Sweet & Tangy Strawberry-Vanilla-Banana Jam

Sweet & Tangy Strawberry-Vanilla-Banana Jam



I remember when I first started canning about 15 years ago. I thought I owned the world. To be able to create jams, jellies and preserves in flavors no store would ever have; to feel so danged “Earth Mother-ish”. It was empowering in its own weird way. The first thing I ever made was orange marmalade. It was, yet again with me, a case of not even realizing I had picked something that experienced cooks/canners don’t like to do and that the inexperienced canners balk at. I have a habit of that. Same thing happened the first time I made croissants not long after I started baking with yeast. I found out later that many experienced home bakers don’t like to attempt croissants because they can be touchy. I’ve always been like, “This sounds good… I want to make it” and I give it a try. Usually things go well. I suppose ignorance really is bliss, ehh? This particular jam is a favorite in my family. My son Jordan has to be stopped from just eating it out of the jar as dessert and my husband, who is diabetic, loves it even though it’s so NOT good for him. If you like the classic mix of strawberry banana, you will love this jam. And contrary to what you may think, home canning isn’t difficult at all. If you can mix, stir, ladle into jars and then boil sealed cans, you’ve got this. I will say what I say every time I post a canning recipe, however. Steer clear of recipes/web sites/blogs that tell you it is just fine and dandy to do things like seal your jars by turning them upside down or just putting a lid on and letting the inner heat seal them, etc. These methods are NOT safe. You’ll run into people who will say, “Oh, my gramma/great gramma/gramma 35 generations ago did it this way and everyone was just fine.” They’re wrong, plain and simple. We have no way of knowing how many illnesses, “Oh, she has a stomach virus” or even deaths back in the day were from food poisoning. Seal your cans the correct way and you’ll have tasty food that is safe. Here’s a wonderful site to check out if you’re new to canning- Fresh Preserving . It will guide you along in easy terms and make you see how simple this really is! You know the drill…. git to cooking. Erhmmm, canning. This makes about 8 half pint jars.

Sweet & Tangy Strawberry-Vanilla-Banana Jam

  • 4 3/3 cups prepared fruit (about 2 1/2 containers strawberries and 3 to 4 medium bananas)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (bottles is fine)
  • 1 box pectin (the powdered kind, not the liquid)
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter to help prevent excessive foaming
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 6 3/4 cups sugar (yes, this is the correct amount; jams take a fair amount of sugar to set properly and are NOT diet food ๐Ÿ˜› )
  1. Prepare your jars as directed in the above link and set your lids in a bowl of bowling water to sterilize them.
  2. Stem your strawberries. Crush them and measure out exactly 3 1/4 cups of the mashed berries (if there is any left over, which is doubtful, just find another use for them). Mash the bananas and add exactly 1 1/2 cups of them in a large pot along with the mashed strawberries. Stir in the lemon juice and the vanilla.
  3. Stir the powdered pectin into the pot with the fruit. Make sure you have your sugar measured and at hand.
  4. Add the butter and bring the fruit/pectin mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that can’t be stirred away), stirring constantly.
  5. Pour in the sugar all at once. Still stirring constantly, bring the mixture back to a full rolling boil Once it gets there, boil for a full minute. Immediately remove form the heat and skim off any foam that has collected on top. Let the pot sit for five minutes, stirring about once every minute to help make sure the fruit doesn’t settle, but stays suspended throughout the mixture.
  6. Ladle into the prepared jars; wipe the jar rims and threads with a clean hot, wet cloth. Cover with the lids and process in boiling water for ten minutes. Remove form the water and let cool, set on a clean towel. You’ll hear a satisfying “ping!” as each jar seals.
  7. Label and store in a dark, cool place.

Sweet & Tangy Strawberry-Vanilla-Banana Jam 2 ย  Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Ahem… Anybody Still Out There?

I know I know… I disappeared for a little bit (believe me; my FoodBuzz rating shows that I have been gone for a week and a half. Erhmmm…ack?) and shouldn’t be asking you if you are still out there. Instead I should be begging your forgiveness for leaving right?

