A Berry Good Trifle

 

 

Homeward bound during our most recent road trip several weeks ago, we spontaneously stopped in Columbia, South Carolina to visit with my old high school friend Jeanne, over Fourth of July weekend. Living just spitting-distance away in Charlotte, North Carolina, was another high school chum, Amy, who happily decided to drive down and join us. After over 30 years of going our own ways due to time, distance, and circumstance, it’s a story really much too long to tell, but let’s just say that it was Facebook that brought us back together several years ago, and we discovered that we probably have more in common today, than we did as teenagers. I asked Amy, an accomplished food writer in her own right, to write this guest post for Flamingo Musings. Even more happily, she agreed!

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Mixed Berry Trifle | Flamingo Musings

No Trifling Matter

Special to Flamingo Musings by Amy T. Rogers

Giving a dinner party is a lot of work. And if the pressure to be perfect isn’t bad enough, imagine hosting a professional “foodie” at your table.

My friend Jeanne had to feed not just one but two foodies when Renée and I visited recently. As much as we insisted we didn’t want her to fuss over us, she put together a fantastic meal.

Herbed, grilled steaks headlined the menu that also featured scoops of watermelon dressed with feta cheese and red onions, along with a tangy black-bean salad. We sat and talked and laughed and sipped hard cider as the sun set and the moon rose. Some of us (okay, one of us) kept nibbling at the side dishes until it was time for dessert.

Jeanne had brought home beautiful strawberries and blueberries, cream cheese, whipping cream, and a pound cake. And since our hostess owns every piece of serving ware under the sun, I set out to make a trifle.

This layered presentation of cake and custard has been around for hundreds of years. Early recipes used gelatin made from animal hooves. But these are modern times, so we can skip that messy step and proceed directly to the fun – and simplicity – of assembling our own versions.

You don’t need a recipe to make a trifle. Use what you have on hand and don’t be afraid to experiment. Like a cocoa flavor? Drizzled melted chocolate on your cake layers. Love citrus? Stir some marmalade into the berries before you add them. Add coconut or sliced bananas.

Since Jeanne had done such a beautiful job on dinner, I wanted to punch up the flavors of dessert. She wisely keeps her pantry stocked with Freakin’ Flamingo jams. And bourbon. I used some of both in the trifle. It was awfully good, if I do say so myself.

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A Berry Good Trifle

(Special to Flamingo Musings by Amy T. Rogers)
Serves 8-12

Ingredients:

  • Pound cake (half of a bundt-style, homemade cake or one loaf-style, store-bought pound cake)
  • 2 to 3 cups strawberries, cut bite-sized
  • One pint container of blueberries, or more if desired
  • 2 cups (one 1/2 pint container) heavy cream, divided
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup Freakin’ Flamingo Carambola Cranberry Jam (or your favorite flavor of jam)
  • One small (3 to 4-oz) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • Splash of whiskey (optional)
  • Sugar to taste, about a teaspoon

Preparation:

Cut the pound cake into cubes about 1” square. Place half evenly across the bottom of the glass trifle dish and set the rest aside.

Place half the strawberries in a layer on top of the cake and set the rest aside. Sprinkle with a handful of blueberries.

Whip one cup of the heavy cream with a mixer until medium-firm peaks form. Add the whiskey (if using) and the jam; stir with a spoon until just combined. Spread evenly over the berries and cake.

Layer the remaining cake in the dish, then add the rest of the strawberries. Sprinkle with another handful of blueberries, making sure to set some aside for the topping.

Blend together the remaining heavy cream and cream cheese until smooth; add sugar if desired. Spread evenly over the berries and cake. Top with the remaining blueberries.

 

And here’s a little tip no one tells you: It’s even better the next day for breakfast – if you’re lucky enough to have any left!

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Amy Rogers is the author of Hungry for Home: Stories of Food from Across the Carolinas. She writes about food and culture for NPR station WFAE in Charlotte, N.C., and is the Coordinator for WFAEats. Visit her at amyrogers.net.

By RJ Flamingo ~ 1 Comment

Blue(berry) Sunshine Jam

 

 

 

I occasionally teach canning classes locally and this easy combination jam and marmalade never fails to please my students with its simplicity and bright flavors. I even shared it last year on Pomona’s Pectin’s website. All of which hasn’t prevented Blue Sunshine (in both regular and sugar-free) from being one of the most popular jams I sell through Freakin’ Flamingo, both at farmers markets and online, as well! Go figure.

Blue Sunshine Jam | Flamingo Musings

So, it kind of surprised me to realize that I haven’t yet shared the recipe with all of you, right here. An omission we’re going to fix right now, while blueberry season is in full-swing. And if you’ve been freezing your berries, you should “Pin” and “Yum” this recipe while you’re thinking about it, so you can make a batch in January or February, when you’ll need a bright taste of summer to get you through the dreary winter!

What’s a “Yum”? Well, do you see that bright orange Yum button at the top and bottom of of my posts? If you click on one, it will take you to Yummly, a recipe search and organizing app, that “…puts every recipe in the world in your pocket. The most powerful recipe search, the recipe sites you love, your digital recipe box, recipe recommendations just for you, and a smart shopping list – all with you wherever you go. Yummly has the #1 iPhone, iPad and Android recipe apps.” (according to Yummly’s FAQ)  You can use the Yum button to save my recipes to your personal recipe box! Visit the Flamingo Musings page on Yummly to have central access to all of the recipes on my blog, all in one place.  And I’m still going back in my archives to populate it, so if you’re a new reader, you won’t miss a thing. :-)

And now, on to the jam!

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Blue Sunshine Jam

(Makes about 3 half-pints)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 smaller lemons
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 2 Tbs bottled lemon juice
  • 2 cups blueberries (about 12 oz by weight)
  • 1 ½ cups sugar, divided
  • 2 tsp. Pomona’s Pectin calcium water
  • 1 tsp. Pomona’s Pectin powder

Preparation:

Place 2 or 3 small ceramic or freezer-safe glass plates into the freezer.

Wash and dry the lemon(s). Cut off the ends and discard. Cut the lemon into thick slices, cut the slices in half, and pulse in food processor until finely chopped.

Put the chopped lemon, water, and bottled lemon juice into a non-reactive medium saucepot (about 4 quart size). Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, reduce heat to medium-high, and allow to boil for 10 minutes.

