Sometimes, dessert just needs to be an unashamedly sloppy, delicious mess

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This tart is a lesson in what dessert sometimes should be: an aesthetically pleasing, sloppy, delicious mess. Because sometimes dessert should just be eaten out of the pan it was baked or assembled in, with two spoons and happy grins. Or, you could attempt civilized plating (as I did) when you consume it for dessert, with a hasty decant into bowls topped with ice cream. Which is perfectly acceptable. Until the next morning when you peek at the custard tart that’s been hangin’ in the fridge overnight and notice that the custard has decided to attempt an escape outside its proscribed bounds, at which point you decide to eat it out of the pan with spoons. Wise and delicious decision!

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Sometimes, you need a less than perfect dessert. Messy, delicious and less than perfect is exactly what this tart is. You’ve been warned! Indulge accordingly.

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In other news, I completed another year on this earthplane, and celebrated accordingly at Gary Danko! Nowhere else am I going to sit down to a four course dinner with two desserts. Shockingly, I didn’t even need a wheelbarrow to leave…. I consider this a success all around. Thanks to everyone who made my birthday weekend such fun! Y’all are so rad.

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Hmm, what else. It’s officially autumn! Which means apples, scarves, boots, and pumpkin. And baking. Except that the Bay has decided to have a heat wave these last few days, which means baking is totally off the table until it gets back down into the 80s, at least. Since when do I wear a dress and no jacket in San Francisco all evening?! Since never… until yesterday! Reason number one to eat messy, cool, creamy dessert that can be had with minimal baking and heating of the kitchen!

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More drawing! A wee bit of dome practice with the beautiful San Francisco city hall.

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Nighttime cityscapes are so beautiful.

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But back to the food!

This tart presents beautifully but once cut, devolves into a sloppy, delicious mess. But, fear not! Just grab a spoon and eat it straight from the pan. Messy and delicious, just how dessert should be.

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Maple Custard Apple Tart with Almond Crust

Lightly sweet, creamy and an appropriate amount of crust. Refined sugar free, grain free, gluten free, paleo & dairy free with one small swap (coconut oil for butter in the crust). Yield: 1 10″ pie pan of the deep variety; serves as many as you feel like sharing with. Recipe adapted from Hip Foodie Mom, here!

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For the crust:

  • 2.5 c almond flour
  • scant 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 4 tbsp salted butter (or coconut oil), melted
  • 1 runneth-over tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg white

For the custard:

  • 1.5 c coconut milk (mine was light; use whatever you have)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For the apple topping:

  • 2 apples, finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp raspberry jam, thinned with a bit of water and lemon juice

Because the custard needs to sit and chill in the fridge after cooling for at least 2 hours, I made this a day ahead and let it hang out in the fridge overnight. The crust only takes about 15 minutes to bake, so the tart itself comes together quite quickly.

Preheat the oven to 400 and lightly grease a 9 or 10″ deep pie plate with coconut oil or butter. For the crust: in a large mixing bowl, stir together almond flour, salt, and coconut sugar. Add in melted butter or coconut oil, vanilla, and egg white, and stir until combined — I found it more fun and more efficient to use my hands at the end. Press the dough into the bottom of your pie plate of choice, poke the bottom a few times with a fork, and bake for 15 minutes. The crust should be lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

For the custard: in a medium saucepan, heat the coconut milk over medium, until small bubbles begin forming along the egg whites. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, maple, tapioca starch, and salt. Slowly temper the eggs by pouring the hot coconut milk into the egg bowl in a thin stream, whisking constantly until all the milk is incorporated. Pour this whole bowl of goodness back into the pot that was previously holding the coconut milk, and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the custard begins bubble and thicken (you’ll know. it’ll go from watery to thick enough that your whisk makes tracks). Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla, and let sit until cool. Give it a good stir, and store in an airtight container in the fridge if you made it ahead.

Pour the custard into the completely cooled crust. Thinly slice 2 apples of choice, and drop them in a bowl of lemon water to prevent browning while slicing. In a small bowl, thin the raspberry jam with a few tbsp of water and lemon juice (I used the leftover from my apple-soaking water). Fan the apple slices across the surface of the custard, brush with the raspberry jam mixture to prevent excess browning. Cover and refrigerate if not eating immediately!

Keeps well overnight in the fridge, covered, but don’t expect it to stay in one piece! The custard is runny — best advice (and I definitely put this into practice) is to just eat it with a spoon, straight out of the pie plate. For breakfast! Keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Fig season is upon us!

