welcome to my culinary adventure


Leave a comment

Peanut Butter Blondies

Hi guys!

I present to you today: the blondie. For these particular little guys, think as if shortbread and a peanut butter cookie had a love child. This is pretty much what you’d get. They were delightfully crumbly and addicting and were adored by gluten-eating and GF individuals alike. This recipe is very loosely based off of Food52’s with some changes here and there. The almond extract really brings a rich nuttiness to the cookie and the coconut flour soaks up a lot of the moisture, making these more of a shortbread-y texture than your typical blondie. I recommend these for a crowd. Simple and universally yummy.

1410445850.780685.IMG_1730

2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted
2 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs (room temp)
1 c. natural peanut butter
1 Tbsp. almond extract
2 c. coconut flour
A generous pinch of sea salt
3/4 c. dark chocolate chunks

Preheat the oven to 350° and line a 9×13″ pan with parchment paper. Melt your butter in the microwave–or, as Food52 suggests, if you’re fancy, brown it–and wait for it to cool down. Once it’s no longer hot, whisk the butter and brown sugar together until smooth. Add your room temperature eggies one at a time, then your almond extract and peanut butter and whisk until smooth. Stir in your dry ingredients gradually and, once completely combined, add your chocolate. Spread your batter (should be thick, so do not fret!) evenly into the prepared pan with a spatula and bake for 20-30 minutes until lightly browned on the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool before cutting. (Now is the time you can sneak one before you are forced to share them with everyone else.)

This recipe was a hit. I’d absolutely make these again.

In other news…can you believe it’s almost FALL? *Cue excessive canned pumpkin buying/hoarding* I can’t even tell you how excited I am to make soups and stews and curries and everything with more cinnamon in it than should be allowed. You can’t stop me. Yippeeee!

Love,
Emily

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Dark Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Hiiii loves,

photo 2

It’s FAAAALL. Well. Kinda. Not quite. It’s technically still summer for the next couple of days. But mentally (and according to these cookies), I am 100% in fall-mode. As a California baby, I’m especially enthusiastic about this season. I really just love being cozy, and fall is arguably the coziest season of all (winter crosses the line from cozy to cold, in my personal opinion). I am all for fall baking/cooking, too. It’s by far my favorite. Pumpkin, cinnamon, apples, squash, cinnamon, pumpkin, CINNAMON. You get the picture. These lovely little cookies pretty much incorporate everything I love. Pumpkin, dark chocolate, and cinnamon, all combined in a delectable, chewy little morsel. Mmmmmm these cookies are yum. I can’t wait to eat one for breakfast-dessert when I get home. And probably another for lunch-dessert later.

1/2 c. or 1 stick butter, melted
1/4 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
6 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 c. chopped dark chocolate

Start to make the dough by mixing together the sugars and the butter until there aren’t any more lumps. Next, whisk in the vanilla and pumpkin until smooth. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips as best you can–the butter will probably make it a little hard for the chocolate chips to stick to the dough since it’s so buttery (yum), but do your best. Stick the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before you bake. (Ahem: That’s important! Don’t skip it!) Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease or line your baking sheets and place balls of dough about 1″ apart. (I got about 18 cookies here; you could get more or less depending on how big your cookies are and such.) Squish them a little bit flat–they won’t flatten much at all while baking–and place in the oven for 8-10 minutes. They won’t look done, but they are! By “not done”, I mean extremely doughy. I promise they’ll firm up quite a bit as they cool. Let them cool for a while on the cookie sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack.

I brought these to Boston with me for a little weekend trip and they were certainly appreciated. My two lovely boys and I ate 3 a day until they were gone, so they didn’t last long. Not to toot my own horn (okay, maybe a little…I’m proud of these cookies) buuuut I was told by my toughest critic (and others) that these cookies are his favorite thing I have baked to date. Welllll, okay, his favorite thing that he has tried at least. To be honest, that is probably a pretty good indicator of how delicious they are, seeing as he’s tried probably 60% at least of the food I’ve made. I rarely get compliments from this individual, so this is a big deal, guys.