C’mon now… you know I love you all dearly but can you REALLY see me begging for forgiveness? ๐Ÿ˜› Didn’t think so.

I had to leave for a while… honest. Personal issues (and we know I’m just full of issues hehe) plus my grown kids were coming home for Christmas and I was getting too caught up in things that weren’t as important as that.

But… I’M BACK! And I come bearing goodies.

Ok, no I don’t. But I come bearing a recipe for goodies. Do your own baking darn it. ๐Ÿ˜€

I know a lot of people do New Years Day Brunches so I come bearing a scone recipe. Please say scones in a lively sort of upper crust British accent. Or Scottish. Scottish is good too. I expect a perfect accent before you even attempt to make these.

I was originally going to make a scone with other dried fruits and I am sure I will get to that at some point or another. But today, chocolate possessed me. Surprise huh? So I made chocolate covered strawberry scones. But as my strawberries were dried and rather chewy. added a shot of amaretto to them to rehydrate them. Honest, it HAD to be amaretto… water would not have worked. *Looks innocent* Then I made a creamy strawberry butter to slather all over these bad boys. Or maybe they were girls. I’m not sure; I didn’t check. I tend to leave the gender of baked goods alone. I am big on respecting the privacy of my scones.

Be warned; these spread a lot. So if you like precise more crisp edges, don’t put these close because they will blend together. if you like soft edges however, place them about an inch apart. Either way, they aren’t the prettiest daintiest looking scones in the world but darn, do they taste good!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Scones

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar (plus sugar to sprinkle on the top)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (a stick and a half) of cold unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 4 ounce bag dried strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons amaretto
  • 1 cup dark or semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup strawberry preserves
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Chop the dried strawberries and put them in a bowl with the amaretto. Set aside for about 15 minutes to soften.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Using a pastry blender, cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. In a measuring cup, combine the cream, extracts and the eggs. Beat well,
  5. Pour the cream mixture into the flour and mix just until combined.
  6. Mix in the strawberries (leave behind any excess liquid) and the chocolate chips.
  7. Dump mixture onto a lightly floured board and pat into a 1/4 inch thick circle (or triangle or hexagon if that’s your thing). Using a 2 inch biscuit cutter, cut out the scones and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Gently re-pat out the scraps and cut them. I got 12 scones and a teenie tiny baby scone from the dough.
  8. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.
  9. To make the strawberry butter, combine the 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup strawberry preserves. Beat until fluffy. Do NOT forget to let your butter soften well or you will end up with strawberry butter that has noticeable butter pieces in it, like in my photo. Oops.
  10. Serve with strawberry butter. Think to yourself that these may not be pretty, but darn, do they taste good! ๐Ÿ˜›

Chocolate Is Our Friend

This is creamy, silky, chocolately and as rich as a good quality piece of candy...but cold ๐Ÿ˜›

Well, it’s my friend anyway. Maybe it hates you. I don’t really know. But if it does, can you send it over to my house? I’ll buy it dinner and roses, say sweet things to it, then nibble at it’s silky neck. Man, why does every post I write lately have sexual undertones? What is UP with that? Maybe I just need more chocolate. Yeah, that’s it; more chocolate. Silky, sweet, creamy chocolate *stops to get a towel to wipe up the drool from the keyboard*

I’ve been told that I am a good albeit very random and tangential sort of a writer. I just can’t understand that. You mean all the careful hours of planning I put into each and every painstaking word doesn’t show? The care and love, the blood sweat and tears (and chocolate) I pour into every post I lovingly create for all of you isn’t immediately apparent? Me? Random?

Oooo, shiny thing!!! I’ll be right back.

I’m back. I still don’t understand that random tangential thing though. Hmmpphhh.

My husband, while he likes chocolate as much as any male, jokes (at least he tries to play it off as a joke; I know better.) that men simply don’t have the same hormonal response to chocolate that women do. I have often wondered but have been too lazy to research whether or not there may be some basis in fact for that. I mean, we all know that chocolate is considered a mood lifter due to the phenylephylamine in it which is the same hormone your body releases during those early “omg, I just have to see him! I haven’t seen him for seventeen minutes!” times of being in love. Not that I’m tangential but has anyone but me ever thought that while it might be interesting, it would also be extremely emotionally and physically tiring to stay in that initial “I’m in love and giddy and my heart is racing” phase forever? I think there are valid physiological and psychological reasons that dies down after a while and love becomes quieter.

