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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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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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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Ode to Cake

Happy Eater! I mean… Easter.

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And yes. I have absolutely no excuse for the dearth of posts, minus the fact that grad school owns my life for another 10 weeks (how is it possible that I graduate in 10 weeks… can someone explain this?!). At which point I will hopefully get back to posting on a semi-regular basis… Until then…. we’ll just see. But I’ve missed my invisible internet friends! I hope you’re all doing just wonderfully.

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To tide us over, here is an ode to cake. This is the same whole wheat banana cake with dark chocolate ganache that I’ve made umpteen billion times because it’s basically the most perfect banana cake I know. It’s not vegan, or grain free or even gluten free, but for what it is, I love it. It’s also large enough to feed a crowd, which was called for in this particular sitch.

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I’ve made this for birthdays of loved ones, thank you-s for advisors, and welcome home presents for besties. It’s a winner: silky chocolate ganache surrounding soft, not too sweet, not too dense but just dense enough banana cake. This particular iteration is refined sugar free, sweetened with a combination of date sugar and coconut sugar. Perfect for a mid afternoon Easter treat, no post-cake nap necessary. The link to the original post is here.

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In other news…

Sunbathing adorable Jessie.

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Flowers.

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Perfect avo.

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It’s good to be back! Enjoy the rest of your weekend — I hope it has a treat in it somewhere!

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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.

My brain is sore from too much grad school

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How is it almost November? Can someone explain this madness to me? I mean, first of all it’s still kind of hot (summer, you can bugger off now… you have officially overstayed your welcome) but also, where did September and October go?! I want them back please.

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And I know the term compost cookies is probably unappealing, but it’s always made me laugh. I suppose you could call these ‘pantry cookies’ but isn’t compost more fun?? Besides… these are hippie enough that the stuff going into them is stuff that usually lurks in the fridge or fruit basket, and therefore is more like… compost! Obviously.

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These cookies get a little crisp on the outside while staying cakey and delicious on the inside. If you want a chewy pumpkin cookie, these aren’t it… but they ARE quite tasty. They store well in the fridge and make for a fast breakfast or a good snack. AND they’re full of healthy fats and good fiber, plus antioxidants. No refined sugar, can be gluten free… the options are endless. Don’t like walnuts? Use something else. Hate sunbutter? Use almond or peanut— These are extremely forgiving cookies.

They’re also super fast to whip together, no muss no fuss. I made them on a lunch break between classes because I desperately needed a brain break — I can only cram facts and knowledge into my brain in concentrated intervals for so long before I start glazing over. Case in point:

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Sometimes, you have to take a break from taking lecture notes for your own sanity.

Making cookies like this reminds me of undergrad when I would run home and make lunch and a batch of cookies in the hour I had between class and work. If that isn’t time management, I don’t know what is.

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Also, I really need to study right now but I am sleepy and brainsore (that’s a thing) and I just want to cuddle on the couch with my novel and a cookie and a nap. But.. le sigh. That is currently impossible because stats and the billion other things I have to do are calling my name and I really should get on that. But at least I shared cookies, so that if your Sunday is less nuts than mine, you can make something delicious out of your fridge compost. Happy almost November! Enjoy your pumpkin goodness.

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Pumpkin Banana Compost Cookies

Vegan, low FODMAP and IBS friendly, gluten free option (just switch the spelt flour for a gf flour of your choice), refined sugar free. And delicious! A Wait are those Cookies original. Yield: 12 cookies.

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  • heaping 1/2 c pumpkin puree
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp sunbutter (mine is unsalted)*
  • 1 tbsp almond butter (mine is unsalted)*
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened hemp milk
  • 2 c rolled oats (gf if desired)
  • 3 tbsp spelt flour
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • ~1/4 c chopped raw walnuts and dark chocolate

*alternatively, you can use 2 tbsp of the same nut butter; I just wanted a little variety

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or 2, if your oven is stupid tiny like mine and normal cookie sheets don’t fit. Rude. Bring on the quarter sheet pans).

This is pretty much as easy as it gets. Bust out a bowl. Mash up the banana with a fork, then stir in pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, maple, sunbutter, almond butter, and hemp milk. In the same bowl, because we’re making cookies on our lunch break between classes today and this needs to be fast, toss in oats, spelt flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Stir to combine. Stir in chopped walnuts and chocolate. Make sure the whole thing is nicely mixed, then drop lazy spoonfuls onto your prepared cookie sheet (all 12 should fit onto a standard cookie sheet no problem; these don’t spread). Bake for 15-16 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and mostly firm to the touch. Let cool on the pan for a minute before moving, then move to a rack to cool completely. Store leftovers in a plastic container in the fridge (glass will make them go soft).

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I think you need some cashew blondie barz in your life

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Barz. I’m all about the barz lately… they’re like cookies only faster and more bing bang boom. Which is great when I’m out of the house for 12 hours and get home and a) am starving and have to wrangle dinner and b) need something sweet besides chocolate.