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It’s fig season!!! Another reason to love fall, as if I didn’t have enough already.

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As much as I start missing the fresh summer berries, it’s so refreshing when the seasons start changing (ish. Emphasis on ish. It’s been in the upper 90s over here for the last few days…um okay I get it! We’re making up for lost time?! But seriously, enough). Figs are so fun with their little tiny seeds. I used to not be such a fig fan, but they’ve won their way into my heart. Especially when they hang out with goat cheese and hazelnuts and honey. But really, I’ll eat them in any form.

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Especially when rice pudding is involved… I never ever say no to rice pudding. EVER.

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This version is baked into a cake/tart type thing, and is sliceable and delicious and fantastic for breakfast as well as dessert. I could wax rhapsodic about this dessert but you really should just make one and thank me later. It’s delicious! It doesn’t use much sweetener either, which is a giant plus in my book and also makes it doubly acceptable for breakfast (also it’s excellent with coconut gelato… just looking out for you!)

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Handily enough, it also comes together quickly and doesn’t require any wildly unusual pantry ingredients.

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I’m reminded of the Italian cake Torta di Riso (I did one years ago and it’s somewhere on the blog… I used blood oranges for that one) — basically a rice custard that is baked into a sliceable cake. This one is a little denser than the Italian version (definitely NOT a bad thing), and is infinitely adaptable to whatever fruit is in season (though I highly recommend figs).

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I’ve also had some time to draw again lately, which I love. Baking + drawing = happy days.

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Enjoy fig season in all its glory and bask in some rice pudding. Happy Equinox!

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Baked Coconut Rice Pudding Cake with Honeyed Figs

Gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free! Densely textured, lightly sweet cake perfect for dessert and breakfast. If you love rice pudding, this cake is for you. Yield: 1 9″ pie pan (mine is the deep variety, about 2″ deep). Recipe lightly adapted from A Fork and a Pencil, here!

  • 1 c arborio rice, rinsed
  • 1 c water
  • 1 1/3 c light coconut milk, divided (should be exactly one standard 13.5 fl oz can)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 4 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2.5 tbsp coconut sugar
  • figs to your heart’s content (I used 4), halved
  • enough small dollops of honey to drop into each fig half

In a saucepan, combine rice, water, and 2/3 c coconut milk. Heat over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until it just barely boils. Cover, Reduce heat to low and simmer until the rice has absorbed the liquid, no more than 10 minutes. Once rice is cooked (it should still have some chewy bite to it) and the liquid is absorbed, remove from heat and let cool briefly while assembling everything else.

Lightly grease your pie plate with coconut oil and preheat the oven to 350.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together, add vanilla, sea salt, maple, and coconut sugar. Pour the cooked and cooled rice into this bowl, and stir to combine. Pour the whole thing into the prepared pie dish (don’t freak if there’s some leftover liquid on the top of the dish, it will be fine! Promise). Halve the figs and press them into the rice, dropping small dollops of honey into the center of each fig half.

Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, until the top is firm when touched and the surface is golden brown. Mine came out perfectly at an hour. Let cool for a bit before slicing. I like it cold, so I refrigerated mine for a few hours before eating, but that’s your call! Store any leftovers covered in the fridge (foil over the pie plate works just fine). Enjoy for dessert with your fave ice cream or gelato (coconut is marvelous) or for breakfast alongside your eggs and kale!

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Some desserts are actually breakfast in disguise

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It’s September, my favorite month ever! I love fall. So even though the days start getting shorter again and that’s kind of a bummer, I do love the lead up to fall…. and boots! and scarves! and apples! and pumpkin!

But… before we get there! It’s still arguably berry season, and I see no reason to end that prematurely unless I have to (which I don’t!). Which means… raspberries! Which pair oh so well with hazelnuts and dark chocolate. And then…

BREAD.

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Because, sometimes you just need some bread pudding. Besides that, I am spoiled to live near Acme Baking, which makes some of the best bread around: all the more reason to get on the bread pudding train. Furthermore, bread pudding is one of those glorious things that only gets better and better the longer it sits, which means breakfast this morning was FANTASTIC. Eggs & cholula + kale + bread pudding? Sign me up. Oh. And obviously caramel. Because bread pudding should ALWAYS have a sauce, no matter if you eat it with ice cream anyway (also recommended; talenti coconut gelato was a spot-on choice). Enter the five second blender caramel with heavy hazelnut overtones… and so full of good things it’s practically a health food. Don’t get me started ;)

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Apologies for the lack of pictures; bread pudding isn’t the most photogenic of all the desserts and also it pretty much got annihilated before I could get in there with a camera for some in situ shots of plated dessert… Sorry not sorry.