Where was I? Oh yeah… chocolate and womens response to it. I can’t help but feel my husbands theory has some validity. Most women I know, when we’re having a bad day, we reach for a piece or twelve of chocolate. Men however reach for a beer and the remote (or go hide in the bathroom for half an hour under the guise of bodily functions. Ok, maybe that’s just my husband.) and would rarely if ever think of grabbing some chocolate to self sooth and relax. Oh well, future research territory here when I have another chocolate post ๐Ÿ˜›

Try this one. I can’t express how much your mood will be lifted. Especially if you just stick your face in it and inhale. What? Think of it as dessert and a facial at the same time. This is a bittersweet chocolate mousse that has been frozen. I added a little cinnamon and cayenne pepper to it but you can omit those if you must. I’ll try to forgive you. It looked naked however so I sliced up some strawberries, added a generous amount of honey and some fresh mint leaves and added those to serve with this heavenly chocolate delight. And whipped cream. Gotta have whipped cream. It’s the LAW. this dessert is beyond awesome and perfect for a dinner party or when you just want to be nice to your family (I.E. you spent too much money at Amazon or Bath & Body Works)

Frozen Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse

With

Honey Mint Strawberries & Whipped Cream

  • 7 ounces (approximately 1 1/4 cups) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup plus one tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon or brandy
  • cocoa and powdered sugar for dusting
  • whipped cream
  • HONEY MINT STRAWBERRIES-
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, capped and sliced
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  1. Put the chocolate into a large bowl and set aside
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream, 1/3 cup sugar, cinnamon and cayenne to a gentle simmer.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and one tablespoon sugar. SLOWLY whisk in half the hot cream mixture. Return it all to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens, about five minutes. Do NOT boil.
  4. Pour the hot mixture over the chocolate. let sit for about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the butter, a little bit at a time and then add the vanilla and the bourbon. Whisk until the mixture is very smooth. If you can’t get all the chocolate to melt, you can heat it in 30 second increments on half power in the microwave to melt the chocolate more. Just do this with caution so you don’t burn the mixture.
  5. Spray a 8 or 9 inch bread pan with cooking spray then line it with plastic wrap.ย  Scrape the mixture from the bowl into the pan. Cover with more plastic wrap and freeze for at least six hours. This can be made well ahead of time and left frozen and well wrapped.
  6. Meanwhile, make your honeyed strawberries. All that entails is mixing the ingredients together and letting it sit for about 2 hours.
  7. To serve, uncover and invert the mousse onto a serving plate. Remove the plastic wrap. Dust with cocoa powder and/or powdered sugar. Garnish with the honeyed strawberries and whipped cream.
  8. Do that face sticking thing I mentioned. Remember… facial.

Literally melt in your mouth good

Insert Loud Slurping Noises Here

I almost wrote insert loud licking noises here but then it occurred to me that that may have been enough to have my site show up when people are hunting for porn. And while I’m all for increasing my readership, I don’t think I want to do it THAT way ๐Ÿ˜€ but licking noises would have worked too because this refreshing drink is so good you’ll start out slurping and end up licking… the glass, you pervs, the glass! Shame on you! ๐Ÿ˜›

I believe I may have mentioned once or twice or five thousand times that I am a tea fanatic. I am pretty peasant in my tastes too. Give me a nice black tea, maybe some orange pekoe and I’m set. That was my way of saying that yes, I use Lipton tea bags and love them. Tea doesn’t have to cost 20 dollars for an ounce of it to be good. I’m about as far from snooty as you can get about tea. Ok, that’s not true. I won’t drink store brand teas cause I haven’t found a good one yet and I won’t drink decaf tea because it tastes weird. If you’re a coffee drinker who thinks that of decaf coffee (which strangely enough, tastes fine to me) you can understand where I’m coming from there.

