Strawberry Swirl Biscuits

The first time I met Alanna, I’m pretty sure we spent upwards of 5 hours together making, styling and photographing these chilaquiles. I met her grumpy-adorable cat, Catamus, learned about camera lenses, admired her props cabinet, we chatted about our mutual contact (my food photographer uncle) and a bunch of other topics–one of which was potential book deals.

Raspberry Swirl Biscuits // The Pancake PrincessRaspberry Swirl Biscuits // The Pancake PrincessA second and a third visit brought a dinner party with the incredibly talented PangSarah and Lucas, and a visit to Alanna and Jay’s favorite local Mexican spot. I’m pretty sure the third visit was when she not only fed me a slice of an incredible banana tart chilling in her fridge, but also some chestnut financiers she was testing for the cookbook–and then sent me home with a bag full of raspberry swirl biscuits that for some reason or another hadn’t turned out quite right (in Alanna’s mind, anyway. My family and I promptly consumed her generous offering and I proceeded to dream about the “not-quite-perfect” biscuits for the next 8 or so months).
Raspberry Swirl Biscuits // The Pancake Princess

Now that Alanna’s BEAUTIFUL new cookbook is out, I had to honor it and her with those same biscuits. Alternative Baker celebrates alternative flours in gluten-free recipes where the focus is really on how delicious flours like chestnut, mesquite, oat and corn can be rather than the fact that gluten is missing.

Raspberry Swirl Biscuits // The Pancake Princessimg_8789I’ve made five recipes from the book so far, recipe testing included–the apple, buckwheat and gruyere pancake, chocolate zucchini cake, chocolate cranberry pecan tart with Alanna’s amazing cocoa buckwheat tart crust, pluot poppy muffins and buckwheat pear galettes with walnuts and salty caramel. All of them, without fail, were so much more delicious than any gluten-free recipe I’ve tried in the past. I am really tempted to bake my way through her entire cookbook because each photograph is more beautiful than the last and promises amazing results.

I can’t recommend her cookbook enough, whether you adhere to a gluten-free diet or simply want to expand your baking horizons with completely unique, beautiful and incredibly delicious recipes. Congratulations Alanna–your book is an absolute work of art!!


Alanna makes these biscuits with raspberries, but I was out both times I was ready to make them–one time I subbed strawberries and 1/3 cup of chocolate chips and the other I added 1 1/4 cups of cranberries tossed with 2 tablespoons of sugar (pictured). The optional glaze was a bit sweet in conjunction with the chocolate, but well-received with the tart cranberries. A couple tasters noted a slightly bitter taste in the dough that I didn’t detect, but just something to note–this might totally be resolved by just using raspberries as Alanna wisely advises.

These biscuits have a moist, open, slightly coarse crumb that crisps beautifully at the edges. The fun thing about these is that the texture varies widely with temperature–cold, the dough takes on a sandy consistency that I’m kind of addicted to–warm, the dough is soft, yielding and slightly sticky. Alanna recommends using Bob’s Red Mill’s flour since alternative grains can vary widely in consistency depending on the grind and I found this out the hard way–the first time I made these biscuits with flour that I had (lazily) ground in my nutribullet, the biscuits turned out slightly lumpy and craggier than I remembered. After I ground the flour more finely in the Blendtec for the second round of biscuits, the dough turned out much more smoothly, the rolls of my dreams.

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Wowbutter Cookies (nut-free)

Wowbutter Cookies // The Pancake PrincessIs it really September? Is it just me or like……


Wowbutter Cookies // The Pancake Princess
Wowbutter Cookies // The Pancake Princess
img_8558Wowbutter Cookies // The Pancake Princess
I’m not ready to let the magical summer of Australia and Thailand go…but admittedly, it’s been nice to have down time at home. My roommate and I recently made the move from our 960 sq ft apartment to a duplex in Montrose (the, shall we say, trendy part of Houston) and let me tell you: you should NEVER not hire movers. People told we had to, but neither of us had ever done a big (read: non-college-esque move) on our own, and we figured doing it on our own would be 1) way cheaper 2) a good way to super appreciate movers whenever we need to move again in the future.

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Levain Cookie Experimentations


The original Levain cookie (via Instagram).

Inside the white paper bag was a battlescape of chocolate. Rich ganache snuggled between two slender planks of firm yet yielding brioche had melted out of its neat sandwhich during my sweaty trek across Central Park and seeped into various crevices of the bag, making it impossible to extract the other half of my purchase–the famous chocolate chip cookie–unscathed. But I withdrew the craggy monster of a cookie–hand accumulating chocolate smears–and broke it apart.

People were passing by: a German-looking family, a French couple, a middle-aged Asian woman who decided to sit on the other end of my bench. If they noticed me inspecting my cookie–the golden, ridged edges, the moist interior rich with butter and silky chocolate, the center so gooey and underdone like warm cookie dough that it should be illegal–I only hope they knew where to get their own.

Levain Bakery

And that place, of course, is Levain Bakery in New York. I went in mid-July to visit a friend before she left for a whirlwind tour of the world as a digital nomad, and during a lunch break walked across Central Park to procure the cookie I’d been dreaming about since the lovely Kayle first guided me there during a trip in 2013.

My only regret: at the last minute, I switched my order from a chocolate chip and a dark chocolate peanut butter chip cookie to a chocolate chip and the chocolate chip brioche. The brioche was incredibly chocolatey and a really nice dense but still sufficiently fluffy and rich dough, but where Levain really excels is the cookies and I should have just gone all in. Anyway, the cookie experience was just as otherworldly as I remembered, so when my lovely and very talented personal chef friend, Morgan, asked if I wanted to help her test out the Levain recipe when I got back, the answer was a giant YASSSSSS.*

We tried two recipes, a few alterations and a BUNCH of different baking temperatures and times. While we didn’t do anything earth-shattering to the excellent copycat recipes that already exist on the interwebs, I thought the research that we did in oven temperatures was worth sharing, so here are our results!

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Thailand // The Pancake Princess

Thailand // The Pancake PrincessThailand // The Pancake PrincessThailand // The Pancake PrincessThailand // The Pancake PrincessThailand // The Pancake Princess

Thailand // The Pancake PrincessThailand // The Pancake Princess
Thailand // The Pancake Princess
Thailand // The Pancake PrincessThailand // The Pancake PrincessCHIANG MAI
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Thailand // The Pancake Princess

Thailand // The Pancake Princess
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Thailand // The Pancake Princess

Thailand // The Pancake Princess

Thailand // The Pancake Princess

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Thailand // The Pancake Princess

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Thailand // The Pancake Princess
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Grand Canyon // Chiang MaiPHUKET/KOH PHI PHIIMG_1030 IMG_1033 IMG_1044

Just me and my ladyboy // PhuketIMG_1046 IMG_1053 IMG_1064 IMG_1078IMG_1012 IMG_1119 IMG_1150 IMG_1164 IMG_1165 IMG_1168 IMG_1178 IMG_1211 IMG_1219 IMG_1231 Thailand // The Pancake Princess


Thailand was exhausting! Talk about sensory overload: Bangkok is a teeming, steamy, overwhelming city to start in. It was monsoon season when I went (mid-June), so it was both suffocatingly hot and intermittently rainy when I went. But I still managed to see some beautiful temples, kayak around islands, explore many night markets, eat a TON of interesting food, fit in many cheap massages, and meet some fun people.

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