Monday, December 15, 2014

Gingerbread Granola (+Persimmon Parfait)

You'd think a person would get bored of routine, of the same thing day in and day out, like eating granola with greek yogurt and some fruit every day around 8 AM. Not this girl. Routine is one of the only things that let me maintain my sanity when I'm thinking of a day that involves juggling schedules and prepping for this huge order and weaving in and out of people in the grocery store as I frantically answer emails on my phone.

Yes, I like order.

And so I eat fruit and yogurt and granola nearly everyday. I do, however, change up the flavor every so often (because, you know, YOLO). This chilly season has me craving warm spices like crazy and gingerbread granola is absolutely perfect.

I usually eat some sort of berry with my granola but berries at this time of year are rubbish and it's a bit difficult to pair them with the heavy spices that flavor this gingerbread granola. Persimmons are just the cutest little fruits you ever did see and they have a pretty neutral, mostly just sweet flavor that compliments the granola perfectly. Warming them up with some maple sugar and vanilla puts them over the top.

Yes, changing up the fruit and granola game is just about the only change in routine I'd like for now, thank you so very much.

Side note: this granola is also really good with cherries or pomegranates

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Black Walnut Cake with Apple Butter (Gluten-Free)

Have you ever had an idea of what a food tastes like before you've ever tasted it and then when you actually taste it, you're exactly right? This happens to me all the time. It's a gift, I think.

I was listening to a podcast about walnuts a few weeks ago and decided that I absolutely must buy (read: order from Amazon like everything else I own) and bake with some black walnuts . . . these elusive little nuts, very popular in The South, that taste so unlike English walnuts but with the exact same texture. They taste almost like a liquer, somehow both sweet and bitter at the same time.

I decided (before I tasted them, of course) that black walnut cake would be delightful filled with some apple butter. Thankfully, my friend Joy handed me a jar of homemade apple butter last week and then there was cake . . . cake that is delicious and weird and perfect for breakfast with some very bitter coffee.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sorghum Caramel Popcorn (with Apples + Cashews)

Sometime last week, it finally decided to be Fall around here. Though we're still having consistently sunny, 75 degree days, the leaves have changed and the air just feels crisper. This has happened just in time, as Netflix recently released every episode ever of Gilmore Girls and all I want after long days of baking and sending emails that Fall so often requires, is to completely veg out with a good show and a good snack.

Hence the popcorn.

I'm trying to eat less sugar lately and, let me tell you, it's not easy. Caramel popcorn is the kind of addictive snack that you can mindlessly shove into your face, handful after handful. But this popcorn is made with sorghum and has intense flavor, much too much to just eat endlessly . . . in a good way.

Sorghum is a grain (gluten-free, of course) that can be made into a syrup that tastes like a lovely combination of molasses and honey. Those flavors, with the addition of some dried apples and cashews, make it perfect for some cold weather snacking.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Lavender Macarons with Chocolate Ganache

Having balance has always been one of my greatest desires. It seems that on weeks when my social calendar is full, I find myself distracted at work. Or on ones that I am kicking butt at work, I see my quiet time suffer. When I spend too much time alone, I miss my friends and have a deep ache to reconnect with them.

It is hard to have it all.

So, I'm trying to mold my worlds together. I received a good piece of advice recently: fit people into the activities that are already happening in your life. It is less exhausting, and bringing people into the mundane, the regular, somehow brings an intimacy with them that you can't receive doing new and exciting things.

I often have friends who ask me to teach them to make macarons. There is something alluring about these little french cookies that are both delicious and freakishly beautiful. So, when Cat said she'd like to learn to make macarons, I made it happen.

When there isn't anything exciting going on on Saturday nights, I usually stay in and catch up on some baking projects, often thinking of friends whom I can give little treats to know that they are thought of. This is something I'd usually do alone, but Cat is a friend whom I'd been meaning to catch up with, so fitting her into my usually-solo Saturday night baking was a compromise I was more than willing to make.

