Joy-full madeleines.

Joy-full madeleines; almond madeleine cookies with chocolate coating and toasted coconut.

We all know that candy bar- the one with coconut and almonds surrounded in chocolate. Right? You totally know what I’m talking about. It’s one of my favorites. Definitely in the top 10, anyway, since my absolute favorites are anything with caramel.

Joy-full madeleines; almond madeleine cookies with chocolate coating and toasted coconut.

I made these with very finely chopped almonds, almond extract, toasted coconut and melted semi-sweet chocolate chips. I should probably also say I made these after shoveling for about an hour and a half, so at that point I was ready to throw everything in my cabinet into some kind of baked goods.

The restraint I showed is amazing.

Continue reading

PSST... SHARE THIS:
Facebook Twitter Email

Fluffy bourbon vanilla marshmallows.

Bourbon vanilla marshmallows.

Ohhhh, I have been wicked sick. Since December 28th or so, I’ve been a mess. I was on TWO different antibiotics, my head and chest were full of gunk and I could barely taste anything. I went to the doctor twice, got a chest X-Ray, and was given Hycodan syrup to sleep (only after practically begging for it because after 5 days with a total of just 4 hours sleep I was losing my mind). It was bad. To be fair, this was my own fault. Jay was sick in early December, and so was my mom, and then I got sick and just wrote it off as being “just a cold” so I didn’t do much about it. I was told to go to the doctor about 4 or 5 times. I was told it would get worse. I didn’t listen. 

I always do that. Remember when I was in the hospital that time? Yeah.

So it festered and hung around and got worse… and voila! Ended up going to the doctor twice in 5 days. Thankfully, I made it through the holidays. But on New Years Eve I was in a fitful, sweaty sleep on a double dose of NyQuil by 10:30 p.m. I don’t recommend a double dose of NyQuil, by the way. I was just desperate. I’m better now, but a bit of a cough is still lingering, and my head is still filled with gunk. Anyway. That’s the only excuse I have for my semi-absence. Usually, I have some posts lined up, but I was so sick I couldn’t face baking or even standing up for any period of time. Did you know most bloggers (myself included) set up their blogs to post automatically? Yep. Most of my posts are set up a week or so in advance. However, because I was sick, I fell behind. So here we are.

Bourbon vanilla marshmallows.

Coincidentally, though, this post is about marshmallows. And marshmallows tie in to being sick in an interesting way (thanks Wikipedia):

Marshmallow probably came first into being as a medicinal substance, since the mucilaginous extracts come from the root of the marshmallow plant, Althaea officinalis, which were used as a remedy for sore throats. Concoctions of other parts of the marshmallow plant had medical purposes as well.[2] The root has been used since Egyptian antiquity in a honey-sweetened confection useful in the treatment of sore throat.[1] The later French version of the recipe, called pâte de guimauve (or “guimauve” for short), included an egg white meringue and was often flavored with rose water.

The use of marshmallow to make sweets dates back to ancient Egypt, where the recipe called for extracting sap from the plant and mixing it with nuts and honey. Another pre-modern recipe uses the pith of the marshmallow plant, rather than the sap. The stem was peeled back to reveal the soft and spongy pith, which was boiled in sugar syrup and dried to produce a soft, chewy confection.[2] The marshmallow plant’s sap was also used by gladiatorsin ancient Rome. The sap was rubbed on the body in preparation for the fight.

So really, it’s appropriate that I am sitting here, after recovering from being sick, writing about marshmallows. Especially ones that include another cold/flu remedy… bourbon.

Bourbon vanilla marshmallows.

Continue reading

PSST... SHARE THIS:
Facebook Twitter Email

The key to key lime marmalade.

Marmalade is probably the quintessential winter canning item. Everyone who “cans” or “preserves” is getting their hands on amazing winter citrus fruit: blood oranges, lemons, limes, oranges of all kinds, Meyer lemons, etc. So what else is there to make but marmalade? Or curd. But curd isn’t as … let’s say, universal, as marmalade.

