birthday number 2, take two

Someone was quite eager to get started. Before daddy even lit the birthday candles, Rivers was rehearsing for his shining moment. Having waited patiently for over a week to devour his birthday tart, until his cold disappeared, he was certainly practiced in the art of extinguishing a flame with the first breath. Too perfected for his mama to capture the reflected glow of the candlelight and his efforts without a relight.

Maybe we’ll do trick candles next year to slow him down a bit.
Daddy allowed Rivers the honor to (attempt to) cut his birthday dessert. And with the pie cutter in hand, he created a smiley face instead. “Eyyyyyeeee. Heaaaa.”

A few weeks prior to Rivers’ birthday I was racking my brain with what to do for his cake. His daddy’s birthday is not even a full month prior. Two winter birthdays can put a bit of a damper on creativity, especially since there is relatively no fresh (local) fruit, and this season they both needed to be gluten-free.  Good thing I have two chocoholics in the family!

Sometimes I don’t know if Rivers fully understands me when I speak to him, but during a brainstorming moment I asked if he would like a peanut butter-chocolate tart. His entire face lit up, eyes widened. He nodded steadily and calmly, letting the weight of my question sink. That settled that.



whole-grain chunky chocolate bars


As if I don’t bake enough at work, I’m in my kitchen calculating ingredients and whipping up recipes on days off. This was not the case when I was home full-time, but the projects I do at the bakery inspired me to dust off my old recipe books. I noticed that my old notes are stained and, in some cases, the pen ink is fading. It’s time to get organized, rewrite (or type) recipes and re-test a few to make sure they’re worth keeping.

First one down.


Whole-Grain Chunky Chocolate Bars (Vegan)
Yields 16 squares from an 8×8 inch pan

2 Tablespoons freshly ground flax seed
6 Tablespoons warm water
1 1/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup canola oil, or melted coconut oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ounces melted semi-sweet chocolate
5.5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate bar, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
4-5 ounces chocolate for dipping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8 inch square pan with parchment.

Whisk together ground flaxseed and water in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a blender or food processor, blend oats until they become a flour. Place in a medium bowl and whisk in whole wheat flour, salt and baking powder.

In another bowl, mix together oil and sugars, then flax mixture, vanilla and melted chocolate until thick and sticky. Fold in dry ingredients slowly until just fully incorporated. Fold in chocolate pieces and nuts.

Press into parchment lined pan. Bake about 30 minutes.

Allow time to cool. Pull whole cookie out of the pan by the parchment. Cut into 16 squares. Once all the squares have fully cooled, melt the chocolate and dip the tops.