A few final thoughts for Valentine’s Day this year, and this one would be great for kids. Admittedly, these are really time consuming to make, but I made the graham cracker bears a few days in advance and just the cupcakes and frosting this morning. Obviously a play on the whole S’Mores thing (chocolate = the cupcakes, marshmallows = the frosting, graham crackers = the bears). Cute, eh?
So, this weekend is a special weekend in the CSPS world. It was this weekend (yesterday, to be exact), six years ago, that the Foodie World of Cup of Sugar :: Pinch of Salt came to be. 2010 had been a fairly crap year, I’d spent most of January 2011 hiding in my kitchen making comfort food and then the inspiration came: why not make “something” of this. Of course, I had no idea that that something would turn into sharing all my experiments with you all, but here we are, six year on. Almost 1300 recipes. But who’s counting.
So, in honor of this little blog-o-versary (lame, I’m making up words again), I made some chocolates. They say that I am nuts about you. Because, I’m kinda nuts about you. Really. 🙂
Continuing the Valentine’s Day theme … Two types of Christmas Cookies that I often make are both Snowball Cookies (aka Russian Tea Cakes or Mexican Wedding Cookies, they have lots of names) and my Walnuß Kardamom Schneebällchen (similar cookies as normal snowballs, but with Walnuts and Cardamom). Both are delicious, but these have a new twist: hidden inside are Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses (I used the dark chocolate ones because I like them better). Hence the name: Secret Kisses. Perfect for your special someone.
Here is my unsolicited piece of advice for fruit pie baking: cook the fillings separately. There are lots of reasons that this is a good idea, but most importantly, if you are baking a two crust pie (top and bottom), pies have a tendency to dome; that is, you fill them full of raw fruit and then when the fruit condenses in the baking process, you have a top crust that sits above (or collapses on to) the pie. If you cook the filling ahead of time, then you’ve already removed much of the water from the equation. Another bonus of cooking the filling separately is that you can do it up to a week in advance, so you aren’t pressed for time on the day of, or the day before, the holiday. Fair warning though, you will need double as much fruit than if you use raw in your pie. For example, this 9-inch pie used a full 14 medium sized apples (my non-pre-cook recipe uses about 8 apples).
Not even 5 days past Halloween and I am already focusing on things to make for Thanksgiving. Every year I make a variation on the usually “cranberry sauce” and this year is no different. In that I added Ginger and Red onion and made more of a chutney than a plain sauce. There are cloves and cinnamon in there too, and orange juice, so a whole lot of flavors. It’s lovely though: tart and sweet and savory and complex. The best part about it: you can make it up to three weeks in advance, keep refrigerated in jars (like you would “freezer jam) and it’s lovely and fresh on Thanksgiving Day.