There are some things in life that can only be called dangerous and dangerous with good reason. Bungee jumping? Dangerous. I understand that whole adrenaline rush idea but jumping off of a 300 mile high surface into mid air connected to only a piece of frayed yarn (yeah yeah I may be exaggerating just a bit here but not much) isn’t my idea of a woohoo good time. Though I admit to a strange hankering to sky dive, which is the exact same thing, only from a moving plane this time. holding a plastic grocery bag over your hand and hoping it expands enough to keep you from becoming part of the scenery.
Race car driving? Dangerous. Again; I can see the appeal. Hell, I see people in my own town driving like bad versions of Mario Andretti and I’ve been known to have a lead foot at times when I am sure I am *ahem* not being watched she says tactfully. But getting into a large chunk of metal with an engine that is about 2 inches in front of you and hoping that you can drive well enough to where said engine doesn’t end up in your lap whilst only being protected by a helmet and a body suit that is NOT made of titanium or something good like that? Yeah. Dangerous.
For me personally? Having a full bag of gummy candy near me? Dangerous. A pint of Haagen Dazs Sea Salt Caramel Gelato sitting in front of me? Dangerous. It will soon be empty and I will be smacking myself upside the head for being a glutton at the same time that I’m sticking my face down in the carton sucking up the last drips. Creme Brulee? Dangerous. Any flavor whatsoever. But this one was particularly so with my love of all things maple. Thank God that it only makes 2 servings. Because if it made more, I would have eaten more than the one I had. Creme Brulee is, contrary to what many think, an extremely easy dessert to make. It tastes like it took you all day but in reality if you can hold a whisk in your hand and separate eggs, you’re good to go. Just don’t eat this thinking it is low calorie. It’s more like enough calorie to keep you alive for say, a week. So as I always say… git to cookin’.
Maple Creme Brulee(For Two)
3 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup maple syrup (the real thing, not Mrs. Butterworth)
1/4 teaspoon maple flavoring (can be found with the vanilla extract in stores)
1/8 teaspoon salt (USE the salt… it brings out flavor)
2 to 3 tablespoons of either maple sugar or demarara sugar
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place 2 8 ounce ramekins or custard cups into an 8 or 9 inch square pan.
In a large measuring cup (makes it easier to pour later), whisk together all the ingredients except the maple sugar. That will be your crackly topping later. Pour the liquid evenly between the two ramekins.
Place the pan with the ramekins into the 300 degree oven then carefully pour very hot water into the pan to where it goes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake at 300 for about 45 minutes or until the top has only a slight jiggle in the very middle when you gently shake it.
Take the ramekins out of the hot water so they don’t keep cooking and set them aside to cool to room temp, then place in the fridge until serving time.
When ready to serve, sprinkle half the sugar onto each creme brulee and either use a kitchen torch or the broiler to caramelize the sugar. if doing it under the broiler, make sure your ramekins are broiler safe. Not all of them are.
I have decided to build an ark. Yep. An ark. Because I am pretty sure it is never ever going to stop raining here in my part of Kentucky. Usually here in mid May, we are hovering around the 80′s and already worrying about drought. This year however, it has rained almost every day for almost 2 weeks and the temp, while pleasant, is most certainly not hovering near the 80′s. Right now it’s 62.
But!!! Being me, I will not be filling my ark with two of every animal. Nope. Noah already did that and I don’t want to be a copycat. There will be animals of course. I’ll have monkeys. I like monkeys. And cats. And platypus for comic uses. But no elephants unless one of you wants to offer poop scooping services. And you’d darn well better believe I’m leaving mosquitoes behind. And centipedes. Those things ick me out. They have got to be the most prehistoric bug ever. If some director wanted to make a killer horror movie, he/she would only need to have a few scenes with centipedes crawling over the tied up heroine. *shivers*
So what will my ark be filled with? Duhhhh man, this is ME. What do YOU think? CANDY!! Twelve (why stop at two) of every kind of chocolate, lemonheads and of course my current craze, fruity gummi candy. I may also throw some cheetos on the ark just cause.
