An entirely a-peel-ing banana cake

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Hello hello!

I have cake for you today.

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Actually, this is well timed since that holiday of all Hallmark holidays is coming up next Wednesday; since it’s inexplicably tied to chocolate – here you go! This one is dense, dark and exceptionally chocolatey without being overbearing, and the banana flavor comes through nicely so it ends up being a hybrid somewhere between chocolate cake and banana bread. Nothing wrong with that in my book.

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Besides that, somehow I’d forgotten how much I love walnuts and dark chocolate together – and I’m of the opinion that ginger should almost always hang out with chocolate, so that’s a no brainer.

Also – rioting, demanding bananas:

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This cake was loved by both of us – it’s excellent with ice cream for desserty shenanigans and while a little heavy for a big breakfast slice alongside eggs and kale, little wedges are definitely doable ;) a little chocolate in the morning alongside coffee never comes amiss.

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In other news, my plants are happy to be getting more sunshine these days, though I have to say I’d prefer a bit more winter before we do spring, please.

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So! Make cake, eat with loved ones, be happy. Especially because it’s gluten free, refined sugar free and high in protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants. It’s really a health food in disguise…

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Dark Chocolate Banana Cake with Olive Oil, Ginger & Walnuts

Gluten free, refined sugar free – dark chocolatey banana cake with hits of ginger and chunky walnuts. Not too sweet but a hefty chocolate dose – the olive oil and sea salt temper the natural banana sweetness for a step up from your typical banana bread. Besides, I forgot how much I loved walnuts and chocolate together! Yield: 1 9″ or 10″ cake depending on pan of choice (see below). Heavily adapted from Food52, here.

1c almond flour
1/2 brown rice flour
1/2 c cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 c olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c maple syrup
1.5 c ripe bananas (from about 3 large bananas), mashed with a fork until smooth
1/4 c plain whole milk Greek yogurt
1.5 tps vanilla extract
1/3 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate
1/2 cup (65g) chopped walnuts
1/4 c chopped crystallized ginger

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Generously butter or grease a 9″ cake pan (or a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, or a 9×5-inch loaf pan) – I used a 9″ metal cake pan and it worked just fine.

In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, brown rice flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, eggs, maple, mashed banana, yogurt, and vanilla. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Stir in the chocolate, walnuts and ginger again just until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan or skillet.

Bake until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 28 to 35 minutes (start checking at about 22 minutes for doneness – thinner pans will be done faster. If you used a loaf pan, baking time will be more like 60 minutes). Let cool in the pan for about 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert it onto a cooling rack to cool completely before serving. I like it cold too, straight out of the fridge, but you do you. Also excellent with ice cream, obviously. Keeps well covered in the fridge if you can make it last longer than a day ;)

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Vegetables for dessert? Sure, why not.

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Happy 2018! I hope your new year got off to a good start – mine certainly did, absolutely no complaints over here!

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I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of using a squash other than pumpkin in a dessert.

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Don’t be deceived by the cute little dumpling squash hanging out in these pictures – what really went in here is kabocha, one of these guys:

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I like the kabocha here – if you’ve never encountered one, they’re a bit of a cross between pumpkin and butternut squash. I really like it for the earthiness it brings here, which plays nicely against the apples. Side note: after some thought, we gave it mixed reviews – it feels a little vegetabley to be dessert – I almost wonder if it would work as a side dish. That being said, if you like not too sweet things / vegetables, go for it!

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Besides, this is my absolute favorite crisp topping – it has a little extra protein from greek yogurt and almond flour, and is just so fun to eat. It stays crispy even after hanging out in the fridge overnight, which makes this excellent breakfast (see exhibit A).

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I also love it for dessert with ice cream (obviously) – the crisp ends up covered in melty ice cream, making it into slightly indulgent granola/muesli.

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In other news, I’ve been museuming and drawing again, which feels great. I let it lag a little too long I think!

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Of course coffee.

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Here’s hoping you’re enjoying the beginning of the new year! I have good feelings for this one. If you’re in the mood for a lightly sweet, perfectly healthy desserty-breakfast, I’ve got you covered! Happy baking :)

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Kabocha Squash and Apple Walnut Crisp

Gluten free, refined sugar free, and whole grain. Full of healthy fats AND fruits & veggies! Feel free to eat this as breakfast, I certainly did. Side note: we gave it mixed reviews – it feels a little vegetabley to be dessert – I almost wonder if it would work as a side dish. That being said, if you like not too sweet things / vegetables, go for it! Adapted from the Raz-Apple crisp I made around Thanksgiving, here. Yield: 1 2-quart baking dish (it’s about 8 by 8 and deep). Serves: 2 for dessert & then breakfast! Or… you know, a normal amount of people.