And actually.

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I think these might be some of my best barz ever. They taste like graham crackers, kind of!!! And I do have a nostalgic fondness for graham crackers, which is undoubtedly why I find these so spectacular. Except that when I go to eat actual graham crackers, they are NOT as good as they used to be (cardboard, anyone?). Ugh. Processed food is gnarly… which means I don’t really eat graham crackers anymore (sad!) BUT WAIT! I can eat these bars instead and not only are they better tasting with WAY better ingredients, they are also fatter and chunkier than graham crackers and require a fork so I get more bang for my buck. Win win win.

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Not only do these barz have that great graham cracker taste, but they develop an excellent crust and this great dense, cakey texture. Too many superlatives. Just make these and eat them, promise you won’t be sorry.

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Also, Mother’s Day!! Happy happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful, strong mama. I love you to the moon and back!!

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Cashew Blondies

I call these cashew blondies, but really they are much more graham-crackery than they are cashewy. Definitely in a widlly good way. These can be gluten free if you want to sub out the whole wheat flour — I do tolerate wheat and I have enough restrictions right now, so I went the whole wheat route. They are, however, vegan and dairy free, soy free, refined sugar free, and full of healthy fats. Recipe yields 9-12 bars, depending on how largeish you cut them (I recommend large, these are too good to share), in an 8 by 8 pan. A Wait are those Cookies original!

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  • 1.5 c cashew meal*
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • scant 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 c cashew butter (creamy, unsalted)
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flaxseed  + 6 tbsp water; let sit till gelled, about 5 mintues)
  • 1/2 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 runneth-over tsp of vanilla
  • 1/4 c avocado oil
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

*I make my own in a food processor. This one was roughly 1 c dry roasted, lightly salted cashews + 1/4 c raw cashews; check the saltiness of your particular batch and adjust recipe salt accordingly.

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

This is as easy as it gets. Make flax eggs and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together cashew meal, whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Toss in cashew butter, flax eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, avo oil and applesauce, and stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spread batter (it will be thick) into the prepared pan, smoothing out the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the top is firm (unless you really really like goopy cookie dough consistency, in which case take it out at 30. I did… bu then reheated the oven and stuck it back in for 10. Too goopytastic for my taste that night). Let cool completely in the pan, and store covered with foil in the fridge.

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Cookies up the yin yang

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So guess what?

… No really. Guess!

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I got into graduate school for a masters in public health, wheeee! Which means I will be starting UC Davis in the summer session of 2015… UCD are you ready for this? I’m pretty rad and very sassy and generally crunchy. And after 18 months of that, I will go on to be rad but also have initials after my name, which makes me kind of a big deal. Ha. Kidding! Actually I’m really excited… and Davis has a legit co-op that I can spend hours in if not properly supervised.

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But enough of that. I went to LA last weekend and hung out with a bunch of super awesome relatives who also happen to follow very similar food philosophies that I do, so I ate extremely well (lots of nitrate-free bacon, plantain pancakes and pure maple syrup. And bacon. Did I mention bacon? Also beets. Mmmm beets), and swiped a few recipes because natch, that’s what I do. And this is one of them! I like calling them YinYang cookies! Light side, dark side… call them whatever you want but by all means make them because they’re fabulous and grain free/refined sugar free! Everyone just wins all around.

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Also, I just feel the need to leave you with this little gem. Obviously I got started early on my yoga squat… sassily, of course. Because no lady squats without a hat on. Obviously.

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Yin Yang Cookies

Almond butter dough and chocolate dough swirled together for chewy-edged, doughy-centered cookies. Gluten free, grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free and paleo. The recipe is only tweaked slightly from the awesome book Make Ahead Paleoby Tammy Credicott.

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  • 1 c almond flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour, sifted
  • 1/3 c arrowroot starch
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c roasted, unsalted almond butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate (I used 75%), roughly chopped into smallish pieces
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp water

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

In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot, baking soda, and sea salt. In a large bowl, vigorously whisk (or use a hand mixer; I whisked and they came out fine) maple, coconut sugar, egg, almond butter, vanilla, and coconut oil until the coconut sugar has mostly dissolved. Stir the dry into wet, until combined, and toss in chocolate chips. Divide the dough in half, and put half in another bowl so you can stir in cocoa powder and water. Roll chocolate dough into a 1″ ball and smoosh it together with a 1″ ball of almond dough, then roll it between your palms to swirl it together. Flatten them slightly before you put it on the baking sheet, since they won’t spread. Bake for 10-12 minutes (I took them out at 10 minutes), when the top is smooth and starting to crack slightly. Leave on the cookie sheet until cool, since they are a little soft. Store in an airtight container for a few days if you don’t eat them immediately (good luck).

IMG_1966Also, apparently can’t sit in a car for a long period like a normal person…

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Messy and delicious Friday night

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Welcome to the latest installment remaking childhood treats to be not so nastily processed and full of garbage!

