cold smoked chocolate s'mores tart


when i take pause to add them up, i know an incredible amount of amazing women! i've been so fortunate in the past few weeks to have shared wonderful conversations with the majority of them all ... brilliant, driven female entrepreneurs who meet together for a monthly discussion group. strong and fearless women i train and climb with indoors and recently on a rad ladies-only bouldering trip. knowledgeable and influential instructors who inspire and expand my own yoga practice. and a recent gathering of pnw food bloggers introduced me to a number of talented gals that i had been admiring for years, but had yet to meet in person. 

ladies, thank you all for overwhelming inspiration! 

one of my favorite local female-owned business, 'hot cakes' sent me a goodie bag of ingredients from their wilderness collection to test out. a portion of proceeds from this fun product line benefits organizations committed to preserving wildlife and wild places! so basically ... eat chocolate and save the wild! their alder wood cold-smoked chocolate chips and campfire caramel sauce worked their way into a tart that drew inspiration from a recipe from my friend sasha's blog 'tending the table.' sasha's peanut butter pie is wildly delicious and the crunchy addition of puffed rice in her "crust" was perfect for what i had in mind. adding a ganache layer makes things a bit more complicated, but it's well worth the extra effort. 


smoked chocolate s'mores tart 
note: i made a double batch to fill a 12" tart pan plus 3 mini-tarts (because that's what i own) ... but for a single batch, a 9" or 10" round tart pan or springform pan would all work well. if you have extra makings, fill some cupcake tins with leftovers! 

for the crust
1-1/2 cups pitted dates
1-1/2 cups raw cashews
1 cup puffed rice cereal 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
pinch of sea salt

for the smoked chocolate ganache layer
2 tablespoon coconut oil

for the almond cream layer
3/4 cup smooth almond butter
3/4 cup full-fat coconut cream 
2 tablespoons campfire caramel sauce
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
large pinch of sea salt

toppings
2-3 tablespoons campfire caramel sauce
1/2 cup puffed rice cereal
1/2 cup mini vegan marshmallows 


in a food processor, pulse cashews, cinnamon and sea salt until nuts are roughly chopped. add pitted dates and pulse until everything sticks together. transfer crust "dough" to a mixing bowl and work in the puffed rice. 

use a paper towel to lightly grease tart pan(s) with a little bit of coconut oil. press dough in using your fingers and just enough crust dough to cover the bottom of the pan. if you have leftovers, make extra mini tarts in cupcake tins! 

melt coconut oil and smoked chocolate chips in a double boiler. spread a thin layer of chocolate in the tart pan, and then transfer to freezer to let set. reserve a few tablespoons or more of melted chocolate to drizzle on top... just leave it in the double boiler so that you can easily reheat it later. 

in a blender, combine ingredients for the almond cream layer until smooth. it should be slightly airy and pourable, like a thick smoothie. add coconut milk if needed to loosen the mixture. check on the chocolate layer and make sure that it is fully hardened before topping the tart with the almond-cream layer. fill tart pan to the brim. sprinkle the top with marshmallows and puffed rice - whatever proportion you think looks good! return tart to freezer for another 15+ minutes, until almond-cream layer is firm. 

finally, reheat melted chocolate in double boiler and warm the caramel sauce. drizzle both over the chilled tart. return to freezer until ready to serve! to serve, gently remove the tart from the pan and let sit for a few minutes at room temp, until it's easier to cut tarts with a knife. you can also slice tart and return slices to freezer until ready to serve. i think the best texture is when frozen or when they've been sitting out at room temp for about 10 minutes. they can hold for an hour or two at room temp, but the almond-cream layer will soften significantly. 

thank you 'hot cakes' for your sweet contributions! 

parsnip date butter & archipelago preserves


after two full years of self employment, i finally accomplished one of my bigger goals: teaching and cooking for my first yoga retreat! i partnered with my colleague, bree dillon, to share in the organizing and teaching. i also had a tremendous amount of help in the kitchen from my lovely friend becca... a girl with an incredible palate, who could pinpoint the flavor of the tiniest amount of capers in a lentil salad big enough to feed 25 people. together, we pulled off the most incredible three-day weekend retreat at doe bay on orcas island. 


even at the fringe of the growing season, orcas island had so much to offer our bellies. i put together a self-guided food tour of the island, visited farms and fabulous artisans and collected ingredients along the way for our shared meals. with breakfasts in mind, we collected six dozen rich and vibrant eggs from happy hens at warm valley farm, visited the tasting room of 'girl meets dirt' to stock up on island-grown fruit preserves, stopped into roses bakery for my favorite breads and got a personal delivery of island-roasted coffee from 'local goods' for endless pots of french press. our breakfast buffets had homemade everything: granola, almond milk, energy balls, island-grown greens, asparagus-chimichurri frittata one morning and a spanish tortilla with romesco sauce another, parnsip butter & jam smeared toasts... i've never seen a better looking breakfast selection. 


i want to gush on and on about the experience, but i'll reserve that to my personal journal. i will tell you though about these delicious preserves. and this parsnip-date butter i made to go along with audra's preserves. 

'girl meets dirt' is something truly special. audra, the master jammer, is dedicated to reviving and stewarding old fruit orchards throughout the san juan islands, hand picking all her fruit locally and making the highest quality small batch preserves in stunning copper pots. her flavors are many, but her plum preserves are my personal favorite. paired with crusty bread and a smear of parsnip-date butter... oh so magical. 


parsnip date butter ~ makes 2 cups
3 cups peeled and cubed parsnips
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoon lemon juice - or to taste
3 or more large medjool dates - or to taste
large pinch salt

peel and cut parsnips into cubes the size of grapes or hazelnuts. add to steamer basket and steam for 20 minutes or so, until roots are completely smooshable. transfer steamed parsnips to a blender or food processor with remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. start with less lemon and date, and add more to taste. i enjoy this spread lightly sweetened and enough acid to brighten the overall flavor but not to taste intense lemon. let cool and store in airtight container for up to one week. 

notes: i usually don't promote peeling or steaming vegetables (i like to eat all the nutrients) but the resulting color and texture in this butter recipe is far superior. so save those veggie peels for a soup stock, and you can even use your steaming water in a stock too! there's good stuff in there... this recipe was inspired by a toast i had at the london plane in seattle. there they served the parsnip-date butter drizzled with pomegranate molasses, but i highly suggest you get your hands on some 'girl meets dirt' preserves instead!! 


thank you local goods & girl meets dirt for your contributions to our retreat! our guests were well fed and well caffeinated!!