Clean Chakra, Good Karma


“Let’s trade in our judging for appreciation.  Let’s lay down our righteousness and just be together.”
-Ram Dass

As some of you may know, yoga plays a huge role in my life.
I practice 5-7 days a week.  You could say I’m addicted.
Yoga has shown me a part of myself that doesn’t need competition to thrive.
Normally, I live for competing and comparison.
In yoga, I am given the opportunity to learn to appreciate and grow with the people around me who are also sharing in the experience.
Another beautiful part of yoga is the idea of self-study, which allows you to be both the teacher and the student, which is a unique and eye-opening experience.

Leaving Ithaca meant leaving a studio which I had grown to not only love, but feel at home in.
Mighty Yoga is not a yoga studio.  It is a yogic community based on pure love; they welcome new students in with open arms and keep a place for returning students.
I miss my Mighty Yogis something fierce.  All of the teachers there are amazing and bring a different and new sense of wonder to the practice.
I try to hold the sense of community and love that I received/receive from Mighty Yoga in my heart and mind as I try to set down roots in a new studio, which is a different community and a different vibe.
Not bad, or worse, just different.

I made these hand-painted, chai-spiced and rosewater-frosted cookies as a goodbye gift for all the yogis at the studio.
Buttery sugar cookies are dosed with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger, and the royal frosting is tinged with rosewater.
They are delightfully crisp and equally buttery.
I painted each with one of the seven chakras.


P.S. Yes that’s me in the above photo… The pose is eka pada rajakapotasana II.


Chai-Spiced Butter Cookies with Rosewater Royal Icing

for the cookies:
3 cups flour
2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
pinch each cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger
1 egg
2 scant teaspoons kosher salt
3 splashes vanilla

Beat butter and sugar together until softened and pale yellow.
Add in the egg and beat until super fluffy and shiny and not gritty, about 3 minutes.
Add in the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 20 seconds.
Add in all the flour and stir slowly, mixing until a homogeneous dough forms.
It should not be overly sticky, nor should it be very crumbly.
Roll it out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut it into shapes.
Refrigerate or, even better, freeze, for at least 30 minutes while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, until golden and easily lifted from the sheet.for the frosting:
use this kick ass recipe from Bake at 350, replacing rosewater for the extracts


This is my last WISE post.
It’s been real, y’all.
Just yesterday, it feels, I told you about my WISE project.
I present in a week.  It’s crazy.  I’ve loved every minute of this.
Time flies.

(This is the last dessert I made not destined for the presentation.  
I combined classic Persian flavors: cardamom, rose, pistachio, and saffron, and added mango for an extra kick.  
I shaped the sholeh zard, or rice pudding, into firm, pressed rice cakes, inspired by Dave Chang’s ttuk, and then fried them in ghee.  
The mango sorbet was just mango purée with a little bit of glucose and plenty of saffron.)

rose whipped cream
sholeh zard
pistachio pain de gênes
mango saffron sorbet


This was not supposed to be a Christmas themed dessert.
I swear.
It was meant to be a beautifully vibrant expression of three of my all-time favorite flavors:
 pistache, framboise, et rose.
Pistachio, raspberry, rose.
I had dreams about the beautiful red spheres of raspberry that I could make; I drooled over the thought of a pistachio pain de gênes; I practically fainted when I pictured candied rose petals, topping the whole shebang off.
This dessert was the very first baking I did when I got home from my vacation.
Let’s just say that I was just a little *ahem* antsy to get back in the kitchen.
I had been planning this dessert out for ages, diligently typing out recipes on my phone on the plane ride to the islands.
It makes sense, then, that this was an especially ambitious dessert.  
Highly involved, many components, and many, many opportunities for human error to enter into the system.
I wasn’t entirely happy, as it became very clear very quickly, with the color scheme of this dessert.
The raspberry was so vibrant that it looked garish next to the muted greens of the pistachios.
The white meringues were too much of a contrast with the rest of the plate, and the rose petals which I had candied were pink, not red, and looked like sliced red onions on the plate. 
So, lesson learned: ease back into my work, lest in the throes of relaxation my creativity has silently slipped into a less tasteful realm.
Also, pink rose petals look like onions.
Pistache et Framboise
vanilla goat cheese panna cotta
raspberry gelée
raspberry curd
rosewater meringues
raspberry and rose cubes
pistachio pain des gênes
raspberry spheres
chopped pistachios
(candied rose petals)
I currently don’t have my WISE journal (it’s being evaluated… eep!), and I didn’t make a dessert this weekend, so I guess I’m “behind” a week in terms of desserts.  
I’ll probably make one during the week, to catch up, and I’ll be back to regularly scheduled posts soon.
I think.
Pistache et Framboise

Raspberry Rose Cubes
80 g raspberry purée, strained twice through a sieve
1 teaspoon rosewater
5 g sugar
1.2 g agar
Bring juice and sugar to a simmer, add the agar and mix with an immersion blender. Strain and pour into a rectangular pan, then put into fridge to set. Once set, cut into cubes.

