Thursday Sweets // 09.18.2014 // Ignite Lincoln!

Hey, dolls! It's Thursday, September 18 - you know what that means? Ignite Lincoln is tonight in Lincoln, Nebraska! A crew of 15 speakers will be getting up on stage at the Rococo Theatre to talk about what drives them and what passions they want to pass on to our great community. I'll be talking sweets, of course, and about Random Acts of Pastry. Want to know more? Be there tonight!

Are you going? I want to know!

Meanwhile, I'm starting a giveaway on Instagram this morning. A dozen almond-speculoos cookies! You must 'follow' Goldenrod Pastries on Instagram and add a comment, tagging two friends you will share the cookies with. That's the thing about this giveaway: it's not just for you! Let's find a way to make time in our day for each other and passing on sweet treats and other great things. Let's think beyond ourselves!

Get on over to Instagram and get to following and commenting!

Here are some fun spots from around the web this week:

If you aren't following the posts from the MAD symposium, do it now.

So stoked for this new book from Del Posto pastry chef, Brooks Headley.

Your cake didn't turn out? Want to know why? Go to this rad interactive page!

A recent all-encompassing thesis on homemade funfetti cake.

Just ordered this book North on Iceland's "new Nordic cuisine". *swooning*

Allison and Adam's Wedding Reception // Wedding Desserts

Photo Credit: Wyn Wiley

Photo Credit: Wyn Wiley

Sometimes the most exciting thing about doing wedding desserts, is the couple's vision. Adam is British, and Allison is from Lincoln. Allison and Adam were married in England (and I'm just dying over their photos by Wyn Wiley. DYING.) and wanted to have a reception in Nebraska for all of their friends and family stateside.  They said they wanted to do a small cake for cutting, then lots of little bite-sized desserts for everything else. 

Some of the amazing set-up that Allison and Adam put together. You're looking at miniature cakes and cream puffs filled with strawberry cream.

Some of the amazing set-up that Allison and Adam put together. You're looking at miniature cakes and cream puffs filled with strawberry cream.

Here was the line-up:

  • Miniature lemon tarts
  • Chocolate-dipped strawberries (both dark and white chocolate)
  • Dark chocolate truffles with walnuts and cocoa powder
  • Miniature cakes with strawberry preserves and vanilla buttercream
  • Cream puffs with strawberry cream, dipped in dark chocolate
  • 8" cake for cutting - vanilla cake with strawberry preserves and vanilla buttercream

WHOA. That list really makes it sound like a ton of stuff. 

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Miniature cakes and cutting cake.

Miniature cakes and cutting cake.

Miniature lemon tarts with berries and pistachios.

Miniature lemon tarts with berries and pistachios.

The way Allison and Adam set up the dessert table was just absolutely, 100% charming. I loved it so much. They had several tiered tea trays with antique plates. So adorable and classic. Single white rose stems in beautiful white vases. Simple navy ribbon. It was divine, you guys. The setting was out at Country Pines, just NW of Lincoln, Nebraska. It has some indoor seating, but the majority of the seating is outside, on a beautiful wood deck, with a gazebo, overlooking a vineyard. It was so beautiful! The only wild card was how chilly the weather was that day. It was unseasonably cold, but with not a cloud in the sky. 

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It was such a pleasure working with Allison and Adam. You can totally feel the love they share. I will just keep drooling over their wedding photos by the unbelievable Wyn Wiley.

CountryPines_GoldenrodPastries

Bierocks (Runzas) With Everything Toppings

My mom would never make bierocks (Runzas, duh) until the weather got cooler in the fall. I always looked forward to it and would nag her about it. Actually, I still do. But then I realized this year that I am a grown-ass woman and can probably start making my own. Don't get me wrong, hers will still always be the absolute best I've ever had.

I remember one November Sunday late afternoon, my girlfriend Holly and I were studying for a chemistry exam at the campus library. Got a text from my mom, asking if we'd want to come over for hot bierocks and chicken noodle soup. Clearly, we dropped everything and went over. Pretty sure that exam did not go well.

This is a great recipe for a lazy Sunday afternoon. If you're pressed for time, you can start the dough and make the filling, leave the dough to rise for an hour and let the filling cool, then come back to fill and bake. I put the pedal to the medal and had these done in about 2.5 hours. It was a race, though. This is a dairy-free recipe. You can use cow's milk instead of non-dairy and butter instead of oil. If you are vegetarian or vegan, use the same amounts for filling, but replace beef with seitan or mushrooms, or a mix of both!

Happy Sunday. Enjoy yourselves.

