Salted Chocolate Espresso Cookies

20150314_095044-001These cookies are super thin and crispy and have a nice little kick from the espresso. We had a few in the early afternoon and they are a much more mild option than a cup of coffee for a little extra boost. They are mostly chocolatey, buttery and a little salty, and store well in the freezer. Serve with vanilla ice cream or make ice cream sandwiches with them for a special dessert.

Salted Chocolate Espresso Cookies

8 oz. semisweet chocolate
6 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons espresso
1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Flaky salt, like Maldon

Oven 350
1. Melt the chocolate, butter and espresso over a double broiler.
2. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
3. In another bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla.
4. Add the chocolate espresso mix into the egg mixture and combine thoroughly, then add the flour mix until just combined.
5. Refrigerate the mix for a few hours or overnight.
6. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and scoop spoonfuls of the cookie mix onto the paper, bake for about 10 minutes, or until flattened. Sprinkle with Maldon and allow to cool. Use a spatula to get the cookies off the parchment paper. Serve warm, or store in the freezer.
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Sea Salted Apple Cider Caramels

IMG_2352 IMG_2348 IMG_2350It seems that these caramels make it officially fall. They are so good, but good in a way where you can just have one and feel satisfied. They are sweet and savory and deeply apple-y. The color is darker amber because I used coconut palm sugar. The pairing of rich and caramel flavored coconut sugar with the apple and sea salt just brought a better flavor and complexity, and somehow made these treats taste a bit more grown up.

Sea Salted Apple Cider Caramels
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
4 cups apple cider
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp sea salt flakes
8 tbsp/1 stick unsalted butter-I use Straus, chopped into pieces
1 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream (I used raw heavy cream)
Avocado oil

Line a small baking pan with parchment paper.
Pour the apple cider into a saucepan over high heat and boil for about 45 minutes, or until the apple cider is greatly reduced in volume to about 1/2 cup of thick, syrupy liquid. Stir occasionally as it heats.

Once the cider has reduced, remove from the heat and add the butter, sugars, and cream. Stir to combine, then place back on medium-high heat. If you have a candy thermometer, bring the temperature up to 252*, if not (and I didn’t have mine where I made these) you’ll do the cold water trick. So as you heat the caramel, the texture becomes more bubbly, every so often you drop a bit of caramel into a very cold glass of water. The caramel is done when the drops become firm and chewy. This step happens pretty fast, and the caramel is ready in about 5-8 minutes. Keep and eye on the caramel, but more importantly your nose, make sure you don’t smell any burning.

Remove the caramel from the heat, stir in the cinnamon and sea salt, then pour the mix onto parchment paper in the pan. Try for about 1 inch thick, but you can also choose what size/shape you want, so this is up to you.

Allow the caramels to cool for about 1-2 hours in the fridge. To cut them into shape, coat a sharp knife with avocado oil and recoat after each cut. Store the caramels in wax paper of on layers of parchment paper in a tupperware in the fridge or on the countertop.

Peach Souffle + Lemon Verbena Cream + Blackberries

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So light and tasty and not too sweet and just exciting on the tongue is how I’d describe this dessert. The only hard part is making sure you have all the parts ready to go together, so doing a bit of prep beforehand pays off. I, for example, made the lemon verbena cream while the souffle was about to go into the oven and so I was running out to the garden to get more verbana to make the infusion, while watching the souffle cook, while trying to whip the cream. Just make the cream first and save yourself some trouble. These are to be served right out of the oven, piping hot with the cool, light, lemony cream just dripping a bit down the sides. Using coconut palm sugar gives the souffle a delicate caramel taste, but its not traditional and it effects the way the whites fluff up a bit. That said it was still excellent and I would use coconut palm again next time.

Peach Souffle (Recipe adapted from here)
2 large peaches
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 meyer lemon juice
sea salt
7 egg whites
3/4 cup coconut palm sugar (or granulated sugar)
1 tbsp butter, room temperature

Oven 400. Generously butter 8 ramekins ( I only had 4 small ones and one huge one, so use what you got).

In a food processor, or by hand, chop the peaches, or pulse until they are just about bite size pieces. Scoop a heaping spoonful of the peach mix into the bottom of each ramekin.

Add the vanilla, lemon juice and salt to the remaining peach and process/blend until smooth.

In another bowl, whip the egg whites until they are slightly frothy, and then add a touch of salt, and gradually, over about 5-10 minutes, add the 3/4 sugar. Blend until the egg whites start to hold their shape and form peaks. Again, they will behave a little differently than your used to if you use coconut palm sugar-they won’t form such high peaks.

Incorporate about two cups of so of the eggs yolks into the peach mix, stir well, then add the peach/egg mix back into the beaten eggs. Stir until just combined

Spoon the souffle mix into the ramekins all the way to the top. Bake in a rimmed pan for about 10 minutes.

