Category Archives: Dessert

Stuffed dates

So about not being dead: I’ve been running a farmers’ market for a second summer this year and it has been a lot of fun. I get to spend the day outside with fun people around food, hard-knock life right? One of the many benefits of being around such abundance is that it is  inspirational in the kitchen! I have recently become obsessed with walnut butter from one of my great vendors, Fastachi. When I mentioned to one of the owners that I was eating the walnut butter drizzled with this amazing local honey* she suggested that I stuff medjool dates with the walnut butter and suddenly my world had changed. Naturally I had to use the honey since I am putting it on practically everything right now and it was a  match made in heaven! With three ingredients this treat could not be any easier.

What you will need:

  • Dates (I used pitted this time but they seemed a bit dry to me)
  • Walnut butter
  • Sweet honey

Dates1

If needed pit the dates by slicing them down one side, this will allow you to open the date for stuffing. Otherwise, ‘butterfly’ the dates and set aside for stuffing. Add as much walnut butter as you like, I was using a bit less than a teaspoon but some larger dates may call for more you just want to be able to roll it back up without spilling everywhere.

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The walnut butter is much drier than peanut butter but pliable and holds its shape nicely with a little pressure which will allow you to roll them back up into date shape. Once you have them in the desired shape drizzle honey over them and try not to dive head first in to the plate.

ios date plate

It’s as simple as that! I’ve thought about a little cinnamon or cardamom and a friend suggested chipotle but so far I haven’t been able to move past the simple deliciousness of these three ingredients. It’s really important that you use a sweet, runny honey. I tried with a chewier Greek honey and it was good but not as bright tasting. YMMV.

Here’s a close up of one of these babies.

date with honey

Naturally I would not normally spatter honey all over the plate, how wasteful! But trust me that not a drop went to waste. I was home alone slash have no shame when it comes to honey so all was consumed. Let me know in the comments if you come up with any fun variations and I will promise to try to update more with my farmers’ market finds (I am already working on pistachio stuffed figs!).

*So local it’s bottled a few doors down from a friend’s house in Cambridgeport.

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Chocolate Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Frosting

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At the grocery store this weekend and saw unsweetened baking chocolate thinking “there was something I was going to make with that”. Upon returning home I couldn’t for the life of me remember what that was so off to the cookbooks I went. I started with the most natural culprit, Flour and luckily that was the one. I decided that I wanted chocolate with peppermint frosting rather than the ‘magic’ stuff yet sadly my extract had…uh vanished and I was not about to walk back to the store so what else? Peanut butter!

For the cupcakes:

  • 2 Ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped.
  • 1/4 Cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (I had Hershey’s and so it was)
  • 1 Cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Stick butter
  • 1/3 Cup water
  • 1/2 Cup milk (I had half and half…)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Extra egg yolk
  • 1/2 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Cup flour
  • 1 Tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • (optional) 1/2 cup peanut butter chips

In a large heat-proof bowl combine chocolate and cocoa. In a small saucepan heat the sugar, butter, and water, stirring occasionally until the butter melts and the sugar has disolved. Pour this mixture over the chocolate and cocoa, whisk until well combined and smooth.

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Let this cool for a bit then whisk in the egg and yolk, milk, and extract until well combined.

In a bowl stir the dry ingredients together, add these to the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth.

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Let the batter sit for an hour or cover and refrigerate for up to three days. While the batter is resting line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners and heat the over to 350. Divide the batter amongst the cups and if you’re feeling randy top with peanut butter chips.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the tops spring back when pressed with a finger. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack.

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For the frosting I turned to my dear friend Ina.

You will need:

  • 1 Cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 Cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 Tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 Cup heavy cream (I used half and half again)

Add everything to the bowl of a mixer. Start on LOW (or pay the price) only adding speed once the powdered sugar is absorbed in to the rest of the ingredients. Whip on high until frosting is fluffy, scraping the bowl as needed.

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Add a generous amount of frosting to the top of each, pretty them up as you see fit. I felt that this whole scenario called for chips and so it was done.

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I’m not normally a cupcake person. It’s usually crappy, dry, cake hidden under a mound of sickly sweet frosting; these babies are dangerous though. I made mine from my copy of the book but the recipe is also here. Enjoy!

