Coconut Cream Pie with Macadamia Nut Caramel

Coconut Cream Pie with Macadamia Nut Caramel | Serendipity by Sara Lynn

Caramel Coconut Cream Pie

To know me and my dad is to know that we are utterly obsessed with coconut.  So I shouldn’t have been surprised when I planned a family BBQ and somehow got talked into making an entire coconut cream pie.  The conversation went something along the lines of –

Me: “So we’ll have tri-tip, carrot salad, and I’ll make a pie.  What else would be good with this?  Some asparagus?”

My mom: “Maybe potatoes gratin.”

My dad: “I think coconut cream pie would go great with all of those things…” Continue reading “Coconut Cream Pie with Macadamia Nut Caramel”

Carrot Salad with Pistachios + Queso Fresco + Shallot Dressing

Ribboned Carrot Salad with Queso Fresco, Pistachios, & Shallot Vinaigrette | Serendipity by Sara Lynn

Carrot Salad with Feta, Pistachios, & Shallot Dressing

I feel like I don’t have any good stories to share with you guys lately.  I just work and cook and do a little yoga.  Is this what post-grad life is??  I get a degree, and I become someone who looks forward to coming home on Fridays and eating takeout pupusas in my sweatpants while watching Arrested Development reruns?  Because that’s exactly what I did this past Friday, and it was kind of amazing.  Although Saturday I went to a party and had two whole beers sooooo…yay?  Raise the roof?  I don’t know how to be young anymore.  Help!!!

In other exciting news, we also got a new Indian restaurant in town, and it’s the best one yet!  And this weekend, I’ll be in Seattle hopefully going to lots of fun bars and coffeeshops.  So, things are looking up in the ‘cool department’!

Easy Carrot Salad with Queso Fresco, Pistachios, & Shallot Dressing

Carrot Salad with Queso Fresco, Pistachios, & Shallot Dressing

On another note, may I introduce you to one of my new favorite recipes?  I didn’t know it was possible to like veggies this much, but omg this carrot salad is sososo good!!  I don’t think we appreciate carrot salad enough in the states, because I’ve never seen one here unless I was at an authentic-European deli of some sort, but I’m starting a petition to make it a thing.

I made this salad for Easter, and it was perfect with ham and scalloped potatoes.  Then, I used the leftover dressing to make more carrot salad for work lunches the next few days.  I’m pretty sure I ate like, 8 servings of vegetables a day that week.  I hope this obsession lasts and eventually upgrades to a spinach obsession.

For this salad, you can peel the carrots into long, pretty ribbons like I did.  Texturally, it’s my favorite, but peeling carrot ribbons takes a long time, and you end up with weird little carrot pieces once you can’t peel anymore.  In this case, I just turn them into carrot sticks and snack on them alone.  When I was being lazy with it, I just used grated carrots which is way faster and can be done with a food processor.  Either way, the real star here is the shallot dressing.  It’s slightly-spicy and creamy from the yogurt.  I would dip anything into it.  If you don’t like carrots, at least make the dressing and put it on some kale or something.

Also!  This salad can be made a day in ahead, but put the pistachios on right before serving or they will lose their crunch.  Ok?  Ok!

Carrot Salad with Feta, Pistachios, & Shallot Dressing


Carrot Salad with Pistachios + Queso Fresco + Shallot Dressing
Serves 8-12

Ingredients for the Salad

2 lbs. carrots, washed, trimmed, and peeled
4 oz. queso fresco, or feta, crumbled
1/2 c. pistachios, toasted
2 Tbs. Italian parsley, chopped

Ingredients for Dressing

1 small shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 Tbs. white wine vinegar
3 Tbs. plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. honey
1/3 c. olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Using a vegetable peeler, peel carrots into long ribbons.  Alternatively, you can shred them in a food processor.  Cover carrots with a wet paper towel to keep fresh.

To make the dressing, add shallot, white wine vinegar, Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, and honey to a food processor.  Pulse until combined.  Drizzle in olive oil until emulsified.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare salad, add the queso fresco, pistachios, and parsley.  Toss with the shallot dressing, to taste.  Start with half the dressing and add more as needed.  Serve immediately.  To make the recipe ahead, combine everything but the pistachios.  Add the pistachios right before serving.


xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: Sleep Apnea by Beach Fossils

Carrot Salad with Queso Fresco, Pistachios, & Creamy Shallot Vinaigrette | Serendipity by Sara Lynn

Croque Madame Galettes with Everything Crust

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It’s a rare Sunday when I’m actually human enough to have a proper brunch before noon.  Beyond the mandatory sleeping in portion of Sundays, I also have to lay in bed scrolling through my phone, drink a cup of coffee, and snuggle my dog on the floor for thirty minutes all before putting on my face and some real pants.  Luckily, I think Sundays always feel like morning until it starts to get dark and the anxiety of the next work day looms over me.  So, brunch usually happens anywhere between 12:30 and 3 in the afternoon which means I get to sleep in and skip all the Sunday-brunch crowds.  Win-win!

