Grilled Plum And Almond Turnovers

My best friend sent me a picture of challah she was grilling this weekend. Camped out at a cabin in Maine, their power was out, so what did she do? She frickin' grilled challah. Love that lady.

The absolute cutest plum-harvester ever. Only problem was, she just wanted to eat everything she harvested! <3

The absolute cutest plum-harvester ever. Only problem was, she just wanted to eat everything she harvested! <3

So then I'm thinking, wondering, why I wasn't grilling pastries. As luck would have it, our awesome buddies invited us to pick plums from the tree in their front yard. This is one thing I love about Nebraska - we just find fruit trees in our front yards! Happened to me last year, when my girlfriend noticed I had peaches growing in my yard. Shows you how intimate I am with our property... We picked so many plums. The plum-tree owners ended up with five gallons, we took a full shopping bag, another friend was there picking, and the tree was still full when we were done. Awesome plum bounty, y'all. 

With the combo of fresh plums, and wanting to grill something, the world was my dang oyster. I ended up doing little turnovers with almond cream and plums. Pretty lush! I wanted them to taste kind of charcoal-y, but they didn't - not this time. Wondering about smoking some sweets next time, which I know is not a new thing, but I need to try it out on my Nebraska frontier.

Newbie Tips For Grilling Pastries:

  • Don't put the pastry directly on the grill - unless you want it to get charred and you watch it really carefully. Put a brick on the grate, then the pan you're cooking on. This is a tip from my challah-grilling BFF.
  • If there's sugar in what you're cookin', grease the pan or whatever you're cookin' on! The sugar is going to seep out and and it's going to caramelize. God forbid your pastries get stuck!
  • Put the lid on. You want 'em to cook all the way around, so let 'em cook! Stay close, though, and check them often.
  • It's not the end of the world if you have to finish whatever you're making in the oven. 

Hints For Making These Cutie Turnovers:

  • Use the pastry dough recipe and the almond cream from this recipe. But add 1 tsp cinnamon to the dough.
  • Roll the dough to about 1/8" thick and cut 3" x 3" squares.
  • Spread almond cream across the square, leaving about 1/2" around the edges. Brush that space with egg wash.
  • Pile in a few plums or peaches or cherries, whatever you have! Sprinkle the fruit with turbinado sugar. Fold the dough diagonally over the fruit, makin' a little triangle. 
  • Brush the tops with egg wash, sprinkle with more turbinado sugar. Throw them on a foil-lined pan and put that on top of the brick of your grill that's ready to go. Cover them and check back every five minutes until golden brown and bubbly!
  • P.S. You can also bake these in a 375F oven for about 30 minutes.

Dairy-Free 7-Grain Muffins And Pancakes

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Good morning, everyone!

I'll keep this short, because you have Sunday morning baking to do. Seems like a lot of people love to have their weekend tradition of getting up and making something really special for their people. With this recipe, you have the option of either muffins or pancakes! Backstory: I made them as muffins and decided they would make awesome pancakes. And they do!

Be warned, this is hearty fare. The recipe is heavy on the grain, light on the sugar. The outsides of either muffin or pancake version get really crispy and wonderful. Coconut oil on the muffins, maple syrup on the pancakes!

This is a dairy-free recipe as is, but I'm sure you could make it vegan with a little flax egg.

Recipe

1 1/3 c non-dairy milk

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 egg

1/4 cup veg or coconut oil

1/4 c brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 c whole wheat flour

1 1/2 c 7-grain cereal blend

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

 1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3 tsp turbinado sugar

fruit

Add the vinegar to the milk and let it sit to curdle. Mix in the egg, oil, brown sugar, and vanilla with the milk. Mix all dry ingredients together, minus the turbinado sugar and fruit. Mix everything together with a whisk until just combined.

For Muffins: Pre-heat the oven to 420F. I used a cast iron pan for some, and a muffin tin for others. For the cast iron pan, preheat it in the oven for ten minutes, then grease it. Put 2 Tbsp batter in the bottom of the pan, then some fruit with a sprinkle of turbinado sugar, then put more batter on top. For muffin tins, line 'em, fill the cups half full, do the same with the sugar, and more batter on top. Bake until brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 10 minutes.

