Committing A #RandomActOfPastry // Get Out There And Do Something Nice

// Do you remember the last time someone went out of their way to do something nice for you? How did it make you feel? Probably great. This is a reminder that you can make other people feel that way. Any day of the week. #RandomActOfPastry //

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I can't really take credit for the idea of a Random Act of Pastry. Many people have done this before me, and many will do it again. As long as I can remember, my mom has stayed up late, and woken up early to bake cookies or coffee cake for her family, friends, colleagues, or students. Literally, she takes baked goods to her students every week of class, for the entire semester. And she insists on taking something different each time. My dad will grab a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts before he goes to some meetings. And, you know what? It's amazing what a difference it makes. The tone of the meeting or the day totally changes. People start to look forward to the meetings with either of them, because they might get a treat. Which is better than dreading a meeting in its entirety, for sure.

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So, I've always kind of done this, just because I grew up around it. Some cookies here, a cake there, coffee cake other places. It's really fun to see people get excited out of nowhere. Then, one day in the past six months, I realized that the impact could be so much greater. Leave a piece of cake or two, wrapped up, on someone's porch. Text them later to say it's there. They got so excited! Leave a miniature honey cake on a coworker's desk with a sticky note saying 'Happy Tuesday! It's honey cake.' Then she got so excited. A week later, I had incense on my desk. From another person, a few days later, I had a miniature potted succulent.

And ya wanna know what? Those gestures TOTALLY made my day. It made me want to do more. To make more people happy.

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I think when people first hear about doing something like this, committing a Random Act of Pastry, they think, "Wait, where in the world do you get the time to make this stuff? You must really have nothing to do." That's totally not the case. I just see how happy it makes people. And that's worth more to me than extra sleep. The news is shitty and hard to hear. People are mean to each other. Work can be really draining and unsatisfying. What we really have in life is each other. If we can't try to make each other happy, what are we even doing?

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Here are some key points to keep in mind with committing a Random Act Of Pastry (RAOP):

  • You don't have to use a pastry. I do, because I am baking 24/7. Try a tube of lipstick, a magazine, a handwritten letter. Just do something!
  • Who needs a RAOP? Your coworker, your friend, your sister-in-law, your frenemy, your local business owners... The list goes on and on!
  • Reminder that you don't need to wait for a special event.
  • A birthday should not go by without a celebration. Get a cake, or something to stick candles in, light the candles, and sing happy birthday. Your friend will always remember that you went out of your way to do this.
  • You do definitely, absolutely have the time to do this.

And if you don't leave anything at all, giving five minutes of your time to listen to someone and hear what they are going through goes a pretty long way, too. 

These are just some ideas. Get out there and make someone's day! I know you would love it if they did something for you.

Get in touch with me on social media - let me know what you're doing and how awesome it is! Use #RandomActOfPastry !!

 

Vegan, Gluten-Free Scones With Hibiscus Glaze

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When people ask what kind of pastries I make, I usually blabber on for probably 30 seconds, maybe a whole minute. I really need to work on my elevator speech. But, like, a 5-second version. "I do pastries that'll make you swoon." Is that good enough? Anyway, I always throw in the "vegan, gluten-free, for all dietary restrictions" line. It's not that it's false, I just feel like I haven't been doing justice to all of the restricted peeps out there! I've been making so many buttery, wheat-y, gluten-y things lately. I've been re-falling in love with the old school pastries. It's super comforting to do that stuff, but to add in the aesthetic that I've taken on recently. 

But, I need to get back to some research - specifically with gluten-free sweets. I want to be able to offer more options to my clients who can't have wheat, and I also want to add more recipes to this site. Truthfully, it's difficult to know where to start. I think my ultimate challenge will be to make a fluffy-ish vanilla cake. That is when I will know things are working.

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Until then, I need to work from what other people have learned - and develop my methods from there. Ashlae over at Oh, Ladycakes has some great recipes. I decided to try her oat scone recipe last week, to share with some gluten-intolerant friends. I tried it once, and while the texture was really awesome, there were some changes that I knew I wanted to make. Plus, I wanted them to be pink. Who am I kidding? I want everything to be pink, now that I have a container of magenta hibiscus water in my refrigerator.