Compost Cookies

I love cookies and almost none more so than Compost Cookies. These cookies are basically whatever you want them to be. I adapted from this recipe, which is a from the original chef herself Christina Tosi! It’s so versatile and a great starting point for incorporating whatever you have lying around. This is what I started with:

I decided to ditch the Heath in favor of candy coated sunflower seeds though which was a much better  choice. The best thing about these cookies is that they can be whatever you want them to be. A friend was telling me today that he made his with Cap’n Crunch and goldfish crackers! Nearly the whole cupboard is at your disposal really. I also added Tamarisk honey is which I picked up at Follow the Honey in Harvard Square. It’s unlike any honey I’ve ever tasted, smoky, malty, intense so good! I’ve also made these without the honey and they are equally delicious.

The mise for these cookies is pretty intense but well worth it. Make sure to clear plenty of space for everything, there’s a lot of it but it all comes together pretty quick when mixing. Makes 15-20 cookies

  • 2 Sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 2/3 Cup packed, light brown sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs corn syrup
  • 1/2 Tbs Tamarisk honey (optional)
  • 1 Tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 Cups flour
  • 1/4 Tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 Tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 Cup chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 Cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 Cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 Cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 Cup candy-coated sunflower seeds
  • 2 1/2 Tsp ground coffee
  • 2 Cups kettle style potato chips
  • 1 Cup mini pretzels, plus more for topping

In a bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of a mixer combine the butter, sugars, honey, and corn syrup. Cream together 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the vanilla and egg and beat another 7-8 minutes until fluffy. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add flour mixture. Mix just until everything comes together. Scrape down the bowl and get ready to add the rest. Still on low speed add coffee, chocolate and butterscotch chips, coconut, sunflower seeds, and oats. Mix just until incorporated. Now add your potato chips and pretzels. I let the mixer go one rotation with these and turn it off, you want large pieces, not dust.

Using a cookie scoop or 1/3 cup measure drop dough on a parchment lined sheet pan. Pat the dough down and if wanted, fancy up the tops a bit with a little of whatever is inside. Why not, right? I would stay away from the potato chips though, they might burn.

Wrap the pan and chill in the fridge overnight. You can get away with an hour or two when needed but if you have the time overnight is best .

To bake heat the oven to 375.

Place the dough on lined pans 4 inches apart from each other. Bake for 18 minutes until edges are lightly browned. The cookies should still look slightly undercooked. Cool cookies completely on the sheets before storing.

The baked cookies freeze beautifully just wrap them well in plastic wrap and then foil and they will be good for a month at least I can’t speak to anything longer than that, I was surprised they lasted that long!

If you make these please let me know what you come up with.

Coming this weekend: compost cookies.

A crap-ton of ingredients and intense mise = the most amazing cookies.

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Stay tuned!

Hibiscus Lime Popsicles

It’s been so incredibly hot lately that my time in the kitchen has been a mostly unpleasant experience. I did however make these little beauties that made suffering through the high humidity days  a little bit easier. Inspired by the hibiscus tea I get from Clover I added a little spice to the mix and of course lime juice because, why not? They take a little while but are well worth it.

Makes 12 popsicles:

  • 5 Cups water
  • 2 Cups sugar
  • 1/2 Cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 2 Star anise pods
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1/2 Cup fresh lime juice

Bring 4 cups of water and the sugar to boil in a large pot. Once the sugar has disolved and the syrup has come to a boil add your hibiscus, star anise, and cinnamon. Stir well.

Turn the heat off, cover the pot and leave to steep from 30 minutes to an hour depending on how intense you want the flavor and color to be.  Strain the flowers and spices out leaving a shiny purple mass both creepy and beautiful.

To the remaining syrup add your lime juice and the remaining cup of water. Stir well and allow the mix to chill in the fridge for about an hour. Once chilled, stir in lime zest, pour in to popsicle molds and freeze. Preferably overnight but at least three hours.

Unmold and enjoy!

This made enough for two batches in the molds I have. This got me thinking about variety. they would be lovely with fruit frozen inside. Blueberries maybe? Booze perhaps? Possibilities are endless.

Summer cocktailing: Watermelon edition.

I bought watermelon in order to make gazpacho (stay tuned) and the thing was a beast. After harvesting over three pounds of melon I was still left with more than half! What to do, what to do?

Well, booze of course. So, I got to slicing and soaking in St. Germaine, Vodka, and for a virgin option; lime juice.

