Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Christmas Cookies in Blue



Friday, December 1, 2017

A Snowflake is Winter's Butterfly

I love that quote!

 In that spirit, I decided to make my own snowflakes out of  poured sugar- Isomalt- to be more specific.

The supplies I used were 1 cup of Isomalt crystals, a small saucepan, a rubber snowflake mold, a spoon, non-stick spray and a small bowl of ice water ( in case of burn injury!)

Isomalt is interesting. I had used it once before and learned quickly about its properities ( idiosyncrasies, if you will) at about 3am in the morning before a 9am scheduled cake delivery! Having waded through a barrage of mistakes, making the snowflakes on this go round was a bit easier.

I started by spraying a rubber snowflake mold ( the kind used to make maple candy ) with non-stick spray.
Then I dabbed the inside of the molds with a paper towel to make sure there was no puddling of the spray anywhere. This is important! Any pooling of the nonstick spray will literally sizzle and cook when you pour the Isomalt on it and you will have to discard your candy. I know this for a fact. :-(

Then I poured about a cup (or so- I didn't measure) of Isomalt into a stainless steel saucepan. I put my candy thermometer in place and, without adding water, began heating the crystals over low heat; stirring as it began to melt down.

Once melted, the sugar begans to heat quickly and before you even notice it is boiling, the candy thermomter will register 356 F or 180 C.

Isomalt heats very quickly. Do not turn your back on it. Do not blink!
However, it is more forgiving than sugar because it maintains its clear properties as it approaches the hard crack stage of cooking, whereas sugar turns a nice amber color.


Quickly remove from heat and with spoon, carefully ladle into the mold. Watch your hands as you do this to avoid burning yourself on the pan. ( Ask me how I know )

Wait until the candy snowflakes completely harden. Pull the mold away from the snowflakes.

 For more definition, I brushed some with SuperPearl edible dust or sprinkled with edible disco dust for sparkle.


There you have it. Easy Poured Sugar Snowflakes!
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!

Friday, May 26, 2017

DELICIOUS MINI KEY LIME TARTS



These 2" tarts are made with key lime filling over a pecan shortbread cookie, they are topped with fresh blueberries and strawberries, and drizzled with grenadine syrup.

Start by making the pecan shortbread (I used *Norpro mini cheesecake pan with removable bottoms.) After popping the cookies into the oven, make key lime filling.

After both are cooled, just put the chilled filling into a pastry bag and pipe it onto cookie, top with fresh fruit.

Using strawberries and blueberries made these perfect for a patriotic theme. But they would also taste terrific topped with tart pie cherries, peaches, or raspberries.



MINI KEY LIME TARTS ON PECAN SHORTBREAD CRUST

Ingredients:

Pecan Shortbread
Key Lime Filling
Strawberries
Blueberries
Grenadine Syrup

Pecan Shortbread:

1/2 cup + 2T. softened butter (10 Tbsp)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/8 tsp Caramel extract (opt)
1-1/4 cups sifted flour
2/3 cup pecans, finely ground

Cream butter and sugar together; add caramel extract (opt). Mix in flour and pecans. Chill dough for about 15 minutes for easier handling. Divide into 24 balls and press into the bottoms of an ungreased *mini tart pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Key Lime Filling

1/2 cup *Nellie and Joe's Key lime juice
1 Tbsp cornstarch
6 egg yolks, all albumen removed
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
8 oz. softened cream cheese

Blend key lime juice together with cornstarch. Pour into a sauce pan; whisk in egg yolks and sugar. Add butter and cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly until translucent and mixture holds its shape when stirred.
Press through a sieve into a bowl; cover key lime curd with plastic wrap, chilling thoroughly.

With a mixer, whip cream cheese; add key lime curd and blend together completely.

Place Key Lime filling in a pastry bag with a fluted tip. With shortbread still in pan, pipe filling over each cookie. Chill well; then lift out of cheesecake pan and remove the pan bottoms.

Arrange sliced strawberries and blueberries on the top of each tart, and drizzle with grenadine syrup.  (Pomegranate syrup works well too.)



Makes 2 dozen- 2" tarts.

*Links for Specialty Products listed in this recipe:
NorPro Mini Cheesecake Pan
Nellie and Joe's Key Lime Juice
Caramel Flavor


Recipe and Photography by
Jacque Benson- all rights reserved 2008

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It sifts from leaden sieves,
It powders all the wood,
It fills with alabaster wool
The wrinkles of the road.

It makes an even face
Of mountain and of plain, —
Unbroken forehead from the east
Unto the east again.

It reaches to the fence,
It wraps it, rail by rail,
Till it is lost in fleeces;
It flings a crystal veil

On stump and stack and stem, —
The summer's empty room,
Acres of seams where harvests were,
Recordless, but for them.

It ruffles wrists of posts,
As ankles of a queen, —
Then stills its artisans like ghosts,
Denying they have been.

~Emily Dickinson