Add the blueberries, Pomona’s calcium water and 1 ¼ cups of the sugar to the pot, stir well until the sugar is dissolved, and boil for 10 minutes.

Mix the remaining ¼ cup sugar with the Pomona’s Pectin powder until thoroughly combined and scatter over the blueberry mixture. Stir well until dissolved. Allow to continue to boil for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat while performing gel test:

Take one of the plates out of the freezer, place a small spoonful of the hot jam onto the plate and return to the freezer for 2 minutes. If the jam on the plate doesn’t run and wrinkles when you push it with the tip of a spoon or your fingertip, you’re ready to can.

*(Recipe Note:  I only use Pomona’s Universal Pectin in my jam and jelly recipes. Each box consists of 2 packets: one smaller packet that contains the calcium powder to be mixed with water – 1/2 tsp. calcium powder mixed with 1/2 cup of water  (that’s the “calcium water”), and one larger packet that contains the pectin powder.)

Small-Batch Canning Instructions:

  • Place a stock pot filled about 2/3 with water on the stove and bring to a boil. Make sure that there is a rack or a pot holder in the bottom of the pot, so your canning jars do not come into direct contact with the bottom of the pot, itself.
  • Sterilize three half-pint jars by placing them in the boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes.
  • Heat the jar lids in the boiling water for a minute or two.
  • Empty the water out of each jar, then fill with the hot jam, leaving 1/4″ to 1/2″ headroom at the top. Place a hot lid on top of the jar and screw on the lid ring, finger-tight.  Place the filled jar back into the pot of boiling water and boil for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the jar(s) from the boiling water and place on a towel or newspaper-covered surface to cool and seal. You should shortly hear the *ping* or *pop* of the lid sealing. When completely cool, store on a shelf or in a cupboard, away from heat and direct sunlight. If a jar does not seal within 24 hours, refrigerate and use within 3 weeks.

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You need to try this, because I know you CAN.  (See what I did there?)

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Blue(berry) Sunshine Jam on Punk Domestics

All opinions, recipes, text, and photographs are my own and original to RJ Flamingo and her real-life alter-ego, and are copyrighted materials, not to be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author. Links contained in this post may be affiliate links to my Amazon store. If you start here and buy anything on Amazon, I get a small commission. This does not increase your price, but does help me pay my web host. And buy food. Thank you for your support!

 

By RJ Flamingo ~ 6 Comments

More Blueberry Farming & A Frozen Blueberry Smoothie

 

 

This is the second in a series about blueberry farming in Florida, centering around farmer Dan Ebbecke and his D&S Blueberries in Masaryktown, a small farming community in west central Florida.  Stay tuned for a delicious Frozen Blueberry Smoothie recipe at the bottom of this post!

Frozen Blueberry Smoothie | Flamingo Musings | Flamingo Musings

Dodging intermittent rain showers and thunderstorms, back in April, Mike (“The Real Flamingo”) and I drove 5 hours upstate to Masaryktown, Florida to pick blueberries at Dan Ebbecke’s D&S Blueberries. Buckets o’ Blueberries. Fortunately, the sun came out for us once we arrived at our destination, and we were able to get right to work.

Did you know that Florida blueberries have to be picked by hand? That’s because the varieties grown down here are too delicate to withstand machine-picking, unlike most of their Northern cousins. Every year, the University of Florida (where our Agricultural Extension is based) sends several new varieties to Dan and other Florida farmers, in hopes that at least one of them will prove suitable. Machine-picking would enable the farmers to expand their blueberry fields, and thus lower costs. So far, none has met the farmers’ standards for flavor and quality. And so, the research continues. In the meantime, a friend who grows citrus as well as blueberries, lends Dan his citrus-picking crew (who transform into a blueberry-picking crew) in the spring to pick blueberries. These picking crews, by the way, earn a fairly decent hourly wage – comparable to what I earned as a legal secretary/assistant in my former life.

Here's Dan, showing us how it's done.

Here’s Dan, showing us how it’s done.

Most people don’t associate Florida with growing blueberries. Even now, most Floridians don’t know that we grow blueberries! So, how did Dan become a blueberry farmer? Speaking of “former lives”, it was a life and career change of radical proportions, born of a desire to grow things.  He tells us that originally, he followed in his father’s nautical footsteps, eventually working in the Merchant Marine. After running crew boats in oil fields off of Mexico for a number of years, “I saved my money to buy land and a house in Florida. I married and had two kids, started another charter fishing business and quit the Merchant Marine. One day I saw a guy selling blueberry plants on the side of the road. I like growing things and after years of not being able to have a garden I decided that an acre of blueberries would be a good thing. One turned into two, then 9.5, then 11, then 13.”  Yeah, we can relate.

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Gratuitous “Butterfly on Spanish Needles in Blueberry Field” photo.

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Mike’s bagged his limit!

Not content with merely growing blueberries, Dan began thinking of ways to use blueberries. Wine. And we’re not talking about some sweet, syrupy dessert-type wine. We’re talking smooth, dry, table wine. Wine fit to accompany any meal.

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Yes, there’s blueberry wine in there!

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Let’s give it a try…

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The “Flamingo” approves.

And so do I. While this batch isn’t quite done, yet, I knew after just a few sips that I’d be proud to serve this at my table.  Dan expects to unveil the delicious results sometime this Fall. I’m not ashamed to say that I hope we will receive an invitation to return for the great reveal!

But, what’s all this? More blueberry testing? No, it’s tea. We can grow tea in Florida?

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No, not blueberry plants. TEA plants. We can grow TEA in Florida, too!

“I found tea interesting because they are similar to blueberries in their genetics and requirements. I have looked at a lot of things other than blueberries but most were not practical,” says Dan. Ever curious to discover what else he can grow, Dan Ebbecke is now experimenting with growing tea. Diversification can be a very tasty philosophy, indeed.

We can’t wait to see what’s next!

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After all that trudging around in the sun, I’m ready for something cold, light, and refreshing. How about you? And if you’ve been blueberry picking and/or stocking up in this, the height of blueberry season, and freezing what you don’t use right away, like I told you to, you’ll always have fresh frozen blueberries on hand to make this quick and nutritious shake for breakfast, lunch, or midday snack! It doesn’t hurt that it tastes like you’re having a sweet treat!