But, if you’re one of those weirdos who wants their fruit with no preservatives and actually *gasps* REAL, try these cheesecake bars. I based them off of the ubiquitous blackberry pie bars that you can find everywhere online, including right here on my blog . The pie bars originally came from The Pastry Queen cookbook. These cheesecake bars are based on that recipe. They use the same crust but the filling is changed up. These are quite yummy. The crust is sweet and buttery and the filling is creamy, tangy and sweet all at the same time. Plus- they have crumbs on top. Butter, fruit, mascarpone and crumbs. Need I say more? They couldn’t be any easier to make so you know the drill… get to cookin’!
Berry Mascarpone Cheesecake Bars
Crust and crumbs-
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cold
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temp
8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 16 ounce bag frozen raspberries, thawed and drained well
1 16 ounce bag frozen blackberries, thawed and drained well
Fresh berries to scatter on top (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13×9 inch pan then line it with parchment paper and butter the paper.
Combine the 3 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar and the salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Set aside 2 cups of the mixture. Press the rest into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Bake crust at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until it is golden brown. Let rest while you prepare the filling.
In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, together the mascarpone, cream cheese and sour cream. Add the sugar and beat just until well combined. Add the eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract and beat well. Mix in the flour. Gently fold in the drained berries.
Spoon the mixture over the prepared crust. Sprinkle evenly with the crumbs that you held back earlier.
Bake at 350 degrees about 55 minutes. You want the top to be firm but still to have a little jiggle in the center third of the bars, just like with any other cheesecake. The crumbly top will be a nice light golden brown. This will firm up as it cools so don’t overcook it.
Let this cool for at LEAST an hour or so before cutting, but it’s preferable to cover it and let chill overnight. Use a sharp serrated knife that you’ve heated under hot water if you want to get clean cuts.
When I was young, my mom was a waitress. Heck, when I grew up, my mom was still a waitress. She was the typical divorced woman of her generation. She was undereducated yet street smart from years of living on the south side of Chicago. That in itself was rather a feat considering she was a child of the depression who grew up in very rural Alabama. She never had a “good” job but always managed to keep us fed. It may have been mayo sandwiches or ketchup sandwiches at times, but we ate. The restaurant she worked at for over 20 years was fairly popular and well known in the Chicago area. It was named the Tropical Hut and was known for it’s Polynesian food, which was a big thing back in the 60′s as people were expanding their foodie taste buds beyond burgers and baked potatoes. Thing is, other than a duck dish they had that I loved (we of course went there for every family event. Why do people do that anyway? Work someplace and then go back then when NOT working? ) the main food I recall from there was their club sandwich. Mom would bring it home cold at night to eat but half the time it ended up going to one or the other of us kids. I loved them.
Point being, when I was young, my main experience with food from other cultures was a club sandwich from a Polynesian restaurant in the Midwest. Go figure. While my taste buds have grown a bit more sophisticated as I’ve aged, I have to confess that I still love all the Americanized versions of Asian foods, from which some of the Polynesian foods can branch off. One that I love that you will never find on the menu of any authentic Chinese restaurant is Sweet & Sour Pork. Deep fried pork thrown together with an overly sweet yet tangy sauce with pineapple in it, then put on rice. Sounds rather gross, ehh? But in reality, it’s soooooo darn yummy. I mean, the words deep fried should tip you off right away. I’ve said before; you could probably deep fry a shoe and it would taste good.
This is the version I’ve been making for years. Authentic? Nope. Just mine. Though like I said, what is authentic with this dish ANYWAY? Back when I first started making it, I honestly didn’t even know there WAS such a thing as sweet and sour pork lol. I just took the sauce recipe from some meatballs I loved, chopped up some pork, battered it, fried it and thought it seemed Asian enough to deserve rice as the base. Isn’t it amazing what we come up with, thinking we are so original only to find out later (or sooner now that you can google a recipe in 3 seconds) that many others have been making it for years?
