Beach Town Baking

Holiday Gift Ideas 2016

I can’t believe it’s that time of the year again. I decided to start Holiday gift shopping as soon as possible this year and spent the weekend finding fabulous and affordable gifts that I’m going to get my friends this season. I’ve gathered all my ideas and put together a list of my favorite Holiday Gift Ideas 2016.

1) Bombas Ski and Snowboard Socks

If you’ve never heard of Bombas, take note. Bombas is all about comfortable socks and paying it forward. For every pair of socks purchased, a pair is donated.  Cool, right? They also have an awesome ‘happiness guaranteed’ return policy. I’m in love with these ski and snowboard socks designed by Olympic Gold Medal snowboarder Hannah Teter. They are midweight performance socks made with high-grade merino wool. Buy a pair for your best girlfriend and while you’re at it, pick up one for yourself.

2) J.Jill Textured Wrap Scarf

092761_essThis lightweight fashionable scarf comes in 3 colors to choose from and is sold online at J.Jill. With chunky stitching and an oh so soft texture this scarf will keep you cozy through the winter months.

 

 

 

3) Kate Spade Thermal Mug

Save some paper cups this season and buy your friends this gold stripe thermal mug from Kate Spade. Made with  BPA-, phthalate-, and lead-free construction, this beautiful mug allows you to sip and savor safely. I love that the lid has an open/close feature!

 

 

4) Escali Primo Digital Kitchen Scale

I think these scales are the most reliable, economical kitchen scales around. I use them at my bakery as well as at the beach loft. They come in a variety of colors and are readily available on amazon.com.

 

 

 

5) Voluspa Spruce Cuttings Candle

This is one of my favorite candles to burn over the Holidays. I love the Spruce Cuttings scent and the two wicks. Not only is it pleasant, but it really permeates nicely throughout my loft.

 

6) Beach House Brunch cookbook

Beach House Brunch 9781510702899

Well of course I had to recommend my cookbook Beach House Brunch! It’s perfect for anytime of the year – whether you’re dreaming of warmer weather or wanting to bake up brunch favorites like Italian Sausage Casserole, Blueberry Pancakes, Omelets, and Cranbery Walnut French Toast. Purchase my book on Amazon.

Oh and while you’re on Amazon, pre-order my third cookbook Farm to Table Desserts!

 

7) Ellie Alexander’s Caught Bread Handed

I recently came across this fantastic bakeshop mystery series by author Ellie Alexander.  Ellie currently has four titles out, Meet Your Baker, A Batter of Life and Death, On Thin Icing, Caught Bread Handed, and soon to be a fifth with Fudge and Jury (January 3, 2017). The story’s protagonist is Baker Jules Capshaw. Looking for some reprieve from a busy career as a cruise ship pastry chef, Jules retreats to her hometown of Ashland, Oregon to help out at her mother’s bakery Torte. But her dream of peace and quiet quickly dissipates into a cloud of murder, mystery, drama and love.

 

8) Chewbacca Slippers with Sound

Okay, okay, I know this one’s a bit silly but gosh it’s fun. These Chewbacca slippers emit two different Wookiee roars when you walk. Stay warm and entertain your friends and family at the same time! These are available on thinkgeek.com.

 

 

9) Alex and Ani Personalized Charm Initial Bracelet

These personalized charm bracelets make such a nice gift because of their distinctive quality.  Offered by Alex and Ani, they are available in gold or silver finishes. The charms are stamped with script lettering giving the bracelet an elegant, timeless look.

 

 

10) Holiday Gingerbread Leggings by ModCloth

 

One of my favorite online clothing shops is ModCloth. I’m a big fan of all their clothes, but especially their leggings. These Holiday leggings have super cute gingerbread printed on them making them perfect Christmas morning attire. Your friends will love them!

 

 

 

Happy Holidays!

beach town baking

VEGAN CHOCOLATE BLACKOUT COOKIE

bloackout-for-blog-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most-loved treats at my bakeshop Sugar Blossom in San Clemente, CA is our Vegan Chocolate Blackout Cookie. It’s a soft, moist cookie with a slight bite thanks to a thin coat of sugar on the outside.

Ingredients such as almond milk and vegetable oil replace the slew of normal dairy and non-vegan items like butter and eggs.

The key to making our Blackout cookie outstanding is to use a high quality cocoa powder – we use a dark Valrhona cocoa. Another important step is to not overbake them, ensuring they stay moist for days.

blackout-for-blog

This recipe makes approximately 15 cookies. If that’s too much sweet for one day, place the cooled cookies in a Ziploc bag and stick them in your freezer before coating with sugar. When you’re ready to serve (or eat) them, remove the cookies from the freezer and toss them in some sugar. Let them thaw for 30 minutes before enjoying.

