Herby Summer Fruit Crisp

It was dark this morning. Overcast. Windy. Yet it won’t rain. Why won’t it rain?! I feel like I used to happily read a book on my back porch while listening to fat raindrops pelting down upon the glass at least once a week. This isn’t the case anymore, and it makes me nervous.

But the selfish part of me is the teeniest, tiniest bit pleased that it’s not raining quite yet. It’s just now becoming the perfect temperature for eating outside. And after reading that, you’re probably wondering if I’ve gotten a little forgetful, as outdoor dining seems to be all I can Instagram about these past few months. But hear me out: last night I was at dinner, drinking rosé and dipping crispy fries in garlicky mussel broth. I was sitting outside, but for the first time in months I wasn’t slapping at mosquitoes or surreptitiously wiping away sweaty strands of hair. Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles! Every few minutes there was a little breeze rustling the stamped-paper tablecloths. It felt cool against my back. It made the food taste better.

The sun is out now– it never rained. I went running, even though I definitely drank a glass or two more of wine than I should’ve last night. Mile one. Mile two. Mile three. A little bit more so I could run through the sprinklers of folks who are still watering their lawns EVEN THOUGH WE’RE IN A DROUGHT (I know Montclair is not California but still.) Ran up my driveway, opened the freezer and defrosted some fruity, herby crisp. Ate it all with my fingers, dyeing them a truly alien shade of purple. Full disclosure, it was not the one pictured in this post. That one was devoured by yours truly and Emily (making another hand/general modeling appearance here) on a lazy afternoon a few months ago. But I did use this method to make the crisp. And it is the best.

Just FYI, the following recipe is a little different than the precise measurements one may expect to find in a food post. But I rarely, if ever, use a recipe for crisp. And you shouldn’t feel like you need to either! It couldn’t be more simple, read on and discover.

Herby Summer Fruit Crisp (serves as few as one or as many as 20, depending on serving size)

Things you’ll need, see directions for further clues:
Fresh herbs
a little bit of sweetener plus about 1/4 cup more for later
Vanilla (extract, paste, or scraped bean)
~1/2 cup coconut oil
~1/2 cup nondairy milk
~1/4-1/2 cup flour
Chopped nuts
pinch or two of kosher salt and cinnamon or allspice

Select and prep your fruit. You’ll need enough fruit to fill your desired baking dish, but no need to get out the measuring cup. Just start slicing and stop when it feels right. In terms of which fruit to use: when in doubt, go with whatever is in season. The fruit is the shining star of this dessert, so it’s definitely worth it to look into what is thriving when you decide to make one. Check out a farmer’s market or do some internet sleuthing before spending all your money on bushels of out-of-season berries. You also shouldn’t feel pressure to make just one kind of fruit crisp: raspberries and peaches go beautifully together, as do apples and cranberries. Or you can do what I did and use as many perfect summer fruits as you can carry. Once you’ve added all the fruit to the baking dish, toss with a good dash of vanilla and a tablespoon or two of the sweetener of your choice (really, anything goes!) and a tablespoon of cornstarch. Set aside.

Decide which herb you want to use to add a little extra zing to the topping. It may sound strange, but it is worth it. A subtle hint of thyme, mint, basil, sage, or rosemary does wonders with fruit. Grab a sprig or a handful of leaves and chop well; you won’t be sorry.

Pick your desired dairy replacer. Far be it from me to suggest anything that challenges the gospel of Julia Child, but for a delicious fruit crisp you need neither dairy-based butter nor cream. I like to use unrefined coconut oil because I enjoy the taste, but any vegan butter will do. You’ll need about ½ cup. Now for milk: pour about ½ cup of the dairy-free milk of your choosing (almond! coconut! soy! hemp!) into a small saucepan. Add the butter and the herb you decided on in the previous step. Place over low heat until the butter melts and the kitchen smells herby. Let cool slightly.

Choose your flour. If you’re gluten-free, this part is for you. Though I will admit, I didn’t miss my trusty all-purpose nearly as much as I thought I would when trying out almond, garbanzo bean, and coconut flours. Go for about a cup of flour at first, you can always add more later. Mix the flour with however much sugar you feel is right. A good rule of thumb is to start with ¼ cup and work your way up to ½ cup. At this point, I throw in a few handfuls of rolled oats and sometimes chopped almonds or pecans for texture. Pour the non-dairy mixture over the flour, adding a good pinch or two of salt and cinnamon or allspice. Mix it all up with your fingers until coarse crumbs form, adding more flour or oats if things get sticky.

Put it all together! Dump the topping over the fruit, resisting the urge to fill in any imperfect spots. We’re making a rustic dessert here, people! Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes. Top with your favorite ice cream or coconut whipped cream. Or if you’re like me, you may even put it in a bowl and drown it in almond milk and pretend it’s breakfast.

Fabric from the featured image: scarf c/o Rain Lily Shop, a lovely Fair Trade accessories shop supporting artisans from around the world!


happy 2nd birthday, Spices and Spatulas!

