Author Archives: sweetlaurel

Sweet Laurel Cottage Nursery

Next up on the Sweet Laurel Cottage tour is Nico and Cal’s nursery. Laurel really wanted this room to have a classic children’s nursery feel and it turned out so sweet and special.

This room was a very interesting one to design because there were so many angles on the ceiling. I am so impressed with what Nick (Laurel’s husband) and Bryan (Laurel’s carpenter) came up with. My favorite thing in the entire room is the bunk beds. Laurel knew she wanted bunk beds for when their family grows (when they bought the house Nico their only child ), but also to entertain Nico’s many friends and cousins. She knew she needed something that was long lasting and durable that the kids could run on, play on, and jump off of.

I love the beautiful piece of furniture Nick and Bryan came up with. The room is so angular and the bed adds to that angular moment. One of the issues with the room is it is very small and there is little closet space. When you have a child you need tons of storage space for the explosion of toys. I love that the staircase is so functional and each step is a compartment for extra storage.

The light fixtures we chose are the Marcel light scones from Hudson Valley Lighting. They have such an interesting texture and look almost sculptural. There is this subtle roughness and a classic French shape. It’s so soft, but still adds structure to the room. I love them as bedside lamps.

The flooring is Duchateau Herringbone which we have throughout the house for an elevated, elegant and European feel.

For the wallpaper, we chose a Chinoiserie style wall covering in butter yellow from York Wall Coverings. It’s soft but not babyish and is so comforting and soothing. Laurel didn’t want a babyish wallpaper we would want to replace in 3 years – and the truth is that wallpaper is expensive and you can’t change it out over and over again. We absolutely fell in love with the look of this floral toile design which is not masculine or feminine. It’s soft and serene and brought out all the colors in the room that we love.

The color palette was centered around the antique sofa that Laurel bought in her first house with Nick. This piece had such sentimental value that they needed to find a special place for it in the house. They decided to refinish it in a beautiful yellow fabric. It’s the perfect place to play and read books and enjoy.

Above the couch we put together a gorgeous gallery wall with Society 6. It’s the best resource to fill a wall with something beautiful and is always my 1st place to go. I had some artists I had earmarked so we curated a selection of artworks that have all of Nico’s favorite animals.

Most importantly, Nico loves his room and we couldn’t be happier with the results! Cal will be joining Nico in the nursery when he is old enough for a big boy bed!

Brownie Flag Cake // Sweet Laurel

Sweet Laurel Brownie Flag Cake
Sweet Laurel Brownie Flag Cake

Brownie Flag Cake

Every 4th of July for as long as I can remember, I have made a Brownie Flag Cake. And the reason is simple: it’s SO EASY! The 4th of July is one of those holidays that comes and goes rather quickly, and it’s always nice to have a dessert that can be prepared beforehand. This can be made two days ahead of time, giving you lots of time to celebrate on the actual holiday! Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as us here at Sweet Laurel!


Yield: 8 x 8 cake

Bake Time: 30-35 minutes


Cake Ingredients:

2 cups almond, cashew or sunbutter

2 eggs

1 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup date paste or 4 dates (pitted)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup cacao powder

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup chocolate chips

Topping Ingredients:

2 cans of coconut milk, refrigerated overnight

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Blueberries & Raspberries for decoration

(For the coconut milk we like Lets Do Organic Coconut Cream or Trader Joe’s Organic Coconut Cream)


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

In large bowl, beat the maple syrup and dates or date paste until creamy. Blend nut butter, then slowly add eggs and vanilla extract.

Add cacao, baking soda and salt. Mix until well incorporated. Add chocolate chips, reserving some for the top.

Pour batter into 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 320 for 30-35 minutes.

If you’d like a fun video tutorial of my girl Claire Thomas and I making these fudgy brownies, check our her YouTube channel here!

To Prepare Topping:

After the coconut cream has set in the fridge overnight, the coconut fat solids separate from the coconut water. Open cans of coconut cream and spoon the solid cream into Kitchen Aid mixer bowl. You can also use a bowl and a whisk. Beat the solid coconut cream on high speed until creamy. 

Slowly stir in the maple syrup and vanilla extract (these are optional).  Refrigerate until use.

When you are ready to frost the brownie cake, smooth coconut whipped cream surface, and sides if you choose to remove the brownies from the pan.

To Decorate:

Wash a cup of raspberries and blueberries and place in flag formation on cake. You can also use cut strawberries!

Voila! You have a festive, delicious & nourishing Brownie Flag Cake! Enjoy!

Espresso Brownies // Sweet Laurel

Espresso Brownies

We’re celebrating the launch of our very own locally roasted coffee with a delicious recipe! There are two things besides cake that we deeply love at Sweet Laurel, and these are coffee and chocolate. The two are a match made in heaven and things we never want to live without. This brownie joins the ranks of our brownie archive here on the blog, and I can honestly say it is one of my favorites! Enjoy!


Yield: 20 Brownies

Prep Time: 35 minutes


Ingredients:

2 cups almond butter

1 1/4 cup 100% maple syrup

1/2 cup cacao

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon pink salt

2 eggs

2 tablespoons freshly ground espresso

1 cup chocolate chips

Espresso Swirl

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoons freshly ground espresso


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. 

