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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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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Bring on the avalanche of holiday baking

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SO!

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Holiday baking because NO MORE FINALS, wheeeeee!!!!! I literally don’t know what to do with myself. I constantly have this feeling that there is something I need to be doing, or turning in, or preparing for… or wait. NO. I’m done!

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So brownies! Also because work potluck + holiday season called for dessert. But of course I had to put my own spin on them, so they are whole wheat and made with unrefined sugar (sucanat! It’s making a resurgence in my baked goods because there happened to be some left in the pantry… end of finals = dislike of expending extra effort on anything except maybe jazzercise…which also includes going to the store and swimming upstream though the holiday masses. No thanks, unless I’m out of something I absolutely can’t live without)

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These brownies are spectac! We already know I’m ludicrously picky about brownies but these totally make the cut. Dense, fudgy but with a crackly crust, chewy edges, chunks of chocolate… all things a brownie should be. And the port soaked dates are just fun and festive — I don’t NOT drink but I don’t drink either, as most of you know, but I will occasionally have a glass of good port if it’s on offer, and it is literally amazing in brownies.

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One final doodle to usher in your weekend. Happy Saturday!

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Fudgy Whole Wheat Brownies with Port Soaked Dates

Fudgy, dense, dark and deeply chocolatey. Because who doesn’t want a little death by chocolate now and then? The port soaked dates add a little extra je ne sais quoi. Whole wheat, {less} refined sugar… and good for your soul around this time of year. Adapted from the awesome blog Sis. Boom. [Blog!], here! Yield: 1 8 by 8 pan, so somewhere between 9 and 36 brownies, depending on how much death by chocolate you want.

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  • 3 tbsp good port
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 c chopped dates
  • 5 tbsp salted butter, cut into smallish chunks
  • 6 oz extra dark chocolate, chopped (I used chips for ease; 73%)
  • slightly heaping 1/2 c sucanat (or coconut sugar)
  • 2 eggs, cold
  • scant 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 4 oz extra dark chocolate chips (again, 73%)

Preheat the oven to 325, and line an 8 by 8 pan with foil. Butter the foil (trust me. you think you can skip this, and be lazy like me, but don’t do it. consider yourself warned).

In a small saucepan, combine port and water and bring to just boiling, add dates, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and the dates are soft (just a few minutes). Set aside. In a double boiler, melt butter and 6 oz of chocolate until the chocolate is just melted, then remove from heat and stir to fully incorporate (the butter should also be fully melted by the time you finish stirring).

Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated (the batter will look a little gritty and that’s okay), then each egg one at a time, stirring until the batter looks glossy. Stir in salt.

Transfer to a larger bowl if your double boiler is small like mine, then carefully whisk in the flour until just barely incorporated. Toss in 4 oz of dark chocolate chips + port soaked dates + any port left in the pan, and stir together. Scrape batter into prepared pan, and bake for 35 minutes. A tester should come out just barely clean and the top will be shiny.

Let cool for a few minutes in the pan, then grab the foil and lift the whole thing out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Slice and serve! Keeps well over night on the counter back in the original pan, covered with foil.

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Matching socks are overrated.

Wait. Free time?! I’m unfamiliar with this concept.

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Looklooklook I actually had time to make something!!! Actually, I had time to make TWO somethings, because well.. the oven was already on. So obviously. I also had a super productive weekend that also included time to work out and time to sit on my butt and read. Generally speaking, I consider this a highly successful weekend. Jessie thinks so too.

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And… I made bars!

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It felt so good to bake. I swear, it’s probably been about a month and that is WAY too long. These were a product of that fun game “let’s see what’s in the fridge and what I can make with it, depending on my mood and a billion other factors, but actually depending on what food is actually present”. It’s fun, kind of like a treasure hunt in the pantry.

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And (shockingly, not), I ended up with barz! I know, I know. But they’re just so delicious and fast and easy and satisfying. So, bars. Cookies were slightly too high maintenance for this particular weekend (though I did make a tiny batch of 10 cookies, just to be thorough).

