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Day-After-Valentine's-Day Real-Life-Granola

February 15, 2017

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The day after Valentine's Day. Perhaps there's an ever so slight droop to the roses, or that sweet card has a little bend in the middle. Or maybe the takeout boxes are still out on the table. Whatever. It's morning, and you need breakfast.

Thankfully, this granola is here for you like a trusty friend. It's not glamorous, but it's still got style thanks to semisweet chocolate and dried tart cherries in the mix. It takes some time to toast - about an hour in the oven - but, save a few stirs here and there, it's mostly hands-off. Then, for the rest of the week, you can bask in your own cleverness as you dish out bowl after bowl of simple, tasty breakfasts with just the right amount of decadence.

Enjoy with a generous dollop of yogurt or a heavy-handed pour of milk, and maybe some sliced fresh fruit if you want to get real fancy. When you could start every day with chocolate cherries, who needs Valentine's, anyway?

Chocolate Cherry Granola

3 cups rolled oats
heaping 1/2 cups chopped raw almonds
heaping 1/2 cups chopped raw cashews
1/3 c sunflower seeds
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp neutral-flavored oil
5 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/2 c + 1 to 2 tbsp semisweet chocolate chunks, to preference
1/2 to 3/4 cup dried tart cherries or dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 250 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium to large bowl, mix oats, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, and cocoa powder. In a separate small bowl, whisk together oil, honey, and salt. Add oil mixture to oat mixture and combine thoroughly. Spread evenly over the lined baking sheet. Place on a rack in the middle of the oven and toast for 30 minutes, stirring / tossing halfway through. After 30 minutes, turn heat up to 275 F and toast another 20-30 minutes, stirring halfway. Check on it frequently towards the end to make sure it doesn't burn; it should smell toasty and look darkened, but not very dark.

Remove and let cool for 5 minutes. Add chocolate chips and toss to combine evenly. Let cool another 10 minutes, then add cherries and toss again. The melted chocolate should form a coating on the granola. Let sit to finish cooling completely. Enjoy with milk or yogurt, or by the handful as a snack. You deserve it.


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Chinese New Year + Red Bean Twists

February 01, 2017

Happy Year of the Rooster! In addition to wandering Chinatowns filled with firecrackers and dancing dragons this past weekend, I took the opportunity to make some celebratory foodstuffs. When there's any chance for tasty deliciousness, take it, I say.

These yeasted twists, layered through with sweet red bean paste, look like something you might find in an Asian bakery. At first, they might seem too intimidating to tackle. You might think, sure, they look nice, but no way I have the time and energy to make them myself. BUCK UP! They're actually rather simple to make, and the only real trick is twisting the dough to form the buns (which is actually not that hard, and just looks fancy thanks to those pretty striations of red bean paste). With a little planning ahead, some patience, and a bit of work on your part, you'll be rewarded with marvelously soft, sweet buns that make you feel like a master baker!

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To make the red bean paste:

Soak 4 oz of adzuki (red) beans overnight. Add to a small saucepan with water to cover by 1/2". Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours until beans are soft and water is mostly absorbed. Add 1/4 sugar, 1 tbsp butter, and a pinch of kosher salt. Blend with a food processor or immersion blender until the consistency of a smooth paste. Let cool -- it will thicken even more as it cools.

To make the dough:

Bring 1/4 cup of milk and 3 tbsp water to 105-110 F. Add to a large bowl along with 2 tsp active dry yeast and let stand for 5-10 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 cups bread flour, 3 tbsp sugar, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt. Add to the wet mixture and combine. Add 1 beaten egg and 2 tbsp softened butter and knead together. Dough will be soft and sticky; knead until dough is smooth, supple, and just a bit sticky. Let rise in an oiled bowl, 1 - 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Turn out dough and punch down. Divide into 8 equal portions and roll into balls. Cover with a damp tea towel while forming the rolls.

Working one at a time, roll each ball into a 3/8" thick rectangle. Spread with red bean paste, leaving a 1/8"-1/4" border. Pick a short side of the rectangle and fold one third of the dough over the filling, then fold the other third over that. Pinch ends to seal in the filling. Roll out lengthwise to about 8" long, taking care not to squish out the filling!

Using a sharp knife, cut the log in half lengthwise to form two strands. Position filling side up, then twist together into a simplified braid. For the final twist, wrap the strands into a spiral. Tuck the end under the roll and pinch to fix in place.

Repeat this process for all the rolls. Arrange 2" apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet and let rise, covered with a damp tea towel, for another 20 minutes.

If desired, glaze with an egg wash, 1 egg beaten with 1/2 tbsp water. Bake for 18-20 minutes until deep golden brown on top and hollow-sounding when tapped.

Let cool and enjoy! These are best when fresh, but you can store covered at room temperature or stashed in the freezer.

Want the full illustrated recipe?? Prints are available on the shop! Do eeeet :D

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Strange days.

November 11, 2016

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The world feels weird. Surreal. There’s been a lot of hurt this week. Maybe life will be able to resume its regular pace next week, or next month. Hopefully the coming season of friends and family will bring healing, not further division. In the meantime, all I really have to say is… Be kind to one another. Open your ears before you open your mouth. Do your very best to love. And please, by all means, share a cookie with someone who needs it.

xo Lori

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Popcorn Granola + Friday Fave Five

November 04, 2016

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Breathe in. Breathe out. Relax your death grip on your pen / mouse / coffee mug. It's Friday!

This week has been about loosening up. There's a lot of wacko going on right now on top of our already wacko lives, and I for one need a break. A break could look like this Popcorn Granola, which I absolutely had to give a shot because a) popcorn for breakfast! and b) um popcorn for breakfast?!?

I followed the Food52 recipe somewhat loosely. My goal was breakfast, not dessert for breakfast / a lot of popcorn buoys bobbing in my almond milk. Balance — because, right now, we need balance.

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Now — for this week's Friday Fave Five!

  1. Celebrating a Cubs win in the World Series — with Chicago Dogs, o'course. (Disclaimer: I don't know a thing about baseball. But I do know a thing about Chicago Dogs, and that thing is that they're dang delicious.)
  2. Tried out these buckwheat chocolate chip cookies this week. I have thoughts, which are 94.5% positive, and believe you me I’ll be working on that other 5.5% next week.
  3. In the interest of loosening up, I'm playing more with colored pencils. This set of mini colored pencils from Muji is so cute I could hug it.
  4. Don’t dress your age.
  5. Looking forward to a few good boozy slushies this weekend at the new Chinese-takeout-joint-meets-dive-bar down the street. (If that wasn't a thing before, it is now.)

Go enjoy your weekend!

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Red Bean Paste + Friday Fave Five

October 28, 2016

October, Halloween 'round the corner, leaves falling... there's a definite mood in the air. So it only makes sense, as everyone's putting out their orange string lights and decorative gourds, to make.... red bean paste?Maybe not your typical a hankering, but that deep earthy-sweet flavor and maroon shade feel just right for these cooler, shorter days. Red bean (known as azuki bean to some), if you've never tried it, is a common ingredient across Asia and often blitzed into a sweet, smooth paste for filling a number of enticing pastries. It's something I've grown up eating, a familiar flavor memory from puffy dumplings and moon cakes, and never once did I think it weird to have a bean play a major role in dessert.

This recipe for homemade red bean paste, a simpler (and hopefully more nutritionally viable) take on the stuff you might find in cans at the Asian grocery, comes to you via the good folks at The Woks of Life. I made this bread the other day (such a pretty swirl! so soft and scrumptious!) as well as the paste to go inside it, and I dare say this filling will find its way into other concoctions in my kitchen... Red bean three ways

One batch of red bean paste, endless possibilities.


Red Bean Paste
(adapted from The Woks of Life)

8 oz. dried red beans, rinsed
1/2 - 3/4 cup granulated sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
5 tbsp butter (for a looser consistency and richer taste, use more butter)
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Soak the red beans for 8 hours or overnight. To cook, pour the water and beans into a medium-sized pot, ensuring there's enough water to cover the beans by about a quarter inch. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover (cracking the lid just a little). Cook for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until beans are very soft. If you still have a lot of excess water, uncover the pot to let more liquid evaporate.

Once beans are cooked and the mixture is very thick, you're ready to blend. If you prefer your paste chunky, you can simply mash with a fork or potato masher. If you like a smoother texture, use a food processor or immersion blender to blitz the mixture to your desired consistency.

Cut butter into 1 tbsp pieces and add to the paste along with the sugar and salt. Blend until butter is fully melted and all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

Let cool before adding to your cookies, toast, dumplings, or other vehicles for red bean paste delivery.


But wait! There's more!

For this week's postscript: the S&S Friday Fave Five!

1. #cookiesandkindess is a movement started by Dorie Greenspan to share your baking endeavors with your friends, family, all your people. Which is, I mean, kind of the core tenet of Sugar & Stamp, so... all aboard, folks, let's spread some cookie love <3 <3 <3
2. I made a riff on these molasses cookies, like, a week ago. Even as I type, I'm nibbling on the last remains of that batch, and the fact that it's still so delicious is frankly a little frightening. Don't worry, I'll share soon ;)
3. A concept I’m becoming increasingly interested in as the days grow colder and shorter: hygge.
4. For Eater Sweets Week, I got to show some illustrated love for some really delicious Asian desserts around Seattle. Among them: Hood Famous Bakeshop's Ube Cheesecake. I'm doubly excited because a) it's awesome to see Filipino flavors popping up around Seattle and b) you can't not be excited about this cheesecake.
5. Haven't figured out what to dress up as for Halloween? Why not your dog's favorite toy...?

That's it! Bye!

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Friday Fave Five!

October 21, 2016

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Let’s round up. Catch up on some things. What happened this week? What was interesting? (Don’t talk to me about the election. I’ve had too much.) Since our brains are already full of stuff and it’s Friday and we can’t take any more, we’ll keep it short. So here we have it: the S&S Friday Fave Five.

1  Capturing a fuller sensory experience of food. P.S. Massimo Bottura is ingenious and insane and I adore him.

2  Getting into vintage kitchenware. Like these clutch copper-look measuring cups!

3  Everyone seems to be making enamel mugs. And you know what, I’m totally into it.

4  A different take on Southern fusion: Salare. Both my Southern roots and my present Pacific-Northwestern self cry in unison: Please take me for brunch?!

5  I followed this recipe for red bean bread from The Woks of Life, and it was one of the best baking decisions I’ve made. Now, what to do with all this leftover red bean paste?

Cheers, everyone. To the weekend!

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A Tale of High Tea + A Simple Amaretti

October 12, 2016

Let's rewind a few weeks. I’m settling into a rattan armchair, doing my best to act poised. Across the little bistro table from me is my dear mother, who has finally made her way up from Kentucky to visit me in the Pacific Northwest. The setting is a tea shop in Victoria, British Columbia, and the occasion is High Tea.

It’s a pretty ideal mother-daughter date – elegant ambiance, fancy teacups, cute food – and in Victoria, where old-school British colonial nostalgia settles on visitors like pixie dust. My mom comments on the decor, particularly a vintage bicycle with a wicker basket attached to the handlebars. I’m very keen on how she’s absorbing the experience – she did come all this way to see me, and I’m dragging her around the PNW all like “please love it here!!” – so it’s very important for this to impress. +1, kitschy bike. 

A three-tiered platter arrives at our table, set amidst the teapot and teacups. Our server talks us through the savory sandwiches (the words "cucumber & mint tzaziki" and "wild mushroom” stand out), the scones with Devon cream and jam (here I delicately refrain from drooling), and finally the sweets (Victoria sponge, carrot cake, and a rich "Vancouver Island” cheesecake). She then offers to take our picture. I hand her my phone, and Mom and I lean in for the photo. Just remember that, behind those smiles, are very empty stomachs and a keen desire to get started on those sandwiches.

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Everything tastes excellent, and we munch our way through the tiers, alternating bites of savory and sweet with sips of tea and bits of conversation. At some point I explain to her the proper way to hold a teacup. She responds with much more useful life advice, the sort only mothers can give. Time passes slowly, and after all the cups and platters are finally cleared, we sit back with contented sighs and begin to plot our next adventure.

After coming home, I’ve been thinking about that tea quite a bit. Not so much the tiered tray with its wide assortment of treats (although that was delicious and I’d do it again in a heartbeat), but the overall concept of slowing down, having a cup of tea on a saucer with a simple cookie. Apparently this is normal elsewhere in the civilized world, but not so much here in the States (slow down? HOW??). So I made these tea cookies – not the more traditional British shortbread, but a soft version of Italian amaretti.

amaretti ingredients

These little almond flour cookies look delicate, but they taste much bigger than they look – crisp exterior, soft and chewy middles bursting with almond essence, and just the right amount of sweetness. As you eat them, you kind of get the suggestion that these are meant to be savored. Chew slooowly. Sip your tea. Don’t be a barbarian.

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I made these before Mom left town, and I sent her home with a half dozen. The next day, I got a message from my dad thanking me for returning her, and for the tasty cookies. If I couldn’t keep Mom in Seattle with me, at least I’ll know what I’m making next time I visit.


Soft Amaretti (Amaretti Morbidi)

you’ll need:

1.5 cups fine almond flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2.5 tbsp powdered sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1 egg white
1/2 tsp almond extract

Mix flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl.

Add egg white and almond extract, working it in just enough to form a cohesive dough.

Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate, about 30 mins. Preheat the oven to 325ºF.

Scoop out 1 tbsp balls of dough. Roll in extra powdered sugar, then flatten slightly.

Place dough balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-22 minutes (for crispier, crunchier cookies, bake 2-3 minutes longer).

Let cool (at least a little) and enjoy, slowly, with tea or coffee.

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Welcome to Atlanta

September 14, 2016

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I sort of feel like I've gone back in time. A week ago, I was on my way to the Seattle airport, sporting a fluffy vest and a long-sleeve chambray. Now, I'm sweating through my t-shirt and wondering why on earth I bought a hot coffee. I feel like I ought to bust into the nearest Starbucks with a chunky scarf on — "WHAT SEASON IS IT?!" — and look wildly for any sign of pumpkin spice.

Still, I'm glad to be here, seeing what's new and enjoying what's old and familiar. Little Tart for pastries and Octane for coffee. Candler Park Market for a bite to eat before work or during a lunch break (and for a formidable selection of wine). A stroll down the Beltline for people watching, a Thai Tea popsicle from King of Pops, and to entertain the idea of stealing a stranger's really adorable dog. Take-out pho from So Ba for dinner, eaten unceremoniously on a friend's couch. Too late for coffee? A beer, then, from Taproom. Nothing fancy — just the sights and tastes of a place I once called home.

Tomorrow, it's back to Seattle, where I hope to be greeted by gray clouds, plaid flannels and craft ciders. I hope the air smells especially briny. And I wouldn't say no to a steady misting of rain while I take a post-flight nap on the couch. In the meantime, I'll have a Coca Cola, please, while I soak up a little more vitamin D from these sunny Atlanta skies.

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When in NYC

September 08, 2016

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Happy Thursday, friends! It was a short work week — just the right size work week, like how a short stack of pancakes is usually the right size stack of pancakes. Here's hoping your weekend is full of all the things you didn't manage to squeeze into Labor Day weekend — books, naps, that little side trail on that hike (you know, that one).

I'll be spending the next few days romping around that envy of all cities, New York! Taking the wrong cabs, glorying in cheap and very cheerful bagel sandwiches, drinking coffee from the other coast and sweating way more than I would have in Seattle. On my bucket list:

- Stop by Pause Cafe in Lower East Side. This tiny spot with a Moroccan pulse serves up righteous açai bowls, an array of pastries, and simple, satisfying bagel sandwiches. There's one in particular, an almond butter + banana combination, that's got an inexplicable hold on me.

Stumptown Coffee at the Ace Hotel. There's Stumptown in Seattle, sure, but this just feels... right.

- Find an enamel mug. Plain, white or gray camp mug, for purposes that will soon be revealed... if I can just find one out in the world. 😬

- Chelsea Market for a block of halva from Seed + Mill. I came across this place when I was last in town and only took away a tiny sliver. Mistake. Nutella & Hazelnuts, Cardamom, I'm coming for you.

- Dumplings. Xi'an Famous Foods' spicy & sour lamb dumplings would do swimmingly.

Cheers. Have the best Thursday ✌🏻

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Digestive Biscuits

March 16, 2016

Digestive Biscuits

So, from what I hear, it’s St. Patrick’s Day. And wouldn’t you know, I totally made an Irish Soda Bread chock full of wholemeal and raisins and junk. I even made a green avocado pound cake complete with green tea soak, just to be extra green about it. Heck, I even drank a green avocado-kale smoothie for breakfast.

The recipe above is… none of those things. All I can say is I’ve been making a lot of digestive biscuits recently, and my best excuse for sharing these with you today is that, well, England is Ireland’s neighbor so that makes it ok right??

Digestive biscuits actually originated in Scotland in the early-mid 1800s as a physician-recommended aid for — wait for it — digestion. I don’t know, something about whole wheat flour and fiber being good for your guts. I’ll take it, if it means I can have an extra biscuit with my morning cup of coffee. These biscuits are crispy and toothsome with the warm, hearty flavor of whole wheat. They work wonders with a cup of good black tea and some sweet, tart jam. Under slices of aged cheddar and apple, they might just turn your mid-morning snack into a hearty early lunch. Whoops / you’re welcome.

However you decide to enjoy these, just make sure you do make them and enjoy them. They’re quick, and easy, and so so good. And healthy(ish), or at the very least healthier than all that Guinness you’re about to drink. :)

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Rosa Parks' Peanut Butter Pancakes

February 25, 2016

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So, yesterday, the Library of Congress digitally released to the public a collection of Rosa Parks’ personal writings and photos and such. Amazingly, among them was a recipe — for pancakes! It’s not every day you wake up to Rosa Parks telling you to put peanut butter in your pancakes. I mean, how could I say no…?

A quick adaptation this morning yielded wonderfully fluffy pancakes packing a hefty punch of peanut butter flavor with a soft, cake-like crumb. I did back down a little on the amount of baking powder Ms. Parks suggested for “featherlite” cakes — 2 whole tablespoons, daaang girl! — because I worried that that much baking powder might lend a bitter taste. With one and a half tablespoons and a light mixing hand, these pancakes turned out flufftastic nonetheless. Top with bananas to achieve some serious peanut butter / banana role reversal, then douse both in as much maple syrup as your heart desires. It’s the weekend, after all! I’m sure Rosa would approve.

Find my original source here on Food52!

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