On the off chance that I have my shit together before noon on a Sunday and don’t think I can handle the weekend brunch crowds, I make breakfast at home and eat while cuddled up on the couch watching Friends for the hundredth time.  Usually, it’s just a bagel or cheesy eggs + lots lots lots of coffee.  However, every once in a while I will have my shit so together that I even have ingredients at home for a fancy brunch!  Those are few and far between, but they are sometimes totally real and make me feel like an actual grown up.

I think I would like to make it a new goal to get up at least one Sunday a month and have a fancy brunch.  Maybe I’ll even get into doing yoga on Sundays?!  Would that make me an overachiever?  It sounds a little meta….

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This past week(end), I had probably the worst cold of my life.  I felt like one of those wavy inflatable tubemen, but instead of being filled with air, I was actually filled with mud and also I was at the bottom of a swamp.  I practically drowned myself in cough medicine and Gatorade, and I ate whatever I wanted since I was feeling sorry for myself.  After watching approximately 200 episodes of The Office, I finally peeled myself off the couch and managed to get out of the house long enough to get some good coffee.  Also, I’m sending many blessings to past Sara, because when I opened my freezer, I had some of these mini galettes wrapped up!  (Ugh, past Sara can be a real MVP sometimes).  Since it was the first warm day we’ve had in ages, I swigged some Dayquil and enjoyed these galettes with plenty of fresh coffee at our local arboretum.

These galettes are super easy and a fun play on the French croque madame.  When I was in France this past summer, I was utterly obsessed with croque madames and ham and cheese baguettes.  Why is it that the French can make a ham and cheese sandwich so amazing and mine taste like they came out of a vending machine?  Anyways, I decided to take these ingredients and combine them with another one of my favorite French treats – the galette.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’m totally obsessed with galettes, so it was about time that I made a savory version.

Oh, and I put everything bagel spice on the crust, because I pretty much want everything bagel spice on everything in my whole life.

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Croque Madame Galettes with Everything Crust
Makes 4 large servings or 8 small servings

Ingredients

2 – 9 in. pie crusts, store-bought or homemade
1/4 c. dijon mustard
8 oz. ham, thinly sliced
6 oz. swiss cheese, sliced or shredded
5 eggs
1/4 c. everything bagel spice*
Sliced chives, for topping

Preheat oven to 350* F.  Divide pie dough into 4 equal parts, and roll them out until they are about 6 inches in diameter.  Spread 1 Tbs. of dijon in the middle of each crust.  Place 2 oz. of ham and 2 slices of swiss (or 3 Tbs. shredded) in the middle of each crust.  Fold the crust edges over.  It doesn’t have to be perfect since they are supposed to be rustic!

Mix 1 of the eggs with about 1 Tbs. of water.  Brush each of the crusts with the egg wash, and sprinkle each galette with 1 Tbs. of everything bagel spice.  Bake for about 15 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven, and break 1 egg over the top of each galette.  Bake for about 10 more minutes, or until the white is set and the yolk is still fairly runny.

Sprinkle each galette with the chives and serve!

Notes

*To freeze, wrap each galette in tinfoil and store in an airtight container in the freezer.  To reheat, throw the wrapped galette in a 350* oven for about 30 minutes.
*I have a jar of everything bagel spice in my cabinet, but if you’re not one of those people, you can mix together 1 Tbs. poppy seeds, 1 Tbs. sesame seeds, 1 Tbs. dried garlic, and 1 Tbs. dried onion together.  Sometimes, I use a mix of black and white sesame seeds for fun!


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xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: Heart in a Cage by The Strokes

Black Sesame + Blood Orange Pound Cake

Blood Orange Pound Cake with Black Sesame Seeds

Blood Orange & Black Sesame Pound Cake

Black Sesame & Blood Orange Pound Cake

I have this new hobby now where I come home on Friday night and immediately start baking.  Gone are my college days where Fridays meant getting excited about actually going out in public.  Now, I just want to make some brownies, eat Chinese takeout, and try to stay awake until 11 p.m.  While I can firmly say I would not trade working full-time for studying until midnight or being the only participant on “team projects” anymore, I also 10/10 understand why adults don’t do things.  At best, I can mentally prepare myself to go out on a Saturday night after a proper day of sleeping in and lounging around the house.  On the other hand, I have extreme FOMO, so if you offer something really tempting, I’ll probably down a few cups of coffee and make myself socialize.  But only if I can bring my dog.

One of the most stressful things of late has been deciding what I actually want to bake on these Friday nights, because if you see my “Recipes to Try” list, it’s as long as the Game of Thrones books.  Granted, not all of it is baked goods, some are cocktails which actually would be the perfect for Friday-night recipe developing, and a lot are rando health-foods that are not acceptable for Fridays.  But the baked goods list is long and arduous, and when I have to spend three weekends developing a cake, I get sad 🙁  Mostly because it means I have nothing to share for a weekend, but also because it means no cake for that weekend!