Frozen Blueberry Smoothie | Flamingo Musings

Frozen Blueberry Smoothie / Shake

Makes 2 16 oz servings (may be halved)

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. (1 cup) frozen blueberries
  • 8 oz. (1 cup) plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 6 Tbs. hemp hearts (or ground flax seeds, or a combination)
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) ice
  • 2 Tbs. raw honey (any kind)
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) milk

Preparation:

Put all of the ingredients in a blender pitcher and blend on the highest speed for about one and a half minutes, or until completely smooth. Pour into grown-up sippy cups and enjoy.

Frozen Blueberry Smoothie | Flamingo Musings

  • If you’d like it a bit less tangy, reverse the proportions of the Greek yogurt and the milk. That is, use 1/2 cup of yogurt and 1 cup of milk. And you can use any kind of milk. I’ve used whole dairy milk, 2%, almond milk, coconut milk (the kind in the shelf-stable box, not the sweet stuff in the can), and unflavored soy milk. It all works great in this.
  • I used Honey Ridge Farms’ Blackberry Honey Creme here, but your favorite plain local honey is also wonderful. You can even substitute Freakin’ Flamingo Jam instead, if you like! 😉

This shake packs a hefty amount of protein, calcium, fiber, and antioxidants, and tastes like a decadent blueberry milkshake! What could be better?

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Many thanks to Dan Ebbecke for sharing his valuable time and allowing us to pick some luscious blueberries from his field, at no charge. All opinions, recipes, text, and photographs are my own and original to RJ Flamingo and her real-life alter-ego, and are copyrighted materials, not to be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author. Links contained in this post may be affiliate links to my Amazon store. If you start here and buy anything on Amazon, I get a small commission. This does not increase your price, but does help me pay my web host. And buy food. Thank you for your support!

By RJ Flamingo ~ 3 Comments

Blueberry Farming & How to Freeze Berries

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This is the first of a series about blueberry farming in Florida, centering around farmer Dan Ebbecke and his D&S Blueberries in Masaryktown, a small farming community in west central Florida. This post was written by Mike J. – otherwise known as “The REAL Flamingo”. Stay tuned for the easiest method of preserving your precious berries for future use – so stock up!

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Travel broadens the mind, and I’ve been known to go to great distances to discover the depth and breadth of my ignorance. I don’t have to travel far, however, to reveal how much, as a suburb-dweller, I don’t know about where food comes from and how it got to my plate. Dan Ebbecke’s blueberry farm is a mere 300 miles away— not far at all, really, for a little enlightenment.

So, what’s to know about a blueberry? It’s round. It’s blue. It tastes good. What else do I need to know? (Well, when I’m out in a blueberry field, pail in hand, I really don’t need to know much more, but the same can’t be said for an actual blueberry farmer.) For one thing, a blueberry isn’t just a “blue berry.” There are sharp blues and sunshine blues and even becky blues (lucky girl). There are even emeralds— though they’re blue, as well. There are jewels and Georgia gems, and even farthings (if you like your precious commodities in hard cash). You can even serve windsors; royalty not required. Like mangos, blueberries have countless varieties, and that’s just in Florida. Each is different in one or more ways, and you’d need a hefty scorecard to keep track of them all. A blueberry farmer has to be aware of this vast array; I walk into a market, look into the clamshell package and go “Oh! Blueberries.” I just figured one blueberry was very much the same as another, whether it came from Maine or Florida, Oregon or Timbuktu. Wrong again (but I get that impression a lot when I visit farms.)

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Dan’s D&S Farm in Masaryktown is about 40 miles north of the sprawling concrete of Tampa. Its situation— in rolling hills where woods alternate with wide open fields of grazing dairy herds— is about a million light years from there. It would be appropriate (if you bought rural clichés by the pallet-load at a big box store, like I do) to say it’s “bucolic,” “idyllic,” and even “tranquil.” Which it probably is, except for one small (well, maybe huge) problem.

Blueberries have lots of admirers (I know, I’m one), however, not all of those fans are human. Like me, birds know nothing about varieties; to them, blueberries are just round, blue and taste good. On this particular occasion, the birds after Dan’s crop were cedar waxwings. If you ask the Cornell University Ornithology Lab, they’ll tell you that cedar waxwings “love fruit” and “gather by the hundreds to eat berries” either by sitting “in fruiting trees swallowing berries whole, or plucking them in mid-air with a brief fluttering hover.” That may be amazing to watch in your backyard, but it’s ruinous to a farmer if allowed to go on from sun up to sun down in the field. Dan is compelled to do something in this struggle, and what do you need to fight a battle? A gun.

Want to hear a “bird gun”? Crank up the volume and click on this!

Not a real gun, of course. A propane-powered “bird gun”— one that sets off the equivalent of a firecracker every minute or so to scare off the birds. A really LOUD fire cracker; on the order of about 90 decibels even 100 feet away. This is equal to standing a short distance from a revving Harley or having a military jet fly overhead at a thousand feet. Now consider that this is happening about a hundred feet away from your home— which, in Dan’s case, it is— and the “bucolic” and “tranquil” preconceptions of farming life evaporate in a hurry. (Yes, the waxwings retreat; but not very far.)

Now, to anyone who gardens, it’s no secret that whatever you grow is going to have to endure multiple threats. The lesson to me is that, unlike Dan, whatever makes it out of my backyard garden and onto my table is important, but not overwhelmingly vital. If I lose my tomatoes to hornworms, it’s an unfortunate inconvenience. If Dan loses 20 acres of blueberries, it’s a catastrophe. While small private farms have regained their luster as a life-style— dubbed “artisanal” rather than “back-breaking”, when they’re actually both— the reality of farm life is what it’s always been: a lot of labor with no guarantees. Considering the host of perils arrayed against Dan and his blueberries, they’re not just a “blue berry,” they’re darned miracles.

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Thanks, Mike!

So, now that you have an idea of the effort that berry farmers go through to grow these jewels for your table, you want to run right out and stock up, right? Well, you’re probably in luck! While Florida’s blueberry season is done for this year, blueberries are in high season in the Carolinas, and moving up to the northeastern states. Prices are at their lowest, so you may be tempted to either find a U-Pick field near you, or even hit up your grocery store to take advantage of the great deals.

