Coconut Maadamia Girl Scout Samaos Cheesecake

Coconut Macadamia Girl Scout Samoas Cheesecake

Candied Macadamia Toppng

Girl Scout Samoas

The other day I was sitting with a friend during her own food photo shoot for a international critically acclaimed newspaper, and she  reminisced about the first food she tasted of mine over a decade ago. It was cheesecake which she loved. It got me to thinking I haven’t made one in a while. While I love to bake , I’m not a frantic baker as Certain Someone and I prefer the savory side . But every now and then I knock a dessert out of the park he loves, like my trifles or puddings. It’s no wonder he enjoyed this creation too. If you have some boxes of Girl Scout Samoas, obligatorily  procured a few month ago from co-workers, some macadamias in the freezer, and cream cheese and eggs, this recipe is for you. Rather than use cream or sour cream in this cake  I decided to add coconut to the theme by using Cream of Coconut, which is thicker and sweeter than coconut milk. Continue reading “Coconut Macadamia Girl Scout Samoas Cheesecake”

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Marzipan Petit Fours For Easter, A Time of Resurrection

paiting medallionsEaster is upon us. The most important religious holiday for Christians as it symbolizes Resurrection. If you don’t practice Christianity, spring time is about renewal and hope. That is why this holiday is the most energizing and inspiring time for me. New colors, new foods, new looks. It’s about a fresh start and forgiveness. When I think about where I am merging art, lifestyle and foods I thought about what images I love to see for Easter. I love the richness  and nobility of a Faberge Egg . I love dainty teas or coffee breaks with exquisite pastry. So using what I had on hand, marzipan, frozen cake, and edible colors from a cake decoration kit, I wanted to create exquisite edible gifts to celebrate this cleansing season. Continue reading “Marzipan Petit Fours For Easter, A Time of Resurrection”

Marzipan Eyeballs…Great Hallow Tweet Halloween Blog Hop

It’s that time of year again . Time for the Great Hallow Tweet. Now many of my faithful readers know that I like  to craft both the beautiful and macabre from edible sources. So naturally with Halloween coming up , why not some edible eyeballs amongst the pumpkins. I don’t have kids, but I think they will love this easy project. Serve them up on a bed of almonds for a homemade candy . You can make your own marzipan or buy it.  I find with most brands I like to add a bit of mine own flavor. Rather than knead color in , the colors are painted on. This a great gluten free, child friendly, no cook recipe project.

Be sure to visit my other ghoulish partners in the Great Hallow Tweet on my sidebar for other fantastic ideas and recipes.

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Marzipan  Eye Balls

Things you will need:

  • Food Grade Color gels from Wilton or other sugar craft supply source (White, Blue, Black, and Red)
  • Good quality Marzipan. A little goes a long way.
  • 3-4 small brushes used only for cake decorating.
  •  A few tablespoons Clear Vanilla Extract or Vodka/Rum to dilute food color gel
  • Piping tip to make indentation.
  • Toothpicks  to remove color and drag paint veins in eyes.

*Normally I steam finish my marzipan’s to set the color,however as this is a child friendly recipe, you can skip this step.

How To:

  1.  Roll marzipan’s into round balls.
  2.  Take a piping tip and indent the shape of an Iris. This will help keep your colors in place and add depth.
  3.  Dilute your white food color gel with clear alcohol (vodka or clear extract)
  4.  Paint eyeball white with the exception of Iris.
  5.  Paint Iris color of choice.
  6. Paint Pupil Black.
  7. Taking a thin brush or toothpick dragged in red gel, paint on veins on the whites.
  8.   Lift with offset spatula and let set and dry.

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Suggested Serving Ideas:

  • Boxed up for your  party guests
  • Cupcake or Cake toppers
  • On a tray of almonds

 

Almond Rose Turkish Delight and A Giveaway for Substituting Ingredients

A certain ennui is settling over my kitchen. It could be that I’m just plain exhausted with new part  time hours working as a line cook for a well known caterer in addition to my day job.The hours there can be feast or famine, and lately its a feast, which leaves me exhausted.Imagine 16 hour days with your day job and then working the kitchen  for the love of it and to gain  practical experience. I confess I’m learning and hedging my bets at the same time. In these financial times, with job uncertainty, it’s good to get any experience you can, as the more traditional jobs are scarce.Lately I have all these cooking plans for fun and by the time a quick dinner is made and Certain Someone and I are settled, I just drift away. Maybe it’s  the heat too. Who knows, but I need my drive and inspiration back,soon.It happens to all of us from time to time.

Before I get to this weeks fun recipe of Turkish Delight,I want to talk about a little book that was just published and should be in every ones kitchen.