Buttery Black Sesame Pound Cake with Tart Blood Orange Glaze

Black Sesame & Blood Orange Pound Cake | Serendipity by Sara Lynn

Black Sesame Pound Cake with Blood Orange Glaze

For example, this cake took me three fing times to figure out.  THREE.  And ok, I know that’s typical, if not modest, in recipe development world, but I’ve made cakes similar to this formula literally hundreds of times, so for it to not work three different times was appalling.  As a person who considers herself an experienced baker, I was fairly offended about screwing up such a simple cake and felt like I had to prove myself worthy to baked goods.  And although my salty-af first attempt inspired me to write a fairly impressive Vday-inspired caption, I also just really wanted this cake to work out some way or another, because black sesame + blood orange = 😍

In a perfect world, this cake would have been ready in time for Vday, because I don’t think it’s a coincidence that blood orange season is right around Valentine’s Day.  That’s just way too damn convenient.  However, I’m kind of fine that it didn’t end up working out that way, because the first batch of blood oranges I bought for this recipe were so-so, and the last batch I bought were unreeeeaaaaaal.  They were the most beautiful color, and their frangrance made my whole kitchen smell like it had just been professionally cleaned, although I can guarantee that wasn’t the case.  I think blood oranges are so underappreciated, because like, besides their ruby-red hue, they are so sweet and floral.  Maybe we should be adding lavender to this cake instead of sesame?

However, I really liked how the sweetness of the blood oranges meshed with the earthiness of the sesame seeds.  This color combo is perfection, and I liked the polka-dot look of the cake itself.  I’m putting black sesames on everything from now on thankyouverymuch.

A few notes about this recipe before we get into things:

  • Citrus is already somewhat salty, so it’s important to be stingy with the salt.  My first two attempts at this cake were soooo salty (for various reasons, but still).
  • Whip the butter, sugar, and eggs for much longer than you believe to be necessary.
  • Definitely don’t over-bake this cake.  Since it’s pound cake, it doesn’t use moisturizers like oil, so it’ll get dry if you wait too long.
  • Use aluminum-free baking powder, or the metallic taste will be very present in this recipe.
  • Use a higher-quality powdered sugar for the glaze.  Since the glaze is almost exclusively powdered sugar, you will notice any chalky tastes and textures found in cheaper versions.
  • Oh, and one more thing!  These do great baked in mini loaf pans, but make sure to butter the bejeezus out of the pan, or they will come out as little hot messes like mine did (see below).  However, if yours do come out that way, trash them up with extra glaze and maybe a little sprinkles, and you’ll be A-ok.  I highly recommend this method, because baking mini loaf cakes means extras for the freezer, and they are the best way to eat cake for breakfast in a socially acceptable way!! #science

Black Sesame & Blood Orange Pound Cake


Black Sesame + Blood Orange Pound Cake
Serves 12

Ingredients for the cake

1 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. blood orange zest
3 c. flour, sifted
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 c. milk
2 Tbs. black sesame seeds

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.  Set aside.  Heat oven to 350* F.

Meanwhile, cream butter and sugar until it’s very incorporated, about 5 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly until the butter mixture is very light and fluffy, about another 5 minutes.  Add the vanilla extract and blood orange zest.

Stir in half of the flour and half of the milk until just mixed.  Repeat with remaining flour mixture and milk.  Stir in the black sesame seeds.

Pour batter into a buttered and floured bundt cake pan.  Bake for about 16-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs attached.  Flip it onto a cooling rack and let it cool before glazing.

Ingredients for glaze

2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 c. blood orange juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Milk, as needed

In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, blood orange juice, and vanilla extract.  Mix in milk 1 Tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency.  If the glaze gets too thin, add more powdered sugar a couple Tablespoons at a time.

Pour glaze over cake.  Sprinkle with black sesame seeds!


xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: Become the Warm Jets by Current Joys

Black Sesame & Blood Orange Pound Cake | Serendipity by Sara Lynn

Black Sesame Pound Loaves with Blood Orange Glaze

Beef + Vegetable + Wild Rice Stew (Revisited)

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A few years ago when I was in college, I worked at a restaurant called The Cheeseboard, which makes the best soups and my all-time favorite grilled cheese sandwich.  When I worked there, we would essentially just make a giant pot of soup with whatever we had laying in the fridge.  Some of my favorites included our potato soup which I would top with absurd amounts of cheddar and the tomato soup with I would obviously pair with the grilled cheese.  One time, the chef made a stew with beef, wild rice, and all kinds of vegetables, and it was one of the best beef stews I ever done had.  It also happened to be one of the days that I didn’t help make the soup, and I had no idea what he did, AND to top it all off, he never used recipes.  SO I decided to make my own version, and I wrote a post about it, and it was good, but it wasn’t one of the best stews I ever had.  After that, I pretty much just forgot about beef soup until approximately one week ago when I found a package of stew meat in my freezer.