For the filling:

2-3 largish Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced into thin wedges*
1 small kabocha squash, peeled & cubed*
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 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; for ease of cutting kabocha squash, I recommend slicing it in half, then in wedges and using a knife to carefully peel it. The peel is totally edible, but I didn’t want its texture in the crisp. You’ll still get an arm workout peeling these babies, believe me!

**the port is optional but amazing; if you don’t use it, use 1/4c 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
2 tbsp 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.
In a veggie steamer (I use a metal steamer inside a pot), steam the kabocha squash for 10-15 minutes, until just barely fork tender.

Slice apples into a deep baking dish, and add steamed kabocha squash (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 squash and apples and toss to combine. Bake for 15 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 15 minutes, stir to redistribute it 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 three days (yeah right. It would take some kind of major feat to make it last that long; ours was gone in just over 1!) Serve cold alongside breakfast because it’s extra awesome that way.

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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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Happy Solstice! I’m sure the druids ate carrot cake to celebrate too…

img_5339Happy Solstice! Time to really get into it now with the holiday shenanigans — I can’t believe Christmas is Sunday! Sneaky little sucker.

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It’s been below freezing in the mornings here, which is definitely considered a cold snap around these parts! As if I needed an excuse to run the oven and bake for extra kitchen warmth… I took advantage of the cold to not only bake carrot cake but also to re-season all of my cast iron skillets! They’re all shiny and beautiful now, as they should be.

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Other new things…

Holiday fun in the city! My Christmas isn’t complete without seeing the SF Ballet’s Nutcracker.

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More architecture and drawing, obviously.

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What better way to celebrate the solstice than with carrot cake?!

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I’ve been jonesing for it lately, and thankfully I had a seconded favorable opinion, so… it happened! Lightly sweet, carrot-y, and full of nuts just like carrot cake should be. Carrot cake isn’t carrot cake without walnuts! No way. Aside from that, I was tired of the usual cashew-creme frosting, so I got cray with some macadamia nuts to see what would happen, and luckily it was a favorable outcome. Hooray for new things!

Enjoy your Solstice-day with those you love! Indulge yourself in a little healthier carrot cake, you deserve it.

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Skillet Carrot Cake with Coconut Maple Macadamia Frosting and Maple Walnuts

To me, this is pretty much the perfect carrot cake. Carrot cake and walnuts are a match made in heaven, which is why they’re in this twice! Paleo-ish, refined sugar free, dairy free, gluten free, grain free! Cake adapted from Texanerin Baking – only lightly adapted because this cake is damn perfect as is! Frosting is a Wait are those Cookies original.

For the cake:

  • 1.25 c almond flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • scant 1/3 c melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 c runny honey
  • scant 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c grated carrots
  • 1/3 c chopped walnuts

For the frosting:

  • 1 c macadamia nuts, soaked for at least an hour
  • juice of 1 meyer lemon
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • large pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

For the maple walnuts:

  • 1 c raw walnuts
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • large pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

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I tend to make the walnuts in advance so that they have time to cool completely. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat until warm, then add maple (it will fizz a bit). Add in walnuts and sea salt, and cook for a few minutes, stirring regularly and scraping up the caramel forming on the bottom, until the maple syrup has mostly reduced and caramelized – about 3 minutes. Turn off heat, stir in vanilla, and pour the walnuts out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool completely. Store in an airtight jar until needed.

I soaked the macadamia nuts for the frosting about an hour, which meant that I put them to soak, made the cake, then made the frosting, which was a great timeline. The cake can easily be made a day ahead and stored in the fridge overnight.

For the cake: preheat the oven to 350, and grease an 8″ cast iron skillet. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, melted coconut oil, honey, and vanilla. Stir wet into dry, add in grated carrots and chopped walnuts, and stir until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared skillet, and bake for 28-30 minutes (mine was perfect at 30); the top should be lightly browned and firm to the touch, and a tester should come out clean. Let cool completely before frosting and serving.

For the frosting: add soaked macadamia nuts to a high-power blender or food processor (I used a vitamix), and blend until smooth. You’ll have to stop and scrape the sides repeatedly, but it’s worth it! Patience is a virtue, ha. Once the nuts resemble nut butter, add in lemon juice, vanilla, salt, maple syrup, coconut butter and cinnamon. These can be adjusted to taste! I usually just taste as I go, until I’m satisfied. Store in an airtight jar in the fridge until needed; any extra will keep for about two weeks.