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These are great for the indecisively minded, which I tend towards when I’m baking…. usually I want five things and can’t decide which of the five to bake. Sooo…. I decided to get creative and make both, at the same time. Problem mega solved. Now I have barz AND blondies AND brownies without having a gigantic pile of baked goods staring me in the face. Winning, winning.

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Also, succulents are awesome!

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Swirled Chocolate Tahini Barz

Half blondie, half brownie, for when you really can’t decide or you’re so braindead from biostats that you just decide that deciding isn’t worth the effort. Enter the hybrid bar. The best of both worlds with a minimum of effort.

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Gluten free, dairy free, soy free, refined sugar free and vegan! Spread the love. A Wait are those Cookies original.

  • 1.5 c almond flour
  • 1 c quinoa flour, toasted*
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 c tahini (mine is unsalted)
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flaxseed + 6 tbsp water)
  • 1/2 c pure maple syrup + 1 tbsp, divided
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c avocado oil
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce + heaping 1/8 c unsweetened applesauce, divided
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

*In a medium sized skillet over medium heat, stir the flour occasionally until it’s fragrant, about 5 minutes. Toasting reduces the otherwise slightly bitter nature of quinoa and quinoa flour.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease an 8 by 8 pan.

Make flax eggs, and set aside to gel.

In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, quinoa flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Add in tahini, flax eggs, 1/2 c maple, avo oil, and 1/4 c applesauce. Stir until just combined — try to avoid overmixing. Take half of the batter and plop it into half of the prepared pan. Add the cocoa powder, 1 tbsp maple, and 1/8 c applesauce to the remaining batter, and stir to combine. Drop this chocolatey goodness into the other, empty, half of the prepared pan, and using a knife, swirl the middle bits together (or go crazy and do the whole thing, I’m not going to stop you!). Pop this goodness into the oven for just about 35 minutes, when the top should be mostly firm and a tester comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan, then cover and store any leftovers in the fridge.

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Actually yes, I do eat something besides barz.

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Before you say anything, I am totes aware that the last billion recipes on here are bars. I knoooow. I’m working on that, obviously not very successfully… One day, in the hopefully not to distant future, I will get off my bar train and blog about something different. And you’ll be so shocked, I’ll have to come over there and pick you up off the floor. But until that day… Barz.

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So….. I wasn’t necessarily going to blog about these, but then I ate one and discovered how deep, dark, datey and delicious they were, and decided they were too good not to share. Besides, they’re much fudgier than a lot of my barz recently, so you know. Variety is the spice of life, right? Right. But dates and dessert and chocolate and tahini also make life spicy, so why not eat those too?

Also because spicy life = great life.

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And also because I wrote the last two sentences yesterday, and I ate a brownie last night and they only get better hanging out in your fridge, so there are really no reasons not to make them (unless of course there is no food processor readily accessible… sadly these aren’t one that you could hack, unless your by-hand mashing and blending abilities are on par with some kind of superhero. Even I, who avoids using appliances if at all possible, busted out the food processor on this one). SO! Brownies! That are phenomenally good for you and also delicious. Can’t beat that.

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Okay so further ALSO: it was a billion degrees here this past weekend, but I really needed brownies, so I stupidly ran the oven (no bake treats were just not going to cut it). I also stupidly decided that peeling an entire can of chickpeas was a good idea. I know I know, I sound like a crazy. But here’s why: I’d heard forever that peeling your chickpeas makes for smoothy smooth homemade hummus. And having been extremely put off and irritated by the grittiness of my previous batches of homemade hummus, I decided that standing in my million degree kitchen on my day off pinching the skin from each individual chickpea was a good idea. Um, just no. But I can happily report that my hummus is SPECTAC. And it has beets in it, so it’s pink…which obviously ups its superiority factor. Incidentally, I was also out of lemon juice and had to pinch hit with limes. Amazingly, it’s some of the best hummus I’ve had in awhile AND it is silky silky smooth. So unfortunately the peeling method does work. I might be convinced to do it again… maybe. Just not when it’s a thousand degrees out and all I want to do is lay on the air vent like my cat.