Happy September, enjoy the beautiful days of Indian summer!

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Hazelnut, Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Bread Pudding with Hazelnut Caramel

This is neither gluten free, vegan, or paleo. Sorry not sorry! Sometimes, you just need some bread. It is, however, dairy free and refined sugar free. It is also extremely easy to throw together, using whatever you have on hand. Yield: one 9 by 9 pan. Like many things I’ve made lately, this does double duty as breakfast and is even better the next day, so the serving sizes are contingent on how hungry you happen to be… A Wait are those Cookies original!

Bread Pudding:

  • 1 loaf of (stale!*) bread, cubed (I used Acme Pain au Levain)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 c coconut milk (mine happened to be light; use whatever you like)
  • 1/2 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 runneth-over shot of Fra Angelico
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 c roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • 1 c fresh raspberries (frozen is fine; thaw and drain first!)

Caramel:

  • 1/3 c roasted unsalted almond butter
  • 1/3 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp Fra Angelico
  • scant 1/4 tsp sea salt

* You can either cube it ahead of time and let it sit out, like I did, or slice and toast in the oven to stale it day of, if you’re short on time

You can make the caramel ahead of time, or while the pudding is baking (it comes together in about five seconds):

In a vitamix or a food processor, blend almond butter, maple, melted coconut oil, vanilla, Fra Anglico, and sea salt until smooth and incorporated. Adjust taste to suit your preferences!

Butter or use coconut oil to grease a 9 by 9 pan. Sprinkle coconut sugar over the inside of the pan if desired; this gives the bottom a little somethin’ extra…

Put the cubed bread into a large bowl. In a slightly smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut milk, maple, Fra Angelica, vanilla, and sea salt. Pour this goodness over the bread cubes, using your hands to evenly distribute everything. Toss in hazelnuts, chocolate chips, and raspberries (reserve a few raspberries for topping if you’re feeling fancy). Let this sit for about a half hour so the bread can absorb the custard.

Preheat the oven to 350, and once the custard and bread have sat for a bit, bake for 30-40 minutes, until there is no visible liquid at the bottom when you separate it with a fork (you don’t want it dry though, so just look for pooling liquid). Mine was perfect at 40 minutes. Let cool completely, then refrigerate if you’re like me and like cold bread pudding! Or serve warm, it’s awesome either way. Store leftovers in the fridge and eat them for breakfast — highly recommended.

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The only acceptable summer blues

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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!

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Late summer galettes and camp shenanigans

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Hello! Long time no see.

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

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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!

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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).

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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:

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Summer = Shortcakes. Forever and always!

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I’ve decided that every summer needs to have at least one shortcake, because summer and shortcake are just made for each other. Gloriously excessive gluts of fresh berries, stone fruit, or both… shortcake is best friends with all of them.

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Shortcake is also fast, simple, and doesn’t heat up the kitchen (too) much; besides, even if it does, it’s worth it.

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These were definitely worth it! Not only were they a delicious very late night snack to accompany a prerecorded watching of the GC time trials from the TDF16 (nerd alert, sorry not sorry), they also made an awesome side to eggs and greens the next morning for breakfast. Nothing better than a versatile shortcake…

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In other news, the world’s most giant zucchini decided to make an appearance in the yard (it was subsequently turned into vegan, gf brownie bars as well as sautéed with kale for the obligatory savory part of dinner).

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I also brought back the dashboard cookie the other day since I really wanted cookies and it was way too hot to even consider turning on the oven. They turned out great as usual, and my car smelled amazing for about five seconds.

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But anyway. Back to shortcakes. The other funny thing is that I seem to always make them right before I leave for camp, which I do on Monday. Maybe summer = camp = shortcakes? Who knows. Whatever though, I’m just happy I made and ate them and sad that they’re gone. These were delicious with only strawberries, and with strawberries+raspberries… despite not really eating dairy these days, these were eaten with ice cream and it was SO worth it. Because sometimes you are reminded that life is short, and should be enjoyed to the fullest.

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That being said, it’s summer! Make shortcakes! These are grain free and paleo, so have at it. Give your summer berries a playdate with their best friends shortcake and ice cream. Your return on investment will be delicious!