To serve: I like to serve the cake straight out of the skillet, so I frost and top with walnuts as is. This cake is excellent with vanilla ice cream (what isn’t) — enjoy accordingly! Store any leftovers in the fridge — covering the skillet with foil works nicely, as does moving the cake to a tupperware.

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Apples and Autumnal Dessert Shenanigans

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Good morning, invisible internet blog friends!

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I have apple-y, fall-y dessert for you today! And can someone explain to me how it’s almost November already? That snuck up on me… but whatever, I have baked apples (or at least I did, they’re all gone now, what a shocker) so it’s all good.

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Despite looking and sounding kind of complicated, these apples actually aren’t so bad, they just require some advance planning. But there’s no prolonged dough chilling involved, and the dumpling dough is very forgiving (all good things in my book).

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I’m keeping it short and sweet today — apples, fall, cooler weather, rain, and caramel sauce. All that’s needed on a lazy October weekend.

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In other news, I’m sitting with my legs wrapped in a blanket because it’s cool this morning and when I just went to get up, I got all tangled up and almost ate it. But I didn’t! I’m basically a mermaid…

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I don’t think desserts get more autumnal than this: apples stuffed with oats and walnuts, wrapped in pastry dough and baked in a caramel bath. Highly recommended both for dessert (with ice cream, obviously) and for breakfast, alongside eggs and something green. Happy Fall!

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Quinoa Flour Apple Dumplings with Caramel and Maple Glazed Walnuts

Gluten free, refined sugar free! Can be dairy free with a very easy swap (coconut oil for the butter in both the dough and the caramel); a delicious and quintessentially autumnal dessert. Despite looking tricky, these aren’t especially hard — they just take a little planning. Yield: 6 apple dumplings + sauce + walnuts; we found that 1/2 an apple was totally sufficient in one sitting but this could easily be 6 servings if that was all you were eating! Recipe adapted from The Kitchn, here!

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For the crust:

  • 3 c quinoa flour, toasted*
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • large pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4.5 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 c unsweetened almond milk

*toasting reduces the natural bitterness of quinoa — I do mine in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently for about 3-5 minutes, until the flour is fragrant and the flour is just barely starting to go golden. Let cool before using.

For the filling:

  • 6 small baking apples (I used Gala and Jonagold)
  • cinnamon & coconut sugar to taste
  • heaping 1/8 c rolled oats
  • large pinch of fine sea salt
  • a handful of glazed walnuts (reserve the rest for topping)
  • 2 tbsp salted butter, cut into 6 pieces

Glazed walnuts:

  • 1 c raw walnut pieces
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • large pinch of fine sea salt

For the caramel sauce:

  • 6 tbsp salted butter
  • scant 2/3 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp arrowroot starch

These have a lot of parts, but they’re not very complicated when you break it down! I made the walnuts several days ahead, which I recommend.

Heat a saute pan over medium until warm. Add maple (it should fizz when it hits the pan), walnuts, vanilla, and sea salt. Stir to combine and let cook, stirring frequently, until the maple has caramelized and the liquid is gone. The walnuts will feel soft until they cool, which is fine. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread them out to cool, breaking up any large chunks. Store in an airtight jar for several weeks (but, yeah right. Mine were gone in a day!)

To make the pastry: In a large bowl, stir together toasted quinoa flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, and sea salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, until the butter pieces resemble small peas. Add in maple, and vanilla. Add milk, 1/4 c at a time, stirring until the dough just comes together (I like using my hands for this, I find it easier than a spoon). Once most of the milk is added, the dough should form a largish shaggy ball. Turn it out onto a floured surface and roll it out to about 1/8″ thick. I found it easier to roll out two sections of dough separately, as my counters are slightly small. Cut a piece of parchment paper into a 6×6″ square, and use it to trace and cut 6 dough squares. Stack them on a plate with pieces of parchment paper in between, and let them chill in the fridge while you prep the apples for the filling.

Peel and core each apple. In a small bowl, mix together oats, cubed butter, cinnamon and a few glazed walnuts — this goodness should be chunky, which is fine since it’ll just be stuffed into the space where the apple core was.

Preheat the oven to 450, and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish (or large cast iron skillet).

Retrieve the dough squares. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon and coconut sugar on the bottom of each, put the apple in the center of the dough, stuff some of the filling in the cored space (I used a few walnuts per apple, and filled the rest with the oat/butter blend), and bring the corners of the dough up to meet over the top of the apple. Pinch the sides together to seal the seams. Repeat for all remaining apples, and if you’re an overachiever like me, make little leaves out of the excess dough for decoration.

