Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup
2 medium butternut squashes
2 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 sprig sage
Cut the squash in halves lengthwise and seeded; season with salt and pepper.  Place cut-side-down on a foil lined baking sheet, and bake for 40 minutes at 325 degrees. 

Scoop out squash.  Blend in a food processor with honey, nutmeg and sugar.  Add 1/2 cup milk and blend until smooth.  Transfer to a pot.  Stir in remaining milk and simmer over medium heat.

Using a mixer, whip cinnamon into cream until stiff peaks form.

Heat oil in a small pan.  Add sage and fry 1 minute.  Flip and then fry 30 seconds.  Garnish soup with whipped cream and fried sage.  Add salt and Pepper to taste.

Serve as a 1st course or add sausage to make it a heartier meal.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Creamed Corn

Creamed Corn
We enjoyed Christmas with friends in the home of Randy and Lisa Lamb.  This recipe was served and everyone had a second serving.  This will be your go-to recipe should you decide to try this recipe.  It is soooo good!
2 packs 20 0z. Frozen Corn
8 oz. whipping cream
8 oz. whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp. Accent ot MSG
4 tablespoons sugar
Pinch white pepper or cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons flour
Directions:  Add all ingredients except butter and flour.  Bring to a boil and simmer it for 5 minutes.  Make a roux with butter and flour: add to corn mixture.  Mix well and remove from heat.  Put in baking dish and sprinkle with fresh fresh Parmesan cheese.  Bake under the broiler until golden brown.  Serve immediately. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Apple Strudel

Apple Strudel

Serves 6


2 pounds tart apples (Granny Smiths), peeled, cored, sliced into thin wedges
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided, plus extra for brushing
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup water, may not use all of it
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra for coating
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 pinch kosher salt
powdered sugar, garnish

Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a medium pan over medium heat and, once melted, add breadcrumbs. Stir constantly and toast breadcrumbs until golden brown. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, combine cinnamon, brown sugar, and 1 cup white sugar. Set aside.

Mix together apples, lemon juice and zest in a large bowl. Pour cinnamon sugar mixture over the apples and toss to coat thoroughly. Set aside.

To make the dough: sift flour and salt together in a large bowl, then add water, then oil and vinegar. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixture begins to come together into a ball.

Knead dough with your hands until smooth and not sticky. If needed, add flour, 1 teaspoon at a time, until dough ball forms.

Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a dishtowel and place in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400º F and set oven rack in top 1/3 part of oven.

Roll dough out on a large, floured surface to a large rectangle. About 9x13 inches. Cover with a clean towel/tablecloth, grab edges of both towel and dough and flip over so dough is resting on the towel.
Gently stretch the dough out on the sides, working your way around the entire rectangle. It should be semi-translucent in some places, but be very careful not to tear it.

Use your hands to brush dough with another 3 tablespoons melted butter, then sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs evenly over the dough and gently pat them down so they adhere.

Drain the apples and spread them out vertically near the short edge of the rectangle. (Make sure to leave 2-3 inches for a border.) Filling should look like a strip/column along the short edge of the dough.
Take the edges of the towel that are at the top and bottom edges of the filling and gently fold it over the filling.

Brush exposed ends with melted butter, carefully fold in sides of dough, then gently continue rolling (using towel to maneuver) dough, until seam is on the bottom.

Use towel to transfer strudel to a parchment paper-lined baking tray, forming a horseshoe so entire strudel fits. Brush all of remaining butter over the strudel. 
Optional: sprinkle 1 tablespoon white sugar over the top.

Place in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove from oven, brush more melted butter over the top and dust with powdered sugar. Use a bread knife to cut 1-1 1/2-inch slices and serve with whipped cream, vanilla sauce or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 28, 2014


Yields 1-1 1/2 quarts
1 medium head cabbage (2-2 1/2 pounds), cored
   and shredded
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
air tight containers or mason jars
smaller jars as added weight
beans or marbles

Start by cleaning all of your utensils, including washing your hands thoroughly.

Wash your cabbage to rid it of any dirt or particles. Cut cabbage in half, then into quarters: core and slice into wedges.

Very thinly slice each wedge (across) into skinny strips; it should look like you’re making coleslaw.
In a large bowl, combine cabbage strips and salt. Use your hands to massage and break up cabbage, and combine it with the salt. Strips should begin to wilt after 5-10 minutes as their structure breaks down. Reserve the cabbage liquid.

