Panna cotta Saturday

Hi blog friends!

Feels strange to be putting out a blog post on a ‘normal’ weekend when my friends in Texas and family/friends in the PNW have been pretty hammered this week, but I’m going to do my best to create a peaceful little corner of the internet, in case anyone needs a mental break for a minute.

Today I have a rooibos and chai panna cotta for you! It’s sitting in an almond cornmeal crust that has a sneaky layer of dark chocolate hiding between the panna cotta and the crust – a nice little texture contrast you weren’t expecting. The flavors are subtle and delicate – if you love tea, this is absolutely for you. It’s also gluten, dairy and refined sugar free! Easy vegan & grain free swaps listed in the recipe notes, as well.

I drink Numi’s rooibos chai every night – not a sponsored post at all, I just totally love it! It’s caffeine free so perfect for evening. I used it here to infuse coconut milk – the panna cotta itself is made with tea two ways (cold tea to bloom the gelatin + steeped coconut milk.)

Highly recommend for dessert, breakfast, snacks, and anything in between.

what things really look like around here

In other news, the tulip trees are going bananas all over the city; I took a very cold & windy swim this morning at 830, and I have a new wetsuit, courtesy of the fave human. Yay!

Also, the skies have been amaaaazing lately.

please ignore crookedness of this image…. was too lazy to fix it. It’s saturday.

I hope the weekend is treating you well – and that it’s warming up for those who got hit with the gnarly cold last week. Happy Saturday!

Rooibos Chai Panna Cotta with an Almond Crust

A panna cotta tart with subtle chai flavors and a hint of chocolate in an almond crust. Gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free, paleo. If you need a vegan version, feel free to set the panna cotta with agar, instead of gelatin. For grain free, sub in an extra 1/2 c almond flour for the cornmeal. A Wait are those Cookies original. Yield: 1 9″ panna cotta, serves several.

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
1/3 c dark chocolate chips

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, cornmeal, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, almond extract, 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.

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave. Spread the melted chocolate over the interior of the crust, and let cool until set. You can also pop the whole thing in the fridge to help it set faster, if needed.

For the Panna Cotta:

1 package unflavored powdered gelatin
1 can full-fat coconut milk
3 bags of rooibos chai (I used Numi; regular chai would be great too)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp maple
pinch of sea salt
1/4 c brewed rooibos chai (or reg. chai), cold
shredded coconut and crystalized ginger for topping

Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan and add the bags of rooibos chai tea. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 15 minutes.

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

Remove the tea bags from the coconut milk. Whisk in maple, vanilla and sea salt, and bring the milk back up to a simmer. Remove from heat and whisk in the gelatin mixture. Whisk 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 or preferably overnight.

Top with whatever pretty things your heart desires! I used shredded coconut and crystalized ginger, finely chopped. Store in the fridge until serving. Leftovers keep well up to two days in the fridge, covered.

On a roll

Hi friends!

It’s beautiful in the City today – I took a hike out to the bluffs overlooking the golden gate above Marshall beach and played hide and seek with Goldie and Karl. It was a supremely lovely way to spend a few solo hours.

Karl seems to have followed me home too, he’s lurking just over the Lone Mountain ridge where it drops down into the inner Richmond. I LOVE fog. Just in case there was the slightest bit of doubt that I don’t love the crap out of this city… fear not.

my rooftop view is somethin else.

Also today I made these apple, date & walnut cinnarolls! Highly recommend if you’re like me and love a good cinnamon roll but not the usual gut bomb nature of them. Not to say that these are health food pe se, but they have a much lighter profile than standard cinnamon rolls – without sacrificing any of the things we love about them.

These are whole grain & refined sugar free (could easily be vegan/dairy free; see recipe notes) – they’re cute and fluffy and “frosted” (let’s use that term loosely) with straight coconut butter.

I love them for breakfast or dessert and all the snacks in between – arguably they make a great snack since they’ve got all the things: protein, whole grain carbs, healthy fats etc etc…. but I leave that up to you.

the plants wanted in…

Happy weekend, friends! I hope it’s treating you well.

Apple, Walnut & Date Cinnarolls

Whole grain & refined sugar free; easily dairy/vegan – see notes below. Yield: ~10 rolls. Adapted from this recipe.

