It is a nice, cool, wonderful day in late October, and today I am going to make the annual fruitcakes with my Mom’s old recipe. I always set a target date of 31 October, and try to make them somewhere in that week so they will have time to mellow in the refrigerator.
The recipe is my Mother’s, although she says she barely recognizes the result. I can remember as a little girl in Alaska sitting at the kitchen table and cutting dates with scissors, taking the seeds out and cutting the rest into pieces, and then the prunes. For a long time I was not fond of dates or prunes, LOL! They were STICKY!
Now, dates and prunes come in packets already pitted, and you can even buy date pieces (I don’t) so you don’t have to cut them up. The Cuisinart does a great job, makes all that cutting into small pieces a 10 second task. It takes longer to load and clean the Cuisinart than it takes to chop the dates and prunes.
I watch the stores for the candied cherries and citron, and use a lot. After all, it’s supposed to be a FRUITcake, isn’t it? The first one is ready by Thanksgiving. I make a few larger ones to use during the holidays, and several smaller ones to give as gifts, but only to people who really like fruitcake and won’t use it as a doorstop. They are dense, and heavy as bricks, LOL.
Yesterday, AdventureMan brought home a couple of his friends from the garden club. Wouldn’t you know, I had just poured a bottle of brandy over the raisins and microwaved them to soak overnight, so the raisins in the fruit cake would be plump and tasty. As they all walked in, the house reeked of brandy. I could imagine them wondering if Adventureman’s wife was hitting the bottle that early in the day. Not only was the sun not over the yardarm, but wasn’t even near.
I hope to have them all baked and wrapped and stored by tonight.
UPDATE: Mission accomplished
LLOOLL, saw this in the Dubai Airport and could not resist taking a photo. I would have loved to bring some back for Easter basket surprises on Easter morning, but they are surprisingly bulky, as much fun as they are:
In an e-mail I received this week, a friend had a loooonnnnggggg list of Candy and Cookie recipes for the upcoming Christmas season. Purely out of curiousity, I clicked a few – and wow. These recipes are quick, delicious, and easy.
I don’t think there is a nutritious recipe in the whole website! All the recipes are for sweets! Here is just a partial selection from the Pies department:
I admit it, I am not that vulnerable to candy, but chocolate truffles are my downfall – and I am going to have to try their chocolate truffle recipe!
Here is the website: North Pole Kitchen Cookbook.
You can read the entire article at BBC Health News, by clicking on this blue type.
Trying to cut out all thoughts of your favourite, fattening food may actually make you eat more, claims research. Women who tried to stop thinking about chocolate ate 50% more than those who were encouraged to talk about their cravings.
(Photo courtest Virtual Chocolate.com)
This “rebound” effect could also apply to smokers, say the Hertfordshire University authors in Appetite journal.
Experts at Weight Watchers said a “varied diet” was the best way to lose weight.
Dr James Erskine, who led the project, recruited 134 students who were asked to either suppress all thoughts about chocolate, or talk about how much they liked it.
They were then asked to choose from two brands of chocolate, believing that it was this choice that was being recorded by the researchers.
However, the quantity they ate was recorded instead.
Women who had tried to suppress their cravings ate on average eight chocolates, while those who had talked freely about it ate five.
Men did not show the same effect, with the group told to talk about the snack eating more.
The article continues HERE.
Nanaimo Bars – a Pacific Northwest Speciality
Makes about 25 small squares
Mom sent me several recipes for these, but this is the one that works – except In Florida, Doha, Kuwait, etc where the climate is hot.These are truly a Pacific Northwest specialty; they melt too easily in heat and humidity! On a cool day – or in a seriously air conditioned house – you can make these incredibly delicious treats.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
5 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 egg, beaten
1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 Tablespoons whipping cream
2 Tablespoons vanilla-custard powder (pudding)
2 cups powdered sugar
4 squares (1 oz. each) semisweet chocolate
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1. For bottom layer, melt butter, granulated sugar and cocoa powder together in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Add the egg and stir constantly until thickened, about 2 – 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir into graham cracker crumbs, coconut and almonds. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 x 8 inch pan.
2. For middle layer, cream butter, whipping cream, vanilla custard powder and powdered sugar together. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.
