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After our loved-up dinner of Cioppino, I was compelled to further spoil my fella with the following super indulgent (and super Valentine’s Day appropriate) dessert! A raspberry & dark chocolate tart…

Started out by making a lil’ chocolate cookie crust. Couldn’t find these surprisingly elusive “chocolate wafer cookies”, so I resorted to using the sexiest of children’s cookies – Teddy Grahams. Crushed them up in my (stupid) mini food processor, mixed the cookie crumbs with a bit o’ melted butter and then firmly pressed the buttery crumbs into my fluted, removable-bottom tart pan. Baked it in a 350F preheated oven for about 15 minutes and then let it cool.

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If there’s one thing I love about cold weather (apart from sweaters, indoor fires and booze-spiked morning beverages), it’s warm desserts. And what better way to enjoy a warm dessert than with a hearty crop of cold weather produce! I had the Granny Smiths, and given my near-obsession with the French, this next dessert was a no-brainer…

Apple Tarte Tatin!

I’ve had my share of this warm, caramelly pastry and the results have been as varied as one could expect; sometimes tart, sometimes super caramelly, sometimes mushy, sometimes firm. I’ve made it a few times (and had the pleasure of devouring it at a fab French restaurant near my house) and have determined that I prefer the apples to be firm, the pastry super buttery, and the caramel flavor pronounced. I believe I’ve achieved just that with the following recipe!

Started out with 6 firm, Granny Smiths…

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It wouldn’t be Halloween without the following two words…

Caramel Apples.

Got myself a bushel of assorted unwaxed, organic apples – couldn’t tell you what varieties, but they were all smaller-than-the-palm-of-my-hand tiny.

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I missed apricot season. Like, really missed it.

I had a serious hankering for an apricot tart and without realizing it, I spent the whole “summer” dreaming about a luscious and succulent apricot tart served with a dollop of creme fraiche, enjoyed al fresco on some magical balcony overlooking the bay on a balmy summer evening. Needless to say, “summer” in SF lasted for about 3 days, balmy evenings are practically nonexistent here and I don’t even have a balcony. And on top of all that, apricots had an absolutely shite season, coming and going in the span of a week.

So, despite having found the most enticing recipe, there was no apricot tart.

{sadface}

Flash forward a few months… The produce section is looking heartier and more autumnal and I’m introduced to a little fruit that makes me go, “apricot, who?!”

Italian plums! Italian plums! Italian plums!

These little purple-skinned beauties were so enticing and foreign looking that I knew I had to have them. But what to make out of them… Why not revisit that apricot tart recipe, replacing those elusive fucking apricots with my new purple loves? I think I’m on to something…

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Everything about this recipe has me goin’…

Dark chocolate? Check.

Layers of sugar? Check.

Booze? Check.

Yes, it was love at first click and I knew that I had to have the cleverly monikered Chocolate Crack Cookies under my proverbial belt. Gather round, my friends… gather round.

Started out with a lovely Maraschino cherry liqueur – Luxardo… This was something new for me, as I am not all that well-versed in liqueurs. It’s syrupy, super sweet and surprisingly tasty with whiskey.

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When I moved away from New York City, I took quite a few weeks categorizing and revisiting all the things I’d miss; Central Park on a sunny weekday, Soho’s cobblestone streets and wrought iron architecture, all the beautiful strangers, and date cake from Moto in Brooklyn.

All those other topics have been discussed at great length, so let me just take a moment to extoll the extensive virtues of date cake. Firstly, let me make it clear that I don’t even like dates, and yet, Moto’s date cake is quite possibly one of my favorite desserts.

Anytime an opportunity arose to hit up this speakeasy-esque, French-American joint nestled under the JMZ tracks in Brooklyn, I was all over it. And let’s face it, it didn’t take much…

“It’s your birthday?! Moto.”

“Your parents are here visiting?! Moto.”

“It’s Tuesday?! Moto.”

The atmosphere is just about as perfect as you can get – totally secret-feeling, but welcoming. Cozy with a small, but stellar menu of savories (Oh, hello herb-encrusted pork ribs). And my god, the date cake. Warm, dense, yet succulent cake slathered in buttery toffee sauce, served with a dollop of fresh whipped cream… Gah! I would stuff myself silly with the aformentioned pork ribs or perhaps the Chicken Dijonnaise served with a big bowl of delicious mashed taters, loosen the belt and then order a big ol’ slab o’ date cake. I think a few times, I even ordered an extra one to go! 🙂

And then I moved away and thought I’d never achieve this culinary bliss again. But I have! After the jump, a recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding, which is so close to Moto’s date cake, it’s possibly criminal!

Started out by chopping up 1 lb of pitted dates…

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Yes, yes… I’m sure you’re thinking, “Those bran flakes are all well and good and who doesn’t enjoy a hearty coconut granola, but what’s it all working toward? What’s the end result?!”

Firstly, get off my back.

Secondly… bam:

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Alrighty, so I had my bran flakes and was well on my way to full breakfast hippiedom. But a breakfast of just bran flakes would not sate my morning hunger. Oh no… there must be more!

And so… Coconut Granola!

Historically, granola has by no means been a favorite of mine… but since I was so pleasantly surprised by the sweetness of the bran flakes, I decided to give this a shot too! And this recipe was even easier… behold!

Started out by combining 3 cups of rolled oats (a whopping $1.25 at my local organic bulk shop) with 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes. The recipe suggested shredded coconut, but I figured the scale of the coconut flakes would better suit the application. Plus, you can taste the coconut so much more this way!

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Yes, I’m a bloggie-boo slacker. I have tens and tens of back blogs that I need to get crackin on, but I keep making new things, thus pushing myself deeper and deeper into the back blog blackhole that is my Drafts folder.

But I’m trying to get better… I promise! So please, indulge me, and travel back to mid-August when S and I took that glorious day trip down to Santa Cruz. Not only did we rock the boardwalk carnival and a fancy lobster clambake dinner, but we also stopped at a charming roadside produce stand for some fresh strawberries! $2 a basket for superfresh, super fragrant, magical little strawberries! We ate a few right away because they were calling out to us, but I had bigger plans for the rest…

Strawberry Shortcake! I used to love this creamy, sweet dessert as a youngster, but we always had them with those spongey discs from Safeway, never with homemade shortcake! Not so, this time! Armed with a fluted biscuit cutter and my fabulous berries, I set to work…

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As I’m sure it’s become quite apparent, I adore sweets. I also adore breakfast. And whenever the two are combined… well, needless to say, mama’s happy. So in keeping with this love of sweet breakfast treats, I decided to try my hand at making poptarts!

Poptarts?!

This was the general reaction whenever I mentioned my latest culinary project to all those willing to listen. Yes, I responded, poptarts… Storebought poptarts aren’t necessarily one of my favorite breakie treats, but I figured that since most things are better homemade, poptarts probably would be no exception.

And I was right.

Started out with the usual dough ingredients: 2 cups flour, 1 cup butter, 1 tbsp sugar, blending until I got a loose, dry meal…

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Hi, I’m Lauriebot!


I live in San Francisco. I used to live in NYC, Washington DC, and London.

I like to take the pictures.

I like color, excess, food, light, clothes, and going places.

I also like talking to people.

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