Thursday, June 25, 2015

Coconut & Matcha Panna Cotta

These light and creamy panna cottas, with their fluffy texture and delicate matcha-coconut flavor are the perfect dessert to beat the summer heat. They only require about five minutes on the stove too, so you won't heat up your kitchen too much whipping these up on a hot day! 

S loves matcha. He loves my matcha sandwich cookies, and matcha date bars,  he loves matcha boba slushes, matcha lattes, matcha sponge cakes, matcha just about anything. We even have a 1 kilo bag of top-notcha matcha powder he bought a few months ago to his own matcha lattes. Meanwhile, I'm not a huge fan. I like green tea, and I like matcha lattes, but it's taken a while for matcha flavored treats to grow on me.

But oh, these panna cottas break the mold for me. I love these! The matcha is all in the whipped topping so it's light and creamy, and tastes quite a bit like a matcha latte made into a lovely fluff piled up top of a dainty, airy coconut panna cotta. The green tea doesn't overwhelm in this recipe, it plays really well with the creamy coconut and light vanilla notes, all three flavors shine through the creaminess of this delicious little dessert.

Sinking your spoon into one of these pretty little cups after a long day at work is a wonderful reward- the wiggly, sweet, coconut-vanilla panna cotta, and the fluffy, creamy, light-as-air matcha whipped cream come together to make a dessert worthy of a dinner party, but easy enough to make on any-old-tuesday. Enjoy! 

Coconut Panna Cotta

1 Can (13.5 oz) Coconut Milk
3 tbsp Cane Sugar
1 Vanilla Bean
1 1/2 tsp Gelatin (or 1 1/2 tsp Agar powder)
1 tbsp water

Matcha Whipped Coconut Cream

2 Cans of chilled Coconut Milk*
1/4 C Powdered Sugar
1 Scant tablespoon Matcha Powder

*A note about the coconut milk- It is really important that you do not shake or even turn upside down the coconut milk while or after it chills. Ideally, chill it overnight without disturbing the contents. Also you cannot use light coconut milk for the whipped cream part of this recipe, it's gotta be full fat.

For the panna cotta, open the can of coconut milk, pour into a small pot, and add the sugar. Slice open the vanilla bean, scoop out the flesh with a knife, and add to the pot of coconut milk. Then add the whole bean. 

Heat over medium-low heat, gently whisking, for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, reduce heat to low, and in a small bowl combine 1 tbsp of water with 1 1/4 tsp gelatin or agar powder, mix well. Allow the gelatin to sit about 1 and a half minutes, while returning to slowly whisking the coconut milk. After 90 seconds, add the gelatin water mixture to the coconut milk, and while whisking, turn heat up to medium and whisk constantly for 2-3 minutes. 

Remove from heat and pour immediately into ramekins, custard cups, or another small container. Chill for about 4 hours, or until as firm as a nice wiggly flan. 

While the panna cotta chills, make the whipped cream. Take the very cold coconut milk cans that you've not been touching or shaking at all out of the fridge, and open them. If you've chilled them long enough and not shaken or inverted them at all, they will have a thick layer of firm, white coconut cream on top. Skim this cream off both cans and put it in a bowl, or a stand mixer's bowl,  (The liquid beneath the cream you can save to use in other recipes or put in smoothies).

Add to the bowl the powdered sugar and matcha, then using a hand mixer, or your stand mixer, mix on high for about 3 minutes, or until soft peaks form. it won't get as stiff as heavy cream, but chill in the fridge until ready to use, and it will get a bit thicker, like cool whip. 

You can de-mold the panna cotta by dipping the containers 3/4 way into warm water for 5 seconds then inverting on a plate, or you can eat them straight from the ramekins like little puddings. Either way, top with a generous dollop of matcha whipped cream and enjoy! 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Growing up, some of my very favorite books were Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House novels. I was fascinated by the rugged way the Ingalls family lived- how they frequently lived a whole day away from the nearest town, how they could go weeks in winter without seeing even their own neighbors. And I was amazed by the ingenuity- the door PA built without any nails, the inflated pigs bladder the girls used as a ball, the way Ma could make one girls ripped dress into a baby dress, then when that tore, she made it into curtain trimmings. 