Goat Cheese Panna Cotta
1 ounce goat cheese
1/4 teaspoon gelatin
1/4 cup cream
1 vanilla bean
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sour cream
Bloom gelatin in 1 tablespoon cold water. Being cream, scrapings from the vanilla bean, and sugar to a simmer, then blend in goat cheese until melted.  Add gelatin and blend with immersion blender, then add in the sour cream.  Pour into shallow bowls and chill until set.

Pain de Gênes à la Pistache
56 grams pistachios
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch salt
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
4 tablespoons butter, softened and cut into chunks
21 grams flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 6-inch cake pan.
Pulse pistachios, salt, and sugar into a finely ground meal in a food processor.  Add eggs and butter and pulse until thoroughly combined. Add the flour and baking powder and pulse until combined.
Spread batter into pan and bake for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Raspberry Spheres
100 g raspberry purée
25 g sugar
2.4 g calcium lactate gluconate
500 g low calcium water
2.5 g sodium alginate
25 g sugar
Prepare the alginate bath: heat water just to dissolve sugar, then add in sodium alginate and blend until completely dissolved. Allow to settle and  cool overnight.
Blend the puree, sugar, and calcium lactate gluconate until homogeneous. Spoon into hemispherical silicon molds and freeze until solid.
To make the spheres, drop the frozen purée into the bath and leave for 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and rinse in clean water.

Raspberry Curd:
adapted from Luscious Berry Desserts by Lori Longbotham
3 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
5 ounces raspberries
2 egg yolks
Pinch salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Bring raspberries and sugar to a boil, then press through a fine mesh sieve.  Whisk in the egg yolks and salt, then bring to a simmer over low heat, whisking constantly.
Once the curd comes to a simmer, remove from heat and whisk in butter until curd is smooth and silky.

Raspberry Gelée
1 teaspoon gelatin
1.1 ounces water
4 ounces frozen raspberries, thawed
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Bloom gelatin in water.
Boil raspberries and sugar together, then press through a fine mesh sieve.
Stir in lemon juice and gelatin mixture, then use immediately and place in refrigerator to set.

Rosewater Meringues
60 g egg whites (should be two-ish, feel free to just use 2)
75 g sugar
Pinch cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon rosewater
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.  Line a sheet pan with parchment.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the eggs until foamy.  Add in the cream of tartar and continue to whisk.
Slowly start adding the sugar, as the egg whites whip.
Continue to whip until the meringue is very stiff.
Beat in the rosewater.
Form large mounds using two spoons.
Bake for 11/2 hours, rotating midway through.
Turn off the oven, crack it open a bit, and allow the meringues to finish drying (the oven should be completely cool when you pull them out).

Candied Rose Petals
From Alice Waters
Unsprayed rose petals
1 egg white
1 cup superfine sugar
Brush the petals on both sides with the egg white, then lightly dip the petal in the sugar.  Lay them out on a wire rack and allow them to dry at least a few hours to overnight.


Not all knockoffs are like that fake Juicy Couture bag I bought at the Silk Market in Beijing.
The one which turned out, once inspected in a brighter lighting and clearer mindset, to be a brown-and-pink diaper bag with a malfunctioning zipper.
Take these cookies, for example.  They’re a take on those lovely, pillowy “Lofthouse” style sugar cookies that you can buy in every single supermarket in America.
You know the ones… They come in packages of six or ten or so, generally with pink or blue Crisco-based “butter”cream icing adorned with heaps of sprinkles, which, during appropriate holiday rushes, change into seasonally themed icing and sprinkles.
They’re so bad…. But so very, very soft.  And hard to resist.
Editor’s note:
[While perusing their website, which took an inordinately long time to load, discovered that they now come in red velvet [?!] and frosted with nerds [?!!].  Suspicious whether this is good idea or very, very bad one.  Must say, nerds are great.  
Therefore still on fence about nerd-frosted sugar cookies.
Also noted: holidays featured are Easter, Halloween, 4th of July, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Thanksgiving.
Wonderful!!! All imaginable holiday cookie needs covered! 
Perusing further, discovered watermelon and sugar plum flavored sugar cookies (and, of course, ubiquitous and gratuitous pumpkin).
Must ask what a sugar cookie designed to mimic sugar plum even tastes like?
Best guess: saccharine.
Watermelon?  Can only think of sticking Hubba Bubba into a cookie and dyeing the whole thing bright green.  Mmmmm refreshing.
Nearly done with snottiness.  
Blue-, pink-, yellow- and white-frosted cookies considered disparate flavors/groups?!
Found one difference: which number dye goes in at end of mixing time.
Last and most important point: how does “purple-boo” icing taste?  And why not kosher?]
Oh, and actually…  Props to Lofthouse for trying to be more eco-friendly.  It’s hard for me to love the cookies anymore, but I sure as heck appreciate that.
Here.  Now that you’ve endured an entire post of whining and carrying on, why don’t you enjoy a big, fat, soft cookie with a sweet, buttery swirl of icing on top?
These cookies are wonderful.  So soft and fluffy, perfectly offset by a mound of buttercream.  I also made free-form rose flavored sprinkles/shards to top the whole thing off.
Subtle, and not overly perfume-y.  Just what I was going for.  
I don’t want people thinking I poured a bottle of my nicest Chanel into my cookies.  Feel me?

