Grain-Free Cardamom Sticky Biscuits

Christmas mornings meant dad pulling out all the stops when it came to getting ready in the morning, and the breakfast.  Oh man, the breakfast.  While the other 364 days of the year he would make oatmeal or Cream of Wheat, he decided to sizzle up bacon and fry up over easy eggs, making fresh orange juice, and sitting down to enjoying every single bite.  My brother and I would bemoan my dad's need the start of a healthy breakfast as we inched our way toward the stockings. 

Now, the tables have turned and I see a little bit of my dad in myself, wondering how my girls can ignore the need for protein to being the day.  Insert this special little Grain-free Cardamom Sticky Biscuits I have made on many occasions for Christmas morning.  I have prepped them in between and had them baked to go post presents.  Since they are unlike cinnamon rolls, there is no need to rise, roll, and shape.  Post haste friends over to Grace Table for the recipe and sweet nostalgia if you need to remember why slowing down in this Advent season is necessary.  

Rhubarb-Lime Cardamom with Streusel Muffins

Muffins are simply cake for breakfast.  My senior year of high school, Samantha would pick me up and depending on time, we would drive to a spot in town called Mostly Muffins, because they mostly had muffins there.  I rarely got one, but I salivated over the one with cream cheese frosting.  Like I said, they're just cupcakes for breakfast, and since the name is muffin--I feel like I can eat them guilt free.  

It was a rare morning when my mom made muffins as they were mostly of Jiffy box kind, but even those became scarce commodities.  It wasn't until I became a college student that I became acquainted with the ease of these little morsels.  Preheat oven, measure dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients into another, combine & pour batter into muffin cups.  Why on earth had I not monopolized them long before and started my own Mostly Muffins But Better business?

As a mama, I love to serve my girls through baking.  I had rhubarb awaiting manipulation in the fridge and was inspired long ago by Luna Cafe's Rhubarb-Lime Cardamom Muffins with Streusel; however, I wanted to change mine to use almond flour, coconut sugar & honey.  The rhubarb, lime zest & cardamom sit for 30 minutes to macerate the sugar, while preparing the batter & streusel.  What I found is that my love for rhubarb & cardamom are further married in my stomachs mind.  I also managed to cut the fat in the recipe as well, which lucky for all who eat--does not compromise taste.  

Underbelly of the muffins--look at that gorgeous rhubarb

Rhubarb-Lime Cardamom with Streusel Muffins (printable recipe)

As I stated above, these muffins are inspired by Luna Cafe.  I use blanched almond flour from Honeyville, raw clover honey & local WA rhubarb.  

Rhubarb Mixture:

2 TB honey

Zest 1 lime

1 1/2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch chunks

3/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/4 tsp ground cloves

Streusel:

3/4 c almond flour

1/2 c coconut sugar

1/4 tsp salt

3 Tb ghee, should be liquid form

Batter:

3 cups almond flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup + 2 Tb coconut sugar

3 eggs

6 Tb ghee, should be in liquid form but not hot

1/3 cup whole fat yogurt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  

In a medium bowl, combine the rhubarb, lime zest, coconut sugar, ground cardamom, cloves & honey.  Mix to thoroughly coat and allow to sit for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, work on the streusel by combining the almond flour, salt, coconut sugar & 3 Tb ghee.  Combine together and it should resemble sand.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, work on the dry ingredients for the batter.  Combine the almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt & whisk thoroughly to even out any lumps from the almond flour.  Add the coconut sugar and mix throughout again.  

In a small bowl, work on wet ingredients for the batter.  Combine the eggs with the 6 Tb ghee and mix.  Add the yogurt and mix together.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients of the batter and mix gently to combine by using a spatula.  Add the rhubarb mixture at this point and combine till disbursed evenly.  

Line two 12-cup muffin tins with 18 muffin papers (I doubled my papers equaling two per muffin).  Scoop the batter into the muffin cups about 3/4 full.  Smooth them down, in order to put the streusel topping on.

Using your hands, place about 1-2 Tb of streusel on each muffin batter.  You will want to clump it together a bit in your hands; rather, than having a smooth layer on top.

Bake for 23-25 minutes.  I baked one sheet and then put the next one in and rotated them 180 degrees halfway through baking.  Remove from oven.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove muffins to cooling rack. Consume!

Cashew Cardamom Brioche with Orange French Toast: Mother's Day

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It's the glory of second trimester, while Spring is bountiful with early sunshine & late sunrises whispering of Summer on the move.  While the majority of the nation has seen weeks upon weeks of high temps, it is our little Pacific Northwest corner still bundled, crossing fingers that the sun will stay out long enough for temps reaching the 60s (yes, that's considered warm).  This week we have been blessed with just that, and eating lunch on the front porch is a must as I don my burgeoning belly in summer dresses found consignment.  I'm eating these moments up.  

