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.
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.
When the cake has cooled, cut it into squares and enjoy!
One of the key ingredients and garnishes of my Pina Colada Cupcakes is toasted coconut. I figured that before I share my cupcake recipe, I’d first show you how to toast coconut so that you’ll have it on hand for your cupcakes later. Why toast coconut? Well, because it crisps up really nicely and can add interesting texture to your baked goods. Also, toasting the coconut brings out a richer, nuttier flavor that adds depth to both savory and sweet dishes. Try toasting a batch of coconut and garnishing it on top of your meals!
There are two widely used methods out there for toasting coconut: stovetop and oven. When I bake at the beach house, I prefer to use the stovetop method because more than likely I only need to toast a small amount of coconut. Plus, I’ll have much more control over how far I want to toast the coconut.
How to Toast Coconut:
The elephants are here!
Come visit Dana Point (where I live!) and you can spot incredible hand-painted elephant statues scattered throughout the city as part of the Elephant Parade, an open-air art exhibition created to bring awareness to the plight of the Asian elephant. The Elephant Parade is the major fundraiser for the Asian Elephant Foundation, a grassroots organization founded in 2006 by father and son Marc and Mike Spits to help shed light on the heartbreaking situation of Asian elephants, whose populations are on the verge of extinction due to poaching. They also suffer from habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation.
Dana Point has the honor of being the first American city to host the Elephant Parade, which has previously visited London, Amsterdam, Singapore and Milan. I took a trip down to the beautiful Ritz-Carlton near my house to see the elephants being exhibited there. There were so many beautiful, unique and colorful elephant statues– the artists did an amazing tribute to these giant beauties, and I know their efforts will do these elephants justice in the world.
Some interesting facts about Asian elephants:
Contrary to the larger African elephants, Asian elephants are domesticated.
Asian elephants have small ears, a long trunk and thick, gray skin.
They inhabit India and Southeast Asia including Sumatra and Borneo.
While there, I couldn’t help but enjoy some food and cocktails at the outdoor 180 Blu patio bar at the Ritz-Carlton. Enjoying the beautiful sunset at the rooftop lounge was the perfect ending to the day. If you have the chance, I highly recommend coming down to Dana Point to see the Elephant Parade!
It’s a beautiful 75 degrees and sunny here in San Clemente, CA, a sure sign that it’s officially SUMMER! Yipee! Happy First Day of Summer, everyone! I’m going to celebrate this day by spending my afternoon at the beach and listening to some classic rock n’ roll, and then daydreaming about new sweet treats to add in my cookbook. What will you be doing?
Hello readers! It’s been a hectic season to say the least. In between ramping up for my new cookbook —Beach Town Baking—while also juggling Sugar Blossom Bake Shop (the original Beach Town bakery!), I have to remind myself to find time to breathe. So, I finally broke away from the kitchen last weekend to take advantage of the holiday. My getaway of choice? Naturally, I wanted to do something at or near a beach, so I settled upon a hike at Solstice Canyon Trail in Malibu.
Solstice Canyon is one of my favorite local hiking destinations. It is incredibly picturesque, offering gorgeous ocean and canyon views and other treasures like rock outcroppings, the old Roberts Family Ranch ruins (more on this later) and even a waterfall and some waterholes, making it a great hike for kids and families. Remember to bring plenty of water though, as there’s an exposed dirt trail in the beginning with a pretty steep incline.
Once you arrive at the trailhead, you can choose from two paths: the flat paved road, or the stone steps climbing up the canyon. I prefer the latter, so I can get the hard stuff out of the way first. Kinda like saving the dessert for last, just sayin’!
After a good mile into the trail you will run into the Roberts Family mansion ruins. Fred Roberts, a grocery store magnate, built his family’s home in Solstice Canyon in the 1950s and called it “Tropical Terrace.” Sadly, the stone and wood mansion succumbed to a fire in 1982, and in 1988 the National Park Service declared what was left of the house, along with Solstice Canyon, a public park. It’s really neat to hike along the ridgeline above the canyon and then all of sudden see the ruins down below, which, from an aerial point of view, look like a life-sized blueprint of the original mansion!
From here, take the flat paved fire road back to the trailhead. It’s a peaceful walk back along a small creek, and on any given day you are bound to run into a lot of dogs and their owners.
All in all, it was a perfect weekend for a hike. I feel so lucky to be in proximity to so many beautiful beach cities where I can escape to and find solace virtually whenever I need. What a blessing! Through my beach-inspired confections, I hope to share with my readers all around the world that same feeling of escapism that I love so much.
Until next time,