Summer is coming! Hopefully…summer is coming. We finally had a beautiful warm sunny Saturday and that had me thinking about summer desserts and ice cream. Now you can have a bowl of good quality vanilla ice cream (my favourite) but if you add a topping, now we are talking dessert. One of the most delicious toppings to make is Pineapple in Caramel Sauce.
It is maple syrup season which can be otherwise known as Spring! Maple syrup has such a distinct flavour and although everyone drizzles it over pancakes I love to bake with it. This version of butter tarts uses both maple syrup and brown sugar without making the filling too sweet. Butter Tarts are a very heavenly dessert and these Maple Butter Tarts would make a very delicious dessert for your Easter dinner.
This fudge recipe is simply the easiest creamiest fudge recipe out there. I have been making this recipe for years now after receiving the recipe from a co-worker about 10 years ago. What makes this Easy Creamy Fudge recipe almost fool-proof is that you make it in the microwave and there is no candy thermometer required! After trying multiple brown-sugar fudge recipes I still come back to this one. Now some folks will see the white chocolate in the list of ingredients and think it won’t taste like a brown-sugar fudge, but they would be wrong.
Even though Spring is supposedly coming it sure is hard to believe when there is still a foot of snow on the ground outside. I have been craving fresh berries and the only ones available are California grown- but a craving is a craving so I caved and bought them. But disappointment soon followed – every one of those berries that looked so beautiful red and juicy were spongy white in the middle. What’s a girl to do with a container full of disappointment? She takes them and pops them in the oven and voila – Roasted Strawberries. What a transformation! From tasteless to sweet and juicy in just 20 minutes. Then take it up a notch and add vanilla ice cream and you have a wonderful dessert or midnight snack.
So it is a snowy Saturday in April- that’s right it is still SNOWING here!! Mother Nature has abandoned us and gone south for sure. Seeing as though it is a snowy mucky day I might as well be baking as what else is there to do besides laundry? I was in the mood for something a little sweet but not too over the top as I had already eaten too many candy coated Easter eggs last weekend. Baked Glazed Doughnuts sound like a treat that you shouldn’t have to feel the least bit guilty about…after all aren’t doughnuts supposed to be fried? Well these confections look like doughnuts but are a little more cake-like but still have all of the satisfying taste of a fried doughnut.
If you are in need of a great snack or a last minute home-made gift, I have the perfect thing for you. These Spicy Roasted Nuts are addictive and easy to make. You can use whatever type of nut strikes your fancy, they just have to be plain, not salted. This is the third batch we have made in the last 2 days and it was also our third combination. Our first was almonds and peanuts – no hot sauce, they were good but not enough pizzaz. The second was pecans, almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds and a little hot sauce- they were very good. The third- we were back to just the almonds and peanuts with quite a bit of hot sauce – very very good. It would have been awesome if I had remembered to add in the sunflower seeds – but that will batch #4.
When I first saw a recipe for home-made marshmallows I was a little intimidated. It looked like it was going to be difficult, but I had to try it! Am I ever glad I did as these marshmallows are delicious and not that difficult after all. I have made them for quite a few times and each time I make them someone is always amazed that you can actually make marshmallows from scratch.
So don’t be intimidated by the recipe, all you really need is a pot, a mixer and a candy thermometer. If you don’t have a candy thermometer and you are going to purchase one it isn’t something that has to cost a fortune. I actually have the best luck with the one that I paid less than $5.00 for from the grocery store and I think I have had it for over 10 years!
While the gelatin is softening in the bowl of the mixer you can heat the other ingredients on the stove to the required temperature. When you have reached the temperature be very careful when pouring the hot liquid down the side of the bowl – it is HOT! But once this step is done the mixer will do most of the work. All of a sudden after a few minutes it starts to turn white and fluffy – just like magic. Let it whip for at least 10 minutes so it is nice and thick.
When adding the vanilla you can also choose to add a few drops of food colouring at this time if you want coloured marshmallows. Once you have the mixture in the prepared pan, move quickly to smooth the top as it is sticky. Ensure you let it set the full 24 hours – I know it is hard to wait, but it really needs to set up. Then turn it out and cut away – you can even use cookie cutters to get all kinds of different shapes.
Packaged up in cellophane bags with a ribbon they make a yummy treat for Halloween! This trick makes an awesome treat!
- ⅔ cup icing sugar
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 1 cup cold water, divided
- 2½ tablespoons unflavoured gelatin
- ⅔ cup corn syrup
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the icing sugar and cornstarch; set aside.
- Pour ½ cup of the cold water into the bowl of an stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let stand until the gelatin becomes thick.
- While the gelatin is firming up combine the remaining water and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Pour the sugar into the center of the saucepan. Over medium heat and bring to a boil, gently swirling the pan, until the sugar has dissolved completely and the mixture reaches 240 degrees F.
- With the mixer on low speed , carefully pour the hot syrup mixture into the gelatin mixture, letting it pour down the sides of the bowl to avoid splashing. Gradually increase the speed to high and whip until the mixture is very thick and stiff, 10 to 12 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and beat another minutes just until mixed in.
- Working quickly, scrape the mixture into the prepared pan using a rubber spatula that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Smooth the top into an even layer. Sift 2 tablespoons of the icing sugar mixture over the pan. Cover and let sit overnight at room temperature.
- The next day sift about 2 tablespoons of the icing sugar mixture onto a cutting board and turn the marshmallow slab out. Carefully peel off the parchment. Sift a thin layer of of the icing sugar mixture over marshmallow. Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, cut into 1-inch strips one way, and then across the other way for square marshmallows. You can also use cookie cutters sprayed with non-stick spray to cut out shapes.
- Working with 3 or 4 marshmallows at a time, toss the marshmallows in the remaining icing sugar mixture, then shake in your palm to remove any excess powder. Marshmallows can be stored in an airtight container or bag for up to 2 weeks with parchment between the layers to avoid sticking.
Do you remember when you could buy a little brick of sponge toffee at the corner store for 5¢? You would nibble at it a little at a time, letting it melt on your tongue making it last as long as possible. If you ate too much your tongue would actually hurt! Can you tell I really like sponge toffee?
Sponge toffee looks like it has the potential to be an intimidating adventure to create, but the recipe only has 4 ingredients. It is all about the chemistry my friends and with a little bravery you can be whipping up a batch in no time at all. Anytime there is melted sugar and a candy thermometer the red flags go up and folks steer away from a recipe, but you can do this!
When I was growing up in the small Northern Ontario town of Blind River there was a local bakery called Golden Bakery. They had the most amazing jelly filled doughnuts and if my memory serves me correctly we paid 12 cents for one! The bakery closed when I left to attend college, but the memory of those sugary jelly filled concoctions still lived on. Later on when we built our cottage the gentleman who had owned the bakery lived a few doors down, but by the time I got up the courage to ask for his recipe he had passed away. So the hunt was on to find a recipe that could bring back the jelly filled doughnut!
Brown Eyed Baker blog to the rescue!! She posted this recipe for Polish doughnuts called Paczki and they looked and sounded just like what I was looking for so I gave it a try and bingo that was the recipe I was looking for. So when it was time for a dessert for our Easter potluck this year, it was time to make Jelly Doughnuts again and I think these are even better than what I remember from the Golden Bakery.