Cacao Nib Shortbread

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“Cold weather days
made of warm weather wishes
a cake baked with ice cream
rich and delicious
a sky lit with lavender
clouds full of promise
a chance to be someone
both open and honest.”

– Dallas Clayton

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1 cup unsalted butter, room temp

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup cacao nibs

extra sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In the a bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar. Add in vanilla and mix. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Add cocoa nibs. Turn out on floured surface and knead just until combined. Form dough into two discs, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 mins. On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter or cup to cut out circles. Dust each cookie with additional sugar and place on parchment lined sheet pan. Bake for about 15 mins until the edges start to brown. Allow to cool and enjoy!

7th Times a Charm Granola

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In less than five days, I will be officially graduating from pastry school. It’s bittersweet, but I have a strong feeling that this is only the beginning. There were good days and bad days, boil overs, fires, flops and also some pretty magnificent pastries. This recipe for granola is a reminder that persistence is key. There will be hard days where it may be tempting to give up, but if at first you don’t succeed (and then fail five more times), try, try again.

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275 grams oats
25 grams rice krispies
42 grams maple syrup
57 grams Lyle’s golden syrup
55 grams olive oil
65 grams brown sugar
zest of 2 oranges
2 grams ground cinnamon
1 gram nutmeg
1 gram ginger
1 gram salt
1 gram black pepper
80 grams walnuts and pecans
80 grams dried cinnamon apples and craisins

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine everything except the nuts and fruits. Spread onto parchment lined sheet pans and bake without stirring until golden brown and crisp. Cool. Break into shards and mix in nuts and fruits.

Note: Candy the nuts to make them extra beautiful and delicious!


Greek Yogurt with Citrus and Chia Seeds

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One of the most valuable things I’ve learned interning at Chez Panisse is the value of cooking with the best seasonal produce. Alice Waters’ favorite thing on the Chez Panisse dessert menu is a bowl of fruit. That’s it, just a bowl of the best, most beautiful organic fruit. Right now we’re serving tiny orange kishu mandarins that peel like a dream and sweet barhi dates that simply melt in the mouth. Another one of Alice’s favorites is the galette. There is always a galette on the cafe menu and right now, the feature galette is adorned with a fan of pink lady apples. It’s finished with a glaze made from apple cider and all the left over cores and peels. The crust is coated in a sprinkling of sugar and torched, creating a beautiful golden caramelization. It’s served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, of course!

There is also always one chocolate option on the menu because EVERYONE loves chocolate. Seriously, chocolate items are almost always the last listed on the menu at any restaurant you go to because otherwise people would just stopping reading as soon as they saw the chocolate option. Sometimes at Chez P, we serve chocolate custard or chocolate cake and often times there is a bowl of two scoops of ice cream with chocolate sauce and a chocolate wafer cookie. It’s pretty irresistible and I will admit that I used to be one of those people that always went for the chocolate item, but now that I know “zuppa di frutta” is a fancy name for a bowl of mimosa topped with sorbet, I am much more likely to think outside the chocolate.

The rest of the winter menu is focused on citrus. Huckleberries are one of the only berries that are in season this time of year, so citrus becomes the star! I’ve supremed more blood oranges in the past few weeks than I can count. There’s also candied peel, slices of lemon confit, candied kumquat, tangerine sherbet, and many more vibrant, tangy pieces of fruit to choose from. The Chez Panisse way is simple and elegant. The focus is solely on using the best ingredients and making them the star, not too much tampering, just nature’s gift in all it’s beautiful glory.

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-dollop of plain greek yogurt

-drizzle of honey

-sprinkle of chia seeds

-segments of 1 blood orange

Combine and enjoy!

Texas Sheet Cake

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetChocolate cake, eaten with a fork, straight out of the pan, makes me happy. I don’t know much, but I do know that! There are times in life (and in baking) when it is well worth it to put in effort and push yourself and there are times when you just want to throw something together and call it a day (and eat it straight out of the damn pan) and that’s okay. We can’t always be as organized and motivated as we might like because sometimes you have to give yourself a break. If you couldn’t tell, I’m feeling rather exhausted, physically and mentally. I’ve been working full time as an intern at the iconic Berkeley restaurant, Chez Panisse! It’s beautiful and inspiring and delicious and lovely… and exhausting and very trying at times. I have been putting so much energy and effort into showing up everyday. I’m trying so hard to do my best and put aside all my anxiety, so I can take as much as possible out of this opportunity. So, when I come home from a long day or have a day off here and there, I just want to take a deep breathe, crank some tunes, turn on the heater, and maybe eat some cake. On one such day, I came across this recipe for an easy chocolate sheet cake from Lady and Pups! Besides the fact that her photography is stunning and that her blog embodies my current life crises, the cake itself is a dream come true! I’m not quite sure what Marie Antoinette was on about (I don’t think the sentiment of her statement was quite as nice as us bakers might hope), but let me eat cake, dammit!!!

