Author Archives: sweetlaurel

Olive Oil Citrus Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting // Sweet Laurel

Olive Oil Citrus Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting

This recipe is a hidden gem in our pink cookbook, and I have to say, it’s absolutely delightful! We were looking for something to bake with our friends Kosterina, who specialize in Greek EVOO and also make dreamy chocolate. Their founder, Katerina Mountanous is actually an Olive Oil Sommelier, which I find fascinating! She was kind enough to share some specialized olive oil info with us (available at the bottom of this blog), but for now, let’s get back to why you’re here, cupcakes! This recipe is the perfect way to showcase the beauty of paleo baking and the wonders of olive oil. Cupcakes usually make me think of classroom birthday parties, but with sophisticated flavors of olive oil, citrus, and dark chocolate, it’s impossible to think of these little cakes as anything but elegant. Enjoy!!

For more delicious paleo recipes, check out our cookbooks!

*Everything we make is gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and refined-sugar free.

Yield: Makes 12 cupcakes

Bake Time: 25 – 30 minutes

Ingredients for Cupcakes:

Coconut oil, for greasing the pan 

4 cups almond flour 

1+1/2 teaspoons baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt 

1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling 

3/4 cup maple syrup 

2 tablespoons grated orange zest 

1/4 cup fresh orange juice 

3 large eggs  

Slices of dried orange peel, for garnish  

Ingredients for Dark Chocolate Frosting:

*makes 1 cup

4 ounces 100% cacao unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped 

1/4cup coconut oil, solid 

1/4 cup maple syrup, plus more as needed 

1/2 cup almond butter

1/4 cup almond milk or full-fat coconut milk, or as needed  

Directions for Frosting:

1. In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the cacao and coconut oil, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat. Slowly add the maple syrup and stir to incorporate. Allow to cool completely. 

2. Transfer the cacao mixture to a medium bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat in the almond butter until a thick frosting forms. Add the almond milk and stir with spatula until smooth. 

3. For a creamy, almost pourable frosting, use immediately; for fluffy frosting, refrigerate for at least 8 hours, then bring to room temperature and beat with an electric mixer until spreadable. Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.  

Directions for Cupcakes:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Grease the top of the pan with coconut oil. 

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil, maple syrup, orange zest, orange juice, and eggs until smooth. A little at a time, add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until a batter forms. 

3. Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Invert the cupcakes onto a rack and allow to cool completely. 

4. To serve, smooth 1 tablespoon of frosting on top of each cupcake. Top with a few thin slices of dried orange peel and a drizzle of olive oil.  

All About Olive Oil with Kosterina

  • What is an olive? It’s a fruit! Like cherries, peaches, and plums, olives are stone fruit. Stone fruits have a fleshy outer covering surrounds a pit or stone, which in turn encases a seed. In the case of the olive, the outer flesh contains up to 30% oil—a concentration so impressive that the English word for “oil” comes from the ancient Greek word for olive, “elaia.” – National Geographic
  • Where do olives come from? Are they native to Greece? Archaeological and scientific evidence indicates that the olive tree (Olea europaea) was most likely first cultivated on the border between Turkey and Syria, spreading from there throughout the Mediterranean, to Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Greece, Italy, France, and Spain. (It was Spanish colonists who brought it to the “New World”). People on the eastern side of the Mediterranean have been grinding olives for oil for 6,000-8,000 years. Olive oil has historically been used for cooking, cosmetics, medicine, and lamp fuel. In Ancient Greece, the original Olympic torch burned olive oil and athletes and kings were anointed with it. 
  • What are polyphenols? Polyphenols are naturally-derived compounds with antioxidant properties. Occurring naturally in olive oil, they are proven to help reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease, chronic disease and the inflammation in the body that causes cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes. You can read more on our blog post HERE.
  • How is olive oil made? Be sure to check out this great explanation by Olive Oil & Beyond for more details but here’s a quick-ish summary: The best olive oils (like Kosterina 😉 are made from olives that have been carefully handpicked from the tree, early in the harvest season, when the olive is green and unripe. The earlier the olive is harvested and picked, the richer the flavor and the higher the polyphenol content. Once picked, the olives are sorted and crushed (pits included) using stainless steel rollers or millstone crushers, resulting in a thick smooth paste. The olive paste is then slowly mixed to break up the oil and water emulsion, achieving the maximum oil yield. Among the few methods used for extracting the oil, the centrifuge method (known also as the Continuous System), is a more modern day process adopted by artisanal growers. The centrifuge spins the paste at a high velocity and the resulting oil is left to settle for one month in containers, producing an unfiltered extra virgin olive oil, naturally high in nutrients, full of flavor and texture. 
  • What does EVOO stand for? Extra Virgin Olive Oil 🙂
  • What makes an olive oil “Extra Virgin”? Extra virgin olive oils are cold-pressed from the first press of the olive, use a single variety of olives and have at least 55mg/kg of polyphenols. Virgin oils, on the other hand, are from the second press of the olive and “pure” or just “olive oil” is from the third press. These olive oils are made from a blend of olives from different regions and of different varieties, and can include both cold-pressed and processed oils. This results in an olive oil that has much less flavor and less, if any, nutrients.
  • Why does “cold-pressed” mean? This means the oil was extracted (“pressed”) from the olives without heat or chemicals, aka “cold-pressed.” Applying heat or chemicals can alter and destroy the flavors, aromas and nutritional benefits of the olive oil. 
  • Can I use EVOO on my hands? Or face? Absolutely! Dermatologists everywhere agree: EVOO does wonders for your skin. Not only is it great for hydration and glow, but it’s packed with antioxidant properties like squalene that protect your skin from free radicals, environmental damage and more. Generally, it’s safe to use daily – especially as protection against sun damage. 