In a bowl, stir together the almond butter, maple syrup and eggs. Once evenly mixed, add the cacao, baking soda, salt and ground espresso. Stir well, a thick batter will be formed. Sprinkle half the chocolate chips and reserve the remaining chips for garnish.

To make espresso swirl, simmer maple syrup and espresso over stove on medium heat. When maple syrup is infused with coffee, remove from heat. Place the pan in a vertical orientation and dollop 1 tablespoon of mixture on top of brownies in 2-3 rows. Using a knife, start at one end, and drive knife through espresso dollops, zig-zagging through batter in a snake shape. Once you’ve gone through all the dollops, switch to horizontal orientation and repeat. You will see a lovely swirl through the batter.

Bake about 25 minutes, allow to cool and enjoy!

Mocha Cake // Sweet Laurel

Mocha Cake

Our Mocha Cake is perfect for Father’s Day! It has just the right amount of espresso kick, balanced with layers of vanilla cake and our fan favorite chocolate ganache! The dads in your life will love it. Enjoy!!


Prep Time: 1 hr

Yield: Three 6 inch rounds


Ingredients:

Cake

4 1/2  cups almond flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp Himalayan pink salt

2 tablespoons freshly ground espresso beans or coffee beans (we like to use decaf so you can enjoy this cake all times of the day)!*

4 eggs 

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted, plus extra for greasing

3/4 -1 cup maple syrup (depending on the sweetness you like)

2 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache

4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup maple syrup

½-3/4 cup almond or coconut milk

Coconut Mocha Whip

2 13.5 oz cans coconut cream (refrigerated overnight), water drained off

2 teaspoons vanilla vanilla extract

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons cacao powder

3 tablespoons finely ground coffee (a fine espresso style grind works best)

*if you don’t have a coffee grinder, place your beans in a blender on high for a few 30-60 seconds!


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare 3 six inch cake rounds or 2 eight inch cake rounds by cutting a circular round of parchment paper to fit the base of your pan. Place the circular parchment round inside the cake pan, then grease the sides of the pan with some melted coconut oil.

Place eggs, melted coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a bowl. Whisk until well incorporated. Add almond flour, coffee grounds, salt, and baking soda. Mix until batter is formed, then pour into prepared pan.

Bake about 25 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool, then flip cakes out of pans.

When cakes are cool, place a layer of the cake on a cake plate. Spoon 2 tablespoons of ganache onto the cake and gently spread. Then place 2 tablespoon of coconut mocha whip and spread over the ganache. Follow with the 2nd cake layer and then repeat with the chocolate ganache topping, followed by coconut mocha whip. Repeat.

When you have your three layers built, you can sift some espresso grounds over the whole cake if desired. Refrigerate until serving. Cake will last up to 7 days in refrigerator if covered in an air tight container.

To Prepare the Chocolate Ganache:

Melt chocolate and coconut oil in thick bottomed saucepan or double broiler. Remove from heat and allow chocolate to cool. Slowly add maple syrup and stir to incorporate. Transfer mixture to mixing bowl and mix in coconut milk.

To Prepare Coconut Mocha Whip:

Whip coconut cream solids in mixer bowl until thickened. Add vanilla, maple syrup, cacao and ground coffee. Continue to beat until well incorporated.

Apple Pie Bars // Sweet Laurel

Sweet Laurel Apple Pie Bars
Sweet Laurel Apple Pie Bars

Apple Pie Bars

We’re so into apple pie. The flavors, the smell, the ooey-gooey appley-ness. Especially with a big scoop of melting vanilla ice cream… The first time we made these bars, we couldn’t stop eating the filling. Paired with this flaky crust, crunchy streusel, and caramel, these bars are beyond delicious. Enjoy!

*Makes 1 Dozen Bars


Ingredients:

For the Crust –

2 cups almond flour

1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 large egg

For the Filling –

5 – 7 tart apples, (such as Pink Lady or Honeycrisp) peeled, cored and sliced

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp coconut oil, solid

For the Streusel Topping –

1 cup almond flour

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Optional topping of Vegan Caramel. Recipe on Pg. 40 of the Sweet Laurel Cookbook, or available to purchase here.


Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 13 x 9-inch pan with parchment paper, letting the paper hang over the edges for easy removal.

2. Make the Crust: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt, then gradually stir in the coconut oil and egg. Mix well until everything is incorporated and a soft dough forms. Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.

3. Make the Filling: In a large bowl, combine the apples, maple syrup, cinnamon and lemon juice. Mix to coat the apples thoroughly. Melt the coconut oil in a large heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat. Add the apple mixture to the pan and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, until syrupy.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly. Arrange the coated apple slices in rows across the crust pouring any leftover pan liquid over them. Bake the bars for 40 – 50 minutes, until the apple slices are golden brown and tender but not mushy.

4. Make the Streusel Topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, coconut oil, maple syrup and cinnamon and stir until a batter forms. Sprinkle the struesel over the cooked apples and return the bars to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the streusel turns golden brown, then remove from the oven.

Holding two sides of the parchment, lift the bars in one piece from the pan; allow to cool slightly on a rack. Before serving, drizzle the caramel sauce over the bars and cut into squares. Store in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 3 days.