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“Perhaps some day I’ll crawl back home, beaten, defeated. But not as long as I can make stories out of my heartbreak, beauty out of sorrow.” -Sylvia Plath

RECIPE: Lady and Pups 


Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

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So, I’m moving this week. I’m excited! I’m nervous. I’m all mixed up about it because everything is changing in a big way and I’m not sure if I’m ready. I feel like I’m being pulled in two opposite directions. There are things/people/places here that I’m not ready to give up and there are others I am grateful to escape. There is so much promise in a fresh start, but there is also the fear that things won’t work out the way I’ve hoped and planned. Part of me wants to give up on everything old, to clean the slate completely, because there is so much sadness and heartbreak left for me in this place. The other part of me doesn’t want to let it go.

It’s just that I’m starting this new life and it’s become apparent that I’m not sure what I want out of it yet. Social media makes it hard not to notice what everyone else my age is doing. I’ve seen everything on my instagram feed this week from a girl I know traveling around Cambodia and Vietnam to another girl my age holding her 8 months pregnant belly with her ring adorned hand. I try not to compare myself to other people, but I do a pretty horrible job of it. It’s just that I don’t know where I fall between these two extremes. I don’t know if I’m at a place in my life where I could pack up and leave everything to travel around the world in hopes of finding myself and I certainly don’t think I’m ready for a family or a commitment as significant as a husband and a baby. A dog is already a lot to handle.

Being in the middle feels a little mundane when everyone’s talking about bucket lists and living your life to the fullest and ceasing the day. But honestly, bucket lists just make me anxious. Like who wants this list of things looming over their head yelling, “Hurry up! Gotta jump out of a plane and walk the great wall of china before you die!” I don’t need that kind of pressure! It’s hard enough for me to check things off the list of errands I need to run this week. I just don’t think doing crazy exciting things is necessarily how I’m going to “find myself”. I don’t have anything against travelling (or babies for that matter). I’m just not ready to put either of those things on any kind of list.

But where does that leave me? I like to think that there is some kind of beauty in just letting life take you away. Of course, you have to work hard to get the things you want, but what if you work hard and get something you never thought you wanted. What if you spend years trying to nurture a relationship only to have it fall apart. What if you follow a dream and it turns out that it’s nothing like you imagined. Oh well, that’s life. I’m riding on things working out and they will work out in one way or another, but there is no way of predicting exactly how.

So, perhaps the goal is to embrace the ride, to be fervently committed but never too attached. Things fall apart, but they also fall together. My life is like this ongoing coming of age story, very cliche, very real. Anyways, a bunch of bananas got a little too ripe so I made some banana bread because why not! Also, summer is cool when you get to eat cupcakes and drink beer and lattes with your friends.

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Baked by Rachel

Five Heart Home

The Food Librarian

Strawberry Tart

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” – Jack Kerouac 

RECIPE: (adapted from Dessert First Girl and Ina Garten)


1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Stir until combined. Add flour and stir until just combined. Press dough into bottom of tart pan and up the sides. Bake until golden brown, approximately 30 mins. Allow to cool.


1 bar good dark chocolate (aprox. 65%)

Melt chocolate in double boiler. Pour and spread over bottom of crust. Allow to cool.

Pastry Cream:

5 egg yolks, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

3 T corn starch

1 1/2 cups scalded milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 T unsalted butter

In a mixer or food processor, mix eggs and sugar on high for 3 mins. Add starch on slow (or pulse). With the mixer/processor still running, add milk. Transfer to saucepan. Stir on medium heat with a wooden spoon until mixture starts to thicken and bubble. Continue stirring vigorously with a whisk. Once the cream has thickened, stir in vanilla and butter. (If there are lots of lumps and bumps you can press it through a sieve). Refrigerate until cold. Pour over chocolate coated crust.


1 pint of strawberries sliced 

Slice strawberries and place around tart starting from the outer crust and working towards the middle. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. ENJOY!

Cinnamon Toast

Here’s to jumping in the pool on the count of three and playing video games and getting pushed on the swings. Here’s to eating hamburgers and fries for dinner every night and singing in the car and walking on the beach. Here’s to making cinnamon toast and eating it on the floor of a tiny apartment overstuffed with people and dogs and things. Here’s to spending our days with the ones we love. Here’s to staying young.

Recipe: (Tips from I Am A Food Blog)

2 T butter

2 T sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 thick slices fresh sourdough bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter, sugar & cinnamon. Spread on bread slices. Bake until brown & bubbly. Allow to cool. Enjoy!