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Try these. You will love 'em.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Oat Scone Recipe

(based loosely on this version from Oh, Ladycakes)

1 3/4 c gluten-free flour (I used Domata)

1/2 c oat flour

1 c rolled oats

1 tsp xanthan gum

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 c dark brown sugar

1/4 c coconut oil, melted or just spreadable

1/3 c maple syrup, or honey

1/2 c almond milk

1 tsp vanilla

vanilla sugar, optional, but decadent

Preheat your oven to 400F and prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicon mat.

Mix together the flours, oats, xanthan gum, brown sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center and add in the coconut oil, maple syrup, almond milk, and vanilla. Stir together until just combined. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and form into a circle, about 3/4" thick. Cut into eight wedges and transfer to your prepared pan, leaving about an inch between each scone.

Brush the tops of each scone with canned coconut milk, and sprinkle on a ton of vanilla sugar. Bake until the tips are turning brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely before glazing.

Hibiscus Glaze

1/4 c hibiscus water (make this by soaking dried hibiscus in room temp water)

1.5 c powdered sugar

Whisk together the hibiscus water and the powdered sugar until completely smooth. Add more of either ingredient to get the consistency you want. Spoon the glaze over the cooled scones. I topped mine with turbinado sugar, but that is totally optional.


Healthy Airline Travel // Snacks and Tips

Chunky chocolate buckwheat granola from My New Roots

Chunky chocolate buckwheat granola from My New Roots

I am en route to Germany for a few days. Aside from being away from my kitchen, the most difficult part of air travel for me is the impossible task of finding good airport food. It's expensive and makes me feel sick! On our way home from Las Vegas in May, I conceded and bought a $14 salad. From a cooler next to some magazines. The lettuce was turning brown. It was soggy. It was by far the healthiest thing I could find, and it was expensive and disgusting. 

Indulging is one of the great things about travel, but, personally, I would rather save my indulgances for the bakeries (and beer halls!) in my little German neighborhood - not for a crazy meal at the Chili's in whatever-concourse in O'Hare. Indulging, for me, includes finances and nutrients. Plus - don't even get me started on trying to find good dairy-free snacks!

Hitting a magical, magical road... in my amazing ponyhair, cheetah-print Lucky Penny boots from Hello Holiday !!!

Hitting a magical, magical road... in my amazing ponyhair, cheetah-print Lucky Penny boots from Hello Holiday !!!

I can't imagine I'm the only one who's been there - wondering what the heck they're going to eat at the airport, or how to stay satiated on a plane for 8+ hours (without eating the mysterious brown gravies). See my tips below, which include what I'm taking in my lil' backpack this week.

  1. Avoid liquids. This is a no-brainer, but security frowns upon anything from drinkable to spreadable. This includes containers of nut butters, Nutella, etc. If you want to eat these things, make them into sandwiches or wraps before you leave home. I've packed two wraps with spinach hummus, hard-boiled egg whites, and fresh red pepper - on my fave tortillas.
  2. Introduce some texture. When you are 10,000 ft. above the ground, things get a little weird. For me, my stomach usually feels like it's upside-down, my ears feel funny, and I am just generally pretty uncomfortable. Adding some fresh, raw vegetables or crunchy roasted nuts into your snack pack can make a huge difference. This time I will have fresh red peppers and some tamari-roasted almonds. And the most amazing granola, ever: Sarah Britton's chunky, chocolatey, buckwheaty goodness.
  3. Drink lots of water. This is a big one. That jet lag feeling that brings you down the day after you get somewhere? It's mostly dehydration! If you can, bring an empty (large) bottle and fill it up at water fountains, or in a bathroom. Airline staff don't often give you a whole bottle to yourself, and you need to drink more than what they will bring around. My ladyfriend Teresa of Tremendous Times introduced me to the collapsible water bottle. Do that!
  4. Bring energy-rich foods. You won't have a ton of extra space, so what you do bring should be packed with lots of good things: healthy fats, sugars, etc. Don't just bring bags of yogurt-covered raisins, or skittles. You do actually want to stay full. Trust me. I made these cookies that will surely tide me over - plus, they are really dense and make me drink a ton of water!
  5. Keep things organized. This is something I just realized is important last night. I've always packed snacks, but I've kept them all in their separate little containers, floating around my carry-on. This is ridiculous. If I want something, I don't want to be that freak who is pulling out twenty different bags. I have the separate containers of stuff, but then put them all into a gallon-size Ziploc bag. Now, I can just pull out the whole dang thing and find what I want.
  6. Plan beyond the plane. You never know what snack options you'll have at your destination. I eat lots of little meals throughout the day, so my body is used to it. If you are traveling with people who only eat three meals a day (Why would you do that? Why??), your body is going to flip out at 10am when it's ready to eat. Bring snacks during your days, on the off chance your mates don't want to stop every two hours to eat. But, like, why are you friends with those people anyway??