One of my all-time favorite scenes happens in the The First Four Years- shortly after Almanzo and Laura are married some threshers come to work on the farm, and Laura serves them all lunch every day. On the very first day, the first time she's ever entertained guests as Manly's wife- she forgets to put any sugar in her pie, and doesn't realize until it's far too late.

When the first thresher takes a bite of his pie, he grimaces, then opens it up and spoons sugar all over it, while politely telling Laura he appreciates it when a cook lets a fellow sweeten his own pie. She is, of course, mortified. The pie is super sour, because this was not an unsweetened apple or berry pie, no, it was a "pie-plant" pie. Laura mentions pie-plant a few times in the course of the books, but it wasn't until she described the unsweetened pie-plant pie as horribly sour, that I realized I knew of only one super-astringent-sour plant that is used mainly in pies: rhubarb.

Rhubarb, unsweetened, is more than just tart, or sour, it's outright astringent. It doesn't take a ton of sugar to take the edge off that sourness, but you definitely have to add sugar. I can't even imagine the unpleasant surprise that thresher must've gotten when he pit into his pie!

I've never had an all-rhubarb pie like Laura makes (sweetened or otherwise), my mother always made strawberry rhubarb pies when I was a kid. My mother is an excellent pie baker. She can make a buttery, flaky, sweet crust like, well, like only someone who was born before pre-made pie crusts were available can. Her strawberry rhubarb pies are the stuff of my childhood food nostalgia. However, on nights when dessert needed to happen quickly, when there wasn't time to make, and chill, and roll out pie dough, my mother made crisps. 

Her most common crisp was apple, but we also made berry crisps, and peach cobblers from time to time. Crisps, cobblers, and brown-betties all come together so quickly and easily, the deliciousness greatly outweighs the effort required to make them, which is why they've become a serious staple of my own dessert making.

I whipped up this crisp one weekend when we some friends were dropping by, and it was gobbled up practically before I could taste it myself. It is delicious, the strawberries are sweet and soft, mellowing out the rhubarb, but allowing it to keep a slight, lovely, tartness. The crisp is lovely served on it's own, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Fruit Filling
1 lb strawberries
1 lb rhubarb
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tbsp cornstarch
2/3 C sugar

Crisp Topping
2/3 C oats
1/2 C flour
6 tbsp butter- room temperature, and cut into cubes
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 C sugar

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a large pie pan or a 9x9" square pan.
Chop the rhubarb into half-inch segments and place in a large bowl, remove the tops of the strawberries and quarter them, then add to the bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 C sugar over the rhubarb and strawberries, and gently mix. Set aside.

Combine the juice of 1/2 a lemon and the cornstarch and mix until smooth, pour over the berries and rhubarb, and mix gently until all fruit is coated in cornstarch mixture. Pour into the prepared pan, and spread out evenly. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl combine the oats, flour, cardamom, pinch of salt, and 2/3 C sugar, and stir until well mixed. Add the butter, and using a pastry cutter, large fork, or your hands, work the ingredients together until they are well combined and the mixture forms many little clumps. 

Sprinkle the oat topping over the pan of strawberries and rhubarb, until well covered, then bake for 40-45 minutes, until topping is golden brown and fruit is bubbly. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes, and serve warm. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sweet and Spicy Taro Fries with Sriracha Mayo

Taro is one of those flavors I didn't really discover until I moved to Chinatown. I first discovered the root vegetable in the form of a bubble tea. If you've never tried taro the idea of a root vegetable flavored sweet iced beverage may sound strange, but with taro, it just works.

Taro bubble tea (or, a taro slush- preferably with lychee jelly), tastes a bit like cotton candy, and a bit like coconut, with perhaps a faint vanilla note. As does taro ice cream, also, both the ice cream and the bubble tea are usually purple. Actual taro tastes nothing like any of those things, and a lot more like a potato. It is, however, swirled with lovely purple bits.

Taro, when served as a savory dish, tastes quite a bit like a white potato, but with a bit more flavor, and perhaps a dash of yam-like sweetness. However taro has a much lower glycemic index than white potato, is high in potassium and vitamin A, and has some great antioxidant properties. 

My first foray into savory taro was taro chips, which I love. Soon after I discovered taro fries at An Choi, a tasty Vietnamese spot by my apartment. It was there that S first suggested that we could make the fries ourselves at home. Taro is easily found in our neighborhood, as it's common in chinese cuisine, so if you can't find it at your regular grocery store, I would check your local asian market. 

