Ahhhh…summer. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
After having an unusually sunny and warm spring, we’ve been blessed with a sunny and hot summer. The sunlight, the heat, the patio and gardening time…cupcakes and barbecues… It fills my soul.
I cringe when I hear people complain about it. Don’t they remember our long, long, gray winter just a few short months ago here in the Northwest? I want to yell, “bite your tongue!” God forbid we get stuck with a terrible summer that sneaks its way into 6 months of winter.
We need to appreciate every second of it.
I try to absorb as much sunlight and heat as possible to prepare for the long winter ahead, skin cancer be damned.
In fact, I read an Australian study that stated that people who cover themselves with chemical laden sunscreen and spend less time in the sun are actually more likely to get skin cancer than those of us who bask in gorgeous rays. The key is to get just enough, not too much.
We celebrated a quiet Independence Day a couple of weeks ago. I made a big batch of Double Chocolate Raspberry Filled Cupcakes…grain free and dairy free of course! And, some fantastic roasted red potato fries, broccoli and veggie slaw, and burgers topped with sautéed mushrooms and onions.
I splurged and allowed myself potatoes and an Udi’s gluten-free bun. My body doesn’t like those things on a regular basis, but once in a blue moon, it’s a real treat.
This year’s Independence Day was not quite the same party we had in New Hampshire last year, where it’s legal to set off any kind of firework anywhere that your heart desires.
Personal fireworks are illegal in Washington.
There are three public firework shows to choose from that are close to us, but wanting to avoid the thousands of people who attend, we opted for a nice relaxing 4th of July dinner and evening at home. No crowds, no traffic.
And it was worth every bite.
Double Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes
*This recipe is adapted from Satisfying Eats
Preheat oven to 350°
1 Cup of Organic Coconut Flour
3/4 Cup of Organic Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 Cups of Coconut Sugar
2 teaspoons of Double Acting Baking Powder
2 teaspoons of Baking Soda
1/8 teaspoon of Sea Salt
8 Organic Eggs
1/2 Cup of Earth Balance Soy Free Dairy Free Butter
3 Tablespoons of Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Cup + 1/2 Cup of Organic Full Fat Coconut Milk
1/2 Cup of Strong Brewed Decaf Coffee
1/4 Cup of Dairy Free Chocolate Chips or Chopped Dairy Free Dark Chocolate
Add the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisk together. Add the eggs, butter, vanilla, coffee, and 1 Cup of the coconut milk. Mix on medium to blend well, scraping down sides. Let the batter rest while you’re getting the cupcake tins ready. Add the 1/2 Cup of coconut milk and mix on medium just until combined.
Spray each of the cupcake liners lightly with non-stick spray and fill each 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 22 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
3/4 Cup Dairy Free Butter
3 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar (I use homemade coconut sugar powdered sugar)
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Almond Extract
3-4 Tablespoons of Full Fat Coconut Milk
About 1 1/2 teaspoons Instant Coffee Granules
Pour the coconut milk in a measuring cup and add the instant coffee granules, stir to combine. Set aside and allow the coffee granules dissolve.
Cream the butter in a mixer until it is light and fluffy, scraping down sides once or twice. Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and almond extract. Mix on lowest setting (so you don’t end up with a cloud of powdered sugar and cocoa powder over your whole kitchen) until mixture starts to come together.
With the mixture on medium, slowly add the coconut milk coffee mixture, 1 Tablespoon at a time (keeping an eye on the consistency…not too soft!) scraping down the bowl once or twice in between. Once all of the coconut milk has been added, beat on medium for 3 minutes.