Some friends dropped off a bag of fresh oranges from their tree so i wanted to use them up! This recipe for Cranberry Orange Bread with Grand Marnier Glaze looked fabulous, but don't let the name fool you, this is loaf cake not bread! And it makes two loaves!! Double Yum! This loaf cake is delicious! Seriously, i could eat a whole loaf on my own! I love that its more tart than sweet and the orange is a nice accompaniment to the cranberry. The texture is moist and not crumbly. I made a few changes to the recipe: I switched out dried cranberries for fresh-frozen ones that i had in the freezer. The fresh cranberries are very tart, while the dried are more sweet, if you want a sweeter bread definitely use the dried! I also added a tablespoon of Grand Marnier (an orange flavored french liqueur) to the batter for extra orange flavor (you could subsitute orange juice for a sweeter flavor). This combination made for a very tart, less sweet cake that i just love! The flavor of the tart cranberry is very prominent and the orange adds a fresh citrus backdrop... the Grand Marnier in the Glaze creates an extra orange component to this cake as the liqueur cuts the sweetness of the powdered sugar perfectly. If you wanted a sweeter glaze you could easily substitute the liqueur for orange juice. Enjoy!
I found an absolutely delicious looking strawberry-raspberry jam at the grocery store last night, perfect for Jam Thumbprint Cookies! The name of the jam is A Red Duet by Mountain Fruit Co. and is made nearby in Chico California. There are only five ingredients in this jam: strawberries, raspberries, sugar, pectin and lemon juice. The jam is fruity and tart without being overly sweet, unlike most commercial jams. These little cookies are super easy to make and taste delicious. The cookie is a shortbread base that is rolled in an eggwash and coated in shredded coconut. An indent in pushed into the top of each cookie and filled with a little jam before baking. The toasted coconut coating gives the buttery cookie a nice nutty warm crunch and the tiny dab of tart strawberry-raspberry jam adds a pleasant fruity accompaniment. Here are a couple of my hints for making this cookie: I weighed out each ball of dough to exactly 1 ounce, i know it sounds extreme but each cookie baked to exactly the same doneness and size. I chilled my dough after i rolled out the little balls (the recipe calls for chilling the dough then rolling into balls), it just seemed to speed the process up, after the balls chilled they were ready to go. Make sure you purchase a 7 ounce bag of shedded coconut because you will use the entire bag! To make a consistent indent, i used the small end of a melon-baller scoop to press out an indentation in each ball of dough. Each indent was the same size and all the cookies looked identical with an even amount of jam on each. Enjoy!
I received an order for a dozen Valentines Cookies that are going to be given to children around the ages of 6 to 11....hmmm.... i knew i wanted to create a whimsical and fun design that would appeal to kids, so i came up with the "Love Bug"! The Love Bug is a special Valentines Lady Bug that only comes around in February. She has special heart shaped spots instead of the typical round spots... she is always smiling and ready to spread sweet cheer and love to all those that receive her as a Valentines gift! This is a typical sugar cookie recipe, rolled out to approx. 1/4" thick. Here is a hint on how to get an even thickness for all your cookies: my dad cut some scrap strips of lumber about the size of a ruler, in different thicknesses. I have 1/4", 1/8", 1/16" and 3/8". Place your dough between the two slats of wood and roll over the wood. Voila, perfectly even rolled out dough!. These slats of wood help insure that all my dough is rolled out to the perfect thickness so that they all cook evenly and are uniform in size. Each Love Bug is about 3 inches and is decorated in red, black and white royal icing. Enjoy!
I had some really ripe bananas that i needed to use up this weekend... so i decided to try out this Ina Garten recipe called Banana Crunch Muffins. I was reading thru the recipe and realized i didnt have: coconut, walnuts, granola or banana chips... hmmmm, i did have a box of Honey Nut Crunch cereal! I read thru the reviews of the recipe and one baker omitted a lot of the extra ingredients and used cereal instead so i decided to go for it! I made the basic recipe minus the above mentioned items and topped off my batter with a sprinkling of the cereal before baking. The recipe is delicious and moist with lots of banana flavor and the cereal (which has granola and almond slices in it) was a terrific crunchy topping. I will definately try these again with all the "proper" ingredients, but if you have some spare bananas and some cereal on hand, give this a try! Enjoy!