It’s as if the St. Germaine was made for watermelon; the floral notes marry the fruit so well. The vodka made the fruit in to a potent alcohol delivery vehicle.

You will need:

  • Watermelon
  • Vodka
  • St. Germaine
  • Popsicle sticks -if you want frozen treats
  • Lime juice -if you want a virgin option

Cut your watermelon in to pop sized slices if you plan to freeze them. Otherwise go for bite-sized pieces. Place in shallow dishes or zip-top bags and top with alcohol or juice. Refrigerate over night. After soaking the fruit is ready to enjoy. My roommate and I ate the entire tub of St. Germaine fruit and washed down the soaking liquor not too soon after. One word: amazing.

To make pops, insert sticks in to the wide end of your watermelon slices. Place the pops on a lined tray and freeze for at least four hours, preferably overnight.

The St. Germaine pops were perfect and felt like popsicles, the vodka pops never quite froze solid but they were refreshing and delicious.

With the leftover watermelon vodka I made a cocktail with equal parts St. Germaine (yes, more!) and watermelon vodka. I chopped one of the vodka pops in to ‘cubes’ to keep things cool. I also added a few pieces of vodka soaked melon.

I made them small which turned out to be a great thing because the vodka soaked watermelon was incredibly strong making one drink more than enough.

Cheers!

These are not so much recipes as a nudge in the right direction. I adapted the above from this which sounds delicious. Another virgin idea that sounds great is rose water or orange blossom water. Yum!

I have one final watermelon post for you in the works.

Blueberry Ice Cream

Fun fact: I used to hate blueberries. Oddly, I like blueberry flavored things but blueberries always tasted rather bland to me until I met fresh picked blueberries. Times have changed and now I get super excited when blueberry season rolls around.

Instagram-y market pic

Inspired by these delicious blueberry lime muffins I get from Hi Rise I decided to take the two flavors and make something to battle the heat…ice cream! This takes a while but it’s well worth it. Yield: 2 quarts

  • 4 Pints blueberries
  • 3 C sugar
  • 2 C Heavy cream
  • 2 C Half & Half
  • 1/4 + 1 Tbs Lime juice
  • Zest from 3 limes
  • 2 Tbs Vodka

First things first, if you need to freeze your ice cream maker get on it. Mine needs to freeze for at least 24 hours, I got for 48 to be safe but check your instruction manual. Pick over the blueberries, discarding any nasties and removing and rouge stems. Wash them well, dry, and divide in to two 4-Cup portions.

Into a medium saucepan toss 4 Cups berries, 2 Cups sugar, and 2 Tbs lime juice. Bring to a boil over medium/low heat. Watch the mixture carefully, if this boils over you’re in for a nasty, stain filled, clean-up. Reduce heat and simmer until the berries are broken down and the mixture is deep purple.

Once the berries have broken down remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the pulp. Add your cream and half & half and stir well. It’s lovely and marbled until mixed:

Once combined place in to an airtight container and place in the fridge for 24 hours. Yeah, I know 😦

Take the remaining berries and pick through them again. You’re not straining them this time so it’s doubly important that there are no stems! Set 1/2 C aside and divide the remaining berries in half, placing one half along with 1 C sugar and 2 tbs lime juice in a sauce pan. Allow these to come to a boil over medium/low heat and cook until the berries start to break down. At that point add the second half of your berries and cook them just to the point of breaking apart, about 5 minutes. You want your sauce to remain a bit chunky. Chunky = delicious. Once done allow to cool well then add your lime zest and vodka.

Toss the final 1/2 C of berries in the remaining tablespoon of lime juice. Place in a single layer in a freezer safe container and freeze until it’s time to assemble the ice cream.

To assemble:

Follow your machine’s directions, mine are simple turn on, add ingredients, wait.

In about 30 minutes the mixture should thicken nicely. When it appears to be five minutes or so away from where you want it drop several spoonfuls of the jelly mixture in to create a sort of swirl in the ice cream, reserving the rest for topping. Follow with your frozen berries.

Once complete, place the ice cream in to air tight containers and freeze for at least three hours or however long you can handle. The mixture will darken as it freezes…don’t be afraid.

Remove from freezer and serve:

And of course, toppings never hurt:

Toasted almonds wouldn’t be bad either 🙂

P.S. you’re welcome.