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V comes up & rubbing my belly asking, "Are you ready to come out baby?"  Both girls searching out names they like for the baby, things like 'Pinkalicious, Rosa, Laura, & Molly,' which is an improvement from Princess Snooglebeak.  My heart just two weeks ago was reminded how this baby is different from my other babies.  The baby we lost in September would be greeting us this month.  I didn't realize till that moment, that it is possible to mourn a loss while greeting a joy at the same time.  

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It was in these words by JJ Heller's song, I Get to be the One: 

How does someone so small

Hold my heart so tightly

I don't even know you

I love you completely...I get to be the one to hold your hand

The secret part of my heart not able to convey what it is inside, which is making it hard to attach to this little one in me...is coming to light.  In part, it's the flood of reality that there was a home for the baby we don't get to greet, while a lot of my friends welcome their May babies.  I'm allowed to mourn that even amidst the gift. So God speaks as if he's sharing coffee with me, "that I get to be the one making a home for this baby in my belly."  That I get to be the one, so incredibly broken & incomplete, he chose to be the mama to this third child we welcome in our home.  

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Who am I that I would be given this gift when I know of story upon story of the closed womb, the bleeding womb, and the never touched womb.  I don't know.  I do know that it's Mother's Day on Sunday, where I am blessed with my little gifts of life.  I also know that it's Mother's Day, which is yet another reminder to some of those hidden hurts.  My friend Denise puts is so eloquently when writing on the hurt of Mother's Day.  

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Can I invite you to open up your heart & your table to one of those who is hurting?  Can you write a note to the woman who has never been able to conceive?  Can you bring flowers & hug to the woman who has no mother?  Can you invite the single woman who longs to be a mother over for a meal?  

I offer you a wonderful grain-free french toast to make for the mother, motherless, or mother at heart woman in your life.  This Cashew Cardamom Brioche French Toast with Orange reminds me of the sweet & slightly bitter life we endure.  Sweet from the cashews & orange, while cardamom bitterly lingers just a bit to be swept away by the rich, creaminess of butter & treacly maple syrup.  

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A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.

~Victor Hugo

Cashew Cardamom Brioche with Orange French Toast (printable recipe)

The cashew brioche is just slighty changed from Coco at Roost, where she creates mouthwatering lovelies.  The addition of orange & cardamom are dear to my heart and nostalgic for a little cafe overlooking La Jolla beach in San Diego.  

Cashew Cardamom Brioche Ingredients:

3 cups cashews

4 eggs, separated

16 cardamom pods, seeds removed & ground

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup whole milk yogurt with live cultures

1/2 Tb raw apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup unpasterized apple juice

Directions:

Add your cashews to a blender.  Blend them until they resemble a fine flour.  I use the medium setting, in order to avoid making cashew butter.  I also utilize the pulse setting toward the end.  Empty the cashew flour into a bowl & set aside.  Add the baking soda, cardamom, & salt to the cashew flour, mix.

Next, add the egg yolks, raw apple cider vinegar, yogurt, & apple juice to the blender.  Puree the mixture until blended well, about 20 seconds.  Place the dry ingredients back into the blender (cashew flour, baking soda, salt, & cardamom).  Puree the mixture till the dry ingredients are nice and wet & combined, about 30 seconds.

In a clean, deep bowl, add the egg whites (room temperature).  Whisk & whisk until you beat them into submission, which means wet stiff peaks form.  Pour the cashew batter into a medium or large bowl.  Take your beaten egg whites and pour them a top your cashew batter and fold them in gently.  Don't overmix or overfold, as you want the air from the egg whites to lend to the airness in the final baked brioche.

Pour the batter into a greased 9-inch pan, or a parchment lined pan.  Bake for 60 to 70 minutes in a 315 degree oven.  

French Toast Ingredients:

one loaf of cashew cardamom brioche

3 eggs

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

zest from one orange

Juice from one orange

2 tsp vanilla

unsalted butter

maple syrup or honey for drizzling

Directions:

Slice your brioche in 1/2 inch slices.  You should get about 9-10 slices out of the loaf.  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat, add your fat of choice (butter, ghee, coconut oil are great choices).  

In a bowl, combine heavy whipping cream, orange zest, orange juice, eggs, & vanilla.  Whisk together till combined.  Once your skillet is nice & hot, add your slices of brioche to the eggy custard, coating both sides really well.  Add the coated brioche slices to your skillet and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on how well you like your french toast cooked through.  I love the crispy edges.  Before adding new slices, add more fat to grease pan and continue cooking.

Serve hot with butter & maple syrup or honey.  Enjoy!