fresh raspberry ice cream (no-churn) & video with Candace Nelson, founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes)

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It's not every day you get asked over by Candace Nelson to make ice cream in her home, you know? 

Wait, before I go any further let me just say that I HATE it when people brag about their awesome lives and leave no room for humility or relate-ability. Like "Oh look at me, I just won an award and the lottery and a trip to Hawaii and a car and new boobs and I'm amazing blah blah blah blah". I mean, when so much goodness happens to one person I can't help but feel like I must be doing something terribly wrong.

So getting asked to film with Candace for a little instagram series she's putting together made me feel like OMG! I won! Like I totally did something right and I win at LIFE! When in all honestly, life has felt like an ant infested picnic lately - aka it's been freaking hard and I've blasted music a little too loud probably a little too often trying to sing my troubles away at the top of my lungs. I've doubted my dreams and myself and cleaned up my tears with many chocolate stained napkins. Details for another day if I'm brave enough to share it all. 

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ANYWAY, Candace is the founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes and I've been an admirer and fan of hers for a very long time. Like, major fangirl over here. Maybe one of my superpowers is not getting starstruck because she is just as warm and welcoming and generous as you'd hope her to be and I absolutely loved spending time with her. Like, I already consider her my friend. I was surprised I kept my cool (see aforementioned star-struck comment) - although I probably don't seem like it in this video LOL!

I also learned from this filming experience  - that even though I really hate the way I look on film - (I'm pregnant and chubby and TRYING to be gracious to myself) -  it totally brings out this fun, bright-light, hammy side of me and I really, really love it. It makes me feel fun and young again and reminds me of being on stage back in the day.

Did you know that about me? That I used to sing and stuff? It was fun.  

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I'm totally talking too much about myself huh?

Sorry.

Anyway, being in front of a camera and teaching people how to make something is such a blast - and getting to do it all with someone as special and as awesome as Candace was just the cherry on top. 

Please bask in my ridiculous, bubbling, blushing self (I could only bear to watch it once) and love this video. Oh! And make this ice cream. It's so good and worth it and the perfect balance of easy-like-Sunday-morning and tangy sweet. It's Summer in a scoop. Maybe it's me in a scoop? 

Nah, I'm way more complicated.

Cheers to unexpectedly great things happening when you feel nothing's gone quite right in awhile. 

Love you friends. xo

Ps. I'm so sorry I've been gone from this space. I've been working on some other projects that I'll be sharing on here soon - including a new website! Woohoo! PPS - Are we friends on instagram yet? I pop on there way too often. xo

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 fresh raspberry ice cream (no-churn)


robyn holland | sweetish.co | adapted from sarah kiefer, the vanilla bean baking book | makes about 1 ½ quarts of ice cream.

bakers note: If fresh raspberries are in season near you, use them! The reason is really not so much taste (although they really do taste better) but fresh raspberries yield so much more juice when cooked down. You need about 1 ½ cups / 375ml of juice to make this recipe really zing. Any amount of juice less than that just leaves you with a flat tasting, hint-of raspberry ice cream that’s beautifully pale pink but lacks the pep it deserves. The cream, sweetened condensed milk, and raspberry juice are all a gorgeous marriage of tangy-sweet that’s wildly addicting and irresistible. So! Just keep that in mind if you use frozen berries you may need more berries than the recipe calls for to yield the 1 ½ cups of juice. :) 

4 cups / 600g raspberries, fresh or frozen (to yield about 1 ½ cups / 375 ml of raspberry juice) 
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoons of kosher salt 

one 14 ounce can / 397g sweetened condensed milk, chilled (just stick your can in the fridge)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 ounces / 57g  cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups / 500ml heavy cream 


For the raspberries: Put raspberries, sugar and salt in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring to a gentile simmer over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, pressing the raspberries down with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula as you stir. Set up a medium bowl with a large to medium-sized sieve over it. Pour hot raspberries through the sieve, pressing down with a rubber spatula. Stir and press and stir and press to release all the juices, making sure you scrape the bottom of the sieve as you go. Cool raspberry juice until chilled. tip: If you need to speed up the chilling process, give the juice an “ice bath” by putting it in a bowl, and putting that raspberry juice-filled bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice. Stir it around. It should cool down quickly. note: Remember we want about 1 ½ cups of juice total. \\ 

For the ice cream: In a medium bowl whisk together chilled raspberry juice, chilled sweetened condensed milk, salt and vanilla. The mixture will go from this gorgeous ruby red to a “teenager” lipstick purple. (I just made that up, but seriously, what color would you call that purple? Teenage lipstick right? Okay good.) \\ 

In a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth and light (about 5 minutes). note: Make SURE your cream cheese is room temperature here or else it will make your ice cream lumpy. Slowly stream in some of the cold cream, only adding about ⅓ cup at first to get all the cream cheese friendly with the cream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and whip again until the mixture seems somewhat smooth but not completely lump free (about 1 minute). tip + trick! I take the whisk out here, wash it quickly and use it again. I found that if I used a clean whisk when beating in the rest of the cream, I never got lumpy ice cream. \\

Then slowly stream in the rest of the cold cream and beat until barely stiff peaks form. You might want to pause and scrape down the bowl a few times as you reach the stiff peaks. \\

note: It’s SUPER important that you don’t over whip your cream here or else it will mess with the consistency of the ice cream. If you beat cream too long you’re going to get butter. And even though butter is delicious, it messes with the mouthfeel of our ice cream. So watch it. \\ 

Plop half of the whipped cream into the raspberry mixture and gently fold in with a spatula until almost combined. \\

bakers term: Remember “folding” is scooping from the bottom of the bowl and “folding” the raspberry liquid over the whipped cream, trying not to deflate the whipped cream as much as possible. When bakers use the term “fold” it means we’re trying to not let the air out of something as we mix it in, in this case, it’s our whipped cream. Traditional ice cream incorporates air by churning it in an ice cream maker, but because we’re not using an ice cream maker here, we’re incorporating the air through the whipped cream, so it’s important we don’t lose it all when mixing the whipped cream in. \\ 

Then add the rest of the whipped cream to the mixture and gently fold until completely combined and no lumps remain. This part takes a bit of elbow grease, but it’s worth it. Mixture should appear fluff-like, thick, and smooth. \\ 

Pour prepared ice cream into a 9” bread tin (or any size that will hold all the ice cream - it doesn't matter) or another container of your liking. (You don’t need to grease the tin, but you might want to line it with plastic wrap if you're going to be storing it in a metal container for a long time - the acid from the berries can react to the metal if stored in there for a while)  Freeze for at least 6 hours, tightly covered in plastic wrap. Keeps for about 1-3 weeks. \\

Serve in sugar cones or bowls. xo

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the perfect strawberry shortcakes {and introvert vs extrovert}

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I find that the older I get the more I learn about myself. Deep huh? 

I’ve learned that I really love to eat sweet things in the morning. Although if it’s a ham and cheese croissant with mustard and tomato that wins. 
I’ve learned I really love quiet mornings and will pry myself out of bed to catch a few moments of peace by myself before I’m getting the best person in the world out of his crib, picking scrambled egg out of my hair, wiping the floor and changing the third diaper and outfit of the day in a matter of minutes. 

I’ve learned that a much as I love people, I also kind of don’t like them. My family refers to too much people time as “people poisoning”. When you’re raised by two introvert parents you learn to appreciate privacy. The older I get, the more I crave the privacy. I used to think (and was told) I was purely extroverted growing up, but now, I'm not so sure.

I’ve learned that I have a weird love / hate relationship with crowds. Sometimes I feel comforted by them and other times  I will do anything to avoid them. There’s good crowds and bad crowds in my book. 

Case and point, this past Memorial Day weekend. 

Usually we don’t do crazy things like attempt to go to the beach on a holiday because of said crowds but we did it this year and I don’t regret it. It was a good crowd. 

We set up camp next to three families - none of which spoke English. We think they spoke Spanish, Danish and Russian but we really couldn’t tell. 

Myles immediately went up to this gorgeous Russian (?) couple (I’m still wondering if her boobs were real or not) and said hi with his little wave. The couple melted. Then he went up to the Danish family and also said hi. The family immediately switched to English when Myles went up to them and ooo-ed at his cuteness. Then he ran back to our set up, all happy and fulfilled and wanted to smash sandcastles and have alone time in the sand. 

I can’t tell if my son is an introvert or extrovert yet… but he sure seems little bit like my adult self and lands somewhere in-between. 

Good thing as he gets older he’ll learn more about himself. 

Just like his mom. lol

Happy official Summer my friends. I hope these strawberry shortcakes grace your plate more than once this Summer cause they're amazing (and easy!). xo 

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the perfect strawberry shortcake


makes about 5-6 shortcakes (I usually get 5 with my scoop) | by robyn holland (inspired by, and snagged the egg yolk idea from bon appetite) 

The beauty of this shortcake recipe is it doesn’t get soggy when you lather it in the whipped cream and syrupy strawberries. That’s the magic of the egg yolk working - it stops the gluten from getting overworked in the shortcake and thus too soft. The texture of the two types of crunchy sugar on top lends itself to part of the magic too. Syrupy tangy strawberries, whipped cream, not-too-sweet-shortcake - I promise you’ll love ever single beautiful bite and want seconds. 

bakers note: You may want to double the strawberry topping and yogurt whipped cream here for a hungry group. My family ate every bit when I did this. ;) So I only made 5 shortcakes total, but doubled the whipped cream and strawberries and people seemed to think that was perfect. 

for the shortcake: 

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2 hard boiled egg yolks
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons almond flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon medium grain kosher salt
3 tablespoons sugar 

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1” pieces
2/3 cup plain, full fat yogurt 

1/2 cup heavy cream, to brush on before baking
1/2 cup super fine sugar or regular sugar, to sprinkle on before baking
1/2 cup turbinado or coarse sugar, to sprinkle on before baking 


Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a food processor pulse together all dry ingredients (flours, salt, baking powder, sugar) + egg yolks until ingredients are mixed together and egg yolks are blended.

Add cold butter and pulse like a heart beat until you get dime-sized clumps (it’s okay if the clumps are a little bigger too)! 

Next gently pulse in the yogurt (try to pour it in a steady stream) until the mixture starts to come together just a little bit. We don’t want the mixture totally mixed together in the food processor - we should still see some dry bits - so don’t go overboard wit the mixing in here. 

Dump mixture out on a clean surface and finish kneading together by hand until dough just comes together. Take care not to over mix, but there should be no more dry bits at this point. 

Using in ice cream scoop (preferably one with a spring), scoop two “scoops” and put one on top of the other (snowman style) and mush them slightly forming a large shortcake. Should make about 5-6 shortcakes. Shortcakes stacks should look / feel slightly smaller than two golf balls on top of each other. 

Cover the shortcakes + baking sheet with plastic wrap and chill for 35 minutes (or you can even let them chill overnight). 

Brush chilled shortcakes generously with cream and top with coarse sugar and then fine sugar. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 26-30 minutes or until entire shortcake is golden brown.

Cool before slicing + serving. Serve + fill with suggested strawberry topping and yogurt whipped cream. 

Short cakes can be made up to one day ahead of time, covered in an air tight container kept at room temperature -  but are best the day they’re baked. 


for the strawberry topping: 

4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled, cut and divided
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup high quality raspberry jam
pinch sea salt or kosher salt 

Put two cups of strawberries, jam and sugar into a small pot over medium/ low heat and stir until mixture bubbles. Note that you may not need the exact amount of suggested sugar if your berries are very sweet. Feel free to use less or more depending on your taste. 

Remove from heat and let it come to room temperature before adding remaining two cups of strawberries. Add pinch of salt. 

Topping can be made up to 8 hours ahead of time, covered and chilled. 

for the yogurt whipped cream: 

1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons plain, full fat yogurt 

Add all ingredients into an electric mixer and beat until stiff peaks form (about 3-5 minutes). Take care to scrape down the bowl a few times. 

The whipped cream should be sweet, so if you need to add more sweetness, feel free to do so. 

Whipped cream can be made a few hours ahead of time, kept covered and chilled. 

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resources: 

I used Maple Hill's new line of blended yogurt to make the yogurt whipped cream. It really is fantastic, organic, grass-fed yogurt that's so clean and tangy. I couldn't get enough of it and highly recommend! 
 

brown butter buttercream frosting {real talk, big news}

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You guys I am so tired right now that I have to keep bouncing my foot to keep myself awake. I explain more detail behind the exhaustion in my latest *Cocoa Chats letter that’s coming to all my peeps (aka subscribers) on Friday (today!) but I wanted to pause and post this recipe real quick and tell you that it’s 100% worth making. 

Also, totally just started my own photography + cinematography business with my husband: Sundae Studios. (Ps. Did you end up voting for a name on instagram when we put it out there a little bit ago? Remember we were trying to decide between The Honey Folk, Sundae Studios or Hello Cocoa Studio? Most of you hated Hello Cocoa and it cracked me up because I still love it. If you missed it you can catch it in my highlights. Also, this site is temporary please don't judge. We're working on "the real one" right now.)

Guys don’t worry, Sweetish is not going to die, but I very much feel like I am running two businesses here while being a mama and a wife and it’s leaving me all sorts of exhausted. BUT IT IS AWESOME. It’s just like, insane at the same time. I’ve distanced myself a tiny bit from this space to refocus and figure it all out and decide what I really want Sweetish to be. You see, blogging is super great, but it’s like super time consuming and I've found that ever since becoming a mom (and starting a business with my husb) my time is the most precious thing I have in the world, so I just need to be smarter about it all. 

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Plus to be honest I felt a tug to do something more with John (am I the only one who loves how Chip and Jo kill it as a husband wife team?). Someday I’ll tell more of the deeper story behind it all, but for now, just know that we’re totally pouring our hearts and souls and savings into this new business and it’s both exciting and leaving me wondering what the heck have we done? :)

Do people who start their own business for the most part know what they’re doing? Can I join that club?

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I’ve been photographing for years (and John's been filming for years) but it’s always been a side thing and never a full blown “let’s go for it” thing, so your support and encouragement mean the world to us. For reals. Thank you. (Also if you wanna see more Sundae Studios go here.) 

Also side note: Moms, do we think that little guys have way more energy than little girls? Like is this a thing? Because I swear I am dealing with the energizer bunny here and there’s not enough caffeine or sleep that can cause me to keep up with this kid. 

Any other mama’s out there have any energy saving / energy inducing tips? Do you nap ever? Like who has time to nap? 

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Anyway, I made this frosting for Easter a few weeks ago paired with a deep dark chocolate cake and it was fab. (Recipe link for cake.)  But if like, if you seriously didn't feel like baking a whole cake and just made this frosting and dipped some fresh strawberries into said frosting, you could call it heaven (and dessert). 

This cake also stores well in the fridge, frosted in its entirety and wrapped tightly with plastic wrap. See my quick timeline in resources. 

Happy Thursday to you my friends! Maybe treat yourself to a big scoop of frosting to keep up with life. More soon. xo

* (We chat over cocoa on Friday did you know? Please join in on the discussion and subscribe if you’re interested. There’s aways room for you!) 