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And one further aside, that is completely unrelated. I (just for laughs) calculated my average fruit and veg intake on a standard work day (lunch varies; dinner varies but my overall veggie intake during the week is pretty standard each day). An article I saw sparked my curiosity — it was a pictorial essay of different combinations of fruit / veg that meet the official recommendations; and my first thought was, ‘wait. that’s IT?!’, which made me want to see what my intake looks like within the official guidelines. According to the government website calculator, I am supposed to eat 2 servings / cups of fruit per day, and 3 servings / cups of veg a day. At which point I calculated mine for the day (and it’s only 2 pm. I haven’t even had dinner yet, which will contain at least another cup of veggies, and then there are dates in my dessert)… and I’m at 3.5 servings / cups of fruit, and 4.5 servings / cups of veg. Sooooooo….. yeah. I’m basically a piece of produce. And plant-powered!

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And a bit of freehand, just cause!

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Tahini Date Brownies

Gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free and flour-free deliciousness! Whole food ingredients to show your bod how much you love it. Recipe makes one 8 by 8 pan. Inspired by Graceful Kitchen, here! In case you’re interested in this stuff, like I am, tahini is an excellent source of calcium, vitamins / minerals, and omega 3’s + unsaturated (good!) fat; dates are generally just fabulous for you (assorted vitamins / minerals / too many bennies to list); and dark chocolate + unsweetened cocoa powder = minerals, flavonoids, and antioxidants. In sum… eat whole-food brownies, absorb nutrients, be happy.

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  • 1 15 oz can of white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 c packed + pitted medjool dates*
  • 1/2 c tahini
  • scant 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • heaping 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • optional…. sort of: 1 – 2 squares of chili-spiced chocolate, for a bit of subtle heat

*If the dates get hard, a 15 minute soak in boiling or very hot water usually softens them enough so that they won’t murder the food processor… Also, the date soaking water can be used in smoothies! Mmm. Or to cook oatmeal… or anywhere you need a little liquid sweet.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease an 8 by 8 pan (or use parchment. These are sticky, so if you want more evenly sliced bars, I would recommend the parchment route. Otherwise, I didn’t have a problem getting them out sans paper).

In the food processor, combine drained beans, dates (soaked if necessary; drain before adding), tahini, maple, and vanilla. Process for a few seconds, to get the dates broken up. Add cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, and process until the batter is nearly completely smooth. I left a few chunks of dates in mine, but I draw the line at chunks of beans, no thanks. Stir in chocolate chips and chopped chocolate, and spread the batter into the prepared pan (it’s thick, so just go for the rustic look). Bake for 29-32 minutes, until the top is mostly firm and a tester comes out clean. These are very fudgy (and they’re vegan), so if you want to underbake them for super-goop, go ahead! Mine were perfect and sufficiently fudgy at 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan before slicing. Store in the fridge (I cover the pan with foil till they’re mostly gone, then transfer them to a tupperware).

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Because sardines and brownies totally go together?! Uh. No. Just go with it.

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Food prep Sunday has returned in all it’s fridge-filling glory. And actually this week I literally went from empty empty fridge to stuffed fridge. Which is exactly how a Sunday night fridge should look, because Mondays are bad enough as it is without being irked by a lack of edible things.

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I do kind of love having an emptyish fridge — it forces me to get creative and use what I have. And it is definitely not a bad thing to cook down your fridge / freezer / pantry periodically. I had some epic meals at the end of last week, all full of new veggie combinations, as I was working with what I had. There was a deplorable lack of produce after Friday night though, so today I had a glorious Sunday of yoga, grocery shopping, and several hours of food prep. Ahhh. And then dinner and movie and dessert with the purring snugglepuss. Me-time doesn’t get much better than that!

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Also, yesterday was date day in Santa Cruz with E! AND OMG I DISCOVERED CHOCOLATE COVERED BACON!