Bierocks (Runza) Recipe

Dough

2 c milk, scalded and cooled (I used almond-coconut milk)

2 pkg active dry yeast (4.5 tsp)

1/8 c sugar

2 tsp salt

2 eggs

1/2 c coconut oil, melted (or veg oil, or butter)

7-8 c all-purpose flour

Add the sugar and yeast to a large bowl with the milk. Milk should not exceed 110F. Mix around and let it sit and bubble for 5 minutes. Add in the eggs, salt, oil and mix to combine. Add in flour and mix to combine. Knead for about 5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl in a warm spot, covered with a tea towel, to double in size, about 30-45 minutes.

Filling

2 lb. ground beef

2 pkg coleslaw mix (yes, I was in a hurry and did this. you can finely grate two heads of cabbage instead)

2 yellow onions, finely chopped

lots of salt, to taste

lots of pepper, to taste

Add the onions to a big pot with a bit of oil and cook until softened. Add in the beef or alternative and cook until browned and done. Add in cabbage and seasonings and let it all cook down. This should take about 15-20 minutes. Season to taste. Set aside to cool.

Assembly

Roll out the dough to about 1/4" thick, or 1/8" if you can. Cut into 2" x 4" rectangles. You may have to split your dough in half... I did. My counter isn't big enough to do it all at once. Fill each rectangle with as much filling as possible, about 1/4 c. You want a high filling-to-dough ratio, in my option. Fold the edges around the filling and crimp shut. Put on a greased sheet pan, crimped side down. Fill your sheet pan, preheat the oven to 400F, and set the pan of bierocks on the stovetop to rise for about 20 minutes.

Continue on until all of the dough and filling is used.

Brush each bierock with an egg wash and sprinkle with the toppings you love. I love everything-topping mix. This includes: poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dry garlic, dry onion, kosher salt, fennel seed, and caraway seed. Sprinkle to your heart's content!

Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes, or until nice and golden brown. I brushed the baked bierocks with coconut oil, but my mom used salted butter and that was even better

Enjoy your Sunday!!

Thursday Sweets // 09.11.2014 // Top 10 Fall Sweets

Photo Credit: The First Mess. Make these insane dark chocolate + fig cinnamon bunz and plz tell me how deliciouz they are. Plz.

Photo Credit: The First Mess. Make these insane dark chocolate + fig cinnamon bunz and plz tell me how deliciouz they are. Plz.

It was so freaking cold in our house last night. We decided to open the windows, which was awesome, but I was in bed, in my winter pajamas, shivering. We resorted to the heavy down comforter, thank god. I woke up 30 minutes late, covered in dogs, with the covers pulled up to my eyeballs. Fall, I hope you're really here. Please don't go! 

Surprisingly, I don't actually feel like snuggling in to my house constantly. I have some really kind of otherwordly energy these days. It's exciting! And exhausting. People who know about seasons and stars and the moon and things: Is this normal?! What's happening to me?? I do, however, feel like eating and drinking comforting things. Picked up Gray Duck Chai concentrate in Minneapolis last weekend and have been enjoying a glass every morning, hot, with coconut-almond milk. So rich. So spicy. So delicious. Treated myself to an amazing bar of dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt today, too. I don't know if I "deserve it" but, like, what does that even mean anyway? We always deserve it.

I'm rambling, you guys. This extra energy is taking over. Let's get down to business.

It's fall and I know you want to eat comforting stuff. So, I did the research for you and found some awesome recipes that I'm drooling over and can't wait to try. If you try any of them, let me know how they turn out! Catch me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

  1. Vegan Cinnamon Buns With Figs + Dark Chocolate. OHMYGOD.
  2. Pumpkin Cake + Semifreddo Push-Up Pops. You can also make the ingredients separately. Duh, though.
  3. Pumpkin Cinnamon-Streusel Coffee Cake. Make someone's day with this! Take it to work!
  4. Vegan Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies. Also, make someone's day with these.
  5. I love desserts that are still a little summery right now. Like this Strawberry-Thyme Cake. Fall and bright flavors unite!
  6. Sweet Potato Waffles. This is my all-time fave waffle recipe. I make them with pumpkin puree instead of sweets and don't add cacao nibs. You can easily add a scoop of protein powder if you're into that shit. And put almond butter, fruit, nuts, and maple syrup on top!!
  7. Flourless Cherry + Almond Brownies. Sink into these babies, cuddled by the fire!
  8. Good ol' fashioned Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting. Because, if you have a mom like mine, this was your favorite thing in the world.
  9. Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread. YUP!
  10. Pumpkin Rugelach With Sage + Walnuts. Oh my lord. When can I make these?!

If you aren't drooling yet, I dunno what in the hell to tell you. Get ye to the kitchen!

