Late summer stone fruit shenanigans

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Can someone explain to me how it’s already the latter half of August? That went FAST, yeeshh.

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At least I’m still getting my fill of stone fruit – pluots are amazing right now, I just found peaches on sale, and options are endless. AND it’s not so beastly hot right now, which means I can actually haul my loot home and bake with it and not give myself heat stroke in the process. I’m a happy girl!

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A few other pictures of life lately…

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I highly recommend this crisp, not only because it’s crisp which is basically the easiest thing ever but also because its insanely customizable. Can find pluots? No prob. Use peaches! Or nectarines. Or any other stone fruit that calls you. I’m loving the basil in here for some earthy freshness against the sweetness of the fruit, so I can’t in good conscience let you leave that out (also it’s summer, which means basil is going gangbusters. Get on that!)

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Keeping it short and sweet today – Go hang out in  your kitchen for the approximately 10 minute it takes to throw this together (okay, maybe a bit more if we include slicing up fruit), round up a loved one and enjoy the late summer bounty. Your sense of general wellbeing will thank you!

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Pluot, Apricot, Blackberry and Basil Crisp

Gluten free and whole grain, vegan, dairy free, and refined sugar free. Perfect for the late summer bounty of all the stone fruit – pluots, apricots and berries do the tango with a bit of basil thrown in for good measure. Peaches also work nicely here – I’ve also done a version with a few plums, peaches, and blackberries. Yield: 1 9″ crisp, serving sizes are up to your discretion ;)

  • 3.5 c assorted pluots, sliced*
  • 3 small apricots, sliced*
  • 1 c blackberries
  • juice of one meyer lemon
  • zest of one meyer lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 heaping tbsp fresh basil, chopped

*a combination of peaches and pluots works nicely here too

For the filling, you basically need enough fruit to fill your pie plate of choice. My approximate measurements are listed – I usually just cut it directly into my pie plate and estimate from there.

For the crisp:

  • 1 c rolled oats (gluten free if needed)
  • 1/2 oat flour
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • large pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 c raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil, solid
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350, and select your 9″ pie plate or 9×9 pan.

In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, oat flour, almond flour, sea salt, almonds, and coconut sugar. Cut in the coconut oil, using a fork/your fingers/a pastry cutter if you’re feeling fancy — I used a fork and my fingers and it worked just fine (crisp is exceedingly forgiving). Stir in vanilla extract.

In a large bowl, toss together pluots, apricots, and blackberries. Add lemon juice and zest, maple, vanilla extract, and chopped basil, and toss to combine.

Add the pluot-berry mix into the prepared pie plate or baking pan, top evenly with the crisp. Pop the whole thing into the oven for 45-50 minutes, until the fruit is bubbly and the crisp is lightly browned and… crisp!

Serve with your fave vanilla ice cream/non dairy of choice (whipped coconut cream would also be good here), and store any leftovers covered in the fridge. Makes EXCELLENT breakfast the next day – the crisp solidifies a little in the fridge and omg it’s good. Besides, who is going to pass up crisp for breakfast?! Not this girl.

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Rhubarb Stalking

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Rhubarb stalking!

… see what I did there? I’m especially proud of that one…

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Sometimes, you just gotta stalk the seasonal produce of your dreams (especially when it has stalks… heeheeehe!) Luckily, I found a big bunch at my local market a few weeks ago, chopped it up and threw it in the freezer for later use. And what a smart plan that was! Frozen rhubarb bakes like a dream, which meant this crisp was in and out of the oven in an hour, including prep time.

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We seem to be getting full-on summer weather (90+ degrees, ew someone save me) here for a few days — I trotted out my old trick of baking at 6:30 in the morning so that the oven doesn’t heat up the apartment overly much (definitely warranted when you live in a studio… no one likes a furnace for an apartment).

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But! This crisp is worth a slightly warm apartment… especially since we’re getting close to the end of the rhubarb season I think (at least around here); I’m not seeing it in the market as much lately. If it’s still around you, stalk those suckers! You need this crisp in your life.

