Posts from the ‘sweets’ Category

pecan brittle & world’s best strawberry butter cookies

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a friend gave me sweet pecans from his mother. so i made pecan brittle. i’ve never made candy before & was surprised how good it turned out despite substituting some of the corn syrup with molasses, which is probably a better idea anyhow.

i would have to say the hardest thing about making this is it that it is physically demanding. you have to constantly stir it & it gets like caramel, which takes strength to handle. i’m looking forward to doing this again with variations. i have tons of pecans left. hand made candy is the best xmas gift.

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i continued my baking roll & made worlds best butter cookies & topped a fraction of them with my home made strawberry preserves.

i swear there’s nothing sweeter than spending all day in the kitchen.

choco-strawberry pazzo cake

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i had a few items to use up-mainly creme fraiche & strawberry jam i made when i bought 8 lbs of strawberries for $1.

as usual, i stuck those words into epicurious & found strawberry pazzo cake w/herbed creme fraiche.

i had to substitute several ingredients. there was no brown sugar so i used cocoa powder. i had no milk, so i used pineapple coconut juice. i combined the creme fraiche with cinnamon & threw it into the batter instead of on top. and i did the balsamic glaze with my jam-about 3/4 cup, a couple tablespoons condensed milk, cooked it a while, & set in fridge to chill & thicken.

to my surprise, it turned out really good! it’s like a cake that wants to be fudge, so it was kind of a light fudge & not too sweet at all!

strawberry jam

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i went shopping at a local produce store stanleys-over the weekend. a worker shoved an entire box-8 lbs-of strawberries in my arms & said, “you take. 98 cents.” i guess they needed to get rid of the ripe berries that day. what do i do with 8 lbs of ripe berries besides freeze them for smoothies? then i remembered someone at the store said, “jam.” so i looked up some recipes & went for it.

SO easy!

take 1 lb strawberries quartered. put in sauce pan with 2/3 cup sugar & 1 peeled & grated granny smith apple. simmer till strawberries fall apart-around 30 minutes. add 1 tablespoon lemon juice. let sit in fridge at least 2 hours.

delish! i plan on making buttermilk biscuits this weekend. there’s plenty to give away as i made 2 lbs of this stuff! you can probably use this in a dessert-such as a crepe or donut.

jam out!

chai masala tea cake

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i’m off on fridays. this is recent & i’ve turned it into a major cooking/baking day, usually starting early in the morning. i woke up to a fb recipe post by the lovely show-me-the-curry ladies for chai-tea. i have a cupboard full of indian spices-many which are whole-that i wanted to use up, so i made the spice mix. i dragged out my mortar & pestle & went to work. it’s hard work-those indian ladies do it all day long. they are all buff. then i put it all through the coffee grinder & sifted it. it makes a lot.

you can use the powder to make many things like chai masala tea cake. i had everything except walnuts, subbed pistachios, & brown sugar, subbed molases. it worked perfectly!

best served warm with a dollop of european butter!

SO good 🙂

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granola bars

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someone asked me to make a healthy snack for him & his wife because he does not have a dog & wanted to purchase treats from me. i was puzzled because i don’t usually make “healthy” baked items for humans. so i decided to research some granola bar recipes & decided to use alton brown’s recipe. it is chock full of various dried fruits, seeds, nuts & oats. and not very easy to make.

the first batch looked great

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but it all stuck to the pan. i had to scrape it out & turn it into cookies. so i began once again-this time adding an egg to help bind the mixture together & parchment paper so i could just lift it all out when it is cooled & cut it into squares. make sure you also do this if you choose to make this.

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i basically spent several hours trying to get these right because someone would be buying them from me. i had no idea what to charge because the ingredients make this very expensive to make. so i brought 2 to him, thinking that i would gift them & see if he liked them first.

after all of that work, he never showed up to receive them. i gave them to my mgr. & the desk aid. the rest is for my husband.

i don’t like people who ask me to do something for them & then blow me off. i will not be baking for him again. that being said, i have conqured the granola bar, which can be modified in all kinds of ways. it’s a great food to have around for someone who needs a healthy snack. my husband wins this time.

figgy swirlys

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i’ve been curious about figs & had some on hand. i always liked fig newtons. so i decided to make fig swirls, mainly because they are pretty.

prettier than how they taste i’m afraid. that is, unless you like cookies that aren’t very sweet. there is no sugar in the cookie. only honey in the filling. perfect with a cup of tea & laborous/fun to make.

good luck 🙂

beer gingerbundt & choco-orange shortbread

IMG_0552 i spent many hours in the kitchen. unfortunately i got the baking bug. why is this bad? because i had given up bread & sugar & lost weight. the urge to bake was far stronger. i just HAD to make gingerbread beer bundt cake with chocolate glaze. why? just look at the ingredients!

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20 things are in this cake. including oatmeal stout beer, mustard powder, & fresh ground nutmeg/cardamom/clove/ginger. it was like baking an indian meal. i had to line up the ingredients just so i would be sure not to forget anything.

this is worth the effort. really different from anything i have ever had before. and the blog is great too. a friend from facebook posted it. one of the best things about FB is getting recipe ideas. they can come from all corners of the world if you have friends everywhere. i do.

i don’t own a full sized bundt pan but i had a nice mini bundt pan. i measured it & needed 4. i made 2 minis & 2 dozen mini cupcakes because they are difficult to transport as a bundt. then i made xtra glaze & added butter to it, chilled it & whipped, which turns it into frosting. i used french butter for everything-including greasing the tins. works! SO dense, flavorful, moist, delish, different! best recipe of the season! well done!

i’m still on that shortbread kick. this time i did one that combines orange with chocolate-a favorite childhood combo. i remember my grandma eating dark chocolate covered orange rinds. they were the most delicious treat! it’s my strongest memory of her.

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triple chocolate orange shortbread cookies are easy & SO good! i took it a step further & used 3 kinds of chips-white, semi-sweet & milk. it’s yummy, but next time i will use only semi-sweet. goes with the orange the best.

i had to give away much of this amazing stock of sweets. the rest is sleeping in the freezer. the other mini-bundt will be eaten by my band for our mardi gras show on the 12th. it’s nice to have a stash of baked goods to share with friends.