After a few years of learning more about food, and re-reading my original beef + wild rice stew recipe, I realized I had done some cooking techniques that made little sense, and the ingredients were a little off for my tastes (3 years will do that to you I guess?).  So I decided to remake the recipe with some different ingredients and some updated techniques, and I have to say, I think this maybe is one of the best beef stews I’ve ever had.  Yay!!

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For starters, I learned that a good quality stew meat + broth makes a big difference in taste!  I used stew meat from Sanford Ranch Beef which my cousins own, but you can use whatever good-quality meat you can find.  Also, try to find a nice wild rice mix without any added seasonings or preservatives – those will affect the overall flavor of the soup.  For veggies, I use a mire poix with some squash, but next time I may add turnips or leeks!  Basically, whatever you have in the fridge.  Also, I serve the stew with either a mixed salad or charred broccoli and fresh, crusty whole-wheat bread!

The stew lasts well in the fridge and can even taste better after a few days.  The rice usually soaks up some of the broth, so try to have extra on hand for leftovers!!

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Beef + Wild Rice + Vegetable Stew
Serves 4

Ingredients

3 Tbs. olive oil
1 lb. beef stew meat, cubed
2 carrots, sliced
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. red wine
4-6 c. low-sodium beef broth*
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. marjoram or thyme, chopped
1/2 tsp. parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. hot sauce or cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 c. wild rice
1/2 c. frozen peas
1 zucchini, diced

In a large soup pot, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the beef and brown on all sides for a few minutes.  Remove the beef with a slotted spoon, and set aside.  If necessary, add the remaining oil and saute the carrots, celery, and onion cooking until soft.  Add garlic, and let it cook until fragrant.

Lower the heat, and deglaze the pan with the red wine.  Stir and let it simmer until the wine is reduced by half.  Add the beef broth, bay leaf, marjoram (or thyme), parsley, hot sauce, wild rice, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil, and then add the beef back to the pot. Reduce the stew to a simmer, and cover the pot with a lid. Gently simmer for about 45-60 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

When the rice is cooked, add the peas and zucchini.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until the squash is tender.  Discard the bay leaf. Season the stew with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve with lots of crusty bread!

*I used 4 cups of broth which made a very thick stew.  The rice soaked it all up for leftovers, so I had to add more liquid.  If you like a brothy stew, add 6 cups!


xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: Piazza, New York Catcher by Belle & Sebastian

Tater Tot Poutine

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Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!  Today, my Canadian friend, Stephen, comes into town to experience real American Thanksgiving, so to celebrate, here’s a classic Canadian recipe!  If you read about my Canada trip, you know that I spent one late, post-beer night at Smoke’s Poutinerie, which I’ve been told is the classic around those parts.  I ate “traditional” poutine, some drunk college kids told me I look like Bjork, and then we piled into an uber and I woke up with a gravy hangover the next day.

Tomorrow, I also plan on waking up with a gravy hangover although I’m hoping this gravy is topped over a mountain of mashed potatoes and cornbread stuffing.  Yesterday I went to the liquor store after work, which was absolute utter madness, but I got some fancy gin, and I’m ready to party.  I will be spending my weekend surrounded by 40+ people who share my DNA, and I have dubbed myself the official gin + tonic maker for the weekend.

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When I asked in my Toronto post if it would be sacrilege to use tater tots instead of french fries in poutine, Stephen came back with a resounding “YES”.  However, because I have no manners, and because deep frying foods in my own house is something I avoid like spiders and vacuuming, tater tots were the obvious choice.  Plus, tater tots ♥

While we’re on the matter, would if be totally inappropriate for me to top mashed potatoes with gravy and cheese curds?  Do you think Stephen would just totally leave the country and never come back???  Would mashed potatoes + gravy + cheese curds be delicious with gin + tonics?  Or is that the gravy-hangover remedy??  If you have answers for these questions, pls let me know ASAP.  There isn’t much time before I pick up the Canadian from the airport and the festivities begin.

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Tater Tot Poutine
Serves 2

Ingredients

1 lb. tater tots (I eyeballed 1/2 of a 2 lb. bag)
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. flour
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c. beef broth
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 c. cheese curds
Parsley, for garnish

Heat oven to 450* F.  Place the tater tots on a greased baking sheet making sure the tater tots don’t touch.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, flip, and bake for another 10-15 minutes.  You want them to be super crispy but not burned.

Meanwhile, heat the butter over medium heat.  Add the flour and whisk until smooth.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute.  Whisk in beef broth, salt, pepper, onion powder, and thyme.  Stir until thickened.  Keep warm.

Drizzle gravy over tater tots.  Top with cheese curds, and broil it in the oven until the curds are slightly melted.  Top with parsley, if desired.