Here are some links that I always look to for travel food inspiration. It is basically a love letter to Sarah Britton of My New Roots. <3

Could I make whole travel MEALS? I idolize this and this.

Double-chocolate almond butter trail cookies - vegan and hearty. Great for breakfast, too!

Slices of life-changing loaf of bread at 10,000' plz. Or crackers!

Candy bars that won't make you feel like shit!

I'm not traveling with soup, but what about chickpea croutons??

Purple power salad. Imagine eating this... vs. salisbury steak, airline-style.

All my love from cruising altitude...

Thursday Sweets // 09.25.2014

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Two things I love: a good photo shoot and a great party. I was thrilled to work with Melissa of Blooms and Bouquets this week to put together a shoot and a party - in one! Her business is just blowing up and it's so exciting to watch it grow. A real inspiration in terms of ladies in business. More information to follow on this shoot, but I wanted to give you some sneak peaks.

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I woke up extra early today to make scones for my coworkers and to put together Russell's lunch. I love making lunch for him. He always packs for himself: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And that's it. I usually take two or three snacks, two items for lunch, and a couple pieces of fruit. So i met our methods halfway in the middle today with: a quark + mustard + egg sandwich, chips and salsa, and an apple. He didn't want a cookie. Go figure! 

Russell gets a lot of pastry bits and bites from me, but they are mostly never made just for him. Here are some things I want to make him that I think he would love. They really aren't vegan. Or healthy. Russell likes rich desserts. A lot. And I like him.

Beer + Brownies = love.

Nutella chocolate cake because obviously everyone will love this.

I don't eat dairy, so therefore Russell doesn't eat it very often. But he loves it. So: this.

He likes bananas and chocolate, so I figure why not do a banana cake? And, if Nigella made it...

One of my favorite blogs, that is now long gone. But I love these cinnamon rolls for love.

Strawberry + yogurt brûlée because what's sexier than cracked sugar?

Cheesecake: when you want to show you care. Russell has drooled over this when I've baked it for clients.

Ignite Lincoln Re-cap // Vegan Spiced Pumpkin Donuts

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I've been so busy lately, that I really haven't had a chance to do any new recipe testing for the past week. Sitting here, wracking my brain on what to post for you guys, I realized that what y'all really want anyway is a true fall staple, one I've been making A LOT: vegan spiced pumpkin donuts with cinnamon glaze. Was I right? Do you want this recipe?

I sorta figured you did.

Just as a sidenote: Ignite Lincoln last week was so great. I appreciate everyone who came out to support me. And to my new followers: HELLO!! I talked to everyone about how important it is to take time our of your busy day to make time for small acts of kindness, or a Random Act of Pastry. This is just what I'm calling it, because I love to give people little treats, but you can use whatever you want. A full post on this topic will be posted tomorrow. But if you've been wanting to do something nice for people, do it today! Don't wait for tomorrow's post. :-)

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Anyway, these donuts are mad delicious (what am I, from SoCal?). They are soft, sorta chewy, and just, like, totally on point with the spice level. I've been hot on baked donuts lately, but I totally understand if you want to bake these as muffins, or in a loaf pan. Literally, just make them!

Serving suggestion: Give one donut/slice of cake/muffin to a friend/coworker/frenemy/local business.

Pumpkin Donut Recipe - Yield: 12 donuts/muffins, or one loaf

Adapted from this recipe from Joy The Baker (which happened to be posted on my bday!)

1 c all-purpose flour

3/4 c whole wheat or rye flour

1 c dark brown sugar, packed

1/4 c granulated sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 allspice

8 oz pumpkin puree (1/2 of a 15 oz can)

1/2 c coconut oil

1/4 c maple syrup

1/4 c water

Preheat your oven to 375F. Grease your baked donut pan, line your muffin tin, or grease your loaf pan. Whatever suits your fancy.

