A week or so ago I asked my Instagram friends if they wanted a recipe for peach upside-down cake, so you can thank them for this one!

We've been buying Colorado peaches by the box (I love peach season!!), which I've used as an excuse to add peaches to everything. Peach scones, peach salsa, peaches on pancakes, and just ... peaches. Fresh and oh-so juicy, straight out of the box. YUM.

Then I came across a recipe for peach upside-down cake from Alton Brown. Anyone else love his cooking show? One of my sisters introduced me years ago, but I just rediscovered it thanks to Netflix. I love that he breaks down the reasoning behind why recipes work. So nerdy (in the best way).

But back to the cake.

Alton shared a recipe for his peach upside-down cake, and I was thrilled by the idea of baking INDIVIDUAL-SIZED CAKES IN RAMEKINS.

(I'm sorry about the caps, but it feels necessary. The excitement I felt was definitely caps-worthy.)

Ramekins - those hand-sized little baking dishes - have a special place in my baker's heart. We own a set of four - a hand-me-down gift - but until now I hadn't baked in them. I was waiting for the right recipe. [cue angels singing about peach cake]

There's just something about cake made in a tiny dish for one person. It's like a limited edition book cover or a pop up shop: ephemeral and delicious (because, cake!).

Alton's recipe looked like a good place to start, but there were a few things I wanted to play with. I wanted to use oat flour because it works best for me, and skip the butter. I also wanted to reduce the sweetener, and see if I could use curdled non-dairy milk instead of buttermilk.

So I baked and ate (oh, how I suffer in the name of research) and I baked some more until I had the magic combination. I found that coconut oil worked not only as a substitute, but an improvement. Beyond adding that coconut oil richness, it caramelized the coconut palm sugar to perfection.

But the absolute best improvement is the fresh-grated ginger, which makes each cake explode with flavor.

Please don't skip the ginger. It. Is. Amazing.

All of my experimenting paid off. Not only is this cake gluten-free and vegan, it is also DELICIOUS. It tastes like summer.

Juicy peaches with rich coconut sugar. Dense oat-flour cake with just the right amount of sweetness. Pure YUM.

And then I put ice cream on it. [that sound you hear? that's me cackling]

SWOOOOOON.

Vanilla ice cream (vegan if needed), coconut cream or whipped cream - anything creamy - will take this recipe from amazing to insane. (You've been warned.)

I hope you try it.

Peach upside-down cake { vegan, gluten-free }

Makes 4 cakes (6-oz ramekins)

Adapted from Alton Brown

Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 tsp coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 peaches, peeled
  • 1" fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 1/2 ounces oat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Directions

Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

Prepare the peaches: First, peel them. Put each peach in boiling water for 20 seconds, then move to an ice bath for 20 seconds. The peel will rub off. Next, cut the peaches in half and remove the pit. Slice each half into even pieces (about 6). Set aside.

Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Divide 2 Tbsp of coconut oil between the four ramekins (about 1 1/2 tsp per ramekin). Sprinkle 1 tsp of coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar) in each ramekin, coating the bottom of each dish. Place the peach slices on top of the sugar (each ramekin will get about a half peach). Grate ginger onto the peaches, dividing evenly among the ramekins.

Prepare vegan buttermilk (curdled non-dairy milk) by mixing non-dairy milk with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Set aside for 1-2 minutes, or until milk is curdled. Once curdled, add vanilla extract and granulated sugar. Mix well, then add remaining 1 Tbsp of coconut oil.

In a separate bowl, whisk together oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add wet mixture to dry and stir only until combined (you don't want to over mix - lumps are okay).

Pour batter over the peaches, dividing evenly among the four ramekins.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes. Run a knife along the edge of each ramekin, then overturn each cake onto a plate. It will be hot, so use a towel or oven mitt. Serve warm, and add coconut cream, whipped cream, or your favorite vanilla ice cream for complete deliciousness.

Enjoy!

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If you try this recipe (which would make my day), tell me about it! Tag me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and include my shiny new hashtag: #bridgideats. I would love, love, love to see your photos and hear what you think!

Now it's your turn: Have you been baking with seasonal produce? What's in season where you live?

P.S. See all of my recipes.

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Welcome to my first Novel and a Nibble collection!

Since I love sharing posts about recipes and books, I thought I'd combine the two and share my favorite reads with a quick review and a recipe. And because alliteration is awesome, I'm calling it Novel and a Nibble. ;)

THE BURNING SKY by Sherry Thomas // Tea Cookies

Let's start with THE BURNING SKY by Sherry Thomas, the first book in my new favorite high fantasy series. It's about a young magic-wielding girl who realizes her powers are greater than she ever knew - and that some very dangerous people are after her. The magical world building is deliciously complex -- which I loved -- but the part where the heroine has to pass for an Eton school boy won my heart. The school boy antics are spot on, and I loved seeing the heroine navigate the dark and dangerous magical world, then have to learn how to exude boyish confidence and pass for a saavy cricket player. So. Much. Fun.