This is a good version, mine though it may be. Nothing weird, nothing unusual, fairly standard as it goes. But I wanted to post it for those who may be thinking that this is a hard dish to make. It’s not. If you can fry food and combine sauce ingredients, you can make Sweet And Sour Pork.
Sweet And Sour Pork
2 eggs 1 egg yolk
3/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons soy sauce
3 pounds boneless pork loin, cubed into about 1 inch pieces
about 4 cups canola or vegetable oil, heated to 355 degrees
1 20 ounce can pineapple chunks in juice, undrained
1 8 ounce can pineapple chunks in juice, undrained
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2/3 cup vinegar
2/3 cup chopped green pepper
2/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
3 cups cooked rice (I like this served with Jasmine or Basmati but use your favorite)
Start your sauce first- In a large pot, combine the pineapple with it’s juice, brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the green pepper and onions and simmer covered for another five minutes. Set aside and keep warm
Start your oil heating while you prepare the batter, which is easy peasy.
Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk in the eggs, egg yolk, milk and soy sauce.
While your oil heats (large pot), take about half the pork cubes and put them into the batter. Stir around to get them well coated.
When the oil has reached 355 degrees, carefully toss in (make sure your hands are fairly close to the oil… tossing from far up because it seems safer actually isn’t. It will just make the oil splatter all over you.) pieces of the pork. Do about 12 pieces at a time. You don’t want to overcrowd or the oil temp drops and you end up with greasy pork.
Cook for about 4 minutes or until a nice dark golden brown. You’ll probably have to stir them around to get both sides browned.
Using a wide slotted spoon or even better, a metal skimmer, lift out your pork and lay in a paper towel lined bowl.
Keep cooking until it’s all done then you can either toss it with the sauce or, as I prefer to do, serve all the components separately so everyone can fix it the way they like it. Like here, my daughter loves a lot of sauce, I prefer less.
Garnish with sliced green onions and serve with soy sauce
No long winded story and bad jokes tonight. I’m sleepy and on a massive sugar crash from this flan.
Ok, maybe a short story based on the whole sugar high/crash idea.
I remember when my brother, sister and I were kids. Every year we would get our mother a large heart shaped box of Fanny May candy for Valentines day. We used her money to buy it of course and I am fairly sure that any change went for things like Lemonheads and ice cream. Well, each and every year, mom would put the opened box into the fridge. She wasn’t a huge sweets eater (obviously I get my love of them from my sweets binging diabetic father hehe) so would put it there with, I’m sure, the idea that when she wanted a piece (ONE piece) she could get one (again… ONE piece. Who does that!?). Well, every.single.year. mom would invariably come to us with a heart shaped box asking what had happened. Why? Because what she held was a practically empty box bearing only one or two pieces of candy that had a bite out of the side, those pieces being the ones none of us kids liked.
Mom always said she hoped I had kids just like me. I did. I now have a “stash” of candy and junk food in my closet that the kids are supposed to stay out of. HA! yeah, right. The ones living at home go in it all the time and the ones who come and visit head straight to the stash, coming out bearing junk food galore and innocent expressions.
On a side note, taking a drink of Pepsi Throwback after eating a huge serving of flan isn’t advisable. It has absolutely no flavor according to my “sweeted out” taste buds plus I think my pancreas just cried a little, then died.
This is one yummy flan btw. Sweet (oh my, is it sweet), quite coconutty, with that mouth feel texture that everyone loves (man, that sounds vaguely obscene. but then I’m tired and everything is making me titter). The caramel sauce on the top is the perfect topping. I used to make flan just for the topping. I swear I did. I’m weird. This is intensely coconutty so if you’re so so about coconut flavor this may be one you need to pass by.
Creamy Coconut Flan
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can cream of coconut (found with the drink mixers- do NOT sub coconut milk)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut vodka
Toasted coconut for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Pour your sugar into a small saucepot. Heat it over medium high heat until it is melted and a nice golden brown color. Don’t walk away once it starts melting. It doesn’t take long to go from melting to scorched and wasted.
Pour the sugar onto the bottom of 8 one cup ramekins, swirling to coat the bottom of the ramekins with the melted sugar.