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But, now that you’ve run amok, what are you going to do with your haul? You may not have the time today to make a lot of jam. Besides, there are so many wonderful uses, other than jam, for blueberries throughout the year. How are you going to preserve them for all your future smoothies, pies, muffins, and more?

The answer, of course, is freezing! It’s easy to do, and fairly quick, and you even have options.

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How to Freeze Berries

What you need:

  • A rimmed cookie sheet that will fit in your freezer – the larger the pan, the faster this will go
  • A clean kitchen towel or silicone baking mat
  • A colander
  • Good quality quart-size or gallon-size freezer storage bags
  • Permanent marker pen
  • Blueberries, of course! (Or blackberries, raspberries, mulberries, or strawberries)
  • Your freezer

What you need to do:

Place the berries in the colander, a pint (2 standard measuring cups) or 2 pints (4 standard measuring cups) at a time. By the way, a “dry pint” will also measure about 2 standard cups, so you can go by that, if you like. Rinse well under cool water. If preparing strawberries, remove the green hulls and cut the larger berries in half, or even thirds, before rinsing.  Allow to drain, giving the colander a little shake.

Write the date and quantity of berries on each freezer bag with the permanent marker.

Line the baking pan with either a clean kitchen towel or the silicone baking mat (I’m telling you, these things are multi-taskers!).

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Spread the berries out onto the pan in a single layer, and put the pan into the freezer for about 1 hour.

For strawberries:  Remove the pan from the freezer and place the now-frozen berries into a prepared freezer bag. Seal tightly, squeezing out as much air as possible. Flatten the bag a little and place in the freezer for long-term storage.

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For the smaller berries:  Remove the pan from the freezer and place on your counter top. Run your hand over the now-frozen berries, rubbing them against the towel (or silicone mat), rolling them around. This will remove those annoying little stems that were attached to the berries!

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Bag them up in the freezer bag(s), squeezing out as much air as possible, seal and freeze for long-term storage.

If you’re really pressed for time, an alternative method for the smaller berries, only: Rinse the berries in the colander, as noted above, then dump them directly into the freezer storage bag. If you use this method, whenever you’re ready to use them, spread the berries out on the cookie sheet, as specified above, and roll them around to remove any stray stems.

No, you don’t have to add any sugar or other sweeteners, or acid to preserve the berries. They will stay good and vibrant in your freezer for over a year!

Whenever you’re ready to use them in your favorite recipes, just take a bag o’ berries out of the freezer and go. You don’t have to thaw the berries completely before using, in most cases, although you may want to thaw them just a bit (a couple of minutes in the microwave should do), just enough to loosen them up so you can remove them from their bags a bit easier.

Now you’ll be ready to bake or can just about any summer berry recipe whenever the mood strikes you! How about one of these?

Freakin' Flamingo Blueberry Jam Pie

Blueberry Jam Pie

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“Bircher”-style Muesli

Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes

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Cheesecake Pots & Blueberry Almond Biscotti

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many thanks to Dan Ebbecke for sharing his valuable time and allowing us to pick some luscious blueberries from his field, at no charge. All opinions, recipes, text, and photographs are my own and original to RJ Flamingo and her real-life alter-ego, and are copyrighted materials, not to be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author. Links contained in this post may be affiliate links to my Amazon store. If you start here and buy anything on Amazon, I get a small commission. This does not increase your price, but does help me pay my web host. And buy food. Thank you for your support!

 

By Mike J. ~ 6 Comments

Passover Charoset

 

 

Charoset for Passover, or Wine Apple Walnut Conserve for the rest of you. Call it a “wine jam”, if you will. Made from Kosher for Passover concord grape wine, apples, walnuts and accented with ground cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, charoset (the “ch”pronounced like you’re clearing your throat), is a traditional part of the Jewish Passover Seder. It is supposed to remind us of the mortar used to cement the bricks made by our ancestors, who were slaves in Egypt. It is also delicious.

Passover Charoset: Wine Apple Nut Jam

Nearly every family has their own version of this traditional spread. Some like it chunky, some like it smooth. Some like it burning hot, some like it sweet and mild. During the seder, it is meant to be spread on matzo with horseradish, also known as a “Hillel Sandwich” (named after a Rabbi Hillel, who began the practice). That was always our favorite part of the seder. Besides dinner.

This version is patterned after the charoset we always made in my Askenazic (Eastern European) family, but with a twist: I’ve added sugar, lemon juice, and Pomona’s Pectin, and boiling-water canned it, making it shelf-stable!  Of course, if you don’t want to preserve it, you can simply put it in a sealable container and refrigerate. This recipe also makes a whopping 8 cups of charoset, but if you have a large family and/or making two seder dinners, that may not be such a bad thing. 😀

Charoset (Wine Apple Walnut Conserve)

Ingredients:

  • 3 – 4 large apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 2 cups walnut halves
  • 1  750 ml bottle of kosher sweet wine (your flavor of choice)
  • 6 tsp. Pomona’s Pectin calcium water * (see Recipe Note, below)
  • 4 Tbs. bottled lemon juice
  • 2 cups cane sugar (divided)
  • 1 Tbs. (or 3 tsp.) ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs. (or 3 tsp.) ground ginger
  •  2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 5 tsp. Pomona’s Pectin pectin powder

Preparation:

Place 2 small freezer-safe dishes in the freezer before beginning.

Place the apples and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 10-12 pulses, until they are well chopped (pulse fewer times for a chunkier charoset).

Place the chopped apples and walnuts in a large non-reactive pot along with the wine, calcium water, lemon juice, and one cup of the sugar. Heat over high heat until boiling. While boiling, add the cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Reduce the heat to medium-high and allow to boil for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix the pectin powder with the remaining cup of sugar until well combined.

Raise the heat under the pot to high and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Sprinkle the pectin/sugar mixture over the contents of the pot, then stir vigorously to dissolve the sugar and pectin. Allow to boil another 2 minutes. If canning, remove the pot from the heat and proceed to gel test.

Perform a gel test by placing a teaspoon of the mixture on one of the frozen plates and return to the freezer for 2 minutes.  If the mixture wrinkles when pushed with the tip of a spoon, proceed to canning, if desired.

*(Recipe Note:  I only use Pomona’s Universal Pectin in my jam and jelly recipes. Each box consists of 2 packets: one smaller packet that contains the calcium powder to be mixed with water – 1/2 tsp. calcium powder mixed with 1/2 cup of water  (that’s the “calcium water”), and one larger packet that contains the pectin powder.)