Curious to learn more? Ask us any question by emailing us at or DMing us on Instagram @kosterina

Delicious 4th of July Recipes // Sweet Laurel

We LOVE the Fourth of July at Sweet Laurel. It’s a summer celebration that brings everyone together for yummy food, fun, and summer festivities, what’s better than that?? Classic pies, delicious cakes, cobblers, ice cream, cookies and more! We have so many amazing and nourishing recipes for this sweet holiday, we just had to share! Whether you’re celebrating poolside, with a picnic, or barbeque, we have something for you. Check out our roundup below and enjoy!

P.S. Every recipe below is free of grain, gluten, dairy, and refined sugar. Many are vegan as well!






There are sooo many fabulous 4th of July recipes in our cookbooks! Here’s a few of our favorites…

Sweet Laurel Cookbook:

  • Blueberry Streusel Muffins Pg. 51
  • Sunflower Seed Butter Cookies Pg. 101
  • S’mores Pie Pg. 129
  • Vanilla Bean Peach Cobbler Pg. 135
  • Toasted Coconut Cream Pie Pg. 136
  • Salty’s Cherry Hand Pies Pg. 143
  • Summer Strawberry Tart Pg. 151
  • Chocolate-Strawberry Melt-Away Pie Pg. 163
  • Vanilla Coconut Jam Cake Pg. 168
  • Pink Strawberry Layer Cake Pg. 180
  • Beet Red Velvet Cake w/ Probiotic Cream Cheese Frosting Pg. 188 
  • Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes Pg. 195

Sweet Laurel Savory:

  • Sesame-Studded Burger Buns Pg. 69
  • Classic Pretzel Buns Pg. 71 
  • Curried Ketchup Pg. 133
  • Caramelized Lemon Broccoli Salad Pg. 143 
  • Avocado Fattoush Salad Pg. 175
  • Summer Tomato Panzanella Pg. 176
  • Watermelon Crispy Pita Bowl Pg. 180
  • ***The Ultimate Sweet Laurel Burger with Sweet Potato Fries Pg. 186
  • ***Our Favorite Vegan Burger Pg. 189  
  • Maple BBQ Sauce Pg. 190
  • Husband BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich Pg. 193

Top 6 Edible Flowers to Decorate Desserts // Sweet Laurel x Coastal Homestead

I had the opportunity to meet and work with the very talented Chia-Ming Ro of Coastal Homestead in early 2021. One of my garden beds was just not happy. Plant leaves were yellowing, we weren’t sure if we were under or over waiting, and had so many questions as newfound garden nerds. Our goals were to crack the code to year round edible gardening, sprinkle in as much seed starting as possible, and figure out our soil. Enter Chia-Ming. She popped in and gave us so many tricks, and as a lady at the top of the edible gardening game, she knew just what to do. Just a few weeks later, our troublesome bed was looking glorious! I decided to ask Chia-Ming to share some of her favorite tips for edible flower gardening with us today! Hope you find morsels for your personal gardening projects! Take it away Chia-Ming!