Whisk together the flours, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt.

Add in all of the other ingredients (pumpkin, oil, syrup, water), and whisk just until combined.

For donuts: put about 2-3 Tbsp of batter in each mold, spreading it around evenly.

For muffins: One ice cream scoop per muffin is perfect.

Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Donuts take about 12 minutes. Muffins would take 18 minutes, and a loaf could take about an hour.

Ice these babies!

Cinnamon Icing

3 c powdered sugar

2 Tbsp cinnamon

1/4 c full-fat coconut milk

Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk until smooth, adding more powdered sugar or coconut milk to meet your desired consistency. Frost each little COOLED pumpkin treat and top with sprinkles!


Thursday Sweets // 09.18.2014 // Ignite Lincoln!

Hey, dolls! It's Thursday, September 18 - you know what that means? Ignite Lincoln is tonight in Lincoln, Nebraska! A crew of 15 speakers will be getting up on stage at the Rococo Theatre to talk about what drives them and what passions they want to pass on to our great community. I'll be talking sweets, of course, and about Random Acts of Pastry. Want to know more? Be there tonight!

Are you going? I want to know!

Meanwhile, I'm starting a giveaway on Instagram this morning. A dozen almond-speculoos cookies! You must 'follow' Goldenrod Pastries on Instagram and add a comment, tagging two friends you will share the cookies with. That's the thing about this giveaway: it's not just for you! Let's find a way to make time in our day for each other and passing on sweet treats and other great things. Let's think beyond ourselves!

Get on over to Instagram and get to following and commenting!

Here are some fun spots from around the web this week:

If you aren't following the posts from the MAD symposium, do it now.

So stoked for this new book from Del Posto pastry chef, Brooks Headley.

Your cake didn't turn out? Want to know why? Go to this rad interactive page!

A recent all-encompassing thesis on homemade funfetti cake.

Just ordered this book North on Iceland's "new Nordic cuisine". *swooning*

Allison and Adam's Wedding Reception // Wedding Desserts

Photo Credit: Wyn Wiley

Photo Credit: Wyn Wiley

Sometimes the most exciting thing about doing wedding desserts, is the couple's vision. Adam is British, and Allison is from Lincoln. Allison and Adam were married in England (and I'm just dying over their photos by Wyn Wiley. DYING.) and wanted to have a reception in Nebraska for all of their friends and family stateside.  They said they wanted to do a small cake for cutting, then lots of little bite-sized desserts for everything else. 

Some of the amazing set-up that Allison and Adam put together. You're looking at miniature cakes and cream puffs filled with strawberry cream.

Some of the amazing set-up that Allison and Adam put together. You're looking at miniature cakes and cream puffs filled with strawberry cream.

Here was the line-up:

  • Miniature lemon tarts
  • Chocolate-dipped strawberries (both dark and white chocolate)
  • Dark chocolate truffles with walnuts and cocoa powder
  • Miniature cakes with strawberry preserves and vanilla buttercream
  • Cream puffs with strawberry cream, dipped in dark chocolate
  • 8" cake for cutting - vanilla cake with strawberry preserves and vanilla buttercream

WHOA. That list really makes it sound like a ton of stuff. 

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Miniature cakes and cutting cake.

Miniature cakes and cutting cake.

Miniature lemon tarts with berries and pistachios.

Miniature lemon tarts with berries and pistachios.

The way Allison and Adam set up the dessert table was just absolutely, 100% charming. I loved it so much. They had several tiered tea trays with antique plates. So adorable and classic. Single white rose stems in beautiful white vases. Simple navy ribbon. It was divine, you guys. The setting was out at Country Pines, just NW of Lincoln, Nebraska. It has some indoor seating, but the majority of the seating is outside, on a beautiful wood deck, with a gazebo, overlooking a vineyard. It was so beautiful! The only wild card was how chilly the weather was that day. It was unseasonably cold, but with not a cloud in the sky. 

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It was such a pleasure working with Allison and Adam. You can totally feel the love they share. I will just keep drooling over their wedding photos by the unbelievable Wyn Wiley.

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