Prepare for more pumpkin. I guarantee you it’s COMING.

Love, Emily

PS: THIS PHOTO IS SO TERRIBLE I AM SORRY I am honestly so embarrassed. It’s heinous. I don’t have my Nikon and it was nighttime when I took this on my phone. I was in a hurry and ate them all before proper photos could be taken sooo this will have to do I suppose. Don’t judge me.


1 Comment

Pepita Ginger Oatmeal Chewies

Hiiii!

Image

Happy August, lovers and friends! It’s my birthday month (weeeeeeeee but also ahhhh) which is both great and absolutely terrifying. Great because: I have fun planzzz ahead of me, August is generally beautiful in San Diego, I’ll finally be 21 (PARTY YEAHHH but actually totally kidding; all I really want is to be able to order a beer out without fear of being arrested), and just because to be quite honest, who doesn’t love birthdays? Terrifying because: I am rapidly approaching the age when the term “adult” is unavoidable (shhhh I’m still in denial), summer is almost over (?!), and school/real life commences again in a short couple of weeks. I have exciting things ahead of me though. Exciting and scary, but exciting nonetheless. I guess that’s “adulthood” (shudder).

Anyways: cookies. Thanks to these, I have molasses in my hair. Though that’s probably not surprising to hear. My mom voiced recently that she’s been craving ginger molasses cookies but I feel like that’s just too unseasonal right now so I kiiinda made my own version of that. They’re not exactly the chewy ginger cookies she was looking for, but I think it was a nice compromise. Not that these are any more summery, really (oatmeal cookies are summery, right…?), but I don’t knoooow ginger cookies just seemed too much like Christmas to make right now. These seemed more appropriate, for no reason in particular. The texture of these cookies remind me a lot of the legendary Cheese Shop oatmeal cookies (you all owe it to yourselves to go get a sandwich and cookie from here stat, assuming you live in San Diego), but with a little extra spiciness added. Plus my lil pumpkin seeds, of course! I loosely based these off of this Green Kitchen Stories recipe with a couple little changes here and there. Check it out, yo:

1 1/3 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 c. coconut oil, softened to room temperature
1/4 c. honey
2 Tbsp. molasses
1/4 c. almond meal
1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. pepitas
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. vanilla
A pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to the usual 350°. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients (yep, that’s it!) and plop heaping spoonfuls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. I got 16 cookies total–8 per cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie out as much as possible with the back of a spoon until they’re all thin and spread out. Make sure they’re not too close together; they’ll spread even more when baking. Stick ’em in the oven for about 8 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. If they spread enough to touch one another, don’t worry! Once you pull them out, use a spatula to gently separate them and shape them a little before they set. Let them cool completely on the cookie sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack. Do this carefully! They’re fragile little guys!

Image

These cookies are so nice and thin and spicy and chewy and oatmeal-y and lovely. A little different from my usual thick, chewy cookie preference, but still good. Change is good, right? My dad is certainly a fan–he’s already eaten 3 of them. What else is new.

Happy (almost) weekend, loves! Go get yourself some sunshine.

Love, Emily


Leave a comment

Lime Cheesecake with Cashew Coconut Crust

Hey babes,

Image

It’s been quiiite the past couple of weeks. Long story short: I have found an apartment after a fair amount of blood (minimal, mostly just blisters), sweat (LOTS thanks to the New York heat wave…..ugh), and tears (a little here and there) and I’m back in San Diego due to an interesting last minute turn of events. Good and bad. Bittersweet. Etc. Anyways, at least I’m reunited with my parents’ roomy kitchen lalalaaaa

So let’s talk cheesecake. My dad really wanted me to make him a cheesecake for his birthday (8/13) but unfortunately, I was in the process of leaving for NY right around then and didn’t have the time/energy while I was scrambling to get ready to make one. If you’ve ever made a cheesecake, you know how picky and labor intensive they can be. Not so much a last minute, bake-this-on-a-whim kind of dessert. Luckily, I came home a few weeks early (weeee) so my dad’s birthday cheesecake was only a mere 10 days late! This cheesecake is loosely based off of this lovely recipe. And what a fabulous one it was.