Hello! I’m Chia-Ming, owner and founder of Coastal Homestead, and I’m thrilled to let you in on my favorite edible flowers to decorate with and how to take care of them! I chose my top 6 based on ease to grow, color, beauty on its own AND cluster. Also, most of these should be popping up in your garden now (or soon!)

First off, I want to start with some general tips for growing edible flowers:

  1. Grow in full sun to achieve the most blooms.
  2. If you are in a very hot climate (or attempting to grow during peak summer temps), try growing the plant in a full morning sun and afternoon part sun spot to protect the delicate blossoms.
  3. When growing anything edible, always grow using organic materials, non-toxic containers, and avoid use of pesticides.
  4. Often once a plant flowers, the rest of it is deemed inedible because it’s flavor changes and texture becomes tough

Chamomile is top on my list because it is such an easy and versatile plant! You can use the flowers as cut flowers, tea, or decorate with them fresh. Chamomile can be started from seed or seedling and will self-seed easily year after year.

I find Pansies/Violas to be so cheerful! The flowers look like little smiling faces and the colors are often so bright and cheery. Pansies/violas prefer cooler weather and should be planted either in the fall or early spring.  If you live in a mild climate, you can try to grow them year round.

My next fav, Cilantro, is a very polarizing plant! Did you know there is a small percentage of people who find that cilantro to taste like soap? They’re missing out because the entire plant is edible and the flowers are to die for. The plant produces petite white flowers in clusters, like a small version of queen Anne’s lace. The blossoms do taste slightly like the rest of the plant so this may not go over well for those who don’t care for the herb. To grow cilantro leaf to eat, it’s ideally grown as a fall/spring crop. However, to grow it for the flowers you can grow it year round since we want the plant to bolt. Also, the seeds that form after the flowers bloom is the fresh form of coriander.

Did you know that Radishes produce flowers? “Radish” usually refers to the root of the plant, however it also produces a very dainty flower. There are 4 petals and it usually is a variation of white and purple shades. They have a slight radish flavor and add a wonderful spicy bite to salads. Once the radish flowers, the root won’t be edible. Radishes are best grow from seed because they grow quickly and do not like their roots disturbed.

Another unexpected edible flower are the flowers of plants from the Mustard family. You are probably most familiar with Kale. When kale flowers, they produce abundant small yellow flowers on a main stem. Kale eaten as a vegetable is a fall/spring crop, but if you’re going for flowers, you can grow it year-round! Plants from this family are heavy feeders, so grow it in well drained fertile soil. 

Last but not least, another super easy to grow edible flower: Arugula! Most know it as a peppery salad green or leafy topper to pizza. The flowers are white pinwheels with reddish purple veins and are a lovely way to dress up salads and soup.  Arugula is also easy to grow, so you can sow seeds ¼” deep in well drained but consistently moist soil.

Before I go, I’ll leave with you a few other favorite edible flowers that didn’t meet my criteria for today’s post:

  1. Basil
  2. Thyme
  3. Chrysanthemums
  4. Lavender
  5. Marigolds
  6. Mint
  7. Nasturtiums
  8. And of course Roses!

I hope you’ll try a few of these out, please reach out to me via email ( or IG (@Coastal_Homestead) and let me know!

For more edible flower ideas, check out page 240 in the Sweet Laurel cookbook.

Probiotic Gummies // Sweet Laurel

Probiotic Gummies

These cute little Probiotic Gummies are so easy to make and literally will make everyone in the house smile. You can be flexible with the fruit choices, Nico loves red, so we made the, bright red with the strawberry and cherry mixture. Enjoy!


3 cups strawberries

1 cup frozen cherries

Juice of 1 lemon

1-2 tablespoons 100% maple syrup

4 tablespoons gelatin

Pinch pink salt

2 tablespoons liquid probiotic or powder from 3 capsules

*We love Mary Ruth Organics Liquid Probiotic!

*For the adorable shape, you’ll also need a Gummy Bear Mold, like this one.


Blend together the strawberries, cherries and lemon juice.

Place a nut milk bag over a saucepan, and squeeze the liquid from the blender through the nut milk bag into saucepan. Turn the saucepan onto low heat and gently whisk in gelatin, pink salt and maple syrup. After about one minute, remove from heat.

When mixture is cool, stir in probiotics. Place the liquid into the gummy bear molds. A syringe works great for this. Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes. Remove from molds and enjoy!