The fries at An Choi are tossed in a spicy-sweet glaze that is heavy on the fish sauce. I wanted to maintain that same sweet-spicy-funky flavor, but cut down a bit on the fish sauce, allowing the taro flavor to shine more.  

The results are delicious. These taro fries crisp up wonderfully on the outside while the inside has a great texture, a bit heartier than regular white potato, and the glaze is delightful, a bit spicy, a bit funky, and with great sweet notes, it mixes really well with the creamy-spicy sriracha mayo. These fries make a fantastic appetizer or side dish. Or even an extra-tasty movie night snack. Enjoy! 

Sweet and Spicy Taro Fries with Sriracha Mayo
Serves 4 generously

Taro Fries
2 lbs taro
1 tbsp olive oil + extra for greasing the pan
1 tbsp sesame oil 
salt & pepper

Sweet and Spicy Glaze
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp honey
2 tsp chili garlic sauce (I use Huy Fong)
2 dashes fish sauce  

Sriracha Mayo
1/2 C mayonnaise
1 tbsp Sriracha sauce

Preheat oven to 400 F, use a bit of olive oil to grease a large baking pan. 

Combine all glaze ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk until well combined. Set aside. 

Peel the taro (it peels just like a potato), and cut into fries about 1/2" thick. Place in a large bowl, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp sesame oil, and toss well to coat. Spread fries out in a single layer on the greased baking pan, and sprinkle with salt and a bit of pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on the edges, and crisp on the outside.

While the taro roasts, combine the mayo and sriracha in a bowl and stir until the sriracha is smoothly mixed into the mayo. Set aside. 

When you remove the taro from the oven, don't turn the oven off, you'll need it in a moment. While the taro is still hot, remove it from the pan and pop it in a large shallow bowl, drizzle the glaze over the taro and quickly toss well to coat the fries in glaze. Spread the taro back out on the same baking pan (don't worry about it being too neat, they can overlap a little bit this time) and pop it back in the oven for about 4 minutes, to set the glaze, so the fries won't seem wet. 

Remove the taro from the oven after 4 minutes, and serve warm with the sriracha mayo for dipping. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Creamy Chai Smoothie

There's nothing quite like a cold smoothie on a hot day. Except maybe a cold milkshake on a hot day- but don't worry, this smoothie is as creamy as any milkshake! We've been having a bit of a mini heat wave here in New York, so I whipped up these smoothies last weekend to beat the heat. 

I love a good fruity smoothie, tropical mango-kiwi, or sweet strawberry-coconut, but my newest smoothie find is creamy date smoothies. My favorite smoothie shop whips up a mean date-almond-banana-cocoa-coffee smoothie that I adore, but I had something else in mind. 

I'm not a big coffee person, but I love tea. I like all tea, from matcha to hibiscus to earl grey to rooibos. My favorite morning wake up tea is a nice spicy chai. So I thought, why not make a creamy banana-date-chai smoothie? Turn my favorite breakfast drink into a a meal (or dessert!). 

I used Tea Pigs Chai, but you can use any type of chai you prefer. When I lived in Washington State, I used to make my own chai mix from loose black tea and spices I would buy from a quaint little spice shop downtown. My favorite combination was clove, cardamom, star anise, black peppercorn, and extra cinnamon. I liked to make mine super spicy, but I think any chai would be delicious in this smoothie. 

The best chai I've ever had was in Portland, Oregon. I don't usually like to talk up Portland because everyone already knows Portland is great, and the Northwest has so many wonderful but overlooked towns, but I have to give credit where it's due. The wonderful chai I had in Portland came from Spella Caffe, but back then it was just a little street cart, not a brick and mortar cafe. 

The man in the cart made the chai to order while you stood on the corner waiting in the chilly morning air, mixing together a melange of spices and boiling them up, then carefully pulling the chai- pouring it from pot to pot, moving his hands farther and farther apart until he was pouring the chai about 4 feet from pot to pot. Then he poured it off into a cup and passed it to me. That first spicy-sweet-clovey-cardamom-y sip was like a sublime revelation. 

This smoothie takes that same spicy-sweet complex chai flavor and pairs it with caramel-y dates and creamy coconut, a heavenly pairing. The spiciness of the chai really plays well with the mellow banana and coconut, and the caramel flavor of the dates adds just the right amount of sweetness to the chai. 