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I mean, I’d had a bacon chocolate bar and have made bacon brownies… but a piece of bacon!!!! Covered in chocolate!!!! Amazing. And simple to make for myself… but let’s not. I would eat.it.all. But anyway, chocolate covered bacon. I highly recommend it.

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Back to what I was sort of talking about in a rambly fashion — food prep Sunday! Today I did a crockpot red lentil dal with ginger and curry, which will probably last me a week (I made a literal VAT), roasted radishes for later in the week, made a new batch of nut butter and cashew meal, baked a batch of vegan spelt brownies with a tahini-maple swirl (omg.save me from myself and the whole pan), and a sardine ragu over zucchini noodles and greens. Which, depending on your point of view, could be the best thing ever or the most disgusting. Obviously, I fall into the former camp, but hey. We can’t all be the same, or this would be one boring universe.

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But even if sardines straight out the can with a little mustard (and avo) isn’t your thing (ahem. not like I do that or anything), I’m advocating for you to give this ragu a shot.

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The sardines are simmered in red wine and tomato sauce, which tames their sardine-yness. I do love them, but I’ll admit they can be a little much sometimes (I really have to be in the mood for them). But in the sauce, they’re much milder. I served the sauce over some sautéed mushrooms and zucchini noodles with greens, and shredded a little goat cheddar over the top (Redwood Hill Farms is my favorite!! Their cheese is spectacular). Highly recommended, and in my lunch for work tomorrow (because this just gets better and better as the flavors do the leftover tango). This is reason number five billion why food prep days are so spectac: Lunches for at least the first half of the week, so I can be not hangry and cranky for the start of the week.

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Enough babble. It’s Sunday night and time for bed so I can be something less than a zombie come five am tomorrow. And this post is enough of a novel already, so on that note… recipeeeez!

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Vegan Spelt Brownies with Tahini Swirl

These brownies are much cakier than my usual brownies, so if cakey brownies are your jam, you’re in the right spot. I usually like mine fudgier, but these are great for a change. The maple tahini swirl is freaking fantastic as well, so if you like halva or just sesame in general, these are right up your alley. Vegan, refined sugar free, and delicious. Yield: one 8 by 8 pan, anywhere from 6 to 12 brownies, depending on what kind of day you’ve just had. Adapted from Love Me, Feed Me, here!

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  • 3/4 c whole spelt flour
  • 1/4 c + 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • a very full 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/3 c unsweetened hemp milk
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1.5 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease (or use parchment) an 8 by 8 pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together spelt flour, cocoa powder, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, applesauce, maple, and avo oil. Stir to roughly combine. Add in hemp milk and chocolate chips, and mix until incorporated. Pour batter into the prepared pan. In a small bowl, stir together tahini and maple syrup. Practice your drizzle skills and make it look pretty as your pour it over the top of the batter… take a knife (or the spoon you’re currently using, if you’re lazy like me) and swirl it into the batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely, and store covered in the fridge.

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And now for something completely different….

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Sardine Ragu over Zucchini Noodles

Savory, perfectly textured, and full of healthy fats and lycopene. All good things! Gluten free, low lactose (with goat cheese), and high in antioxidants. If you can, try to eat this on subsequent days — I find that the flavor just gets better and better. Yield: 3-4 servings. Ish. Recipe inspired by Spoonshine blog, here!

  • a good glug of olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, frozen or smooshed
  • 3 rainbow carrots, diced
  • 2 cans of sardines, packed in oil (I like Wild Planet brand)
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 125 ml red wine
  • 500 ml freshly boiled water
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated cheese of choice, optional
  • spiralized zucchini + sautéed mushrooms and greens for serving, or your fave pasta

Heat the olive oil over medium in a sauté pan. Once the oil is hot, add in onions, and garlic with a few twists of sea salt and pepper, and saute until the onion is translucent. Add in diced carrots, sardines (Including their oil), tomato sauce and paste, oregano, thyme, and red wine. Bring to a boil and let cook for 10 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and the alcohol has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper, and add the freshly boiled water.

