Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Alton Brown's Homemade Marshmallows

I added a bit of pink coloring and used heart shaped cookie cutters for my second batch

I've always wanted to try making marshmallows and am loving Alton Brown's method. It can be a bit sticky, but if you follow his directions carefully, you will have great success. Don't bother reading the comments on his original recipe--see link below. I have no idea why some people had so much trouble, unless they really can't follow written directions!

We served these with the most decadent hot chocolate we could make, and sipped by the side of the kiva fireplace, which was decorated for Christmas. 

I'm quoting the recipe below, exactly as it appears at

  1. 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  2. 1 cup ice cold water, divided
  3. 12 ounces granulated sugar
  4. 1 cup light corn syrup
  5. 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  8. 1/4 cup cornstarch
  9. Nonstick spray
  1. Combine the gelatin with 1/2 cup of the cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Have the whisk attachment standing by.
  2. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, the granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. When the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.
  3. Turn the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.
  1. Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
  2. When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula [or your fingers dipped in water and shaken off] for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  3. Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel or knife dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Christmas Pudding Ice Cream Bombe

This is so good and so easy! I got the recipe from a friend's son, who got it from Gemma's Bigger Bolder Baking. It's a bit like mincemeat, but I thought of spumoni when I tasted it. Go to the link to read more about how Gemma describes it.

1. Mix the mincemeat and let steep in fridge overnight. Stir together these ingredients, except for the liquor.

1 cup raisins
2/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pistachios or pecans, toasted and chopped
Grated zest of one lemon
Grated zest of one orange
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup Cointreau, Grand Marnier, or brandy (optional)

2. Grease and line a 2 litre pudding basin with clingfilm, using enough so that it hangs well over the sides. (Translation for Americans: Use a steep-sided bowl or jello mold that will hold a little over 2 quarts, grease, and line with Saran Wrap).

3. Prepare the ice cream base:

Beat 2 cups cold heavy whipping cream in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. Turn down the speed a bit and add a 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk, then turn up the speed and continue to whip until stiff peaks have formed again.

4. Put it all together and freeze:

Stir the mincemeat mixture into the ice cream base. Add the (optional) liquor now. Pour into the lined bowl. Tap on counter to release any bubbles. Cover and freeze 5-6 hours or preferably overnight.

5. Unmold and serve:

Remove pudding from the freezer, let sit for 15 minutes, invert onto a plate and leave for a further 15 minutes. Remove the bowl and clingfilm. Decorate with faux holly and sugared cranberries. Slice or spoon to serve.

Store in freezer for up to six weeks.

Chocolate Pecan Pie Cookies

I found this recipe on the A Dash of Sanity Blog here. It immediately became a family favorite, so I want it here for easy access.

This chocolate cookie is chewy and quite delicious, with or without the pecan pie filling topping.

1. Prepare the filling:

2 Tbl. melted butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix all together in saucepan and cook over medium heat until just thickened to the consistency of pudding. Set aside to cool.

2. Preheat oven to 375 F and line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

3. Mix dough for cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, beaten

2 - 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt

Sift dry ingredients together. Mix butter, sugars, vanilla, and eggs well. Stir in the dry ingredients.

4. Bake

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets, 12 per sheet. Bake at 375 F for 8 minutes, remove from oven and drop one tablespoonful of pecan filling on each. Return cookies to oven and bake for another 4 minutes.

Let cool on baking sheets. If freezing, to keep them from sticking together, place cookies in a single layer and freeze solid before placing in freezer bags.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Deviled Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Green Beans

This is a sheet pan supper recipe that was in a booklet sent to me by my health insurance provider. I can't find the exact recipe online so am putting it here for future reference. It was so good we licked the pan...

6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (Note: I had boneless, skinless thighs and they worked just fine)
5 tsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. black pepper, divided
6 tbl. Dijon mustard (Note: I was out of Dijon and used spicy brown mustard)
1/4 cup shallots, minced
1 tsp. hot sauce
1-1/2 lbs. small new potatoes, halved
1 lb. green beans, trimmed

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Place potatoes and green beans in a single layer on an 18" x 12" rimmed baking sheet
Drizzle with 4 tsp. olive oil and sprinkle with half the salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, combine the mustard, shallots, hot sauce, and the remaining 1 tsp. olive oil. Mix well.

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with the remaining salt and pepper. Spread the mustard mixture on both sides of each chicken piece, then nestle the chicken pieces among the vegetables.

Note: I also sliced up an apple (next time I would use two) and spread the slices on one end of the pan to cook along with the chicken and vegetables.