Key lime marmalade.

Actually, marmalade isn’t very universal. Unless you live in Great Britain or Ireland, it’s kind of polarizing. You either love it or despise it. You either “get it” or you don’t. Curd is probably way more accepted than marmalade. You can use curd as the filling for a tart and no one would ever know it was originally curd.

In my family, there are both these kinds of marmalade people. I don’t much like marmalade myself. I avoid it. My nana liked it, but on the tart side – and not with a lot of rind or peel. My mom likes it sweeter with a lot of peel for texture. My dad doesn’t like it at all. Once you get to love it, you get to understand it. Or once you start making it, in my case. Then you can see how to use it in more ways than just on toast or English muffins. Like for example, melted slightly on pound cake, as a glaze for pork or chicken, swirled into a vodka cocktail, etc.

Key lime marmalade.

I’ve made marmalade a bunch of times and each time I’ve had a different experience. Most of the time I’ve used my basic marmalade formula. Sometimes it’s taken a few days for it to “set”, other times it’s set so firmly right away that in order to use it it needed to be softened (thanks to the insanely pectin-y lemons I used). I’ve made some marmalade that never fully set too, and was always a little liquid-ish. Some of them I’ve re-cooked and processed, others I’ve just marketed as “citrus syrup- great on ice cream.” But regardless- it’s always been fairly simple. It’s just a loooooong process.

This time, I made key lime marmalade. Key limes are tiny little adorable -and sweet (yet more acidic too, if that makes sense)- limes that are most commonly used in pies. I have never made lime marmalade before, so that’s what you see here. But for your purposes, any citrus fruit will do.

Continue reading

PSST... SHARE THIS:
Facebook Twitter Email

Earl Grey caramel.

(This was originally written for a contributor post on eighteen25, go take a look and see! And look for more posts by me over there soon.)

 

Earl Grey caramel.

Don’t hate me. This wasn’t my idea. I mean, it was. But I first saw it on Saveur, so blame them. However, their version was a lavender Earl Grey caramel, which sounds lovely. It really does. It just doesn’t appeal to me, personally.

I don’t like lavender much. Especially not on my food.

I LOVE caramel, though. LOVE it. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. And I also love Earl Grey tea! So I knew this would be a home run for me. I just tweaked it a bit to suit my tastes and voila. A jar of delicious, soft, Earl Grey caramel. Perfect over ice cream. Delightful with pound cake.

Earl Grey caramel.

I’m always reminded of my Nana when I make anything involving tea. She would’ve loved this, too.

So many people are afraid of trying to make caramel. They think of boiling sugar and candy thermometers and “hard crack” and “soft ball” stages and get terrified. No need. It isn’t all that hard and you don’t need a thermometer. I promise. Just common sense. Its HOT sugar. Don’t touch it. There. End of story.

Earl Grey caramel.

Continue reading

PSST... SHARE THIS:
Facebook Twitter Email

2016.

Brown eggs. Eggs symbolize new life. New life, new year.

Well, it’s a new year! Happy 2016. I hope you’re all enjoying the new year so far. And if not, don’t worry- there’s more than 11 1/2 months left to make it better.

I don’t do resolutions. But being that I sit here, sick with a deep chest infection (hence the absence of posts recently), I have to say seriously that one of the things I have to start doing in ’16 is take my health seriously. After the mess of last year, I’ve conscientiously went and had my physicals and blood work done almost every 6 weeks for my thyroid, but I tend to ignore “small” symptoms of cold/flu and let it go too long. I have to stop doing that.

But otherwise, I don’t do that new year, new me kind of thing. However, I do have a few things blog-related/food related that I hope to continue and keep up with.

