Whenever I get back from a trip that includes Austria, I have a tendency to want to make strudel. Remember last year? It was the Cherry Chocolate version. This year, I really wanted to make something with rhubarb, but the local strawberries aren’t ripe yet, and they can be a little wet. So I made this Rhubarb Apple version instead. Total deliciousness!
I’ve made these before. OK, it was a variation of them, but this is one of my most versatile recipes… use currants, cherries, blueberries or raspberries (I would stay a little away from strawberries because they are too liquidy). While sometimes I make my own jam, this time I was lazy (or “made it easy”) by using store bought. Black currants aren’t exactly in season in Spring in New England!
I was recently given a bottle of smoked maple syrup. Yes, I was skeptical as well, especially when I opened the bottle and it was really, really smokey. Hickory and Oak, but smoke, smoke, smoke. I thought long and hard about what I should experiment with, and ultimately, I think that it would go great simply poured over some BBQ ribs, but I thought that I would actually try it in a sweet application, so I came up with this recipe for blondies. And you know what? It worked and they are actually very good. The smoke flavor (and admittedly, I only used a few tablespoons) is really tempered by the toffee and maple and instead of it tasking like smoke, it simply has a deep, almost earthy thing going on. Really quite nice. Also, if you don’t want do the whole “smoke” thing, this recipe works just as well with regular maple syrup.
Today, I had to say goodbye to some dear friends. OK, so it isn’t a real goodbye as I am positive that I will see then again and through the powers of this Internet thing, I am quite sure that we will be in touch all the time, but today these two friends stopped being co-tenants. They moved into the building we shared within weeks of me, and it’s been a decade of living here, so ten years of waves and smiles when we were in a hurry, gossip about other neighbors, the parking, the laundry, the snow — god, the snow of 2015! — Italy, Harvard, Germany, our respective families and cats. They have always gotten my foodie experiments, and I remember telling Erin about CSPS a few weeks after I went down this path and she trying my Roasted Salsa Black Bean Soup (March 2011). In exchange, I always received extras from their Crop Share (thank you again, guys!). So a fare-ye-well from me always involves food. So I made these Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie Cupcakes with Butter Pecan Frosting for them to take on their drive down to their new home.
We’ll be moving on from the Easter Theme here shortly, but I thought that I would post one more Carrot Cake idea: This is Carrot Cake Cheesecake, carrot cake on the bottom, light and flavorful cheesecake on the top, lots of pecans in both. Lovely dessert for this Easter Sunday.