Welcome to 2017! Does anyone else feel like stepping into the new year was like timidly opening a door to a room you’ve never been inside? I must say that 2016 was special. For the world, 2016 was awful, to say the least. But personally, I actually had a great year!

At the beginning of the year, I decided that I was going to travel and take a cooking class instead of getting a job. I couldn’t be happier about that decision. I then finished off my senior year of college with a perhaps somewhat stressful thesis, a packed concert season, a trip to Cancun, and fantastic memories with friends.

In May, I returned to Berlin, but not for long, as I soon left to go to Sweden, followed by Berlin, New York, Iceland, Sweden, and back to Berlin. I spent a few days on low mobility after having some screws removed from my foot, I started making sourdough bread. Finally, I went off on my amazing French adventure and spent a fantastic three months making stunning food and meeting unforgettable people.

The past few weeks, I have practiced my cooking at a whole new level and I have also been trying to find ways to move the skills that I gained in the professional kitchen to entirely basic home kitchens.

Today’s recipe is a completely dairy-free dessert! It’s fun because the inspiration came from a chocolate-orange cake that I like to make, but that is packed with butter, cream, and buttermilk. Instead, the base here is a chocolate dacquoise – a nut-based mixture that is best described as a mixture of a cookie and cake. I then made a crème anglaise using almond milk as a substitute for normal milk or cream. The cream was flavored with homemade praliné, although you could use Nutella instead. Finally, I added orange segments and a fancy tuile.