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brown butter buttercream frosting 

adapted from sarah kieffer | makes about 4 cups frosting | enough to frost one 8" cake, or 24 cupcakes


For the deep dark chocolate cake recipe, go here

bakers notes: Keep in mind that the original recipe calls for unsalted butter. BUT I prefer this recipe with salted butter AND I still add 1/4 teaspoon of  medium grain kosher salt. To me, the slight saltiness of the frosting (from the use of salted butter) lends really well to the deep brown butter and it turns into seriously addicting frosting. If you do the chocolate cake combo like I did it's fun to chop some bittersweet chocolate and sprinkle it on top right before serving. xo 

1/2 pound / 2 sticks / 227g butter for browning

1/2 pound / 2 sticks / 227g butter, room temperature 

2 ounces / 57g cream cheese, room temperature 

1/4 cup heavy cream 

2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

4 cups powdered / confectioners sugar

 

Brown 1/2 pound (227g) of butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over a medium-low heat. Swirl the butter around until it starts to fully melt and brown. I like scraping the bottom of the pan with a small spatula to pull up the brown bits. Continue to brown and stir until your butter is looking like a deep good caramel at the bottom. This usually takes me 7-8 minutes. Don't walk away from your pan, stay next to it as your butter can brown quickly.

Pour browned butter in a heat proof bowl and stick in your fridge to chill for about 30minutes to an hour. (Mine took an hour). You want the butter solidified but not completely "frozen". 

Scoop solidified browned butter butter into an electric mixer bowl with the paddle attachment. Add additional softened butter and beat together. Add cream cheese and beat in. Add heavy cream, vanilla and salt and mix on low speed. Next slowly add the powdered / confectioners sugar. 

Once sugar is added, increase the speed and beat together until frosting is light and fluffy, about 5-8 minutes, taking care to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. 

Spread frosting on cake immediately or *store in an airtight container for up to a week in the fridge.

*bakers note: If you store it in the fridge, you'll have to whip it a bit to bring it to room temperature but with a little time and patience you can get it back to the fluffy frosting it once was. If you're still having trouble and the frosting doesn't seem to be coming together after a while, run warm water on the OUTSIDE of the bowl taking care not to get ANY warm water inside the bowl. This should melt the hard butter just a little bit and get it going. 

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resources:

I just used Trader Joes organic salted butter. 

Quick timeline of cake: You can bake the cake 3-4 days ahead of time before serving. Ex: Serve day: Sunday. I baked my cake late Thursday evening, and let cake sit in the tins until the following morning. Friday: I wrapped both layers in plastic wrap, made frosting, frosted cake and wrapped whole frosted cake in plastic wrap (using several layers) until Sunday. 

Sunday I let the cake sit for 20-30 minutes at room temperature and then served. 

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my top 5 ways to show self love {and change your life}

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{If you missed my last post on my adjustment to motherhood resulting in a lack of self love, you can find it here.}

I accidentally bumped my head on an open cabinet yesterday while looking for something and now my forehead  has a little red square spot on it and it hurts. And I was thinking about it (as I sit here touching the same spot on my forehead) that maybe self love is the same thing as getting smacked in the head.

Everything seems fine until something hits us in the face that something isn't right.

For me it is in the form of bald spots. (If you haven’t read about that, please, feel free to bask in my baldness here and here and here and here.) 

Being a mom is by far the greatest privilege I've ever had and I constantly feel like my heart is walking outside of my body - but it's made me seriously slack in the self love department.

So! Here are some ways I've recently shown my self some love (feel free to chime in and comment anytime)

1. Meal prepping.

I feel like this word is SO DAUNTING so I like to call it "What I'm so stoked about eating this week." You’re probably thinking, 'girl, I can’t even spare the time to make a piece of toast why are you talkin’ to me about meal prepping’? Because FRIEND, take it from a girl who drank hot cocoa all day for months until I lost my hair, meal prepping is life changing. I used to do it faithfully before becoming a mama, but fell out of practice. 

It's so easy to forget to feed ourselves well - but my method for meal prepping is maybe a little more approachable. It's intuitive. I think about what I really want to eat the next week and I plan a few days at a time, and reserve only a few items for the whole week. (Like for example, "items for the whole week" include: chopped carrots + hard boiled eggs + sweet potato. I make/buy 1 salad dressing + hummus + yogurt dip and I use it all week. Whereas marinated chicken, is for 1 dinner and 2 lunches. Buttered brown rice is used wherever I need it, herbs are ways to refresh left overs + for dressings etc. Then I pick a couple recipes I cannot wait to make for dinner and dive in on that day.)

I still shop for produce, make tons of scrambled eggs + seeded toast and green protein smoothies and still eat out at reasonably-priced places a few times a week. (I also still eat dessert like, no question.) I plan on sharing loads more about this soon because it's important and I'm crazy passionate about it. Eating is so so so good. 

2. Meditation. 

I know. You’ve probably heard me talk about this before but it is the gosh dang truth. Meditation and the simple practice of re-focusing and breathing deeply gives me greater clarity, purpose and productivity than I ever could have imagined. I use headspace. 1. Because I have a thing for British accents, 2. The animations are fantastic + informative and 3. It covers every topic from stress, to pregnancy to self confidence to productivity to cooking.

It's like a meditation guru in my pocket and it's amaze. I've even meditated at the airport you guys. Like with people looking at me sometimes and everything. It's officially a part of my life. 

3. Eye cream.

Yup. I know. You probably totally already do this. Or maybe you don’t need eye cream. But investing in a few good clean products for your FACE can make you feel like a new woman. This is a new discovery for me. Like can we talk real quick about how I have the worst crinkle-smile lines around my eyes now that I’ve entered my 30’s? It’s humbling. I miss being in my 20’s and every day I want to say I'm 27. I kept avoiding spending a little more money on good stuff because I’d allocate my money elsewhere, but now I really see the value in a little self pampering. Also, I wear make up + do my hair every day. Every. DAY.  I can't tell you how good it makes me feel. 

4. Get rid of things that don’t make you feel good.

Clothes, food, shoes, books.… Clean out the crap. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long in life to embrace that fact that just because I liked something once, or just because something FIT once, doesn’t mean I need to still hold on to it, especially if it’s the clothing item I NEVER EVER grab anymore. My hips have changed since giving birth and some stuff just doesn’t quite fit the same and when I wear it I feel ugly. So why am I holding on to it? Because it has feelings? ANYWAY. I’ve learned this brilliant practice from the book “The Magic of Tidying Up” - and you’ll laugh but truly this has helped me get rid of so much stuff - I thank the piece of clothing, or book or whatever it is for being a part of my life and then get rid of it. Having that attitude of gratitude is everything. I feel happy to give something away because I acknowledged that item’s purpose and now feel good about giving it up to someone else.

5. Affirmations.

This might be the most important one to me. I mean, go crazy with these. Affirmations are writing down positive things that you repeat to yourself. For me, they also contain my craziest wildest dreams, pats on the back for being "an amazing" mom and wife and reminding myself of my talents. I love that I am forcing myself to say positive things about myself first thing in the morning that no one else has to hear. My whole day changes when the sun rises and my productivity and optimism go way up. I never knew how many discouraging, disheartening things I'd say inside my head until I forced myself to write affirmations. Do it. I cannot stress the importance of positive thinking enough. 

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Bonus ways to boost your soul:

Yoga. My little sister is now a certified yoga instructor and I couldn’t be more proud. Seeing her dive into yoga has made my heart burst with happiness and also embrace the importance of a good stretch and slowing down to feel your body move.
 

Dark chocolate. It really does help reduce stress and boost our endorphins because: antioxidants. But. Drinking 10 cups of hot chocolate a day is probs not the best thing for you. Take it from the expert. Just sayin'.  
 

Getting a professional massage. No explanation needed but ask for recommendations. 
 

Going to bed early. Honestly this has changed my life. I no longer try to work or be productive every night but just go to bed. It's as easy and as hard as that. 


Date night, party of one. But really you know what I LOVE doing but haven’t done by myself in forever? Getting lost in the cookbook section at my local bookstore. Like, I miss that. Recently I took some time to do just this and walked away feeling so inspired. (Thank you husband for watching our boy). 

Get spiritual. I don't know what you believe in, but trusting in God brings so much more peace to my soul than I could ever achieve by myself. I feel so different when I get on my knees and ask God for help or pour out my greatest dreams and struggles to Him.

Listening/ reading a good book + podcast. This practice saved me when I was going through postpartum depression. Plus I am obsessed with learning. So listening to good stuff really keeps me on my toes and sane. For me it's kinda like eating every day. If I'm not listening or learning something, I feel out of it.

Please feel free to share your favorite ways to show self love! I'd love to hear them. So much love to you. xo 

the big mistake all women make {and heartbreak cake}

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I feel like I’m not a very shy person when it comes to sharing ugly details so long as it's helpful so here we go.

Motherhood has been a beautiful but HARD adjustment for me. Even saying that out loud makes me feel like a boob because 1. I only have ONE beautiful, healthy dream baby (I’ve heard adjusting to more than one kid is even harder) and 2. I am in love with my baby more than anything (honestly obsessed, I tear-up every day because I love him so much) and 3. I freaking LOVE being a mother.

BUT.

I’ve learned that loving something fiercely is not the same thing as self love. 

I’ve completely let the role of mother (and blossoming business owner) take over my life. It may not seem like it to some, since laundry and timely dinners are a struggle but I, to put it bluntly, was not living a life where loving me was a priority.

Because isn’t that just too selfish? I can’t take time for myself now, I have a kid to raise and a business to launch! (And doesn't watching Netflix at night with my husband count?)

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And no. Watching Netflix doesn't count. 

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I can’t tell you how many times I have had loved ones say, “Maybe you should just focus on being a mom,”

when I’ve confessed being tired or frustrated or not finding balance between motherhood and branding. 

Which is funny because the thing I wish would have been said is, “When’s the last time you did anything for yourself?“

Or, “did you eat today yet?“

Or, “let’s talk about your big dreams.”

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I’ve struggled with self care for the past year and a half because launching a business / focusing on my blog has always been “for me” in my mind.

So anything else… quite literally anything else that remotely resembles self love was seen as something that was even MORE selfish because look at how much time you’re dedicating to your blog? You can’t take any more time for yourself. All of it needs to be either given to your kid or husband or your business. You don’t have time for lunch - you’ve got an email to write! You want to get stuff done right?!

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By the way - all of this is said from a blogging girl who hasn’t won any major awards (yet) or authored a cookbook (yet) or is wildly raking in millions of dollars a (yet). SHOOT I’m just trying to figure out what type of business I’d love to launch and serve my people with. (That's you, chime in any time. Lol) Plus I want to briefly plug in here that the whole shame and mom-guilt thing that comes from wanting to work but still wanting to be a mom - it is 100% real. This is a topic for another day, but I had to say that out loud.

Big dreams require a lot of hustle, and a lot of work behind the scenes and years of effort in order to become an “overnight success”. They also require a lot of failures, questions and "what the heck am I doings"?

Honestly I can’t remember the last time I got a professional massage, truly practiced yoga, or took a vacation. I know it hasn’t been too many years, but the fact that I can’t remember isn’t great. (And a true sign that I’m a mom, because our brains are so overloaded with remembering everyone else's stuff.)

As women, we inherently think that anything done for ourselves just for the heck of it is seen as selfish or honestly for me, I always find a way to pour money into everyone else but me. I mean, I’ll buy myself a cookbook or an ice cream cone and call it self love. 

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But we cannot pour from an empty cup.

So we’ve got to find meaningful ways to fill it.

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This may seem kinda counterintuitive to self love, but the big thing that is making me want to take care of myself more, is knowing that I will be able to love my people and my other people (that’s you, you’re my other people) way more.

Plus, I think I'm just super good at putting imaginary pressure on myself. And seeing as this isn't really working I'm ready for something new. You with me?

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This cake was meant for Valentines Day, but the fact that it’s late is kinda perfect. Because it’s not a cake just meant for V-day but a cake for you. It’s never to late to start loving yourself. Even if you think you already do love yourself (eh hem, like me, I totally thought I was fine in this area of self love, honestly). Start incorporating just one thing a day that boosts your soul. 

Just a reminder that you mama (kids or no kids) are so worth loving.

I have so much love for you. More on HOW to incorporate self love into our days, next post. xo

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heartbreak cake (or really good vanilla cake with barely salty raspberry butter cream and tangy cream cheese jam filling)

inspired (and some parts adapted) from the violet bakery book by claire ptak 

makes one 8x8" thick square cake, or 1 two-layer round, 8" cake (take care that the baking time will vary if you split the cake into two layers) | frosting makes about 3 1/2 cups | filling makes about 1 1/2 cups | serves 8-10 

This cake is so good it will break your heart. Lol! It's also so fun cut into a heart shape and then cut crookedly down the middle, creating a "broken heart" to serve. It's not too sweet, fun to eat and not too complicated to make. Don't be discouraged by the 3 recipes. I promise they're as easy as whipping something up. You may have to clean out your electric mixing bowl a few times but it's all super easy. xo

bakers notes: 1. To make raspberry puree I found the most success using frozen raspberries that had been completely thawed to room temperature and strained of all their juices. The puree should be a thickish paste-like texture with no pooling juice. See my pic for a reference. I also don’t strain the seeds from the mixture because #lifeistooshort and seeds are good for you so there. Nobody ever ever ever minds the texture of raspberry seeds because they’re so stinking small. Just in case you needed an extra push to not strain the mixture. ;) 2. I liked the additional salt here in the frosting, but if you’re not crazy about a slightly salted buttercream, don’t add the recommended salt. Do use salted butter for this frosting though, it helps cut through the sweetness and gives a good balance to the cake. Trust me. 3. I love salted butter for the cake here too and recommend it. The cake can be made one day ahead of time, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap kept at room temperature. 4. This cake is easily doubled and baked into a 9 x 13" pan. Which I did for these blog post pictures, but please note, this is entire recipe enough for one 8" cake.  ("Entire recipe" includes the cake, frosting and filling). 

for the cake:
½ cup / 125g salted butter
1 cup / 200g sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon medium grain kosher salt (or sea salt)
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons / 300g all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
⅔ cup / 160g whole milk

1 recipe raspberry buttercream (below)
1 recipe tangy cream cheese filling (below)

raspberry buttercream:
¼ cup / 2 ounces / 60g raspberry puree with seeds, room temperature (read bakers notes carefully about this)
3 ½ cups / 500g powdered sugar + 2 tablespoons
1 ½ cups / 380g salted butter, softened to room temperature
¼ - ½ teaspoon medium grain kosher salt, optional (see bakers notes)

tangy filing:
1 generous cup / 12 ounces / 246g cream cheese, softened to room temp
½ cup / 171g high quality raspberry jam
1-2 tablespoons meyer lemon juice (a regular lemon works just fine too and don’t stress about the size of the lemon)
zest of 1 meyer lemon (a regular lemon works just fine too, and don’t stress about the size of the lemon)
1 pint fresh black berries or raspberries or both, for filling and to decorate

for the cake:
Preheat oven to 300°F / 150°C and line an 8 x 8 inch cake pan with butter, flour and parchment. So butter the whole pan first, cut and lay the parchment just for the bottom of the tin, and then butter the parchment and dust it with flour, taking care that it is well coated, but shaking/tapping out any access flour.

Measure and whisk all dry ingredients together in a medium bowl: flour, baking powder and salt.

Beat softened butter and sugar together on a high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Mixture shouldn’t appear grainy at all.

Add vanilla, and eggs one at a time until totally incorporated. Scrape down the bowl a few times, making sure you scrape down the bottom too.

Alternately add your flour and milk, starting with the flour and ending with the flour. Try not to over mix it all, but mix until just all together. Scrape the bottom and the sides of the bowl a few times just to make sure there are no surprise pockets of flour.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-30 minutes (or a little more, or less time, it just depends on your oven) Cake should be slightly golden brown on top and spring back slightly when touched. Please note if you're using two 8" round cake tins for this your baking time will reduce. I'd check your cakes after 12-15 minutes. 