For Pancakes: Add about 2 Tbsp extra flour to the mix. Heat up a griddle and grease it. This batter makes about ten pancakes. I sliced a banana over the pancakes once they were on the griddle, before you flip them. Top with walnuts and maple syrup.

Enjoy these sweet treats! I know we have.

 

Community Supported Pastries!!

// This is SO exciting!! //

One of my main life goals is to increase the number of pastries in your life! Not because I simply want to drum up business for myself, but because I believe it greatly contributes to a person’s quality of life. Pastries help me come up with reasons to celebrate events and people that I wouldn’t normally celebrate. They help me apologize for small things - yes a little something sweet can go a very long way! And I can make someone’s day just a little better by dropping off a slice of cake or a cookie on their porch, desk, etc.  And it’s so easy to thank someone for everything they’ve done for you by sharing a brownie.

My friend Steve brought over slices of dairy-free strawberry cake a couple of weeks ago and it totally made my heart melt. To have someone take time out of their busy life to package up a sweet for me and bring it over is amazing. It felt so unusual and special! This wasn’t just any cake, though - his wife and 2-year-old daughter made it. And it was all strawberry. And it was pink. AND DAIRY-FREE.

In the hopes of spreading the love like my friends did for me, and to get sweets in the hands of more people, I’m starting a Community Supported Pastry (CSP) program!! If that term seems really bonkers to you, it’s based on the idea of Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA. Community members buy into a farm and receive a share of farm goods on a weekly basis. Because I have yet to figure out the logistics of a pastry farm (working on this), Community Shared Pastries will work a little differently than the traditional CSA program.

If you are new to Goldenrod Pastries and wonder what in the hell I even bake, poke around the site a bit, and be sure to visit my Instagram and Facebook pages. I post much more frequently about what I'm making to social media, so take a peek around!

Here are the details for the Goldenrod Pastries CSP Program:

August is the first month of the program. For now, I am accepting one person per week. Dates are based on a first come, first serve basis.

Please send an e-mail to angela.garbacz@gmail.com to place your order!

  • Your order will get you a pastry to serve at least six people one time per month on a predetermined date.
    • Want the perk of choosing? You pay $48/month.
    • Open to some flexibility? I'll choose the date and you pay $40/month.
  • You can register for two months at a time - they do not need to be consecutive months, but the months must be selected upon registration.
  • Got allergies? Please specify all allergies upon registration.
  • All allergy notifications will be taken into account, but otherwise I choose the pastry! You can be sure this will be seasonal in the ingredients and technique - and will include locally produced products whenever possible.
  • Payment is accepted as cash or check, and must be received one week before you are scheduled to receive your pastry.
  • For now, this is only being offered to people in the Lincoln and Omaha area.

  • Pick-up will be at my home in South Lincoln. Want your pastry delivered to Omaha? Add a $15 delivery charge.

I am so incredibly excited to offer this to you! I cannot wait for you to receive pastries and share them with your friends (or sit in your bed and treat yourself)!

Planning Your Wedding Cake: Setting Up Your Dessert Display

Now you’ve decided what you want to serve and chosen your vendor based on consultations and a tasting. Now the goal is to make all of your beautiful desserts mesh with your style and the design choices you’ve made for the rest of your day.

Cookie bowls from last weekend's wedding with Lovestru.ck.

Cookie bowls from last weekend's wedding with Lovestru.ck.

If you haven’t already done this, start a Pinterest board for your wedding. This board doesn’t have to include only wedding pictures, but should draw from all areas of inspiration. I love gold so much, and was completely obsessed with having gold and other sparkly and shiny things everywhere. We had also made an effort to feature local farmers and their food, which should have more of an earthy feel. Our wedding designer, Candace of Lovestru.ck Weddings + Events, figured out how to make it all work. But everything started with mood boards, based on my Pinterest boards. I took inspiration from sites like 100 Layer Cake, Style Me Pretty, and Rock n Roll Bride.

Elements that can make your dessert table POP!

·      Beautiful linens. This can be anything from oatmeal-colored linen, to blinding gold sparkles. You don’t have to use what your venue provides – take a tour around your fabric store to see what’s there! You can order or rent from local vendors, or make your own! Just be sure you know the correct dimensions of your dessert table.