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Grain Free Shortcakes with Summer Berries

Gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free, paleo (for those who eat butter). Lightly sweet, slightly vanilla-y. Excellent with any kind of berry (or stone fruit) that you happen to have on hand. I didn’t do anything to the fruit since it was so perfect; just slice and eat. Serve with ice cream, non-dairy, whipped cream, coconut whipped cream… the options are endless. Recipe lightly adapted from The Roasted Root, here! Yield: 7 medium sized shortcakes (go either bigger or smaller for 6 or 8 cakes, up to you!)

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  • 2.5 c almond flour (not almond meal, the consistency is different)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 tbsp salted butter, melted*
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Ice cream or whipped topping of choice for serving
  • Summer berries or stone fruit for serving!

*coconut oil also fine, though I used butter and they were awesome because…. BUTTER.

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

In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, baking soda, and sea salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted butter, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla, eggs and vinegar until combined. Using a spoon, stir the wet into the dry until incorporated. The dough is moist but should be workable (you can chill it for a few minutes if it’s not). Scoop dough balls in the size of choice and roll them gently in your palms before putting them onto the baking sheet a few inches apart. Flatten them slightly with your fingers or palm.

Bake for about 15 minutes (mine were perfect at 15) until the top is golden and cracked. A tester should come out clean. Eat immediately, or let cool on a rack (I like them room temperature).

Serve with ice cream or whipped topping of choice (mine was vanilla caramel gelato) and fresh strawberries — I love my fruit so much, I didn’t do anything to it, but feel free to doctor your fruit as you see fit.

Store these overnight in the fridge — they’re also great cold for breakfast the next day!

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Death by chocolate via skillet

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Hello!

This is a rather belated post / a compilation of a lot of things that have transpired out of my oven of late… I have no other excuse other than that I’ve just been lazy on the blogging front. And also it’s been HOT. So running the oven is the last thing I ever want to do when it’s a thousand degrees in the shade. Despite that, I’m sharing these brownies that require an oven because a) they’re amazing and you need them and b) I made lemon bars that got eaten so fast there was no picture to be had but they were AMAZING and if it cools down several degrees I’ll no doubt make them again soon and hopefully get in some pictures so you can see the deliciousness, in case you don’t believe the words (though you should).

Let’s see, what else has been shakin…

Occasionally I have fun with fans.

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I’ve been doing a lot of this, and it’s been glorious (btw; highly recommend this book; I couldn’t put it down).

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I got to see my favorite band ever ever ever in the beginning of June!! Caravan Palace is AMAZING.

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Summer means a glut of zucchini (at least in theory; I am [im]patiently waiting for the zucchini plant to really get going; at the moment am having to restrain myself from ripping the somewhat tiny zucchinis off the plant and eating them immediately. That being said, I did get to get out my spiralizer again after a long hiatus, and that was fun.

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But.

These brownies. Do you see that caramel sauce swirl going on down there?!

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Are pretty much death by chocolate in a skillet. In the best way. I took these brownies that are super dark, fudgy and dense and refined sugar free and dairy free and gluten free and DELICIOUS….

… and then I trashed them up with paleo caramel and coconut and more chocolate and they became a fairly evil dessert. I use evil in a complimentary way, of course.

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Topped with paleo gelato, they just about sent me over the edge (I was not eating these alone either, and I was not the only one accusing them of delicious death by chocolate). Good thing I was watching a movie on the floor so I didn’t really have to move very much after I finished them.

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But really. They’re amazing. Just pace yourself when eating, ha.

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Coconut Caramel Brownies

Gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free. Fudgy, dark brownies with a deep dark chocolate taste — these are not for the faint of heart or for those who prefer a cakier brownie. No way man; eat these if you love dark chocolate in all its forms. The coconut caramel and coconut flakes take them over the top. Serves: a lot. Yield: 1 8″ cast iron skillet or an 8″ square baking pan.

Use the recipe below for the brownies: Deep Dark Flourless Brownies 

  • 6 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 oz extra dark chocolate [mine was 77%]
  • 2 oz dark chocolate [mine was 63%]
  • 2 eggs
  • scant 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cacao powder
  • 3 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • a handful of extra dark chocolate chips

1 batch of paleo caramel (I used this one from Bakerita, here — it is DELICIOUS)

  • much easier to make this ahead of time and refrigerate until needed — I made it the day before. It will also thicken up in the fridge the longer it sits.

For toppings: flaked coconut, shredded coconut, melted chocolate if desired

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease an 8″ cast iron with coconut oil or line an 8 by 8 pan with foil.

