Tag 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.

photo

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.

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!

Summer snacking: Watermelon with lime and mint

This is so simple it doesn’t need a lot of fanfare but I present to you a snack that will improve any 90+ degree afternoon. Serves two.

  • 3 Cups watermelon flesh
  • Juice of one lime 
  • Handful of mint


Cut watermelon in to bite-size pieces and set aside. Roll mint leaves up like a cigar and cut with a sharp knife, leaving nice minty ribbons. Toss mint, watermelon, and juice together. You can eat this right away or if you have patience let it chill in the fridge for a bit enjoy a cool refreshing treat.

Stay cool!

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.