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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Cookies/Cake/Pastry

RECIPE: Chocolate Pumpkin Tart

One year we made pumpkin pie with a chocolate cookie crust. But here’s an even better filling for that crust, that marries pumpkin and chocolate.

“There’s just something about the combination of pumpkin, spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and chocolate that make me go a little weak in the knees,” says Annalise Sandberg of CompletelyDelicious.com. “This tart is almost equal parts pumpkin and chocolate and is sure to win over everyone.”

The prep time is 15 minutes, cook time 1 hour. The yield: 8 servings.

If you’d like to bake something with a special twist this Thanksgiving, go for it! Find more recipes at CompletelyDelicious.com and GoBoldWithButter.com.

RECIPE: CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN TART

Ingredients For The Chocolate Cookie Crust

  • 1-1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups bittersweet or dark chocolate, melted
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream.
  •    

    Chocolate-Pumpkin-Tart-completelydeliciousGBWB-230

    The art of the tart: chocolate swirled into pumpkin. Photo courtesy Completely Delicious | Go Bold With Butter.

     

     

    bittersweet-disks-2kingarthurflour-230

    Bittersweet chocolate disks from Guittard. The better the chocolate, the tastier the outcome. Photo courtesy King Arthur Flour.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F.

    2. MAKE the cookie crust: Combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, salt and butter together in small bowl and mix with fork. Press into a buttered 8-inch tart pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Set crust aside.

    3. MAKE the filling: Combine the eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Add the pumpkin purée and heavy cream and mix until incorporated. Measure 1 cup of the mixture and set aside.

    4. MELT the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.

    5. SET the baked crust on a sheet pan and pour the filling into the crust. Combine the melted chocolate with the reserved filling. Spoon it on top of the on top of the partially filled crust and swirl it into the existing filling.

    6. BAKE until the center is set and no longer appears shiny, 40-45 minutes. Let the tart cool to room temperature. Store in fridge until ready to serve.

     

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Duchy Originals Shortbread Cookies

    stem-ginger-box-230

    Stem Ginger is one of the delicious
    shortbread flavors. Photo courtesy Duchy
    Originals.

     

    Waitrose is a chain of British supermarkets that is described by the media as “upmarket”—think Central Market, King’s and Wegman’s in the U.S.

    Their house brand products are known for their quality; and their delicious shortbread is available in the U.S. under the brand “Duchy Originals.”

    Baked from a traditional Scottish Highlands recipe, these melt-in-the-mouth, all butter shortbread biscuits are made using local butter and flour with sugar and a pinch of salt.

    A box of 12 cookies per 5.3 ounce box is $5.93-$6.24 with free shipping on orders over $35, on Amazon.com, with a choice of:

  • Duchy Originals Organic Highland All Butter Shortbread (more information)
  • Duchy Originals Organic Lemon All Butter Shortbread more information)
  • Duchy Originals Organic Stem Ginger All Butter Shortbread more information)
  • Duchy Originals organic Highland all butter shortbread petticoat tails more information)
  •  
    There’s also:

  • Duchy Originals Organic Oaten Biscuits, especially delicious with cheese more information)
     
    A portion of each sale is donated to The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation for distribution to charitable causes around the world.

  •  

    ABOUT DUCHY ORIGINALS

    The Duchy Originals brand was founded in the UK in 1992 by HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales. The Prince set out to produce food of the highest quality, using the best natural ingredients, produced sustainably and in harmony with the environment, while supporting worthwhile causes through The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation.

    Duchy Originals is now produced in partnership with Waitrose and baked by Walker’s Shortbread.

     
    ABOUT SHORTBREAD

    Shortbread is a type of cookie with a high butter content: The traditional recipe is one part sugar, two parts butter and three parts flour. It has been called the ancestor of all butter cookies.

    The original shortbreads were made with oatmeal; the more elegant white flour came later and lightened the cookie. Its current form is often attributed to Mary, Queen of Scots in the 16th century. She had a team of French chefs who had the time, labor and ingredients to perfect the recipe.

    Check out the history of shortbread.

     

    oaten-biscuits-box-230

    Oaten biscuits are less sweet and delicious with cheese. Photo courtesy Duchy Originals.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Pumpkin Spice Pound Cake Bundt

    pumpkin-spice-pound-cake-bundt-spiceislands-230r

    Pumpkin Spice Pound Cake made in a bundt pan. Photo courtesy Spice Islands.

     

    As a follow-up to our recent article on autumn bundt cakes, here’s one that’s especially appropriate for Thanksgiving: Pumpkin Spice Bundt. The recipe is courtesy Spice Islands.

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN SPICE POUND CAKE BUNDT

    Ingredients For The Cake

  • 2-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened (no substitutions)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  •  
    For The Caramel Pecan Topping

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • Dash salt
  • Dash ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream*
  •  

    Preparation

    For The Cake

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Generously grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.