Okay… So we all know that I lovelovelovelove ice cream. But actually I lovelovelove ice cream and I LOVELOVELOVELOVE ice cream sandwiches. There is a world of difference when it comes to this. And no, a cookie with a scoop of ice cream on top is so not the same thing. Sorry. It just isn’t. I mean, in a pinch it is definitely an acceptable substitute, but give me ice cream smooshed in between two chewy cookies {and preferably drenched in sprinkles} and I am one happy camper.

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All that being said, I didn’t eat an It’s-It until I was 23. Weird, right? I know. I’m shocked too, belatedly…. especially because HELLO they’re only from San Francisco and I grew up in the Bay Area… how did I never eat one before then?? Thank you Elliott, for preventing this travesty from continuing. And I actually think they’re fairly delicious, which is also semi strange because despite loving ice cream sammies, I’m a snob. I won’t buy those nasty ones from the store, I only like the freshly made ones I get from shops. See? Snob. But beside the point. For being a processed ice cream sammie, its-its are actually good. AND the ingredient list isn’t scary. However…

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Why buy them when you could level up and make some that were even more delicious and with better-sourced ingredients and more nutrition?! Right. My thoughts exactly.

Which is why Elliott and I had a homemade its-it party this weekend!! I know, it’s okay… you can be jealous.

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And oooooohmygoodness were they good. Totes leveling up. It also helps that the cookies were whole wheat and maple-sweetened…. and then we used Straus ice cream (Because why WOULDN’T you, it’s only the best ice cream ever. Evereverever. I could so very easily inhale a pint in one siting… someone save me from myself and forbid me to buy it. Except don’t. Because now that I’ve discovered it I never want to eat anything else…

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Especially when it’s in these!!! And they’re covered in dark chocolate!! And the cookies are chewy even after they hang out in the freezer for a few hours!! And ice cream!!! And sandwiches!!

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Obviously I’m excited about this. Please excuse the massive amount of exclamation marks and capitalized shouting going on. Ugh. SO good. There are no words.

In other non ice cream news, I made that bacon lentil soup again because it was so fab. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

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And Jessie likes to pretend that she fits between me and my book. Cute. Also not true, but shhh no one tell her.

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Whoops, you caught me!

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My hair was weird that day. Don’t mind me.

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Make these! You won’t regret it in the slightest and I promise they’re better than the original.

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stuck cookie structural failure visible in the bottom left quadrant of the diagram

Homemade Oatmeal Ice Cream Sammies (ie, it’s-it… that’s probably a trademark, so I won’t call it that…)

These are also ridiculously easy! The cookies I used are whole wheat and sweetened with maple, which mollifies me a bit in terms of avoiding refined sugar (yes, I know I’m also eating ice cream with reckless abandon. It’s all about balance). I think these are best fresh, so I would only make as many as you’re going to eat in one sitting. Can be gluten free, dairy free, or vegan depending on dairy or nondairy ice cream of choice and cookie recipe [mine were none of the above].

Sooooo easy. Lez do it:

  • 1 batch of chewy oatmeal cookies (recipe I used is below)
  • 1 pint of super delicious, good quality ice cream
  • 1/2 c chopped dark chocolate (mine was 70%)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Make favorite chewy oatmeal cookies. Let cool. Melt chocolate and coconut oil either in a double boiler or in the microwave on 30 sec intervals, stirring in between until fully melted. Set aside.

Take favorite ice cream (I prefer Straus vanilla chocolate chip) and smoosh in between two cookies. Eat ice cream out of the carton because… just because. Squash other cookie on top of delicious pile of cookie and ice cream, and then, working quickly to prevent meltage and structural failure, roll it around in melted chocolate. Pretend to shake off excess (but actually don’t, because chocolate). Place on a parchment paper lined plate and stick them into the freezer until the chocolate hardens, five minutes or up to two hours. Unstick carefully from plate and stuff face!

Grin happily and pat yourself on the back for leveling up.

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Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These were SO perfect for making sandwiches. They didn’t turn into rocks in the freezer, and they stayed chewy until the next day. Whole grain, refined sugar free, and lower in sugar than most chewy cookies out there. Mmm cookies.. Recipe slightly adapted from Amy’s Healthy Baking, here! Yield: 13

  • 3/4 c whole wheat flour (spooned and leveled)*
  • 1 c rolled oats (leveled)
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c pure maple syrup (I use grade B)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips

*I could have sworn I used 1 c of flour, now that I think about it… and they were delicious. But the recipe is written as 3/4 c, so I’m including both in case you’re a space case like I was when I made them…

In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and sea salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together egg, maple, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Pour wet into dry and mix until just barely combined, stirring in chocolate chips. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop refrigerated dough by the tbsp onto the baking sheet, flattening each slightly (they won’t spread hugely). Bake for 11-13 minutes (mine were done at 12), until the tops spring back when touched and the sides are firm. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before turning into sandwiches! Store in an airtight tupperware at room temp unless you eat them all immediately.

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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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