Brunch

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls by audrey gebhardt

I’m not here to tell you to eat your vegetables.

carrot cake cinnamon rolls

My strategy lately is more like, eat all of the sugar until your body absolutely cannot take it anymore and it’s actually craaaaaving green things.

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

So like, have a salad and the next morning throw some carrots in your cinnamon rolls and we’ll call it even, yeah?

I was really skeptical of carrot cake for a while, I promise you. And then I saw one that I just couldn’t resist with stripes of cream cheese frosting and I was quickly in love. I even choose carrot cake over chocolate things sometimes!

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

These cinnamon rolls are rich, creamy, and bursting with flavor having been stuffed with toasted pecans and brown sugar. For a yeast dough, this one is fairly simple and straightforward! Don’t be alarmed by the amount of ingredients and steps, just read the whole recipe through once and then take it one step at a time. That is allllll bread is. One step at a time.

The carrots in this recipe add a really nice texture to the dough, they almost melt into it and it feels like you’re eating funfetti cinnamon rolls!

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Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls
makes 2 dozen

for the dough:
2 cups whole milk
1/2 c unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/2 c sugar
1 packet yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 1/2 c grated carrots (about 3 medium)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
4 1/2 c all purpose flour, divided
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

for the filling:
1/2 c unsalted butter, melted
1 c brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 c pecans, chopped
1/2 c shredded coconut (optional)

for the cream cheese frosting:
4 oz cream cheese (or mascarpone! I used mascarpone! it’s so creamy!)
1.5 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBSP milk

For the dough:
-Combine the milk, butter and sugar in a large pot over medium heat. Bring just to a simmer and stir to dissolve sugar. Allow to cool to a temperature that feels like a hot shower you’d want to get into after a day in the snow (about 105 degrees). Sprinkle the yeast over the top and allow to sit for about three minutes.

-While the yeast mixture is setting, grate the carrots over a clean dishtowel that you don't care about at all. Squeeze the carrots out over a sink and squeal in delight at the vibrant orange color that carrot juice actually is. You’re drying the carrots out as much as possible here so the water content doesn’t mess with the dough.

-Pour the yeast/milk mixture into a large bowl. Stir in two cups of the flour, the nutmeg and the ginger until combined. Stir in another cup, and stir in a final cup of flour with the grated carrots until combined. Cover with a damp towel and allow to proof for about an hour in a draft free space. (you can put this in the oven with the oven turned off but the oven light turned on- the heat from the light creates a really great temperature for proofing!

-After an hour the dough should be doubled in size and smell yeasty. Stir in the final 1/2 cup flour along with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Turn out onto a generously floured surface and knead slightly. You want this dough to be soft but not too sticky to roll out- add flour 1/4 cup at a time if it feels too sticky!

-Grease two 9” pans with butter or canola oil. Set aside.

-Divide dough into two equal rounds and then roll out into rectangles that are about 1/4” thick, about 10”x16”

-Melt the butter. Pour half of the butter mixture onto the first rolled out rectangle, brush the butter to evenly cover the surface leaving a 1/2” boundary around all edges. Sprinkle half of the brown sugar evenly across the surface, followed by half of the cinnamon and pecans and coconut, if using.

-Starting from the far edge, slowly roll the dough into a log (lengthwise). I like to use my fingers in a typewriter fashion here, moving from one end of the log to the other. Cut the log into 12 equal rolls using a bench scraper, then place in the pie dish cut side up. It’s okay if it’s not perfect! You’re covering it with icing later! And no one on this good earth has ever been mad about an ugly cinnamon roll once it goes in their face, I promise.

-Repeat with the other half of the dough, and allow both trays to sit on the stove for a second proof while you preheat the oven to 375.

-Bake for 20-22 minutes, until golden brown.

-While the rolls are baking, whisk together all the ingredients for the frosting until it’s pourable, adjusting the confectioners sugar and milk as needed to get it to your desired texture.

-Pour the frosting onto the rolls immediately after they come out of the oven- these are fantastic hot or at room temperature, we ate them for every meal for an entire day!!

YAY! YOU DID IT! NOW YOU GET TO EAT SOME BUNNNNNSSS TO CELEBRATE!

Sweet Potato Waffles (V + GF) by audrey gebhardt

Two of my Christmas gifts from the year 2000 have proven to be timeless so far.