Let cake cool completely in the pan before taking it out.

for the frosting: (tip! make the frosting while the cake is baking, also if you don’t have a pastry bag, a zip lock bag with one corner cut, works well too. Just make sure you fill the bag before cutting the corner! ;)


In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment whip softened butter + *salt with the powdered sugar for 3 minutes. The mixture should be light and fluffy and beautiful. Don’t get too attached, it will deflate slightly when we add the puree. (*See my baker’s not about salt).

While butter + sugar beat together strain raspberries from their juices using a fine mesh strainer and a medium bowl. Let the juices drip into the bowl and stir and press them a bit so the juices really all drip out. Transfer strained raspberry mush into a big bowl (leave the juices in the other bowl be and save them for something else, we won’t need them anymore for this cake) and either puree with an immersion blender or smash vigorously with the back of a wooden spoon. Raspberries should be pulverized and blended into a paste-like state.

note: It is crucial that your berries are not cold here or else your butter will curdle when you add them to the frosting. Berry puree should be room temperature.

Add puree to frosting mixture and 2 tablespoons powdered sugar. Beat for about 1-2 minutes or until combined and still slightly fluffy. Frosting will be a tiny bit “airy” in appearance and not completely smooth. This is totally okay. It’s the seeds.

for the filling:
Whip softened cream cheese with jam, zest and lemon juice for about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Scoop filling into a pastry bag and pop it in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes to firm up just a little bit.

Scatter your fresh berries on a paper towel to make sure they are dry and to pick out any bad ones.

to assemble:
Cut the cooled cake in half "sandwich style" using serrated knife and a lot of care. We're creating two layers here. Place the two halves on top of each other again. Cut out a heart shape using parchment paper and use this as a guide for turning your square cake into a heart shape. I find that a small paring knife works best for this.

Place your heart shaped layers side by side. Next fill one side the cake with the cream cheese filling (a piping bag/ zip lock bag works really well for this) taking a care to leave a tiny space around the edges. Place the black berries on top of the cream cheese filling. Next, pipe a layer of raspberry buttercream on top of the other layer of cake. Place the two filled sides together, placing the buttercream side on top of the berry-filled side. Try not to mush it, but make sure the layers are firmly placed and not wobbly. Frost the cake with the rest of the butter cream.

Top with berries and cut it into a broken heart when serving if you fancy. Keep cake tightly wrapped for up to 3-5 days in the fridge. It’s best served the day it’s made.

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alison roman's salted butter chocolate chunk shortbread cookies or the cookie that broke the internet

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I know it’s not realistic to consider someone your friend if you’ve never met them before but I consider Alison Roman, my new friend.

Me and about 1 million other people, give or take.

If you’ve been on instagram lately or the internet, you’ve probably seen her salted butter chocolate chunk shortbread cookies floating around and taking over everyone’s once-love for chocolate chip cookies.

In fact Alison believes in these cookies so much she actually titled the recipe “Salted Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies or Why Would I Ever Make Another Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever Again?” (Can I just side note real quick and say this lady is 100% percent my style with the titles. Yes please and thank you. And amen.)

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Anything that’s claiming to be better than a chocolate chip cookie completely has my attention.

And skepticism.

I have to admit I went into making them a critic and came out a believer.

Like a true believer.

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As in I’ve vowed to only bake these short bread cookies on the weekend now because I cannot stop myself from having just one. I think it’s the combo of the crunch from the outside coarse sugar and the salted butter. The use of salted butter is all funny and full circle to me because my great grandmothers chocolate chip cookies, and my grandmothers cookies and my mothers cookies ALL religiously use salted butter in their baking and never unsalted. Like I grew up not even knowing about unsalted butter. So when Alison calls for salted butter and pardons the convenience, I couldn’t help but think, homegirlfriend, I 100% get you.

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So yes, they live up to the hype and in real friend fashion, I both hate and love Alison for them.

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While this cookie is has absolutely no flaws, I will say this -  I do not want to eat these warm smothered in vanilla bean ice cream. There is a proper melty goo that comes from a true chocolate chip cookie and these lack that gooey interior and crispy outsides. So. Chocolate chip cookies still hold a very valuable place in my book, but this shortbread cookie is pretty wow. 

I also just realized that maybe that’s the point of cookbooks and food and food blogs and instagram - it’s having this incredible circle of friends even though we’ve never met.

Which leads me to you and me and us and us being here right now. Thank you for being my friend even though we may have never met.

Doesn’t matter right? 

xoxo

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salted butter and chocolate chunk shortbread 

adapted from alison roman | dining in

I’m embarrassingly obsessed with these but they will never replace a chocolate chip cookie to me (I say that as I'm onto making my like 20th batch) - if I’m forced to complain about something that has to do with this cookie I will complain about the fact that I have to brush egg wash over my dough log before it’s baked thus “forcing” me to cut, sprinkle and bake more than just 1 or 2 cookies like I normally would when the craving hits. These are as wildly addicting as they are simple. You've been warned. 

bakers note: I just echo Alison in saying you can use ¾-1 scant teaspoon of salt (I use medium grain kosher salt) added to the flour if you don’t have salted butter on hand. But really, you should try the salted butter, it makes a big difference and lends to the salty-weirdly savory factor of this cookie.

more notes: If you want a chewier shortbread, switch the ratio of brown sugar to regular sugar here. I did this on accident once and I actually liked it - the texture is a tiny nod to a traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe. But, if you'd like the stick to Alison's original recipe, use 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup light brown sugar suggested here. Also note her original recipe only calls for 6 ounces of chocolate and I increase it to 8 ounces. 

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 ¼ sticks) / 255g salted butter, cold and cut into ½ inch pieces
¼ cup / 55g light brown sugar, packed
½ cup / 100g sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ¼ cup / 281g unbleached all purpose flour
6 - 8 ounces / 175 - 225g semisweet or bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped (see resources. I like using 8 ounces of chocolate)
1 egg, beaten
turbinado or demerara or “raw” coarse sugar for sprinkling
good flaky sea salt for sprinkling (see resources)

In an electric mixer beat butter and sugars together until fluffy and sugar looks blended - about 3-5 minutes.

Next add vanilla. Scrape the bowl down once or twice.

13. on a cookie sheet | chocolate chunk shortbread.jpg

Next, stop your mixer and add flour, then mix until just combined. You may have to give it a couple of “pulses" first to prevent a flour facial. You don’t want to over mix this. Scrape the bottom of the bowl. 

Add chopped chocolate. Mix the chocolate in with your mixer a little and then feel free to turn out your dough on a clean surface to make sure the chocolate is well combined.

Divide the dough in half and put each lump of dough on a clean film of plastic wrap or cling. Using the plastic wrap gently (but firmly) roll and lightly smoosh your dough together to form a long dough log. Perfection is not the goal, so don't obsess. You should have two logs. Logs should be about 2 ¼ inches in diameter. (Sometimes mine are not this size and they still work out great.)

Chill each dough log until firm - or for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Unwrap the dough logs on a clean cutting board (preferably a cutting board that’s never seen an onion before or else your cookies are gonna taste like onion) and brush the outside with egg wash and then sprinkle + roll liberally (like really liberally) with the coarse sugar.

Cut the logs into cookies that are about ½ inch wide (a littler thicker is okay and a little thinner is okay) place them on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with flaky salt.

Bake cookies for about 12-15 minutes. Edges should be golden brown and middles should be pale-ish. You may have to flip cookie sheet to get even browning about the last 3 minutes of baking.

Cookies keep for 3-5 days in an air tight container (or a zip lock bag, lets be honest). I think they're best eaten the day they're baked and these rock warm.

21. plate of cookies 3 | chocolate chunk shortbread.jpg

resources:

I loved using guittard chocolate and valrhona chocolate for these cookies.

Since there are so few ingredients in this cookie, now is the time to splurge and buy the fancy butter you've always wanted to try. Go for a european butter or high-quality grass-fed butter, you’ll taste a difference.

I love and use Maldon Salt for finishing my dishes. 

If you are looking for a great classic, but not too sweet chocolate chip cookie recipe I have like, 50 for you right here on Sweetish.co

Kidding, but it feels like it. I LOVE a good chocolate chip cookie. Some recipes mentioned below: 

Melt + mix style chocolate chip cookie from the amazing Tara of Seven Spoons.


Classic gooey in the middle and crispy on the edges chocolate chip cookie from the brilliant Ashley from Not Without Salt.

A great thin, buttery cookie ideal for ice cream sandwiches and the kinda-health conscious. Oat + spelt flour chocolate chip cookies Anna Jones.(These are addicting).

My signature 2-flour chocolate chip cookie with amazing texture and loaded with chocolate candies and flaky sea salt on top - I call it: the happiest chocolate chip cookie.

Someday I will share my great grandmothers famous chocolate chip cookie recipe.... but I'm not so secretly waiting to put that in my first cookbook. ;)  

 

 

really good and tangy grapefruit + meyer lemon cake and anthropologie workshop

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I remember watching Nigella Lawson on television once (or maybe I read this in one of her books?) and she said her main talent in life, was that she was an incredible eater.

Total light bulb moment right now but um, hello. I kinda suck at eating.

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Do you? Or are you totally good at this? Do you eat good food all the time?

ANYWAY, I’m trying to get better about this. About meal prepping and cooking at home and not just hunkering down to bake a cake but make actual real savory food - which I am quite good at doing by the way - making real food - I just think I got out of the habit of doing it ever since my baby boy was born.

So, new year, new me I say! Food! Here we come. (I have some really good savory “real food” recipes for you mentioned in my resources.)

So naturally to celebrate my new goal I made a cake. :D

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This cake is worth it. It requires too many eggs (six), but the eggs are necessary and the zest and pulp of the citrus are magical and the glaze is not to be skipped.

Lemon and tart dessert lovers. This is for you.

Please, thank you and you’re welcome.

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OH WAIT ONE MORE THING.

My next Anthropologie workshop is here and it totally has to do with real food and feeding ourselves. 

Anthropologie wanted me to do a health-focused workshop for January (because new year, new you,) and they really wanted lunch in a jar, SO! I am delivering.

This is my last Anthropologie workshop until April, so come! We’ll snack on good-for-you-goodies (made by yours truly) and talk about tips on how to make healthy food more accessible and what we really should be eating as woman.

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It’s gonna be awesome and I’m super excited about it and WOULD LOVE NOTHING MORE THAN TO SEE YOU.

COME!

You can sign up here.

Okay huge hug. *casually whispers but really, please come it's gonna be awesome!*  xo

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really good and tangy grapefruit + meyer lemon bundt cake

makes one 10" bundt cake, (serves about 10) recipe adapted from Yossy Arefi, Sweeter Off the Vine

My tart dessert lovers. We all know there is nothing sadder than biting into a lemon-y dessert only to have it taste too sweet accompanied by the slightest hint of lemon. Or worse yet, we just see the presence of citrus (lemon zest, is that you?) but trying to find it’s zing is like a treasure hunt. This cake hits you in the mouth with its tang. It's everything you've ever wanted in a simple bundt cake. 

bakers note: I had issues with the cake baking all the way. I should have rotated the bundt pan about half way through baking and that would have insured an even bake. So, I suggest you do the same unless your oven is better than mine. (It’s not, do it) Also, make sure your ingredients are room temperature, don't skip the glaze and make sure you use meyer lemons and not just regular lemons. 

1 medium grapefruit, zest + pulp
2 medium meyer lemons, zest + pulp
3 cups / 600g sugar
3 cups / 375g all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon medium grain kosher salt
1 cup / 225g unsalted butter, softened
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature

glaze
2 medium meyer lemons, zest and juice from both
3 cups / 360g powdered / confectioners sugar
pinch of salt

Pre-heat oven to 325°F / 160°C and make sure there’s room for the cake on the middle rack. Butter and flour a 10-inch bundt pan, taking care to grease all the nooks and crannies.

for the cake:
Wash grapefruit and lemons with warm soapy water to remove any wax and then dry thoroughly with a towel. Set aside.

Measure sugar into a bowl.

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Zest both fruits right into the measured sugar. Mix zest with sugar to release zest oils (This smells amaze btw).

Beat zest-ed sugar with butter in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5-8 minutes. Mixture should not appear grainy at all. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl once or twice during the process.

While butter + sugar is beating, supreme your grapefruits and lemons. (Supreme means to cut away all the outer skin, white pith and thinner skin from around the fruit. Honestly this is the most complicated part about making this cake but you’ve got this. Turn on some good music and go!) To supreme: with thick skins intact, cut the top and bottom of the fruit, then cut the skin away, taking the white pith along with it. Carefully cut the fruit away from the thinner inner skin. Try to capture all the fruit and juice into a bowl. Set this juicy fruit aside.

Add eggs one at a time to butter + sugar mixture until incorporated. Scrape the bowl once or twice during the process.

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Add sour cream and mix until incorporated.

Measure all your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt) in a medium sized bowl and sift with a whisk.

Add dry ingredients to your mixer, and mix until just together, scraping the bowl once or twice.

Add supreme-d fruit, and gently fold with a spatula.

Bake cake at 325°F / 180°C for 65-75 minutes or until top is golden brown, and toothpick comes out clean. I had to rotate my cake half way through to ensure even baking.

While cake bakes make the glaze.

When cake is done, let it cool on a cooling rack inside the tin until it’s still warm, but not hot. Then poke some holes into the top of the cake, and pour ½ the glaze onto the cake, letting the warm cake soak up the glaze. Let it soak up for about 20 minutes.

Once cake has completely cooled, dump it carefully out onto a serving dish and pour the rest of the glaze on top.

Serve with fresh whipped cream for a special occasion, if desired. 

to store: Store left over cake in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature and up to 7 days in the fridge.

Cake tastes best the first 3 days it’s made.

for the glaze:
Juice and zest lemons, putting the zest and juice in separate bowls. Add zest, powdered sugar and a pinch of salt to the bowl. Add juice slowly and not all at once. Glaze should be pourable but some what thick so it doesn’t completely run off the cake. I used all of the juice from both lemons but you may need a little more or a little less. Let the glaze sit for a few minutes before pouring on the cake.

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Resources: 

  • Lemons and grapefruit for this cake came from imperfect produce. A discounted produce box delivery service. To get 20% off your first box, use the code SWEETISH at checkout. Delivery restrictions apply.

Some of my favorite real food savory recipes for you: 

my hot chocolate {crazy easy and gluten-free}

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I'm sharing one of my favorite things in the world with you today. This is the food I turn to the most when I need something. I turn it frozen in the summer, but even then, I've been known to sip a hot cup of chocolate even when it's blazing outside. I love hot chocolate so much that when John and I were completing a funny "get to know you quiz" on one of our date nights recently, he answered "hot chocolate" when asked what my favorite food is. 

I laughed out loud and said, "I guess it IS! I mean I "eat" hot chocolate more than anything else huh?"  

......It's actually kind of embarrassing now that I think about it. 

11. new explain cocoa | hot chocolate.jpg

My mother raised us on on a version of the hot chocolate you're about to have here, but my first true hot chocolate or chocolat chaud, was experienced in London. Picture a 19 year old girl with messy hair, boundless optimism and mitten-covered hands holding a tiny tiny mug filled with heaven: liquid dark chocolate. I could only take tiny sips at a time. Even me, the true chocoholic was grateful for the tiny portion that mug held because it was so rich. 

This hot chocolate is a lessened version of that hot chocolate experienced in London, but without compromise... it's just rich enough.

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Anyway, I know time seems to disappear this time of year, so I'll be short, but know that in a world where I feel people don't read or bake much any more - I am really grateful that you read here, bake here and are a part of Sweetish. I've always felt that by starting this site I am going against status quo here to prove that we still read, we still bake and we still want to drink chocolate.