·      Assorted plates and cake stands. Visit places like antique stores, Ikea, Target, TJ Maxx, or check with rental companies in your area. They are all bound to have a wide variety of options. Having more than one type of plates and stands for your desserts or cakes gives people something to look at.

·      Varied textures and colors. Choose linens and dishware that give the eye something to enjoy. Wood has become more and more popular lately – I did a wedding cake last year where we used a cross section of a tree for the cake stand. Look at marbles and granites, wood, porcelain, clear glass, opaque, and in any color that fits with your wedding.

·      Different heights and weights. We cannot choose favorites here! I love varying the heights of cake stands and plates. If you only have access to trays, make it work! Stack books or anything with height, then cover with some cloth before putting the tray on top. Look for tall stands if you can, and items that are closer to the tabletop.

·      Flowers and foliage. Work with your florist to choose some special blooms to work with your display. He or she might suggest twigs, berries, bouquets, single flowers – let the professional do what they do best. Make sure to clue in this person to your Pinterest and mood boards.

 

Now that you’ve put so much work into this awesome display, be sure that your photographer knows to take amazing photos. You will want to remember it forever!

Visit my introduction post to learn all about this series. FYI: I use the term “wedding cake” very loosely here and believe that it covers the whole range or your options.


Birthdays And The Creative Process! Dairy-Free Zucchini Cake With Cashews

The process for creating is often really pieced together and loose. You take a little bit of this, a little bit of that, throw in a bit of your personal style, personal taste, and see what happens. My creative process and personal style and taste is always evolving. Going from baking at a clubhouse where desserts had to be large and fit the median taste of everyone, to my town's first French bakery where I laminated dough for days on end, to NYC where I was trained in the ultimate classic French sweets - and working on the edge of new culinary technology. I've done a lot of jumping around. This means I get to pull from everywhere for my inspiration and use a myriad of techniques.

What is really special about this process now, I think, is that I decide to take a regional, seasonal classic, like zucchini cake, and zuzz it up. I get to execute the techniques as well as I know how and mix together unusual flavors. There is no such thing as a simple pastry. Everything can be heightened and made to be just as close to ideal as possible.

My friend's birthday cake had to be all of these things. She owns Branched Oak Farm and is an incredibly accomplished cheesemaker and businesswoman. She and her team are focused on staying connected to the land they farm, while implementing the best technology for personal and agricultural sustainability. Russell and I both made cheese with Krista for extended periods of time. It's amazing to hear how she has worked to streamline her process, both in the cheese plant, and with the business. 

I wanted her cake to have a strong connection to the land, but also be very fresh and modern. This is a zucchini cake with cashew meal, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger - and cashew praline. Seriously to die for. The zucchini and eggs came from local farmers, as did the little thistles I used for the middle. 

This cake speaks well to my current aesthetic, and one that I think is very fun and relevant. Plus, it'll be so fun for you to make to show off to your friends! Zucchini cake can get a bad reputation, but you can't taste the stuff, really, but you end up with green flecks all throughout the cake - which I personally think is frickin' rad.

Note: I did use a quark cheese icing for this cake, but you can very easily make an icing with powdered sugar, vanilla, and non-dairy milk. I used quark because it was made by Krista and an important homage for her.

Zucchini Cake 

3 eggs

1 3/4 c sugar

1 cup oil - I used half olive oil, half vegetable

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 c nut flour - I used cashew, but feel free to use what's on hand

2 c all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp ground ginger

2 1/2 c grated zucchini

Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease a 10-cup bundt pan with, dust with sugar, and tap out any excess. Be sure you grease the pan very well. If the sugar doesn't stick in some spots, you'll know it isn't greased well. Go back and get those missed spots!

Add the eggs and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat well with a whisk attachment for 3 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Drizzle in the oil with the mixer still running, until completely combined. This does need to be a homogenous mixture, so take your time. 

Whisk together all dry ingredients and add into the wet. Mix well. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the nuts and the zucchini. Pour into the prepared bundt pan and bake for about 30-40 mins, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Flip onto a cooling rack after two minutes to cool completely.