Whisk the eggs and egg yolks in a large bowl until foamy. Add in the condensed milk, cream of coconut, cream, vanilla extract and vodka. Whisk until well combined. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into another bowl (preferably one with a pour spout) or large measuring cup.
Pour the flan mixture evenly into the prepared ramekins. Set the ramekins into two deep baking dishes. Set into the oven then carefully add hot water to each pan to go about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. be careful not to slosh any INTO them though.
Bake at 325 degrees until the center is almost set, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Carefully remove from the pan (I used tongs) and set on a wire rack for about an hour, then transfer to the fridge to chill for at least an hour.
Carefully slide a butter knife all around the edges of each flan and invert onto a plate. If it doesn’t come out, place the ramekin into hot water for a minute or so to loosen it up, then try again. Garnish with the toasted coconut if using.
I’ve mentioned a couple of hundred times by now that I’m not one of those people who does things by the seasons. Nope, I’m that weirdo at the grocery store with no coat and flip flops when it’s 20 degrees out. I’m the reason you’re smelling bbq and woodsmoke in January and suddenly craving grilled chicken. I’m the one making heart cookies in August. While at the same time making a nice comforting warming beef stew or chili. I’m that person posting Pumpkin bread in May and having everyone who comes here (all two of you hehe) wonder what the heck I’m on and why I’m so bass ackward.
Yes. I’m weird. This however is why you like me, right?
From what I’ve seen, most people tend to seem to bake scones during the Winter, many times even around the holidays. This may have something to do with everyone being far wiser than I and not turning on their ovens in the middle of a heat wave. I have never claimed wiseness though so it’s all good. I claim only insanity, a warped sense of humor and an unhealthy love for Cheetos and almost any sort of Gummy candy (right now my current addiction is These Brachs Juicy Berries Gummies. Oh my gosh, I love them and talk about lack of wisdom… it’s unwise for a bag of them to be near me or I’ll eat every.single.one.
But… today wasn’t about gummy candy (tonight when I watch Glee however, all bets are off). Today was about scones. This recipe was originally an Ina Garten one but I found it long ago on the now defunct blog “Gingerbread Bagels”. I don’t know the blog closed of where Lindsey, the owner, disappeared to, but I still think of her and hope she’s ok. Originally, this was just dark chocolate and dried cranberries but we all know I’m genetically incapable of doing a recipe the way it was written. So now I have left my mark on this one and love how I changed it
These scones are probably my favorite scones ever. They are flaky and tender… a little bit crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The chocolate and cherries go so well together and the orange zest and almond extract add a lovely flavor to these. Add in the yummy pistachios and the bit of crunch they add and it’s scone Heaven.
You know the drill. Get to baking!
Chocolate, Cherry & Pistachio Scones
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
1 5 ounce bag dried cherries
1/2 cup chopped salted pistachios
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 1/2 sticks COLD unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup COLD heavy cream
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream (may need more or less to make glaze drizzling consistency)
Preheat oven to 375. Line a buttered baking sheet with parchment paper and then butter the paper.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in the cold butter and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until the flour has only small lumps the size of peas left in it. (Alternately, do the same with a hand mixer or pastry blender)
Whisk together the 2 eggs, 1/2 cup cream, vanilla extract and almond extract. Pour slowly into the flour mixture and continue mixing at low speed until dough comes together in a sticky ball from the side of the bowl.
Dump onto a lightly floured board. Pat down into a circle of about 3/4 of an inch thick. Cut into 8 wedges with a lightly floured knife or pizza cutter.
Lay close together but not touching on the baking sheet. They will rise and touch as they bake and you’ll have nice soft sides where they do, crispy ones where they didn’t.
Bake at 375 for about 17 minutes or until they are nicely browned and firm on top. Don’t over bake or you’ll lose that great texture!
When done, let cool for about minute in the pan, then carefully transfer over to a wire rack to finish cooling.