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You are my people. 

Sending a huge hug to you my friends. I hope that when you think of this space and baking, you think of hot chocolate, because it really is the happiest food and I so hope this is a happy place for you to come to.  Hope you had a very Happy Christmas.

More to come. xo 

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my hot chocolate 

serves 1 (makes one cup of hot chocolate) 

Most hot chocolate I try at bakeries or cafes (and don't even mention Starbucks) is SO overly sweet and gross I can't drink it. Is there such a thing as a hot chocolate doctor? Because I'm up for the job. Anyway, this recipe for hot chocolate is so embarrassingly easy I feel like it's cheating to even mention it, but to me, the secret to getting the right cup of cocoa is all about the ratio of chocolate to milk. Good hot chocolate isn't hard to do, so join me in the #goodhotchocolate movement and make yourself a cup that tastes how it's supposed to taste. Cheers!  

bakers notes: to make it vegan/dairy-free replace whole milk with almond milk. See more about this in my notes below. 

1 cup whole milk or almond milk (or any milk of your choice, if using a plant-based milk you may want to add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar) 

5-6 tablespoons dark (72% cocoa) or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (1/3 cup chopped chocolate = 5 tablespoons, the darker the chocolate the better in my opinion)

1/2 tablespoon hot water 

pinch of espresso powder or tiny splash of vanilla

tiniest pinch of medium-grain kosher salt (I usually forget this, but it is so good.) 

 

Chop chocolate.

Heat milk over low-medium heat in a heavy bottomed sauce pan until it reaches barely a simmer. The edges of the pan should be bubbly, but the whole pot of milk shouldn't be boiling. Add water. 

Add chocolate. Let chocolate sit in hot milk for a minute before whisking. 

Whisk in optional add-ins, and whisk chocolate and milk together until combined, do this while leaving the heat on. 

Pour into heated mugs (see notes below) and top with marshmallow or fresh whipped cream. xo

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whipped cream:

Whip cream with sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer until soft peaks form and spoon on top of hot chocolate.  

1 cup / 235ml heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons / 28g sugar

½ - 1 teaspoon vanilla powder, paste or extract

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bakers tips: 

  • Before pouring your cocoa in your mugs, fill your mugs with really, really, really hot water and let the water sit in there for a minute or two and then pour it out. This gets our mugs nice and warm so that when we pour the cocoa in there, it wont immediately get cold. 
  • To make it vegan: Whole grass-fed cows milk really is my favorite for making this cocoa, but I understand not wanting to drink dairy (for many reasons) so almond milk is a close second favorite for me if you need to go dairy free. If you do use almond milk, you may want to add a tablespoon of brown sugar to sweeten it up a bit. I actually love that the almond milk makes this cocoa even more bittersweet, but it may be too bitter for your tastes buds, so adding extra sugar is totally okay because I said so. :D 
  • Try to buy the best quality chocolate you can afford, and try while you're at it to buy a chocolate bar - or at least chocolate that doesn't have stabilizers in it. 

resources: 

Milk: This is my favorite whole milk ever - Maple Hill Creamery

Espresso powder: I love and use this espresso powder.  

Vanilla: I love and use vanilla extract.  

Mugs: These aren't pictured, but favorite mugs from Herriot Grace and Farm House Pottery

Marshmallows: I used these peppermint marshmallows

heirloom recipe: grandma's dinner rolls {a good bread to make if you've only made bread a few times before}

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I love spicy people. The people who are sassy, flamboyant and unapologetic. Sometimes I'm spicy. Sometimes I'm not. I think we all have spice in us but you know what I'm talking about - there are those that are just loud, or just do things their own way and don't care what anyone thinks of them. Their confidence is contagious. 

 first rise aka after the first proof

first rise aka after the first proof

 folding down the first proof

folding down the first proof

My grandmother is one of those "always spicy" people. For example she used to fling these rolls across the table at us as soon as they came out of the oven. So like, picture us, all of us sitting down to a noisy but still beautifully set dinner at a grand dining room table with a crystal chandelier above our heads and then here's grandma coming in from the kitchen after the start of the meal yelling, "WHO WANTS A HOT ROLL?!" and then she'd throw them to raised hands. 

 getting ready to knead for 30 seconds

getting ready to knead for 30 seconds

And I'm not kidding those things were so hot we had to drop them as soon as we caught them.

Those big dinners don't happen anymore. Grandma doesn't make these rolls anymore. I hate change sometimes. 

 kneading

kneading

ANYWAY, not to be all sad on ya, but these rolls ignite awesome memories: flying rolls, dodging rolls, grandpa asking for the boysenberry jam. The little kids stealing rolls off of the adults plates. Opening the roll and having visible steam escape. Asking people to pass the butter for the 100th millionth time until you just had to get up out of your seat and grab it yourself. Stashing rolls to be saved for tomorrow. 

The rolls were endless. Seriously grandma always made SO MANY rolls that we never had to worry that we wouldn't get our fill.

And I never appreciated how much work went into making them until I had a go at it. 

 folding over to knead

folding over to knead

 dough balls formed

dough balls formed

I made these rolls for my grandmother recently and she kindly said they were better than hers. They weren't. There's still a few tweaks and secrets I'm trying to master but I'm close. I've tried to soak up all I can from her when it comes to learning how to make these babies because I so badly want to be like her and have my family look forward to these when they come over for dinner. She seriously made them so perfectly. 

 painting melted butter on after baking, optional!

painting melted butter on after baking, optional!

This recipe has been passed on forever and I'm gonna continue that tradition.

I always think of my great grandmother Eva and great great grandmother Olive when I start  kneading the dough.  I feel proud to come from an amazing line of strong, baking, Danish women. Fun fact: I almost named my blog Olive and Eva and/or Danish but settled on Sweetish instead. I can't tell you how many times I go back and forth wondering if I made the right choice. Names are HARD! 

Anyway I'm so happy to share these rolls with you here. Make them whenever - but if you can - try to throw at least one across the table to someone you love. They really are so much better that way.

And Grandma would be proud. xo 

 the second proof could have been longer, but they were still great 

the second proof could have been longer, but they were still great 

 

grandma's dinner rolls

yields about 4 dozen rolls  | Robyn Holland | Sweetish.co 

Once baked, I absolutely adore serving these with soft salted butter and boysenberry jam - my late grandpa’s favorite way to eat them. Also please read the notes and recipe ALL the way through before attempting to make these. I'm here for you. xo

bakers note: Make sure the melted butter you paint on your rolls right before they go into the oven is COOL. If you paint hot butter on the rolls they will deflate, and it will be a very very sad moment. I used parchment paper this time to bake my rolls and I wasn't thrilled with the outcome because it made the bottoms of the rolls soft. My grandma always made these rolls by putting them directly on a buttered sheet pan to get the bottoms of the rolls more sturdy and I really love them that way. Some people preferred the parchment paper method yielding the soft bottoms, but me, I prefer a slightly tougher bottom. 

1 cup / 2 sticks / 227g organic, unsalted butter, softened (plus a few tablespoons more for buttering your rising bowl and hands when forming the rolls)
¾ cup / 150g sugar
2 teaspoons medium- grainkosher salt
1 cup / 250ml boiling water
2 packages of dry yeast (or 4 ½ teaspoons)
½ cup / 125ml lukewarm water (lukewarm water should be very hard to “feel”, it should feel close to the temperature of your body.)
4 large, organic eggs, lightly beaten
7 ½ cups / 938g organic, all-purpose four (see note)
2 tablespoons dry, non-fat milk powder (optional, but awesome)
1 cup / 250ml cold water 

melted butter for painting on baked rolls + fine sea salt for sprinkling, both optional 


In an electric mixer, cream together the butte and sugar until fluffy and combined. About 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the cup of boiling water to the butter + sugar + salt mixture and watch your fluffy butter mixture melt down. Don’t panic, that’s supposed to happen. Let it sit for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir yeast into lukewarm water until slightly incorporated. The yeast won’t disappear completely, but will look wet and slightly bubbly. If your yeast doesn't bubble, you either added water that was too hot or your yeast is old. Try it again, because you really do need fresh yeast for this. 

tip! Measure your flour into a separate bowl, using the “scoop and spoon” method. Meaning, scoop your four and “spoon” it into your measuring cup, don’t use your actual measuring cup as vehicle for scooping up your flour. Does that make sense? Really, if you want the most accurate measurements weigh your flour (and all of your ingredients)! 


Add lukewarm water + yeast mixture into slightly cooled butter + water
mixture.

Mix slightly and slowly.

Add lightly beaten eggs.

NOTE: You can change your electric mixer fixture to the “dough hook”
at this point, but the regular “spatula” mixer fixture works great, and is
usually the route I take.


Add salt.

Add flour, and cold water slowly, a cup at a time, alternating the flour and the cold water. Add the water and flour while the mixture is slowly mixing - about 1/4 to 1/2 a cup at a time. 

Mix until a large dough ball forms - don't over mix it. The dough should just come together. NOTE: If this is too much dough for a little mixer to handle, take the dough out and knead in the rest of the flour in by hand.

Dough will be slightly sticky. If your mixer can handle this much dough, take the dough ball out and knead it a couple times through (no more than 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until dough comes together and is no longer wet, but just slightly sticky) folding and pressing down on a floured surface.

FIRST PROOF:

Put dough ball into a very large, buttered bowl. If you’re making the rolls for the day-of, cover with a clean cloth or dishtowel and set in a cozy place free from a draft until dough doubles in size (anywhere from 2 to 4 hours). OR if you’d like to make rolls for the next day, this dough works beautifully covered in a buttered, very large, air-tight container left in the refrigerator overnight OR for as long as 2 days.

SECOND PROOF:

Once dough has risen, knead it a few more times (no more than 30 seconds to 1 minute) on a clean floured surface. Dough should appear smooth.

Preheat oven to 350° F / 180° C. Line 4 to 5 baking sheets with parchment paper or grease your baking sheets directly with softened butter. See note at the beginning of the recipe about soft vs. crispy bottoms. 

 Butter your hands with softened butter and form dough balls. You form the balls by almost folding the dough over itself. It’s kind of like kneading each individual little dough ball to form a smooth roll. You turn the dough inside out and inside out about 2-3 times until you get a perfect little ball. 

NOTE: If this ball forming method is too stressful, roll the dough out on a floured surface with a rolling pin, until the dough reaches ¼” in thickness. Brush dough with melted butter and cut with a round cookie cutter and fold in half. Place the rolls on the parchment lined cookie sheets, spacing them 1 to 2 inches apart, keeping in mind that they almost double in size when rising for a second time.

Allow to rise for at least 2 hours. (3-4 hours seems to be the sweet spot for me).

Brush risen dough balls with cooled (make sure the butter is cool my friend, see bakers note above) melted butter right before placing them in the oven. This will help them brown. 

Bake at 350° F / 180° C for 10 to 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Brush more melted butter on top with a tiny sprinkle of fine fine sea salt.

Serve rolls almost immediately, warm with butter and jam. Serving them thrown, is encouraged. 

I painted my rolls with melted butter and tiny sprinkle of salt right after they came out of the oven. 

12 rolls finished | grandmas rolls_.jpg

 

more bakers notes: 

  • This recipe, while super simple, does require different measurements of water held at obnoxiously different temperatures. That sounds a bit more tricky than it really is, and I’ve wondered if all of the various temperatures are really worth it here, but man, great grandma must know what she’s talking about because these babies turn out perfect every time, obnoxious water temperatures and all.
  • The second proof is key here in getting the rolls the right texture. (The second proof is the time the rolls rise for the second time when they're in their little dough ball form.) I was running out of time so I rushed the process a little bit here. I would say allow yourself at least 3-4 hours for the second proof. 
  • Very soft, room temperature butter really makes a difference here too for greasing your hands when you form the little dough balls. Don't skip this  
  • My secret ingredient is dry non-fat milk powder. It may seem like it doesn’t do much, but to me, it yields a more tender roll. Totally totally optional though. Grandma didn't use this. 
1 rolls side view | grandmas rolls_.jpg

 

resources:

To me, a good organic, all-purpose four is a MUST here. I’m a big fan of Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose four and King Arthur flour. OR if you find a good local, unbleached all purpose flour please use that!! :D 

The beautiful stainless steel pot holding the melted butter is by: Made in Cookware. They're beautiful American-made brand that's affordable. I'm a little bit obsessed with mine and use it almost every day.  For my exact pan click here.  When shopping for these please go for the stainless steel pots as they really are better for us - not only to cook in but for our health as well. 

the happiest chocolate chip cookie.

8 better final | m+m cookie_.jpg

By the time you'll be reading this it will be my birthday.

There are some of us that aren't into birthdays but me, I dunno, I'm super into them. I'm that girl who tells her doctor as she's cutting a mole off my back (TMI?) that "it's my birthday tomorrow" when we've just casually chatted about Christmas shopping. 

2 dough in bowl | m+m cookie_.jpg

Last birthday I was super depressed. I won't go into too many details because depression is sad, but I will tell you this: I wasn't myself. I kept telling myself that it was okay that I wasn't "me" at that moment - I was a very sad version of myself and I had to get help and fight through it. I talked to myself the same way I'd talk to a best friend and holy hell, I really fought to be happy. I had to act the way I wanted to feel so much of the time - and for me, for a girl who's super blunt and transparent, that was REALLY HARD. I took walks outside, made conversation with random strangers at the grocery store (and visited the grocery store several times a day just to be out in public), called friends, listened to books and podcasts. I danced with my Myles in the grocery store isles and he danced with me. I bought marshmallows and chocolate and lit citrus scented candles. I never watched t.v. (still don't). I also worked as hard as I could on this blog even though I was a zombie and we were mega struggling financially. (Keeping a blog up is expensive yo!) 

12 diff scoop out dough | m+m cookie_.jpg

I'm really proud of that girl - that girl who overcame postpartum depression, moved far away and had a baby all at the same time. I'm not so proud of the amount of tears I cried or how many times I crumbled onto the floor sobbing for absolutely no reason, but I'm stronger and better for it. I have such empathy for heartache, because depression is like carrying a million, heavy broken hearts in your very soul all the time and it's exhausting. That feeling is still fresh and I know it very well. 

I turn 33 this year. Thirty freaking three. A part of me is wishing I could still be 25 because time is going by too fast, but then another part of me is so grateful I'm here, mainly because the older I get, the more I seem to count my blessings. 

If there's anything I've learned this past year (because birthdays kind of inspire personal reflection right?) it is to trust God.

9 candy on dough | m+m cookie_.jpg

Faith isn't really something we prove on the internet or really even talk about but let me tell you, even if everything in your life completely sucks butt and you feel like you are weighed down with heavy sand-bags of despair, you are NOT alone. (And trust me, I know alone.) God has got you. 

I've wrestled with God a lot this past year and told Him how angry I was that we felt so right about accepting a job out of state and moving far away when it all seemed to go wrong. The whole experience literally felt like gut punch after gut punch. I'm not saying there were no happy times or good memories or friends made because there most certainly were, and we're so grateful for them, but we walked into that risk expecting an entirely different outcome. Especially when we were led by our intuition and answers to prayers. 

7 dough being wrapped | m+m cookie_.jpg

But here's the thing - all of that - ALL of it has changed me and John forever in the best way. Details I don't want to get into today, but please trust me when I say this: God really does have your back. Even though the outcome of our experience was not what I expected, I am so much better this year than I was the last.

You know how phoenix's get old and crotchety and then they suddenly (when they're too old and tired to go on) burst into flames and from the ashes are re-born fresh and new? Enter ME and this past year. I feel like a lil' baby phoenix. (My fellow Harry Potter fans you may get this analogy a little better.)