Candied Cashews

1/2 c roasted, whole cashews

1/2 c light brown sugar

1/2 c granulated sugar

1 Tbsp non-dairy butter

1 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine the brown sugar and the granulated sugar, plus 1/3 c water in a saucepan. Cook on medium-high heat until a candy thermometer reaches 270F. Add in the nondairy butter (remove from heat) and stir 'til melted. Add in the cashews and stir around. This will crystallize, and that is good! I love the mouthfeel. Pour onto a greased sheet pan, or a silicon mat. Sprinkle with the spices while still warm.

Assembly

Cake + any kind of icing you like (I used 1/4 c quark, 3 Tbsp non-dairy milk, beet food coloring) + crumbled up candied cashews on top! Enjoy this spread love!

Passion, Uncertainty, and Passionate Uncertainty

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The worst part of being passionate about something is the uncertainty and fear that comes with it. When you care about something so much, the fear and uncertainty quadruples. I've always told people that I'm not competitive - but when it comes to baking, I lose my shit. I want to be the best and I want to work toward my best. If I can't, or don't think I will, I feel totally trapped. When I feel professionally threatened, my first instinct is to get nasty and competitive. Lately, I'm trying so hard to manifest kindness and collaborative instincts. My friend Elisabeth always reminds me that "there are never too many good ideas" and that "the world can only get better with more good ideas". She is my safe place for voicing insecurities and nasty thoughts. We talk each other down and remind one another that "She is never the enemy."

Maybe it's just me, you guys, but it seems like we are raised to be competitive with other women and to get nasty with each other. Is that changing? The more we realize the strengths we each have and see that there's room for all of us At The Top, what can't we achieve? 

This was on my mind all weekend and I wanted to put it out in the universe for everyone. Do you feel this way? Do you see the tides changing?

Elisabeth also introduced me to this article by Molly Lambert that totally changed my way of thinking.

Befriend The Other Woman: Always. Seriously. Even if she sucks... Otherwise you will be “jokingly” put into competition with her constantly, and you will be encouraged and generally provoked by some dudes to do this for their entertainment to take focus off the fact that they are in homosocial competition with each other. Befriend her and press your boobs against the glass ceiling together... She is not the enemy. She is never your enemy. The enemy is always any guys who are creating situations that limit the number of females allowed. Get them in the crosshairs and take them down.
— Molly Lambert

What are your thoughts on this? I'd love to hear 'em! Love you guys, and I promise we'll be back to pastries again tomorrow. 

Audrey + Luke // Wedding Cake!

Finished cake!

Finished cake!

Audrey and Luke were one of the most fun couples I've worked with. They had tasted my pastries at a wedding last summer and asked me to do work for their wedding shortly after! We coordinated most things through e-mail, and finally met for some day-of coordination work. Oh my goodness, you guys. Audrey and her mom did all of their flower ordering and arranging - and her mom was even making the bridesmaid dresses. She showed me a photo of them at our meeting and I was just floored. I wish I could have seen them all in person!

These two were so stoked for cake that we went through lots of options for their tasting. I believe they ended up trying seven different flavor combinations - that is definitely a record! They whittled down their favorites to four. Luke chose German chocolate for his groom's cake. They selected the following for their tiered cake:

  • Vanilla cake with raspberry preserves
  • Vanilla cake with homemade peach preserves (we're talkin' fresh peaches with brown sugar + lemon)
  • Lemon cake with homemade blueberry preserves
Peach + brown sugar + lemon -- the BEST peach preserves.

Peach + brown sugar + lemon -- the BEST peach preserves.

Luke is from Texas, so he requested I put the state seal on top of the cake. I don't get a lot of requests like this from customers, so this was a challenge, and I was so pleased with the result! Everything was covered in vanilla buttercream with a rustic finish. I used the flowers Audrey and her mother selected for on-site styling. The cake sat on custom-cut wooden pieces with a light color. 

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I absolutely loved how this cake turned out. The whole vibe for this wedding felt like a million bucks. My good friend was running the catering and coordination, so I just knew the rest of the night was going to be amazing.

Congratulations, Audrey and Luke! Thank you for letting me be a part of your wedding celebration.