Serve immediately.  Extra gravy optional, beer required.


xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: Cosmic Sass by Good Morning

Pumpkin + Sage Cake with Brown Sugar Icing

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While Insta has proven to me that the ~hip~ people of the world have been spending their weekends partying in bunny costumes, I have spent mine doing laundry, petting my hedgehog, and watching Stranger Things.  *raises the roof*.  I just got back from Toronto, where my friend Stephen took me to all kinds of breweries, Niagara Falls, aaaaand (!!) I had poutine for the first time!  Where can I get poutine in Reno??  I need it more frequently in my life!  Usually when it comes to deep-frying foods at home, I dodge it like it’s hot (the messssss), but for poutine, I might be willing to pull out all the stops.  Or maybe I can rig it with some extra-crispy tater tots right out of the oven?  Canadians: would that be sacrilege??

On another note, I will be spending my Halloween night eating white chili with my cousins and taking the kids trick-or-treating!  I found an amazing vintage 1960s dress at a thrift store the other day that I was planning on utilizing in my costume, but now that I’ll be walking around in the cold weather, I’m thinking of pulling out my classic Rosie the Riveter costume and calling it a day.  It’s almost a tradition at this point after all.

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A couple of weeks ago, I surprised my parents for their birthdays by coming home from London a week earlier than I told them.  (Although, they did end up going on vacation for their birthdays, so I had to pretend I was still in England for a few extra days yikes!).  I showed up at their front door and rang the doorbell cake-in-hand.  They were so excited, we went to a delicious steakhouse for dinner, and then we celebrated with this cake for dessert!  It was exactly what I wanting, and they loved their birthday present (me, obvs).  This cake was the perfect addition: a lightly sweetened pumpkin cake with a touch of sage flavor and a sticky brown sugar icing that tastes faintly of caramel and butter.  It’s the perfect fall dessert and makes a great addition to a Halloween party or even a Thanksgiving dessert table (it has sage in it after all!).  Plus, you can decorate it like a pumpkin or turkey or something if you really want to make it festive.  Obviously, I went the easy way with a few sage leaves and a rustic ‘happy birthday’ sign.  Have a spooky night!


Pumpkin + Sage Cake with Brown Sugar Icing
Serves 6-8

*Cake is for High-Altitude baking.  Please refer to alternative measurements if you do not live at high-altitude!*

Cake Ingredients

1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. + 6 Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder*
1/2 tsp. baking soda**
1 egg
1/2 c. Tbs. buttermilk
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. milk

Preheat oven to 350* F.  Grease and flour two 6-inch cake pans.  Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a small bowl.  In a medium bowl, cream the brown sugar, sugar, egg, buttermilk, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.  Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk.  Then add the remaining flour mixture and milk.  Divide the batter between the two cake pans.

Bake the cakes for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick shows a few crumbs.  Let the cakes cool.  Meanwhile prepare the icing (below).  Level each cake, and cut each cake in half so you have 4 even layers.  Spread frosting between each layer, stacking them until there are 4 cake layers.  Frost the outside of the cake.  Decorate as desired.

* Use 3/4 tsp. baking powder for regular-altitude recipes.
**Use 3/4 tsp. baking soda for regular-altitude recipes.

Icing Ingredients

1/2 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1/4 c. milk
1 3/4 – 2 c. powdered sugar

Melt butter in a saucepan.  Add brown sugar.  Boil over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Cool to lukewarm – add milk.  Gradually add powdered sugar, and beat until thick.  If it becomes too stiff, add a little hot water to thin.  Frost over cake!

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xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: Atmosphere by Joy Division

 

 

Beef Sliders with White Cheddar + Bacon + Peach-Bourbon BBQ Sauce

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Well guys, I’m graduated!!!  A couple weeks ago, I crossed the stage, didn’t even trip in my tallest heels, and I’ll be mailed my actual diploma in a few weeks time!  It was great.  The tradition at UNR is to go to the famous college bar, The Little Waldorf, before graduation and drink mimosas and maybe relive your most wonderful/awful times as a college student?  Idk, because I had never even been to The Wal until that day, but I was able to get past the sticky, beer-soaked floors that I’m sure have never been mopped, and my friends and I drank cheap champagne on empty stomachs and it was perfect.  After graduation, I stuffed my face with Thai food at our favorite local joint, and then after I attempted a nap, we had a huge graduation BBQ with my friends and family.  My parents ended up playing rage cage with all of us young kids, and also it was my first time playing!  Of course I had all of my college experiences the day I graduated.  But it was a super amazing time, everyone drank and had fun, and I got to sleep the whole next day with a less-than-fun hangover (shoutout to Gatorade for getting me through that one).

I’m off to Europe in less than two weeks (!!!), so I’m trying to enjoy some of my favorite Reno summertime activities before I leave.  Namely, Lake Tahoe, fun outdoor bars, and sitting at patios at cute local restaurants.  Also, I spent the last weekend in San Francisco drinking lots of coffee and cocktails with my cousin.  We even found a bar that had a “bondage” theme, and I was impressed.  Oh SF, I <3 u.