Maybe all of this was too heavy to put on my site, but whatever. I can do what I want today because it's my birthday.

Here's to another year, but for reals this time, way wiser. 

Hugs to you. xo 

6 close up | m+m cookie_.jpg

 

the happiest chocolate chip cookie 

yields 2-3 dozen cookies depending on the size you make your dough balls | Robyn Holland | Sweetish.co

This used to be my cookie to top all other chocolate chip cookies but this recipe has been sitting on the shelf for a while so I'm happy to bring it back. I think the use of dark sugar is a game changer here, but light brown sugar will still work. I highly recommend pressing little colorful candies (see resources) into the tops of your cookies too, it's just fun and makes everyone excited to eat them. Also, I added a sprinkle of sea salt on top because I can't seem to make a chocolate chip cookie without it these days. This cookie is literally all I want for my birthday dessert....with maybe a scoop of ice cream or milk. (Yes, I love me a glass of good organic milk with a cookie, don't you?) xo 

bakers note: Don't skip the "chill your dough" part and make sure you space your cookies far enough apart to they have room to bake. These cookies spread. 

special equipment: electric mixer, cookie sheets / sheet pans, parchment paper

2 cups / 220g cake flour

1 ⅔  cup / 188g bread flour

1 ¼ tsp. baking soda

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

1 ½ tsp. medium-grain kosher salt 

2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups; 10 oz.) unsalted butter, softened

1 ¼ cups (10 oz.) / 248g dark brown sugar (you can use light if you want, i prefer dark)

1 cup / 200g sugar

2 large eggs, preferably pasture raised

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 ¼ pounds large bittersweet chocolate chips or chocolate bars cut into chunks - at least 60% cacao or higher

colored chocolate candies (see resources for ideas)

Good flakey sea salt for garnish, (like Maldon Salt) optional

 

for the dough:

preheat oven to 360° F / 182° C. get a cookie sheet and line it with parchment paper. don't even think about greasing it. parchment paper or bust.

combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. whisk together and then set aside.

beat butter and both sugars on a medium-high speed in an electric mixer until the sugar combines with the butter. it should look very fluffy. beat for about 5 - 7 minutes.

add eggs, one at a time. adding the other only after the first as been incorporated.

add vanilla.

slowly scoop the dry ingredients (aka the flour mixture) into the butter + sugar mixture. mix on a medium slow speed until combined. scape the bowl down once or twice to make sure everything is incorporated.

add chocolate chunks and mix until just combined.

you can refrigerate the dough at this point for as little as an hour up to over night. wrap dough in parchment paper and then put into a sealable bag for extra freshness. the refrigeration of the dough allows a more carmel-y flavor. i hardly have patience to refrigerate dough. so i usually skip this step, and use the dark brown sugar instead. the dark brown sugar achieves that deep rich carmel flavor that the refrigeration does. even if you do use dark brown sugar, and still choose to refrigerate your dough, you cannot go wrong. dark brown sugar is a must to me.

to bake:

make little dough balls weighing anywhere from 3 -3.5 ounces (about a little palm full). i can usually get nine cookies on one sheet. press little candies into the tops of the dough.

bake for 12-15 minutes in 360° F / 182° C oven, switching the cookies about half way through the bake time. if using refrigerated, cold dough, they might need a few more minutes, until the edges are golden brown, and the center of the cookie looks pale and slightly doughy. you WANT to under-bake these babies. over baking them is a crime. ;)

 go spread the love and happy eating.

resources: 

UnReal candies are great here, but I used little m+m-like (or smarties-like) candies from Trader Joe's - find them here. The UnReal candies was a suggestion made to me by French Pressed Kitchen via instagram. I don't know why I didn't think of these at first because I LOVE UnReal candies so much - John brings me home candy of theirs on the regular (that's what love is) - so I'm totally trying this next time! xo

 

Two amazing companies just had a baby: Madewell + Milk Bar {GIVEAWAY closed}

me with cookie shirt and scarf.JPG

Win this! 

Cookie shirt + scarf and blueberry cookie mix

This collaboration is what my dreams are made of: Madewell + Milk Bar Bakery.

You wanna know something? I've never even been to Milk Bar yet, but I've had my eye on them for years. Christina Tossi (the founder and creator of Milk) is one of my baking heroes and SUCH an example of a boss lady. She's creative and fun and not afraid to push boundaries. SHE CAME UP WITH THE NAKED CAKE TREND PEOPLE. I mean, she's big. Someday, I hope we hug. 

Madewell is one of my all time favorite clothing companies. Their aesthetic is feminine tomboy - they make jeans and an oversized t-shirt look good and can pair tennis shoes with anything (like skirts and dresses) and you're like, YES! That works! (Confession: I am not a shoe person. I love comfortable shoes. I am such a grandma in this regard but please love me anyway.) 

So when these two got together it was all over. I mean, hello. 

SO! We've teamed up to give YOU some of this goodness.

 image from MADEWELL.com

image from MADEWELL.com

WIN: the cutest limited edition cookie t-shirt, scarf and blue(berry) jeans cookie mix of your own! (The cookie mix is crazy good you guys - and the t-shirt is soft + adorable and the scarf is my new favorite thing.) 

HOW: Leave a comment below and tell me your favorite holiday dessert (and/or cookie) and you'll be entered to win the cookie t-shirt, scarf and cray-good blueberry cookie mix. (Go enter on my instagram @sweetish.co too and tag a friend!) 

Contest open to US and Canadian residents only, winner will chosen on my birthday December 13th by midnight PST. Winner will be notified by email/and or through DM on instagram. No purchase necessary. 

BONUS: If you enter HERE, on my site, you get 10 EXTRA entries as opposed to someone leaving a comment on instagram. 

I love you and GOOD LUCK! xoxoxo

*Giveaway is closed and the winner has been notified* 

View the entire collaboration HERE

cookie bw.jpg

Great classic sugar cookie {buttery, not too sweet and they hold their shape} + Royal Frosting

7 clouds on cookie sheet | sugar cookies_.jpg

When I think of sugar cookies I think of my brothers sticking a million toothpicks into one cookie with very choice red frosting all over for "blood". I also think of them snatching my cookies and biting the head off of my gingerbread men.... and me squirting frosting all over their creations in revenge. 

We don’t do that anymore.

The decorating cookies thing. 

dough unwrapped | sugar cookies_.jpg
rolling out dough | sugar cookies_.jpg
11 cut dough | sugar cookies_.jpg

Honestly sometimes I get sad around the holidays because I think of how things have changed so much.  I miss those mornings with everyone in their matching pajamas and the smell of baked oatmeal in the oven. I miss my entire family throwing wrapping-paper balls at each other all morning (we call these Southern California snow balls) and my sister’s cute bob-haircut sitting next to me while I looked through my stocking. I miss the days when all I was worried about was whether or not my crush was going to be on instant messenger at the same time I was and what elastic-wasted pants should I wear to the Christmas feast?

I know you know the heartache that comes with change - especially around the holidays.

Change can really suck.

But change can also be wonderful and fun, if we let it. 

on cookie sheet | sugar cookies_.jpg

I try to make our own traditions now with John and Myles. It is SO FUN to enjoy Christmastime with the perspective of giving - especially giving to Myles. He's just old enough to kinda get it all and it's the best. 

When I made these sugar cookies for this post I had Myles on my lap while I decorated. The first time I put a fresh cookie to decorate in front of us he grabbed it without any hint of hesitation hello! my child, and took a big bite and said, “MmmMmmMmm” in a dippy-sing-song way. I kissed his bald little head, asked him if it was good and put another cookie in front of us to decorate. (It was hard decorating cookies with a bouncing + dancing boy on my lap, so, forgive my piping job.) 

It’s certainly not the same cookie decorating party we used to have with my brothers and extended family, but in a way, it’s just a good.

This holiday season I’m really trying to embrace change with a full heart. I don’t know if you need to do that too. Maybe things are better this year than they were last, but I figure the only way we can be happy with change is by dancing with it a little bit and not running away from it.

Have you seen the movie Harriet the Spy? (I love that movie) Towards the middle-end-ish in the movie there's this man that gets all of his pet cats taken away from him by the authorities because he's not allowed to have 20+ cats in his place. It's heartbreaking. (Truly I always tear at this part because those cats are this mans life). But then by the end of the movie there's this scene where a tiny kitten pops out of his shirt and he's just so happy. It may not be 20 cats, but it is one little cat. 

Change is like this. Sometimes it's feeling the sadness of getting all 20 of your very best cat friends taken away from you for no good reason; but then, if we agree to dance with it, change can also be like a small kitten popping out of our shirts. It may not be the same as our 20 cat friends, but it is something. 

Bottom line: There is so much good to be had, right here, and right now. Don't squander the present. 

Hugs to you.  xo

ps. So many more recipes + tips to come my friends - so check back here soon. And! Thank you new and old friends for coming to my cookie decorating workshop at Anthropologie last Saturday. We sold out again very quickly (THANK YOU). Special shout out to my new friend Cambria, (I wanted to talk to you more at the workshop!) who has made it to every single one of my workshops. You my friend, are amazing. Thank you!

Friends, if you want to mark your calendars next workshop is January 27th 2018 (Sat) at 10am. Sign ups to be announced to subscribers first as soon as they're available. More details to come, but this one is more of a health-focused workshop. xo  

15  clouds with squeeze | sugar cookies_.jpg

the best classic sugar cookie

makes 15-18 2 ½ inch cookies | by robyn holland | sweetish.co*

I'm just gonna say it, usually sugar cookies are gross. (I'm not the only one who thinks this right?) But these aren't gross, these are good. While royal frosting (the frosting we use here) isn't my favorite frosting it is necessary here because it hardens as it drys, therefore it's the best to decorate with. There's something about decorating a sugar cookie that brings out the kid in all of us, right? It's simply sugar at its funnest. (I know, I know funnest isn’t a real word. ;) These don't disappoint. 

bakers note:  I think these are best just slightly underdone, but sometimes I completely over do them too for some nice brown crispy edges. You really can't go wrong and they're pretty hard to ruin.  

for the cookies: 
1 ¾ cup / 245g all-purpose flour, preferably organic

¼ teaspoon of medium grain kosher salt 

¼ teaspoon baking powder, preferably aluminum free

¾ cups (1 ½ sticks) / 170g unsalted butter, softened 

⅔ cup / 133g sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature, preferably pasture-raised and/or organic

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons lemon zest (optional, add the zest if you want a tiny hint of lemon to your sugar cookies) 


for the royal icing: 

2 cups / 240g powdered sugar, sifted

2 large egg whites, I always use super fresh, pasture-raised eggs especially when making this. Do not skimp on the quality of your eggs. The eggs can be cold for this. 

1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, a little more or a little less depending on the dryness of the day 

food coloring, I use a mix of high quality food coloring gel and natural dye. 


Preheat oven to 325° F / 170° C. Prepare an un-greased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. note! There is some chill time in-between your actual get-the-cookies-in-the-oven time. It’s actually better for your cookies to have your oven heating for at least an hour, but if you don’t want to do that, turn your oven on after the second chill of your dough.

Measure and whisk together all dry ingredients (except the sugar) in a separate bowl. 

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment mix together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. About 5-8 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until just combined. 

Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Be careful not to over mix. The dough will be very, very soft and sticky and impossible to roll out at this point. note: The dough will probably look like you didn't do it right at first but you did. Remember the dough will firm up nicely as it chills and soak up lots of flour as we roll it out. 

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and/or parchment paper and put it in a zip lock bag and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, or until firm OR 15-20 minutes in the freezer for the first chill. Fridge works best because it chills the dough more evenly, but freezer works in a pinch.

Unwrap the dough and lay a new, clean piece of parchment paper down on where you plan on rolling out the dough and flour the entire surface. 

Roll out the dough on your floured parchment paper until the dough is about ¼ inch thick. Parchment paper might slide a little bit, that’s okay. You can tape it down if it bugs. Put rolled-out dough on a sheet pan, and refrigerate that flat dough, for the second chill. About 20 minutes. 

Cut into shapes with a cookie cutter and place on your parchment lined cookie sheet that you prepared earlier. Your dough is nice and cold now, so cutting shapes should be much easier! Yay!

Pop cookies in the oven for about 12-15 minutes. Try not over bake. They will be the faintest golden brown around the edges when done, but still a milky dough color in the middle. This is perfect. If you'd like them under baked the whole cookie will be milky with no golden brown edges. Unless you want a crunchy sugar cookie then let them brown a little but watch them, as they can brown too quickly. (They're never bad brown though! So don't fret if you over bake!) 

Let the cookies cool for 15-20 minutes before icing. They'll cool faster if you take them off the cookie sheet and onto a cooling wrack, but be careful. 

Decorate with royal icing (recipe below). 

Let the icing dry on the cookies before storing. (I usually let mine dry over night, then immediately wrap them up in the morning but if you live in a dry area, don't leave them out that long - 4 hours tops.) 

Store in an airtight container for about 3-5 days - making sure you separate the cookies with parchment to prevent sticking. I think these are best the day or the day after their made. 

5 dancing clouds | sugar cookies_.jpg


for the royal icing: 

Makes enough for one recipe of sugar cookies - with a little extra to spare.

bakers note:  I recommend making this with an electric mixer, but this entire recipe can easily be made by hand with whisk and bowl. But if you make it by hand be SURE to sift the confectioners' sugar beforehand... I mean you don't HAVE to, but be prepared to whisk aggressively as you add the liquid to take away any lumps. Sifting beforehand is way way, easier.

With a whisk or paddle attachment on your electric mixer beat your egg whites until slightly frothy - about 1-2 minutes. (If making this by hand just beat egg whites in a large bowl vigorously until slightly frothy)

Then slowly slowly add your powdered sugar. See how thick the mixture is and add your lemon juice accordingly - you may not need any lemon juice at all, see notes below. The mixture should have the texture of a thick glaze. Be careful not to over liquify it. If it's too runny, just add more powdered sugar. If it's way too thick, add a little more lemon juice. You want the goldilocks thing here, the frosting should be just right. 

Separate the frosting into several bowls to make different colored icings. Remember a little dye goes a long way. 

You can easily spread your icing on with a spoon, but it's super fun to decorate the cookies with squeeze bottles or a pastry bag with a fine tip if you want more detailed sugar cookies. Both spoon and squeeze bottle work! 

13 squeeze | sugar cookies_.jpg

more bakers notes: 

  • These cookies certainly don't need frosting if you don't feel like making it. Or if you'd like to make the frosting without any dye and left white, they're still super cute. I dare say these are also awesome dipped in melted dark chocolate, or with a dollop of ganache on top and served with a cup of tea.
  • Just in case you missed this note I'm gonna say it again: The dough will probably look like you didn't do it right at first but you did. It's extremely "wet" and soft when all of the ingredients are combined. Remember the dough will firm up nicely as it chills and it soaks up lots of flour that we roll it out. 
  • The lemon juice for the frosting is kinda optional. If your frosting is really dry and needs more liquid add some more lemon juice or more egg white. You want it thick, but not too thick that you can't easily frost a cookie with it.
  • How do I know my frosting is the right thickness? With a spatula you should be able to scoop some frosting up and then let it drop back into the bowl. You should see a thick "ribbon-like" stream form. That "ribbon" should stay in it's "ribbony" shape for 3 seconds and then disappear into the rest of the frosting.
  • Make sure your cut-out cookies are chilled so they hold their shape when you bake them. This makes a difference. I also find that for this dough, the thinner the cookie, the more they hold their shape. 
16  clouds with squeeze | sugar cookies_.jpg

 

Resources: 

Food dyes: I use Wilton's paste and India Tree natural food colorings

Cookie Cutter: Cloud cookie cutter from Herriot Grace


*This recipe was adapted from Baked I started using this recipe years and years ago. It’s SO similar to my family’s old sugar cookie recipe - but I actually like it a little bit better. Shhhh don’t tell grandma. ;) 
 

sweet potato snack cake

5 sliced in tin | sweet potato snack cake_.jpg

Remember this cake from instagram? Heaven knows I've talked about it enough! And for good reason! It took a couple of tries to get this cake just right - but it was worth it. The results yield a not-too-sweet pillowy cake studded with melted bittersweet chocolate and toasty pecans. Don't skip the pecans. Even if you're not a nut person, the pecans and sweet potatoes here are like peanut butter and boysenberry jam = so good together. 