S and I sipped these smoothies for breakfast, but we agreed they would also make a brilliantly decadent, yet healthy, dessert. This recipe makes two generous pint size smoothies, but could easily be stretched to four servings, especially if being served as a dessert or snack. Enjoy!

Creamy Chai Smoothie
Makes 2 pint size smoothies

12 oz boiling water
3 teabags of your favorite chai
3 oz pitted dates + 1 C water
2 bananas
1/2 C coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

There are two do-ahead steps for this smoothie. You can do these the night before you want to make the smoothie, or as much as 3 or 4 days before. 

Date Paste: Place the dates in a bowl and pour 1 C warm water over them. Allow to soak for 1-2 hours, then put the dates and about 2 tbsp of the soaking water in a food processor and process until smooth. Scrape into a bowl or tupperware and keep in the fridge until you need it. 

Chai ice cubes: boil 12 oz water, pour into a heat-resistant measuring cup, add the three chai teabags, and allow to steep 3-4 minutes. Remove tea bags, give them a little squeeze to get any extra chai out, and discard the tea bags. If using plastic ice cube trays, allow the tea to cool a bit before filling, if using silicone ice cube trays, you can fill the ice cube tray right away. Pop them in the freezer until frozen solid. I was able to make 9 ice cubes in my tray.

When your ice is frozen, your date paste is made, and you're ready to make your smoothie, place the bananas, chai ice cubes, and date paste in a blender, pour the vanilla extract and the coconut milk in, put on the lid and blend on high until smooth. 

Pour into two pint glasses and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Deep Dark Chocolate Super Fudgy Gluten Free Brownies

So these brownies are super chocolatey, like deep-dark-double-chocolate. They taste like one of those Fine Extra Dark Ritter Sport bars. They're moist and fudgy, with caramel-y date notes, they're loaded with equally dark melty honey-sweetened chocolate chips. Oh, and they're gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar free. You could almost call them healthy.

Now, I'm not always gluten free, typically I am a classic American omnivore, consuming just about any food laid in front of me (except mushrooms. I just don't do mushrooms). But I have a bit of a skin condition, and when it flares up I eat an anti-inflammatory diet to help speed up the healing process.  What that means is: no nuts, no gluten, no dairy, no refined sugar. In other words, no fun at all.

I'm kidding about the no fun, of course! It's actually a bit of a fun challenge trying to come up with tasty meals, especially when so many gluten/dairy free recipes rely heavily on nuts. Last weekend I really, really wanted brownies. I have an excellent gluten free chocolate cake recipe, but it involves a lot of almonds. I searched online, but was put off by the idea of running out to buy arrowroot powder or tapioca starch. I decided I would just make something up.

I borrowed ideas from a plethora of recipes full of other things I didn't have or couldn't eat and when I put it all together and popped it in the oven I was not 100% convinced it was going to bake up into a solid object at all, let alone fudgy dark chocolate brownies like I was hoping for. But I was in luck, the baking gods smiled upon me, and 27 minutes later I was pulling a pan of super dark chocolatey, ooey-gooey fudgy brownies out of the oven. 

These brownies are delicious. The chocolate is super dark and intense, not-too-sweet, but with plenty of caramel-y date flavor, and if you go ahead and whip up the honey sweetened chocolate chips you'll find pockets of melted bittersweet goodness sprinkled throughout. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies

12 oz  dates (or 1 C date sugar)
3 tbsp Buckwheat flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
4 tbsp coconut oil
8 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 large eggs
3 tbsp maple syrup (optional, for a bit of extra sweetness)
Optional: 4 oz honey sweetened chocolate chips *recipe at bottom of page

First, make your date paste (if using date sugar, skip ahead). You can do this up to several days in advance, and keep the paste in the fridge. Pit the dates, and place in a bowl of warm water. Allow to soak for half an hour. Drain dates, reserving about 2 tablespoons of the soaking water. Add dates and the 2 tbsp of water to a food processor, and blend until a thick paste is formed. Scrape into a small bowl and set aside. 

Line a 8x8 inch pan with aluminum foil, then coat foil lightly with coconut oil. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Add the coconut oil and chocolate to a double boiler (or heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water), and place over low heat, stirring occasionally, until water and coconut oil melt. When the chocolate-oil mixture is completely smooth, remove from heat and stir in the date paste (or date sugar) in three increments, stirring well after each. The chocolate will become quite thick as the dates cool it down. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well. 