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Since I’m leaving so so soon, I’m trying to get all of my cooking in while I can.  Although I’m soooo excited to eat at wonderful European restaurants for 4 months, I also will miss the luxury of a kitchen, even though I’m sure my airbnb hosts will be accommodating if I really get the itch.  Namely, I’ve been taking advantage of my BBQ, because we just got a brand new sparkly one, and in the summertime, I’m pretty sure the only acceptable food is any that is BBQed.  The other day I was craving burgers like no other thing in the world, but I wanted something a little more creative than my standard beef-cheddar-veg-bun combo I normally go for.  I really love smashed burgers, but since it’s summer I have a difficult time cooking indoors when my brand new sparkly grill is in eyesight from my kitchen window.  Also, I really wanted something with BBQ sauce but not ribs or pulled pork, so I just combined everything into one package and then added bacon for good measure.

It’s a little more work to make the homemade BBQ sauce, but it’s honestly a super easy recipe and totally worth the effort.  However, if you really can’t be bothered, you can always buy some store-bought sauce, but you’ll probably miss out on peaches and bourbon which is not the kind of world I want to live in.

P.S. the BBQ sauce will make quite a bit, and you definitely won’t need all of it for the recipe.  You can either put it in jars and seal it (if that’s your thing) or you can use it for another recipe, but I’d use it within a week (or two if you’re willing to risk it, which I am).  This sauce would be perfect on pulled pork, ribs, or chicken.

Also, I served my burgers with wedge salad, but some oven fries would be amazing too.

burgers

recipecard - Copy

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Warned You by Good Morning

Savory Palmiers with Parmesan & Everything Bagel Spice

These savory palmiers with parmesan and everything bagel spice are a simple, crowd-pleasing appetizer. They are great with artichoke dip, on a cheese board, or just by themselves!

On overhead image of a man's hand grabbing a savory palmier with parmesan and everything spice from a white plate of palmiers. The plate is on a dark green table spinkled with everything bagel spice next to two glasses of white wine and a beige linen.

After a week and a half of recovering from surgery I’m finally back!  Although I can’t say my senior-year spring break was worthy of being considered a “spring break woohoo!” by any means, I can’t really complain about playing lots of guitar, having an excuse to eat ice cream for all three meals, and watching Season 2 of Love for an entire week, right?  Take it from me, if you’re sick and also feeling blah about a breakup, ice cream and Love will solve all of your problems…or at least help you pretend you don’t have any in the first place*.

*jk, this is probably not the healthy way to deal with feelings, but we can all be self-indulgent once in a while, right?

Anyways, my week off was fun, but I’m ready to drag myself back into my regular routine so that I can get ready to graduate! As I get closer to graduation, I’m looking for some fun, simple appetizers that I can throw together for my party, and these savory palmiers are definitely my new go-to. They come together in just a few minutes, and honestly, who doesn’t love everything bagel spice?

About palmiers + this recipe

If you’ve never had a palmier, let’s chat, because you’re definitely missing out! Also known as palm leaves, elephant ears, or French hearts, palmiers are a traditional French pasty made with puff pastry and sugar. Puff pastry is a laminated dough similar to croissant dough, but without the yeast. The result is a cookie that is buttery, flaky, and a bit crisp!

As a busy student who loves to cook, I’m always looking for easy appetizers or snacks that I can bring along whenever I’m invited to someone’s house for dinner.  Normally, I go for a cheese plate, because cheese = ♥, but I also am passionate about everything spice.  So for this recipe, I put the two together for a savory palmier combo that’s reminiscent of an everything bagel with cream cheese, except with more butter. Because, duh.

An overhead image of puff pastry, a jar of flour, a grey bowl of everything spice, a white plate with cream cheese, a white bowl with an egg, a rolling pin, and a pastry brush on an emerald green table.

Ingredients you will need

  • Puff pastry – frozen or homemade, although I’ve only ever used the pre-made kind.
  • Cream cheese – the kind that comes in a block. Make sure to leave it out to soften!
  • Parmesan cheese – preferably grated but any kind will work.
  • Everything bagel spice – don’t worry, I’ll give you a recipe for how to make your own! You can also buy it pre-made.
  • Kitchen basics – Kosher salt and an egg.
Three images; on the left, an overhead of a wood board with puff pastry coated in cream cheese and seeds on a green table next to a beige linen. In the middle, a closeup of partly folded puff pastry on a wood board with a grey bowl and beige linen in the background. On the right, the puff pastry is folded on top of each other.
Two overhead images; on the left, sliced palmiers are placed on a wood board with a knife on a green table. On the right, the slices are arranged on a sheet pan next to a bowl of egg wash.

How to make these savory palmiers

  1. Start by rolling the creases in the puff pastry with a floured rolling pin until you have a 9×12” rectangle.
  2. Next, evenly spread half of the cream cheese on the puff pastry. Sprinkle with half of the Parmesan, everything bagel spice, and some Kosher salt. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  3. Fold the puff pastry sheets to form two six-layer rolls (instructions below). Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and then cut each roll into sixteen 1/2” slices.
  4. Arrange the cookies at least two inches apart on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Brush with egg wash.
  5. Bake at 350°F for 22-25 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately!