***Keep gummies in fridge for up to 5 days.

Chamomile Moon Cookies // Sweet Laurel x Meryl Davis

Chamomile Moon Cookies

This recipe for Chamomile Moon Cookies was inspired by our friend Meryl Davis and her beautiful new children’s book, “Moon Walk”. We were so excited when she approached us about collaborating, and it was a fun challenge to develop a recipe that captured the essence of her heartwarming story. These Moon Cookies are so simple to make. A perfect parent/child activity and a wonderfully calming treat to enjoy before bed with some milk or a cup of tea. I hope you adore this recipe as much as we do, but before we get to the details, I’d love to introduce you to Meryl and let her tell you more about her wonderful new book, “Moon Walk”. Take it away Meryl!

Hi everyone! My name is Meryl Davis and I’m very happy to be joining my friends at Sweet Laurel Bakery today! First, let me introduce myself a little. In 2014, my longtime skating partner, Charlie White, and I capped off our nearly two-decade long competitive ice dance career with a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Since then, we’ve been fortunate enough to share our love of the ice with skating fans worldwide as we’ve traveled with several international figure skating tours. I finally graduated with a degree in anthropology from the University of Michigan in the spring of 2020 after chipping away slowly but surely over the years amid travel, training and competition. After finishing school, and at the beginning of the pandemic, I decided to fiddle with something I’d always wanted to embrace: writing! Now, almost exactly a year later, my first children’s book just debuted and I’m very honored to share it with you. 

Moon Walk,” is essentially a message from parent to child, or children, and is meant to act as a catalyst for openness and a trusting relationship that will continue to blossom over time. As I sat and thought about the difficult state of our world in the spring of 2020, this story came together naturally as I drew upon my cherished relationship with my own parents and the investment they began early on to ensure I knew that I could come to them with anything. Whether Covid-related or otherwise, I know that parents around the world are working to broach challenging conversations with their children and that a having a trusted parent, grandparent or guardian can make all the difference in helping young people to face obstacles that may come their way. After signing with my publisher, I reached out to the ladies as Sweet Laurel Bakery to inquire about a potential collaboration. Having been a fan of Sweet Laurel, and the inspiring women behind it, for years now, it felt like a wonderful time to connect. I couldn’t have imagined anything more magical or delicious to celebrate the launch of my first children’s book than the Chamomile Moon Cookies Laurel created to accompany this story. My hope is that both baking some delicious Moon Cookies and reading “Moon Walk” with your little one will help to facilitate some special memories and quality time for you to share. Happy baking and reading! Best, Meryl xo 



2 cups almond flour

1/4 cup melted coconut oil or avocado oil

1/4 100% maple syrup

1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tablespoon crushed chamomile (I used chamomile from a tea bag)

Coconut Buttercream

1/4 cup of coconut butter

2 teaspoons of 100% maple syrup or honey

1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice 

1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/4 cup of full-fat coconut milk 

1/4 teaspoon of turmeric 


To make the cookies

In a bowl, stir all the ingredients together until dough forms. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cutting board, and place dough on the parchment paper. Top the dough with another sheet of parchment paper, and roll out dough with a rolling pink unit about 1/2 thick.

Place the dough in fridge for about 20-30 minutes. (This is a great time to make your buttercream!)

When you are ready to cut out your cookies, preheat oven to 350 and prepare a cookie sheet by lining with parchment paper. Remove the dough from fridge and take off top layer of parchment. Using a biscuit cutter, circular cookie cutter or a small cup, press round circle shape into the dough. To make crescent shapes, using a metal spatula, take one of the cut out circles and place on a cookie sheet. Using the same circular cutter, press the cutter about 1/2 inch from the edge of the circle, making a ‘crescent moon’ shape. Repeat with other circles. You can mix up your circle patterns! Any scraps can be re rolled out, refrigerated for a bit and then pressed.

Bake cookies for about 5-8 minutes. The crescent shapes tend to bake fast so watch them

To make the coconut buttercream

Mix all ingredients except turmeric over very low heat.  Allow to cool. *If too thick, add a bit more coconut milk.

If you’d like your icing to be a soft yellow, whisk in turmeric to color the buttercream.

Decorate your cookies with icing and top with fresh, organic chamomile flowers!

There you have it! My favorite new bedtime treat, Chamomile Moon Cookies.

Click here to purchase “Moon Walk”. I can already tell it will be a family favorite!

To learn more about Meryl, be sure to follow her on Instagram.