Honey Lavender Cookies

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetLavender makes me think of my mom. She has always been a source of calmness in my life. A few months ago she gave my a little bottle of lavender oil to carry around so I could put a little on anytime I’m feeling anxious. Scent is also a good way to plant yourself in reality when you’re having trouble being present in the moment. I made my mom these cookies for Mother’s Day a couple years ago and I made them this week for my boyfriend’s mom because she has been so sweet in welcoming me and my pup into her home. Moms are precious. Mine has taught me so much and for that I am forever grateful. Here are a few little valuable lessons I’ve learned from my mom:

Cut your losses and move on. You can’t get too caught up in trying to make up for your past mistakes. Sometimes the best thing to do is just move forward.

Breathe. I’ve suffered from pretty bad anxiety all my life and one of the most valuable tools my mom has given me are simple breathing exercises to help get through a panic attack. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s always a good idea to take a step back and just breathe.

Actions speak louder than words. This one’s pretty standard but very important. My mom has seen me go through incredible heartbreak. In a relationship, it is not enough to say nice things. You have to treat each other with love and respect through your actions as well.

Exercise. It will make you happier and healthier. I’m pretty bad about being consistent with this one but I have really good intentions!

Don’t borrow trouble. This one is pretty big for me because I worry a lot about pretty much everything. However, there is really no point in worrying about things that haven’t even happened yet or things that are out of your control.

Cherish the little things. Treat yourself. Take your dog for a walk. Drink a latte. Read a good book. The little things will bring you the most happiness.

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Recipe (from My Fancy Pantry)

1/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp honey

1/2 cup butter (room temp)

1 1/2 tsp lavender buds (roughly chopped)

1 large egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup plus

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

Cream butter, sugar and honey. Mix in the egg, vanilla and lavender. Add flour and salt. Stir dry ingredients until just combined. Don’t over stir. Form the dough into a log on parchment paper or plastic wrap and freeze for about 30 mins. Cut into roughly 1/2 inch circles. Bake at 350 degrees F for 7-10 mins. Keep an eye on them. They’re ready when the edges are just slightly browned. Enjoy!

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

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“These are the kind of dreams that show you you’re not doing so well, that you haven’t accepted what you thought you’d accepted, that you’re a mess, lying there like you’ve been hit by a bus, your heart and mind standing over you tutting and trying to figure out what even happened, never mind fixing it.” -Helen Oyeyemi

It seems like every time I brag that I’m doing great, the next second I find myself crumpled up and hopeless like a piece of paper tossed away. I listed off, to my mom on the phone a couple weeks back, all the ways I’ve grown and matured in the past four years. I am more grounded than I was. Taking care of Honey has shown me that I’m capable of being responsible for another being and how much I love animals and being in nature. And honestly I like having a reason to be home. I have let go of the ties that were pulling me back to places I am done with and I have found a group of people that I love in the place I am now. But less than 24 hours after telling her all these things, I found myself crying like a five year old. I don’t remember what about anymore, most likely a combination of the stress of school and the uncertainty of what comes after. The point is, even when we grow, we falter. And it seems more and more that maturity is less about avoiding the inevitable meltdowns and more about getting through them in a way that makes us better, more aware of ourselves, more humbled by our existence.

Even the meltdowns come with revelations, little reminders that being alive is scary and that’s okay. They show us what we really care about achieving and who we want to share this time in our lives with. And it’s okay to stutter or misstep. It’s part of the process of knowing yourself and carving out your own little path that feels right. All that being said, it’s Spring now and for the most part I’m really very happy. I can tell I will feel nostalgic for this time in my life. It’s like I feel this longing for my current moment. It’s not a bad place to be. I’m present and happy to be here. Admittedly, I am worried about the big changes that are coming. But I’m making strides towards some exciting steps (pastry school!!). And yes there will be time for idling, time for little mess ups and miscommunications and tears, but it’s all part of the process.

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in an another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells constellations.” -Anais Nin

(A quote taken from my favorite Happyolks)

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Recipe from another favorite Joy the Baker:

– 1/2 cup unsalted butter

– 1 cup granulated sugar

– 1 large egg

– 1 tsp vanilla extract

– 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

– 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

– 1/2 tsp baking powder

– 1/2 tsp baking soda

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 6 oz chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together room temperature (or slightly softened) butter and sugar. Stir in egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and stir together until just combined. Add chocolate chips. Final stir! Roll up heaping tablespoons of dough and place on parchment lined baking sheet a couple inches apart. Bake 11-12 mins. Do not over bake! Enjoy

New Year (Chocolate Chip Scones Again)

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In every moment we our faced with choices. And with those choices come the the ability to change. To be a little kinder. To live a little lighter despite the fear that lightness will cause us to drift away all together. To love a little more. Selflessly. Without the expectation of getting anything in return but with the intention of spreading love and compassion with those around us even when we don’t have control over the uncertainty of our own lives.

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Happy 2015 my loves! I hope the new year is a breath of fresh air and truly magical for you all.

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Now how about a cup of Earl Grey and a fresh baked chocolate chip scone!

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