Keeping the sauce at a high simmer, let it cook, stirring occasionally, for 35 minutes. It should be reduced and thicker, like the consistency of a meat ragu. Once the sauce has reduced, taste and season accordingly — add the tbsp of balsamic, plus more oregano or thyme, or salt and pepper (or all four).

Serve over zucchini noodles or your noodle of choice, with a sprinkling of grated parmesan or goat cheese over the top.

Here’s a little ommm to take into your Monday:

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:)

Radishes and brownies and beans n’stuff (because those things totally go together…)

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Errrrybody do a happy dance, somehow I’ve actually blogged twice in two weeks! Shocker. But hey, I’ll take what I can get. And I have TWO things for you today! Two completely disparate things, but that’s sort of my jam anyway.

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Also, Buddha says hi!

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Today was a happy food prep day, where all I did was go to yoga, fetched some groceries, and cooked. ALL. DAY. Why can’t I have more days like this? They’re my favorite. Also, I got to play with my food and today it was super colorful, which just brings home the fact that I’m pretty much five years old and obsessed with all things glittery and colorful. Just indulge me, I’m just sure it’s one of things you love about me…

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ALL THE COLOR!!! I love food.

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Who says adults can’t play with their food?

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SO! Dessert and veggies. Two of my favorite things. AND both things are allergen-free, meaning no almonds, coconuts, any of that business (this is interesting, by the way…. not eating all the things I did before is encouraging my creativity). But I’m not feeling deprived (yet. Kinda want some bread up in here), especially because I have these SUPER BOMB brownies in my life. I mean, I’ve made plenty black bean brownies before… but these are my favorite! Completely made of whole foods, vegan, gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free… and they come together in about three seconds in the food processor. Which is basically a win-win in my book. Mmmm. Brownies. I will never ever ever stop loving them.

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And for the veg portion of things, we have crispy roasted radishes! I love radishes raw or cooked, but lately more on the cooked side of things. These get all creamy like a potato since they have a high water content… AND you can use the greens and roast those alongside the radishes, leaving you with some radish green-chips! Sort of like kale chips but way more sassy.

From this…

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To this! Must be magic…

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And with that, I leave you with some colorful food and deliciousness.

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Maple Black Bean Brownies

Gluten free, dairy free, grain free, refined sugar free, vegan! Also free of nuts, coconut, and soy. Make sure your chocolate chips are soy free if that’s an issue for you (I like Guittard extra dark, they are soy free and dairy free!). Super fudgy, chocolatey brownies. Don’t worry about the avocado, you won’t taste it! I prefer these cold, straight out of the fridge. Recipe gratefully adapted from Ambitious Kitchen, here!

  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water; let sit for at least five minutes)
  • 1 15oz can of black beans (mine are very lightly salted), rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 ripe, medium avocado
  • 1/3 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • 2/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips (dairy free/soy free if needed)

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease an 8 by 8 pan.

In the food processor, combine flax egg, black beans, avocado, maple, vanilla, and avocado oil. Let it run until combined — I don’t think you especially want whole beans in your brownies… Once everything is smooth, toss in cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt. Pulse to combine. The batter will be nice and thick. Stir in chocolate chips, and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top out with a spatula prior to getting them into the oven. Bake for 27-29 minutes—mine were perfect at 28. The top should be slightly firm, but not hard. Let them cool completely in the pan, then store leftovers in the fridge for a few days (if they even last that long).

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Crispy Roasted Radishes

These are spectacularly creamy and satisfying. The pepperiness of radishes is muted a little, and the texture almost reminds me of potatoes. Gluten free, dairy free, vegan. This is really a recipe suggestion — I left mine simple with just salt and pepper, but go nuts! All kinds of different herbs would be delicious on these. I roast the greens with the radishes as well for a crispy, chip-like complement.

  • 3 bunches of radishes, tipped and separated from their greens; halved
  • radish greens, stems removed
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • a few good grinds of pepper
  • sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400, and procure a smallish sheet pan.