In a saucepan over med-low, melt coconut oil+extra dark chocolate+dark chocolate until smooth, stirring occasionally (you can also do this in the microwave, stirring at 30 sec intervals if you are feeling supremely lazy). In a biggish bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs, coconut sugar, and vanilla until pale and smooth, about 2 minutes. After that’s all good, beat in the coconut oil-chocolate goodness until incorporated. In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder, arrowroot powder, and sea salt; then slowly use the mixer to beat that into the rest of the mix. Don’t overmix, just make sure there aren’t any pockets of cocoa powder. The batter should be thick and smooth. Stir in the extra chocolate chips. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.

Drizzle about 1/3 to 1/2 of the cooled caramel onto the brownie batter, and use a knife to swirl it together. You’ll end up with streaks and pockets of caramel, which are delicious– don’t feel like you need to completely stir it into the batter.

Bake for 30 minutes in an 8″ skillet (it’s thicker, so test accordingly) or for just about 25 minutes in an 8 by 8 pan, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely before topping.

Once cool, drizzle remaining caramel sauce over the top and excessively top with all the coconut. Toast the flakes if you like, or toss them on un-toasted – I did half and half and both were delicious. Melted chocolate drizzle is also a nice touch!

Slice. Eat. Devour. Might I suggest eating them in delightful company, since good food is so much better that way?! Also because a chocolate coma is more fun when you’re in good company.

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Even fruit likes to get dressed up sometimes

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I’m on sort of a roll here to see how many desserts I can make in my fave 8″ cast iron skillet… I’ve recently re-embarked on a cast iron love affair, and it is PERFECT for dessert. Points for charm, too, of course. So! This week’s incarnation is cobbler. Or some type of fruit dessert with topping. There are so many different ones: crisp, crumble, cobbler, grunt, slump, pandowdy, buckle.. now that I’ve listed them all, I feel compelled to go look up the differences. Hold that thought…

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Holding?

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Okay. I’m back.

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Woah. Information overload. Apparently grunts, pandowdies and slumps are the New England version of cobbler, whereas cobbler is more traditionally from the Deep South. Huh. Who knew. Anyway, they’re basically the same thing anyway: take some delicious fruit and smother it in a biscuit dough / pie dough incarnation / crispy crumble thing and bake that thang in a skillet. Any way you slice it, they’re obviously delicious, so let’s just leave it at that. Despite the research I’m still not sure if this is *technically* a cobbler, but who cares. Let’s not get technical, it’s the weekend!

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Look at me doing research for fun not even a week out of graduate school! What. Weird. I’m going to stop now, that was quite enough, thank you.

Cobbler! Ahhhh. Summer fruit. Probably one of my favorite eating seasons. For when you have all the fruit and can’t possibly sit and eat it all. And for when you want your fruit to have a crunchy, crumbly delicious topping. Because even fruit likes to get dressed up sometimes.

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Peach, Blackberry and Blueberry Almond Quinoa Cobbler

This could easily be gluten free — just sub the spelt flour for more quinoa flour or any other gluten free flour of choice. Could also be dairy free: sub in melted coconut oil for the butter. Refined sugar free, healthy fats, and full of antioxidants. Perfect summer dessert, and a perfect reason to bust out that smallish skillet of yours. Yield: 1 8″ skillet, serves 2-4 depending on how hungry you are and whether this gets eaten for dessert and then for breakfast…  A Wait are those Cookies original!

For the fruity goodness:

  • 2 c peaches, chopped into 1/2″ chunks
  •  1 c blackberries*
  • 1 c blueberries*
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp organic cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp date sugar

*mine were previously frozen; if yours are too, just thaw them first

For the cobbler topping:

  • 1/2 c almond meal
  • 1/2 c quinoa flour, toasted**
  • 1/4 c spelt flour
  • 1/4 c date sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp salted butter, melted and cooled

**toast the flour over medium heat in a smallish skillet, stirring occasionally until fragrant (less than 5 minutes usually; take it off just before it starts to brown)

Grease an 8″ cast iron skillet, or another 8″ pan of choice with coconut oil. Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large bowl, toss fruit with cornstarch, lemon juice, and date sugar. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond meal, toasted quinoa flour, spelt flour, date sugar, baking powder, sea salt, and cinnamon until combined. Stir in whisked egg, maple, and vanilla, followed by the melted butter. Stir until just incorporated.

Pour the fruit into the prepared skillet, and top with spoonfuls of batter. Bake for 30 minutes, until the topping is lightly browned. Cool for at least 10 minutes before eating.

Highly recommended with your ice cream of choice (in this case it was paleo gelato made from cashews and maple syrup, I’m obsessed). Store any leftovers in the fridge!

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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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