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Tart-sweet, with an unexpected earthiness from the sage – this one is a winner for dessert with some ice cream, and for breakfast the next day (obviously, that’s what leftover crisp is made for, it’s basically granola and fruit!) Not really sure what prompted me to try sage in dessert but I am NOT sorry – I think it might become a reoccurring thing around here, that’s how good it was! I really like the flavor paired with fruit, and it would be interesting to see where else it might play a role.

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Another from the SF series – I photographed the dome when I was over at the Herbst Theater a bit over a week ago.

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Happy May! Go stalk some rhubarb before it disappears for the season, make crisp & eat it with your loved ones. I promise it tastes even better in good company :)

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Rhubarb Blackberry Crisp with Sage

Tart-sweet, with an unexpected earthiness hit from the sage. Perfect for dessert with ice cream of choice, and for breakfast the next day. Refined sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, vegan. Yield: 1 9″ pie plate; serves 6-8 (or 2… not that I speak from experience). A Wait are those Cookies original.

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For the filling:

  • 3.5 c fresh rhubarb, chopped into small pieces (frozen is also fine – run briefly under cool water in a colander to thaw slightly before using)
  • 1.5 c blackberries (mine were frozen)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • juice of one meyer (or regular) lemon
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup

For the crisp:

  • 1 c rolled oats (gluten free if needed)
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • large pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 c raw pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 c raw almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, solid
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping tbsp chopped fresh sage

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease a 9″ pie plate or 9×9 pan with coconut oil.

In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, almond flour, sea salt, pecans, almonds, and coconut sugar. Cut in the coconut oil, using a fork/your fingers/a pastry cutter if you’re feeling fancy — I used a fork and my fingers and it worked just fine (crisp is exceedingly forgiving). Stir in vanilla extract and chopped sage.

If using frozen rhubarb & blackberries, put them in a colander and run them briefly under cool water in the sink to thaw them slightly. Drain any excess water and toss into another large bowl. Add vanilla extract, lemon juice, and maple, and toss to combine.

Add the rhubarb + berry mix into the prepared pie plate or baking pan, top evenly with the crisp. Pop the whole thing into the oven for 45-50 minutes, until the fruit is bubbly and the crisp is lightly browned and… crisp!

Serve with your fave vanilla ice cream/non dairy of choice (whipped coconut cream would also be good here), and store any leftovers covered in the fridge. Makes EXCELLENT breakfast the next day – the crisp solidifies a little in the fridge and omg it’s good. Besides, who is going to pass up crisp for breakfast?! Not this girl.

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Master Status.

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oh hey! I DID IT! I’m actually DONE!

A masters degree in 10 months? Not too shabby.

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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?

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

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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.

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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).

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One week…

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I did it!!!

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Well, almost. I walked this weekend, which means there is only one more advent calendar baked good between me and me officially having my masters. That and one presentation… as one of my cohort peeps so accurately said “It’s like going back to the Dursleys after spending a year at Hogwarts”. TRUER WORDS NEVER SPOKEN. Sheesh. Nothing like getting hooded and walking in your graduation to go right back to editing your slides for the looming presentation… but whatever. Almost there!

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One more week.

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And in the meantime, I have baked goods. Or rather, a no-bake treat since it’s bloody hot out and I’m not about to turn on the oven. But if I have to work on practicum stuff, you better believe I’m going to have something interesting to eat.

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Fast, easy, and delicious. These kind of remind me of a gourmet PB&J…. except better! And they’re cold. Which is bueno when it’s so hot outside, and you want a treat that feels more like real food (ie. me every day).

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So! Next time I blog I will be DONE DONE DONE DONE.

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Hayley Scott, Master of Public Health. Hmm… that has a nice ring to it :)

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Almond Butter Raspberry Chia Bars

Gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free. Healthy fats, antioxidants, and chocolate. YAY! All the good things. Yield: 1 loaf pan. Recipe lightly adapted from This Rawsome Vegan Life, here!

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  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/4 c ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 c almond butter (mine was salted)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 c frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 4 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • unsweetened shredded coconut, for garnish

In a smallish bowl, mash together thawed raspberries and chia seeds. Let sit while you make the rest of the bar crust.

Line a bread pan with parchment paper. In a vitamix or food processor, process the oats until they become flour. Toss into a bowl with the flaxseed, almond butter, maple, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir (or use your hands, it’s more fun) everything together until it all comes together. Press all this goodness into the prepared pan. Set aside for a hot minute.