3. For top layer, melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool. When cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator about 15 minutes, then cut into bars. (These bars can be made 3 – 4 days in advance and kept covered and refrigerated.)
Cream Puffs got me through a lot of guest dinners. They look so amazing, they taste so good, and they are really easy to make. So give it a try, and have fun.
The secret is taking the top off while they are still hot, and pulling out the filiments of excess dough so it doesn’t steam the puff from within and wilt it. They are so easy, we even taught them to kids in a summer fun program when we lived in Tunisia. They loved putting the whipped cream in (I think more got in the kids than in the creme puffs)
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
Heat oven to 400°F/ 200°C. Heat water and butter to strong rolling boil. Stir in flour, stir vigorously over low heat about one minute or until mixture forms a ball. (You’ll know it when you see it.)
Remove from heat, beat in eggs, all at one time, continue beating and beating until smooth. Drop dough by Tablespoons 3” apart onto UNGREASED baking sheet. Bake 35 – 40 minutes or until puffed and golden. Cool away from drafts. Cut off tops, pull out filaments of dough inside.
When ready to serve, fill with Creme Chantilly, put the top on, and drizzle chocolate syrup over top and down the sides. Gorgeous!
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sifted powdered (sometimes called confectioners) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Whip the whipping cream until just stiff, quickly fold in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
3 Tablespoons Hershey’s cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tablespoon(s) HOT water
Mix together cocoa powder and butter, and melt over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 Tablespoon hot water. Beat until smooth. Only add more hot water if it is too thick; needs to be “drizzle-able”.
Profiteroles are very small cream puffs, just smaller balls, same dough, cooked, covered with the same chocolate syrup. Instead of serving one cream puff, you serve maybe six small profiteroles.
Perfect for beating the summer heat! This ice cream is so rich, so creamy, and so chocolat-ey that it makes you forget your worries.
French Chocolate Ice Cream
This takes a little time – and an ice cream churn – but oh, is it so worth it.
2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring
2 cups milk
6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 squares unsweetened chocolate
3 cups heavy cream
Heat milk in small saucepan just until bubbles begin to appear around edge of pan.
Beat egg yolks in large bowl with sugar, cornstarch and salt.
Slowly add hot milk into egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly.
Return all to saucepan and heat slowly , stirring constantly, over medium heat until mixture thickens and just comes to a boil.
Remove from heat and add two teaspoons vanilla and chocolate squares, and continue stirring until the chocolate is melted.
Stir in cream.
Strain into a four quart freezer can of ice cream maker.
Freeze according to manufacturers directions. Serve immediately, or spoon into freezer container and place in freezer. This won’t last long – it is SO good!
One time I was making this ice cream for guests. My small son, who loved this ice cream, kept asking if it was cool enough to churn yet. I told him one thing: Don’t touch the ice cream container.
He couldn’t help it. He had to see if it was cool enough to churn. Unfortunately, the refrigerator-slick canister slid through his hands, and as he struggled to catch it, he somehow hit it up, and put some spin on it. As I prepared to welcome guests, the gooey, thick, chocolate mixture twirled up, up and out of the canister, spinning ALL OVER THE KITCHEN and all over my small son.
He looked so horrified as he stood there, rooted to the floor, covered by his chocolaty guilt. He looked at me with terror in his eyes. He had disobeyed, and he feared the consequences.
I struggled really really hard not to laugh, and I looked at him very crossly and told him he had to stand there, covered with chocolate, until I had cleaned up the rest of the mess. Then I cleaned him up, and started another batch of the mixture. Just in time, I popped him into the bathtub as the guests arrived. The mixture was cool enough by the time I served dinner, and churned as we ate. It was ready just in time for dessert.
To this day, I think of my son with a big grin every time I see this recipe.
A mouthful of dark chocolate each day could reduce blood pressure, cutting the risk of stroke, research suggests.
Forty-four people with raised blood pressure were put into two groups. One ate six grams of dark chocolate daily, the other the same amount of white.
The first group saw blood pressure fall slightly, but the others saw no change, researchers wrote in the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA).
The British Heart Foundation warned chocolate was a “treat not treatment”.
You can read the rest of the article at the BBC Health News here. Heh heh heh – sounds like a ‘treatment’ to me!