Friday, September 30, 2016

Hot Cocoa: Adjusting to Small Town Living

Hi everyone, 
    So much can happen in a little time. You live in one part of the country for so long then you move to another part. At the beginning of Spring we moved from NY. The convenience of instant is totally removed in our small town. I miss it, as well as my daughters that still live in the Big Apple. There are no convenience stores here at least not on every corner or right outside my door. Thankfully I'm still in the states and not too far into the stix. The library doesn't allow Face Book, nor do they have WiFi. Shocking? So when my WiFi is out I have a bit of a hike. The local grocery store and DD has WiFi and is about two mile walk from our house. No biggy on a clear day. NYer's walk...a lot! It's good to know I am self reliant enough to make our own favorites on a rainy day like today. I'm re-posting an oldie but a goodie, while we get adjusted. Our Hot Cocoa recipe, which we used for hot chocolate, to warm us up on days like today. I like to spike mine with a shot of espresso to get me moving and chase all the clouds away.
 Keep warm.

Hot Cocoa (syrup version) serves 4 cups

1/4 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. sugar
1 dash of salt
1/3 c. water
4 c. milk (optional)
3/4 tsp. vanilla(optional)
  1. Mix Cocoa, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan.
  2. Stir/Whisk in water on medium heat until boiling
  3. Let the mix simmer like that for 2 min., whisking a bit.
  4. Remove syrup from the heat and slowly stir in the milk of choice. I love cocoa with almond or coconut milk. Then return to a low heat until the milk is steaming hot, but don't boil. 
  5. Once the milk is hot,  you can add in the individual Ginger tea crystals or 2 slithers of ginger. (see photo below).
  6. Stir in Vanilla,  Hot cocoa!
  7.   The sugar mixed in with the cocoa is enough for me, but  the sweetness can be adjusted  within individual cups. The less sugar the better the cocoa is for you...
"In the this photo from left/clockwise, tea ginger granules, regular cocoa, ginger slices(skin on)  and dark cocoa.

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Marzipan Recipe

Do you know what Marzipan is? I've wondered what the difference of almond paste and marzipan are. After making both and doing a little reading up. I discovered that it depends on where you live. Here in the U.S. Marzipan and Almond paste are different. Marzipan has 75% more sugar where as almond paste has equal parts sugar and almond mea,l which I showed how to make last week in my post titled "Almond paste". We just skipped the other ingredients for basic simplicity, all was required other than the almond meal and sugar were the binder (egg white etc.) and almond extract.
In the UK, marzipan and almond paste are said to be the same. While marzipan has almond paste as the main ingredient and more sugar and a host of other ingredients, which take away from the taste. Almond paste also is used differently than marzipan and it's less sweet...still sweet, just less.

Uses: Marzipan is what's used to cover cakes, and those intricate shaped candies in the shops in Europe, because it's smoother and easier to create fruits and animals.The extra sugar aids in the malleable texture. When pastry chefs and bakers are making something a bit more elaborate with marzipan, they incorporate other ingredients like rose water, creams and infuse other flavors. You can too.
Almond Paste on the other hand is used to mix into cakes and pastries. It can still be flavored and colored, but isn't easily rolled out like marzipan, for covering cakes or making edible figures, because it lacks the elasticity.

This recipe comes together quite fast, 5 min. or less and yields 1 ½ lb.
If you made the Almond paste with me last week you are halfway done.
If not hop on over to get the recipe and come back here to make up your very own marzipan. Just click on the almond paste link in the recipe, that follows.

1 lb./16 oz. almond paste
3. c. powdered sugar (sifted)
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten or pasteurized egg whites.
Or and equivalent of two eggs...about 1/4 c. or less ..I've never measured the other ingredients like glucose or corn syrup.

1. Coarsely chop up almond paste with a knife until it is in small quarter size chunks and place the almond paste in the bowl of a large stand mixer.

2. Add the powder sugar to the mixing bowl and mix them together on low speed with the paddle attachment until the almond paste has broken down and everything has a fine sandy texture.
(You can achieve this step with your hands in a medium to large mixing bowl.)

3. With the mixer still running on low add eggs until it all come together in a ball . (you may find that you don't need all the egg whites)

4. Once the marzipan has formed a ball, take it out of the mixer, dust your work surface/counter with powdered sugar and knead the marzipan until it is completely smooth and has a nice pliable texture.

Links for more

Monday, September 5, 2016

Day 14 Candied Fruit

Hi I don't know why this didn't post yesterday...according to schedule....but here is,

Day 14
your syrup should have the consistency of honey. With many fruits it will also have a golden color as does honey but with cranberries it will be a marvelous scarlet.

  • Drain your fruit in a colander saving the syrup and setting it aside.
  • When the fruit is completely drained, dry it for 2-3 days in a warm, dry place or in your oven at it's lowest setting with the door held ajar with a wooden spoon.
  • For air drying fruit I love using parchment and wax paper, but for the oven I used a silpat.
  • For either method stir the fruit on occasion to insure a complete and thorough drying of the fruit.
Candy fruit can be used right away without drying in fruit cakes and cookies. I prefer mine this way for placing on top of cakes and cupcakes too. If you dry them completely you can grind them into a coarse meal to be used as a sprinkle for cakes, breakfast cereals, granola or trail mixes. As for the fruit syrup? When you taste it your imagination will run wild with all sorts of delectable ideas. I use it for glazes for desserts, on ice-cream or pancakes, waffles, fillings...need I say more. Whatever you use it for I know you'll enjoy it. I hope you have enjoyed these post on how to make candied fruit and try this recipe.


Chef Geir's Culinary Resource

Quickie way to candy fruit

Cassata 1st inspired to make Candy Fruit