In a small bowl sift together the cocoa powder and buckwheat flour. Stir into the batter. Now begin to beat the heck out of your batter. I know, it's thick, it's hard work. But just go to town. I use a big wooden spoon. As you mix, the batter will begin to get glossy and pull away from the edges of the bowl- this is good! Keep going! Mix the heck out of the batter for about 2 minutes. 

If you're adding the honey sweetened chocolate chips, mix them in now. Scoop the batter into your foil lined, coconut oiled pan, smooth it out, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the center feels just barely set. Remove from oven, place the pan on a cooling rack, and let it cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting. 

Honey Sweetened Chocolate Chips (optional)

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/3 C Honey

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the honey. Pour into a small parchment paper lined pan or dish, pop into the freezer for 20-30 minutes, then chop into small bits with a large knife. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Caesar Kale Chips with Dip

Sorry for that little hiatus folks! I took last week off from blogging to work on a large advertising shoot. I was assisting a food stylist I love working for- Frances Boswell (of the beautiful Kitchen Repertoire). We had a great time, making everything from sandwiches to lattes, to oatmeal. 

After 5 eight-to-ten hour days of cooking, I just wanted to come home and eat simple, healthy snacks. So I decided to whip up some kale chips. Crispy, salty, crunch, and totally addicting, kale chips are one of my favorite tv night snacks. I can devour an entire bunch of kale over the course of just one episode of Game of Thrones.

That's sort of the magical thing about kale chips. I'll eat as much kale in a snack of chips as I would in a dinner salad. These would be a fantastic way to get a picky eater to eat more leafy greens. The earthy bitterness of the kale is dulled by the crisping, and the garlic and onion powder are what really shines through. 

You can use lacincto kale, as I did here, to produce a more flat, traditional looking chip, similar to a potato chip, or you can use curly kale to get a three dimensional chip with a lot of crunch power. It's important to coat every leaf in olive oil, but don't soak them or they'll take longer to crisp up in the oven. Enjoy!

2 big bunches kale
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp olive oil

1 clove garlic
1 tsp anchovy paste
1 dash worcestershire sauce*
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 C olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
dash of coarse black pepper

Preheat oven to 300F. Wash kale and thoroughly dry. I use a salad spinner to dry my kale as it needs to be totally dry or it won't crisp well in the oven. 

Remove the large stems from the kale leaves, and tear into 3 inch pieces. Toss with  1-2 tsp olive oil, until kale is coated but not soaked in oil. If you have one of the refillable olive oil spray bottles, they are lovely for this sort of thing. Arrange kale leaves in a single layer on oiled (or parchment lined) pan. If you have a large oven, you can do two pans of kale side by side. Otherwise you will need to do 2-3 rounds of baking to crisp all the kale.

Combine all the dry spices, mix well, and sprinkle over the kale. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pans and cook another 12-15 minutes, until kale is crispy. Remove from oven, and allow to cool on pan for 2-3 minutes before removing. 

While the kale cooks, prepare your dressing. Using a garlic press, press the garlic clove into a small bowl, or chop finely and add to a small bowl, to this, add the lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, anchovy paste, pepper, and mustard. Whisk until well combined.  Continue whisking, and very  slowly begin to drizzle in the olive oil. Whisk hard, and don't pour too fast, the idea is to emulsify the oil into the dressing, so it becomes thick and smooth. You can also use an immersion blender for this (though in that case, don't blend too long or it gets super thick). You won't over-whisk this by hand, so just keep going until the dressing is nice and thick, like ranch dressing would be. Go further than you would for typical caesar dressing, as this is for a dipping sauce. 

Serve immediately, or store the dressing in the fridge and the chips in a nice dry place until you're ready to serve. Enjoy!

*In case you're Paleo, here is a link for a paleo-friendly Worcestershire Sauce

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Roasted Strawberry & Butter Cookie Sundaes

Among my many jobs (photographers assistant, food stylist assistant, studio manager, photographer), I take all sorts of freelance photography gigs, including working for other bloggers. People with small start up companies or blogs always want to know one thing- how to take better photos without buying fancy equipment. 