Small-Batch Canning Instructions:

  • Place a stock pot filled about 2/3 with water on the stove and bring to a boil. Make sure that there is a rack or a pot holder in the bottom of the pot, so your canning jars do not come into direct contact with the bottom of the pot, itself.
  • Sterilize the appropriate number of jars by placing them in the boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes.
  • Heat the jar lids in the boiling water for a minute or two.
  • Empty the water out of each jar, then fill with the hot jam, leaving 1/4″ to 1/2″ headroom at the top. Place a hot lid on top of the jar and screw on the lid ring, finger-tight.  Place the filled jar back into the pot of boiling water and boil for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the jar(s) from the boiling water and place on a towel or newspaper-covered surface to cool and seal. You should shortly hear the *ping* or *pop* of the lid sealing. When completely cool, store on a shelf or in a cupboard, away from heat and direct sunlight. If a jar does not seal within 24 hours, refrigerate and use within 2 weeks.

** Traditionally, charoset isn’t cooked. If you’re not canning it, you may omit the pectin (and calcium water), lemon juice, and sugar. Simply mix all of the other ingredients together in a large bowl, leaving the wine until last. Then mix in just enough wine to form a paste. You won’t need the whole bottle.

Of course, you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy this delicious conserve. Have it as a spread on toast, or with cheeses, such as brie or bleu. I’m sure you’ll find your own wonderfully inventive uses!

Don’t feel like making it yourself? Get it directly from Freakin’ Flamingo! Only 7 4 jars in stock, and you must order by Tuesday, March 31st to get it in time for Passover! (Made with Kosher for Passover ingredients in my kosher kitchen, but not certified KP)
Sold Out!

Charoset for Passover on Punk  Domestics

All opinions, recipes, text, and photographs are my own and original to RJ Flamingo and her real-life alter-ego, and are copyrighted materials, not to be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author. Links contained in this post may be affiliate links to my Amazon store. If you start here and buy anything on Amazon, I get a small commission. This does not increase your price, but does help me pay my web host. And buy food. Thank you for your support!

By RJ Flamingo ~ 2 Comments

Curried Tuna Sauce and Hot Madras Curry Powder

 

 

I thought I’d start off the New Year with a recipe that is one of Mike’s specialties: Curried Tuna.  I know. I don’t like fish, but I’ll eat tuna from the can. And, I’ve never been wild about “hot tuna” – unless you’re talking about the ’70’s band that was a spin-off of Jefferson Airplane (there – I’ve dated myself). Go figure.

But you know, when you’re young and in love, you’ll even let your boyfriend feed you an improbable-sounding pasta sauce made with canned tuna and an Indian spice mixture called “hot madras curry powder”.  You’ll even pretend that you like it. Except for one little thing. I really did like it! It’s another one of those concoctions that doesn’t sound like it should work, but it does!

Curried Tuna Sauce | Flamingo Musings

Here we are, over 25 years later, and when Mike cooks, this is one of his go-to’s. I can’t believe I haven’t pried this recipe out of him before now, but it’s appropriate to start a New Year with a fish recipe (fish is good luck food – they can’t swim backward!), and share something from the heart.

This recipe can be made days ahead of time, making it the perfect “cook it on Sunday to eat for dinner on Wednesday” dish. It also makes a vat of sauce, but it will last a week in the refrigerator and freezes beautifully, so even though you could easily cut the quantities in half, go ahead and make the full recipe and freeze some for a later time. You can easily reheat it, with no loss of quality or flavor, in the microwave or on top of the stove. Your choice.

Curried Tuna Sauce | Flamingo Musings

Curried Tuna Sauce

(makes 6-8 hearty servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2 large (or 3-4 medium) yellow onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2  28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 2  4 oz cans mushrooms, drained (optional)
  • 2  7 oz cans of solid white albacore tuna in water, drained
  • 3 Tbs dried basil
  • 4 Tbs Hot Madras Curry Powder *
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp garlic powder or to taste -or- 2 to 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional – see Notes)
  • 1 ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbs butter (may substitute olive oil)

Preparation:

Pour crushed tomatoes into a large bowl. Drain tuna and put the contents of both cans into the bowl, breaking the tuna up into small, irregular pieces. Add basil, hot madras curry powder, garlic powder, salt, sugar, bay leaves, and black pepper to the bowl. Stir until well mixed. (You can also add a tablespoon of dried parsley and/or a ½ tbs of dried oregano if you want to vary the flavor a little).

Heat a 6-quart pot or 6-quart capacity deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and sauté for about ten minutes (until soft and translucent).

Add chopped fresh garlic to the pan at this point (if not using garlic powder). Add the mushrooms (if using) and sauté the onion-mushroom mixture for another 2-3 minutes.

Add the tomato mixture to the same pan, bring it up to a slow-boil, and then turn down the heat to simmer. Cover the pan and let simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking, and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.

Serve over your choice of pasta and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. If you require gluten-free, it’s equally delicious over rice, or try one of the gluten-free pastas. While it is a thick “meaty” sauce, we prefer to eat it with something long and thin, such as vermicelli or angel hair.

Curried Tuna Sauce | Flamingo Musings

Notes:

For best flavor and aroma, snap the dried bay leaves in half, but don’t crumble them; bay leaves are not really edible (and really unpleasant to try to eat), and you want to be able to pick them out before serving— or, at least, make it possible for your guests to extract them easily.

Mike said that he’s been making this sauce since he was in high school, and can’t remember where he got the original recipe. The one thing he does remember is that the original recipe contained raisins, but he didn’t like the sound of that, so he omitted them. I swear – this is the first time I’ve heard this – and I think raisins would probably be delicious in this sauce. So if you’ve a mind to experiment a bit, go ahead and throw in a handful of raisins or golden raisins or currants for the last 10 minutes of cooking, just to plump them up a bit and heat through.

Most pasta sauce recipes that call for sugar, including this one, add it for the purpose of countering the sometimes bitter acidity in the tomatoes. Try this trick: Instead of adding sugar, add a large pinch (about 1/8 tsp) of baking soda to the sauce and stir well. It will foam up a little as the baking soda interacts with the acid, but will then subside. Do this with all of your pasta sauces – you’ll never miss the sugar!

