A friend once shared with me a story about an old boss they’d had as a landscaper. My friend would spend weeks working on these massive landscaping projects. The weeks of hard physical labor, the mental stresses of having to overcome the inevitable challenges of the unexpected, and the long hours required of these marathon landscape installments could be intense, to say the least.
When his crew finally finished, the boss would come to inspect the final product. He’d take a good long, discerning, and silent look at the finished job and then eventually he’d cross his arms, nod his head, and utter the fewest of words. “It’s perfect, but that’s okay.” Then, he’d walk away not saying another word. There was no explanation or justification or anything else at all, just a statement that seemed neither compliment nor criticism, but instead some strange hybrid of the two that left the crew confused, wondering if that was a good thing or a bad thing. They’d all smile and laugh, but in reality, no one really had a clue as to what that meant. It left my friend wondering about how he could possibly do better than just a but-that’s-okay kind of perfect next time.
I think about perfection a lot. To the world at large, perfectionism might be a construct intended to only make us feel insufficient. Or perhaps our quests for perfection only mask deeper feelings of inadequacy and insecurity brought on by toxic games of comparison and competition. There’s an overwhelming and pacifying conviction that perfection doesn’t exist anyway, and in that vein, I can easily agree. In that vein, perfection has a nasty underbelly.
In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.Alice Walker
I like the idea of it, knowing full well that I’ll never get there by the rest of the world’s standards. Its impossibility keeps me going on a path of curiosity, creativity, and challenge that I find exhilarating. While it can be exhausting at times, its the good kind of exhaustion that leaves your spirit feeling energized and inspired. To me, perfection is a sense of ease in knowing that you gave it your all, and that, in itself, is enough. It’s the perfect of now. Nothing is static anyway. There’s always room for more or for different. Tomorrow, the rules of perfection will change and you can create a new kind of perfect.
I still don’t know what a but-that’s-okay kind of perfect is exactly. It’s the kind of perfect that seems care-free and that makes me smile. That’s what perfection should be.
If nothing is ever perfect, not even nature, then everything is perfect, right? Redefine perfect and make it work with you, instead of against you. These are good things to ponder over botanical coffee cake. All that dandelion root tea you have in your cabinet and aren’t sure what to do with it. Make a perfect coffee cake.
Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.Salvador Dali
food is medicine
This recipe takes a classic sweet bread and turns it into something a little more special. You can’t see it and you can’t taste it, but it’s there. Dandelion root adds a little nurturing touch of the earth, and I just think that’s the sweetest. (If you haven’t already, check out my profile on dandelion.) There’s the option to make this recipe sugar-free by using an alternative granulated sweetener and you could even incorporate herbs other than dandelion. Elderflower coffee cake using elderflower tea and dried flowers would be divine!
|Ingredient||Benefits to you!|
|Dandelion Root||antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, |
bitter tonic, cholagogue, gentle diuretic, galactagogue,
|Oats||soluble fiber that aids digestion; protein;|
good source of manganese, molybdenum,
phosphorus, & copper
|Cinnamon||carminative; antibacterial; antifungal; gastrointestinal |
tonic; hypoglycemic; antioxidant; good source of manganese, calcium, & fiber
|Avocado Oil||healthy fat (primarily monounsaturated fats), vitamin E|
|Coconut Oil||healthy fat (primarily saturated fats, use mindfully)|
dandelion root coffee cake & cinnamon streusel toppingCourse: Breakfast, Snack, Sweets
An herbal twist on a classic sweet bread! You can’t really taste the dandelion in this coffee cake, but knowing it’s there is enough to give you the warm and fuzzies. I find this coffee cake to be remarkably better the next day and suggest making it a day in advance.
- dry ingredients
1 1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 Baking Flour (see notes)
1/2 cup oat flour (see notes)
1/8 cup almond flour (not almond meal)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- wet ingredients
1 cup strong dandelion root tea (cooled to room temperature, see notes)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sweetener (I use Lakanto Monkfruit Sweeteners, but cane sugar works just the same.)
1/4 cup avocado oil (or other neutral tasting oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional deliciousness)
- streusel topping
1/2 cup quick or rolled oats (or oat flour)
1 tablespoon oat flour
1/4 cup granulated sweetener (I use Lakanto Monkfruit Sweeteners, but brown sugar works great too.)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon powdered dandelion root (see notes)
3 tablespoons coconut oil, solid (or butter/butter substitute)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients and whisk to combine thoroughly. Create a well in the center of your dry ingredients to add the wet ingredients.
- Add all wet ingredients to the mixing bowl. Use a fork or whisk to slowly incorporate wet ingredients together. Then slowly start to mix together with the dry ingredients. Beat ingredients together for about 30-45 seconds. (I find that while you would never do this with recipes made with gluten-containing flours, it helps to incorporate air into the batter and make finished gluten free baked goods a little lighter & fluffier.) Pour batter into your prepared 8×8 pan.
- In a small bowl (or in your empty mixing bowl, because doing dishes is no one’s favorite activity), add all streusel ingredients except for coconut oil/butter/butter substitute. Then add your solid oil. Use a fork or clean fingers to mash the oil into the dry mix until the mix is uniformly crumbly. Sprinkle evenly across the top of the batter.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until streusel is a toasty golden color and an inserted knife comes out clean.
- Let cool entirely before slicing into. I find that many gluten free baked goods are often better the next day; time, but not too much, seems to improve their texture. Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container, unrefrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen to enjoy later.
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour: Not all gluten free flours are created equal and using a different flour will likely yield different results. Experiment at your own discretion.
- Oats & Oat Flour: Oat flour is incredibly easy (& cheaper!) to make at home. Just stick either quick or rolled oats into your food processor or blender and let ‘er rip. You can use a fine mesh strainer or sifter to remove any remaining larger bits. If you are wanting to make this recipe entirely gluten free, make sure you’re purchasing certified gluten free oats and/or oat flour. Substituting another flour will likely yield different results.
- Dandelion Root Tea: I suggest making this extra strong for more potency! If you’re using dandelion root tea bags, I suggest 3 tea bags steeped in 1 cup of water, covered, for 20-30 minutes.
- Powdered Dandelion Root: You can purchase powdered dandelion root, or make your own. You can put dried dandelion root (empty a couple dandelion root tea bags if you have to) into a clean coffee grinder and powder to a uniform consistency. If you have one, use a fine mesh strainer to weed out the larger bits. You can add left over powder to other baked good recipes, smoothies, or sprinkle on top of oatmeal.