How to fold

You have a couple of options for forming palmiers, but each is really simple! Let’s discuss folding vs. rolling.

Folding

To fold the palmiers, start with the long side facing you. Fold the sides of the rectangle towards the center until they go halfway to the middle of the dough. Next, fold the sides again until the two folds meet in the middle of the dough. Lastly, fold one half of the dough over the other half (like a book). You will have one roll with six layers.

Rolling

Alternatively, you can roll the palmiers for a swirlier look. First, lightly mark the center of the dough as a guide. Then, starting with one of the short sides facing you, roll the dough tightly ending at the center of the dough. Turn and roll the other side until the two sides meet. Use a little water or egg wash to help the rolls stick together.

How to serve

Although these savory palmiers are great on their own, you can also serve them alongside other snackies! Here are some of my favorite ways:

  • With artichoke dip, hummus, or whipped feta
  • On a cheese or charcuterie board
  • As a base for crostini (try smoked salmon and capers to stick with the bagel theme)
  • To dip into soup!

Storing leftovers

Palmiers are best when eaten immediately since they tend to lose their crunch over time. However, if you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container and leave them at room temp for 2-3 days. Just know that they might lost their crispiness. To crisp them back up, you can always reheat them in the oven at 350° for a few minutes. Just be sure to check on them to make sure they don’t burn!

A close up overhead image of savory palmiers with cream cheese, Parmesan, and everything bagel spice on a dark green table. In the left upper corner, one of the palmiers is broken.

A make-ahead freezer option

If you want to make these savory palmiers in advance, you can always form the cookies, slice them, and then just stick them in the fridge (covered) until you’re ready to bake them. I definitely recommend doing this and baking them right before your guests arrive so they are warm and crispy!

You can also slice the cookies, and layer them in-between parchment paper in an airtight container. Freeze for up to one month. Then, when you’re ready to bake them, let the cookies de-frost for about 30-40 minutes. Brush with egg wash, bake, and enjoy! I love this option for last-minute get-togethers. Especially when the holidays roll around, it’s nice to have something on hand to serve last-minute guests!

Tips & Tricks

  • The puff pastry will be a bit thick out of the package. Roll it with a lightly floured rolling pin until it’s a 9×12” rectangle. Cut the edges with a pizza cutter if necessary.
  • If the puff pastry starts to get a bit soft and sticky, just stick it in the fridge for a few minutes to firm it back up.
  • The cream cheese can be a bit hard to spread, but just take your time and work gently. With a butter knife and a little patience, you’ll be able to get it spread evenly.
  • If the middles will not stick together, just use a little water or egg wash to help them stick.
  • Make sure to turn the pan halfway into baking or some of the cookies will be crisper than others.
  • Bake the cookies on the middle rack to prevent the bottoms of the cookies from overcooking.
An overhead closeup image of a white plate of savory palmiers with parmesan and everything bagel spice on an emerald green table sprinkled with everything spice. In the right upper corner is two glasses of white wine. The plate is on a beige linen and there are more palmiers in the upper left and bottom right corners.

More Simple appetizers

Marinated White Beans with Toast
BBQ Chicken Nachos with Cilantro-Lime Crema
Pigs in a Blanket with Everything Seasoning & Parmesan
Tempura Fried Cheese Curds with Sriracha Mayo

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Savory Palmiers with Parmesan & Everything Bagel Spice

These savory palmiers have Parmesan, cream cheese, and everything bagel spice for a unique, simple appetizer. Perfect on a cheeseboard, with artichoke dip, or just by themselves!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Cooling Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American, French
Servings 32 palmiers

Ingredients
  

Everything Bagel Spice

  • 1 Tbs sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 Tbs poppy seeds, toasted
  • 1 Tbs dehydrated onion flakes
  • 1 Tbs dehydrated garlic flakes

Savory Palmiers

  • 1 egg
  • 1 lb frozen puff pastry (two sheets)
  • 4 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 c everything bagel spice
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Instructions
 

Everything Bagel Spice

  • In a small bowl, stir together all of the ingredients until combined. Set aside.

Savory Palmiers

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 1 Tablespoon of water. Set aside.
  • Unroll one sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Roll the sheet into a 9×12'' rectangle. Evenly spread 2 ounces of the cream cheese onto the puff pastry, and sprinkle with half of the Parmesan, half of the everything bagel spice, and a few pinches of salt.
  • Next, form the cookies. Starting with the long side towards you, fold each side of the puff pastry halfway towards the middle. Then, fold the sides again until they meet in the middle. Fold one half over the other (like a book). You should have one roll with six layers.
  • Repeat with the other sheet of puff pastry and remaining ingredients. Refrigerate the rolls for about 20 minutes.
  • Trim the ends of each roll. Cut each roll into 16 1/2-inch slices (32 cookies total). Arrange the cookies about 2 inches apart on the parchment-lined sheet pans (you may need to bake in batches). Brush the cookies with the egg wash.
  • Bake the palmiers on the middle rack of your oven for 22-25 minutes until golden brown, turning the pan halfway through baking. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes

