Archive for June, 2014

Pipe Dream #275: To Reduce Wrinkling – Gluten-Free Chickpea Blondies

chickpea bars 3

Cracked and crinkled and occasionally containing a whole chickpea. Just another riff on all the blender bars I’ve been doing lately. They are GF, so there’s that.

chickpea bars 2

These were average, that is all. Why not make these, instead?

chickpea bars 1

To health,


Gluten-Free Chickpea Blondies

Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup pure maple syrup or honey or agave nectar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
milk or water, if needed to make the batter blendable
1/3 cup chocolate chips plus 2 tablespoons
kosher salt, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray 8×8 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. You can also line with parchment if you’re into it.

In a food processor or blender, add all ingredients except the milk and chocolate chips and process until batter is smooth. You may need to add a little bit of milk or water to make the batter blendable, but it should remain thick. Fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips.

Spread the batter evenly in prepared pan then sprinkle a few chocolate chips on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and edges are a tiny bit brown. Do not overbake. Cool pan for 20 minutes, then sprinkle with sea salt.

Pipe Dream #71: To Be More Exotic Than 4500 Miles Away From Home, Revisited – Flourless Orange Saffron Cake

saffron cake 1

Let’s revisit the word ‘exotic.’ It’s a great word. Slightly less great than ‘quixotic,’ but still. I want to be it. So I made this cake with saffron in it, because that would make me so.

Irrational. What else do you expect from me?

saffron cake 2

I thought I had never done anything like this before. You know, the whole “chuck whole oranges into a food processor and out comes a cake” thing. But then I remembered that I made this whole clementine cake ages ago, which is the same idea. Ground almonds stand in the place of flour and eggs give the cake some body. Topped with a saffron glaze, the result is an ultra-dense, moist cake, filled with punchy flavor.

saffron cake 4 saffron cake 5

Saffron is punchy and so dang exotic. It’s supposed to be expensive or something, but that might have just been in Bible times, because I’m pretty sure the saffron I used was cheap. At least, it must have been, because my dad bought, and he wouldn’t go ALL OUT on saffron.

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Because this cake is so moist, you can make it a day ahead without worrying about it getting dry. In fact, I recommend making it ahead because it will give the flavors a chance to deepen. I’m a big fan of eating bakes nearly straight from the oven, but you’ll be better served if you eat this after letting it relax for a while. Kind of like dumping a bunch of requests and inquiries on someone right after they walk in the door after work. Restraint is a better option.

saffron cake 3



Flourless Orange Saffron Cake

Adapted minimally from Serious Eats

3 seedless oranges (6 ounces each), washed, divided
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, divided
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons ( 8 ounces) granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (8 ounces) almonds, finely ground
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup honey

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9-inch springform pan with parchment and butter pan.

Place two whole oranges (unpeeled) in microwave safe bowl and cover with a paper towel. Heat on high power until oranges are very soft and liquid is beginning to pool at bottom of bowl, 6 to 8 minutes. In small bowl, stir 1 tablespoon of the juice in bottom of bowl with 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads. When oranges are cool enough to handle, slice into quarters and process in food processor until pureed.

In large bowl, whisk sugar with eggs until combined. Whisk in vanilla. Toss almonds with baking powder in small bowl and then whisk into mixture. Whisk melted butter and saffron with juice into mixture. Whisk in orange puree.

Pour into pan and bake until golden and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool 1 hour.

Zest outer peel from remaining orange and then juice orange. In small saucepan heat zest, juice, honey, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads until warm.

Invert cake onto serving plate and remove paper. Poke holes into cake with skewer and pour syrup over cake. Cool to room temperature and serve. Top with powdered sugar or whipped cream.

2 Legit 2 Quit: An Update on Those Peanut Butter Cookies

pb oat cookies

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Remember these amazing peanut butter marshmallow bars? And I swore (ahem, I promised) that I would try out this cookie dough as actual cookies?

Well, it’s happened.

Never say I didn’t follow through on my promises, guys.

These are the bomb. The bars are more the bomb, but these are still 2 Legit 2 Quit.

pb oat cookies 2


You can find the recipe here. Instead of making them into bars, just chill the dough for a bit, then roll it into balls. Bake at 350 degrees F for five minutes, flatten a bit with a spatula, then bake for another four minutes until the bottoms start to turn brown. Don’t overbake.



Pipe Dream #274: To Drop the Chicken – Pistachio Coconut Brownie Cakes

coco cakes 1

True confession intro story: I was at this weekend retreat with church once, and the food there was actually really decent compared to a lot of camp foods. Because of this, I was going up for a second brownie (they were like, seriously underbaked, which made them actually irresistible) and also a chicken drumstick. In trying to scrape off the brownie batter from the spatula to my plate, I dropped the drumstick onto the white-frosted brownies. And then picked it off and pretended like nothing happened. So someone got a little bit of gelatinous saltiness on their brownie. If it was you, I apologize, but only a little, because the whole salty-sweet thing is like, big in food right now.

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Anyway, these brownies were not the best, definitely not worth dropping your chicken over. I think I forgot the sugar in the brownies and overbaked them, so they weren’t ultra-moist, which is really a shame. Who would eat a dry brownie? Just stop talking about it. I don’t even want to hear it.

Remember when I used to do a lot more cupcakes? I guess I do muffins now, so I suppose the individually-sized ship hasn’t quite yet sailed, but I feel like I’ve drifted away from the traditional cupcake into a more sophisticated repertoire. (Or less sophisticated, as the myriad of hasty bars, brownies and weeknight drop cookies you don’t see on the blog may indicate.)

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These wickle cakes are the cutesiest thing I’ve done in an age, and they were really all too perfect for my roomie’s birthday. I would say white Marc Jacobs patent leather frosting over rustic tarte tatin any day for her.

Birthday besting,


Pistachio Coconut Brownie Cakes

Brownie recipe adapted from Top with Cinnamon

Marshmallow frosting adapted from How Sweet Eats

For the brownies:

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons/110 grams) unsalted butter
3 ounces (85 grams) unsweetened baking chocolate, roughly chopped
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Liberally sprayfour regular-size muffin tin cavities and four mini-size muffin tin cavities with baking spray.

Place the butter into a medium pot and melt over a medium heat. Continue to heat the butter until it foams up and smells nutty, then remove from the heat. Add the chocolate to the pot and whisk until all the chocolate has melted. Whisk in the honey, eggs and vanilla until homogeneous, then whisk in the dry ingredients until just combined.

Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared tins, filling each as far as you can with the batter you have. Bake for around 15 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center of the small muffins comes out clean.

Once cool, frost with marshmallow frosting (I used a half batch of this recipe) and decorate with sweetened flaked coconut and chopped pistachios.


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