Thursday, February 12, 2015

Almond Sugar Cookies

I love Valentine's Day. It's a very weird thing for me. If you know me, you know that I don't love a lot of things . . . especially anything that's a spectacle or a holiday. Working 5 years at a bakery and making sugar cookies in every holiday's special shape thousands of time over really sucks the holiday love right out of a person . . . but not Valentine's Day.

Valentine's Day has just always been very cheery and cute. I love the little valentines that kids hand out at school and EVERYONE is included. I love that my mom would always get my brothers and I sweet and thoughtful gifts (my first ever CD was a Valentine's gift -- Hanson!). And my friends have recently joined in, thoughtful as they are, buying me cute gifts to celebrate this holiday of love.

I just love it. And I love the people in my community that I get to do life with, and so I made them almond sugar cookies with the cutest mini heart sprinkles.

Embrace the commercialism. Accept the love. Make the cookies.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Proper (Gluten-Free) Scones

I like to think of myself as "The One Who Can Make All of Your Pastry Dreams Come True". It is a big title, I realize, but when a friend tells me they haven't had ______ since leaving home ages ago, it is entirely too sad for me to handle. I must fix this problem and fill the need for a food they once found so lovely and comforting.

This is what happened with my friend Heather. She is from England but has been in The States for many years now. She recently told me that she's not had a "proper scone" in her entire time here. American scones, I am told, are filled with too many things, are entirely too large, and "why are they all shaped like triangles??"

And so I was determined to find the simplest scone recipe I could find. Thankfully, I remembered seeing a "simple scones" recipe in Alice Medrich's new cookbook. They were small and round and looked "proper" enough to me. I just made a few adjustments before baking and delivering them along with some créme fraîche and raspberry jam. They were Brit approved, and another pastry dream was made reality.

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!

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.