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Archive for the ‘Sweets’ Category

Peach Skillet Cake

This is a recipe I like to pull out this time of year.

Although I’m calling it “Peach Cake”, it should really be called “Insert fruit or berry of your choice cake”!  Because most any fruit or berry could be substituted.

In fact, when I did my original post on this I called it “Pluot Skillet Cake” because I had just newly discovered the pluot, cousin to the plum and was all about making stuff with it.

And then the original recipe that I first saw the with the idea for this cake, made it with blackberries.

So seriously, use whatever you like!

Click HERE to see the original posting on this and to get the recipe.

Peach cake

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Blueberry “Glosettes”

I was just surprised to find out that “Glosette” is an exclusive Canadian brand of confectionary!  Who knew!  I thought that Cadbury made them, but apparently Hersey bought them in 1987 from Nabisco so I wasn’t even close!

Basically a glosette is bit of dried fruit or nut dipped in some glossy chocolate.

So over the holidays I had a young visitor who for health reasons is not supposed to eat much sugar.  I didn’t want him to feel left out while everyone else was pounding back the sugar cookies and shortbread, so I tried to make him some healthy items so he would feel like part of the gang.

One thing I came up with was to make my own blueberry glosettes.   It was a bit labour intensive, but worth it in the long run.

I also made up some of these :  CLICK HERE

But for the glosettes I had to first dry out the blueberries!

Out came the trusty Excalibur dehydrator which really hadn’t been getting it’s fair share of use lately.

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Start by thoroughly washing and picking over your blueberries, discarding any dodgy ones.   And then I put them into a clean tea towel and  try to dry them the best you can.

Then onto the dehydrator try and in they go.

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If you don’t have a dehydrator……..and I understand that many people don’t!  You can just put them on a parchment covered baking sheet and pop them in the oven on super low.  Like 200 degrees if you aren’t trying to make them “raw”.

Which ever method you use, leave them until they resemble raisins.

Once they are done, let them cool to room temperature.

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Meanwhile, in a double boiler, melt some good quality dark chocolate.  I used the 70% cacao bars.

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Melt the chocolate until it is just runny enough but still quite viscous.

Toss in your blueberry raisins , coating well, working quickly.

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Now I’m sure at the Hershey factory they have some sort of fancy conveyor belt thing that makes them come out perfectly round, but at home you have to make due.

I tried letting them harden on a fresh sheet of parchment but will admit they came out flat on one side.

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Or I tried putting them on a baking cooling rack with small squares, that seemed to work better, but it was a bit of work getting them off.

Perhaps you might have an even better idea of how to cool them and keep their shape??

Which ever the case, once they hardened they were a delicious, NOT so sugary treat!!

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You can do WHAT with Eggnog?

To me, Eggnog is one of those things like Christmas Fruit cake.

It is kind of hit or miss as to who actually likes it, or admits to liking it.

But inevitably someone always brings some along and there you are with a jug of it in the fridge with one glass worth missing.

And if you are like me and the guilt of the “poor staving children” tape is playing in your head, you have a hard time pouring it down the sink.  Even when you know very well that no one in your house will be drinking it.

To be honest, MY biggest problem with Eggnog?   Well, it that the literal translation from French is “Chicken Milk”.  I don’t know about you, but that just puts me off somehow.

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So, what ELSE can you do with Eggnog?

Well this year I seemed to acquire “that” jug of it early this year.   So I decided to incorporate it into my baking and made some lovely mini cranberry and eggnog muffins for my holiday treats.

But what I was really impressed with was my Eggnog French Toast!

It really adds a whole new depth of flavour and makes the toast really light because it doesn’t seem to soak into the bread as readily and slog it down.

Basically take your favorite French Toast recipe and replace the milk, cream etc with eggnog!  Simple as that!

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I was very pleasantly surprised.

For the most part, you can replace eggnog in any recipe that calls for milk.

But let’s face it, this will make any recipe very rich.

So I would keep it to special occasions.

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Luckily you can only get “chicken milk” a few months of the year!!

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The Gift Everyone Loves

I know that it might seem a bit cliche but the best gifts really do come from the heart!

They don’t have to cost a lot.

So making someone some holiday treats made with love, in my books is always a winner!

This year I was going to be seeing a number of people so I made a bunch of big batches of a bunch of stuff and then personalized a tin or a basket for each person.

I even made a big batch of  mini Energy Balls because no one really had to know that they were actually healthy and that the only sweetness in them was from dates!

I made a big batch of chocolate chip cookies ( any favorite recipe will do ) but added some orange zest and a teaspoon or two of fresh orange juice to jazz em up a little.

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I made sweet and spicy nuts which are also teetering on healthy.

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Then there was the peanut and chocolate “bark”.