Crust:
2 c. raw cashew pieces
1/2 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
4 Tbsp. melted coconut oil

Filling:
3 8oz. packages of organic cream cheese at room temperature (!!!)
3/4 c. sugar
2 limes, juiced and zested
2 eggs, whites and yolks separated

Preheat the oven to 350° and begin to prepare your crust. Grease an 8″ or 9″ springform pan and set aside. Pulse the cashews, coconut, and brown sugar together in a food processor until you get a medium-fine crumb. Add the melted coconut oil, stir until combined, and press evenly into your springform pan. Place in the oven for 20 minutes or so until the crust is lightly golden brown. Remove while you prepare the filling.

Increase the oven temperature to 400° and move on to preparing the cheesy part of said cheesecake. With an electric mixer (for those of us who don’t have fancy shmancy stand mixers……it’s not like I’m bitter/jealous or anything…..), mix together the cream cheese and sugar until it’s all nice and fluffy. Add your lime juice and zest and mix again. Separate your whites and yolks of your two eggs and drop the yolks into your cream cheese mixture, leaving the whites in a separate bowl for whipping. Mix in the yolks and set this aside while you whip the whites to soft peaks. Once sufficiently whipped, gently fold the egg whites into the rest of the filling with a spatula. Pour the filling into the crust and smooth out the top. Place the cheesecake on the middle rack in the oven and bake at 400° for 10 minutes before you reduce the temperature to 225°, baking like this for at least another hour (or until mostly set but still sliiightly jiggly in the middle). Once done baking, turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside with the door closed for at least another hour–this well help it cool gradually so it doesn’t crack. (Because, let’s be honest, what is more devastating than a cheesecake with a cracked top?) After an hour, pull the cheesecake out and place on a cooling rack. Carefully run a knife around the edge and let it cool at room temperature for at least another hour before placing in the refrigerator overnight. Try to resist the temptation to eat it until the next day. Tough, I know, but it’s much better this way, I promise.

Okay so my main (and only) issue with cheesecake is the sheer amount of cream cheese involved. THREE 8 oz. packages. Can you imagine how many bagels you can coat with that?! Actually no. I take that back. I do not want to think about that. But excessive cream cheese amounts aside, cheesecake is the love of my life. I may have gotten a little teary-eyed when I was photographing it. And again when I ate a slice after dinner. Good GOD this cheesecake knows me. I put a lot of love into it! Essentially, it is my baby, and I am so proud of how it turned out. (Has my absurd relationship with food gotten weird enough for you yet???) Well. On that note, I recommend only making a cheesecake if you have lots of time on your hands and plenty of patience. But if that’s the case, make this one! It’s pretty much the perfect, creamy, lovely, ideal cheesecake consistency (in my humble opinion). Not to mention the crust is fabulous.

Image

Image

Alsoooo, just a little shout out to all the people in my life that have been there for me lately: you guys are really wonderful. Like, I cannot even express how wonderful. I might even appreciate you more than I appreciate this cheesecake. (KIDDING teehee I absolutely do!) You, along with baking/cooking/yoga, are my most effective antidepressant/anti-anxiety medication. You know who you are 🙂