Vegan Peach Almond Crisp

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It’s my blogiversary! Also known as Spices and Spatulas’s 2nd birthday. Okay okay, technically it was on Thursday. But we do what we can, and I always say better late than never! When I started this blog, my photos were boring, my descriptions were long-winded, and I wasn’t really into my original concept (retro recipes- loved the alliteration, hated the limits). Now I am happy to say this blog is what keeps me sane. If I weren’t able to unwind with cooking, I don’t think I’d be able to do anything. As I mentioned recently, I find it unbelievably wonderful and humbling that people besides my mother and Emily have actually even read the blog once, let along read it regularly. I recently realized that cooking is what I want to do 5ever- if this blog could be my job I’d honestly be living the dream. Maybe someday…. But for now, I’d just like to say a thank you, and please enjoy this quick birthday treat- a personal peach crisp!


– 1 cup peaches, cut into wedges (frozen and thawed or fresh)

– 1 tbsp. granulated sugar (optional)

– 3 tbsp. coconut oil (solid)

– 1/4 cup brown sugar

– 2 cups rolled oats

– 1/4 cup chopped almonds

– pinch of salt

– 1 tsp. ground cinnamon plus a bit extra

– 1/4 cup flour

– 1-3 tbsp. water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the peaches with sugar (if using) and set aside. In another bowl, combine the coconut oil, brown sugar, almonds, oats, salt, and cinnamon with a fork until small crumbs form. Add flour. Slowly add water as needed until large crumbs form. Place the peaches in the bottom of a 6-inch pie pan and top with brown sugar crumble and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Bake 30-45 minutes (checking every 5 minutes after the first 30) until the fruit is fully baked and bubbling and the crumble is golden. Eat it all yourself directly out of the pan with a fork and a glass of champagne!

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Desserts, Snacks

seventy seven

(Toaster Oven) Granola Apple Crisp

One of the biggest challenges I face keeping up a food blog whilst living in a dorm with no kitchen is, quite obviously, being able to make food consistently. Of course, I could whip up a bunch of no-heat recipes and call it a day, but I also don’t have a freezer, so ice cream pies and the like are mostly impossible. I do have a (communal) microwave in the “kitchenette” (read: a sticky counter top, sink, and three ironing boards that have probably resided there since 1957 when the dorm was built), but how badly does anyone really want to make a microwave cake? Like, it’s fun and it’s done in three minutes, but there’s no process. And the process is the part I like. Baking is my emotional homework, guys! Basically my point here is food blog at college = hard.

However, as I’ve mentioned before, I do have a toaster oven that I occasionally have the energy to lug out of it’s place under my bed, place on the aforementioned-sticky-counter, and create some (slightly small) oven magic. So, recently my friend and I actually managed to make mini apple crisps using ingredients that -aside from the flour- were entirely pilfered from our dining hall! Let me tell you, it’s no small feat measuring half a stick of butter in tiny 1/2 tablespoon foil-wrapped packages. But boy, was it worth it. My favorite part of this endeavor was definitely using granola instead of oatmeal in the crumble topping. It added a really great texture and flavor to the crisp, I very much recommend trying that out, even if you aren’t ransacking a dining hall and are perfectly capable of obtaining oats. Also the whole floor smelled like cinnamon and happiness so basically I had a lot of friends that night.

Fun tip: if you’re terrible at making friends in college like I am, just get yourself a toaster oven and start baking things. You’ll have more buddies than you’ll know what to do with!! Of course, there’s an 87% chance they’ll leave once all the cookies you’ve made are gone. It’s a high-risk, high-reward move, I’d say.

Just kidding everyone I have lots of friends don’t worry about me!!!!!

Apple Crisp (adapted from and Smitten Kitchen)

I created this recipe being mindful of the fact that my toaster oven is pretty small and that I needed to fit them in four tiny baking dishes, but if you make it all in one big dish it’ll still work, you’ll just need to bake it 10-15 minutes longer!


– 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

– pinch of salt

– 1 tsp. cinnamon

– 1/2 cup oat-based granola

– 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

– 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add all ingredients in a bowl and work into a crumbly topping with your fingers or a pastry cutter. The butter may start to soften a little, but that’s okay. Set aside.


– 5 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into smaller-than-bite-sized pieces

– 2 or 3 tbsp. granulated sugar

– 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

– 1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

– pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients and toss well. Butter your glass/metal baking dish (or dishes) and spoon the apples into the bottom, then cover with the granola topping. Bake 25-30 minutes if using small dishes or 40-50 minutes if using one large dish (glass dishes make take even longer, but heat distributes more evenly; it’s really a toss-up in my opinion). Note: apple crisp is delicious by itself, but gets out-of-this-world-incredible if you add a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream on top…just a suggestion.

(I do apologize for the poor quality of these images. Someday I’ll live in a space with non-florescent lighting, but right now kitchenette + cooking props is really the best I can do..)

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