Place halved radishes on the baking sheet, and top with salt and pepper and any other desired spices / herbs. Drizzle olive oil over the top, then use your hands (or a spoon, I guess…. but trust me, it is way more fun with your hands) to toss the radishes around and distribute the oil evenly.

Roast for 10 minutes, then add radish greens. Continue roasting for 30 – 35 more minutes, until the radishes are browned and crispy. Serve hot, with salt and pepper to taste.

Happy Sunday!

Brownies, a fuzzy duckling butt, and a dead fridge

IMG_2240 I’m back I’m back I’m back! Whew. Finally. Except I feel like I said that in my last post… I just have NO TIME to cook or bake interesting things. But… it’s not forever, so I’ll just deal for now. But I miss my invisible internet friends! So today, I have brownies and some random things from life lately. That are sometimes food but mostly not… Because I’ve gotten back into my doodle habit! It took a looooong hiatus all though college but it’s back, and all I want to do is draw. Like this: IMG_2234 And this! IMG_2224 And this. IMG_2235 I also ate this weird tuna-beet-hybird the other day and it was actually delicious: Steamed beets sautéed in a little bit of olive oil with mushrooms, topped with tuna and avo and mustard all mashed up together. I know, I know, I describe it so deliciously… But seriously. Who knew beets and tuna could be friends?! IMG_2219 And then it was Easter! IMG_2226 IMG_2216 Which meant bacon and chocolate and more bacon and more chocolate and also a quesadilla that was PERFECTLY GOLDEN which I admired and promptly spastically threw on the floor. Inadvertently, natch. It was actually kind of comic and hilarious and I a little bit wish I had a picture…. but not really. There was also an incident that particular weekend involving a cake that stuck horribly and ended up gracing the compost…. but let’s not talk about that. Obviously not exactly a banner weekend for cooking shenanigans. IMG_2244 So now I have these brownies to share, because brownies are awesome! These aren’t overly sweet (they’re sweetened with dates and maple) and are gluten free. They’re on the fudgier end of the spectrum rather than cakey, so if you’re seeking the latter, you might want to toddle off to another recipe. IMG_2239 They’re also not as wickedly dark as I usually make my brownies, mostly because there was this solid chocolate bunny lying around and he said that he wanted to be in brownies… So now he is. Don’t worry, no bunnies were harmed in the making of dessert… IMG_2243 IMG_2242 Also…. SO FUN! Our fridge died on Wednesday morning. NO, fridge, that is NOT ACCEPTABLE. You do not just die with no warning. I have nut butters in you!!! So now I am sort of living out of a cooler? Until the part that died is ordered… it is really not spectacular fun. I don’t exactly recommend it… especially when you love love love produce, and all those fancy nut flours that need to live in the fridge. These brownies were an excuse to use up some of the perishable biz (as was the banana bread that happened right after these)… and also, an excuse to use some of the awesome organic-fed eggs from my neighbor! Wheee! Local at it’s best. IMG_2238 IMG_2246

Almond Flour Brownies 

Lightly sweet and appropriately chocolatey, these brownies are gluten free, grain free, and refined sugar free. The recipe is lightly adapted from Culinary Couture, here! Recipe yields a 8 by 8 pan (and it’s up to your discretion how large you want to cut them, I definitely won’t be judging). IMG_2247 IMG_2241

  • 1 c almond flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 oz dark chocolate
  • 1/4 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 10 small deglet noor dates* (actually, I think medjool would be way better but I was using what I had)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 almond butter (mine was roasted + unsalted)
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips

*Soaked in boiling water for 10-15 minutes if they’re all craggy and hard, or if you just have a wimpy food processor Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease an 8 by 8 pan with coconut oil. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, sea salt, baking powder, and cocoa powder. In a smaller bowl, melt chocolate and coconut oil together, either using a double boiler or the lazy microwave method (I may or may not have done that, ahem). In a food processor, whizz your maple syrup, soaked dates, vanilla, eggs, and almond butter. Process until mostly smooth (less than a minute is fine), then add chocolate-coconut oil and process until incorporated. Dump this very thick, goopy goodness into your dry ingredients, add chocolate chips, and use those biceps to stir it all together. The batter will be very thick, so enjoy the arm workout. Spread the batter into the prepared pan (I found that a spoon followed by damp hands did the trick nicely), and bake for 20-22 minutes. I took mine out at 22 but probably could have gone a little less. Let cool before slicing, and store in an airtight container. IMG_2242 IMG_2212