  • Posting at least once a week. Sometimes life gets hectic. Especially around the holidays, or if I get sick. But I promise I won’t ever leave like I did last year without at least explaining why- before, not after. I love this as much as anyone, it’s my baby. I want to keep doing it! However, I have to be realistic. Life will probably only get busier. Once a week minimum sounds perfectly doable, and I’ll probably do far more than that.
  • Try new things. I used to be involved in the Daring Baker’s Challenge and it introduced me to so many new things. I got too busy to keep doing it, but I think I should keep trying to create new recipes. Or “new to me” recipes. Cupcakes are great and I love them, and they aren’t going anywhere. Neither are cookies or pickles or jams. But I remember making lavash crackers and an opera cake… I need to get back there again.
  • Keep sharing recipes that mean something. On the other hand, I have a bunch of recipes I want to share that are either family recipes or ones that mean something to us. That won’t- or shouldn’t- stop.

Is there anything you want me to do in 2016? A certain kind of recipe, certain foods, maybe another Q&A? Let me know.

I’ll see you very soon with a new(ish) recipe.

PSST... SHARE THIS:
Facebook Twitter Email

Cranberry “sangria”- alcohol optional.

Nana & gramps, Christmas.

Did you all have a wonderful holiday? We definitely did. I’m a lucky girl, I’ll say that. I have my family, my friends, my husband, my pets. I’m healthy, happy. I have a beautiful home. I’m lucky! I do miss my family who isn’t with us anymore. But life goes on, no? And I’m still here. And the holidays were beautiful.

Speaking of holidays, do you still have guests stopping by? Do you have guests who still haven’t left yet? Or maybe you’re just looking for something fun to drink on your Christmas vacation. I hear you. I have just the thing.

Cranberry sangria with orange & lemon slices, cranberries and cinnamon. Alcohol optional.

Cranberry “sangria.” It’s really just cranberry juice- or apple cranberry, or cherry cranberry, or whatever you like. Then you just add sliced fruits like citrus (oranges, lemons and limes work) and apples, and cranberries. Add a cinnamon stick or two and you’re good to go!

You don’t have to add anything else, but if you want to you can add sparkling water or seltzer to make it a little bit bubbly.

Cranberry sangria with orange & lemon slices, cranberries and cinnamon. Alcohol optional.

There’s no alcohol necessary, either… however…

Should you want to add some, you totally can. I suggest vodka, spiced rum, red wine, or bourbon/whiskey. Be sure to add it in small increments, maybe a shot at a time, and taste frequently- particularly when it comes to the hard liquors. The red wine is something you can basically add a pretty decent amount of without much guesswork.

This is “sangria” after all. But I’d still taste as I went to be sure.

Cranberry sangria with orange & lemon slices, cranberries and cinnamon. Alcohol optional.

The best thing is that if you have kids, you don’t have to add any alcohol at all, and this way they’ll feel included in the “drinking.” I know when I was small, every time my parents or my nana had a cocktail or a fancy drink, I was a little jealous. That makes it especially great for New Year’s Eve!

Some ideas (you can mix and match any of these you want!):

  • cranberry juice
  • cran-apple juice
  • pomegranate juuce
  • cherry juice
  • sparkling water
  • seltzer
  • red wine
  • sliced oranges
  • sliced lemons
  • sliced limes
  • cranberries
  • cherries
  • spiced rum
  • vodka
  • bourbon/whiskey

The only limit is your imagination… or taste buds.

PSST... SHARE THIS:
Facebook Twitter Email

Merry Merry.

Vintage SHINYBRITE Christmas greetings ornament.

It being the holidays, I thought it was only appropriate for me to reach out to all of you who make this blog worthwhile. Thank you for being a part of my life, and my blog, and thank you all for being so kind to me over the past year (and of course, long before that- but this past year I really needed it).

So much has happened in the past year. From me being so sick to getting married. And you’ve all been so supportive and sweet! While 2014 ended on a bad note and 2015 started out rough, it got better, and its ending on a great note. But I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings.

No matter what holidays you celebrate or don’t, I wish you all the best in the upcoming year, and I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. Merry merry.

PSST... SHARE THIS:
Facebook Twitter Email