For the dough:
1.5 c + 1.5-2.5c whole wheat pastry flour, divided
1/2 c + 1/4c almond flour, divided
2 1/4 teaspoon (.25oz packet) rapid rise or instant yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup warm oat/almond/milk of choice (approximately 110º F – I used whole milk)
1/2 cup warm water (approximately 110º F)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

For the filling:
3 small apples, peeled & diced
6-7 medjool dates, diced
1/4 c chopped walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon, divided
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c butter (use coconut oil or plant-based butter for vegan/dairy free), melted
3 tbsp coconut sugar

For the frosting:
1/4 c coconut butter, melted

In a small saucepan over medium heat, saute apples and dates in butter or coconut oil for 1-2 minutes. Add a splash of water and cover, simmering until the apples are just soft. Stir in 1/2 tsp cinnamon, walnuts, and vanilla, and remove from heat. Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together 1.5 c whole wheat flour and 1/2 c almond flour, plus yeast and salt. Add in warm milk, water, olive oil, and extracts, and stir until smooth. Knead in the remaining whole wheat & almond flours a little at a time (you may not use all the whole wheat listed; I usually don’t) – I add it about 1/2 c at a time; you want to be careful not to add too much, or the dough will be tough. It will gradually get less sticky and form a soft dough; a photo of mine is below. You’ll be able to pick it up without much stickiness but it should still feel soft. You might use more or less of the additional flour – go with your gut! Cover and set aside for 5 minutes.

Once the dough has rested, grease a dish of choice – I use a 9″ pie dish but I’ve also done this in a 9×9 square pan – basically, you just want these guys to sit snuggly up against one another. Roll out the dough into a rectangle and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with the coconut sugar, followed by the remaining cinnamon. Spread the sauteed apples/dates/walnuts evenly over the dough, right up to the edges. Starting at the long edge, roll the dough up tightly into a log. I like to cut it with dental floss – it cuts SUPER cleanly and doesn’t squash the rolls, but you can use a knife or a bench scraper if you like those instead. If you’re using floss, scootch the floss underneath the roll, cross the ends and pull tight to cut through the roll. Set the cut rolls into the prepared pan, cover and let rise somewhere warm for 30 min.

lil proofing rolls

Once they’ve sat for 30 min, preheat the oven to 350, and bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. Remove and let cool a bit before frosting – which is literally as easy as drizzling melted coconut butter on them. Slice and serve!

Leftovers keep well covered on the counter or in the fridge overnight; reheat before serving.

unbaked…
baked & frosted!

Midweek pick me up

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Apparently banana bread and/or sourdough is the baked thing of choice during this quarantine? I dunno. I’ve love bbread for years – I remember learning early on to make my gram’s banana bread (my mom’s stationary had little birds on it that looked like music notes – this is a very tangible memory!). I’ve since moved on to recipes that are more whole grain/healthy fat/refined sugar free but that original loaf will always have a major nostalgia factor for me. Side note – cornbread was the other thing I learned to make early – I’m pretty sure I imprinted on that one, since EVERYTHING cornmeal based is my JAM.

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This is my latest favorite bbread recipe! I’m really pleased with it – started as another exercise in using up what I have / not using up my whole wheat pastry flour, which isn’t strictly necessary here and seems to be in rather short supply in the markets these days. I also HATE wasting food, above all else – I pride myself on eating everything that comes home with me, and that includes dead bananas. I abhor eating bananas out of hand that are the least bit spotty (picky picky) so once they get past that stage, they’re destined for bbread. Not that I’m the least upset about this situation – more bbread is always a win, in my book.

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This one is whole grain & gluten free, egg-free and refined sugar free, with majorly flexible adaptations to make it dairy free / vegan. I’ll add notes for those in the recipe, if you’re interested!

A few shots of my plants going ape, because… well, because! Can never have too many plant things.

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Repotted & so happy:

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Side note: check out these beautiful anthocyanins! (aka the little flavanoids hanging out in foods & giving them their gorg red/blue/purple pigmentation. Not to mention the beta-carotene goodness happening here. Gah! So pretty, so delicious.

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I used to make a loaf of carrot-banana-walnut bread a week in grad school, as a weeklong source of snacks and sanity. Not really close to that these days, but I’m definitely embracing the work from home ethos that’s allowing me to bake midweek – normally that’s a bit of a squish to try to fit that into a regular week; plus, now I have more time to actually EAT this stuff at home, which is lovely. No complaints on that front.

Happy midweek baking! A bonus post from this gal who usually only posts on weekends. Mwah!

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Banana Bread with Black Sesame

Super adaptable recipe – whole grain / gluten free / refined sugar free / egg-free as written; very easy to make this dairy free/vegan – see notes! A Wait are those Cookies original. Yield: 1 large loaf or 4 small ones. Could also be made in a muffin tin if you wanted muffins instead – or a cake pan for a more cake-shaped bread. You do you! Just watch the baking times if you’re making it in a smaller or shallower pan – time will vary.