Bacon and vegan things: All my eating proclivities in one post

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Ugh. It feels like it’s been forever and a year since I blogged last, but my stomach decided to take a little trip to the valley of the extremely irritable the last several weeks so I haven’t been cooking much of anything exciting.

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BUT!

Elliott and I made up for it this weekend by making these ridiculous paleo brownies that were all dark and fudgy and involved BACON. If that’s not perfect, I don’t know what is. Mmm. Bacon. And then of course a little vanilla ice cream was necessary to balance out extreme chocolateyness and savory baconess of it all. Trifecta. Especially because we ate it al fresco in a park on some grass, on a fuzzy blanket in the sun. Have I made you vomit from the cuteness yet? Ha. And it wasn’t even Valentine’s day! Double ha. We’re just non-traditional… only the cool kids make brownies the day after Valentine’s day.

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Excuse us while we annihilate them.

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I also made cookies for a friend last week that were similarly delicious except were vegan (no bacon) and gluten free and not chocolate. So not exactly similar at all except for delicious. And all treats should be delicious! These were a hot mess in the crumbly department but were tasty tasty so might I recommend crumbling them over ice cream? Or maybe straight into your mouth? Double fisted cookie crumbling into that big hole in my head sounds fantastic, who needs a plate?!

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And everyone knows that a four day weekend (Or three day. Or just any normal weekend) means that it’s time to go bop around outside and then come in and make dessert. Because weekends=dessert. Actually most things = dessert. Because… mmm treats.

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Also, one last side note… I get quite a few inquiries into my eating habits. Most everyone tends to think I’m a vegetarian, but that’s not exactly true. I choose not to have a label: sometimes I bake and eat paleo things, sometimes I eat vegetarian, and sometimes gluten free. I’ve experimented with lots of different ways of eating, and I like to mix it up… and I have lots of friends who are gluten free, or vegan, or paleo, and I like to make different things that are accessible for everyone. Also, I like to eat! I noticed as I was finishing this post that it’s a very accurate representation of the way I eat: something meaty and paleo, grain free, gluten free, and vegan. ALL delicious!

And Jessie and I have very interesting conversations. Apparently she thinks I’m fascinating, see exhibit A below…

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Paleo Maple Bacon Brownies

Paleo, gluten free, grain free, dairy free. Full of healthy fats and BACON so obviously you should make them. Refined sugar free, depending on the brand of chocolate chips you use. Yield: a small skillet or a loaf pan’s worth, 2 gratuitously obnoxious large servings or 4 sensible people servings (or you can just eat the thing out of the pan, to hell with proper plates because… picnic!)

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For the maple bacon:

  • As much bacon as you care to consume
  • maple syrup for brushing

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium until hot. Brush bacon with maple syrup and pan fry until it reaches your approved bacon-doneness (I like less crispy, feel free to make dead bacon if that’s your thing). Set aside and let cool.

For the brownies:

We used this one here by Clean Eating with A Dirty Mind, but I think these are my all time favorite brownies (so far. You never know). Both are very dark, not overly sweet, and super fudgy. Either way, they’re winners!

For serving:

Top brownies with crumbled bacon and some creamy vanilla ice cream/non dairy thing/coconut whip/whatever your favorite thing is. Live a little and eat them straight out of the pan in a park in the sun. You won’t regret it :)

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are the crumbliest things imaginable but they’re delicious so if you like crumbly cookies, defs give these a go. I prefer chewy cookies but I liked the consistency of these and they would be superb crumbled over ice cream. Gluten free, vegan, dairy free, refined sugar free. Yield: 19 cookies.

