Saturday, November 28, 2009

Almond Toffee Recipe

Now this recipe is not "safe" for those allergic to almonds, corn, or chocolate. Needless to say, I don't eat it. It's okay, I've never been fond of cooked sugar candies, like toffee or caramels. But many people do like it and therefore I make it. It is fun to make, and friends and family reap the rewards.

Almond Toffee

1 pound butter-real butter, not margarine
2 cups sugar
2 T corn syrup
6 T water
2 cups slivered almonds
2 cups chocolate chips
extra butter

First, butter a big heavy cookie sheet with the extra butter. Finely chop 1/4 cup off the almonds and set aside.

Melt butter in a big heavy saucepan, add sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook over medium high heat stirring constantly until candy becomes the color of a brown paper bag. I have an electric stove and I set the burner heat just below "high," but you will have to work out what the best temp is for your stove. Just before it looks like the right color, dump in the slivered almonds and continue to cook until the right color. I do this so the nuts will toast a bit-adds to the flavor. Very quickly and all at once, pour out into the cookie sheet and spread out. It sets up fast, so work fast.

Now the fun part: let it cool a bit, just until it seems to be getting firm. Not very long, but you don't want it runny at this point. Sprinkle 1 cup of the chocolate chips over the candy and hover over it until the chips soften. With the back of a spoon spread the chocolate all over the candy, covering completely. It won't seem like enough but it will work. Now-lay a sheet of waxed paper over the chocolate, making sure the paper is long enough to stick out over the ends of the pan. Very carefully and using potholders, flip the whole thing over and lay upside down on the counter. Take a thin-bladed knife and slip under a corner of the candy to break the suction, while you're lifting the pan off. Now you have the other side of the candy ready for the rest of the chocolate. Sprinkle the rest of the chips on it, let soften and spread as before. Now take the reserved chopped almonds and sprinkle over.

Lay your cookie sheet end to end with the candy and slide the candy back on the sheet. Put in a cool place (my garage in the winter is perfect) for the chocolate to set up. Break into pieces.

Now be ready for the applause!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Look What I Found Today!

Because of the corn allergy, I am severely limited in what brands of dairy products I can use. For instance, most, if not all major brands of yogurt have either cornstarch, corn syrup, or both. I can find the organic brands that don't contain corn products pretty reasonably at our local warehouse-type store. They also carry the Western Family Naturals brand of sour cream-most sour creams have cornstarch, but this particular one doesn't. I just have to be sure to read the label and get the natural one. I was across town today and wasn't planning to go to the warehouse store, but here's what I found in Walmart:

No corn starch-just milk products! (I'm lucky enough not to be allergic to milk)

Another shopping problem I had was powdered sugar. They add just a bit of cornstarch just to keep the sugar from caking. Consequently I haven't had frosting since May. This is what I found in the local Food Co-op:

Instead of cornstarch, they use tapioca starch. Frosting here I come-provided I can put together a decent cake with my special flours.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Coconut Mug Cakes

Hubby hates chocolate. People ask me how a chocolate lover like me can live with an anti-chocolate person. My stock answer is, "More for me!"

Last night I went to a Pampered Chef party where they made these delicious-looking miniature gooey chocolate cakes. Of course I just had to look and not touch. So today I decided it was time to make chocolate mug cakes, which I did, using potato starch instead of wheat flour. But-what to make for Hubby's Sunday night treat? This recipe came from that and he ADORED it!

Coconut Mug Cakes

4 T flour of choice (I used 3 T potato starch and 1 T coconut flour)(hubby didn't miss the wheat)
4 T sugar
1 egg
3 T milk
3 T cooking oil
1/4 tsp coconut extract
3 T shredded coconut

I don't mix my mug cakes in the mug, I use a small bowl, so stir together flour and sugar in a small bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients, except coconut, and mix until just blended with a wire whisk. Stir in coconut.

Brush a bit of oil in 2 8-ounce ramekins and sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Divide batter between the two ramekins. Cook in the microwave approximately 1 minute 45 seconds. You might have to play a bit to get the right time, given the differing wattages of microwaves. Let cool a bit, turn out and serve.

I served this to Hubby with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream and some raspberry Italian soda syrup. I kid you not, he went nuts for it! Then he suggested next time I use the Italian coconut syrup that's in the pantry downstairs. Sounds good to me.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Someone Else Eating

We have diners that come every morning to feast in our back yard. They way they fight over the suet, you'd think we had four star dining!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pumpkin Cheesecake

You HAVE to have something pumpkin at this time of year! I developed this recipe for that specific craving.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

3 8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 16-oz can pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg or cloves-I prefer cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
3/4 C potato starch

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a springform pan with waxed paper or parchment. Spray no-stick spray on parchment and up sides of pan.

Beat together all ingredients, pour into pan and bake in the middle rack of the oven for 60 minutes. Let cool a few minutes, then loosen the sides of the pan. Cool a bit more then lay a plate over cheesecake, flip over, pull off parchment, lay a plate over bottom and turn rightside up. Cool completely. The potato starch firms it just enough to flip so you can get rid of the yucky pan bottom.