Tag Archives: baking

From Baking Overdose to Sweet Salvation

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An orange and a coconut walk into a bar….

Hahaha, apologies for the bad dad joke. I just couldn’t resist. My humor isn’t as sharp as usual – I’ve been a baking machine over the last few weeks and it’s left me a little delusional. The cause for my baking overdose? Well, a good friend and I just launched Jo&Jo – an LA-based florist/bakery partnership. Like any new project, it’s a ton of fun but there’s a lot of growing pains so we’re learning a lot along the way. Between catering a baptism for a very popular baby and getting all of our Mother’s Day packages out, I’ve been a brownie/cookie/muffin machine and consequential social hermit. Let’s just say that my oven and I are getting pretty intimate, which isn’t really how I pictured my mid-twenties.

Furthermore, baking the same recipes over and over again is putting a definite damper in my baking swag. My tried and trues are definitely that, but I miss the experimentation and the well-deserved / much anticipated bliss earned from the first bite of a new recipe. And then I made these glorious guys:

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Suddenly, my baking mojo was back! Using no recipes, no cookbooks – just me, my appliances and what was left in the fridge. Hey, it was more romantic than it’s sounds. And h-o-l-y lord strike me down if these golden squares of creamy heaven on earth aren’t the most delicious take on the cheesecake an orange could ask for. They’re even making me religious!

Enjoy my friends!

Orange Coconut Cheesecake Bars

Crust:
1.25 cup flour
.25 cup white sugar
.25 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
.25 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

Cheesecake:
2 packs cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 orange (zest and juice)
1 egg
1.5 tsp corn starch
1 tsp vanilla
.5 tsp cardamom
1 cup coconut
.25 tsp salt

Grease an 8×8 pan. Preheat oven to 350.

Make the crust. Combine coconut oil, butter, egg and sugars and beat on high until soft and creamy. Mix in flour and salt until combined. Add vanilla. Pat down mixture into pan and bake for 10-15 mins or until slightly golden brown.

Make the filling. Mix cream cheese, sugar, corn starch, orange zest/juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Add coconut and salt and mix until just combined. Pour mixture over the crust and bake for 55-60 mins or until a toothpick comes out (relatively) clean. Cool completely and then chill in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours before serving. Then, devour.

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Pretzels for 2014

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I know it’s February and I should stop wishing people “Happy New Year!” and that I desperately, desperately need to drop those Christmas Thank You notes in the mail. I sincerely do apologize to 2014 for dragging my feet, but what is it about this year that has just not quite yet felt like an appropriate fresh start? I can’t be the only one feeling this way. January in Los Angeles typically consists of packed gyms (lots of neon Lululemon to break in), juice cleanses (both master and minor) and strictly regimented dental hygiene upkeep (what – flossing isn’t at the top of your resolution list??) Maybe it’s just me, but none of that has felt appropriate yet. There’s usually a newness in the air that is optimistically cutting through the city smog, but this year it’s felt like we’ve had to push, pull, heave-ho, pray, manhandle and pray again just to get the ball rolling. The crap from 2013 just will not be left behind!

With all the work to clean up last year’s atrocities, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve allowed many things to fall by the wayside to make time for important activities such as sleep and meal eating. Sometimes life gets ahead of you, and you’re forced to run to catch up. It happens.

So last weekend, I made a point to step off the hamster wheel and regain some sanity with a good long run, a little baking, some good wine, and some great friends. It was just what I needed.

Simultaneously, something called “The Superbowl” ignited Pinterest boards and food blogs across America with posts of snack stadiums (here’s my personal favorite), wing recipes and odes the infamous nipple slip of ’04. Also quite popular this year were recipes for soft pretzels, so I thought I’d have a go.

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I decided to try a batch of cinnamon raisin pretzels as well, since that was my go-to flavor at Auntie Ann’s back in my mall rat heyday. (I was a frequent buyer at the Santa Monica Place circa 1995) The pretzels turned out great! All were gobbled up within two days – and I swear not just by me.

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Sometimes it just makes sense to stop and bake!

Soft Pretzels

Recipe from here. See additional video tutorial here.