1/4 cup greek yogurt (made sure to use the whey on the top plus a splash of milk so it’s thinner*)
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 tbsp maple syrup
scant 1/4 cup melted butter (or use coconut, ghee, etc – just start with it melted)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 c oat flour**
3/4 c almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
~1/4 c black sesame seeds
~1/3 c walnuts, roughly chopped

*can use 1/4 c milk (non dairy or dairy) + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar; let sit for 5-10 min

**use whole wheat if not doing gluten free; I love it with oat but it’s super flexy. Spelt would probably be great here too, or a gluten free flour blend if that’s what you have

Bbread is stupid easy! Mix wet – mash bananas & add all the other delicious goodness to the mashed banana bowl. In another, larger bowl, stir together all dry ingredients. Add wet into dry & stir until just combined, adding sesame seeds and walnuts towards the end. The batter will be super thick, just FYI.

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease your pans of choice – I used three small loaf pans for slightly taller loaves, but 1 large loaf pan would be great, or whatever you have (see recipe note up top at the header). Bake for ~35 minutes for the small pans; will be longer (I’d start checking at 45/50 for a standard loaf pan) – the top will be golden brown, and a tester will come out clean. Let sit for a few minutes, then turn out of the pan to cool completely. Store in the fridge, wrapped in foil, or on the counter if you think you’ll it it within a day or two.

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Wait, cookies?!

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I guess it’s about time I put up another cookie post, given the name of this blog… besides which, one of these is the reigning favorite cookie in this household, so it deserves another turn in the spotlight I think.

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The other – the tahini one – is a new-to-me recipe, adapted, because ofc I can’t leave any recipes alone and I *always* add vanilla and cut the sweetener!

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Since ‘come to the dark side, I have cookies’ is such a thing too, I got to play with my Death Star plate, courtesy of Chelsea! This thing cracks me up.

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^moody, rainy day cookies

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The hills are so GREEN!!! I just can’t get enough of them – I grew up in California and have spent nearly all of my adult life here (actually, I’m a fifth generation Californian, wooooo baby) and even so, I am just in awe of how beautiful the green is. All I want to do is go run around the ridges! So I did just that, last weekend between the rains. It was a little muddy in spots but totally worth it.

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I’m keeping it short today – busy but awesome weekend with fave human, old & new friends, and relaxation.

Happy April!

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Favorite Oaty Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

A Wait are those Cookies original – the reigning favorite for C and I! We’re obsessed, sorry not sorry! Yield: around 12, if you make them large, or 16 if they’re smaller. These keep fabulously in the fridge – I love them straight out of the fridge, but you can totally leave them on the counter too. Refined sugar free & dairy free w/ a gluten free & vegan option.

1 c almond flour
1 c rolled oats
1/2 c shredded coconut
1 c whole wheat pastry flour (or 1/2 c brown rice flour for gluten free)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
Flax egg or regular egg* (1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water; let gel for 5 min)
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 c melted coconut oil
1/4 c maple
Chopped dark chocolate

*I have made these both ways and actually prefer the flax egg – that way, they’re also vegan if you require that!

These are incredibly forgiving. Preheat the oven to 350. Toss all the dry ingredients in a big bowl & stir. Add coconut, maple, vanilla & flax egg, and stir that… then add chocolate & form into little balls. Flatten them slightly, and bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for ~12 min. They will bake longer if using brown rice flour – start checking at 12, but they can go for up to 20. They should have a slight give when you push on the tops, but not too soft.
Remove and let cool for a few on the cookie sheet, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store them in the fridge if you like them extra chewy!

Variation: add a scant tbsp of finely chopped rosemary

Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free. Yield: 10-12 smallish cookies. Nutty and not too sweet! Adapted from Tasting Table, here. I used chocolate chips because that’s what I had on hand – feel free to chop a chocolate bar instead, I’m sure it would be divine!

1 large egg
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
roughly chopped chocolate or chippies
~1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

These are cookies, so they’re easy! Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, stir everything together except for the sea salt, making sure you don’t end up with clumps of anything in particular. The dough will be really sticky – totally fine. Stir in the chocolate chips. Roll the dough into balls, flatten slightly, and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Bake for ~10 minutes, until the tops are just slightly firm and lightly brown. Remove and let cool for a few, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely – they’re fragile when warm. Store in the fridge.

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Breakfast disguised as dessert

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Ahh, the post-thanksgiving stupor….

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

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

Perfect mornings look like this:

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

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

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

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Raz-Apple Walnut Crisp

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

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

For the filling:

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

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

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

For the crisp:

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

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

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

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

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

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