Vegan + Gluten Free Sweet Potato Waffles

My bike (I'm still riding a kid-sized 21 speed Raleigh and I LOVE it), and my Grinch Waffle Iron.

This waffle iron made our house the sleepover house. That, and my mom was the sleepover queen. We could stay up as late as we wanted as long as we were dancing with her. She would let us use air mattresses as slides, she would have a craft ready for us to do, she made the comfiest beds on couches to sleep on and in the morning- she always made grinch waffles. 

Much more exciting than your standard belgian waffle, grinch waffles were a topic of discussion. The swirls that the syrup could swim through- the perfect circle in the middle for a pool of butter or whipped cream.

Vegan + Gluten Free Sweet Potato Waffles

My mom was also the cool aunt. The one who let my little cousins and I eat whipped cream straight from the can at 8am. 

My mom didn't have lots of rules, she mostly just did whatever she could to make sure everyone around her was having the most fun at all times. 

Vegan + Gluten Free Waffles

Sweet Potato Waffles (Vegan + Gluten Free)
makes 4

1 c cooked sweet potato
1 c oats
1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground Flax seed + 3 Tbsp water, let sit for five minutes)
1/2 c almond milk
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla

cooking spray, for waffle iron.

coconut cream (the top part of refrigerated coconut milk), for serving

In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Add more almond milk a tablespoon at a time if it doesn't seem like it will pour smoothly until it's pourable.

Heat the waffle iron and spray with cooking spray.

Pour about 1/3 cup of batter  into the iron and cook for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve with a dollop of coconut cream (which you make by refrigerating a can of coconut milk and scooping off the thick creamy white part from the top) and maple syrup. I serve it like this for the nostalgia of when you get a waffle at a diner served with an ice cream scoop full of butter. 

This batter can be refrigerated for up to 2 days! Add a bit more milk to thin out before using.

xo
Audrey

Cheddar Grits with Roasted Baby Broccoli by audrey gebhardt

One of the greatest compliments I've ever gotten was from a coworker who grew up in Alabama. 

Cheddar Grits with Roasted Broccoli GLUTEN FREE

She said to me, 'you're the closest I've found to a Southern Belle outside of the south.'

I have been trying to live up to that title for about five years now, wearing the fullest skirts whenever possible, drinking everything out of fancy glasses, never arriving to somebody's home without full arms, and eating grits for breakfast perhaps a little too often.

The first time I had grits was in Charleston, on a trip dripping with mystery and charm. Since then I've realized that cheesy grits are basically the next best thing to mac n' cheese when you're gluten free! Not only do I love the flavor of roasted broccoli with cheddar, I also feel much better about eating a bowl of cheesy carbs when there's something green in the mix. 

This recipe comes together in a half an hour and though I find it to be a perfect cozy breakfast, it's also a great side dish!

Cheddar Grits with Roasted Broccoli GLUTEN FREE

Cheddar Grits with Roasted Baby Broccoli
makes two hearty servings, four sides

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 tsp salt
1 TBSP butter
1/2 c stone ground grits (I got mine at Trader Joe's)
1/2 c milk
4 oz mild cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 tsp black pepper

1 bunch broccolini
2 TBSP olive oil
pinch salt
pinch pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 and trip the ends off of the baby broccoli.

Toss the baby broccoli in olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet in the preheated oven.

While the broccoli is roasting, prepare the grits. Bring the vegetable stock, salt and butter to a boil. Stir in the grits and bring the temperature all the way down to the lowest temperature possible (low and slow is the secret to creamy grits!) so it's just gently simmering. Stir quite often for about 15 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the milk and cook for about ten minutes more before stirring in the cheddar and black pepper to serve. 

Remove the broccoli from the oven when it's crisped and the flowerheads are just browned. Serve over grits in delight.

xo
Audrey

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Sunflower Pesto (V) by audrey gebhardt

Do you know how many grown adult men in this country don't eat raw tomatoes? 

Heirloom Tomato Tart

They will eat all of the pizza, endless bolognese, put raw eggs in their smoothies, drink the broth of another animal's bones, spit their phlegm across three lanes of traffic and still push the tomatoes from their salad off to the side. 

I don't entirely blame them though, you know why? 

Vegan Tomato Tart

They're being served something entirely unlike what a tomato should taste like. 