Lemon Verbena Cream (make before souffle)
4-5 small springs lemon verbena
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup  coconut palm sugar
1/2 cup water

In a small saucepan heat the water + sugar. Chop the lemon verbena and bruise a bit with your hands, then add it to the saucepan. Whisk on low heat for a few minutes, until quite fragrant. Remove from heat, and pour into a glass jar. Cool in the fridge for about 20 minutes

When the verbena simple syrup has cooled, whip the cream for a few minutes, then add the vanilla. Spoon in about 1/4 cup of the simple syrup, but not too much. Add it to the cream slowly so the cream doesn’t lose its shape.

Serve the souffles piping hot with cream on top, blackberries and any other garnishes you wish. Enjoy!

Chocolate Sweet Potato Cake + Cherry Chocolate Glaze

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IMG_2686 IMG_2706This is a simple, throw together at the last minute cake. I’ve made it with melted chocolate as well, just depends on what I have on hand. The glaze is slightly salty, and pairs well with the sweet cherries and rich chocolate glaze. I like serving this warm, just out of the oven, but I’ve done research on how it tastes cold the next day and it is also fabulous.

Chocolate Sweet Potato Cake + Cherry Chocolate Glaze
2 small japanese sweet potatoes
1 cup coconut palm sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cacao
1/8 tsp salt
4 eggs
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sprouted whole wheat flour

Oven 350. Using a food processor, or hand mixer, blend the potatoes, sugar, cacao, salt, eggs and baking soda until well incorporated (I leave my potatoes just a little bit chunky though). Add the flour and stir until just mixed. Bake in a small buttered or parchment paper lined cake pan for 35-40 minutes.

Cherry Chocolate Glaze
1 handful cherries, pitted & halved
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp unsweetened cacao
1 tsp fresh ground espresso
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup (+ or -) powdered sugarIMG_2692

Whisk the butter, cacao, espresso, sea salt and powdered sugar. Add more or less powdered sugar depending on your desired frosting consistency. If you let the cake cool, double this recipe and spread it all over the cake. Garnish with the fresh cherries and sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Rosemary, Pine Nut and Meyer Lemon Tart

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For their wedding, my brother and his wife had a beautiful collection of desserts made by various friends. I saw this tart and thought it was fragrant, and beautiful and interesting and so amazingly tasty, and I’ve been meaning to make it ever since.I finally made it for my dad’s birthday, using a slightly different recipe, coconut palm sugar and different flours and I was worried as it cooked that I had made a disaster. I took a skeptical first bite before deciding this is one of my favorite treats. You can taste the subtle hint of the rosemary paired with the fresh tart sweetness of meyer lemons and the pine nuts add nutty complexity.

Rosemary, Pine Nut and Lemon Tart

2 small meyer lemons, peeled and seeded
6 farm fresh eggs
1 ½ tbsp fresh rosemary, plus sprigs for garnish
2 cups coconut palm sugar
1 ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
1 cup almond flour
1 cup sprouted whole wheat flour
¾ cup unsalted butter
whipped cream

Method:

Oven 350*. Add the lemons to a food processor and process until smooth, and then add 5 of the eggs one at a time and the rosemary. Add 1 cup of the sugar and then set the mixture aside in the refrigerator.

Crust: process the pine nuts, 1 cup of almond flour and ¾ cup sprouted flour and ¼ cup sugar. Then add ½ cup butter and one egg. Press the crust mixture into a 9” tart shell and then store in the freezer.

In a bowl, use your fingers to mix together ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup flour and ¼ cup of butter to make a crumbly topping.

Pour the lemony mix into the tart shell and top with the crumbles, add a handful of the toasted pine nuts and bake for about 45 minutes, or until browned and crispy on top. Garnish with some chopped rosemary and also a few large rosemary sprigs, and with a dollop of whipped cream.

 

Summer Farmer’s Market Fruits with Raw Coconut-Cinnamon Spiced Cream

I made this dish for breakfast and I realized after one bite that it tasted much more like dessert than breakfast. But, as I’ve never been opposed to sweet treats in the morning, I continued eating and enjoying this incredibly smooth and creamy dish. Fresh fruits from your farmers’ market friends are essential. The cream adds some richness and spicy complexity to the dish and would also do well chilled in the freezer before serving.

Summer Fruits with Coconut-Cinnamon Spiced Cream

1 apricot
1 nectarine
3 strawberries
3 figs
Handful of blueberries
6 walnuts
8 almonds
8 macadamia nuts
1 handful shredded, unsweetened coconut flakes
½ frozen banana
A pinch of vanilla powder, cardamom, and ground ginger
¼ cup coconut water
cinnamon

Method:

Slice the fruits and place them in a large bowl. Add the nuts, coconut flakes, frozen banana, spices and coconut water to a powerful blender and blend on high until well mixed. To serve, mix the cream with the fruits and top with lots of cinnamon. This can serve a few people, as it’s very filling. Garnish with mint leaves if you have them on hand.