Enjoy!

beach town baking

VEGAN CHOCOLATE BLACKOUT COOKIES

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup cake flour (sifted)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar for coating

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sugars, oil, almond milk and vanilla on medium speed for one minute.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix on low speed until mixture comes together. Scrape bowl well.
Use a 1-oz scoop to portion out the cookie dough (it will be soft) onto a parchment lined sheet tray. You should get about 15 cookies.
Bake cookies for 8 minutes. Do not overbake. Let cool completely.
Toss cookies in sugar and serve.

 

KETTLE CORN

market-kettle-popcorn-1

market-kettle-popcorn-3With the final Presidential debate nearing, I think we all need something delicious to sweeten up the evening.

Kettle corn is a popular treat at markets and fairs across the country. Kernals of corn are cooked with oil, sugar and salt at high temperature resulting in sweet salty popcorn with a barely visible sugary crust. It’s an irresistible snack that’s delicious served warm or at room temperature.

This snack is best eaten the day it’s popped.

Enjoy!

beach town baking

 

KETTLE CORN

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup corn kernals
  • 1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Directions

Combine the kernals, oil and salt in a medium pot over high heat. When the oil begins to sizzle, sprinkle the sugar over the kernals and cover with the lid. Shake the pot frequently until all the kernals have popped, about 3 minutes.

BUTTERY ALMOND SQUARES

almond-squares-4

I have some great news. My first cookbook, Beach House Baking, has been queued up for a reprint!

I’ve been asked to create 10 delicious new recipes for the reprint to make it even bigger, badder and beachier!

These buttery almond squares have definitely made the cut, and I’m excited for all of you to try them.

almond-squares-2

They are quite easy to make and quick to bake. They keep well in an airtight container stored in the refrigerator but trust me, they won’t last very long because it’s hard to stop eating them.

While the cake bakes, you cook a butter almond sauce over the stove until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture thickens. The sauce is then poured over the warm, just-baked cake and broiled until the almond topping caramelizes to perfection.

almond-squares-1

When the cake has cooled, cut it into squares and enjoy!

beach town baking

 

 

 

 

Almond Squares

Ingredients

  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter (soft)
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13x2-inch pan and set aside.
Combine the eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, vanilla and salt in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until thick, about 2 minutes. Mix in 1 cup melted butter and 1 cup flour until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes.
Combine 1/2 cup soft butter, almonds, 1 tablespoon flour and milk in a small pot and cook over low heat. Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture thickens. Spread the mixture over the cake right after it comes out of the oven. Adjust the oven to high broil and caramelize the topping for 6 minutes, rotating every couple minutes. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

 

The perfect omelet – chive and cheddar

chive and cheddar omelette (4)

 

It’s easy to carried away by adding too many ingredients when making an omelet. I think simpler is better when it comes to omelets so the wonderful flavor of egg doesn’t get lost.

In this simple and delicious omelet, the sharp cheddar and chive complement the soft egg and showcase what an omelet is really all about.

chive and cheddar omelette (2)

This omelet is wonderfully creamy on the inside and perfectly cooked on the outside.

chive and cheddar omelette (1)

Need more egg recipes? Purchase my book Beach House Brunch: 100 delicious ways to start your long summer days on amazon here!

Hope you enjoy this recipe!

beach town baking

 

 

 

 

The perfect omelet – cheddar and chive

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter (soft)
  • 1 tablespoon chives (chopped)
  • 2 Large eggs
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar (shredded)

Directions

Warm an 8-inch saute pan over medium heat. Melt the butter in the pan. Stir in half of the chives and cook for 15 seconds.
Vigorously whisk the eggs, remaining chives, salt and pepper in a small bowl and pour into the pan. Reduce heat to low. Let eggs cook undisturbed for 3 minutes.
Use a rubber spatula to gently move any uncooked eggs on top toward the edges, where the eggs cook faster. Continue slow cooking the eggs until they're nearly dry (you want some uncooked egg left on top since it will continue cooking after you fold the omelet). Sprinkle the cheese down the center of the omelet. Gently flip a third of the egg over the cheese and then roll out onto a plate. Serve immediately.

Fig Slab Pies

white fig slab pies (1)

 

I was at the farmer’s market this weekend and came across some super gorgeous white figs that just had to be turned into a delicious summer dessert! I wanted to make something simple since I had much to do at my bakery this weekend. I decided that some open faced fig slab pies were doable and sounded delicious.

