Good morning sun.
It’s the first sun we’ve seen all year and it’s beautiful.

This is a recipe for peanut butter smores in the middle of winter.

I always thought that marshmallows were hard to make, Alton Brown has shown me otherwise. It’s simple and well worth the effort I think. The recipe is an open canvas for flavour, so create.

I did take this recipe from here, but it’s my first time, so go easy on me. I paired these marshmallows with a peanut butter cookie and dipped the top in dark chocolate. The recipe makes 8 large cookies and in the interest of moderation I suggest that you make the cookies smaller, (1-2 t. balls of cookie dough instead of 1T. balls)

Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 c. room temp. butter
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla
1 egg
1 c. flour

Beat butter and peanut butter together until combined. Add sugars, baking soda and powder and mix until combined. Add vanilla and egg and stir until Incorporated. Mix in flour. Roll into balls and flatten cookies with a fork. Bake at 350ºf for 10-12 minutes of golden around edges.

Vanilla Marshmallows

3 pkgs. gelatin powder
1 c. cold water, divided
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1/4 c. icing sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch

Place the gelatin into the bowl of a mixer with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cook until the mixture reaches 240ºf, approximately 10-15 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer on 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, about 11 minutes for softer marshmallows and 13 minutes for firmer ones. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping.

To make molds grease pan (I used a loaf pan) and sift in icing sugar/cornstarch mixture to coat all sides well. Alternatively, grease and dust parchment paper and pipe marshmallows into lines, cut when firm to make mini-marshmallows. I just piped my mixture onto the cookies.

I made this yesterday.

While at T&T in the city the other day we happened across kaffir lime leaves. Though commonly used in savory cooking, I, inspired by the wonderful fragrance, wanted to make it into a dessert. So I made a kaffir lime leave sorbet. To accompany it, rum and coconut. A sweet rum tart. A coconut tuile. A spicy candied pecan. And candied lime leaves.

The kaffir lime is native to Indonesia and Malaysia and is grown on a thorny bush. Unlike a regular lime these leaves are very sweet and can be eaten, though they are commonly used for flavour. The kaffir lime leaf has a very unique citrusy-floral flavour that can not be substituted.

I couldn’t find a recipe I wanted to use so I made my own. It needs work, but the basics are there. There are two types of custards stovetop and baked. I wanted a combination of the two and I also wanted a mixture that did not have a starch in it.

In my recipe I used 1 c. of liquid to 2 egg yolks and 3 T. of sugar.
The minimum ratio which will produce a properly thickened custard is 1 c. of liquid to 1 egg plus 2 T. of sugar.
Increased sugar lengthens cooking time and makes result less firm.
Increased egg yolks shortens cooking time and make results more firm.
Two egg yolks can be used in place of one whole egg.

Rum tart

1 1/4 c. AP flour
1/2 c. icing sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. cold butter, cut in 3/4-inch pieces
2 lrg egg yolks
1 T. heavy cream

1/2 c. cream
1/2 c. milk
2 egg yolks
3 T. sugar
1/4 fresh nutmeg
2 T. dark rum

In food processor combine flour, icing sugar and salt. Pulse 1 or 2 times to mix. Add butter pieces and pulse 7-8 times until mixture forms coarse crumbs. In small bowl lightly beat egg yolks with a fork, then stir in cream until blended. With motor running, add the egg mixture and process just until the dough begins to come together, but does not form a ball.

On a work surface, shape dough into flat disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 45 minutes or up to overnight.

Roll out crust into 4-inch tart shells and par bake in 350ºf oven for 10 minutes.

Heat cream and milk in saucepan until hot but not boiling. Meanwhile mix together egg yolks and sugar. Temper in hot milk. Pour mixture into saucepan and heat stirring constantly over medium heat until mixture coats back of a wooden spoon. Take pan off heat and mix in rum.

Pour mixture into shells and bake in 325 ºf oven until centers are set. About 25-30 minutes.

Let’s talk about this

This is the perk or having friends.

What a magical night in the city we had. With two very worthy companions I ate and one of the city’s best restaurants, West. I can still feel the textures on my tongue and tingling in my toes from such a wonderful experience.

We dined gazing into a beautiful kitchen, watching the graceful dance that happens in a well-run kitchen. Amazing food and wonderful company.

Plate after plate, sweetbreads, fois gras, mussels, pork tongue, the kitchen kept sending out food. Until we couldn’t eat any more, when they sent out deserts.

This is a storm. A rain storm, even though is ugly out it’s really pretty to listen to. Soft taping on the glass, familiar streaks falling, wind throwing gusts through the trees and over the walls. Tonight deserves a cup of steaming tea and a book. Speaking of which, any recommendations?

Due to a surplus of vanilla genoise from this delicious desert, I decided to make a cake. Blackberry layer cake to be exact. It was wonderful. A stark contrast to the weather outdoors and sound confirmation that I miss summer.

A summer like I used to spend picking delicious wild blackberries from behind our little house. Picking only as many as we could eat before retiring to the house with nothing to show for our efforts.

This recipe I pulled together with a little homemade blackberry-strawberry jam and a little buttercream frosting. It’s the richest frosting I have ever tasted and its melt in your mouth texture means you need only a very little piece.

Happy puddle jumping!

a sort of funny story

In keeping with a winter theme, happy snow day!
We got an extended vacation this year.
S. also took a snow day.
So we made a desert we’ve been meaning to finish.

Green tea ice cream, vanilla genoise, blood orange curd, soft meringue and blood orange reduction. Though the components sound odd, together they taste amazing.

Since we couldn’t find and matcha powder on the shelves of the stores in our small town we went to Starbucks where we knew they had it.

“Hey” we said to the little girl working “We need green tea powder”
Her, “Ummmmmmmmm, whhhhhhhhhat?”
Us: “You know the stuff you make green tea lattes with, we’ll pay you what it costs to make the drink but all we want is the powder”
Her: “ohhhhhh, I …don’t….knowwwww”
Us: “We just need a little to cook with”
Her: “… … ..Ohh! okay!! You can just have some! How much??”
Us: “Like two tablespoons”
She comes back with 1/3 cup.
Her: “Is that enough”
Us: “YUP!” and we quickly scamper away.

The following morning I spilled all but two tablespoons of it on the floor.

today was: warm maple waffles, a very long drive, chains for traction, long lifts, steaming soup, a good thrill, wet snow on my back, cold toes, large flakes,
chocolaty coffee, chickpea stew and a warm shower.

I’d forgotten what it felt like on the slopes. Happy snow days!

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