Why Good Desserts Matter

We traveled to Minneapolis for a really quick weekend trip a few days ago. Left Friday at 3pm and were back in our home by 8pm on Sunday - with seven hours of driving each way. So, like, really fast. We basically ate the entire time we were there. It was amazing and so necessary. My brain is buzzing.

Brunch sweets at The Bachelor Farmer. Cardamom-almond skarpa, semla with blueberry-juniper compote and sweet corn cream, and a canel bulle

Brunch sweets at The Bachelor Farmer. Cardamom-almond skarpa, semla with blueberry-juniper compote and sweet corn cream, and a canel bulle

First thing we did when we got to Minneapolis at 10pm on Friday was to stop at The Bachelor Farmer for snacks. After several snacks, I really didn't even want to think about dessert, but my guy insisted we check it out. Being a kind of "New Norwegian Cuisine" restaurant, I knew every dessert would include cream, or crème fraîche, or buttermilk. I don't eat dairy. They did have all of those ingredients, but we went on anyway. The menu was like heaven. It spoke words like: strawberry jus // meringue-herb dust // chocolate marquise // parsley ice cream. I was fascinated. We had one dessert of a roasted peach, with a nectarine sorbet. The sorbet was likely my favorite component. The texture was so velvety. It was sublime. The roasted peach was the only time I haven't been pissed off about having just a piece of fruit as part of my dessert. We got to know our server and he gave us a second dessert, on him. It was a molded buttermilk cream, piled high with herb-meringue dust, surrounded by a pool of fresh, bright strawberry jus. I wanted to lick the plates.

Desserts at The Bachelor Farmer. From Left: Phyllo layers with creme fraiche, nectarine sorbet, roasted peach half. Buttermilk cream with herb-meringue dust, strawberry jus, and strawberry sorbet.

Desserts at The Bachelor Farmer. From Left: Phyllo layers with creme fraiche, nectarine sorbet, roasted peach half. Buttermilk cream with herb-meringue dust, strawberry jus, and strawberry sorbet.

It was the first time, in a long time, that I had been presented with an intentional dessert menu. The components were thoughtful and exciting. They made me want to have an experience. I wanted to make this late-night, exhausted meal into something really special. I indulged in a way that I rarely do. I was ecstatic. I was absolutely in a fantasy land.

I completely love where I live. I love to be near my family, my friends - I love having a home with a yard for my dogs. And I love being able to grow a business here. One thing that I don't understand, though, is the lack of intentional, thoughtful dessert menus. My guess is that chefs and restaurant managers don't want to invest the resources into this because, historically, people haven't ordered much for dessert. And those who have ordered dessert, have been happy with pre-made cheesecakes, ice cream, etc. I could be wrong with this assumption.

But, as the diner, don't we deserve more respect? Don't we deserve to be challenged? Can't we be given the opportunity to dream when we eat?!

I'm afraid that I'll get feedback saying that I am naive or that I am one, of few, that really care about this stuff. And that feedback could very well be spot on. But I ask again, don't our diners deserve to be given the opportunity for something more?

The Third Bird. Peach galette with cream, lovely shortbread, and micro basil (THE BEST PART)

The Third Bird. Peach galette with cream, lovely shortbread, and micro basil (THE BEST PART)

The creativity that we can experience through something as simple as food can ignite passion throughout our lives. We can see things in new ways; experience cultures differently; feel new textures; taste new tastes. It's extreme to think that our world would change significantly if we had better dessert menus, but just imagine the possibilities!

Imagine if the desserts changed throughout the year, with the seasons, in a way other than just a different crème brûlée flavor - or different berries on top of a piece of cheesecake. I can get stuck in a rut just as much as anyone else - but I don't realize that until I'm introduced to something new. As chefs, we are responsible for our own constant improvement and dedication to creativity. We have to force ourselves out of our comfort zones, area codes, etc. to find what is fresh. I started thinking about this after Anya von Bremzen's talk at MAD4. We must do this for ourselves and our passion, yes - but more than that, we want to create a fantasy world for our diners. We want to take them to a place, or a state of mind, that they wouldn't find otherwise. Dining is an experience. Our guests came to us for that experience.

Anything short of that is cutting our profession short. Challenging ourselves every time we are in the kitchen and every time we have a spare moment to learn - that is what's important. I get really stuck on the idea of keeping everything "local". In terms of geography and with regards to sourcing food, I think that's wonderful. When we talk about ideas? That's where I get lost. There's more to what we do than what we can mine here; and there is a lot we have to offer to our colleagues in other places. Again, don't our diners deserve this dedication?