You can find Hot Madras Curry Powder in any Indian grocery. However, if you can’t get it where you are, you can make it yourself. Here’s Mike’s recipe:

Hot Madras Curry Powder

Ingredients:

  • 2 dried red chili peppers
  • 5 Tbs coriander seeds
  • 3 Tbs cumin seeds
  • 2 pinches dried ground curry leaves (omit if you can’t find these)
  • 1 Tbs black mustard seeds
  • 2 Tbs ground turmeric

Put all ingredients into a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder, and grind until the ingredients are a fine powder. Makes about ¾ cup, so you’ll have plenty left over to use in soups, stews, or other meat or chicken dishes that you want to perk up a bit. Store the curry powder in an airtight jar or container, away from heat and light, just like your other spices.

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From our home to yours, Happy New Year!

fireworks

signature

By RJ Flamingo ~ 2 Comments

‘Tis the Season for Spiced Honey Pine Nut Brittle

 

 

This is, sadly, my fourth and final post of the season for our little band of holiday cookie bakers, affectionately known as the Cookie Freaks. This week’s theme is: Quickies. These are treats you can make at the last minute for party favors, snacks, classroom parties, gifts in those pretty little cello gift bags, and so on.

Okay, so technically, Spiced Honey Pine Nut Brittle is not a cookie. But it is a sweet treat that you can throw together in a snap, and I promise that everyone will be impressed. Even if you’re kitchen-challenged.  And you don’t even need to turn on the oven!

Let’s get moving – you don’t have the time!

Pine Nut Brittle | Flamingo Musings

Spiced Honey Pine Nut Brittle

(makes about 8-10 oz. of candy)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Honey Ridge Farms Spiced Honey
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup Frieda’s Pine Nuts
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

Preparation:

Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with a silicone baking mat, parchment paper, or by buttering the pan directly. You don’t have to butter the silicone mat. Another good reason to own one. Or more.

Put the sugar, spiced honey, salt, and water into a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan (about 2 quart size) on medium heat. Use a good quality non-stick pot, if you have one. You’ll thank me later. Stir with a wooden or silicone spoon (don’t use metal utensils) until the mixture is smooth and all the ingredients are well incorporated. Stir in the pine nuts.

cooknuts_6033_400

Cook, stirring often, until the mixture turns a golden, caramel color and the temperature on an instant read thermometer or candy thermometer reaches 300º F. This should take about 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter. When the butter has melted and is incorporated completely, stir in the baking soda. The mixture will foam up after you stir in the baking soda, so don’t be alarmed! You’re actually adding tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide into the candy, which will make it easier to break up. Also, so you don’t break a tooth.

foaming_6037_400

Pour the hot brittle onto your prepared baking pan and spread it out to an even thickness (about 1/8″). Once the hot brittle hits the cold pan, it will begin to set up, so work quickly. Don’t worry about making a nice rectangular shape. You won’t get one.

brittle_on_mat_6045

The brittle should be completely cool after about 15-20 minutes, after which you can break it up into pieces and serve. Or gift bag. Or store in a zip bag or airtight container. For awhile. It hasn’t lasted long enough around here to figure out its shelf-life.

Pine Nut Brittle | Flamingo Musings

*Recipe Notes:

Don’t bother toasting the pine nuts first. They’ll take on that glorious golden color as they cook in the “syrup”.

Seriously. Invest in a couple of good silicone baking mats. They might look pricey upfront, but you can throw ’em in the dishwasher, and they’ll last you for years and years for literally thousands of uses. Unless you do something stupid. Like put one under the broiler, like I did that one time. *Cough!*

You can double or even triple this recipe, according to how much you need.

Try this with other seeds and nuts, too, like sesame seeds, cashews pieces, almond pieces – whatever you like. Ooo! Pistachios!

Pine Nut Brittle | Flamingo Musings

Thank you for stopping by. You’ll love this brittle – both making it and eating it – and people who receive it will love you, too!

Happy Holidays!

signature~~~~~~

cookie_badge_2014

Please visit the rest of the Cookie Freaks crew and see what delights they’ve made up for you, this week!

Diana Cannone, To Di for Bakery, http://todiforbakery.com/news/

Judy Chiappini, No Fear Entertaining, http://www.nofearentertaining.blogspot.com/

Mandee Racer Pogue, The Kitchen Wife, http://www.thekitchenwife.net/

Marye Audet-White, Restless Chipotle, http://www.restlesschipotle.com/

Sandy Smith, Eat Real, http://www.weeatreal.com/

 

I was sent the Spiced Honey from Honey Ridge Farms (currently on sale, 10% off! – check out their online store) and the Pine Nuts from Frieda’s Specialty Produce (ask your store’s produce manager), as part of packages from previous posts. This is not a sponsored post, but I love their products and find all sorts of different uses for them. All opinions, recipes, text, and photographs are my own and original to RJ Flamingo and her real-life alter-ego, and are copyrighted materials, not to be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author. Links contained in this post may be affiliate links to my Amazon store. If you start here and buy anything on Amazon, I get a small commission. This does not increase your price, but does help me pay my web host. And buy food. Thank you for your support!

By RJ Flamingo ~ 7 Comments

‘Tis the Season for Salted Dulce de Leche Cookie Tarts

 

 

This is my third post for our little band of holiday cookie bakers, affectionately known as the Cookie Freaks. This week’s theme is “Fancies: Your cookie tray stars.”  I think you’ll agree that these Salted Dulce de Leche Cookie Tarts fill that description to a tee!

Coincidentally – or maybe not so much – it is also posting day for the Food Bloggers Cookie Swap, partnering with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. For the swap part of the FB Cookie Swap, I sent a dozen Salted Dulce de Leche Cookie Tarts to each of three other food bloggers. I hope they enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed creating them!
The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014

I took this recipe for my favorite no-chill sugar cookies, reduced the sugar a bit, and combined it with this “recipe” for dulce de leche, topped them with my favorite finishing salt, and was absolutely delighted with the combination! I think you’ll love them, too!

Dulce de Leche Cookie Tarts | Flamingo Musings

Salted Dulce de Leche Cookie Tarts

Yields about 2 dozen cookies.

For the cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup lemon or orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350º F.  Prepare a cookie sheet by your choice of (a) lining it with parchment paper; (b) lightly greasing it; or (c) lining it with a silicone baking mat.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center. Add the egg, sugar, oil, juice and vanilla to the well. Stir together, then switch to using your hand to combine thoroughly into a firm dough.