I made a simple pate brisee to use as the crust, spread honey on top and topped them with fig slices.

white fig slab pies (3)

The slab pies bake up nice and crisp making it easy to eat them with one hand.

And, they are sooooo delicious!

 

white fig slab pies (2)

Enjoy!

beach town baking

 

 

 

 

Fig Slab Pies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold and cubed)
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 6 to 7 figs ((i used white figs))
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (for sprinkling)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until butter breaks down to pea size. Add the ice water all at once and mix just until dough starts to come together. Remove from mixer and shape into a disc with your hands. Wrap with plastic and let chill 5 minutes in refrigerator.
On a floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12-inch square. Use a sharp knife to cut out six (3x5-inch) rectangles. Place on a parchment-lined sheet tray and poke holes in the dough with a fork. Use a mini offset spatula to spread the honey on the dough pieces.
Use a sharp knife to slice the figs and lay them on the dough. Sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar over each pie. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate, then 10 to 15 minutes more until golden brown on the edges.

Beach House Brunch Cookbook Press

Hi Everyone!

Just wanted to share some lovely press that came out today. My new cookbook Beach House Brunch is featured in Orange Coast Magazine on their popular Taste of O.C. blog. Click here to read the article!

Have a great day!

beach town baking

Cantaloupe Soup

cantaloupe soup (1)

It’s pretty warm here in southern California and I’ve been dreading turning on my oven to make desserts for my next cookbook Farm-to-Table Desserts. The solution? Chilled, very chilled, dessert soups!

The markets are overflowing with melons right now. There are so many types to choose from but for chilled soup my preference is cantaloupe. Its beautiful orange hue is so appetizing and its flavor is not too mild or strong for my tastebuds. Cantaloupe soup is best served chilled along with some fresh raspberries.

I like to add a little cilantro and fresh lemon juice to round out the soup’s flavor profile.

 

cantaloupe soup (3)

p.s. Don’t forget to purchase my new cookbook Beach House Brunch on Amazon here!

Enjoy!

beach town baking

 

 

 

 

Cantaloupe Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 Large cantaloupe (ripe and chilled)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (fresh)
  • 1 sprig cilantro (plus more for garnish)
  • agave to taste
  • raspberries for serving

Directions

Cut the cantaloupe in half and remove seeds. Cut the flesh into small pieces and place in a blender along with the milk and lemon juice. Tear up the cilantro leaves and add them to the blender. Puree until smooth. Add agave one teaspoon at a time until desired sweetness is reached. Strain soup and pour into bowls. Garnish with cilantro and serve with raspberries.

 

 

Chicken with Garlic and Tomatoes

chicken tomatoes

I received a boat-load of cherry tomatoes from a friend over the weekend and decided to use some in a dish I had on my mind – chicken with garlic and tomatoes. It’s super simple to make as it’s all made in a large Dutch oven. The chicken is first browned in the pot, sautéed with garlic and tomatoes, deglazed with red wine and baked for 30 minutes in the oven.

The sauce is absolutely divine. Serve it over some white rice to sop up all the delicious flavors.

Oh, next time I make this I’ll be adding some mushrooms which I think will make a nice addition.

Enjoy!

 

Chicken with Garlic and Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Large Boneless Chicken Thighs (with or without skin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 4 Large garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes (whole)
  • 1 cup red wine (I used Gascon Malbec 2014)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 rosemary sprig

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat the butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Cut the chicken into small pieces and add to the pot. Stir in the seasonings and cook until chicken is nicely browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and saute for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes. Cook for 3 more minutes.
Stir in the red wine and chicken broth. Add the rosemary, cover the pot and place in oven for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
Serve with warm rice or pasta.

beach town baking

Beach House Brunch officially out today!

Hello Beach and Food Lovers! My second cookbook Beach House Bruncis officially out today!

You can order copies online at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Beach House Brunch 9781510702899

There are 100 summer-licious brunch recipes for you to enjoy this summer. Here are some pics of the recipes in this book. Yummm!

NUTELLA POP TARTS (3)BROILED GRAPEFRUIT WITH BROWN SUGAR AND TARRAGON (3)bananasfosterpancakes (6)roastedbeetbloodymary (4) BAKED EGGS MILANESE (3) Breakfast TACOS (1) chive and cheddar omelette (2) EGGS SAN CLEMENTE (3) SOUTHWEST SCRAMBLEheirloom cherry tomato salad (1)warm cashew chicken salad (2)maple pecan waffles (6)baked prosciutto crepes (1)CRANBERRY WALNUT FRENCH TOAST (1)Cinnamon Raisin Loaf (2)sunflower and flax seed bagels

 

beach town baking

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