Roast until the chicken is cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees, about 30-35 minutes; then broil for about 3-5 minutes until a deep golden brown. Garnish with parsley if desired. Serves 6.


Nutrition per serving in the original recipe, not counting the apple slices I added. There would be less fat if you used skinless thighs, as I did:

Calories: 244
Total fat: 8.2 g.
Saturated fat: 1.6g.
Cholesterol: 47 mg.
Sodium: 429 mg.
Carbs: 25 g.
Dietary fiber: 4g.
Sugars: 4g.
Protein: 17g.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Chicken and Fruit Salad

Use the amounts that make sense to you.

Cubed cooked chicken

Chopped apple
Canned pineapple, chopped (reserve juice)
Seedless grapes, cut in half

Grated carrot
Chopped celery

Chopped toasted pecans or walnuts
Golden raisins
Pumpkin seeds

Optional: Salt to taste, minced onion

Dressing: Mayonnaise thinned with the reserved pineapple juice and seasoned with curry powder.

Toss all together, cover and chill.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Roasted Sweet Potato and Chicken Soup

I'm going to let you decide how much of each ingredient to add...

Roast peeled and cut up sweet potatoes, carrots, and garlic by tossing them with salt and avocado oil and baking on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes at 400 degrees F., stirring once after 15 minutes.

Make Chicken stock (I made mine from the bones of a rotisserie chicken, simmered with chopped onions and carrots, salt, pepper, and herbes de Provence), strain and cool, skim off fat.

Simmer the strained stock (I added some turkey stock from my freezer) with a cup of red lentils until the lentils are tender

The roasted vegetables
Dried sage

Simmer enough to let the flavors blend. Using an immersion blender, liquify the soup.

1-1/2 cups cut up cooked chicken 

Warm soup through and serve.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Salmon Packets

Spray pieces of foil with cooking spray. Place onto each piece of foil:

Salmon filet
, a serving-size piece
A thin slice of onion
A thin slice or two of lemon
A tablespoon of pesto
Sliced grape tomatoes
Sliced zucchini
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: A few raw shrimp

Fold foil over the ingredients to make packets; place packets on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 25 minutes until salmon flakes easily with a fork. 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Al Sicherman's Extreme Brownies

Makes 24.
Al Sicherman said: This is my favorite brownie recipe. I make it almost nonstop. I always top the brownies with chocolate ganache (see recipe) - half of it poured on and the other half chilled, whipped and pooted out into rosettes. Between the brownies, which are very chocolatey, and the ganache, this is one intensely chocolate experience.

1 c. chopped pecans
2/3 c. (10 2/3 tbsp.) butter or margarine
2 (12-oz.) bags semisweet chocolate chips, divided

1 c. minus 2 tbsp. sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. plus 2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9- by 13-inch pan.
Toast the pecans in a heavy frying pan over low-medium heat, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they become fragrant and begin to color. Set aside.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt together the butter and 1 bag (2 cups) of the chocolate chips, stirring constantly. Pour the mixture into the large bowl of an electric mixer. Beat in the sugar, then the eggs (two at a time), and the vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and briefly beat into the batter. Stir in the pecans and the remaining bag (2 cups) of chips. Bake about 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center (try several places — you might hit a chocolate chip) comes out clean.

Enough to glaze and make rosettes for 1 pan of brownies.This is wonderful stuff; save the recipe even if you don't want it for brownies. When warm, it's a wonderful glaze; chilled and whipped it's terrific cake frosting — and excellent truffles. If you're using it for brownies and you don't have a pastry bag to make rosettes, make only half of this recipe and just pour it over the brownies.
1½ c. heavy cream
4 tbsp. (½ stick) butter
1 (12-oz.) bag semisweet chocolate chips
Combine the cream and butter in a saucepan over medium heat and bring just to the boil, stirring occasionally to melt the butter.
Pour into the small bowl of an electric mixer. Stir in the chocolate chips, stirring until they are largely melted. Beat on low speed until the mixture is smooth and uniform. Pour about half of the ganache over the pan of brownies. Cool completely, then cut and chill.

Chill the rest of the ganache in the mixer bowl with the beaters 30 minutes or more, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is cool and resembles thick cream.
Whip the chilled ganache until it is as stiff as whipped cream and pipe rosettes onto the chilled brownies. Wow. (You might have some left over; you'll figure out what to do with it.)

Nutrition information per serving (using half the ganache to glaze):

Calories: 340

Fat: 23 g

Sodium: 130 mg

Carbohydrates: 35 g

Saturated fat: 12 g

Calcium: 38 mg

Protein: 4 g

Cholesterol: 60 mg

Dietary fiber: 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, 1½ other carb, 4½ fat.