Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Better Than Ever: Spiced Muscovado Caramel Apples

12 servings

Making the caramel requires the use of a candy thermometer. Test it for accuracy before starting. Attach it to the side of a medium sized saucepan of water and boil the water for three minutes. The thermometer should register 212°F. If it doesn't, then either calibrate it or take the difference into account when reading the temperature.

1-pound dark brown unrefined Muscovado sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 drop Cinnamon Essential Oil
2 drops Orange Essential Oil
6 Tbsp water
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 popsicle sticks
12 medium organic apples (I.e. Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Gala)
Chopped nuts {or seeds}(optional) *
Melted dark, milk and/or white chocolates
Whipping Cream (if needed)

*My son has a potentially life threatening peanut and tree nut allergy, so instead of using nuts we will be chopping up a mix of raw green pumpkin seeds and tamari seasoned pumpkin seeds and using them to garnish.

Combine first 7 ingredients in heavy 2 1/2-quart saucepan (about 3 inches deep). Stir with wooden spatula or spoon over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves (no crystals are felt when caramel is rubbed between fingers), occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. This takes about 15 minutes.

Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan. Increase heat to medium-high; cook caramel at rolling boil until thermometer registers 236°F, stirring constantly but slowly with clean wooden spatula and occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. One minute prior to removing caramel from heat, add the essential oils. Remove caramel from heat. Keeping the thermometer in the caramel to monitor, cool, without stirring, to 200°F which will take about 20 minutes.

While caramel cools, line 2 baking sheets with foil; butter the foil or use waxed paper to line the baking sheets. Push 1 popsicle stick into stem end of each apple. Set up nuts and melted chocolates if you'll be using them to decorate also.

Holding the popsicle stick, dip 1 apple into 200°F caramel, submerging all but very top of apple. Lift apple out, allowing excess caramel to drip back into bowl. Turn apple caramel side up and hold for several seconds to help set caramel around apple. Place coated apple on prepared foil (or waxed paper). Repeat with remaining apples and caramel, spacing apples apart (caramel will pool on foil). If caramel becomes too thick to dip into, add 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream and briefly whisk caramel in bowl over low heat to thin.

Chill apples on sheets until caramel is partially set, about 15 minutes. Lift 1 apple from foil (waxed paper). Using hand, press pooled caramel around apple; return to baking sheet. Repeat with remaining apples.

Firmly press seeds/nuts into caramel; return each apple to baking sheet. Or dip caramel-coated apples into melted chocolate, allowing excess to drip off, then roll in nuts or drizzle melted chocolate over caramel-coated apples and sprinkle with decorations.

Chill until decorations are set, about 1 hour. Cover; chill up to 1 week.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Scented Jack O'Lanterns & Spicy Squash

As we count down the days and nights to All Hallows Eve I am happy to share one of my favorite annual "scentual" seasonal crafts!

Scented Jack O'Lanterns & Spicy Squash:

My Jack O'Lanterns not only look seasonal, but smell seasonal too! Having a pleasant, warm and luscious scented jack-o-lantern is easier than making pumpkin pie! This is also applicable for any kind of squash or melon you may be using as a Jack O'Lantern, not just pumpkins.

First I have to say that I have learned not to cut the TOP out of the
pumpkin to carve a Jack O'Lantern ... cut the pumpkin open from the
BOTTOM of what will be your face area and then you will never have the
top cave in from decay and they last longer .... I personally love the Jack
O'Lanterns with the stem as the nose :)

that being said ......

Simply score the inside top or cap of your pumpkin with a knife and then
rub the inside top portion of the pumpkin with a mixture of vegetable oil (any kind), pumpkin pie spice blend and a blend of essential oils - I like to use allspice, cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg.

As the candle warms the inside of your pumpkin it'll release the aroma.
I am thinking of making a clove and citronella scented pumpkin to repel the trick or treating mosquitoes here in my part of TX.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Calaveras de rosa

'Tis the season, which means that I'm getting ready to make calaveras in several mediums. This year I am going to try my hand at making the actual sugar skull candies. There are two wonderful articles on the web that I'd like to give instructional and inspirational kudos to.

First is The Mexican Sugar Skull Site
This is a great step by step instructional page, with images! Oh, and I absolutely LOVE the gal's hairstyle! :)

Next, I want to give kudos to Elise Fleming on her wonderfully researched and informative article, including THE recipe I'm gonna use, for making traditional Sugar Paste. Thank you Elise for your fabulous piece of work! I'm only going to give a teaser of the ingredients here .. you have to read her full article to get all the details on the history of the sugar paste and how to make it properly.

SUGAR PASTE: A Cook's "Play Dough" by Elise Fleming
2-3 teaspoons lemon juice
1-3 tablespoons rosewater
1/2 lightly beaten egg white
1/2 or 1 teaspoon gum tragacanth
up to a pound or so of powdered sugar (3 1/2 to 4 cups equals approximately one pound)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

White Rose Saffron & Pistachio Ice Cream

Saffron White Rose & Pistachio Ice Cream


2 C Whole Milk
2 1/2 C Heavy Cream
8 Egg Yolks
2 C Sugar
1 1/2 C Unsalted Pistachio Nuts, chopped
3-4 Tbsp Alba Rose Hydrosol
2 split and scraped Vanilla Beans
1/2 teaspoon Saffron Threads, freshly ground
1 Pinch Salt


1. In a medium thick-bottomed saucepan, on low heat, while stirring, heat milk and vanilla beans (all parts). Bring to a boil. Set aside 2 Tbsp of the hot milk and add the saffron. Reduce heat on saucepan and continue to simmer very low while stirring occasionally, adding the saffron infused milk when it is a deep yellow hue.

2. While mixture is slowly simmering beat the egg yolks with the sugar until smooth and foamy. Very carefully and slowly, while rapidly stirring with a whisk, add the the milk mixture a few tablespoons at a time at first to the egg mixture (this is called tempering). Continue stirring rapidly while tempering the egg or you will end up with undesirable scrambled egg ice cream.

3. After the 2 mixtures are combined continue heating the mixture on low heat while stirring constantly until thickened. When ready it will be slightly foamy and thoroughly coat the spoon when removed from the custard mixture.

4. Strain the custard mixture into a shallow container and blast chill in the freezer to rapidly, then refrigerate until well chilled.

5. Once the custard is very cold, stir in the cream, alba rose water and chopped pistachios.

6. Pour the custard mixture into an ice cream maker and follow churning directions to finish (or freeze and vigorously stirring every 20 minutes to break up the ice crystals until a smooth texture forms and the mixture is thoroughly frozen).

Monday, October 12, 2009

Snow Rose Iced Sugar Cookies

Snow Rose Cookie Icing:

2 C. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. milk
3 Tbsp. alba white rose hydrosol

Stirring slowly blend the liquid ingredients into the sugar until you reach the desired consistency. Adjust by adding more liquid to make a thinner icing for piping and reduce amount of liquid to make a thicker icing for spreading.

I highly suggest Alton Brown's recipe for a wonderful sugar cookie made just for icing.

Limited offer - Enjoy free domestic shipping on alba rose hydrosol. Click here to view web site for details.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Organic Alba Rose Precious Water

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