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Frenchie and Apple Brownies

23 Nov

I’m not going to hide it.

I’m currently planning the last details of a big Thanksgiving meal and feast – busy week ahead.

But I am also finishing up the last crumbs of a second apple brownie square – and in my humble opinion, it disappeared way too quickly.

You know, when you wet your finger to make the last crumbs on the plate stick to it.

Yes, it would be a crime to leave crumbs on the plate.

I’d even consider it a waste!

Oui, oui!

Lately, the oven has seen pesto croutons, dense and moist coconut almond cakes, caramelized roasted fall vegetables with herbs and olive oil and so much more.

A busy oven as well.

But if my oven could talk – oh the things it would confess! – I am pretty sure it would say the brownies are an all-time favorite.

Call them apple squares or apple blondies.

I like to think of them as apple brownies without chocolate.

Perfect in the morning. Perfect as a snack. Perfect on your Thanksgiving table.

And let’s not pretend this recipe was foolproof after the first attempt.

Of course, I had to test and make several batches!

Pour essayer, pour goûter.

Oh the joys of fall cooking!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Spiced Apple and Brown Butter Brownies

makes a 9 x 9-inch ( 23 x 23 cm) pan – about 16 squares

6 Tbsp butter (85 g), plus more for the dish

⅓ cup (40 g) tapioca flour/starch


½ cup (70 g) brown rice flour


⅓ cup (35 g) almond flour


1.5 Tbsp coconut flour


1 teaspoon cinnamon


¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg


¼ teaspoon ground cardamom


⅛ teaspoon ground star anise


½ teaspoon baking powder


½ teaspoon sea salt


⅛ teaspoon baking soda


⅓ cup (110 g) honey


¼ cup (25 g) dark Muscovado sugar


1 egg


⅔ cup (70 g) pecans, roughly chopped


2 medium organic Golden Delicious apples, cored and roughly cubed (use 1.5 apple if they are on the larger side)


Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C).


In a small saucepan, melt the butter and cook it over medium heat until it starts to bubble, brown and smell like hazelnuts. Scrape the bottom of the pan and pour the brown butter in a bowl. Set aside.


In a medium bowl, mix and whisk together the tapioca, brown rice, almond and coconut flours with the cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, star anise, baking powder, sea salt and baking soda. Set aside.


In a big bowl, whisk together the honey, Muscovado sugar and the egg until smooth. Add the brown butter and continue mixing until well combined.


Add the flours and spices mix to the wet ingredients and fold with a spatula until you get a smooth batter.


Add the chopped pecans, the apple cubes. Stir until combined.


Generously butter the baking dish. Spread the batter in the pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.


Wait for the apple brownies to cool and cut into 16 squares.

Frenchie and a Bowl of Soup

18 Nov

When the team at the Charlotte Agenda asked me for a fall-inspired recipe, a soup came to mind immediately.

Some might say what’s a soup other than random vegetables puréed and mixed together?

Sounds too simple. Sounds too easy.

But a soup is so much more. A soup is complex.

First, a soup is texture. How will it feel as soon as the spoon touches your tongue? How will it linger after the first mouthful? What was added to the bowl to make it an interesting meal experience?

A soup is character. How well do the ingredients and intertwined flavors complement one another? Does it take on a new dimension as you continue eating?

A soup is also art. Will it charm your guests after the first taste? A well-styled bowl of soup to trigger excitement and happiness, bringing emotions to the eyes as you look down at the bowl placed in front of you – big spoon in hand.

But a soup is also comfort. The relief felt from feeling warmer after a cold winter walk. Smiling as both hands hold the heated bowl. Eased at the idea of eating something nutritious. Comforted when sick and bed stricken – grandma and grandpa lovingly caring with a pot of simmering soup going on the stove. Perhaps there will be toasted bread? Or croutons? I hope it will be creamy and a bit spicy.

Mange ta soupe, ça te fera du bien.

A bowl of soup to feel better. 

A bowl of soup to ease the pain.

A bowl of soup to warm bodies and souls.

And sometimes, a bowl of soup is all we need to find serenity and support while gathering with friends around a steaming pot at the dinner table. When we need it the most. When we need a human connection. When we need to talk about life, freedom and personal liberties. When we want to be serious. When we need to laugh and be silly, escaping life for 5 quick seconds.

A bowl of soup to find comfort when tragedy strikes.

A bowl of soup for France and Paris.

Go to the Charlotte Agenda page for more photos and the full recipe of the roasted pumpkin and shallot soup with walnut and spinach pesto croutons.

Frenchie and Fall Cooking Days

3 Nov

The oven is on and the vegetables are roasting.

With fennel seeds, of course.

And a sprinkle of coriander, a dash of cumin, smashed garlic cloves, sea salt and olive oil.

The house smells like fall.

I’ve been roasting vegetables almost every day since mid-September.

That time of the year again when the light changes, the shadows more prominent on food, the mood a bit darker and time spent in coffee shops to get warmer.

Unexpectedly busy, this season took me from New York, to Boston, through New Orleans, and finally to Asheville.

Scouting for food. Color hunting. And snapping pictures along the way.

I will be back soon with two new recipes inspired by the latest travels and photos.

Recipes for the fall. Recipes for a change of season.


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