Being off of school and practicum for several weeks this summer has been soul-nourishing to say the least. This past year has been one of the most rigorous and challenging of my life and the lack of sleep, stress, and the dairy-free ben and jerry's addiction I developed while writing papers has taken a toll on me mentally and physically. So this summer I'm attempting to eat a little healthier and be a bit more active than I have time for while in school.
I've actually made it to yoga or class or gone for a run nearly everyday since practicum wrapped up two weeks ago. It makes me FEEL strong until I remember that I AM strong. I've also noticed that I'm not always the nicest to my body. I call it names and pick it apart for being bigger and thicker than I'd like. Then I find my way onto my yoga mat and I'm reminded of all my body does do for me. It functions miraculously well on 5 hours of sleep, it demos poses as a yoga teacher and teaches others how to be present in their bodies, it can hold plank for a solid two minutes, ride a bike everyday to get me to and from work and school, it can run 4 miles without stopping to rest, and it allows me to stay present with the suffering of others in my work as a psychologist in training. My body is the instrument through which I live my dharma.
I plan to write my dissertation on the relationship between mindfulness, self-compassion and empathy. I believe the deeper ones self-compassion the deeper their capacity for empathy. And I'm starting to think that my yoga practice, or any self-care practice for that matter, is self-compassion in action. The deeper I grow and strengthen my own roots the further my branches can extend. I'm feeling especially grateful for this time to re-connect and ground.
And now onto these scones! I had never cooked or baked or eaten fresh currants until I saw them at the farmer's market a couple weeks ago and was overtaken by their beauty. Seriously, they look fake they're so beautiful. Chocolate and berries are probably my favorite flavor combo ever so I through them in some scones. I guess you could call these healthy because they have a fairly small about of sugar and are made entirely with oat flour (hello protein) so all your gluten-free friends can enjoy, and they come together with coconut oil so they're vegan! The rich dark chocolate balances out that bright tartness from the currants beautifully.
Notes: I encourage you to make a trip to your local farmer's market, support small farms, and try to find some currants but if you can't raspberries (or any berry for that matter) would work great too!
Makes 8 scones
Adapted from: Love and Lemons
For the scones:
2.5 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup coconut (or cane) sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons chilled coconut oil
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond milk, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
1 cup fresh red currants (see notes above)
3.5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
For the glaze (optional):
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons almond milk
1 tablespoon fresh currants
In a blender/food processor, blend the oats until they've reached the consistency of flour. Measure out 2 cups and reserve the remaining oat "flour" for dusting later on. In a medium bowl whisk to combine the oat flour, coconut flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Spoon clumps of very cold, solid coconut oil into the flour mixture then use your fingers or a pastry blender to cut the coconut oil into the flour until it looks like crumbly sand with pea-sized clumps of coconut oil. In a liquid measuring cup combine 1 cup of cold almond milk and vanilla bean paste. Pour the almond milk mixture into the dough and stir to combine.
Sprinkle a work surface with reserved oat "flour" then transfer the dough onto it. Roll the dough out into a large circle and sprinkle with chocolate. Fold the dough in half and press flat so the chocolate chunks get pressed inside the scones. Flatten again and top with the currants, fold the dough in half pressing the currants inside, it's okay if some of them get smashed. Shape the dough into a flat circular disc (about 1.5 inches thick). Slice the dough into 8 pieces. Place the pieces on a parchment lined baking sheet and transfer to the freezer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Just before baking, brush the tops of the scones with the remaining 2 tablespoons of almond milk. Bake for 15-17 minutes until golden brown.
To make the glaze, blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Let the scones cool slightly then drizzle with glaze if using.
I've been a long time reader of Alexandra Stafford's blog. In fact, we probably cook from it at least once a week. So when her book, Bread Toast Crumbs came out last month, it arrived in my mailbox with not a minute to spare. I've been wanting to be the type of person who bakes my own bread for a while now but unfortunately this whole grad school thing was not allowing that to happen. This cookbook has showed me otherwise. The recipes are simple and fairly quick and make me wonder why it's taken me so long to make homemade bread on a weekly basis because fresh out of the oven it's just such a game changer.
This bread is adapted from one in her book and it teeters on the line of being borderline too decadent. Creamy chocolate ganache with bursting juicy berries swirled together in a barely sweetened loaf that's all too unassuming until you cut it open and BAM - what dreams are made of. My dreams, at least. And somehow it's dairy and egg free. I seriously don't know how that happened but it wasn't hard at all.