A tomato should taste like the sun, exploding in your mouth. Warm and soft and delicate and bursting with bright flavor. 

Vegan Heirloom Tomato Tart

The tomatoes we see in our grocery stores are often much closer to their plastic play kitchen friends than they are like the real deal juice-dripping-down-your-chin sweet-as-candy still have a bit of dirt on them tomatoes we should be eating. 

If there's a man in your life that you've been trying to get to eat tomatoes for years, now is the time. Mid August-early September is when they are prime and ripe and perfect. Run-don't walk to the farmers market because in a blink they'll be gone. Heirlooms are best, give them a gentle squeeze and if it gives a little you're in business. If The Man needs further coaxing than just a slab of tomato with salt and pepper, wrap the tomato in flaky pie crust over a bed of pesto and you will change a life. 

***I made this pesto with sunflower seeds because they're so much cheaper than pine nuts and less flavorful so the basil can be the real star of the show. Also, it's nice to think that if you're eating the seeds of your favorite flower you are that much closer to becoming just like a sunflower. 

Vegan Heirloom Tomato Tart

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Sunflower Pesto (vegan)

1 olive oil pie crust

1 c basil leaves, washed and stemmed
1/2 c raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

2 large or 3 medium heirloom tomatoes
2 TBSP olive oil
pinch salt
pinch pepper

Prepare the pie crust (this can be done up to three days in advance and left to chill wrapped in saran wrap in the fridge).

In a medium saucepan, toast the sunflower seeds over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes until they get toasty and smell nutty, shaking them around occasionally. 

In a blender, combine the basil, sunflower seeds, olive oil, salt and peppers. Blend until combined, adding more olive oil if it's too thick to blend but not too much because you want this to be a pasty olive oil- just to the point that you can spread it. 

Preheat the oven to 425. Roll out the crust so it's about 18" in diameter and 1/4" thick. Transfer the rolled out dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread the pesto out on the dough, leaving a 3" border around it. 

Slice the tomatoes into 1/4-1/2" slices, cover the pesto-ed part of the crust with tomatoes. Fold the edges of the dough over the tomato, pressing to seal any cracks along the bottom seam.

Drizzle the whole tart with the remaining 2 TBSP of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake at 425 for 35-45 minutes, until the edges turn golden and the tomatoes are roasted and wrinkly. 

Cool and serve at room temperature. 

xo
Audrey

 

Grilled Cinnamon Pineapple Shortcakes (GF) by audrey gebhardt

I went to Hawaii kind've on a whim this week last year.

Grilled Pineapple Shortcakes

I was on a 'finding myself, I'm gonna buy one one-way ticket at a time and see where I end up' trip.

I showed up on Oahu at the same time that the first swell in months had shown up, which meant that the friends I had there were in the water for 18 hours at a time, surfing way above my pay grade while I explored alone.

The first day, I drove up to the North Shore and stopped at this roadside smoothie shack. I had heard such phenomenal things about the pineapples there that I ordered an entire pineapple and ate it all while chatting with the girl who worked there. I made plenty of friends that week exploring on my own, some of them I'm still in touch with!

Grilled Pineapple

An hour later I found myself writhing in pain on the beach, like my stomach was eating my body from the inside out.

Dear reader, do not eat an entire pineapple by yourself. You will probably regret it. 

Since then, I've discovered that if the pineapple is cooked (grilled), my stomach can handle more of it than if it's raw! I guess the heat changes the levels of acid or something like that. 

Not only that, but grilling pineapple gives it this caramelized sweetness. In this version, I added some cinnamon sugar just to up the dessert factor since the biscuits and whipped cream are not all that sweet.

Grilled Pineapple Shortcakes

Grilled Cinnamon Pineapple Shortcakes
makes 6

gluten free biscuits
6 Tbsp butter
2 1/2 c gluten free flour (I like Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 c brown rice flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
1 egg
1 c almond milk
3 Tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp white vinegar

grilled cinnamon pineapple
1 whole pineapple, peeled and sliced into 1" thick rounds
1 Tbsp white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon 

whipped cream
2 c heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Make the biscuits:
Preheat the oven to 450, line a baking sheet with parchment. 

Dice the butter into 1/2" cubes, freeze for fifteen minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the gluten free flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Whisk to combine.