For glaze, simply whisk together all the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle over the cooled scones.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m not much of a drinker. I like my wine a time or two a week and I like some sweet liquors every once in a while; things like Baileys, Amaretto (it’s wonderful in hot tea) and Butterscotch Schnapps. Yep… they actually make a schnapps with that flavor. And add Pinnacle Vodka in there sometimes too. I’m not normally a vodka drinker but the ones they make are actually creamy tasting and if you’ve read my blog for more than five minutes, you know creamy tasting and I are BFF’s from way back.
When I was a kid, I loved those hard yellow butterscotch discs. Still do actually, though my teeth (or lack thereof hehe) can’t handle them anymore. So, years back, when I saw the schnapps with that flavor, I had to try it. And lo and behold, it tastes exactly like one of those candies. The problem is that I DON’T drink enough (laughs cause I’m whining that I don’t drink heavily. Go figure.) so a bottle lasts me approximately as long as it takes to go from birth to puberty. So I like to think of ways to use the stuff up that doesn’t involve me and a headache from syrupy booze.
Today, I was looking through my copy of Dam Good Sweets and I noticed a page I tagged. It was for Chocolate Chip Cookie cake. That alone sounded good and I was going to make it but then boozy inspiration entered my head (that sounds like I was sloshed when I thought of it lol. Y’all know what I meant right?) so I played around with the recipe. Not much… just enough to make it say “Janet Made Me!!” How, you ask? Simple. I added butterscotch chips as well as the chocolate and I added a slug of butterscotch schnapps to the batter. I also omitted the almond extract they called for and used dark brown sugar instead of light.
This worked out nicely. You can definitely taste the butterscotch flavor in the dough. Combined with the two different flavors of chips that are all melty and ooey gooey and the soft chewy cookie with crispity (yes, that too is now a word) edges, this all becomes one decadent treat. I had originally thought about sending it in to my husbands work with him, but no way is that happening now that I’ve tasted it hehe.
Now go bake a cookie!
Chocolate Chip Butterscotch Cookie Cake
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
9 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butterscotch schnapps (you could sub 1/4 teaspoon of butterscotch candy flavoring if you wanted to)
Make your ganache- this will be the glaze later. Put 2/3 of a cup of the chocolate chips in a bowl. Microwave the cream until boiling, then pour over the chocolate chips in the bowl. Let sit for about a minute then stir well to melt the chocolate and make a smooth mixture. Cover and set aside. You can make this hours before hand if you want. Just leave out because it will harden in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a buttered 9 inch cake pan with a round of parchment paper (easiest way is to trace the outline of the with pencil on parchment then cut it out) then butter or spray the paper.
Whisk the flour, salt and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside
In a large bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, vanilla and schnapps. Mix with a hand mixer until well combined and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl, then add the egg.
After the egg is well combined, stir in the flour mixture.. Stir just until well combined, then add the rest of the chocolate chips and the butterscotch chips
Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and puffy and the edges look set. The middle will still look and feel somewhat soft..
Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about an hour. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan. Carefully lay a plate over the top of the pan and invert the cookie, then do that again onto another plate to get it back right side up.
Spoon your cooled ganache into a sandwich bag. Snip off the corner and pipe the ganache onto the top of the cookie. Eat the leftover ganache hehe.
Serve this to hungry kids who will love you (the alcohol has cooked off). Or just do the usual… hide in the closet with it and don’t share. I’m cool with that too.
I know, I know, I just did a citrus pie. What can I say? I’m in a tangy frame of mind. Spring and Summer makes me want sweet tart desserts. Ok, so Fall and Winter make me want sweet tart desserts. So does Christmas. And Groundhog Day. And Thursdays. And…well, you get the point.
I’m not one of those weirdos who says that I would always choose lemon over chocolate, but I do love me a good lemony dessert. I come by that honestly if the love for it can be genetic. One of the only desserts I can recall my mother making was lemon meringue pie. She made an awesome one too. Plus, my dad loved lemon meringue pie. Hmmm, wonder if there is a connection there. maybe my mom learned because my dad liked it? Or maybe my dad loved it because my mom made it? Who knows? I don’t have many memories of the two of them together so I guess it will remain a mystery.