Of course you could go ahead and use whole milk in the dough and butter in the ganache, but I've replaced them both with coconut milk to keep that fat content and creaminess factor high. Honestly, you'd never know the difference, plus that subtle coconut smell as you're mixing up the ganache is quite intoxicating.
So maybe make this for your mother on Sunday, maybe make it for yourself and eat the whole thing in 24 hours, maybe bring it to brunch. Either way, food is love, and everyone will love you.
Makes 1 loaf
Adapted from: Bread Toast Crumbs
For the Dough:
3 cups all purpose flour (384 grams)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 cup canned coconut milk
1/2 cup boiling water + 1/4 cup room temp water
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
a knob of vegan butter* for greasing the pan
For the Filling:
3.5 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1/4 cup canned coconut milk
2 tablespooons powdered sugar
1 scant cup of berries (I used strawberries + raspberries)
Make the dough. In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Whisk to combine. In a small bowl, combine the coconut milk and water (both boiling & room temp). Pour the wet ingredients into the dry followed by the coconut oil. Use a rubber spatula to mix everything until it forms a cohesive dough. Cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
While the dough is rising make the ganache. Place the chocolate and coconut milk in a double boiler over simmering water. Stir constantly until the chocolate begins to milk, then stir in the powdered sugar. Keep stirring until the chocolate has melted completely. Remove form heat and set aside to cool completely.
Grease a standard 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan generously with vegan butter. Once the dough has risen de-flat it with a fork and transfer it to a heavily floured work surface. With floured hands shape the dough into a ball (it should be very covered in flour at this point) and let sit for 20 minutes uncovered. Gentle shape the dough into a 10 x 15 inch rectangle (using either your hands or a rolling pin). Make sure you have plenty of flour underneath your rectangle so it doesn't stick to the surface. Spread the ganache all over the top of the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch margin on all sides. Top with berries. Roll the bread from short end to short end into a thick 10 inch log, seam side down. Take a deep breath (you've got this!) and transfer it your buttered loaf pan.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F, while you let the dough rise for about 10 minutes until it just begins to crown the rim of the pan. Cook the bread for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden and firm. Remove from the pan and turn onto its side to cool (I let it rest on 1 side for 10 minutes then the other side for 10 minutes) before cutting into it!
These are my favorite christmas cinnamon rolls adapted for summer. We made rhubarb compound butter last week and now I'm putting it to good use! The light coconut cream frosting and strawberry rhubarb filling makes these buns perfect for early summer!
Notes: Dough can be made ahead of time. Let it rise fully (2 hours, plus 20 minutes) then cover and refrigerate up to about 3 days. The rhubarb butter and frosting can also be made up to 3 days in advance.
Makes about 15
Adapted from: Flourishing Foodie
For the dough:
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon cane sugar
1/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup bread flour
2 tablespoons cane sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup water
For the filling:
1 cup rhubarb compound butter, softened
1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled & diced
1 tablespoon arrowroot (or cornstarch)
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1 small lemon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
For the frosting:
1 batch coconut lemon frosting
In the bowl of a stand mixer proof the yeast with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 cup of warmed water. Set aside, after about 5 minutes the yeast should look puffy and bloomed.
In a medium bowl, mix together both flours, remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl mix together the melted butter, egg and vanilla. Add 3/4 cup of water and the butter mixture to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Then with the stand mixer on low slowly add the flour mixture until the dough because integrated and sticks to the sides of the bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl, with heavily floured hands knead it into a ball then place in a well oiled bowl in a warm area, covered for two hours.
Meanwhile, prepare the rhubarb butter and lemon coconut frosting if you haven't already. After two hours, punch the dough down then let sit for 20 additional minutes.
Prepare the filling by tossing all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.
On a well floured work space roll the dough out into a large rectangle (about 14 X 18 inches). Carefully spread on the rhubarb butter. Drain any liquid from the strawberry mixture then top the rhubarb butter with strawberries. Starting from the long end begin to roll the dough up into a tube. Carefully cut the tube into 15-16 equally thick rolls and place cut side down in an oiled 8x13 inch baking dish (I ran out of space and placed the last one in a ramekin). Let sit for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400. Position one rack in the middle the second rack on the lowest rung. Fill a baking dish with water and place it on the low rack. Place the cinnamon rolls on the rack above and cook for 25 - 35 minutes until lightly browned and a skewer comes out clean.
Top with frosting and enjoy!