Let's all let people into some parts of our life that we normally wouldn't, shall we? It makes it more possible to have it all (almost) . . .  including delicious macarons.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Almond Butter Pavlova with Honeyed Apricots

In some ways, I've lost the ease of Summer. I don't travel any more in the Summer than any other time of the year, not able to steal myself away for weeks at a time as was once possible. I don't sleep anymore than normal, less maybe, with the sun hanging high until late into the day. There aren't leisurely long walks in the park, because "Ohmygosh it's so hot out there and I must get back inside before the sun burns me to a crisp!"

I often miss those effortless days and never ending nights from a time when my schedule was based around the school year. But in at least one way, there is still an ease to the Summer . . . the food--the fresh fruits and vegetable that are so beautiful on their own that they don't need to be fussed with.

That's exactly what this recipe is: un-fussed with--That's exactly what this post is, really, as I grabbed no more than this one sub-par Instagram photo before bringing it to be devoured by the lovely people in my House Church--But the dish, just a simple pavlova (egg whites + sugar) with a bit of almond butter stirred in and surrounded by almond slivers, topped with a lightly sweetened whipped cream and these honeyed apricots (inspired by this recipe from Climbing Grier Mountain). Happy easy Summer livin', y'all!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Gluten-Free Blueberry Tart {A Sabbath Dessert}

There's been some radio silence around here. I, to put it simply, have been very busy. I started a second job a couple of months ago--a job I'm so in love with, but definitely adds another level of complexity to my life. Most hours of my day are accounted for, which is making it harder and harder to take a sabbath--a day of rest.

It's started to ware on me a bit. I'm finding myself making mental To-Do lists when I need to be focusing on the friend who is across the table from me, sharing her heart. My prayer life has suffered, too, because my brain is quite full, and this is the main reason that I've needed to figure out a new Sabbath plan.

I spent some time awhile ago figuring out that to have a day of rest does not mean that I have to do absolutely nothing, rather things that are restorative to me specifically. This has always--and hopefully will always--include baking. Not the over-the-top-conquer-the-biggest-baking-project-ever baking, but baking that is relaxing and somewhat easy.

I've been dreaming up a blueberry tart ever since blueberries became in-season, and the arrival of (yet another) cook book in the mail, "Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts," was what it took to make it happen.

This book is full of recipes that show you can make and present something beautiful, with out spending an entire day making in happen. The blueberry tart in the book is not the one that I made, but understanding that making a lovely tart didn't have to be an ordeal, and could instead be a way to spend a bit of my restful time, helped me to get it done.

Now, go ahead and rest . . . and maybe do some baking!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Scones

I deeply cherish my day off every week. Tuesdays are my favorite day, but particular the Tuesdays that start with a small group I have with a few amazing women in my life. We meet, and discuss scripture, and drink coffee, and everyone but me eats delicious scones.

You see, we meet at a local Salt Lake coffee shop that has in-house-made muffins, cinnamon rolls, and scones--scones that I long after every other week.

And so I made my own scones, scones I am allowed to eat, and that are nearly as lovely as the women with whom I get to spend the mornings of my favorite day.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies (Gluten-Free)

I make a special stop every time I'm in the grocery store to the fancy chocolate aisle. I usually go for something dark chocolate and salty, but lately my trips to Whole Foods have had me fawning over the chocolate covered marshmallows. Marshmallows are not usually my cup of tea, but for some reason, I pull them off the shelf every time I'm there to read the box, only to be reminded once again that these are not gluten-free.

Sometimes life just isn't fair.

Fueled with the injustice of it all, I made homemade chocolate cookies, and homemade marshmallows, and covered them with some high-quality bittersweet chocolate. I will never try the boxed chocolate covered marshmallows, but I am one million percent certain that these are better. They're so good. Just make them. The end.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Flowing with Milk and Honey (and Blackberries), an Ice Cream Recipe

I know it's a bit early in the year to be breaking out our ice cream makers, but it's never too early for recipes that are inspired. You see, we're in the middle of the lenten season, the 40 days (+Sundays) from Ash Wednesday to Easter when we prepare for the celebration of the resurrection of Christ.