Once cabbage is limp and watery, transfer to your fermenting containers, making sure container is big enough so there is extra space for the fermenting process. Pour excess liquids into storing container.
Pack down the sauerkraut so there are no air bubbles and it is submerged in its own liquid.

Cover cabbage with a smaller jar that’s been filled with beans or marbles for added weight. Again, this is to keep the cabbage submerged in brine.

Place cloth over the top of mason jar and secure with twine. The beginning of the fermentation process entails that the cabbage be left uncovered; the cloth prevents bacteria and particles from landing in the jars.

Leave uncapped mason jars at room temperature (out of direct sunlight) for at least 4 days, pressing down occasionally so cabbage stays covered by liquid.

After four days, begin tasting sauerkraut until it is to your liking. Then remove weighted jars, cap and refrigerate for up to 6 months. Enjoy!

Note: Bubbles and/or white bacteria developing on cabbage are a sign of healthy growth and can be removed without worry.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Salted Caramel Popcorn

Salted Caramel Popcorn
(makes 16 cups)
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup salted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup whole almonds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 300F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large, lidded saucepan, warm 3 kernels with the 1 tablespoon oil. If you don't have a pan large enough to handle about 12 cups of popcorn, make in two batches.

Once those three kernels pop, add the rest of the corn kernels to the pan and shake to coat with oil. Put the lid on the pan.

Pop the corn, shaking the pan occasionally until the popping slows.

Empty the popped corn into a large mixing bowl, and try to pull out as many unpopped kernels as possible so they don't end up in the mix.

In a separate saucepan, melt the butter then mix in the sugar, maple syrup and 1 teaspoon salt.

Once the sugar is completely moistened, increase the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat to medium.

Boil for 3-4 minutes without stirring.

Add baking soda and vanilla to the caramel mixture, stirring until you have a thick, even, glossy sauce.
Slowly pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn, while stirring the popcorn (it'll help to have two people). Optionally, add the nuts to the popcorn at the same time as the caramel sauce. Continue to stir the popcorn and the sauce until it's all well coated.

Divide the popcorn between the two baking sheets and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt on top, then place in the oven.

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.
Allow popcorn to cool completely, or use buttered fingers to clump the popcorn and nuts together to form bunches if desired

Friday, December 26, 2014

Salted Caramel Nuts

Salted Caramel Nuts


1 cup each whole roasted salted cashews, whole large pecan halves, whole unsalted almonds, and whole walnut halves (4 cups total) 

1½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fleur de sel

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the nuts on a sheet pan, spread them out, and roast them for 7 minutes, until they become fragrant. Set aside to cool.

After the nuts are cooled, place the sugar and ¼ cup of water in a medium (10-inch) sauté pan and mix with a fork until all of the sugar is moistened. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar melts—from this point on, don’t stir the caramel, swirl the pan! 

Don’t worry—the mixture may look as though it’s crystallizing. Continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture becomes a clear golden brown, swirling the pan constantly at the end. (Careful—the caramel is very hot!) Off the heat, quickly add the vanilla (it will bubble up!) and swirl the pan to combine. Working quickly (the caramel will continue to cook in the pan), add the nuts and the kosher salt and toss with 2 large spoons until the nuts are completely coated. 

Pour the nuts and any extra caramel in the pan onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Spread the nuts out in one layer, pulling them apart with two forks. Sprinkle with the fleur de sel and set aside to cool. When they’re completely cooled, carefully break the nuts into large clusters with your hands, trying not to break the nuts too much.

Salted Caramel Nuts (Makes 8 cups)

Copyright 2014, Make It Ahead by Ina Garten, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, All Rights Reserve

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Cashew Cheese ..... Macadamia Cheese

Cashew Cheese
Macadamia Cheese
You can create a fabulous holiday cheese plate by adding fresh and dried figs, grapes, pears, and apples and an assortment of crackers and breads to these splendid cheeses.  This cheese is soo delicious! 
Cashew Cheese
2 cups raw cashews
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped chives
The day before serving, put the cashews in a bowl and add enough cold water to cover them.  Cover and let soak overnight in the refrigerator.

Drain and rinse the cashews and transfer to a food processor.  Add the lemon juice. nutritional yeast, oil, and salt and blend until smooth, 10 to 12 minutes.  If you find that there is not enough liquid in the food processor to blend the nuts, add a bit of water.

