasty-looking heap in the center of the dough, and sprinkle with almonds, brown sugar, vanilla, and a bit of flour. Toss your filling just a bit and then sprinkle the top with more sugar and a few more almonds/vanilla. I’m not giving measurements for these because a) this tart is supposed to be RUSTIC, and b) I actually didn’t measure when Suz and I made these, and c) if I told you how to do everything it would be boring! Anyway. Sprinkle away, to your heart’s content. When you’re done sprinkling…

Place galette (s) on a lightly greased/oiled cookie sheet, and bake until juices are bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Ours were probably somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes (Sorry for the inexactness, I was off doing other fun things and not really paying all that much attention). Still. They’re delicious! Not too sweet, and perfect for breakfast or a late afternoon snack. The flavor of the peaches really comes out, so make sure whatever fruit you use is super fresh and ripe!

Enjoy your rustic galette, in all of its lovely rusticness. It’s so rustic, the recipe is unspecific. Rather nice, don’t you think? Definitely a forgiving recipe—it would be easy to play around with it.

Happy 4 day work week, YAYY!

Indulging my inner 5 year old

I feel a bit like a slacker because of the long hiatus between posts…

Except not really. I had really important stuff to do! Like be here:

Two Sentinels Girl Scout Camp: Home is where the heart is!

 Camp was wonderful: lots of giggles/hysterics, singing, eating and general shenanigans for the 75th anniversary of Two Sentinels. Wheee! 

Just before I left, I made these.

Funfettiiiiiii!

Ostensibly a way to please a teeny bopper audience (ie 4 and 6 year olds), really I was just sneakily appeasing MY inner 5 year old. hadiha. really. who doesn’t like sprinkles?? I’m not sure I can be friends with you if  you don’t…

 These aren’t your typical funfetti cupcakes though, of course (why would I be typical? booooring). They happen to be reduced sugar, as well as made with (what else?) whole wheat pastry flour! And they’ve got built in portion control, ish. Well, they are if you’re not me… I may or may not have eaten about 3.75 in a sitting. Oops. Whatever. They were delicious! AND they had sprinkles. What’s not to like?

just beautiful!

Funfetti Cupcakes makes 12 cupcakes

Adapted from How Sweet Eats, here

1/2 cup butter (I believe I used salted… kind of whatever we had)

3/4 cup sugar

2 whole eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup 1% milk

1/3 cup assorted brightly colored sprinkles + more for top of frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add half of the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Add the milk. Once mixed, add remaining dry ingredients. Fold in a metric ton of sprinkles. Convince your father that he needs to buy you excess amounts of sprinkles of various types, just in case you run out *gasp*.

Pour into cupcake tins (lined with REALLY COOL Spongebob liners) and fill 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Depending on your oven, they may need to go a bit longer. Let cool, then frost.

buttercream. yes.

Vanilla Buttercream

2 sticks of butter, softened

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon of milk, if needed

*I made half of the frosting recipe and accidentally dumped in the whole amount of vanilla. Oops. Anyway, it was excellent… I found I had enough frosting without making the whole batch.

Cream butter in the bowl of an electric mixture until completely smooth and creamy. With the mixer on low speed, add in powdered sugar slowly (the goal here is to not spray it everywhere in the kitchen… in retrospect this makes quite a lot of sense. ha.) Gradually increase mixer speed and add vanilla (and then freak because you forgot to halve the amount), then beat for 2-3 minutes, scraping down sides and bottom of the bowl. If frosting is too thick, add milk 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached If it’s too thin, add sugar gradually until it thickens. Frost cupcakes and dump sprinkles on top excessively. Oh wait. You could just put them on normally too, but whatever. My way is more fun!

YAYY!