Coconut horchata polvorones

Dusting with powdered sugar

I’ve put off writing this for various reasons. Partly because our travels have kept us insanely busy, but mostly because this post marks the end of our four month European adventure. And despite the fact that I’m a very logical person who understands that avoiding doing something doesn’t make the inevitable disappear, I thought for certain that the longer I hesitated – the longer I covered my ears with my hands and shouted NO NO NO anytime Thom reminded me of our impending departure – the less real it would feel. So here I am, lying in bed at 4 o’clock in the afternoon in attempts to recover from last night’s bad decisions (which included one too many drinks and a solo doughnut feast at 2AM) (sea salt potato chip and hazelnut doughnut feast, I should add) and I figured there was no better time to face reality than now.

We leave Europe in four days and my heart is heavy. So heavy. Heavier than I thought it would be considering just one month ago, when I was so cracked out on synthetic hormones it was doing some seriously crazy shit to my body (numb legs, hella hair loss, insatiable hunger, etc), there was nothing I wanted more than to be back home with my fancy mixer and memory foam mattress and all that other stupid shit I used to think we required to be happy.

Almond mealCoconut flourDough cuttin'Ready to bake

Truth is, I’ve never been happier than where I am right now. Living out of a 60L backpack and sleeping in beds that aren’t nearly as comfortable as my own/smell kind of funny because some Europeans have a tendency to leave things in the washer overnight before they hang them out to dry. And as much as I hate the smell, or as much as I would prefer to be able to take a shower longer than five minutes so I can shave my legs without missing spots or cutting the knobby parts around my knees, I am so unbelievably happy here. So happy that last night, before the bad decision making really progressed, I half jokingly told Thom, We could just stay here forever, you know.

He laughed and reminded me that we have an apartment and unfinished business and people who deserve a proper farewell. So instead we made a pact at a tiny table in the back of a dive-y bar in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona. With our hearts and our mouths and our pinkies, we made a promise to each other that in a couple of years – when things are far less eventful and chaotic than they are at this particular moment in time – we’ll return with a master plan and heavy boxes packed with only our most essential belongings. Kind of like we did for this trip, but with the intention of settling down and calling this place home. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned during this four month adventure, it’s that I deserve to be happy.

We all deserve to be happy.

Almond coconut polvoronesAlmond coconut polvoronesCoconut horchata polvorones

Notes: You can replace the coconut oil and milk with 1/2 cup of vegan butter, if desired. Or shortening – that will make them super melt in your mouth. Make sure you fluff the flours before making this recipe – adding even a tablespoon too much coconut flour can result in super dry cookies because coconut soaks up a lot of liquid. The dough is delicate so work carefully. You can use coconut milk in the carton or full fat from the can – full fat is best because of its flavor. But you can also substitute almond milk, soy milk, etc.


1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil, liquid
3 tbsp coconut milk, warmed
1/2 tsp fresh ground cinnamon
1/2 cup powdered cane sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
6 tbsp coconut flour
1/3 cup almond meal
Small pinch fine sea salt

Preheat oven to 300˚F. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper; set aside. In small mixing bowl, combine the oil, milk, and cinnamon; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, almond meal, and salt. Create a well in the center and add the wet ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon just until combined. If the dough feels a bit dry, and an extra tablespoon of coconut milk; if it feels a little moist – that’s perfect. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Roll out the dough until it’s about 1/4″ thick. Using a 2″ cookie cutter, cut rounds from the dough. Repeat process with the scraps until you have 18-20 cookies. You don’t have to space them too far apart because they don’t spread at all. Bake at 300˚F for 8-9 minutes. If you prefer thicker cookies, you’ll want to bake them for 8-12 minutes, just until the tops start to crack. For thicker cookies (or round balls) bake for 10-12 minutes at 325˚F. Dust with powdered sugar.

Yield: 20 2″ cookies


  • Reply Sini | my blue&white kitchen 30 October 2013 at 10:38 AM

    What a great post, and last words, Ashlae. We all really do deserve to be happy. Sadly we tend to forget that all too often.

    Get home safe! And keep all those memories alive and safe. I’m sure you two will never forget these last four months.

  • Reply janae @ bring joy 30 October 2013 at 10:55 AM

    As sad as you are to leave, how awesome that you were able to go in the first place! I’ve only been to England, never Europe, but hope to make it there someday.

    Safe travels home.