Transfer the cashew paste to a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour to firm.  Remove and pack the paste into a 4-inch ring mold.  Remove the mold and press into the outer edges a mixture of parsley and chives. 
Macadamia Cheese
2 cups raw macadamia nuts
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons red and green peppercorns
The day before serving put the macadamia nuts in a bowl and add enough cold water to cover them.  Cover and let them soak overnight in the refrigerator.

Drain and rinse the nuts and transfer to a food processor.  Add the lemon juice, oil, and salt and blend until smooth, up to 12 minutes. 

Transfer the macadamia paste to a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour to firm.  Remove and pack the paste into a ring mold.  Remove the mold and press into the outer edges the peppercorns.

To serve, arrange the cheeses on a platter and garnish with your favorite assortment of crackers and fruits.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Roasted Squash Soup With Almond Cream and Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted Squash Soup With Almond
Cream And Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
This is a recipe that after the first taste, it will be high on your list for a favorite.  Daughter Barbara made it for Thanksgiving dinner and it will be on the Christmas dinner table.  Wow! What a flavor!!!  So worth the time.
Almond Cream
Almonds must be soaked overnight!
2 cups sliced almonds
3 tablespoons safflower oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt 
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh chives
Roasted Squash Soup
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1 cup diced white onion
1 cup chopped apple
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1/2 lemon grass stalk, split
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded
   and cut into 1 inch pieces
8 cups vegetable stock
Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds, hulled
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Sea slat and freshly ground black pepper
To make the cream the day before serving, put the almonds in a bowl and add enough water to cover them.  Cover and let soak overnight in the refrigerator.

Drain the nuts and transfer to a blender.  Add the oil, lemon juice, salt, and water and blend until smooth, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl, stir in the chives, and set aside.  The cream will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

To make the soup, heat the oil and buttery spread in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, apple, cinnamon, chipotle powder, sage, rosemary lemongrass stalk and salt and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.

Add the squash to the pot and stir to coat, about three minutes.  Add the stock, bring to a boil, decrease the heat, and simmer, covered, until the squash is tender, about 40 minutes.  Remove the lemongrass stalk and let the soup cool.

Transfer the soup to a blender and blend until smooth.   Or blend the soup with an immersion blender until smooth.  This will have to be done in batches.  The soup can be made ahead of time up to this point.  It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen up to 3 months.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 F.

To prepare the pumpkin seeds, combine the seeds, oil, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl and mix together.  Transfer to a baking sheet and roast for 5 to 10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until the seeds are lightly browned.

To serve, pour the warm soup into bowls. Add a dollop of the almond cream and sprinkle with the roasted pumpkin seeds. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Soft And Sweet Cinnamon Rolls

Soft and Sweet Cinnamon Rolls

Serves: Makes 10 rolls


1¼ cups warm milk (no hotter than 120°F)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast, or 2¼ teaspoons quick-rise yeast
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
3¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling
1½ teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon water

1½ cups lightly packed light brown sugar
1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 large egg