It's called snack cake for a reason - because it has sweet potato in it, therefore totally okay to snack on. Did you know that the sweet potato is one of the most nutrient packed vegetables out there, therefore a perfectly acceptable snack? Also. Breakfast. 

Okay, I love you! Go make this cake! 

(Have you subscribed yet? We talk more on Fridays in our Cocoa Chats. I'd love to have you in the kitchen with me.) xox 

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sweet potato snack cake 

by robyn holland | sweetish.co

bakers note: I think the chocolate here is optional, but the toasted pecans are not. In fact if your people won’t oppose to nuts in their snack cake, I’d throw in a little more. My people aren’t crazy about nuts in ANYTHING (tough crowd), but because I chopped the nuts really small here, no one objected. I’d definitely add more next time. If you go for chocolate, please make it bittersweet. That bittersweetness plays with the toasted warmth from the pecans, and sweet potato and it’s this beautiful juxtaposition of cool tangy chocolate and toasty, buttery nuts that it can’t be beat. I realize there’s some sort of dirty joke in what I just said but roll with me on this.  

3 ½ cups / 440g whole wheat pastry flour or all purpose, unbleached flour (I used all purpose, whole wheat will yield a awesomely tender crumb though, just take care not to under bake)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons medium grain kosher salt
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons  / 375g sugar
2 cups mashed sweet potato (about 6-8 small - medium sweet potatoes total)
¾ cup / 180g buttermilk, room temperature
¾ cup / 168ml sunflower oil or coconut oil, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup / 113g chopped pecans, toasted (you can have more pecans than this if desired, this recipe really is magical with those pecans!)
¾ cup / 128g bittersweet chocolate discs or a large chocolate bar chopped into large chunks (optional)

Bake 6-8 medium-sized sweet potatoes at 400° F for 1 hour. Potatoes should be very soft and fragrant. Set aside to cool. Peel and mash sweet potatoes in a medium sized bowl. Measure out two cups of sweet potato, mash it all up and set aside. Mash should be room temperature.

If you’re pecans need to be toasted do that now. Lower oven temperature to 375°F and bake nuts on a clean sheet pan for 6-8 minutes until barely dark brown. Take care not to burn them. They should be fragrant but not smell burned.

Lower oven temperature again to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13” pan with softened butter.

Using a whisk, combine all dry ingredients except sugar in a large bowl (flour, soda, powder, salt). Set aside.

In another large bowl, combine sweet potato mash, sugar, buttermilk and oil. Add eggs one at a time and whisk until combined. Slowly stream in oil, and whisk until combined.

Add sweet potato mixture into the dry ingredients, folding it all together with a spatula.

Once ingredients are almost all combined, add chopped pecans and chocolate. Fold gently until incorporated. Take care not to over mix. 

Pour batter into greased cake pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until cake is set. It should be very golden brown on the top and the center of the cake should spring back slightly when you press it.

Cool completely for 20-30 minutes before serving. It’s delicious with a cup of tea. xo

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This post was created in partnership with the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission. Their mission is to support non-GMO (and some organic!) sweet potato farmers by promoting the fact that sweet potatoes aren't just for marshmallow casseroles anymore! We're also promoting kindness, and being a little sweeter in life... just like a sweet potato. 

easy apple cinnamon oats with milk and brown sugar

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 Do you have one of those foods from childhood that’s ignites all sorts of great memories? Tell, me, it’s probably much more exciting than mine.

Mine is oatmeal. It was a breakfast my mom always made special by letting me sprinkle on my own brown sugar, and on really special days, she’d show me how to drizzle cream over the top. The heat from the oats would melt the sugar (that was my favorite part and still is!) and the cream would soak that melted sugar up and if I moved my spoon just right, I’d create a swirl of magic.

Oatmeal was such a fond dish in our home that I distinctively remember making it for my parents when I was barely 4 years old. I thoughtfully put two mounds of raw oats on two paper plates, and then carefully placed golden raisins and chocolate chips throughout. They looked like a start to some great homemade granola, or little raw oat mountains studded with goodness, but definitely not the oatmeal we were used to. I was so proud of them though, and I couldn’t wait to feed my parents my creations. 

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As I paraded my "oatmeal" into my parents bedroom way too early, my mom greeted me with a huge smile and said “Did you make me breakfast!?” My dad rolled over and sat up too. 

I was SO PROUD as I handed mom the plate of raw oats I could burst. And she didn’t even hesitate. She dove right in and started eating. My dad leaned over and whispered, “Oh! We’re really eating this?” And my mom shot him a look and told me how delicious it was. Dad ate it too. 

Food is one of the great memory instigators. Creating new memories with food is one of life’s greatest privileges to me and I set to create new dishes for my little family as soon as John and I got married and I took on the role of wife.

This apple oatmeal is one of those dishes. It will forever remind me of our Saturday mornings in that tiny, tiny no-dishwasher, super crappy gas-powered oven, in our first old home with lots and lots of windows. Our kitchen was so makeshift that there was literally no counter space, so we would chop everything on our garage sale-purchased dinning table. Saturday mornings always called for a special breakfast but sometimes we just wanted to stay home and make-do with what we had on hand, and for some reason, apples and oats, like good friends, were always there. 

I’d like to say I’ve come a long way from that paper plate of raw oats, but there’s still that little girl inside of me hoping that whatever I place in front of someone, will be loved and accepted. Thank goodness for moms and dads. Thank goodness for husbands who praise every dish you make and a small son who eats like you're the best cook in the world. It is so much stinking fun to know that I get to create food my son will always remember. Hoping these oats will make that list. 

Hope you love these oats just as we do. xo

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EASY APPLE CINNAMON OATS WITH MILK AND BROWN SUGAR

robyn holland | sweetish.co

By far the breakfast I make the most for my Myles. 

bakers note: I use Irish, steel cut oats here, which soak up a lot of liquid. I've found that in order to reach that really creamy consistency, I add more and more liquid to them after they've softened and cooked. 

for the oatmeal:
2 cups / 480g milk (any milk will do, cows milk or nut milk, I used whole cows milk here) 
2 cups water
1 cup irish oats /  steel cut oats
plus about 1 1/2 - 2 cups more of water to add once oatmeal is cooked
pinch of medium grain kosher salt

for the apple topping:
2 cups / 240g granny smith apples (or any other good tart cooking apple) 1 small/medium apple = about 1 cup, peeled and chopped
1 generous tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, muscovado sugar works well too, packed, plus more for serving 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons water
pinch of medium grain kosher salt

Bring combined 2 cups of water and 2 cups milk to a boil in a medium pot.

While you’re waiting for the water + milk to boil, cut and peel apples into thinnish slices.

If water + milk is to a boil, add 1 cup of oats and reduce heat to low. Simmer until oats have absorbed the liquids. I like to add another cup or so of liquid once the oats have cooked, creating a more saucy consistency. You can be generous with the milk or water you’re adding to the oats, they are pretty resilient and will soak up almost anything you throw at them.

In a medium saucepan melt butter on a medium heat. Butter should melt and bubble slightly. Add apples and coat them in the butter. Add your pinch of salt. Let apples soften and soak up some of the butter, for about 3 minutes.

Add sugar and cinnamon, and stir again to coat apples. Sugar should bubble and begin to pull the juices out of your apples. Cook apples in cinnamon and sugar for 3 minutes or so.

Add 2 tablespoons of water. The water is going to soften our apples a little bit and make them saucy.

Let apples continue to cook until soft and fragrant. If you forgot to add your pinch of salt, do so now.

Serve apples on top of your oatmeal, with a sprinkle of brown sugar, cinnamon and a generous splash of milk. 

All of this can easily be made ahead of time and stored in glass containers in the fridge. It stores well and can be-reheated without compromise. Just add a splash or two of water or milk to the oats to refresh and loosen them up a bit. 

 

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Resources:

I used Irish steel cut oats. They can be found at Whole Foods, or Trader Joes or online. 

sweet potato pie with salted pretzel crust and toasted cinnamon meringue {gluten-free option for crust}

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I just wanted to write real quick and say that pursuing your passion can sometimes make you feel really stupid. Especially when it doesn’t work. Especially when you have 3 sweet potato pies sitting there on the counter just staring at you and you stayed up way past midnight making one of them. Sometimes pursuing your passion is absolutely NOT fun. And sometimes you need to lay down and not eat any more bites of pie, and pray that the next recipe works, all in the name of preserving your passion. 

But sometimes your passion pays off I guess because this pie is pretty perfect. The salty crunchy pretzel pecan crust with the custardy, not-too-sweet filling and the warm, toasty cinnamon meringue. Maybe people will wrinkle their nose at the whole pretzel crust for a pie idea, but hey, even landing on the moon sounded crazy at one point. 

This is a pie worth making. 

Love you friends. xo 

ps. THANK YOU to my friends new and old that had a chance to make it to my take and bake workshop at Anthropologie last week. My next workshop at Anthro is December 2nd (a Saturday) at 10am. We will be learning / practicing how to decorate sugar cookies with natural dyes using the water color effect. We'll also learn what makes the perfect sugar cookie. Spots will be limited, and subscribers will be the first to hear when sign ups are live. I can't thank you enough for your support and love. Seriously. 

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sweet potato pie with salted pretzel crust and toasted cinnamon meringue

yields: one 9 inch / 23cm pie

The meringue is sweet and toasty here on purpose, as the filling has a slight tang and the crust is slightly salty but if you don't want to make meringue - I have a recipe for cinnamon whipped cream here at the end. Either topping is fantastic, just don't skip it - the meringue or the whipped cream balance everything out in the best way. 

bakers notes: I know the way I instruct to make the crust can seem a bit cumbersome, but it works and yields the best consistency. Trust me. Also if you want to toast your meringue your gonna need a blow torch. If you don’t have one of those already, splurge. You’ll soon find that there are so many desserts that need to be torched. Also! You can totally smash the pretzels and pecans in a bag if you don't have a food processor. I've tried both methods (food processor and bag) and they both work beautifully. ALSO, pay attention to the salt in your pretzel. The crust may need a little more or a little less salt depending on the pretzel you use. 

gluten free crust option: See my notes in the ingredients about replacements. If you're replacing the pretzels with pecans instead of gluten-free pretzels, start with just 4 tablespoons of butter first, and then go up from there if needed. Nuts are more oily than pretzels, and I've personally found more success with a little less butter. The instructions are exactly the same, just replace the ingredients. 

for the crust:
1 ½ cups / 145g pretzels, crushed into medium-fine chunks, (if you need to make this gluten free, replace with gluten free pretzels OR ground pecans)
¼ cup / 55g dark or light brown sugar
1 teaspoon medium grain kosher salt
¼ heaping cup / 26g pecans, crushed (use unsweetened shredded coconut if making this gluten free)
6 tablespoons / 85g unsalted butter, melted

for the filling:

3 large eggs
⅔ cup / 160ml cream
¼ cup / 60ml buttermilk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups / 488g sweet potato, mashed (about 7-8 small - medium sized potatoes, baked)
1 teaspoon medium grain kosher salt
¾ cup / 165g light or dark brown sugar

for the meringue:
4 fresh egg whites
¾ cup / 90g powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

 

to make the crust:

Pre-heat oven to 350° F / 180° C and grab a 9 inch pie dish.

Pulverize pretzels in a food processor until they’re broken up quite a bit but not pulverized or even crumbs. We want them in decent, recognizable chunks here. Measure out 2 cups worth of pretzel crumbs (or better yet, weigh it for accuracy) into a large bowl. Then mix pretzel crumbs with the brown sugar, salt and pecans (Pecans can be left whole at this point, because they’ll get mashed in the food processor). Pour all ingredients back into the food processor and pour in all of the melted butter. Pulse until the ingredients form a wet sand. If you need to add more melted butter, do it. Don’t be shy about this. Smoosh crust in the bottom of your pan and bake for 10-13 mins.

Cool crust. (psst, I pop mine in the freezer to cool it super quick!)

to make the filling:

Cook 6-8 medium-sized sweet potatoes at 400° F / 200° C for 1 hour. Potatoes should be very soft and fragrant. Set aside to cool. Peel and mash sweet potatoes in a medium sized bowl. Measure out two cups of sweet potato mash and set aside. Mash should be room temperature.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs, sugars, and vanilla. Then add your buttermilk and cream. Add sweet potato mash and beat together with a whisk or rubber spatula until combined.

Pour filling into cooled pretzel crust and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the edges of the pie filling are set, but the middle gives just the slightest wobble. Note: You may want to tent the sides of the crust with foil to prevent burning if you need to bake your pie for longer than 45 minutes. (Mine took exactly 45 minutes.) We don't want to over cook the custard here, so don't be afraid to take it out of the oven if it has a little jiggle - it will continue set as you take it out of the oven. Think, butt jiggle, not a liquid jiggle. 

Refrigerate pie for 3-4 hours or until set.

Cool completely before topping with meringue.

to make cinnamon meringue: (note: make meringue the day you're serving your pie or else it will seep into your crust making it soggy. health and safety: The egg whites in this meringue are cooked here, but still you may want to use advice pregnant women, elderly friends and parents of young kids before they eat it. I personally think it's totally fine if cooked properly. :)

5 large egg whites 

3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons / 205g sugar  

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

pinch of sea salt

Pour a couple of inches of water in a pot and place a glass bowl just above it, taking care that the bowl does NOT touch the water. (It may take a couple of bowls to find the right fit!) Pour egg whites and sugar into glass bowl.

Over a medium high heat, whisk together the egg whites and sugar until mixture is not too hot to touch, but too hot leave your finger in there for more than a couple of seconds. Sugar should be completely dissolved. If you stick your head in the bowl eggs should smell cooked and consistency should be somewhat snot like and slightly bubbly. (Sorry) It takes about 8-10 minutes. 

Pour hot egg mixture and pinch of salt into your electric mixer and whip on a high speed (about a 6-7 if you have a kitchen aid) until soft peaks form. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl down, half way in-between whipping. Takes about 7-10 minutes. 

Using a small spatula, scoop meringue on top of pie, creating some swirls or stiff peaks (you can even pipe it into a pastry bag, filling the pastry bag 3/4 of the way full if you want to pip on some little meringue puffs).

Toast with a blow torch. Pie can sit with meringue on it for a couple of hours at a coolish room temperature. 

Whisk egg whites, powdered sugar, cinnamon and cream of tartar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Sharp cloud-like peaks should be easily seen and formed. Form meringue on the baked and cooled pie and toast with a blow torch until peaks turn from snow-white to golden-brown. If you don't have a blow torch, "they" say you can broil it in your oven for a few minutes but I've never had steady results with that approach.

to make cinnamon whipped cream instead of meringue:

Whip 2 cups / 240ml heavy whipping cream with 1 teaspoon vanilla + 1 tablespoon of honey OR ¼ cup / 30g powdered sugar if you don’t want to sweeten with honey. Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
Beat in an electric mixer with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Pour and shape onto pie. Don’t try to toast your whipped cream or you’ll have a melted mess on your hands. Whipped cream is best served the day it’s made. Right before serving is truly best. ;)

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Resources: 

I used Newman's Own Organic Spelt pretzels to make the crust. 

tara o'brady's chocolate chip cookies (aka heaven)

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First of all, there are no chips in these cookies. Just huge hearty chunks of bittersweet chocolate. 