I do however love variety teas. I enjoy some herbal teas. Celestial Seasonings makes some wonderful ones. One of my favorites is the most soothing drink ever to have late at night.

 

I love that stuff. But one of my all time favorite teas is Constant Comment tea. It is a black tea that is flavored with orange rind, cinnamon and other spices. It is SO good.

 

So one day a few years back, I wanted something cold. It was approximately 5000 degrees outside (the people of Mercury came here for a tropical vacation) and I was dying of heatstroke. But I still wanted tea. So I took my constant comment tea and made a batch then mixed it with some instant strawberry lemonade. Voila!! (Sorry, don’t know how to make the thingie that makes that word look official) I had a new and so yummy Summertime drink. It’s tart (you can make it sweeter with more drink mix) and refreshing. It’s also good hot in Winter btw. And it couldn’t be any simpler. So give this a try. Make a batch, float some frozen Strawberries in it, get out a good book and sit down and relax while you sip this. Slurping allowed. But I wouldn’t suggest licking out the glass unless you’re alone. You’ll get some weird looks.

Spiced Strawberry Lemonade Constant Comment tea

  • 1 quart water
  • 5 Constant Comment tea bags
  • 1 cup pre-sweetened strawberry lemonade soft drink mix (I use Smuckers Brand)
  1. In a medium bowl, microwave the tea bags and water for five minutes. Let steep at least one hour.
  2. Mix in the strawberry lemonade mix. Let cool. Add cold water and ice to make this equal a half gallon. Garnish with frozen strawberries. Drink. Slurp a lot.

Have I Mentioned That I love Berries And Chocolate?

I love them separately, I love them together. I do so love them on a plane, I would happily chow down on them on a train. I would eat them with a goat (but he better not try to get any) I would eat them near a moat. I will so eat them sam I am. I would eat them in a can. Ok, maybe not that last part but my rhyming skills are rusty.

Ok, now that my Dr. Seuss moment is over, I really do love berries. And chocolate. And berries and chocolate together. I look forward to Spring/Summer every year for one reason only since I hate the heat. I can get berries inexpensively (and corn on the cob but that’s another story.)

I wanted to make something with fruit for today (Memorial Day) but I just wasn’t up to something that took a lot of work or, since I wanted something my two year old (and grandkids) could eat, something that was too messy.

I decided to make a bar cookie with fresh Strawberries. Then the wonderful thought occurred to me to use chocolate too because I mean really, is there anything better than a chocolate covered strawberry? Except maybe chocolate and raspberries.

I ended up with a mildly sweet shortbread style crust with a juicy creamy chocolate covered strawberry center topped by crumbs and more chocolate. While my recipe is fairly different, I want to give a shout out to the lovely hostess ofย  Can You Stay For Dinner for the inspiration.

So if you want a nice bar cookie to take with to a BBQ tonight, this one will work for you. It would also be great as a weeknight (or weekend) dessert for your family or the best idea of all, just as one of those go hide in the closet and whimper pitifully if anyone comes near and tries to take them from you style sweets.

Enjoy!! Have a great Memorial Day!

CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRY BARS

  • CRUST-
  • 1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • FILLING-
  • 1 lb container fresh strawberries, capped and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup strawberry preserves (I actually ended up using a 1/4 cup strawberry and a 1/4 cup Raspberry but you can use what you like)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12 ounce bag chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease a 13×9 inch pan.
  3. Combine flour, butter and powdered sugar until you have pea sized crumbs.
  4. Pat 2 cups of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the greased pan. Set the rest aside.
  5. Bake the crust for ten minutes or until a very light golden brown around the edges.
  6. Meanwhile, gently fold your sliced strawberries together with the preserves.
  7. In a small bowl, mix half the bag of chocolate chips with the sweetened condensed milk and microwave on high in 30 seconds increments, stirring after each one, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  8. Carefully spread the strawberry mixture on top of the hot crust. Then pour the chocolate/milk mix on top of the berries and spread. Sprinkle that with the reserved crumbs and the other half of the bag of chocolate chips.
  9. Bake at 350 for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the center is set.
  10. Let cool, preferably in the fridge for a couple of hours. But just letting it cool and attacking it works too.