1 cup powdered sugar, or a little more if needed
1½ tablespoons water

    To make the dough, pour ¼ cup of the warm milk in a small bowl. Add the yeast and granulated sugar and stir to dissolve. Set the bowl aside for 8 to 10 minutes, until the mixture looks foamy. If the yeast isn't foamy after 15 minutes, start with a new package.
    Put the flour and salt in a large bowl and whisk to blend. Make a well in the center, and pour the yeasted milk into the well. Then add the remaining 1 cup warm milk and melted butter. Stir together the ingredients until you get big, shaggy clumps of dough that start to stick together.
    Sprinkle a little flour on your work surface. You can always add more later, so don't sprinkle too much. Dump the dough clumps out of the bowl onto your work surface. Dip your hands in flour and start kneading the dough. Using the heel of both hands, firmly push the top of the mound away from you. Fold the far side of the dough toward you, then rotate the mound of dough a quarter turn and push again. Keep kneading until you get a smooth, springy dough. It usually takes 8 to 10 minutes. To know if you have kneaded enough, press your hand into the dough and remove it quickly. Your handprint should bounce back and disappear quickly. If it doesn't, keep kneading.
    Lightly flour your hands and the surface if the dough starts sticking. It should feel tacky, like tape, but not sticky and gooey. A bench scraper is handy for scraping up any bits of dough stuck to the table and to help you move the dough around.
    Rub the inside of a large bowl with a thin layer of vegetable oil or coat with pan spray. Shape the dough into a ball and put it in the bowl. Lightly rub or spray the top of the dough with a little oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set the bowl aside and let the dough rise for 45 to 60 minutes, until it is twice as big.
    While the bread dough finishes rising, make the filling. Put the brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl and whisk together until well blended. Smash any brown sugar lumps to break them up. Crack the egg into a small bowl and beat with a fork until blended.
    To roll out the dough, sprinkle 3 tablespoons flour on the work surface. Turn the risen dough out of the bowl onto the floured surface and shape it into a rough rectangle. Sprinkle another tablespoon of flour on top. Starting from the edge closest to you, roll gently but firmly to the edge opposite you and then back again twice. Be careful not to roll the pin off the edge of the dough, or the dough will stick to the surface. Turn the dough a quarter turn, and roll up and back again twice. When you turn the dough, it should move easily. If it doesn't, gently lift the area of stuck dough, loosening it with the small metal spatula, and sprinkle some more flour underneath. Repeat the rolling up and back and turning of the dough until you have a 15 by 12-inch rectangle.
    Brush any excess flour from the top and bottom of the dough with the large brush, and clean up any extra flour from around the dough with the bench scraper. Position the rectangle so you are facing a long side. Mix the egg yolk with the water and then, using a small pastry brush, brush a thin coating of the egg mixture all over the top of the dough. (You won't need all of it.) Use your fingers to scrape the filling onto the dough and spread it evenly over the surface, leaving a 1-inchwide border uncovered along the long side opposite you. Starting at the long side closest to you, roll up the dough into a log, keeping it fairly tight as you go. When you reach the opposite side, roll the dough right on top of the uncovered border. Roll the log backward, so the seam is on top, and pinch all along the seam to seal it.
    Lightly butter a 10 by 2-inch cake pan, or spray with pan spray. Using a serrated knife, cut the log crosswise into 10 rolls, each about 1½ inches wide. Use a gentle sawing motion when you cut so you don't flatten the log. Arrange the rolls in the prepared cake pan evenly, spacing 8 rolls around the edge of the pan and putting 2 rolls in the center.
    Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set in a warm place. Let the rolls rise for about 1 hour, or until they are nearly twice as big and fill almost all of the open spaces in the pan. After the rolls have risen for about 30 minutes, position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. That way the oven will be ready when you are ready to bake.
    Bake the rolls for 30 to 35 minutes, until they are golden and the sugar is bubbling around the edges. Using oven mitts, transfer the pan to a cooling rack. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
    To make the icing, put 1 cup powdered sugar in a small bowl. Add the water and whisk until well blended and completely smooth. The icing should be thick, because it thins out when it hits the warm rolls. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 egg white
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 1/4 cup pistachio nuts
In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, orange zest, and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Mix in eggs and egg white one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt;  gradually blend into the creamed mixture using a wooden spoon.  Stir in white chocolate, dried cranberries, and pistachios.  Cover, and chill for 30 minutes, or until dough is no longer sticky.

Preheat oven to 325 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Turn out dough on a slightly floured surface, divide into halves.  Form each half into a flattish log about 12 inches long by three inches wide.  Arrange logs at least 3 inches apart on baking sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes in preheated oven, or until pale gold.  Allow logs to cool on the baking sheet until cool enough to handle.  On a cutting board, cut logs crosswise on a diagonal into one-inch thick slices.  Arrange on a baking sheet.

Bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until golden.  Transfer biscotti to wire racks, and cool completely.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Greek Butter Cookies
This is a recipe from a blog, Cooking For Keeps.

1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
2 ½ teaspoons pure almond extract
8 tablespoons powdered sugar
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
5 to 5 ½ cups all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Beat butter in the bottom of a stand mixer on a medium high speed for 20 minutes. Add egg and almond extract, mix until combined. 

Sift powdered sugar and baking soda together in a small bowl. Add to butter and egg. Beat another 10 minutes on a medium high speed. 

Sift five cups of flour and salt together in a large bowl. 

With the speed on low, add flour a little bit at a time until completely incorporated. If the dough is too sticky, add ½ cup more of flour.

To Form: Roll about 2 tablespoons of dough into crescents and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silt pad. There is no need to place cookies very far apart, as they do not spread much. Bake for 15-20 minutes until very pale brown and cooked through.
Makes about 5 dozen.