  • Reply Melissa @ Treats With a Twist 30 October 2013 at 11:03 AM

    I think it is so wonderful and so rare that you were not only able to take the chances you did and go on this trip, but also discover what truly makes you happy! Not many people get that because not many people can take the leap to find true happiness. You’ll make it back there, because that’s where you’re meant to be.

  • Reply Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate 30 October 2013 at 11:24 AM

    Just seeing all of your pictures and reading all about your trip, I’m not sure that I would want to come home either. Travel, it does that to you.

  • Reply Chelsea thenakedfig 30 October 2013 at 11:26 AM

    These look amazing! I think I’ll switch the whole wheat for spelt flour. Do you think that’ll work? Can’t wait to try!

    • Reply Ashlae 30 October 2013 at 11:42 AM

      Hi Chelsea!

      It shouldn’t be a problem. Let me know how it turns out. :)

  • Reply ThisBakerGirlBlogs 30 October 2013 at 11:38 AM

    Such a beautiful post – I really hope you get to live out your dreams and be as happy as you deserve. P.S. Beautiful recipe, too x

  • Reply Ashley 30 October 2013 at 11:53 AM

    Truth. Love this. Safe travels home + see you soon! xoxo

  • Reply Megan 30 October 2013 at 12:31 PM


  • Reply Katie @ Butterlust Blog 30 October 2013 at 12:50 PM

    What a great post! I too have been through what you are experiencing when I lived in Spain for 2 months in 2009. It’s truly incredible what you can learn about yourself and what makes REAL HAPPINESS when you’re taken away from your every day routine and seemingly “necessary” comforts. I’ve been working on getting back to my [better + happier] European self ever since. In the meantime, I keep my memories and lessons learned close to my heart, as not to forget. Best of luck with your return home!

  • Reply molly yeh 30 October 2013 at 1:41 PM

    your adventure sounds amazing. i am too too jealous.

    and these horchata beauties… horchata is my kryptonite. i used to walk by a taco truck on my way from the subway to my apartment and it had the BEST horchata. i must try these cookies soon!

  • Reply Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar 30 October 2013 at 6:02 PM

    These cookies are truly perfect. LOVE!

  • Reply Jade Sheldon-Burnsed 30 October 2013 at 6:44 PM

    I must admit, this post made me a bit teary. My husband and I also just returned home from a European trip. It was so full of love and adventure and togetherness that I honestly felt depressed being back home… back to ‘real life.’ But why can’t real life be filled with happy moments like that? My husband and I are now filled with a newfound determination to make it back overseas, not just to visit, but to truly live. I believe the two of you will live out that promise you made to one another. So excited for the two of you and all that is to come…

  • Reply V 30 October 2013 at 10:02 PM

    Great recipe, I love horchata! Your European adventure sounds wonderful, but better to leave while you still want to stay… one needs roots as well as wanderlust, something I’ve had trouble coming to grips with myself, with my family’s story in one tiny city and mine flung across several continents. Where would you settle, when you move to Europe? It’s lovely that you’ve made a pact to pursue what makes you happy; it’s so easy to get stuck in monotony.

    • Reply Ashlae 31 October 2013 at 12:29 AM

      Hi V!

      We were dead set on Prague, as Thom lived there for a bit – but we’re thinking Barcelona wouldn’t be so bad, either. ;) Ultimately it depends on where Thom can get into school, so we’re keeping a few places in France and Germany in mind, too.

  • Reply Harriet 30 October 2013 at 10:05 PM

    I hope your trip home goes well, lady! I have loved, LOVED, following your adventures over the interwebs, and your writing on them. Just awesome. Like you guys, we’re planning on pulling up stumps and heading overseas permanently one day. Pack our bags and just go. And figure it out when we get there. I’m sure with cookies like these, I’d be making new friends in no time.

  • Reply Heather 30 October 2013 at 10:49 PM

    I know the feeling. I adore living out of a backpack. It’s when I feel my calmest and most in tune with myself. Looking forward to seeing some more pics.

  • Reply Lindsey 31 October 2013 at 12:47 AM

    You are such an inspiration, Ashlae. I’ve put off saving money for trips because there are things I truly believe I need in life (new clothes, expensive days at the salon, drinks every weekend) but you’ve convinced me that I need to start putting money aside to explore the world. Opening a savings account today :-)

    P.s. All of your travel photos are gorgeous, but the ones of Croatia really spoke to me. I’ve got to get there!