Place the apples in the prepared baking dish or skillet, about 1″ apart. Bake for 20 minutes, until the crust begins to brown. While the crust is baking, make the caramel: in a small saucepan, melt butter / add almond milk, sea salt, and vanilla over medium, until it comes to a simmer. Stir in maple and arrowroot, and let simmer for a few more minutes until thickened. Remove from heat.

Lower the heat to 350, and bake the apples for 30-40 more minutes**, until the apple is soft when poked with a fork and the dough is browned (quinoa flour is a little delicate, so if your dough cracks after baking, don’t worry! It’s still delicious). Remove from the oven once done, and pour caramel sauce over hot apples, and in and around them in the pan. Let cool for a few before eating — top with sauce and walnuts and ice cream for serving!

These keep well overnight in the fridge, and are delicious for breakfast (as well as for dessert, obiovusly, I can vouch for both). Store in the original pan, loosely covered with foil.

**I have some beef with the original apple dumpling method, which is to pour the caramel over after the initial par baking, and then continue baking for about a half an hour. That’s what I did, but I ran into some soggy dough and had to resort to some interesting pan switching techniques to continue baking them and THEN add the sauce back. SO. I would recommend the above method, which is how I would make them, when I make them again. That being said, they are delicious either way so you really can’t go wrong.

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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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Really delicious half-eaten pumpkin loaf

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The first of the pumpkin loaves! I made one other pumpkin thing but this is more specifically FALL BAKING status. Because it’s suddenly freezing here and I’ve begun wondering how I survived in Oregon and also, where have all my warm clothes and layers gone?! I think I purged them from my wardrobe in a fit of frustration…. and now it’s become tank top, sweatshirt, scarf, fleece. Which is working tolerably well but… clearly I need help in the wardrobe department. Probably because whenever I try to buy sensible things I end up with boots and scarves and jewelry and don’t judge me, I know you have your weaknesses too, I see you over there on Etsy and Modcloth and Pinterest… oh wait, just me?!

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Also ps. Sorry for the slight awkwardness of the photos. I ate a bunch of the loaf before I realized it was good enough to share…. so you get half eaten loaf. I know that is sooooo appealing.

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On another semi unrelated note, I only have one more round of midterms and then it’s Thanksgiving! THANK GOODNESS. I have never been so grateful for the end of midterms in my life. Three rounds, so gross. I can’t really believe that I’m already only 3 weeks away from the end of the quarter. Can someone explain how that happened?! Mind blown. I have a feeling opera and jazzercise will get me through the last three weeks of medstats. And that will be my last three weeks of medstats EVER because obviously I am never doing that again.

I’ve been drawing again as a break from the madness:

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Jessie says hello, with drool:

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SO! Baking = coping mechanism. Let’s do this.

This bread is lightly sweet but so very fall-y and pumpkin-y and satisfying and delicious. I like the walnuts in there for texture but if that’s not your thing, chocolate would be just as good. It’s also stuffed full of beta carotene antioxidants, which is just generally fab.

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Quinoa Flour Pumpkin Carrot Bread

Vegan, refined sugar free, whole grain, can be gluten free! Friendly for IBS too since it has lots of great soluble fiber. Just in case you’re blessed with that sort of fun thing… it also might be fodmap friendly, depending on your fodmap tolerance; it was totes fine for me but it depends on you and your bod!

Yield: 1 loaf

  • 1 c quinoa flour, toasted*
  • 2/3 c whole spelt flour**
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • heaping 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 c pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water; let sit for 5 minutes
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 1/4 c walnuts, chopped

*toasting gets rid of the natural bitterness — I do it in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes or until the flour smells toasty

** Replace with more quinoa flour for gluten free!

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a standard loaf pan with coconut oil or your greasing thingy of choice.

In a large bowl, whisk together toasted quinoa flour, spelt flour, baking soda and powder, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a smaller bowl, whisk or stir or whatever with your fave implement the pumpkin puree, maple, coconut oil, applesauce, vanilla, and gelled flax egg. Toss this whole bucket of delicious into your dry ingredients, and stir until combined. Add in carrots and walnuts about halfway and stir until the dry mix is incorporated. The batter will be pretty thick – spread it into your prepared loaf pan, and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. I had my timer set for 46 minutes, but my loaf came out perfectly at 42 — I started smelling it baking, and I don’t trust my super hot and uneven oven, so I tested it and it was actually perfect, so out it came. Let cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Leftovers store best wrapped in foil in the fridge.

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