Saturday, December 20, 2014



1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice 
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/3 cup diced candied citron
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Pulse almonds and hazelnuts in a food processor until very finely chopped. Add candied peels and dates, and pulse until finely chopped. Add almond paste, and pulse to combine. Add jam, and pulse. Add eggs and brown sugar, and pulse. Add flour mixture, and pulse. Transfer dough to an airtight container, and refrigerate overnight (or up to 3 days).Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using a 2-inch ice cream scoop ( 1/4 cup), drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 3 inches apart. Place 3 almonds close together on top of each cookie. Bake until golden brown, about 14 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks.

Whisk together confectioners' sugar and milk, and brush over cooled cookies. Let stand until set. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Friday, December 19, 2014

French Butter Cakes Madelienes

French Butter Cakes

2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar, for decoration.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Butter and flour 12 (3 inch) madeleine molds; set aside.

Melt butter and let cool to room temperature.

In a small mixing bowl, beat eggs, vanilla and salt at high speed until light.  
Beating constantly, gradually add sugar; and continue beating at high speed until mixture is thick and pale and ribbons form in bowl when beaters are lifted, 5 to 10 minutes.

Sift flour into egg mixture 1/3 at a time, gently folding after each addition.

Add lemon zest and pour melted butter around edge of batter. Quickly but gently fold butter into batter. Spoon batter into molds; it will mound slightly above tops.

Bake 14 to 17 minutes, or until cakes are golden and the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertip.

Use the tip of the knife to loosen madeleines from pan; invert onto rack. Immediately sprinkle warm cookies with granulated sugar. Madeleines are best eaten the day they're baked. Leftover madeleines are wonderful when dunked into coffee or tea.

Variation: Chocolate Madeleines: Omit lemon zest. Increase sugar to 1/2 cup. Substitute 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder for 2 tablespoons of the flour; sift into batter with flour.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Candied Orange Peel, or Orangetes

Candied Orange Peel, or Orangettes

Candied peel takes two basic steps: blanching, then simmering in sugar syrup. The triple blanching is essential to extracting the bitterness from the peel and tenderizing it.

Candied peel is exceptional dipped in dark chocolate we’re not tempering the chocolate here, just melting it for dipping, which means the dipped candy should then be refrigerated to harden the chocolate and prevent a bloomy white surface from forming (still very edible, just not pretty). Dip the peels in chocolate the day you are going to eat them. It’s best not to use the chocolate chips you’d use for cookies. They have stabilizers in them that prevent them from fully melting. I used them the day I made the dipped peel for you, and it made for a very thick coating of chocolate that was difficult to dip into.

Keep your candied peels in an airtight container (or ziplock bag) stored in the refrigerator. They make a lovely gift in a small clear bag or glass container, tied with a ribbon.
Candied Orange Peel
3 organic navel or Valencia oranges or 6 clementines
4 cups sugar (2 cups for syrup, 2 cups for coating the candy)
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (preferably not chocolate chips), optional

Wash and dry the oranges. Score them in quarters from stem to navel and peel. Slice the quarters into 1⁄2 inch lengths. Cut the slices in half crosswise, on the bias.

Place the peels in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat and blanch for two minutes. Drain the peels and repeat this process two more times using fresh cold water each time—this is key.

After the third blanching, leave the peels in a colander while you make the sugar syrup in the same saucepan you’ve blanched in.

Combine 2 cups of the sugar, 3 tablespoons of corn syrup, and 1 cup of water in your saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Don’t agitate or stir the syrup at this stage—that can introduce crystallization into the mixture.

Add the peels to the syrup and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer the peels until they are completely translucent, 60-90 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain the peels in a colander, reserving the orange-infused syrup if you like. It’s delicious stirred into tea or even just ice water.

The peels are hot, so be careful with the next step.

Line a sheet pan with waxed paper. Spread 2 cups of sugar evenly over the waxed paper. Using tongs, or your fingers if the peels have cooled a bit, lay the peels on the sugar to cool. Be sure to separate the peels so they are not touching each other, or else they will stick together.

Let the peels cool and dry, resting there on the sugar, for 3-4 hours. Then toss them in the sugar to coat. Knock off any excess sugar or any clumps that may have formed while they were cooling.

Place in an airtight container and refrigerate. Peels will keep for at least a month this way.

To dip the peels in chocolate, finely chop and melt the chocolate. You can melt the chocolate in a small bowl placed into or over a bain marie (a pan of water that’s been brought to a boil and turned off). Just be careful not to get any water into the chocolate. Or, melt the chocolate in the microwave using 30- second intervals and stirring as you go.

