Goop

The other day, I got an email from Ward’s aunt, Mary.

She’s a chef, and a magnificent one at that. She even has her own book out! It’s called Throw A Great Party and has some seriously amazing tips.

Anyway, she emailed me this:

I obviously had to try it!

With only three ingredients, it was no hassle. I put one part of each into a measuring cup… I know it’s not super attractive here, but, bear with me.

I whipped it all together and it became a thick-ish, light beige paste. I’m so excited to use this when I bake next!

Thank you, Aunt Mary!!

Sweetly,

Simona

Coconut Granola

Happy Sunday!

It’s a cold and foggy day in San Francisco and while I was thinking about the week ahead, I decided to whip up a batch of coconut granola. In my effort to eat healthier, I’ve also been focussing on actually eating breakfast and making breakfast as healthy as possible. Most important meal of the day, right?

This recipe only had a few steps and not too many ingredients so it was perfect for in between my Sunday plans.

I placed the honey, maple syrup, coconut oil, pumpkin seeds, vanilla, dried coconut, rolled oats and sunflower seeds into a bowl and mixed it all together.


I spread the mixture out on a baking sheet and put it in the oven for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, I added the cranberries and coconut flakes then put in back in to bake for another 15 minutes.

Once it was cooled, I put it into mason jars for tomorrow’s breakfast! I took a test bite and it is super yummy! I love the chew of the cranberries every so often and the coconut makes it refreshing and sweet.

Sweetly,

Simona

Heavenly Chocolate Cake

Chocolate!

Chocolate cake!

Chocolate birthday cake!

Not everyone knows that I’m a baker in training and when they find out, it’s a big surprise and sometimes when they find out they want me to bake for them! That’s what happened when Jade’s dog walker’s discovered my Sweetly, Simona Instagram account.

Jade is lucky enough to have an amazing dog walker, Andrew, who’s girlfriend, Scarlett also walks dogs & has taken care of Jade many times. Scarlett discovered my baking account right around the corner from Andrew’s birthday so, she asked me to make a very chocolatey cake!

I chose the Heavenly Chocolate cake recipe from the Mary Berry cookbook.

For this cake, I decided to use a springform pan. I did this mostly because of the fact that the recipe specifically called for a deep cake dish. The springform pan was the deepest I had and I figured springform couldn’t hurt! I cut a piece of parchment paper to put at the bottom of the pan and sprayed the inside of the pan with coconut cooking spray.

I was really excited because I got to use my baking scale!

I then had to melt chocolate with butter. I didn’t have the right sized bowl to fit over the pot of boiling water so I placed a colander at the top of the pot and put the bowl of chocolate inside that. It may have been unconventional, but it worked!

 

I put the chocolate aside to cool and mixed the egg yolks and sugar until they were a light yellow color and fluffy.

Once the chocolate was cooled, I poured it into the fluffed egg and sugar mixture and carefully mixed it together. I used the gentle folding technique that I learned at my Sur La Table cooking classes and tried my best to go as slowly as possible.

Once combined, I added the flour and ground almonds and again, gently folded together.

In my stand mixer, I beat the egg whites until they were “stiff but not dry”. Honestly, I wasn’t entirely sure what that meant, but beat the eggs until they could form a peak but still had moisture. That seemed about right. I added it to the batter and stirred together carefully. I poured the batter into the pan and put it into the oven for 50 minutes.

After 50 minutes, the cake was perfectly well done and smelled so chocolatey! The original plan had been to make this cake twice that night. I was going to make the birthday one for Scarlett & Andrew and another for Ward/the office. However, when the cake came out, it was much thinner than Mary Berry’s. So, the second cake ended up being my second layer for Scarlett & Andrew’s cake. It was meant to be!

I let the cakes cool for a long time, wrapped in Saran Wrap, in the fridge. As everyone knows, I have very little patience with cooling baked goods, so I made a point of getting these out of my sight for multiple hours while they chilled.

At some point in the cooling process I made the frosting.

I melted the butter in a pan and then added the cocoa powder and milk.

Once combined, I sifted the powdered sugar into the mixture.

Right off the bat, I knew I would have to make more frosting. There were two reasons for this. The first being that I knew right away that there wasn’t enough. Secondly though, I didn’t like how it looked and it was super thick. I decided that this first round would be my base coat on the cake and that I’d make a second bath for the top coat.

 

I didn’t have time to photograph the making of the second batch of frosting but it came out much thinner and lighter. Phew! I covered the first layer with this new frosting and then added sprinkles because…. birthday cake!

I obviously didn’t get to take a bite of this, but Scarlett & Andrew both said that it was super tasty and that they ate the whole thing in just a few days! Yes!

Sweetly,

Simona

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Brownies

My family and I have decided to seriously start eating well and working out.

So you can imagine how hard baking around that has been. I’ve done a good amount of research and I’m going to be integrating healthy (or rather, healthier) baked goods into what I do. Don’t worry though, there will still be a good amount of good ol’ fashioned baked goods with full sugar and real flour!

For my first attempt at a healthy dessert, I decide to try these Paleo Chocolate Covered Strawberry Brownies.

I had to buy some special ingredients for this (like coconut sugar and almond flour) but it looked like a pretty simple recipe.

I started by lining a cake pan (how is it that I still don’t own a square brownie pan??) with tin foil and then sprayed it with cooking spray (my favorite is this coconut spray).

In a large bowl, I combined the coconut oil, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, and salt and microwaved it in bursts of 30 seconds. Once the coconut oil was melted enough, I stirred it all together to combine and to ensure the coconut sugar was dissolved. Once it was all combined, I added the eggs and vanilla and stirred again.

Once combined, I added the almond flour and stirred until it was no longer  visible.

I poured the batter into the prepared pan and placed it in the oven to bake for 23 minutes.

While the brownies baked, I made the chocolate sauce by combining cocoa powder, coconut oil and maple syrup.

It took a few times to get the baking time right. I took it out at 23 minutes and it was still under cooked. The coconut oil was bubbling around the sides. I put it in for another 3 minutes and it still wasn’t done. Three final minutes and it was done…mostly. A little gooey but when has that ever been a bad thing in brownies? I took it out and let it cool. ALL THE WAY.

Once cooled, I sprinkle the diced strawberries over the brownies. The chocolate sauce was ready at that point and I poured it over the strawberries. From the description of the recipe, it sounded like the sauce was much more “liquidy”. Mine was thick so when I poured it over the strawberries I had to mix them together instead of it just filling in all around them.

I stuck the brownies in the fridge for an hour for the chocolate sauce to harden a bit.

After an hour, I took the brownies out of the fridge and the chocolate had hardened. Photogenically, they did not come out super nicely but I cut in and took a big bite.

The brownies were very rich, super chocolatey and the strawberries added a nice, refreshing end note. If anyone was wondering, or watching their food intake, according to the Weight Watchers website, these are only 7 points per brownie and 100% paleo compliant – woohoo!

Maybe healthier desserts aren’t really that bad! Yum!

Sweetly,

Simona