Switching gears from some of my Easter baking to another Springtime ritual here in New England: Maple Syrup. Seriously one of the best things on the planet. And no, not the fake stuff that is made from corn syrup but the real maple syrup that comes from trees and all. Last weekend was Maine Maple Sunday (always the 4th Sunday in March, right around when the trees should be tapped) and many of the producers had open houses. No, I don’t live in Maine, but close enough (not to mention family lives there, and many friends) so I got to thinking that I should commemorate this year’s “harvest” somehow. These lovely, crispy, nutty, maple-y cookies did the trick. Enjoy!
The first things that I will say about this project is that it is time consuming, somewhat frustrating and at some point, you will be asking yourself why the heck you are doing it. But then the presentation wins out because they are very pretty. And tasty. Here is the deal … and I am mentioning this right away so you can plan for it … first you need to painstakingly poke holes and drain a dozen eggs of their content. This took me an hour (even though I have done this before and thus have “had practice”). Then you have to “wash” the insides of the eggs by soaking them in water and wiping them and shaking them somewhat dry. Once you’ve done all that, the actual making of the cake batter and filling them with a piping bag, and then baking seems minor. At any rate, it seemed like it was an all day affair. Was it worth it? Yeah, the “cupcakes” (which you can also just make regular cupcakes out of, of course) were yummy, the presentation is fun and I like them. So there.
Easter is still a few weeks away, but I’ve decided to start making a few things early this year, in hopes of inspiring friends to do some baking this spring. It’s also the first day of Spring today, though the weather outside would not indicate that. Anyway, Easter and Spring … birds and nests and easter eggs. Cookies.
This pie could also be called “I have a lot of frozen berries in the freezer that I really should use up” Pie. I always pick a lot of PYO berries in the summer — strawberries, high-bush blueberries, raspberries and this year, red currants (my favorite). Summer time is then full of pie, but some do end up in the freezer. So when I got this new pie plate (Eat More Pie! Words to live by), I thought I would use up some of the berries. Ended up using some jarred cherries as well. Summertime on the last official day of winter!
A couple of weeks ago, I tried to make “Homemade Gummi Bears”. Well, sort of homemade gummi bears, in that they were fruit jellies. It didn’t work so well. In fact, a number of times, it was a bust. But as my mom and a number of my friends really like these sorts of candies, I made a few more attempts and eventually got them right. That is this recipe. And even with this recipe, they aren’t the easiest things in the world to make. I think that some of it may actually also be dependent on how moist the air is on any given day, because sometimes they just don’t set. If I had to give advice on these, I would tell you that practice makes perfect (or as close to perfect as I can get). Good luck!