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Second, if you’ve have been following along with me on instagram (@sweetish.co), you know I've been talking a lot about cookies lately because this is the topic of my next "Make and Bake" workshop hosted with Anthropologie.

The workshop is sold out already (thank you!) and I'm so honored and flattered and stoked (I'm all the things) that you guys want to chill with me and talk cookies. If you missed this workshop or my last pie-making workshop, don't fret, I have something great in the works that we'll talk about in just a sec. 

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Fun fact: This entire blog post was taken with my iphone. I wasn't planning on sharing these cookies so quickly, but whatever, so many of you wanted the recipe, NOW. Ask and I will deliver! I make this recipe lately just about as much as I make my other favorite.  

This is the best "make in a cabin or little tiny condo in Hawaii” recipe because it requires no electric mixer. We melt the butter first and then add the sugars to it, allowing them to marry and blend this way instead of the traditional beating and creaming method. (aka beating the sugar in with softened butter). 

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This cookie is brought to you by the beautifully talented Tara O'Brady from one of the original food blogs ever (like she's original gangster status), Seven Spoons.

I change very little about her recipe except for the use of dark brown sugar and the amount of chocolate. I hardly measure the chocolate (just eye ball a little less than a pound) of bittersweet chopped chocolate... yes, it's a tiny bit more than Tara calls for, but have we met yet? #darkchocolateissuesforlife 

Oh, and back to my first comment here at the start of this post: The bigger your chunks, the bigger the pools of chocolate. You're welcome. Don't say I never gave you anything. ;) 

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Oh! One more thing!

We are putting together a really beautiful, fun and instructional online pie making workshop where you'll learn how to make 3 of my favorite holiday pies: Salted Caramel Apple, Butterscotch Pumpkin, and Deep Dark Chocolate Cream pie. We’re gonna learn how to nail the perfect pie crust and fillings - as in one fool-proof amaze balls crust and three different fillings to go with it. (cue the confetti emojis) 

The workshop will be in a step-by-step video format and include me (hi!) teaching you how to make everything. We breakdown the process and the recipes. It’s not gonna be dinky either guys, it’s going to be beautifully shot and styled - but fun, quick and accessible. We’ve made it so you can watch the videos as many times as you need to and I’m fully available to answer any questions, but I swear, you're gonna walk away from this online workshop feeling like a pie-boss. :D That's a thing. 

We're going to start rolling out the pre-sign ups soon. Spots will be limited, and the workshop will start mid-November, just in time for your holiday pies. If you have any questions about it, let me know. 

Hey! I love you. Thank you for being here. Really. xo

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tara o’brady’s chocolate chip cookies 

Adapted from Seven Spoons My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day by Tara O'Brady

Tara has an eloquence to her writing that I lack. She paints the most beautiful imagery with her words, so much so you feel you’re there, savoring it all with her and practically smelling her kitchen through the pages. Her cookbook is one that I would grab and keep with me forever if I was only allowed to keep a few. I think this cookie recipe explains "why" pretty nicely.

bakers note: Kosher salt is saltier than sea salt. So I highly recommend using medium grain kosher salt for these cookies because the saltiness is just perfect. If you use table salt or sea salt, it won’t quite be the same and probably require a little more salt. FYI, I use kosher salt in every single one of my recipes. A box of it is a few bucks at the store and it’s usually not hard to find (in the US) and it makes all the difference. 

1 cup / 225g unsalted butter, chopped

3 ¼ cup / 415g all-purpose unbleached flour

1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder, aluminum free

1 teaspoon baking soda 

1 ½ teaspoons medium-grain kosher salt

1 ½ cups / 320g packed light or dark brown sugar, I use a mixture light and dark

½ cup / 100g granulated sugar

2 large eggs 

2 teaspoons vanilla

12 ounces / 340g semisweet or bittersweet chocolate or a tiny bit more, if you’re like me and want to even out that chocolate to cookie ratio, chopped into large chunks

Flaky sea salt for sprinkling optional - I didn’t do this most of the time because the cookies were already perfectly salted. 

 

Preheat an oven to 360˚F / 180˚C. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan over a very low heat, melt the butter. We’re just trying to melt the butter here and not brown it AT ALL. The butter should be cloudy, and barely barely melted so we retain most of it’s moisture. If we “cook” the butter for too long the cookie dough won’t be right - it will be dry. 

Chop your chocolate and set aside. 

In large bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt. Set aside.

Pour the melted butter into a different large bowl and whisk in your sugars. At first it may look like a greasy clumpy mess, but keep mixing, it will smooth out after you’ve stirred it for a bit. Add your eggs, one at a time to your butter mixture, whisking briskly after each addition until just combined. Add and stir in vanilla.

Add your dry ingredients to your beautiful wet mixture and combine all together using a spatula - this takes just a few minutes. Once blended, add your chopped chocolate to the dough.

Wrap the dough in parchment paper or plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes in the fridge - preferably overnight. I think this helps the flavors marry. You certainly don’t need the dough to sit in the fridge to have it work.

Make the dough into golf-ball sized balls (about 3 tablespoons per cookie) and bake for 10-14 minutes, rotating the pan about half way through baking. Take note that colder dough takes longer to bake. Cookies should have a nice golden outside but seem a tiny tiny bit glossy and cracked on the inside. 

Leave cookies on cookie sheet for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling wrack. 

Cookies can be kept in an air tight container for up to a week - but I prefer to keep them in an air tight container in the fridge. The extra dough keeps nicely, tightly wrapped in the fridge for up to a week as well. 

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resources: 

I used Valrhona Chocolate for this batch. 

award-winning pumpkin bread

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I feel like likability is a thing and you're either a person that's completely okay with other people not liking you that much, or you HAVE to have everyone like you. Like, even the people you don't particularly care for - you make it your mission to make them like you because knowing that they don't like you is too uncomfortable. 

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Do you know what I mean? Which one are you? Do you care or do you have thick skin?  

I've been thinking about stuff like this lately because I thought I had thick skin, but maybe I don't. Remember when I mentioned meditation as a way of managing stress? Well I've been doing it religiously, and it's seriously changed my life.

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I'm not very good at it, in fact I think I kind of suck, but it's amazing how much clarity it gives me every morning and every night when I take the time to do it. I can sleep now. Not just because I have a baby that now sleeps through the night, but because I've learned how to breathe through stupid-worry-full thoughts. (I made that word up, worry-full, seems more appropriate than worrisome.) 

I've noticed that during meditation I can get stuck on things, and one of those things is thinking about negative things. Like mean emails I get, or mean remarks that have been made towards me, etc. It doesn't happen often, but I for some reason, have a fantastic memory, and hold onto these little mean things like a collection of bee stingers. Picture a hoarder keeping a jar full of old toenail clippings, that's me and the mean jabs that've been made towards me. It's stupid. And honestly, I have an incredible life. These mean things are NOT a common occurrence, but when they happen, they stick. 

Meditation is helping me let stuff go. When I find myself revisiting these negative pinpricks I figuratively pop them like a bubble. I take a deep breath and remind myself of happier things. Like my Myles, John, my dog's waddle and chocolate fudge sundaes. 

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I didn't realize how often I let negative stuff continually pester me. Meditation has helped me realize this and practicing meditation is helping me control it. Instead of thinking about negative stuff, I'm teaching my mind to think about nothing.

WHICH IS REALLY HARD.

But it's also amazing. I picture my favorite place in the world and then try to fill my mind with light. This probably makes me sound like a weirdo, but you know that feeling you get when you close your eyes and face the sun? That's the feeling I look for and try to emulate when I meditate. Just nothing but light - so it's a "good nothing" type of thing for me to focus on instead of just a blank-dark-empty nothing. 

Is this boring?

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By the way do I sound presumptuous by claiming this bread as award-winning? Maybe it would help to know that this recipe came to my attention via text message from my sister. She texted me: "Bob! I made THE BEST pumpkin bread! You have to make it!" So like any good sister would, I made it.

And it was stinking good. And EASY.

Hold onto people that feel like sunlight.
— some quote i found on pinterest and loved

My sister feels like sunlight. In fact I have so many incredible friends and sister-friends that feel like sunshine. You, my blogging friend, are included in that category. Like that horribly catchy line from that Josh Groban song: You raise me up. Even if we haven't met yet, or if we're friends but haven't hung out in a while, or maybe we just know each other because #life - regardless - the fact that you're here, and with me, really means everything. 

Alright, huge hugs and happy baking. Love you friends. xo

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award-winning pumpkin bread

Makes 2, 8 x 4" loaves | adapted from Taste of Home

This bread is a great consistency and sweet without being headachy sweet. I'll never give you a recipe that's too sweet, we know that by now right? Because #sweetish? ;) I was talking to one of my dear friends (hi Brit!) about the “do I add chocolate chips to my pumpkin bread?” dilemma and I think this bread is great either way.  If you do add chocolate chips though, I suggest leaning more towards bittersweet chocolate than semisweet chocolate as the tiny bit of “bitter and tang" that comes from the darker chocolate evens out the sweetness of the loaf in the most beautiful way.

bakers note: I had to tent my bread with foil for about the last 5 minutes of baking so it wouldn't get too dark. 

3 cups / 375g all-purpose, unbleached flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, preferably organic

1 teaspoon salt, I used medium grain kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

4 eggs, room temperature, preferably pasture raised

2 cups / 400g sugar

2 cups / 450g canned pumpkin, preferably organic

1 ½ cups / 354ml sunflower oil, or any other clean, neutral oil, or melted butter, ghee or a combination of both

 1 ½ cups / 255g (6 ounces) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips or chocolate bar cut up into large chunks, optional

Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C and prepare two 8 x 4” loaf pans. I prepared my pans by greasing both with softened butter, and then lined the bottom of the tins with parchment paper (and I only lined the very bottom of the pan, not the sides). Then I greased the paper again with more softened butter and dusted the whole thing with a tiny bit of flour, shaking and tapping out the excess flour.

If your eggs are cold, let them sit, (un-cracked and still in their shell) in a small bowl of very warm water to bring them to room temperature now.  This takes about 5 mins max.

With a whisk in a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.

In another medium sized bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil together. If you used melted butter instead of the oil, just make sure the melted butter isn’t hot, or else it could curdle your eggs.

Stir your pumpkin wet mixture into your dry ingredients (flour, salt, cinnamon, and soda) until just moistened and you don’t see any visible lumps. Take care not to over mix. Next fold in your chopped chocolate or chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Pour and evenly distribute into two greased 8x4” loaf pans.

Bake at 350°F / 180°C for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the crack in the middle of the bread doesn’t look wet. My loaves took about 65 minutes at sea level.

Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to finish cooling. Can totally be eaten warm, but it's a little more crumbly of a piece this way.... but no one ever complains about that. 

 

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salty-sweet brown butter, brown rice, rice crispy treats {gluten-free}

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You don’t need this, but you also need this. 

You need this the same way I needed to watch a so-ridicuous-it-was-good spy movie on Sunday night instead of working or reading my business book. (Don't my weekends sound thrilling?)

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So let’s share a moment and change our lives with some subtle, yet amazing changes to that box or bag recipe you may have been using to make rice crispy treats for years.

Ditch the bag and follow me. 

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  • Subtle change number one: Instead of heavily processed, light white, paper-thin rice from a blue box, I used organic brown rice cereal. The brown puffed rice is more flavorful + earthy, crispy, less airy and makes for f-ahh-bulous treat. Also, my brown rice cereal contained 3 ingredients: organic puffed brown rice, organic sugar cane and sea salt. Boom. 

  • Subtle change number 2: Brown butter instead of regular melted butter. Browned butter creates tan specs of magic in the melted marshmallows (I love speckles) and a depth of richness to the crispy treats. It also compliments the extra salt I throw in to make them salty-sweet. Browned butter isn't a new trick; one of my dearest friends (hi James!) told me that her mom did this too while growing up. 

  • Subtle change number 3: Clean-ish marshmallows. I say clean-ish because the marshmallows I used contained carrageenan… which is usually an ingredient I avoid. Since we avoid it often, I figured it was okay for a treat, especially since they were the cleanest marshmallows available so I went for it. See resources below for my other favorite, even cleaner marshmallow. 

Also, if you’re rolling your eyes at my mallow snobbery, please read the ingredients on the package of one of those hugely popular name-brand marshmallows we usually buy at the store and tell me what TETRASODIUM PYROPHOSPHATE is (it's a whipping agent, doesn't that make you feel better?) and then tell me why Blue dye #1 needs to be in my mallow. I promise the cleaner the marshmallow, the more delicious the treat. (I know you're all with me on this so I'll get off my soapbox.) I wanted to go so far as to make my own marshmallows but that didn’t happen this time because #LIFE and who really makes their own mallows for rice crispy treats? (Me. I would totally do something that ridiculous.)

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Major tangent: Carrageenan is a thickening agent that is supposed to be derived from red seaweed (also known as Irish Moss) but there’s talk that this isn’t the case in most of the foods we buy. Because most carrageenan used in our food is not clean or derived from sea weed, it’s cause for concern. I am all about being clean and cautious, so we rarely rarely eat the stuff. I am extremely annoying and thorough when making food purchases and read labels like crazy (something I learned over 12 years ago while studying food science), but I am in no way perfect. Case in point, these marshmallows. Anyone who's perfect in their choices is lying. Lol

Anyway, if you’d like to know more about carrageenan I have two links in the resources section for you. 

Alright, that’s it. I hope this new-but-old treat changes your weekends forever in the best possible way. Also, make some time for something ridiculous if you haven't recently. It's good for you. (Me hugging you.)

Also, tell me your favorite way to make rice crispy treats. Do you add pumpkin? Peanut butter? Nut butter? Coconut? Make them with chocolate cocoa crispy rice? Spill. I'd love to hear from you.

Love you friends xo

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salty-sweet brown butter, brown rice, rice crispy treats

robyn holland | sweetish.co 

Basically the big secret to making perfect rice crispy treats is equal parts rice cereal to equal parts marshmallow. Also, don't be afraid of butter and a pinch of salt. Also, these can easily be made vegan (dairy free) with your choice of vegan butter or coconut oil, but I wouldn't brown it the same way you would butter... you could maybe add a couple of tablespoons of some toasted coconut to get that depth of toasty flavor that browned butter provides.  Also, a rice crispy treat needs to be thick or it is not a true rice crispy treat in my book. 

bakers notes: This recipe can easily be doubled. But you'll need a really, really big bowl, a whole box of brown crisp cereal and on average 4 bags of marshmallows. You don't HAVE to brown the butter to make these either. Just take note of the slight difference in the amount of butter used if you chose not to brown the butter below. I hold back one cup of marshmallows and mix it in at the last minute to create that "marbled" effect in my treats. Sometimes they don't melt all together either and it makes for chunks of marshmallow. Its totally 100% optional, but just wanted to give you all my secrets. ;) 

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6 cups / 190g brown rice crisp cereal 

6 cups / 275g mini "clean" marshmallows, 1 cup reserved

5 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, browned - if you're not browning the butter use 5 tablespoons, if you are browning the butter, use 6

½ teaspoon kosher salt, optional, if you want that salty sweet effect, if not, a pinch of salt will do. 

extra soft butter for greasing and for your hands when molding the treats

 

Grease a 8x8 inch pan with butter.  