My father would have loved this pie. It’s not lemon meringue but it has all the thing in it he (and I) loved; lemon, creaminess, whipped cream… ok, so my dad would have loved it because it had sugar lol. I’ve said it before- he was a diabetic with an insatiable sweet tooth.
I originally saw this recipe on The Galley Gourmet. Her blog is one of my absolute favorites and one I aspire to be like though I doubt it will ever happen with my lack of photography skills hehe. When I checked out the cookbook she mentioned in her post, I immediately went to Amazon to check it out and ten minutes later, I was 10 bucks poorer. But it’s definitely worth it. The book (Dam Good Sweet) has quite a few tempting recipes in it that I’ll be trying. Being me however, i had to change it up a little. Mind you, it was very very little. All I did was add some vanilla to it because I adore the combo of lemon and vanilla and I made a honeyed whipped cream for the top of it because who can resist the classic pairing of honey and lemon. I was tickled with the results of that idea. The honey whipped cream goes so well with the lemon flavor. I also didn’t freeze it, just chilled it because I’m not big on frozen pies. Anddddd, I used a premade graham cracker crust but I will post the recipe for the crust in the book. Feel free to do it either way. It worked just fine in the premade if you’re feeling as lazy as I was. So go see if you have any sweetened condensed milk and go buy the prettiest lemons you can find. This pie is delicious!
Note- this takes a lot of egg yolks so plan on making some egg white omelets for dinner that night or some meringue cookies the next day. Just store the whites in a covered container. They will last about 3 days.
Lemon Icebox Pie With Honeyed Whipped Cream
Premade graham cracker crust OR
14 whole graham crackers
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups strained lemon juice (will take about 5 to 6 lemons)
8 egg yolks
zest from 2 lemons
Honeyed whipped cream-
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 to 1/3 cup honey (depends on how sweet you want it. I prefer it only mildly sweet because the pie is pretty sweet on it’s own)
To make the crust-
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Break the graham crackers up into small pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor with the sugar and pulse until they are fine crumbs.
Pour in the melted butter and pulse a few times, until the mixture holds together if squeezed.
Transfer the mixture to a 9 inch springform pan and press onto the bottom and about an inch up the sides of the pan. Set aside.
Whisk the condensed milk with the lemon juice. In another bowl, whisk the lemon zest with the egg yolks for about a minute or so. Pour the lemon juice mixture into the egg mixture and mix well.
Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and pour the mixture into the crust. Place into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until the center is jiggly, rather like a soft set custard. Remove from the oven and let cool for an hour on a wire rack. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and either chill or freeze for at least six hours.
When ready to serve, make your cream. In a medium bowl, combine the heavy cream and the honey. Start with the 1/4 cup honey if you’re not sure how sweet you want it. You can taste midway through beating and see if you want more. Beat until soft peaks form. Either cover the pie with the cream or serve on the side. Or just take the whole bowl in a closet and eat it. I won’t judge.
I’ve always had a thing for food culture and food history. One of my prize possessions is the full set of Time Life Foods Of The World cookbooks. The firs time I read one of them was when I lived in Germany and I became immediately hooked. The books are a bit dated now (they were printed in the late 60′s through early 70′s but that is actually part of their charm. But they are a wonderful combination of a cookbook, a travelogue and personal anecdotes from each author. When the internet became a larger part of everyday life, I looked for the books on Ebay and found them. By the time I managed to piece together one set, I had extras and now have almost 2 full sets of the books. I have yet to decide which one of my kids get the books when I die hehe.
One of the things I love about food history is how the things we eat has changed so much and it’s fun to compare. back in the day, people routinely ate things like offal and marrow. I remember my mother, a depression baby, sucking the marrow out of bones and how it grossed me out because I was form a different time period than she. And how many of you have ever had a tomato aspic or jellied beef? Or a Marlborough Pie or Shoofly Pie? Heck, I know many people from the generations younger than myself who have never even had jello or a jello salad. That was such a common place dessert or side dish years back but my theory is that the younger crowd today has far more choices when it comes to sweets so things like jello have fallen out of favor.