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And finally the cranberry and egg nog mini muffins!

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But that’s just what I did.  Any combo of little treats stuffed in a decorative container will bring happiness to those who receive them!

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Happy Holidays!!

Energy balls or holiday treats?

My friend and I had been out on a full day of serious shopping but knew we had a very special dinner to look forward to, so didn’t want to fill up on pesky lunch!

We were at the health food store when she spied some “energy balls” in the display counter and insisted that we get some.

I’ll admit, they were some tasty energy balls and certainly did tide us over till dinner, but it always gets my goat when these places charge so much for something so simple to make.

So here I will reveal the secret to energy balls!

The key ingredient here is dates!  You must have dates and then everything else can just be whatever you have available.

Start with about 10 dried dates, cover them with boiling water and then let sit for about 10 minutes till they soften up, drain and then put into the food processor.

Grind those up first and alone, because those are what everything else will stick to.

Then, in no particular order, into the processor add:

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cut hazel nuts

etc etc etc

You could add pretty much any nut or seed, even hemp seeds, or dried cranberries whatever small dried thing of that nature that you might have.

Whiz those all up until it resembles a fine meal texture.

Then if you like, add chocolate chips or carob or something like that and then give the processor  a few more pulses till they are mixed in but not pulverized like everything else.

Then on to a parchment covered tray………

I always use gloves for this kind of thing because I really hate sticky on my fingers!

Carefully roll the mixture into a ball, the size is your discretion.   It you are going to use them as a serious energy ball for after work outs or that kind of thing, you could make them golf ball size.

If you want them as an afternoon treat with a cup of tea as I tend to use them you will want them smaller “meat ball” size.

And then if you want to use them as a holiday treat to trick your friends and family into eating something healthy……then just make them small homemade truffle type size.

Then once you choose your size……roll each ball and then either leave as is or you can then roll them in some additional delicious thing like dried coconut or like what I have done with these, sesame seeds or just plain coco powder.

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Place them on the tray and then put in the freezer for about half an hour before serving/eating.

Once they have set, you can put them in an airtight container and put them back in the freezer where they will last a good few weeks.  Just give them about 10 minutes out before eating.

Or put them in an airtight container in the fridge to enjoy often.

Or pack them up in decorative tins and give them away!

They are a very versatile little thing…..oh and they DO actually give you a boost of energy!!

Enjoy.

Oh and PS depending on what you put in them, they are vegan and RAW.

Pumpkin Scones

I thought what with Thanksgiving rapidly approaching ( this weekend here in Canada but next month in the US) that I would re-run a favorite seasonal treat that I tried last year.

Pumpkin Scones

I see a version of these in my local grocery store every year and it always bothers me how expensive they are!   And they REALLY aren’t as good as these!

Givem a try and impress your people!

Pumpkin scones

 

Pluot Skillet Cake

I have to be honest with you, I’d never heard of a Pluot until only a few years ago!

While visiting my California cousins, we went to a farmers market where I first spied the strange little speckled plums!   But after trying them, I fell in love.

They have a much milder taste than the plums I am accustomed to and are very enjoyable.

So I had a few in my fruit basket that were getting just a little too ripe to eat comfortably so when I saw this recipe for something else, I thought why not try it with the pluots?

Pluots

I saw this original recipe in EAT Magazine which is a local publication celebrating food on Vancouver Island and other British Columbia locations.   I didn’t have everything that the recipe called for so I will give you the real recipe and then what I used instead.

  • 1 1/2 cups flour      ( I only had whole wheat)
  • 3/4 tsp each baking powder and baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, at room temp
  • 1 tsp finely ground fennel seeds
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 yoke         ( I only used one egg)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk          ( I used 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/4 milk )
  • 1 1/2 cups blackberries      ( I used sliced Pluot instead)
  • 1 tbsp coarse sugar          ( I didn’t have any so didn’t use anything)

Their instructions:

“Whisk flour and baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat  butter with fennel until smooth, then beat in sugar until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Beat in egg and egg yolk, then vanilla.  Beat in half the flour, then all the buttermilk, then remaining flour just until mixed.  Turn into an oiled cast iron skillet and spread batter to edges.  Scatter berries overtop and slightly press into batter.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake in preheated 375 oven until edges are deep golden and centre is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes.”

I more or less followed these instructions, except for the substitutes of course.

The only BIG difference I made is that I didn’t just pre-heat the oven.   Like when you make skillet corn bread, I also pre-heat the skillet so it is smokin hot when you pour in the batter.

So BE CAREFUL!!

Then I topped with sliced Pluot.

I’d say it turned out splendidly!!  Great for dessert or a nice Sunday morning treat!!

Pluot Skillet Cake

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