Usually on these shoots, I'm working with big lights- strobes with soft boxes, maybe a seamless sweep, my DSLR and a large lens, lots of light stands and reflectors. So when I tell these other clients, or anyone really, that I shoot Little Market Kitchen without any of these things- flash, big reflectors, or even a proper sized still life set up, they're surprised. When I tell them I shoot this blog in the 4x5 foot space between my counter and my sink, where the only window in my (rather dark) kitchen resides, with my still life board laid across a regular kitchen stool because a table would never fit in my shooting area, they're even more surprised.

The key, I tell anyone who asks for advice on shooting with natural light in this dark, crowded city, is to map the light in your apartment. First, take stock of where your windows are, and how accessible they are. Pick out the window or room that gets the most amount of light, and has room to shoot in, then the next time you're at home all day, look at that room about once an hour. Watch the light, take note of when the room is the brightest. When your shooting area is the brightest- this is when you want to shoot. My kitchen window looks southeast at the East River, so I get the best light in the morning, but there is a tall building across the street from me, so the light gets cut down around 10AM in the winter, and 1PM in the summer. Which means this time of year I shoot all of my recipes before noon. 

Consequently, last weekend I finished making and photographing these sundaes at 10:30 in the morning. I was in a bit of a conundrum afterwards regarding what to do with the sundae I had photographed. It's not like you can save a sundae, even in the freezer the sauce gets all hard and the berries would freeze. There was nothing else to do, S and I had to have sundaes for breakfast. 

At least I went for a run while the strawberries cooled. I'd like to say we followed these up with a proper breakfast of eggs and toast, or that we had eaten bowls of yogurt or chia pudding with fruit salad earlier that morning, but I'm into being honest with my readers, so I'm not going to pretend to be some sort of healthy sane person that balances out ice cream with chia pudding. We ate the sundae you see photographed here as our entire breakfast, and it was heavenly.  

We also had smaller individual sundaes for dessert that evening. It was just an ice cream kind of day I guess. S and I are not known for our great restraint when it comes to eating. We once ate an entire pineapple upside down cake within three hours of my making it. Maybe it's a testament to my cooking abilities, or maybe we're just two terrible gluttons.

These roasted strawberries are lovely. I mixed them up with two of my favorite condiments, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar, but you could substitute honey for the maple if need be. I made the cookie crumble the night before, which I highly recommend doing. Just try not to eat the whole thing before you ever make the sundaes! 

Roasted Strawberry & Butter Cookie Sundaes
Makes 4 very generous sundaes or 6 regular sized ones.
Balsamic Roasted Strawberries
2 Pints Strawberries
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Pints Vanilla Ice Cream

Brown Butter Cookie Crumble

3/4 C Oats
1 C Flour
1 Stick Butter
1/2 tsp Baking powder
2/3 C Sugar

First, bake the cookie crumble. You can do this a day, or even two, in advance. Preheat oven to 350F. Place the butter in a skillet on the stove and heat over low heat so the butter melts- first it will be yellow and opaque, then it'll turn foamy, then clear, and finally it will begin to smell like nuts and turn subtly brown. Do not leave the butter unattended as it will go from clear to browned to burned very quickly. Once the butter begins to brown remove it from heat and pour it out of the pan and into a bowl or measuring cup immediately, as it will continue to cook in the hot pan if left in there. Browning the butter will take 5-10 minutes, depending on your heat.

In a mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients for the cookies and mix until well combined. Pour the browned butter over the dry ingredients and mix again until butter is well mixed in and a clumpy dough forms.

Butter a 8x8" pan and press the clumpy dough  into the pan until it comes together to fill the pan, press until a smooth, level surface is formed. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack until cookie is room temperature. Cut into squares to remove from the pan, then crumble the cookie bars into 1/2" pieces in a large bowl. Set aside.

Roast the strawberries- this can also be done a day ahead, and roasted strawberries can be kept, with their juices, in a refrigerator until you're ready to use them. Preheat oven to 375F. Remove the tops of the strawberries and cut any large ones in half. In a casserole or roasting pan, toss the strawberries, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar. Roast for 30-35 minutes, until juices are bubbly and strawberries are soft and look a bit roasted. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. If you want warm strawberries on your sundae, wait about 10 minutes. For cooler berries that will melt your ice cream less, you can pop the berries in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

Scoop a hearty serving of ice cream into each bowl. Top with roasted strawberries and cookie crumble, then drizzle with the roasted strawberry juice. Serve immediately and enjoy!