There's adventure, romance, and political intrigue; it's a rich, satisfying read, and the perfect story to go with some tea and cookies. Even better: tea cookies! These Orange and Black Tea Cookies from Food For My Family look perfect, and they made me think of how the younger Eton boys prepared tea for the older Eton boys in THE BURNING SKY. Tea time, anyone?

DEFY by Sarah B. Larson // Açai Smoothie Bowl

DEFY by Sarah B. Larson is the story of Alexa Hollen: a girl who disguises herself as a boy in a world where it's dangerous to be a woman -- a deceit made even more complicated because she is an elite soldier on the prince's guard. When Alexa's secret begins to unravel, she has to learn what it might mean to be herself, while trying to survive changing relationships and a world with treachery, sorcery, and an evil king.

Part of what I enjoyed most about this story was the setting. I haven't read many (any?) high fantasy novels set in or near a tropical place, and I loved that the characters spoke of eating things like mango. I can almost picture Alexa going for this recipe for an açai smoothie bowl from Rosalie Ruardy. I know I would. :)

STRAY by Elissa Sussman // Cinnamon Rolls

STRAY is like a fantastical take on THE HANDMAIDEN'S TALE. It is set in a world where women train to be the best princesses they can be and using magic is wicked. The main character, Aislinn, tries to be a good princess, but she can't control her wicked magic.

When she's exposed, she's sentenced to be a fairy godmother. Fairy godmothers are in charge of keeping princesses in line, and are required to swaddle themselves in nun-like habits. Aislinn tries to be a good fairy godmother, but that proves to be far more challenging than she expected. And... you'll have to read the book to find out what happens to her!

Aislinn tends to cook when she needs to think through things, and the descriptions of her cinnamon bread made me drool. I think this book would be perfect with a stack of these cinnamon rolls from Petite Allergy Treats. I might need to re-read STRAY so that I have an excuse to make them!


I'd love your input: Would you like to see more Novel and a Nibble pairings? Jump in the comments and let me know what you think!

P.S. These peach scones would also be an excellent tea-time treat. :)

These scones were inspired by Isa Moskowitz's scone recipe in her Isa Does It cookbook. I loved the recipe, but I didn't love the way I felt after eating whole wheat flour.

So! I made it my mission to try out a variety of scone recipes to find one that was delicious and gluten-free.

This recipe is the result.

The only problem with these scones is that they are TOO good. And I'm not even a little sorry. :)

They are made with wholesome ingredients (like oat flour, juicy peaches, coconut oil, and fresh ginger). They are also drop scones, and are therefore really, really easy to make. And they are perfect. Rich and crumbly, with bright bursts of peach juice, and a touch of ginger. (Are you getting hungry yet?) ;)

If you can't get your hands on fresh peaches, then you could try your favorite berry. I made them with blueberries and that was insanely good! But peaches ... These scones are just perfect with peaches.

Coconut oil gives them that rich and buttery texture, and it's really easy to work with. You can use either melted coconut oil or chilled coconut oil, but I liked the texture best when I used chilled coconut oil. Since the room temperature is hot enough to melt coconut oil right now, I put the amount I needed into a glass tupperware, froze it for 15 minutes, then cubed it. Worked like a charm!

I am so, so excited for you to try these.

Perhaps some Saturday morning scones with your coffee?

Or an scone with tea Sunday afternoon?

Sounds just about right to me...

Peach-ginger oat scones { vegan, gluten-free }

Makes about 14, 1/4 cup-sized scones

Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup (166 grams) unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1" fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 cups (333 grams) oat flour (how to make oat flour)
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (72 grams) coconut palm sugar (or granulated sugar of your choice), plus a little extra for dusting the scones
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, chilled
  • 2 cups (~300 grams) fresh peaches, chopped
Directions

First, make sure your coconut oil is chilled. If your coconut oil is liquid at room temperature, pour it into a container and put it into the freezer for 15-20 minutes or until solid. Cut into cubes to make it easier to incorporate into the batter later.

Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or grease lightly.

In a small bowl, mix together applesauce and vanilla. Add grated ginger and combine. Set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add chilled coconut oil. Using a pastry blender or two butter knives, cut the oil into the flour mixture until the texture becomes crumbly. Add wet mixture to dry, and stir gently to combine (in other words: don't over do it!).

Scoop batter onto baking sheet using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, leaving about an inch between the scones. Place pieces of peach on top of each scone, and press gently to make sure they're secure. Dust tops of scones lightly with sugar.

Bake for 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes. Move to a wire rack to cool completely - they will be crumbly, so I'd recommend using a spatula. You can also eat them while they are hot. Because yum.

Enjoy!

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Something new: If you try my recipe and share it online, use the hashtag #bridgideats. It'll help me find your post, and it will also make me ridiculously happy! Tag me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook - where ever you share.

I can't wait to see your scones! (Okay. That sounds weird. But you get the idea. Um, right?) ;)

I'd love to know your favorite scone flavor. Strawberry scones? Black currant? Is there such a thing as a chocolate scone?! Jump in the comments & let me know which flavor of scone has your heart.

P.S. Want to get an email when I share a new recipe? Sign up for my recipe-specific email list!

P.P.S Learn how to make your own oat flour from rolled oats!