One of the things that always sounded interesting to me was Chess Pie. The addition of cornmeal to what would otherwise be a typical custard pie seemed unusual enough to be yummy. But the “normal” chess pie sounded overly sweet, even to me lol. So when I saw a recipe for Key Lime Chess Pie in The Southern Foodie, I knew I wanted to try it. I mean, y’all know me. Turn down something made with lime? Not to mention custardy, aka creamy? yeah right… and I hated Twinkies too.
This turned out pretty good. I was leery at first about the amount of butter used in the crust. I worried it would be greasy. But it seems to have worked, making the crust almost cookie like though a bit less butter would be ideal in my opinion. The filling is nice and tart from the lime but not too tart. The only issue I have is that the directions weren’t very clear on pie pan size. I used a regular 9 inch pan and ended with 1) a very thick crust and 2) too much filling for the pan. So I will say here and repeat in the recipe. Either use a 10 inch deep dish pie pan (hard to find I know), make this in say, a 13×9 inch glass pan or plan on putting some of it into ramekins as I did today.
Key Lime Chess Pie
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
11 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted (the recipe called for 12.5 tablespoons but I think a tad less would be ideal with no chance of excessive greasiness. Make your own call there.)
8 eggs (yes, 8)
4 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk or cream
1/2 cup Key Lime juice (you can find it bottled with the regular lemon and lime juices at the store)
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
juice (and zest; my addition there) of one lime
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
To make the crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees then combine all the crust ingredients and pat into the bottom of a deep dish large pie pan or a 9 inch pan and a couple of ramekins.
Place the pan in the 350 degree oven and bake for 7 minutes, then set aside to cool.
For the filling, In a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, milk (or cream) and key lime juice. Whisk until well combined.
Add the flour, cornmeal, lime juice and zest and butter. Stir to combine.
Pour into the pie shell and bake at 350 until the top is golden brown and the only the very center of the pie is jiggly. The edges and halfway through should look and feel set not liquidy.
I’m not a huge imbiber when it comes to hard alcohol. I joke about it on my facebook page and yes, I do like my wine and every once in a while something harder. But generally speaking, I’m pretty darn boring that way. I did all my drinking in my wild younger days (someday I’ll tell the story of waking up in the backseat of a car, unclothed, with no memory of how I got there. I was…interesting when in my late teens and early 20′s). But even then I tended to drink wine. When I drank the hard stuff, I ended up..well, in situations. Learn from me, grasshoppers.
So I’ve never had a mojito. But the IDEA of them has always intrigued me since I absolutely LOVE lime and enjoy mint too. So the thought of them together sounded yummy. But it meant buying rum and the only time I buy rum is when I buy an airline sized bottle around Christmas to soak my fruitcake in.
So I saw a recipe a few days ago for a Mojito Scone. That sounded interesting but I know I do a lot of that type of baked goods in here and hadn’t done any cookies for a while <insert Cookie Monster voice here saying “COOOOOOKIEEEESSSS!”>. So I thought. Then I thunk some more. Then I answered the door cause the fire department was there saying they had multiple reports of the smell of burning coming from my house.
So I stopped thinking. And that’s when it came to me. These cookies. Mojito flavored. As well as tasting of some toasted coconut just because I love any excuse to throw toasted coconut into things.
These turned out both good and not to my taste, all at once. Will I make them again? Yes, but next time I will double the lime zest, add some lime oil, cut the mint extract in half (it was a bit overpowering for me) and add some coconut extract as well. Then, I think they would be absolutely perfect. But if you prefer the flavor of mint to be more prominent, make them exactly as I will type them out here. Otherwise, try them the way I just suggested up above. that will make the lime and coconut flavors more noticeable. But for an experiment, I was really pleased with these. They are nice and chewy, the toasted coconut was a great addition and were pleasantly buttery. I WILL be making these again
White Chocolate Coconut Mojito Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon rum extract
1 teaspoon mint extract (cut in half if you want mint flavor lighter)
zest and juice from one small lime (remember, double the zest and add some lime oil if you prefer the lime to dominate over the mint)
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut, toasted in a 350 degree oven until light brown (also, about 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract if you want a heavier coconut flavor)
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 11 ounce bag of white chocolate pieces
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and the sugars.
