Camp Musings and Cream Biscuits

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I have returned from my mountain home away from home!

Not that I’m especially happy about this – camp is my favorite place, and reality is, um… less fun. I’m pining and going through wilderness withdrawals, that’s for sure.

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There is nothing that compares to 10 days off the grid with my camp family in the mountains – laughing till my stomach hurts, swimming in a lake so brisk it takes your breath away, listening to the wind sighing in the pines, and going to bed under a skyful of stars and a full moon, smelling like woodsmoke and campfire.

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It is such a joy to witness the camp experience of so many girls who come to love camp just as much as I do – I am beyond grateful to have Two Sentinels in my life, both the place and the people! Camp has truly shaped who I am, in more ways than I can count. I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite snaps from this year – doesn’t nearly do it justice, but it’s a start.

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The only thing missing up at camp is an abundance of summer fruit – so of course I pounced on the berries and stone fruits as soon as I got home.

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I’ve been eyeing peaches for weeks now, waiting for peak season, and I think we’re there!

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These are perfect; they really don’t need to be messed with, but I like to have my fruit be a little saucy when I’m serving shortcakes. These particular peaches are paired with a cream biscuit (because I’m obsessed, both with this form of biscuit and with Straus creamery heavy cream – I could literally drink the bottle. Someone take it away!) and with either ice cream or more of that amazing heavy cream… no need to even whip it, just pour it straight over your shortcakes and imbibe.

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It’s hot out and I just ran my oven and I don’t even care. Summer is for shortcakes and if that means I have to swelter a bit, so be it! I’ve been outside in nature’s A/C for the last week and a half anyway so who cares. The only thing missing is the lake! That would be so good right now.

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So! Not only do peaches make your kitchen smell like summer, but this dessert comes together in about five seconds flat. And the oven only has to be on for 15 minutes! No excuses – you’ll thank me later. Happy summer!

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Whole Grain Shortcakes with Peaches and Cream

Lightly sweet, perfectly fluffy biscuits with a craggy crust. Summer peaches don’t need much adornment – these were in varying degrees of ripeness so I threw them in a pot for a minute to somewhat homogenize – tossed with vanilla and served with cream and/or ice cream: the ultimate summer pairing. Refined sugar free and whole wheat. Cream biscuits lightly adapted from Alice Medrich of Food52, here. Yield: 6 shortcakes.

For the cream biscuits:

  • 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 c whole spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • heaping 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 c + 6 tbsp cream
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar, to sprinkle

Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with three pieces of parchment, to prevent excess browning. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together whole wheat, spelt, baking powder, and sea salt. Create a well in the center and pour in the cream. Using a rubber spatula, push the flour into the cream (not stirring), until everything is moistened. This really only takes a few seconds! The dough will look shaggy and porous. Drop large spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet, and sprinkle generously with coconut sugar. Bake for 14-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet front to back once halfway through, until golden brown. Let sit for 10 minutes, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely (or eat warm).

For the peaches:

  • 3-4 large peaches, cubed
  • vanilla to taste
  • zest & juice of one meyer lemon

Toss everything into a small pot, and heat over medium until the peaches start to release their juices and make your kitchen smell amazing. Remove from heat and let cool before serving.

To serve: you do you! Cream, ice cream – whatever floats your boat. I like a ton of peaches and a drizzle of cream (or a large blob of ice cream)… or maybe both. Store any leftovers (really?! who are you??) on the counter covered in foil. Or just eat immediately, which would be my recommendation. Although they are excellent for breakfast, so maybe save one or two ;)

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There are green flecks in my cookies. I mean, obviously.

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Cookies.

Shocked? No. Me neither.

You’re not weirded out by the green flecks at all though, riiiight?! It’s me. Of COURSE there are green flecks in  my cookies. They’re delicious. Promise. Just stick with me…

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You see what happens?? I am forced into resting (I don’t really do this willingly, which is undoubtedly why I’m sick in the first place) by a stupid case of tonsillitis that is making me feel like I got hit by a truck. And when I am forced to rest, what do I do? I bake. Because baking is pretty much resting as long as I sit down after things go into the oven.

Also, my parentals just embarked on a mini trip, involving travel in one of those steel cylinders filled with recycled air that fly at high altitudes and have NO good things to eat. Furthermore, they were embarking on a trip to the midwest. Let me just put it this way: I have absolutely nothing against the middle of America (indeed, Gram hailed from Iowa and took me on a fab trip there when I was 9ish) but… hippie food is not exactly to be found in the parental’s destination.

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Therefore, cookies to be consumed during the flying bit and for emergency rations later on were OBVIOUSLY necessary. And then I could eat a few and send the rest with them and by doing so prevent myself from inadvertently eating the whole batch. Which with these is kind of necessary. They are delicioussss.

And apparently they make my throat and tonsils feel better so clearly I should just eat more of them. AND they’re made with good-for-me ingredients so I don’t have to worry that I’ve eaten all that I didn’t send off with the parentals. Ooops.

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I’ve made avocado cookies before and I definitely liked them, so these were intriguing in their chocolateyness. In both cookies, the avocado goes unnoticed flavor-wise, and really only contributes fudgyness (stop trying to turn that into pudginess, autocorrect! That is a LIE) and healthy fats. These are dense and fudgy—in fact, I like them straight out of the fridge when they’re cold. They’re not too sweet, but with the dark chocolate chips just sweet enough (For me and my fam—if you like sweeter cookies, feel free to up the sweetener as per your preference).

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Chocolate Avocado Cookies

Refined sugar free, low in sugar, and full of healthy fats. I doubled the recipe for a total of 26 (not hugely sized) cookies, so I’ll list those measurements below. I adapted the recipe from The Almond Eater, here!

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c coconut flour
  • 1/3 c coconut sugar
  • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 eggs
  • 2.5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4-6 tbsp unsweetened almond milk (divided)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

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Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder. In a smaller bowl, thoroughly mash the avocados, then whisk in eggs, maple, 4 tbsp almond milk, and vanilla extract. Pour wet into dry, add chocolate chips, and stir until combined. I found that my dough was a little dry as I was mixing it, so I added almond milk a tablespoon at a time until all of the dry ingredients were incorporated.

 

Roll the dough into tablespoon-sized balls, flatten slightly, and place on the cookie sheet. They won’t spread, so feel free to cram them all together like I did. Bake for 8 minutes, let cool for a few on the cookie sheet, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Points for trying:

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