Dip the peel halfway into the smooth, melted chocolate and place on another sheet pan lined with waxed paper. Refrigerate until firm, and eat them the same day. 

a recipe from

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Milk Chocolate-Dipped Hazelnut Sandies

Milk Chocolate-Dipped Hazelnut Sandies
These crisp, buttery cookies are a riff on classic hazelnut sandies; the cookies are doctored with crunchy cocoa nibs and then dipped in luscious milk chocolate.

1 ½ cup hazelnuts
¾ cup cocoa nibs (2 1/2 ounces)
2 ¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder 
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature 
½ cup confectioners’ sugar 
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract 
12 oz high-quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
In a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts and cocoa nibs until coarsely ground. Scrape into a medium bowl and whisk in the flour, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla bean paste at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until incorporated. Scrape the dough onto a work surface and form into a ball. 

Halve the dough, then shape each half into a 1 1/2 -inch square log and wrap in parchment paper. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Working in 2 batches, cut the cookie-dough logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices and arrange on the prepared sheets at least 1 inch apart. 

Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom; rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. 

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
In a medium saucepan, bring 1 inch of water to a simmer. Place the milk chocolate in a heatproof small bowl and set it over the saucepan. Stir the chocolate until melted and smooth. Remove the saucepan from the heat; leave the bowl of chocolate on top. Dip 1 corner of each cookie in the chocolate to coat halfway, letting the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Transfer the cookies to parchment paper-lined baking sheets and refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 20 minutes.

MAKE AHEAD: The chocolate-dipped cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Yield 6 1/2 dozen cookies.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Butterscotch Hard Candy

Butterscotch Hard Candy
2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup light Karo
1 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 stick butter
Pinch of salt

Mix sugars and water well.  Boil to 250 degrees.  Remove from heat and add 2 teaspoons vanilla and  1/2 cup butter.  Stir until butter dissolves.  Return to stove and boil to 300 degrees.   Add pinch of salt.  Pour onto a buttered cookie sheet but a marble slab works better.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle
Daughter Barbara has made this recipe for years. Actually she is known for her delicious peanut brittle. She does not use the raw Spanish peanuts in her recipe but ramps it up a notch with the Deluxe mix of cashews, almonds and pistachios.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light Karo
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 cup Deluxe mixed nuts
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking soda
Lightly butter a cookie sheet and set aside. Have all ingredients measured and set aside before beginning as the recipe cooks fast.
In a heavy 2 quart pan, over medium heat, bring to a boil sugar, corn syrup, salt., and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in nuts. Set candy thermometer in place, and continue cooking. Stir frequently until temperature reaches 300 degrees, or until a small amount of mixture dropped into a glass of very cold water separates into hard and brittle threads.
Remove from heat; immediately stir in butter and baking soda; pour at once onto cookie sheet. Pour at once onto a cookie sheet. With two forks lift and pull peanut mixture into a rectangle about 14 X 12 inches; cool. Snap candy into pieces.  
Yield: one pound.

Almond Paste, Paste vs Marzipan

Almond Paste Recipe
Almond Paste vs Marzipan

The Main Differences
While they both are made of almonds, marzipan and almond paste are completely different creatures. Marzipan is smooth, sweet, and often dyed and molded into shapes. It's also used to cover sweets much like fondant and is sometimes eaten as is. Almond paste, however, is coarser, less sweet, and used as an ingredient or filling for baked goods.

Can They Be Substituted for Each Other?
The texture and flavor of the two are different enough that they shouldn't be substituted for one another.

Almond Paste
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons water
3 cups plus 3 tablespoons blanched whole almonds
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon simple syrup, *optional

Scant 1/4 cup butter

Place the sugar, honey and water in a saucepan and bring to a strong boil.

Place the Almonds in the food processor and grind until course. Remove the boiling sugar from the heat and pour over the course almonds. Blend until smooth. This may take 10 minutes or more, depending on the strength of the food processor. Remember, food processors are usually strong enough to yield the same consistency as the almond paste that you can buy.

If your mixture is too thick and the food processor is straining, you can add a little simple syrup to the food processor. Add the liquid slowly and stop when the food processor is moving more freely. The quality of the almond paste is determined by how smooth the consistency is.

Wrap the paste in plastic wrap and allow it to cool.

