Archive for the 'sweets' Category

Persimmon pudding!

I think I’ve eaten persimmons once in my entire life – when I was a kid, I remember walking down the road with my dad (they live out in the boonies) and eating a persimmon straight from the tree (or from the ground, I guess, if it was ripe). I don’t remember its flavor, but last week during downtime at work I was surfing food blogs and kept seeing PERSIMMONS. I figured if the foodbloggers were using them, they must be in season, so I commissioned my dad for help.

Today we drove out to the lake and found a few persimmon trees. Either people or raccoons had already scavenged most of them, but we managed to gather enough for me to get a cup of persimmon pulp to use in a recipe I found for persimmon pudding. I’m sure it was a comical sight. I followed my dad around with a big bucket while he whacked at high branches with a stick. Eventually we gave up that mode of operation and he just started throwing sticks at the highest branches. Whatever – it worked. Great father-daughter together time!

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Aren’t they wonderfully ugly? I picked out a bunch of persimmon seeds with sticky hands until I had enough pulp.

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I’m not sure if this was more or less difficult than normal… seeing as how I used wild persimmons, or native persimmons, or whatever you want to call them.

I looked up this recipe for Gram’s Persimmon Pudding earlier this week. I chose this one because it focused mainly on the sweet flavor of the persimmons – I didn’t want to add raisins or walnuts or anything else that might detract from their flavor. However, when I made the pudding, I added more cinnamon than it called for, because I’m a cinnamon freak.

The result?
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Even my niece Cheyenne (pictured to the right of the pudding above) liked it – and Cheyenne normally lives on a steady diet of macaroni and cheese and “white milk” (she feels the need to specify whenever she wants a glass of milk. it’s adorable).

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This persimmon pudding is sweet, moist and wonderful. It’d be perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas, depending on when the first frost is (down here in Tejas, it took until last week for the first real freeze). The recipe suggested you bake at 300 for about an hour, but I lopped almost half an hour off the cooking time because it had already set and browned. The middle’s a little moist, and maybe it isn’t supposed to be, but I have a history of underbaking things because I like cookies and such just a mite underdone.

Last night, when I was a bit inebriated in various manners, I attempted to make a sticky toffee pudding and failed horribly. However, the results were still edible and, according to my dad, quite good.

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I know exactly what I did wrong, though, and I’m going to try to make it correctly when I’m completely sober. First of all, it called for dates, but I didn’t have any. I had some frozen dried cherries, and I soaked them in hot water while I mixed up the rest of the pudding and used those instead. As an afterthought I threw in some dried cranberries. When I was preparing the pudding mixture, I didn’t whisk the brown sugar and butter together for a long enough duration. And when I was preparing the sauce, I forgot to add water at first, so the topping you see is crunchy toffee. Still yummy, even if it’s a horrible mistake!

As a side note, I made an interesting grilled cheese Friday night. I used fresh Italian bread, havarti with dill, sliced tomatoes and fresh basil. Now THAT’S a grilled cheese, dammit! My roomie pulled the tomato and basil off hers, but I forgive her.

And I’d provide you with a photo of the DELICIOUS RASPBERRY OATMEAL COOKIE BARS I made last night, but I had a few friends over and, well, they gobbled them all up. I’ll take that as a compliment. I didn’t expect them to be as popular, because instead of using raspberry jam, I used the black currant jam I’ve been saving for a special occasion. I know I’ve never eaten any black currant-flavored baked goods, so I expected my friends to be a bit wary. They weren’t. It was great. Luckily, I have enough to make another batch of those yummy cookie bars. They’re uber simple, you can use any damn kind of jam you please, and apparently people LOVE THEM.

After all our father/daughter togetherness time today, my dad and I went to the grocery store to pick up the sweetened condensed milk I needed for the persimmon pudding, and he said, “Get whatever you want.” He should know better – get whatever I want in the grocery store? I’m young and don’t make a lot of money and am single, so I don’t always have as much money to spend on cooking stuff as I’d like. I did contain myself, but I ended up with some Nutella, baking chocolate, almond and butter and vanilla and lemon extracts, some almond filling, hazelnuts, powdered sugar, dark brown sugar, puff pastry and buttermilk. Oh boy!

Until next time, my friends.

– Cheese on a Stick

Maple Shortbread Bars

When I went grocery shopping before Thanksgiving, I bought all the fixins for the maple shortbread bars featured on The Sour Dough. I like that they’re from a 1968 cookbook and the recipe is so ridiculously simple… Just make flour, sugar and butter into a shortbread crust, bake it awhile, cook some coconut and maple syrup together on the stovetop for awhile, pour it over the shortbread, then bake it some more.

I like the crumbly shortbread (though I prefer something chewy, this was yummy too), and the maple syrup/coconut stuff is… mmmm. In need of second thru eighteenth opinions, I shared with my roommate (who banged on my door and proclaimed that I did well) and my coworkers. My boyfriend isn’t a big fan of flaked coconut, but he ate one anyway (I didn’t force him, I promise). Probably because they look nice.

Here is the internal IM dialogue with one of my coworkers:

Josh says:
I think you should add crushed pecans!
Traci says:
oh, that would be good.
Traci says:
Or slivered toasted almonds.
Josh says:
mmmmmm

Josh also suggested that I

  1. cover them in chocolate
  2. drizzle syrup on them
  3. Make them into an omelet

Kevin, however, wrote a poem about the maple shortbread bars.

Traci’s Maple bars and DP to drink,
That is the finest of breakfasts I think;
When I’m grown up and can have what I please
I think I shall always insist upon these.
What do YOU choose when you’re offered a treat?
When Mother says, “What would you like best to eat?”
Is it waffles and syrup, or cinnamon toast?
It’s Traci’s good maple bars I love the most!
–KEVIN

All in all, I’d seriously think about using these bars for the holidays in some manner. I do think almonds would be great – and/or heath toffee chunks. And the recipe is so ridiculously simple – I absolutely adore its simplicity.

I’ve also been experimenting with making no-bake oatmeal cookies (not chocolate, though). Last night I finally got the right consistency, but I think they’re entirely too sweet. I melted sugar and cinnamon in a little water, then mixed in toffee bits, coconut and oatmeal. Sweet overload.

Check out the Christmas present I bought for myself on eBay…..Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I had it shipped to my parents’ house, and I’m going over there after work to retrieve it and check out this donut creation process. I’m unnaturally excited about this!