Maybe this is extreme, you guys. Maybe I just love desserts too much. But the passion and inspiration that dessert menus provided this weekend - was nuts. Other amazing desserts were had at: The Salty Tart, Patisserie 46, The Third Bird, and Bachelor Farmer Sunday brunch

 

Thursday Sweets // 09.04.2014

It's been a great week. I took life slow, for the most part, and made a lot of intentional movements and decisions. There were so great meetings in Omaha with women who inspire and motivate me - and I'll be really excited to show you the fruits of our labor in the coming months. And I became obsessed with making vegan doughnuts. I've made so many - I can't stop. A first-time client ordered some for her family on Friday night, for Saturday morning. Her husband and young son came to pick up. Her son was about the cutest, most excited little thing I've ever seen. He couldn't stop giggling. Well, I found out later that he is dairy intolerant, so he never gets to eat doughnuts! Kid, I know the feeling!! His mom sent the sweetest photo over of him. 

Baking in general is the most rewarding thing in the world for me - but baking things for people who are intolerant to things, is the best ever. We all need to be able to eat delicious things. It's essential, I think. If we can't gather around a big cake, or share cookies with our friends - what's the point? 

Anyway, vegan doughnuts are the future. They are the present. They are everlasting!!

Here are hot and spicy and sweet and amazing things I've found:

Roasted cashews and shallots on top of a veg stew? Gimme fall now.

This giveaway with my pals over at Hello Holiday. You want this $50, trust me.

Want sangria that doesn't take itself too seriously? Make drunken gummy bears.

I swear I will finally make this in the next week. Give me fruit cake/pie.

Vegan. Toffee. Cinnamon. Oatmeal. Bars. Road-trip ready, right?!

It's fall, we need homemade black licorice. Of course.

And: Carob almond freezer fudge. Vegan. Bam.

Top 10 Kitchen Tools For Baking A Cake

Several inspired and motivated individuals have asked me recently what they need to have on hand to make a cake. First, you need a real open mind and sense of adventure. Just kidding. You just need to want cake. So, we're going to break it down right here. 

** Reminder: These are not essentials, but they will totally make the process a little easier for you.**

1. A Mixer! You don't need something fancy or expensive, but either a stand-up mixer or a hand mixer will make the job quite a bit easier, especially if you are working with butter. Almost all of my vegan cake recipes can be made without a mixer, though.

2. A Whisk! I use a whisk to mix together all of my dry ingredients, instead of sifting. Sifting was started to get out any bugs or rocks that weren't sifted out in the flour milling process. We don't really have that problem anymore, but it is nice to get all of your flour mixed together with the salt, baking powder/soda, spices, etc. Makes things easier. I am whisk-obsessed. This is my favorite!

3. Liquid Measuring Cup! This is especially useful for vegan cakes, as they usually use liquid fats. Reminder that liquid measuring cups are different than measuring cups for dry ingredients and they do measure things slightly different.

4. Dry Measuring Cups! These are important for measuring dry ingredients, like flour, sugar, cornstarch, etc.

5. Tablespoon & Teaspoon Measuring Spoons! You'll need these for salt, baking powder, baking soda, spices, etc. These aren't so essential with sugar and spices, but are pretty essential for measuring out the proper amounts of leaveners.

6. Cake Pans! Choose your shape, size, weight, etc. I am not too picky about the kind of pan I use, as I have acquired a lot of different kinds over the years. I tend to prefer really lightweight pans - the thicker, heavier ones are usually more expensive and don't cook things as quickly. Most recipes you will find, will be for 9" cakes - which you can also bake in 8" cake pans. If you want to invest in one cake pan, I'd buy a 9", or two. A three-layer 9" cake can feed about 15 people. Loaf pans are also great for informal, beautiful treats.

7. Waxed Paper or Parchment Paper! You'll regret not using this, I promise. Always make circles of one of these two kinds of paper to put in the bottom of your greased pan. You don't want to go to the effort and expense of making a cake, just to see it stick to the pan. I prefer waxed paper because it makes less crinkling noise than parchment paper. And because my mom always used it when i was growing up! Habits!

8. Nonstick spray! I've tried butter, coconut oil, vegetable oil -- really everything. I've brushed it on and used it in every way possible. And it never works as well as nonstick spray. I know it's not environmentally perfect. But I like when my cakes don't stick to the pan. 

9. Toothpicks or Skewers! You can also use a paring knife for this. Don't just assume your cake is cooked all the way through. It never works, you guys. Anything will work!

10. Spatula! This will be great for mixing, scraping the batter into your pan, and also for frosting the cake. An essential. I love the glitter spatula I have. You could also get an offset spatula if you really want to get fancy when you're frosting.

That's it! What else would you love to know about technique or baking?! I'm here to help!