  • 2 c rolled oats
  • 1 c almond meal
  • 1 c millet flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • scant 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon (<–not a typo!)
  • 1/2 c melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 c maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I fit all my cookies onto one sheet because I have intense cookie cramming skills, but you can also use two.

In a large bowl, whisk together oats, almond meal, millet flour, baking powder and sea salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, unsweetened applesauce, maple, and vanilla. Pour wet into dry and toss in chocolate chips. Stir to combine until fully incorporated, and drop heaping tablespoons onto the cookie sheet. Flatten the balls slightly since these don’t spread all that much (if at all). Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Let cool for at least 10 minutes on the cookie sheet before moving them to a rack to cool completely.

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And then I ate a lot of brunch

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I have this feeling 2015 is going to be RAD.

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Because it is. Because 15 is a nicely odd number, and also… It just is. Rad!!!

Also, a ton of brunch was consumed in this house in the last 24 hours. And because New Years = brunch (along with cabbage+bacon, cornbread and black eyed peas for good luck, natch… to be consumed in several hours), I thought I would do sharezies with my fave waffle recipe and the uuuuhhmaaazing brownies E and I made and ate to celebrate.

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I had a fab New Years! E and I did exactly what we wanted to, which was a lot of nothing. And eating. Like tortilla pizzas and brownies and ice cream! And we fell asleep at 10:30, sorry we’re not sorry. AND made brownies. Which were spectacular. And were devoured under a massive pile of Strauss ice cream because it is essentially the best thing ever and also I can’t buy it because if I do, I go through the pint like a beast.

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SO anyway. I don’t make resolutions for the new year, but I hereby declare that this one is going to be sparkly and glittery and fabulous and rad. All at the same time. Happy 2015!

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Let’s ring in the New Year properly, shall we? Recipes for New Year’s healthified indulgences:

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Whole Wheat Waffles

Lightly sweet waffles made completely with whole wheat flour and barely any oil for a healthier take on a typical brunch staple (because HELLO who doesn’t love waffles?!). These are perfect with an apple blueberry compote, or some other kind of fruit. I prefer them with almond butter or salted butter and fruit compote and pure maple syrup, but I think these could easily go a savory route with some egg and cheese? Probs. Maybe that will be dinner later this week…
Recipe adapted from Eating Well, here. Yield is about 6 or 7 in my round waffle maker. Whole grain and vegetarian.

  •  2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 c lowfat buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites

In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg yolk, avo oil, and vanilla. Stir wet into dry until just incorporated. In a grease-free mixing bowl (I always use stainless for this), beat the three egg whites until stiff and glossy. Whisk 1/4 of the beaten egg whites into the batter, then fold in the rest using a rubber spatula. Ladle the appropriate amount of batter into your waffle iron, according to the mandates of your specific waffle iron god, and cook accordingly. These come out of mine perfectly at 6 minutes. Store them temporarily in a warming drawer in a single layer on a cooling rack to prevent them from getting soggy if you’re not eating them immediately.

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 Deep, Dark, Flourless Brownies

Grain free, flour free, refined sugar free, and FULL OF CHOCOLATE. Basically, these are all you need. I like my brownies just this side of fudgy, with a crackly top and a salty bite. I also prefer mine dark and full of chocolate, instead of overly sweet. So… if dark chocolate is your thing… you need these. Immediately.
Recipe adapted from Running With Spoons, here!

  • 6 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 oz extra dark chocolate [mine was 77%]
  • 2 oz dark chocolate [mine was 63%]
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar, NOT packed
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • a handful of extra dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350, and line an 8 by 8 pan with foil, leaving extra hanging over two sides of the pan for easy removal.

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, and bake for just about 25 minutes, until a tester comes out clean [mine was perfect at 25]. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then use the foil to lift them out to a cooling rack to cool completely. Or serve them warm with ice cream and eat immediately, for a happy gastronomical moment {I highly recommend this}. Store leftovers (WHAT leftovers?!) covered in foil at room temp.

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