Add the eggs, the extracts and the lime juice and zest. Beat until well blended.
In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture. Mix just until blended. Stir in the white chocolate pieces and the toasted coconut.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and/or line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Spoon or scoop rounded spoonfuls of the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. They should be just barely browned on the edges of the cookies.
Let cool on pan for a minute, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
I remember Easter when I was a kid. Our family wasn’t particularly religious when I was young. Easter consisted of an Easter basket from my mother, a bigger one from my father (they divorced when I was 5) and enough candy and chocolate to feed a small third world country. Then my mother made ham for dinner and that was that. Easter was over and all that was left was some hard boiled eggs that would rot in the fridge and be used later to bury in the back yard with threats of digging them up later and throwing them at people. We never did of course. I like to think that somewhere on the South Side of Chicago, there are pretty eggs buried that I could still go back and throw at my mean people… that being anyone who doesn’t like chocolate, hot tea, liverwurst and reruns of Roseanne or M*AS*H.
When I got a little older (ten I believe), we joined a Lutheran church after one of our many moves. The reason was that we could go to the school there free if we were members of the church. All in all, the three years I went to that school were the best school years I had. I loved going to church on Sunday mornings. I loved the hymns (“He’s Alive”, “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “Christ The Lord Is Risen Today” are still my favorites.), I loved the feeling of family and I loved learning about God. I don’t talk about my faith much on my blog or here but it’s a large part of me.
I also love the food on Easter. I’m not a big ham person normally. But I love Cumberland Gap Hams . They aren’t as salty as most hams and don’t seem as fatty either. I usually make it the typical way, with a brown sugar and pineapple glaze. But years ago I found this recipe for a ham that was different enough to be intriguing and I held on to it wanting to make it someday. Well, someday happened. And this is one awesome ham. Does it dance for you, cook itself and clean your kitchen after you finish carving it? No. Unfortunately. But it’s just different enough with the glaze to make you keep going back to snitch another piece… and another…and another. And it doesn’t get any easier than this. There is no boiling up a glaze, basting every three minutes, blah blah blah. You stick it in a pan, stick cloves in it (I actually changed that up. I’ll explain down there), put it in the oven, brush with the glaze periodically and Bobs your uncle. Ok, maybe Bob won’t be your uncle. Maybe you have an Uncle Harold or an Uncle Bozo or that crazy uncle that no one mentions except in a whisper. But Bob will WANT to be your uncle if you make him this ham. So go… shoo… buy a ham. Make this on Easter. Or tomorrow. Or next week. Or Christmas. Or for Uncle Bobs birthday.
Orange Marmalade/Brown Sugar Ham
1 12 to 17 pound smoked bone in ham
1 18 ounce jar orange marmalade
1 cup Dijon mustard (I actually used whole grain mustard. I like the texture)
1 1/2 cups packs dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon whole cloves (I subbed 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves right in the glaze. Nothin’ worse than accidentally biting into a whole clove.)
Preheat oven to 300. Line a heavy roasting pan with a thick layer of heavy duty foil. Trust me on this. Only thing worse than biting into a whole clove is trying t wash a pan that has a glaze from ham cooked onto it.
Trim any excess fat off of the ham. Or leave it you have people like my son who like it.
Place ham, fat side up, in the prepared pan. Cut shallow marks across the ham in a diamond pattern and insert a clove into every diamond. Or omit that step and just do the ground cloves in the glaze.
Pour 1/2 cup of water into the pan. Roast ham at 300 degrees for 2 hours if a smaller ham and 2 3/4 hours if on the upper part of that weight scale.
Take ham out, brush with some of the glaze and return to oven. Increase oven temp to 350 degrees. Continue cooking for about another hour and a half to two hours or until ham reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees, brushing with the glaze about 3 to 4 more times.
Transfer ham to a serving platter and let rest for about 30 minutes before slicing.