Roll out the dough to ¼” thick and cut into 1-1/2” discs. Tuck each disc into the bottom of a muffin tin and press down with a juice glass to form a rimmed cookie. Bake for 17-18 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown. Remove the cookies from the pan and allow to cool on racks.

cookie mold

I used the bottom of my 1/4 cup measure to mold the cookies, but a juice glass, or whatever fits the cups of your muffin tin, will work.

Dulce de Leche:

Ingredient:

  • 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk

Preparation:

Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Remove all labels from the cans of sweetened condensed milk, and put the unopened cans  in the pot of boiling water. Cover the pot and reduce the heat slightly so that the water continues to boil a bit less violently. Allow to boil for 2 hours, taking care to keep the water level over the tops of the cans at all times. Keep a kettle of hot water available to top off the pot when the water level drops. You can even go 3 hours, if you like it darker.

Remove the cans from the water and allow to cool before handling. If not using right away, you should probably mark the contents on the can. I keep mine in the refrigerator, just to be on the safe side (see previous paragraph regarding “paranoia”). Once opened, you should transfer it to a sealable container and refrigerate. It’ll keep for months unopened, and weeks after opening… if it actually lasts that long!

When you want to use some, open a can of your now-dulce de leche, spoon some out into a microwave-safe bowl. It will be really thick. Microwave on high for 15 seconds, give it a stir, and microwave for another 10 seconds. Repeat if necessary to get the spreadable or drizzly consistency you need. It will set up once cooled, so save this step for the last moment before serving.

Assemble:

Spoon or pipe a small amount of the dulce de leche into the “cookie tart”. Sprinkle each with a pinch of Wild Hibiscus Flower Pyramid Salt Flakes or your favorite finishing salt.

filling the cookie tarts

I used this fun decorating kit sent to me by OXO, one of the cookie swap’s partners to fill the cookies, but you can use two spoons – one to scoop up the dulce de leche, then another to push it off into each cookie.

You will have leftover dulce de leche, but since when is that a bad thing? If you haven’t eaten it with a spoon, just transfer the unused portion into an airtight container and refrigerate it until you do. 😉

Allow the cookies to sit undisturbed for several hours, or overnight, so the filling will set up. Then you can store them in a container for at least a week.

If they haven’t all disappeared before then.

Dulce de Leche Cookie Tarts | Flamingo Musings

 ~~~~~~

Thank you for stopping by – you’ll love these cookies and there’s more coming up! Visit often – surprises are in store!

signature

cookie_badge_2014

Please visit the rest of the Cookie Freaks crew and see what delights they’ve baked up for you, this week!

Diana Cannone, To Di for Bakery, http://todiforbakery.com/news/

Dianne Simmons, Dianne’s Dishes, http://www.diannesdishes.com/

Judy Chiappini, No Fear Entertaining, http://www.nofearentertaining.blogspot.com/

Mandee Racer Pogue, The Kitchen Wife, http://www.thekitchenwife.net/

Marye Audet-White, Restless Chipotle, http://www.restlesschipotle.com/

Sandy Smith, Eat Real, http://www.weeatreal.com/

Sherri Jo, The Adventures of Kitchen Girl Jo, http://kitchengirljo.blogspot.com/

 ~~~~~~

If you’d like to learn more about the Food Bloggers Cookie Swap, or would like to participate next year, visit here and sign up to receive notifications!

All opinions, recipes, text, and photographs are my own and original to RJ Flamingo and her real-life alter-ego, and are copyrighted materials, not to be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author. Links contained in this post may be affiliate links to my Amazon store. If you start here and buy anything on Amazon, I get a small commission. This does not increase your price, but does help me pay my web host. And buy food. Thank you for your support!

By RJ Flamingo ~ 3 Comments

Paté de Hibiscus, Cheese, & Girls’ Night In Wrap Party + Jarlsberg Giveaway

 

 

Chanukah begins next week, with Christmas and the New Year not too far behind. It’s the perfect time to have a “just us girls” evening, and wrap up the kids’ (and significant others’) gifts, away from those snooping curious eyes,  don’t you think? Well, Jarlsberg, Wild Hibiscus Flower Co., and Honey Ridge Farms thought so, too. They’re sponsoring this post and a fun giveaway, so you can make it happen. Oh, and *bonus* – Frieda’s Specialty Produce will be sending the lucky winner a box o’ yum, including just about all the fruit you see in this post, plus some other goodies, too!

jarlsberg | Flamingo Musings

We all love the Holiday Season and can’t wait for it to get here, right? And then it finally gets here and everything revolves around the rugrats kids and out-of-town visitors and family obligations. And we all promise our friends that we’ll get together after the New Year. Why wait?  With a few simple ingredients that take virtually no time at all (really!) to make it our own, and some help from the cheese counter and produce department at the store – and maybe a case of couple bottles of wine –  just have the girls over to dish and get “wrapped up” in the spirit, together!

I’ll be sharing more easy and quick recipe ideas over the next several days, but for now, let’s get started with the easiest one of them all: Paté de Hibiscus. Actually, it’s a much firmer version of my Wild Hibiscus Jelly recipe, especially prepared so it can be sliced or cut into fun shapes to go with cheese plates or just snacking. Sort of a paté de fruit, but made from Wild Hibiscus Heart-Tee herbal tea! Fine. It’s more like really firm jello. But vegan. Also, it sounds better in French.

cutouts01_6147_400

Paté de Wild Hibiscus

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 3 Wild Hibiscus Heart-T herbal tea bags
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 4 tsp. Pomona’s Pectin calcium water*
  • 1/2 cup pure cane sugar
  • 3 tsp. Pomona’s Pectin pectin powder*

Preparation:

Place a small dish in the freezer for gel-testing, later.

In a small saucepan (2 quart or so capacity), bring the water to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat, remove the tags from the tea bags and place the tea bags in the hot water. Stir, then cover and allow to steep for about 3 minutes. Remove the tea bags from the water.

Hibiscus Paté Gel

Bring the tea back to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the lemon juice and the calcium water.

Mix the pectin powder thoroughly with the sugar, and add it to the pot gradually, stirring vigorously until the sugar and pectin are completely dissolved.