The raspberry-chia jam should have thickened by this point. Spread it on top of the almond butter-oat mixture in the prepared pan.

In another smallish bowl, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil until melty enough that you can stir it all together sans lumps. Spread this on top of the raspberry layer in the pan, then top with shredded coconut if that’s your thing. Toss it all into the fridge for about an hour before slicing and serving!

Store in the fridge.

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Two Weeks: Brownies are obviously called for.

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The advent calendar of baked goods continues! TWO MORE WEEKS. Actually, less than two weeks. Let’s get to days, shall we? 13. And that includes weekends.

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Also, the to-do list is finally getting smaller, which might account for the two types of baked things that emerged this weekend.

And eggs! Always eggs. These were especially pretty though, so… here they are.

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I exercised my math skills and made 3/4 of a brownie recipe this weekend, because a) I’m just cool like that and b) I was using my favorite skillet and I decided that a 1/2 batch doesn’t appropriately fill up the skillet and c) more brownies is ALWAYS the answer. This isn’t a new recipe, but these are probably just my favorite brownies, pretty much ever. Big claim, I know… but I think if I had to pick one brownie recipe for the rest of forever, there is a really good chance it would be these.

And they disappeared in short order (though I did have help…)

This is the recipe I love so much — I suggest just making a double batch (I list the 1/2 batch measurements here) because they’re just THAT good. Gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free, full of healthy fats and… nearly three kinds of chocolate. WINNING.

That elusive last piece…

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And then in the midst of presentation preparations (PowerPoint for DAYS), I needed a study break so I made a small batch of chocolate chip cookies… because, cookies. I wasn’t even really craving cookies, but just to stand up and look at something that was NOT a computer or a powerpoint slide…. and then I ended up with cookies. Solid choice.

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The cookie recipe is from Living Healthy With Chocolate, here! I didn’t alter it aside from using 1/4 c date sugar instead of coconut and added ~1 tbsp maple syrup.

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They’re delicious! And they’re vegan which was important because I was feeling the need to eat a few bites of the dough…

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It’s the homestretch! Let’s see if we can’t squeeze in at least one more baked thing between now and June 3. Ready… GO.

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Sometimes caramel is the only thing that will do

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Three weeks. But who’s counting?! Not me, obviously…

Two weeks till I graduate, three weeks from today till I’m done done done! I feel like my posts of late are kind of like some version of a baked goods advent calendar until I’m done with my Master’s degree. Is that a thing?! Well whatever, I just made it a thing.

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I’m taking study breaks with baked goods! This week’s offering could  not be more different than the last post — that one was fruity and light, this one is shut-the-front-door dense, caramel-y, gooey, rich, and decadent (in the best way, of course). All while being paleo (it’s sweetened with maple so not strict paleo), vegan, free of the glutens, and full of healthy fats and real food! Because, well, because. Because real food is good for you! And it tastes better anyway, right? Right.

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Might I point out this also makes a great side dish for breakfast… alongside eggs and salad and leftover caponata. Don’t question. Just do it!

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Highly recommend to consume this in front of Monty Python and the Holy Grail with excellent company for full brain-rejuvenation effect and happy taste buds.

And that is officially all I got on the anecdote front. Brain is in maxed out mode, I think it’s time for bed. Yes, I know it’s 8:45 on a Friday night. Nope, I’m not sorry at all.

Happy Weekend!

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Vegan Salted Caramel Skillet Blondies

Vegan, paleo, gluten free, refined sugar free. Dense, fudgey, gooey, and delicious. Yield: 1 8″ cast iron skillet, which feeds however many you decide (1? 2? a dinner party? you do you). Lightly adapted from With Salt and Wit, here!

For the caramel:

  • 1/3 c almond butter
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c coconut oil, melted

For the blondies:

  • 1.5 c almond meal (or flour, also fine)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • heaping 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water)
  • 1/8 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1/8 c unsweetened applesauce
  • scant 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • heaping 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chippies

Preheat the oven to 350, and bust out your trusty little 8″ cast iron skillet! No need to grease it, such is the wonder of cast iron and the use of caramel under the blondie batter…

Mix the flax and water in a small bowl and let sit until gelled, about 5 minutes.