Love, Emily


Leave a comment

Almond Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hi lovers/friends,

Image

The gluten free baking adventure continues (semi-unfortunately, but c’est la vie, en fait)! Whatever. It’s making me creative I guess. So I have a confession to make. There was something strange about these cookies. They tasted awesome, but there was something a little funky about the texture. I based these off of this recipe buuut they turned out rather different than expected. Maybe it was the natural almond butter, maybe it was the sugar substitute (coconut sugar instead of brown sugar). Who knows! But anyways, they were soft and spongey rather than chewy or crumbly (as I feel cookies should be) and it was throwing me off. The more I thought about it, the more I realized: these should probably be muffins. I would even venture to say that they are destined to be muffins–they were essentially muffins masquerading as cookies. The batter was just soft and runny enough that they would have been perfect; plus, they’re not too sweet to thrive in muffin form. In other words, these cookies could have easily been eaten for breakfast. The fact that they were cookies, however, made that feel wrong. That being said, I did eat a few of these for breakfast anyways. But I will admit that it felt scandalous. So, friends, if you make these, I suggest you forget the cookie sheets and put them straight into your muffin tins. The baking time would probably be a little different, so you’re going to have to experiment and let me know what happens. Or just make them as cookies if that doesn’t bother you, that works too, of course.

1 c. almond butter
2/3 c. coconut sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
2/3 c. rolled oats
1 tsp. baking soda
2/3 c. chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°. Throw your oats and baking soda into a little bowl and set these aside for a bit. Next, beat your almond butter, coconut sugar, eggs and vanilla together with an electric mixer until combined, then gently stir in the oats and baking soda. Fold in the chocolate chips last. Place them 2″ or so apart on a greased cookie sheet (or like I said, make these into muffins!) and bake for about 10 minutes until the edges are just barely brown. They’ll look a little undercooked, but they’ll hold together once cooled.

Image

Obviously it goes without saying that you can make these with peanut butter. I’m just rather partial to almond butter. Or if you really want, you can substitute the chocolate chip for some other mix-in (although I find this a little sacrilegious, personally, but that’s just because I’m probably a certifiable chocolate addict).

Keep being wonderful. You guys are great.

Love, Emily


Leave a comment

Date, Pecan, and Chocolate Chip Blondies

Hiii guuuys,

Image

DISCLAIMER: this post is sassier and more sarcastic than usual. Don’t know. Bear with me.

Soooo I’ve had this box of medjool dates in the fridge for a while now and aucune idée what to do with them. Dates are wonderful, but to be honest, I’ve never really baked with them before. Or cooked with them. Yeah okay, I have very little date-experience (hahaaaaaa ha). Anywaaaays, ahem, I kept thinking about making some sort of raw Larabar/energy bar/raw healthy treat kinda deal with them and my new ~FOOD PROCESSOR~ (!!!!!) since they’re “nature’s natural sweetener” and “soooo nutritious” and all but just meh. I want something sweet and yummy and not healthy. Or at least, not masquerading as such. And I did not want anything “no-bake”. No-bake, no-fun, am I right?? (…) Basically what I’m trying to say is, I was in the mood to put something in the oven, smell it baking, and use all the willpower in the world to resist cutting into it before it cooled enough. So that’s exactly what I did. And ooooh was I happy with the result. (And oooooooh did these smell good while they were baking.)

This was an experiment gone awry wonderfully well! Since when does that happen ever?! I’ve been experiencing some odd health things lately (meh) but my doctor recommended I try to eat gluten free for a little while just to see if I respond well to that. Maybe I have some weird kind of food sensitivity, who knows. I blame my Paris bread-binge. Anyways, the point is, even as a temporary experimental trial-run kinda thing, being gluten free is HAAARD. I don’t even eat bread that much, but suddenly when I’m not allowed to have it, it’s all I want/think about/crave/yearn for. Okay maybe that’s a little extreme (or is it???) but honestly, for all you gluten-eaters, think about how many things have flour in them. Now, think about not being able to eat them. Tortillas. Cake. Sandwiches. Pizza. Mkay I have to stop before I start crying. But YEAH. Rough. Anyways, this means I’ve been getting creative with my baking. Just because all these things I’ve been making are gluten free, doesn’t mean they’re not just as delicious–perhaps even more delicious, I might venture to say (gasp!)–than their gluteny counterparts. These are pretty wonderful, guys. And like my brownies, they’re made with pretty snazzy ingredients. But don’t fret, friends, they do not taste “healthy” in the slightest. Truuust me.