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan for about 4-5 minutes until totally melted and browned. Watch your butter closely as it's easy for your butter to turn from dark brown to burned. Until I make one of my own, I have a good browning butter tutorial from a great blogger in my resources below. 

Add your marshmallows and salt to your melted browned butter (be sure to set aside 1 cup of your mallows to mix in later, this isn't a huge deal if you forget this). Stir until melted and you have this fabulous thick, brown speckled mixture of magic.

In very large bowl pour the melted marshmallow over your brown rice cereal mixing it all together with a rubber spatula. Brace yourself, it's about to get messy. 

Working quickly and with a light hand so as not to completely mush the cereal, mix the rice crispy cereal with the melted marshmallow, and the 1 reserved cup of mallows until combined. The mixture can be really really hot, so use a spatula first. Once the mixture as cooled a bit, butter your hands and continue mixing. 

Butter your hands again and press mixture into the greased 8x8 inch pan until evenly distributed. Careful not to completely mash the cereal here either, just a gentle firm press into the pan works great. 

Let them sit for about an hour before serving. While you wait, you totally have permission to eat the entire sticky mess left over in the bowl. 

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Resources: 

Dandy marshmallows are the mallows I used for this recipe. They're vegan, but contain carrageenan.

Two of my favorite quick-read articles on carrageenan can be found from Dr. Weil and Meghan Telpner

Elyon kosher marshmallows are probably my favorite clean marshmallow (other than homemade) because they contain no carrageenan. These are not vegan as they contain gelatin. Gelatin is actually really good for our gut health, so if you're not vegan, don't be afraid of clean + kosher gelatin.  

I used organic brown rice cereal from Whole Foods

My food-blog-friend (that I seriously want to meet in real life) has a great tutorial on browning butter on her site. Go love her. 

pink lady apple galette with sea salt

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I had to get out of the house the other day so I decided to take Myles to one of my favorite local bakeries. (A bakery, surprise surprise!) I have this rule that whenever I go out to eat with Myles, I put my phone away. This forces both of us, to people watch instead of stare at a screen and it is fantastic. While we were waiting for our breakfast, we saw a beautiful young woman waiting for her salad to be made.

You know those women that just seem to always look so put together? They have a cup of coffee in their hand that you know they woke up early for after their yoga sesh? They’re fully clothed in real clothes like a sheer blouse with good pants and designer sunglasses? This was one of those women. She was on her cell, taking an important phone call and too busy to make eye contact with me - which was actually a "thank goodness" because Myles and I were trying to cram a chocolate croissant in our mouths and I'm sure it wasn't pretty. Her hair was curled, she was wearing makeup and she was a far cry from what I looked like at that moment. 

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Pan to me, wearing spandex and a t-shirt with avocado smeared on my right boob that I didn’t catch before I left the house. (Thank you Myles). Also I'm wearing a hat that I just fished out of the gutter because my child took it off my head and threw it there and I was currently holding a hydro flask full of water from yesterday. (It’s still cold, so whatever.) I too am wearing a pair of sunglasses. They're bright yellow and blue and could very well be worth 4 dollars and belong to a 12 year old. (I'm pretty sure they're my brothers. He's 26.) I found them in my car. (Yup. Almost positive they're my brothers.) I’m actually surprised they fit my face. (Zach how do these fit your face?)

No woman is better than the other. 

So that’s it. That’s all I wanted to say today.

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So often I catch myself thinking that because I have avocado smeared on my boob and I haven’t washed my hair in days that I’m less of a person than the more “put together” woman but I’m not.)

Yes, I used to have a career that allowed me to dress up really cute and wear shoes (that gave me horrific bunions) and I too, used to take very important phone calls.

Now I wear tennis shoes and baseball caps and wipe poop and make pie.

Er, but not in that order. 

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Just in case you needed some love today to remind yourself that you’re doing an amazing job at life, sweatpants or stilettos (but who wears those though really?), here it is. You are doing awesome. 

Maybe this was more of a note to myself than anyone else: Don't judge the woman who's all put together or the one who ran to the grocery store in her pajama bottoms, cause there's a chance you'll be seen as one of those women to another woman too. So whether you’re the fancy pants lady or the baseball cap wearing lady like me or somewhere in between, it doesn’t matter. Just do your thing, and know that we all go through phases of life where sometimes "we fancy” sometimes we’re not.

This galette is somewhere in between fancy and not, and awesome, so, it's appropriate. 

Love you friends. xo

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pink lady apple galette

robyn holland | sweetish.co 

makes 2, 9" galette crusts, but filling is only enough for one 9" galette

Here’s the thing about this galette, you kinda need to cut the apples pretty thin and then cook the apples for a bit until they’re somewhat soft, in order for this to be delicious. If the apple slices are too big and you don’t cook the apples long enough, this thing is gonna be bland, and we don't want that. Just trust me. I don’t want you to go through all that work just to create a beautiful but bland galette. Stick to thinly cut, cooked apples and you’ll be golden. 

bakers note: I served this with ice cream for the photos sake but I actually found that to be a little too sweet. Just the tiniest drizzle of cream or plop of creme fraiche was more of a winner in my book. Also, I didn't try cutting the apples with a mandoline here but I imagine that would work really well. Mine is still packed away in a box somewhere... 

for the crust:
4 ½ cups / 540g unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 ½ cups / 342g unsalted butter, cold, cut into ½ inch cubes (but don't stress about the size. If they're bigger than this, great, just try not to make them smaller than this)
⅓ cup / 74g ice water (ice cubes removed) please note you might need a little more or a little less water depending on where you live and depending on the day. If you live in a higher altitude, you’re going to need a lot more water. If it’s a dry day, more water. If it’s a rainy day, humid day, less water… etc. Don't be afraid to be extremely inexact here.

for the filling (please note this only makes enough filling for ONE galette):
2 tablespoons butter
scant ¼ cup sugar (or to taste, if you need a little more because you’re using tart apples, add a little more, if your apples are really sweet, add a little less)
1 teaspoon cornstarch or tapioca flour
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
4 pink lady apples, cut thinly, peeled or not peeled, totally up to you (if you can't find pink lady apples, granny smith or fuji will work too. Just keep in mind a different apple won't provide the same pinkish color and granny smith may need a bit more sugar and fuji may need a little less. Taste and adjust!)
pinches of fine sea salt, for cooking
pinches of course sea salt for sprinkling on top of the galette after it's baked
 

FOR THE CRUST:

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment or in a food processor with the dough attachment: gently mix the flour and salt. Then as the mixer continues to stir, gradually add the chunks of cold butter into the flour mixture. Mix until some of the butter and flour combine into blob-like-crumbs. Most people say that here, the blobs should resemble peas. To me, they don't need to be the size of peas, I actually prefer the blobs to be a mix of big and small blobs (see pictures above as a reference). We want big blobs here, so don't blend too much or too fast.

Once you have a blobby, crumb-like mess, slowly start to add your ice water. Now you can do this one of two ways: you can slowly add your ice water as your electric mixer continues to stir or you can pour the crumbly mess onto a clean surface and add the water little by little, working the dough with your hands until combined.

If you'd like to start by pouring some of the water in the mixer that's totally fine, but you will need to take the dough out once it barely starts to stick and finish kneading it by hand in order to ensure a really flaky dough. I STRONGLY encourage you to add the water completely by hand. I do this whole process by hand. It's a mess, but it's fun and gets the right texture every time. 

Knead the dough by pressing the heel of your hand forward and kind of pinching it, and then doing this motion over again a few times. (See GIF as a reference) Knead until just combined. You should be able to see some white marbling of the butter throughout your dough. 

kneading.GIF

If your making this for an 10-inch pie: Split your dough into two disks and wrap each one tightly and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out. Dough can be stored in the fridge tightly wrapped for up to 3 days, or stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Just bring dough to room temperature to use again. 

Once dough has been chilled, let it rest for 5 minutes before you roll each disk out into a 12-inch circle at about ⅜-inch thick. 

Now you can use this crust to either make 2 apple galettes or 1 double crusted apple pie: Woohoo! 

FOR THE FILLING: 

Melt butter in a large sautée pan over medium-high heat and add your apples to the pan. Stir to coat the apples with butter and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. While the apples cook, whisk together the cinnamon, salt and ¼ cup sugar and then sprinkle this mixture over the apples, stirring to combine.

Lower your heat and continue to cook the apples until they start to soften, about 5-7 minutes. (Your house should smell amazing at this point.) Mix the corn starch or tapioca starch with your apple cider vinegar until starch dissolves and pour over your apples. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5-10 minutes. If you cut your apples on the thick side, you'll need to cook your apples longer, if you cut them on the thin side, they'll need less time cooking. Take out a sample apple and taste it before you decide they're done. Apples should be soft, with a tiny bite and super flavorful. 

Preheat oven to 375° F / 190° C and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 

Roll out brisee dough into a 12” circle using a bit of flour and a rolling pin. Place rolled dough on a the parchment lined cookie sheet. 

Pour apples in the middle of the dough, leaving about a 2-3 inch border. Fold the dough over the apples, leaving a “window” or opening where the apples still show. (See sweetish.co  for pictures as a reference. Search for the post “Really Simple Cherry Galette” While it IS a recipe for a cherry galette and not an apple one, the process is very much the same.) 

With a pastry brush, brush the exposed crust with the egg and then sprinkle liberally with the raw sugar.

Bake for 35-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is slightly bubbly. Wait about 15-30 minutes before cutting into it if you can, if not, just be aware that the filling and juice is hot - which makes for a delicious pooling puddle of vanilla bean ice cream around it if that’s your thing.  

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really chocolaty flourless chocolate cake {gluten-free}

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I feel like there’s a lot of hugs that need to be given out lately due to the state of things.

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I, like you, have been heartbroken over the pictures I’ve seen of Houston and it’s new watery state. Apparently it’s the worst flooding an American city has ever seen (maybe don’t quote me on that, I just read it in the news) and it's absolutely incredible to see the damage that mother nature can do in such a short period of time. It’s also made me choke back tears when I read about other Texans coming down to Huston with their boats to rescue fellow Texans from the storm.

Sometimes you read things that give you goosebumps and this was one of those things. 

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Remember when I talked about two of my best girlfriends? Well one of those friends just moved to Northern Texas and she offered to go buy supplies for a shelter close to her and if people were interested in participating, they could venmo her money. No amount was too small. She got such an overwhelming response she couldn't believe it and had to take multiple trips to Costco just because her car was too full to lug it all in one go. On this HUGE pile of supplies (food, diapers etc.) she placed a name from each person who donated so people could see how many were behind the bounty. It was another goosebumps thing. 

Tragedy can bring out the best in people (or the worst in people) but we’ve seen a whole lot of good happening in Texas and quite frankly it’s made me want to be a Texan. 

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Which brings me to my next big news. While we are not Texans, we are officially Californians again. Yup! We’ve moved back! I KNOW. (Just in case you didn’t know, we moved to Utah last summer for my husband's job and now we’re back. I give more details on our story to my sweet subscribers. If you're interested in becoming one, sign up here. ) 

The move back here happened as suddenly as it seems. Life literally changed for us from one day to the next with a phone call. And while we terribly miss my brother and sister and their families, we’re thrilled to be back. We've quite literally JUST came back. So yay! 

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All week I couldn’t help but think of how grateful I am to be able to lay my baby down in a dry, safe bed and think of how quick and fragile life is. I've undoubtably kissed Myles every single minute he's been in my arms and told him I love him at least a million times a day. 

Seeing how people's homes have been ripped from them in Huston is a good reminder that even though it's heartbreaking and something I don't wish on anyone ever, it is for the most part, just stuff. We can live without stuff. We can live without our homes. It's our people we need. 

Today (Sunday when I wrote this) is a day we've been urged nationally to pray for Houston (and Louisiana!). So if you're up for it, say a prayer for those who did lose their people. And if you, like me, are fortunate to still have your people, give them so many hugs and tell them you love them so many times they'll think something's wrong with you. Life is so short. 

Love you friends.  

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really chocolaty flourless chocolate cake (gluten-free) 

adapted from King Arthur Flour 

I've made a lot of flourless chocolate cakes in my life. I've actually made a lot of flourless cakes this past week, and this recipe, is undoubtably the best (at least for now). My people could not get enough of it. It's slightly gooey, bittersweet and super rich - almost like an undercooked brownie, only 10 times better. I lathered it up in ice cream for the photos sake because my sweet baby boy decided to stick his tender fingers right in the middle of it after it had cooled (I guess that's what I get for having him on the counter with me haha). After the first bite he went "hmm" and did a little dance. Then when he reached to stick his fingers back in it, I couldn't stop him. It was just too cute. 

bakers note: It's okay to under bake this slightly in my book, but make sure you grease the pan and line it with parchment or it WILL stick. Also, the ingredients for this recipe very much stayed true to the original recipe but I switched up the method just a bit. 

1 cup / 175g semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
½ cup / 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large eggs
¾ cup / 150g granulated sugar
½ cup / 50g unsweetened cocoa powder (see my resource note below)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 to 2 teaspoons espresso powder or coffee extract (see resource note below)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

GLAZE (optional)
1 cup / 175g semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
½ cup / 120ml heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C. Grease an 8" cake pan or 8" spring form pan with butter, parchment and cocoa powder. So first lather the pan in butter, line the bottom (and sides if you so choose) with parchment paper, grease the parchment again with butter and then dust with cocoa powder until bottom and sides are coated. Butter + parchment + butter + cocoa = greased properly. 

Melt chocolate and butter together over very low heat until combined. Turn off your heat early, before you have all the bits melted, to ensure your chocolate doesn't get overheated. Set aside to cool. 

In an electric mixer whisk your eggs together until they become light and frothy they should look kind of like a weak bubble bath. Beat for about 5-8 minutes. (You really can't over beat your eggs here so don't worry.)

Sift cocoa through a sieve into a separate medium size bowl. Combine cocoa with sugar. 

In the cooled chocolate, slowly fold in some of your fluffy egg mixture. Then add some of your cocoa + sugar mixture (about a scant ¼ of a cup at a time) alternating the egg mixture and the cocoa mixture until combined. You should start and end with the egg mixture. 

Pour batter in prepared cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes. Cake will have formed kind of a crust on top, and very very slightly pulled away from the edges of the pan. If you insert a toothpick, it won't come out clean. This is a dense cake. King Arthur Flour suggests that the temperature inside the cake will read 200 degrees, but I found that my cake was ready to take out of the oven before it reached that exact temperature.

Let the cake cool in it's pan for another 15 minutes. If you used a spring form pan you can take it out much easier than if you use a regular cake pan. If you used an 8" cake pan (like me) you can either cut around the edges and pray that the cake will come out, or you can flip it over so the top of the cake becomes the bottom of the cake. 

If you want to make the glaze, heat cream to a simmer and pour over your chocolate. Let it sit a minute and then stir to melt and combine. Slather that goodness on top of the cake. I didn't do this, but I have had a version with the glaze and it is chocolate heaven. 

Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or milk. And maybe some fresh berries. Whatever you do, don't let your people eat this without something to counterbalance that chocolaty goodness. 

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Resources: 

I used this triple blend cocoa powder from King Arthur Flour. 

I used this all natural coffee flavoring in place of the espresso power, but I love King Arthur's espresso powder. I LOVE Nielsen Massey's coffee extract, but I've been out of it lately. All work great, with my bias leaning a little more towards the powder and the extract than the flavoring. 

Ice cream used was vanilla bean from Alden's Ice Cream and mint chip from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams