I love any holiday that gives me a reason to make a baked good.    I know a lot of people love to hate on Valentine's day, but I'm not one of them.  Cards, gifts and chocolates aside - it's really just an excuse to hang out with someone you love.  

I'm not the biggest chocolate person in general, but sometimes I can get down with something this decadent.  I also love the idea of making a brownie-type dessert in a tart pan to make it feel more like a "occasion."  Make sure to serve this one warm with lots of coconut creme on top and share with a loved one ;).


WALNUT BROWNIE TART WITH GANACHE & WHIPPED COCONUT CREME (Gluten-free, Dairy-free) Adapted from David Lebovitz

  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup natural cane sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot starch
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease your 8-9 inch tart pan with coconut oil (or cut out a fitted circle of parchment paper).  

In a medium saucepan, add coconut and walnut oil and semisweet chocolate.  Once chocolate begins to melt, stir until smooth and creamy.  

Remove from the pan and stir in sugar, vanilla, and whisk in one egg at a time.  In a separate bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, salt, almond meal and arrowroot starch.  Slowly whisk in dry mixture to brownie batter and beat well until smooth. 

Stir in chocolate chunks and walnuts. then scrape batter into tart pan.  Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 30 minutes.  Let brownies cool, then chill for 40 minutes for the cleanest cut.


  • 3 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream (I used SoDelicious brand)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Add cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate to a medium sized mixing bowl.  Heat coconut milk over medium heat until it comes to a low boil.  Pour over chocolate mixture and let sit for 30 seconds.  Stir in vanilla extract and whisk together well until smooth.  Drizzle over finished brownie tart.


  • 1 (15oz.) can coconut milk

Chill coconut milk in the fridge overnight.  Once opened, scoop out all the thick coconut cream into a small mixing bowl.  Whip until smooth and add a dollop to each brownie slice.


nutmeg-spiced hazelnut cake with chocolate ganache

I recently celebrated a birthday at the end of January.  Naturally, I was reminded of all the pool parties I couldn't have as a child since my actual birthday is usually quite cold and rainy (or snowy).  There are in fact some upsides to a Winter birthday, especially if like me, you enjoy cold weather and warm, spiced desserts.  Cake made of roasted hazelnuts is definitely one of them.


Generally, I'm not really one for a real "classic" birthday cake.  I don't particularly enjoy frosting or super sugary desserts (I know, who am I?).  This cake completely seduces me, though.  I originally adapted it from Smitten Kitchen, made it gluten-free and added some freshly grated nutmeg.  If you're planning any special occasion baking anytime soon, this is a sure show-stopper.  It may even cure your childhood resentments and/or winter blues.




1 heaping cup raw hazelnuts

1/2 pound butter (or earth balance)

1 1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose flour

5 large egg whites (or egg replacer)

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon xanthum gum

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped fine

1/2 cup heavy cream or coconut cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roast hazelnuts on a baking sheet for 12-15 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

2.  Add butter to saucepan over low to medium heat.  Cook 6-8 minutes or until it smells nutty.

3.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, xanthum gum, powdered sugar and nutmeg.  Add this mixture with hazelnuts to food processor or blender.  Mix a little at a time and pulse into flour.  Add flour back to bowl and set aside.

4.  Place egg white in a stand mixer and beat on high speed for 4-5 minutes or until they have stiff peaks.  (For egg replacer, do this same step, but mixture will not get as fluffy).

5.  Fold egg whites into flour mixure making sure to combine well, but not overstir.  Add to greased cake pan (bundt, layer cake, etc) and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour.  Set aside to cool.

6.  As cake cools, double broil chocolate with vanilla.  Stir mixture as the chocolate melts.  Remove from stove and let cool.  To serve, drizzle or cover entire cake with chocolate ganache.  Top with dusting of powdered sugar and freshly grated nutmeg.




I have never been into science. I definitely have a "creative mind" in that way, and remember nothing of the biology classes I had to take during school. One of the more peculiar, scientific things I am aware of is the sensitivity coconut oil has to temperature. If you notice, it can be liquid like oil or as thick as butter (and sometimes thicker!) It is such a fascinating obsession of mine, beyond it's sometimes scientific characteristics.



Needless to say, there is nothing scientific about this dessert beyond the art direction and coconut capabilities. This is the simplest and most delicious snack, dessert or otherwise. You know that "chocolate shell" you'd get as a kid around ice cream? This is like that, but so much better and can easily be made raw. Coconut oil hardens into a shell around the banana INSTANTLY. It is a scientific experiment I'll never understand, but is amazing nonetheless.


If you don't like mint, experiment with other extracts! Try adding carob powder, macadamia nuts, or any topping you like. This recipe has infinite options and will be wonderful any way you prepare it, I promise. Enjoy this frozen treat for our last few days of summer, or if you're like me, anytime around the year.


Serves 4

2 organic bananas, halved
1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil, liquefied
1/4 cocoa or raw cacao powder
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon peppermint or vanilla extract
2 tablespoons walnuts, finely chopped

1. Slice each banana in half and skewer one end with wooden stick or toothpick. Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.
2. Warm coconut oil just enough to liquefy it completely. Whisk in cocoa or cacao powder, sweetener, and peppermint extract.
3. Create an assembly line of bananas, chocolate sauce and chopped walnuts. Dip banana in chocolate and very quickly coat in walnuts (the shell will form immediately, so if you're not fast enough you won't get any walnuts). Repeat for each banana.
4. Eat immediately or re-freeze.