1 1/2 c. almond meal/flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 c. coconut sugar
1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
3 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 c. dates, pitted and chopped
3/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 c. pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°, grease an 8×8″ pan with your oil of choice (coconut oil hollaaaa), and set aside. Sift together the almond flour, baking soda, coconut sugar, and salt into a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (eggs, coconut oil, and vanilla) and stir the two mixtures together. Gently fold in the dates, pecans, and chocolate chips and evenly spread into the pan. Bake for about 20 minutes until edges are lightly brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool. Dig in.

Image

Image

Image

So can someone hire me to be the in-house baker at their adorable little (but sometimes snobby) NYC coffee shop yet or what? I can bake trendy things! And they’re delicious! And I need a job! Lol jk I wish okay bye going to stop writing before you all hate me and refuse to read my blog ever again </3

Love, Emily


1 Comment

Dark Chocolate Brownies with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Hello my friends!

Image

I’m baaaack in the US and I could not be happier to be reunited with my kitchen. I have been cooking/baking up a storm since I arrived.. Most of my kitchen adventures have been experimental though–some of which have turned out not-so-amazing–which is why this is my first post back. Also I’ve been back for weeks and I haven’t written anything yet ooooops. It’s just so easy to put off sitting down and writing a blog post. But I’ve now made 2 amazing things that I absolutely MUST SHARE; they’re tears-in-my-eyes good (brownies now, blondies to follow). I’m nearly drooling just thinking about them.

Apparently I’ve been on a cookie bar kick, which is odd since I rarely make things like brownies or blondies. These brownies were for Father’s Day (eep that was a long time ago and I’m just writing this now oooooops) which apparently I’ve accidentally made an annual tradition. These were better than last year’s though. Different, for sure, but better. These ones were also flourless (see first ever blog post for other recipe), but these were definitely a little more exciting. I took my dad’s love of the deepest darkest chocolatey thing you could imagine, combined it with his love for coconut and his request for a cheesecake for Father’s Day (after I’d already started making brownies…oopsies sorry!) et voilà, I came up with this lovely little combination of GLUTEN FREE (if you’re into that) dark chocolate brownies with a coconut cream cheese layer and topped off with a semisweet chocolate shell. Shell? Glaze? Top layer? You get the point. There’s chocolate on top. In other words, yum.

I got the idea from this recipe for buckeye brownies, but I left out the peanut buttery layer and added my own twist. These were great. Make ’em.

Brownies :

3 oz. 100% cacao baking chocolate, melted (<3)
1 c. coconut oil, melted
2 1/2 c. coconut sugar
4 eggs
12 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/3 c. plus 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. almond meal

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting :

2 c. shredded coconut, processed to coconut butter
4 oz. cream cheese, softened

Chocolate layer :

8 oz. semisweet/dark/whatever chocolate
1/2 tsp. coconut oil, melted

Grease an 8×8″ pan and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350° as per usual.

Combine the melted chocolate, melted coconut oil, and coconut sugar together in a bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between each egg. Add the salt and the vanilla and mix again. Sift the cocoa powder, cornstarch, and almond meal together in a small bowl and add to the wet mixture. Once combined, pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when stuck in the middle. Set on a cooling rack and step away from the brownies so you can make your next layer. Maybe even stick it in the fridge so you’re not tempted (that’s what I did).

Process the dry, unsweetened coconut in a food processor until the oils are released and it turns into a spreadable consistency. Add your cream cheese and pulse until combined. Spread this “frosting” over the cool-ish (but mostly cool, please!) brownies and prepare for the final step (!!!)

Melt the chocolate for the top layer and add the coconut oil. Pour the chocolate evenly over the top of the coconut frosting layer. Stick it in the fridge until the top layer sets, cut into them, take a bite, die of happiness. Repeat.

Image

It feels good to be back :’)

Love, Emily

PS: OOH ooh also forgot to mention that yeah, these are brownies, so they’re sugary and rich and the definition of decadent, but all the ingredients are healthy and natural and wonderful in every way. No refined sugars! No flour! Etc! So you can feel a little less guilty eating them. Right? (Hear hear!)