In a small bowl, combine the almond milk, heavy cream and vinegar. Allow to sit for five minutes or so (this will cause the milk to curdle, you want that! This adds the traditional buttermilk flavor you're looking for). Whisk in the egg until combined.

Using a pastry blender, mix the frozen butter chunks into the flour mixture until it's all cohesive and the butter is the size of small peas. 

Fold in the milk/egg mixture juuuuust until combined. 

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, pat the mixture out until it's about 1 1/2" tall. Use a 3" round cutter to cut the biscuits (or just slice into squares, we're not picky here).

Transfer the biscuits to parchment lined cookie sheet, bake for 15 minutes until they just begin to lightly brown around the edges. Cool completely.

Grill the pineapple:
Heat the grill to medium high, place the rounds of pineapple on the grill & close it.

In a small bowl, stir the sugar and cinnamon together.

After about ten minutes on the grill, flip the pineapple over (it should be pretty caramelized with nice char marks on this side already, if it's not give it a few more minutes).

Gently spoon the cinnamon sugar mixture on top of the already grilled side of the pineapple (from this point on you won't flip it again or your grill will be hella sticky). Close the grill and cook for another ten minutes or so, until the cinnamon mixture is bubbling on top and the bottom side of the pineapple is nice and caramelized as well.

Remove from grill and cool completely.

Make the whipped cream:
In a medium bowl, add the heavy cream and vanilla. Beat with an electric beater for about two minutes until soft peaks form (don't overmix or you'll have butter!)

When the biscuits and the pineapple are completely cool, cut the pineapple into chunks (removing the hard core). Slice the biscuits in half, top them with a nice dollop of whipped cream and pineapple and repeat. 

These keep beautifully in the fridge for about a day in an airtight container! 

xo
Audrey

 

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (V/GF) by audrey gebhardt

I have been obsessed with a podcast lately. 

gluten free banana bread

It's called Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, and half of my favorite duo (Kristen Bell & Dax Shepard) created it. I'm totally not a Hollywood person at all. I don't really pay attention to that world and until recently it felt so distant from my own. 

He tends to interview many of his famous friends who grew up similarly to him, in a lower middle class middle America family with a single mom working two jobs. And all I keep thinking about is that everything ever created came from inside of somebody's mind. The personality that sent him into fame and fortune came from inside of him. 

The Apple computer started with something Steve Jobs imagined. 

The first recipe ever created was something a human made up.

The roads that pave the way to the Palace of Versailles were designed by a human. And another human dreamt up the hall of mirrors and then another human reigned a country for 72 years and resided there. 

Vegan Banana Bread

What I'm getting to is that all of this stuff happened because someone at some point in time had a brain that made it happen. 

If you could use your brain to turn your dreams into the real life that you walk through every day, what would you dream? What is the wildest thing you can't imagine possible that you want? 

WOULD YOU DREAM ABOUT FLUFFY BANANA BREAD STUDDED WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS TOPPED WITH CRUNCHY SUGARY CRUST? 

Because omg would you look at that you just used your brain to manifest your dreams into reality.

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Vegan & Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
2 c gluten free flour blend (I like Trader Joe's)
1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 medium super ripe bananas (like, so ripe that your houseguest looks at your counter and says you should probably throw those out)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 c refined coconut oil, melted
1/4 c applesauce
1 c bittersweet chocolate chips
2 TBSP raw sugar

I used a 6" round cake pan for this because I made it for the full moon and I only eat round foods on the full moon because I'm a LUNATIC. You can totally make it in a standard loaf pan!

Preheat the oven to 375. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour, 1/4 c sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. 

In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with a fork leaving some chunky bits. The chunky bits will caramelize in the oven and create sugar pockets that you definitely want. Add the coconut oil, applesauce and lemon to the bananas and mix until combined. 

Stir in 90% of the flour mixture. Toss the chocolate chips in the remaining flour mixture before folding in.

Spoon the batter into your greased and floured pan, sprinkle the top with the raw sugar. 

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until it doesn't jiggle when you move the pan and a toothpick comes out clean. 

Serve immediately. Or not. You can also slice into the size slices that your future self wants to eat and freeze! I made the mistake of slicing this into quarters and now every time me (future self) wants this, I have to eat a quarter loaf of banana bread.

xo
Audrey