Substituting Ingredients by Becky Sue Epstein is a indispensable guide for the kitchen. In these lean times, its nice to have a book on hand that resolves a ingredient dilemma , without having to run to the store and spend yet more money.Upon reading this book you will find out how to find replacements for herbs, spices, fruits,and other essential ingredients, Becky Sue also includes recipes for mixes like Hot Cocoa to a Garam Masala, and ketchup.My favorite part of the book is the chapter on Household formulas. Becky Sue shows how to replace costly toxic chemicals with formulas made from household ingredients.I found this book simple,and easy to use. It will be well thumbed as I go about  my cooking and baking endeavors. I have one copy of this book to give away. Leave a comment at this end of this post and I will chose a winner next week.Comments close for entry July 3.
I received my copy of Dessert Professional Magazine last month and saw a recipe I knew I had to attempt at home.Turkish Delight! The recipe was excerpted from Chocolates and Confections by Peter P. Greweling of the Culinary Institute of America.His Turkish Delight looked like  clear solid perfection . I substituted out pistachios for what was on hand, slivered almonds.The slivered almonds stuck out and didn’t  allow for a smooth cut. Buts that’s the beauty of Turkish Delight, its many variations.I confess mine looks rather crude compared to the photo in Dessert Professional, but it was tasty . My only complaint is that the humidity caused my pieces to sweat after dusting the next day. The heat and humidity is extreme here in Chicago currently, so I wouldn’t advise making this when humid. But I will be making it again.Here was an interesting thread on some other peoples experience making this particular recipe as well .
Turkish Delight or Lokum was created in response  by a crafty confectioner,Ali Muhiddin Hacı Bekir, for a sultan in the Ottoman Empire who tired of hard candy.Ali Muhiddins descendants still sell Rahat Lokums ( comfortable morsels) to this day in many variations . Turkish Delight become popular with the west through CS Lewis’ The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe.For those that are looking for a gummy type of confection , without the use of gelatin or animal products, this is the recipe for you. Turkish Delight gets its consistency from a mixture of cream of Tartar, corn starch,and sugar, The variations come with additions of nuts and flavors. Rose water is one of the most popular flavorings.For this recipe , which I adapted, I ramped up the almond and rose flavors.

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Almond Rose Turkish Delight

adapted from the Turkish Delight Recipe in Chocolates and Confections by Peter Greweling .*
Changes made where * appear.
Makes 9×13 inch slab

Sugar Syrup

  • (2lb)4 cups granulated sugar
  • (8oz)1 cup water
  • 1tsp cream of tarter
  • Starch Paste
  • (4oz)1 cup Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp Cream of Tarter
  • (24 oz)3 cups water

*Flavoring

  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • a few drops of rose colored food coloring
  • 1 cup slivered almonds

Dusting /Coating

  • (2oz)1/2 cup Confectioners Sugar
  • (1oz)1/4 cup Cornstarch

Oil and line a 9×13 inch baking pan with plastic wrap.Use a neutral  non flavored vegetable oil.Lightly oil the top of the wrap as well.
In a 2 qt saucepan, combine sugar, water, and cream of tarter. Bring to a boil , cover and boil for 4 minutes without stirring.After 4 minutes, remove lid, and place a candy thermometer in. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a temperature of 260F.Remove from heat and set aside.
In a 4 qt saucepan mix the ingredients for the starch paste (Cornstarch,Cream of tarter,and water).
Stir with a whisk over medium heat until the mixture starts to thicken and boil.The mixture will be thick and pasty,but continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.
Taking the sugar syrup from before, add it gradually in a stream to the starch paste while whisking on the heat.Bring the combined mixtures to a soft boil and continue to whisk on a lowered heat until the mixture is smooth and clear.Cook for 20-25 minutes.
Remove pot from the heat and stir in rose and almond flavors, coloring , and nuts.
Pour into the prepared pan and lay a piece of plastic wrap on top. Leave to cool overnight.
In a large bowl sift together the confectioners sugar and cornstarch to dust the candy pieces in in, Cut the candy and roll in mixture.
Store in airtight , dry temperature.

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We Bake Bon Appetit …Day 7 Stained Glass Lemon Cookies

For a few years I have been seeing these Stained Glass Holiday Cookies. Ground hard candies are inserted into the cookies cutouts for a stained glass effect. I used Jolly Ranchers. The recipe called for red and green candies, but I took artistic licensee and used the assorted colors. I love the zesty lemon bite to these buttery cookies. My only problem with them is sometimes the candy oozed out of the lines. But no biggie. Once hardened its like two treats in one, the cookie and the candy. Be creative with this. I tried to mix two colors but they all ran together.
You can find the recipe here.

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