Oats are amazing. According to the Whole Grains Council, oats help lower bad cholesterol, control blood pressure, increase appetite-control horomones, and even improve our immune systems! More oats for everyone!

But having oatmeal for breakfast every day can get a bit boring. Which is why lately I've been branching out from my baked oatmeal, and have started experimenting with using oat flour in my favorite breakfast recipes.

During the next few weeks, I'll share a few of the successes, including recipes for pancakes, cookies, and scones. (Yes, SCONES.) All made with oat flour. All delicious ways to start the day. (Yesssssss!)

(Pssst! If you don't want to miss a recipe, subscribe here. You'll get an email when I post a new recipe!)

And - even better - you can make your own oat flour at home.

How do you do it? For every cup of oat flour, take one cup of rolled oats, and either blend it in a high-powered blender or process it in a food processor. It takes a minute or less in a high-powered blender, and 2-3 minutes in a food processor.

Seriously simple.

Oat flour

Ingredients
  • 1 cup rolled oats, gluten-free if needed
Directions

Place rolled oats in a high-powered blender or food processor. Blend or process until oats reach a flour-like consistency (dusty, no large pieces of oat). Takes approximately 30-60 seconds in a high-powered blender, and 2-3 minutes in a food processor. You may need to sift the oat flour to get a completely flour-like consistency.

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I'd love to know - how do you use oats? Is there an oat recipe you'd love to see? Let me know in the comments below!

P.S. I have a new recipe-specific email list. If you'd like to receive an email each time I share a new recipe, subscribe here. Thank you for your support & interest!

Summer Reading Challenge update

Posted on July 24 2015 in reading

I'm participating in the YA Buccaneers Summer Reading Challenge. Interested? You can join in at any time. Learn more here.

Eight books in, and seven to go!

Let's start with my pick for "Book by your favorite author" - which I took some liberty with by choosing CONVICTION (by fellow YA Buccaneer Kelly Loy Gilbert). It's Kelly's first book, but since she's a favorite person of mine, I figured it counts. ;)

I loved CONVICTION. Kelly writes beautifully, with poetic descriptions and little details that paint such vivid pictures. She also knows how to weave a seriously intense story. I was surprised by so many things up to the very last page, and each surprise felt like an emotional roller coaster. It is SUCH a good book.

I think this would be a great one to recommend to older teen boys, and also to adults who don't usually read YA. You can learn more about CONVICTION here.

Next I read IT WAS ME ALL ALONG, a memoir by Andie Mitchell for my non-fiction pick. I first discovered Andie through her TED Talk. After hearing her speak about self acceptance, eating disorders, and her life (and love of food!), I added her book to my to-read list. I'm very glad I did! I couldn't help but be moved by her story. It's a difficult subject matter, but she has a hopeful, positive tone, and a lot of love and forgiveness.

Another new favorite? CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein. I haven't read a really good historical fiction novel in a LONG time, and this one blew me away. It's set in England (and thereabouts) during WWII, and it's the story of two women: a spy who is caught by Nazis, and her friend, a female pilot. (Are you already itching to read this book?) Unique, vivid story-telling. Fantastic writing. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and made me laugh (which is very surprising considering the gravity of the subject matter). Highly recomended!

BEWARE THE WILD by Natalie C. Parker wins for best atmosphere. It's a Southern Gothic (think: Louisiana swamps, southern drawls, humidty) and is a downright creepy story about a swamp creature who spirits people away. Beautiful descriptive writing and a spooky story that will keep you turning pages (just leave the lights on). I loved it.

For my freebie, I chose HEROES ARE MY WEAKNESS by Susan Elizabeth Philips. I haven't read one of her romances in a very long time, and I forgot how much I enjoy her books. This story felt like a tongue-in-cheek ode to Victorian Gothic novels (think: Jane Eyre), but had unique, varied twists and details and a contemporary feel (for example, the book starts with the heroine talking to her puppets). A good choice if you're looking for a romance, but want something different. It's fun, well-written, and delightfully complicated.

Here's my full update:

  1. Banned Book

  2. Set During the Summer [BEWARE THE WILD by Natalie C. Parker]

  3. Historical Novel [CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein]

  4. Book with a Diverse Main Character

  5. Adapted into a Movie [GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn]

  6. Published Your Grad Year

  7. Book By Your Fave Author [CONVICTION by Kelly Loy Gilbert]

  8. Freebie! Book of Your Choice [HEROES ARE MY WEAKNESS by Susan Elizabeth Philips]

  9. Graphic Novel

  10. Road Trip Book [TRUST THE FOCUS by Megan Erickson]

  11. Translated From Another Language

  12. Rory Gilmore Book

  13. Book You Own But Haven't Read

  14. Set On a Different Continent currently reading THE EMERALD ATLAS by John Stevens

  15. Non-Fiction/Writing/Craft [IT WAS ME ALL ALONG by Andie Mitchell]

I'd love to hear what you've been reading. Anything you'd recommend? I'm particularly interested in finding books for the categories I haven't hit yet ... So let me know if you have a suggestion!

P.S. You can find more of my book reviews on Goodreads!