When you are ready to use it, knead in the butter. The butter makes it smooth and not so sticky.

Can be frozen in the freezer until ready to use. Wrap well.
Recipe courtesy, Jacques Torres

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Weisella Cookies

Weisella Cookies
This is a soft cookie with a "gingerbread flavor" and of German origin.
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup molasses
Place 2 tablespoons turnado sugar in a small bowl,  set aside.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, ground cloves, and cinnamon, set aside.  Cream butter and sugar: add egg.  Slowly add dry ingredients.  When mixed add 1/4 cup molasses and tablespoon of water.  It is best to chill dough for at least 1/2 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare baking sheets.

Roll walnut sized ball of dough into 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl and place on prepared baking sheet.  With a glass flatten the ball of dough.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes on a baking sheet and transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.   Yield 2 dozen

Friday, December 12, 2014

Basic Marzipan

Basic Marzipan 
This is a great all-purpose marzipan recipe for dipping in chocolate, using in recipes, or forming figurines. Using this as a base, you can color, flavor, or form marzipan into many different candies or decorations. If you're simply looking to eat the marzipan, cutting it into squares is the easiest way to serve it.

2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup water
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
4 cups ground almonds (or almond meal)
2 egg whites
Powdered sugar for dusting

1. Prepare a workspace by sprinkling powdered sugar over a marble slab, wooden cutting board, or large baking sheet. Fill your sink or a large bowl with cold water.
2. Place the sugar and 2/3 cup water in a large heavy saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.
3. Add the cream of tartar and turn up the heat. Bring to a boil and cover, boiling, for 3 minutes.
4. Uncover and boil until the temperature reaches soft-ball stage, 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.
5. Place the bottom of the saucepan in the cold water you’ve prepared, stirring the sugar mixture constantly until it becomes thick and creamy.

6. Stir in the ground almonds and the egg whites, the place back over low heat and stir for 2 minutes more until the mixture is thick. 

7. Spoon the marzipan onto your prepared work surface, and turn it with a metal spatula until it cools down enough to touch. 

8. Coat your hands in powdered sugar and begin to knead the marzipan, working it until it is smooth and pliant. 

9. Your marzipan can now be used immediately or stored by wrapping it in plastic wrap and keeping it in an airtight container.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cardamom Poached Chocolate Dipped Apricots

Cardamom Poached Chocolate 
Dipped Apricots
2 cups water
2 cups granulated sugar
12 cardamom pods, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 pound dried apricots
4 oz. white chocolate
4 oz. milk chocolate
2 oz. chopped white pistachios
Bring to a boil, water, granulated sugar, crushed cardamom pods, and ground cardamom, boil five minutes.  Lower heat and add apricots, simmer for 20 minutes until soft and infused with syrup.  Drain on a rack.
Melt chocolate in two separate pots over low heat.  Divide apricots into three portions.  With a dipping fork or skewer, dip one-third into milk chocolate, one-third into white chocolate and one-third into pistachios leaving a little piece of apricot uncovered. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sesame Nut Brittle

Sesame Nut Brittle
This is a recipe I have used for forty-eight years.  It makes a duplicate of the candy sold in stores as "made in Poland". This recipe is very tasty, almost addictive.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light Karo
1 cup water
3/4 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large saucepan cook 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 cup light Karo corn syrup and 1 cup water over high heat until the mixture reaches the soft crack stage of 270F.  Reduce to moderate heat and cook to 310F  Stir in 3/4 chopped pecans and 3/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, 3 tablespoons butter and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Cook the mixture stirring for about 5 minutes or until it is a golden color.

Pour the candy onto a well buttered marble slab or buttered baking sheet and spread as thinly as possible with a buttered spatula.  While the candy is cooling, loosen the bottom with a spatula.  When it is cold and brittle, break it into pieces.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Linzer Cookies

Linzer Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 1/4 cups hazelnuts, ground medium fine
1/2 cup seedless raspberry or cherry jam

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, and beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla.

Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and zest. Add to butter mixture; beat on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Form dough into 3/4-inch balls, and roll in ground hazelnuts. Place balls on ungreased baking sheet 1 inch apart. Bake until cookies begin to set, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven. Working quickly, make a slight indentation in each cookie with your thumb. Return to oven, and bake about 8 minutes more. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Melt jam in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Place 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of jam in each indentation. Cool completely.

Recipe of Martha Stewart