In a large liquid measuring cup (one of those pyrex ones works nicely) or other tall thing, vigorously whisk the almond butter, maple and coconut oil for the caramel until combined. You can do this in a blender if your almond butter is particularly thick — mine was runny enough to make a bicep workout feasible (and I decided I was too lazy to wash the blender later). Pour the caramel into the skillet and set aside.

In a larger bowl, combine almond meal, baking soda, sea salt, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Add in flax egg, melted coconut oil, applesauce, maple, and vanilla. Stir until combined (shouldn’t take too long). Toss in chippies and give it one last good stir. Pour the batter into the caramel — you may have to smooth it out a little, and it will cause the caramel to creep up the sides. All good!! The caramel forms a nice crust for the gooey blondies, which turn out almost like cookie dough. Don’t worry too much about it spreading out perfectly, I promise it will be delicious.

Bake until the top is firm and the caramel is crackly on the edges. I checked mine at 20 minutes, then let it go for another 5 minutes since the blondie wasn’t as firm as I wanted. Final bake time was probably closer to 30 minutes. It helps to bang the skillet on the stove a bit to get the batter and caramel to settle. Once done to your liking, remove from oven and let sit for a few before annihilating.

Absolutely delicious with paleo gelato, or whatever floats your boat! Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Sincere apologies for the strange coloration on the photo below; I have no idea what happened and sadly grad school nonsense takes priority over having a proper photo shoot for the last remaining piece of blondie. Le sigh. Three weeks!

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Crisp = dessert, then breakfast

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Woah woah woah I graduate a month from yesterday! Wheeeeee almost time to decorate my mortar board. Because I care not that I’m getting a masters and that any display of creative originality might be frowned upon for grad ceremonies; any flat, otherwise boring surface is acceptable for yogic doodle decoration and glitter. Also, it’s probably time to make a dent in that giant pile of work I have to do between now and my practicum presentation but…. nah. I made crisp instead.

Because… CRISP!

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Infinitely more fun than papers and literature review and and and.. ew. Someone make all that go away so I can enjoy my crisp in peace, mmk?! Great.

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This one is full of springy, fruity deliciousness. Good for the soul and the bod — brightly colored (food should be fun!) and full of whole-food nutrients. Because all desserts should be able to do double duty as breakfast! Obviously.

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And with that… I’m back to work. Because even that little respite couldn’t last long (waaah).

Let’s get to it. Happy weekend!

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Vegan Raspberry Crisp with Meyer Lemon and Coconut

Fruity, lemony, springy, delicious, and good for your bod! All you could want out of a dessert / breakfast / fruity whole food shenanigan. Full of whole grains (oats), healthy fats (coconut and almonds), antioxidants (raspberries) and all kinds of textural fun. Vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free. Yield: one 8 by 8 pan. A Wait are those Cookies original!

For the fruity goodness:

  • 4 c raspberries (frozen is totes fine; just thaw them first)
  • 2 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp meyer lemon juice*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the crispy fun:

  • 1 c almond meal
  • 1 c rolled oats**
  • 1/4 unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • zest of one meyer lemon*
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c melted coconut oil

*regular lemon will do but Meyers are SO fabulous; find them if you can!

** gluten free if desired

Preheat the oven to 350 and locate your trusty 8 by 8 pan that you make EVERYTHING in. Or maybe that’s just me…

In a large bowl, toss together raspberries, tapioca, maple, meyer lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Once it’s all combined, spread this evenly into the bottom of the 8 by 8.

In another largish bowl, stir together almond meal, oats, sea salt, and lemon zest. Add in maple syrup and melted coconut oil, and stir until combined, mashing out the largest lumps. Spread this goodness evenly over the raspberries in the prepared pan, and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the crumble topping is golden brown and the filing is bubbly and juicy (omg yum). Let sit for a few before annihilating. Leftovers (ha) store best in the fridge and are excellent for breakfast, just saying.

Top with any kind of iced dessert of choice – i.e.. vegan paleo gelato, dairy deliciousness, whipped coconut cream?! The sky’s the limit. You do you!

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