I loved this recipe… Easy and produced great results.  I highly recommend it!

Faux Lofthouse Sugar Cookies
6 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces( 16 tablespoons) butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon (I added much more… I like vanilla) vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sour cream
Stir together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.  
In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together.  Scrape the sides.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Scrape the sides.
Beat in the vanilla and sour cream just until combined.
Mix in the dry ingredients just until the dough comes together and is fully mixed.
Divide into 2 disks and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line sheet pans with parchment or silpats.
Lightly dust a clean surface with flour, and turn one of the refrigerated disks out. 
Roll out to a thickness of 1/4 inch, then cut out desired shapes.
Bake for 7 minutes, then let cool on wire racks.
Gather scraps, refrigerate for a little (10 minutes) if they are becoming warm and elastic, then re-roll.
Repeat with other dough.
American Buttercream Frosting
1 stick butter
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar, sifted
big pinch of salt
splash of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of cream, as needed
Beat the butter until smooth and fluffy.  
Sift in the sugar, add the salt and vanilla extract, and beat on low speed until incorporated.
Beat on high speed for about 20 seconds, until everything is homogeneous.  If the frosting is thick, add some cream or milk in small increments until it is spreadable.
Spread a thick layer onto each cookie, leaving a slight mound in the center of the cookie.  Spin the cookie while lightly pressing down in the center to create a small well for your sprinkles!
Rose Shards:
Use this recipe (brilliant!), but add in a drop of rosewater and spread it very thinly and evenly over a sheet of parchment instead of piping lines out.  Let dry completely, then break apart into little shattered pieces.  Use it to garnish the frosted cookies.  

All that Glitters

2013 will soon be upon us, as out of the ashes of the last dying day of December rises the new  year.
2012 went by in a flash (don’t they all?).  It’s hard for me to believe that the year is almost over.
We got eight-ish inches of snow from the storm, and our entire town is blanketed in thick, fluffy white piles.  
It is such a wintry wonderland: picture perfect and well-suited for the holidays.
As we ring in the new year, I hope all of you are surrounded by friends, family, and champagne love.  It’s the only way to begin 2013!
These are vanilla bean Italian macarons, filled with rose French buttercream, swiped with a bit of tempered white chocolate, and dusted with a whisper of gold luster dust and silver stars.  Luxuriously delicious, and perfect for NYE celebrations!
 Well, scratch that.  I just finished the last one.  New Year’s Eve’s Eve’s Eve’s Eve celebrations.  Close enough.
I’m feeling supremely lazy, so I’m gonna link some recipes with adaptation instructions rather than rewriting them here.  Sorry Larry.
I used this fabulous recipe, halved, for the macarons.  I prefer to use the sucre cuit style, as it has previously given me better results than the traditional French method.  And I’m lazy and  Anita has absolutely foolproof instructions and pictures, so, by all means, go take a look around her blog.  Gorgeous!  I swiped each shell with some melted, tempered white chocolate, and dusted them with gold luster dust and silver sprinkle stars.
For the rose buttercream, I used BraveTart’s recipe, scaled down for the weight of 1.5 ish egg yolks (I used about 2.3 ounces of butter, to give you an idea), then added a teeny tiny touch of red food coloring, about a tablespoon of mascarpone, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, and a few drops of rose water (which gets stronger as it ages! so beware!).  It made the perfect amount for the macarons.
See you next year!  Have a wonderful holiday! xo