This recipe is a great template for other flavors as well (cheddar + rosemary, feta + za’atar?).
If the puff pastry gets sticky, just stick it in the fridge for a few minutes.
Be gentle when spreading the cream cheese on the puff pastry or it will tear. Use a butter knife and work patiently!
To crisp up leftover palmiers, just stick them in the oven at 350° for 3-5 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1palmierCalories: 105kcalCarbohydrates: 6.6gProtein: 2.3gFat: 7.6gSaturated Fat: 2.6gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 97mgPotassium: 18mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 0.2gCalcium: 34mgIron: 1mg
Keyword appetizer, cheese, cookie, snacks
Did you make this recipe?Tag @serendipitybysaralynn on Instagram!

xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Give it to Me by HOMESHAKE

Matcha Kettle Corn

Matcha kettle corn is an earthy, almost floral snack. Lightly sweetened and flavored with matcha powder, it is perfect for movie night or a snack bar!

Matcha Kettle Corn
Popcorn lightly sweetened and flavored with green tea.
Hand reaching into a bowl of popcorn.

I know that St. Patty’s Day is not a super celebrated holiday in the U.S. (and probably we don’t really celebrate the correct way), but I’ve always felt drawn to it purely based on the fact that my favorite color is green.  As a little girl who was obsessed with green, I thought it was the coolest that there was a holiday where everyone wore my favorite color.  And now, I’m planning my trip for Ireland!  And guuuuyyyyyys.  I’m crushing hard on Ireland.  Based on pictures, I’m pretty sure I’m utterly in love.

I’m a little bummed about this St. Patty’s Day this year, because I’m having surgery the day before.  No beer or corned beef for me wah wah 🙁  But then!  I was innocently going about my day, and god knows why, but I started thinking about kettle corn. (Do I really need a reason?).  And then suddenly without hesitation, matcha kettle corn popped into my brain.  And what better way to celebrate St. Patty’s Day than with green kettle corn?!

Remember in elementary school when we would have parties for all the holidays, and without fail, at every single celebration, someone’s mom would make those sweet popcorn balls with shit tons of Yellow 6 and Red 40 and Blue 294u304889?  I have a vivid memory of trying my damnedest to bite into one, but it was absolutely impossible.  Why did no one’s mom just think to make regular kettle corn?  Anyways, the point is that matcha kettle corn is essentially an adult-friendly throwback to green-colored sweet popcorn balls except without the poison, so you’re welcome !!

Matcha Kettle Corn
Matcha Kettle Corn

Notes: As for the matcha part of this kettle corn, I would say you have to be a pretty big fan of matcha to enjoy this. Well, obviously. If you want a light coating, start with about 1 tsp. of matcha. You can add less for a very light coating. Add another 1/2 tsp. if you want a little more flavor.  I liked it with 1 1/2 tsp., but I luuuurve matcha.  Also, I believe that the kettle corn is perfectly sweet with 1/4 c. of sugar, especially to balance the earthiness of the tea. But, feel free to use less if you don’t like sugary kettle corn. My dad doesn’t like super sugary kettle corn but said it’s the perfect balance of sweet. So take that as you will!

Matcha Kettle Corn


An overhead closeup image of a white bowl of popcorn with matcha placed on a marble counter.

Matcha Kettle Corn

Matcha kettle corn is an earthy, floral snack. Lightly sweetened and flavored with matcha, it is perfect for movie night or a snack bar!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Snacks
Cuisine American, Japanese
Servings 8 people

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp neutral oil or coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c popcorn kernels
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp matcha
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions
 

  • In a heavy stockpot with tall sides, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add a few popcorn kernels. Once they’ve popped, reduce the heat to medium and add the butter and the remaining popcorn kernels. Stir.
  • Sprinkle the sugar over the top. Cover the pot with a lid, and gently shake the pot until most of the kernels are popped, about 1-2 seconds between pops.
  • Immediately pour the popcorn into a medium-sized, heat-proof bowl or container with a lid. Sprinkle the matcha powder and salt over the popcorn. Place the lid on bowl or container, and shake until the matcha is evenly distributed. (You can also use a large brown paper bag if you don’t have a container with a lid!). Let cool (the sugar will be hot!). Happy snacking!

Notes

This is obviously a matcha-centric recipe, so I like to use 1 1/2 tsp. of matcha, but feel free to do 1 tsp. for a lighter coating.
I use 1/4 c. of sugar for a slightly sweet flavor, but feel free to add more for sweeter kettle corn!

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 89kcalCarbohydrates: 7.4gProtein: 0.4gFat: 6.7gSaturated Fat: 2.2gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 32mgPotassium: 6mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 6.3gCalcium: 1mg
Keyword american, japanese, matcha, popcorn, snacks
Did you make this recipe?Tag @serendipitybysaralynn on Instagram!

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Abducted by Cults

Matcha Kettle Corn | Serendipity by Sara Lynn
Matcha Kettle Corn | Serendipity by Sara Lynn