Continue boiling for another 2 minutes.  Take the dish out of the freezer and place a small amount of the liquid onto it. Return the dish to the freezer for another 2 minutes. At the end of that time, remove the dish from the freezer. If the liquid is firm and moves intact when pushed with your finger or the tip of a spoon, it’s ready.

Pour the liquid into an 8″ x 8″ or 9″ x 9″ square heat-proof glass casserole dish. It will start setting up almost immediately. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use – at least one hour, to make sure that it’s cool enough to handle.

Hibiscus Paté Gel

Here’s where we have some fun! Run a dinner knife or thin-bladed spatula around the edges. Now, flip the dish over onto a cutting board. If you have small (1-inch) pastry cutters, just press them into the jell and cut out your shapes! *Hint* – After pressing the cutter all the way through the jell, tilt it slightly before lifting it out. Your cut-out shape should come out with the cutter and you can gently push it out. If your shape stays in the jell, just take that same dinner knife and slide it under the shape and gently push it up. It’ll pop right out!

Don’t have itty-bitty cutters? No problem. Just use that dinner knife to slice squares into the jell. Surely you can do a better job than I did. 😉

Hibiscus Jell Cutouts | Flamingo Musings

Hibiscus Jell Shapes | Flamingo Musings

*(Recipe Note:  I only use Pomona’s Universal Pectin in my jam and jelly  – and now, vegan jell and paté de fruit – recipes. Each box consists of 2 packets: one smaller packet that contains the calcium powder to be mixed with water – 1/2 tsp. calcium powder mixed with 1/2 cup of water – that’s the “calcium water” – and one larger packet that contains the pectin powder.)

jarlsberg | Flamingo Musings

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Ready to put it together? Get a head start by entering to win all of this deliciousness! The winner of this giveaway will receive: A coupon for FREE Jarlsberg cheese, a very cool slate cheeseboard, a cheese plane, a whole range of Wild Hibiscus Flower Co. products, and a variety of Honey Ridge Farms honey products!

prize package

~~PLUS~~

A gift box from Frieda’s Specialty Produce, including the best seasonal produce, Pine Nuts, sweet and delicious Raisins on the Vine, crepes, and much more!

Friedas_PRIZEBOX

Just click into the Rafflecopter box, below, and get your entries in by Monday night (December 15th) at midnight!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

While this post was sponsored by Jarlsberg, USA, Wild Hibiscus Flower Company, and Honey Ridge Farms, all opinions, recipes, text, and photographs are my own and original to RJ Flamingo and her real-life alter-ego, and are copyrighted materials, not to be reproduced in any form without express permission from the author. All fruit used in this post and its photographs, was provided by Frieda’s Specialty Produce. When I write about a brand or product, it’s always something that I personally love and would recommend to my own mother. Sponsored posts help me pay my web host. And buy food. Thank you for your support!

Vegan Hibiscus
By RJ Flamingo ~ 58 Comments

‘Tis the Season for Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies

 

 

(Dear Readers:  The photos for this post are just awful. I’m sorry. I can’t dwell on it. It’s too depressing. Please don’t judge the recipe on the basis of the pictures. The cookies are delicious!  Thank you.)

This is my second post for our little band of holiday cookie bakers, affectionately known as the Cookie Freaks. This week’s theme is: Formed and Decorated. Among the group, you’ll find shortbreads, spritz, sandwich cookies, rolls, maybe even a gingerbread house, if the rumors are true!

Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies | Flamingo Musings

Not here, of course.  I will start out by informing you that I am cookie-decorating-challenged. I’m of the “drag it through some sugar and be done with it” school of decorating. So, I’m keeping it simple this week, and because I think we’re all feeling a bit of a yen for chocolate, I thought it might be fun to take my usual sugar cookie and infuse it with deep, soul-satisfying, chocolatey (is that a word?) flavor. It’s also a wonderful blank canvas for decoration, whether with sparkly sugars, shiny dragees, or even frosting. This is a sturdy, crispy cookie that will travel well and will stand up to the decorating excesses of the most enthusiastic toddler without breaking!

Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies | Flamingo Musings

Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350º F.  Prepare a cookie sheet by your choice of (a) lining it with parchment paper; (b) lightly greasing it; or (c) lining it with a silicone baking mat.

In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center. Add the egg, sugar, oil, juice and vanilla to the well. Stir together, then switch to using your hand to combine thoroughly into a firm dough.

Roll out the dough to ¼” thick and cut into shapes with your favorite cookie cutters. Place each raw cookie on a plate of decorative sugar or cookie decor of your choice (sprinkles, jimmies, whatever you like), then place the cookie on the prepared baking pan.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are set and you can smell chocolate.  Allow the cookies to cool in place on the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove them to racks to cool completely.

Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies | Flamingo Musings

*Recipe Notes:

Use a flavorless vegetable oil (generic vegetable oil, sunflower, safflower, canola, etc.) not olive oil.

You may substitute soy or almond milk, or dairy milk for the orange juice. I wanted to keep this non-dairy.

If you want to decorate the cookies with frosting, just skip the sugar or decor dip prior to baking, and bake them plain. Decorate when the cookies are completely cool. I’m just not that talented. :-)  I’m not sure where I’d put iced cookies to dry for 24 hours, but if you have the time and space, try this (relatively) easy recipe and technique from TheKitchn.com – a simple milk and powdered sugar icing for us non-pros.

Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies | Flamingo Musings

 ~~~~~~

Thank you for stopping by – you’ll love these cookies and everything else I’ve got coming up in the next few weeks! Visit often – surprises are in store!signature

cookie_badge_2014

Please visit the rest of the Cookie Freaks crew and see what delights they’ve baked up for you, this week!

Diana Cannone, To Di for Bakery, http://todiforbakery.com/news/

Dianne Simmons, Dianne’s Dishes, http://www.diannesdishes.com/

Judy Chiappini, No Fear Entertaining, http://www.nofearentertaining.blogspot.com/

Mandee Racer Pogue, The Kitchen Wife, http://www.thekitchenwife.net/

Marye Audet-White, Restless Chipotle, http://www.restlesschipotle.com/

Sandy Smith, Eat Real, http://www.weeatreal.com/

Sherri Jo, The Adventures of Kitchen Girl Jo, http://kitchengirljo.blogspot.com/

Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies | Flamingo Musings

By RJ Flamingo ~ 9 Comments
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