I like to read Exodus in this season, reflecting on the Israelites and their rescue from slavery from Egypt. They were chosen and promised to be led to "a land flowing with milk and honey." This line has been stuck in my head over the past few weeks of lent, and I wanted to write a recipe, an homage, to the Israelite's salvation from Egypt, and ours, many many years later, soon to be celebrated as Easter nears.

The best food I could think of containing milk and honey was a special ice cream, made specifically for a very dear friend who has been asking me to make her ice cream since the very beginning of her pregnancy. The addition of blackberries to this ice cream adds a bit of necessary tartness to the soft, sweet ice cream made of milk and honey.

"So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of the land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey . . ." Exodus 3:8

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Citrus Cream Cheese Pound Cake (Gluten-Free)

I wish I could say that this cake came out of some need for a bright and cheery glimmer in the dull gray of a long winter, but I live in Salt Lake, and somehow we remained protected in a sunshiny little bubble while the rest of the country was beaten down with storm after winter storm. I'll try not to throw too much salt in the wounds of those trapped inside for the past few months, but it has been completely gorgeous here, with warm days and the occasional spring rain shower. 

But don't be too mad at us yet, Non-Utah-Dwellers, we are all in solidarity in one thing: Winter (however spring-like ours may have been), still lacks in the produce department (You can only use so much kale, ya know?). So, wanting to embrace what was in season, along came this pound cake, all gorgeous and topped with all the citrus that this season has to offer. Also, I had never made pound cake, and thought this glazed citrus topping would be a perfect excuse to make one to go underneath it.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake with Espresso Mousse (Gluten-Free)

There are two things I often have a wealth of at my house: expensive chocolate and overripe bananas. The chocolate because I can't resist picking some up anytime I go to a specialty store, and the bananas because I sometimes forget that I shoved one in my purse to eat while I'm out and about.

This cake pairs the two of these together beautifully, and is made even better with the addition of a chocolate-espresso mousse that I was right in assuming would work well with the flavors of this cake.

If you don't have the same excess problems as I do, you can always intentionally let a few bananas go bad, and make a special trip to the store for some fancy dark chocolate instead :)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Lemon-Almond Mini Bundt Cakes (Gluten-Free)

I have a small (ahem, moderate to great) obsession with collecting every size and shape pan that exists . . . even if I just need it for one specific project. I can't even remember why I decided to buy a mini bundt pan . . . except that I am quite fond of the simple and vintage style of them. One thing I do remember, however, is that I've never posted a recipe for mini bundt cakes.

So, in an attempt to use all of my baking pans enough to justify having them, I created this recipe with one of my favorite combinations--lemon and almond--that is especially good during this dark and cold time of year. 

Lemon-Almond Mini Bundt Cakes 
makes 6

1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (containing xanthan gum)
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
zest from 1/2 medium lemon
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk or almond milk

juice from 1/2 medium lemon
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sifted powder sugar
a pinch salt

1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and (GF) flour a 6-mold mini bundt pan.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, almond meal, salt, and baking soda.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, until fluffy. Add almond extract and zest. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing together on low speed until combined. Scrape down sides of bowl.

Add flour mixture and milk, alternately, in 3 batches, fully combining between each addition.

Divide batter between each of the prepared molds (about 1 cup batter in each). Bake about 20 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until cake springs back when poked. Remove the cakes from the oven and wait 10 minutes before removing them from the pans.

 While the cakes are cooling, whisk together lemon juice, melted butter, powdered sugar and salt. When cakes are cool, drizzle the glaze over the cakes. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.

About Me

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Salt Lake City, Utah
As a pastry chef by trade and by hobby, being diagnosed with Celiac Disease has not been easy. But through some experimental baking and a whole lot of faith, I'm living a full(er) life.