  • Reply Laura 31 October 2013 at 5:03 AM

    They look so good!! I’m from Barcelona and I must say I was wondering when were you going to come. You can’t go to Europe and not visit Barcelona!;)! I hope you liked the city, it’s amazing…the weather, the sea, the people…! I’m studying architecture (4th year…ugh) and I think I’ll have to move somewhere (USA?) when I finish because there aren’t jobs in the building industry. Well, there aren’t many jobs in general! By the way, Horchata is written Orxata (this is the real name, from Valencia), in catalan de “X” sounds like the spanish “CH”! If you haven’t left yet, you should go to a “Orxata Shop” called Sirvent, best Orxata in town!

    • Reply Laura 31 October 2013 at 5:23 AM

      I didn’t remember to ask! Where did you buy the coconut flour?

      • Reply Ashlae 31 October 2013 at 5:56 AM

        Hi Laura!

        I got it at a shop in the States – but I spotted it at Veritas a few days ago.

  • Reply thelittleloaf 31 October 2013 at 6:25 AM

    I can’t believe your travels are almost over – you’ve done such amazing things and I imagine it’s going to take a huge amount of time to digest everything that’s happened once you’re back. But if happiness is the take home, you know it’s been a good trip. Everyone deserves happiness, starting with a bite of one of these gorgeous cookies :-)

  • Reply Shannon 31 October 2013 at 6:38 PM

    I have felt that moment over and over again. I am ready to give up so many things to get to the spot that my partner and I are so happy in. We have a few more months before we make the leap, but I am already counting it down.

  • Reply Katie @ 24 Carrot Life 3 November 2013 at 3:29 PM

    You have literally combined two of my favorite Mexican sweets into one. I cannot wait to make these!

  • Reply Alberto 6 November 2013 at 9:29 AM

    Since few weeks I’m realising there are things that we really don’t need, and it’s a good idea doing only what you really love and makes you happy. Posts like this and people like you are an inspiration!

    Hope you liked Spain. Barcelona is my second favorite place in here, I’ve been 4 times and I love it!
    If you come back to the South of Spain you should go to Málaga, it’s not as big as BCN, but it have something special too.

  • Reply Michaela 7 November 2013 at 9:35 AM

    Loved the personal bit in this post. I studied abroad for 6 weeks in Austria this past summer and ventured all over Europe. I”m so glad I experienced that at only 20 because it did make me realize how little I really missed about “home.” Only the people and a ~few~ possessions. Friends and family kept telling me once I got back that I’d come down from the high and realize I want to stay here, but months later and I still disagree. I vow to return back and am already looking into internships overseas! Hold fast to that promise ;)

  • Reply Emma 11 November 2013 at 4:19 AM

    they look delicious, and yes, everybody deserves to be happy! I love your recipes, they always inspire me to try new things!

  • Reply sarah 13 November 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Yes! Yes Yes! One thing my husband and I regret terribly is that we didn’t travel more before we had kids. That’s one thing we’d go back and do over. Live somewhere else! Travel with just the pack on our back! See the world!
    I give you two thumbs up.
    Also, a solo doughnut feast sounds pretty awesome.

  • Reply Clotilde 19 November 2013 at 10:35 AM

    I love this post. I’d do pretty much anything to escape the “real world”! Keep following your dreams!

  • Reply Cristina 21 November 2013 at 11:57 AM

    For some strange reason, I have always felt more at “home” living in Europe than I ever have Stateside. I returned to New York after a couple years in Spain and France for grad school, but I miss it. (Luckily, I brought a Frenchman home with me, so that helps.) We are going back to France soon for Christmas, and I’m really quite thrilled.

    It sounds like you and Thom make a stellar team. It’s a great feeling, to find a partner who shares your master plan, and also your idea of what happy means.

  • Reply Izzy 22 November 2013 at 8:02 AM

    Whenever I want to go on a shopping spree I look at your Europe flickr album and am reminded of all the great things I could do if I just keep on saving. You two are an inspiration and these cookies look delicious.

  • Reply 12 Treats of Christmas « an infinite variety 14 December 2013 at 8:24 PM

    […] of butter, but I do trust the beautiful recipes posted by Ashlae over at Oh, Ladycakes.  These Coconut Horchata Polvorones are just one of many vegan-friendly […]

  • Leave a Reply