    2. BEAT the sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla; the add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.

    3. COMBINE the flour, baking powder, salt and spices; mix well. Alternately add dry ingredients and pumpkin to butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Pour into prepared pan.

    4. BAKE for 65 to 75 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Invert onto serving plate. Cool completely.
     
    For The Caramel Pecan Topping

    1. COMBINE the brown sugar, cream, maple syrup, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

    2. REMOVE from the heat and stir in the cinnamon, vanilla and pecans. Serve warm over the cake. Top with whipped cream, if desired.
     
    WHIPPED CREAM TIP: If you’re putting whipped cream on a very sweet dessert, such as this caramel topping or pecan pie, you can halve the sugar in the whipped cream or eliminate it entirely.

    An unsweetened or just slightly sweet whipped cream provides a better counterpoint to the sweetness of the dessert. Otherwise, the sweet-on-sweet can be cloying.
     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Turkey Cupcakes

    You can find lots of turkey cupcake photos in Google, but these are the combination of easiest and best looking for the home baker to whip up.

    If you have kids (or adults) who don’t like pumpkin pie—or if you want to bring a memorable house gift—bring two dozen of these! If you’re looking for a kids’ project, ditto: Give them frosted cupcakes and let them do the decorating.

    You can bake your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe from scratch, use a cake mix, or in a pinch, purchase plain chocolate cupcakes. You can buy frosting or make your own.

    While we enjoy the convenience of a cake mix—which is simply saves you the time of measuring and mixing the ingredients—we’re much fussier about homemade frosting. Most canned chocolate frosting tastes…canned. Here’s our recipe for homemade chocolate buttercream frrosting.

     
    RECIPE: THANKSGIVING TURKEY CUPCAKES

    Ingredients for 24 Cupcakes

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  •    

    turkey-cupcakes-sixsistersstuff-230

    Gobble up this gobbler. Photo and recipe © SixSistersStuff.com.

  • 16 ounce can chocolate frosting (or your favorite homemade chocolate frosting)
  • 1-1/2 cups chocolate sprinkles
  • 2 cups candy corn
  • 48 Wilton candy eyeballs (found at major grocery stores, baking supply stores or online)
  • Red frosting or strips of red fruit leather
  • Variation: 24 large malted milk balls for heads
  •  

    candy-eyes-1-8-inch-confectionaryhouseAMZ-230

    Candy eyes come in different sizes and colors. For this recipe you want the smallest size like these, which are 7/16″ in diameter. You can buy them online. Photo courtesy Confectionary House.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the cake mix according to package directions to make 24 cupcakes. Bake and let cool completely. Frost each cupcake with chocolate frosting.

    2. HOLD each cupcake upside down and dip into the chocolate sprinkles. For feathers, push five pieces of candy corn upside down into the top of the cupcake.

    3. ADD two candy eyeballs and push a candy corn into the cupcake for a beak.

    4. PIPE some red frosting next to the candy corn beak, or adhere a strip of red fruit leather.
     
    VARIATION: Use malted milk balls as the head; press into the cupcake. Affix the candy eyeballs with frosting, and pipe a small amount of yellow frosting, and a small amount of red next to it, as the beak and the wattle.
     
    Here’s the original recipe plus a video of the preparation. Find more delicious recipes at SixSistersStuff.com.

     

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ICING & FROSTING

    The difference between frosting and icing is that icing is made with confectioners’ sugar (also called icing sugar or 10x sugar), while frosting is made with granulated sugar (table sugar).

    Because most people don’t understand this difference, the two words are often used interchangeably.

      

    Comments

    GIFT: Gluten Free Gourmet Cookies

    chubby-wubby-cake-chicago-230sq

    Chubby Wubby: fun name, sophisticated flavor and gluten free. Photo courtesy Cake |
    Chicago.

     

    Everything is delicious at Cake, a Chicago bakery and NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week (we reviewed it under a previous name, Damn Good Cookies). You can send anything on the menu as a gift, and it will delight the most demanding recipients.

    It is not a gluten-free bakery, but there is gluten-free treasure to be found:

    If you’re on the hunt for a gluten-free cookie gift for someone with a discerning palate, look no further than their specially Chubby Wubby Defloured, a sophisticated, delectable, gluten-free chocolate cookie.

    The cookie sandwich is indeed chubby, Two bittersweet chocolate cookies, studded with chocolate chips, are sandwiched with a layer of chocolate ganache. Trust us: You’ll want more than one box.

    In fact, the original Chubby Wubby Chocolate Cookie, made with conventional wheat flour, was so popular that the gluten-free version was created. The conventional Chubby Wubby has led to a family of other Chubbies—different fillings with the same delicious chocolate cookies:

     

  • Chubby Wubby Caramel Cookies with buttery caramel ganache.
  • Chubby Wubby Hazelnut Cream Cookies with creamy chocolate hazelnut ganache.
  • Chubby Wubby Mint Cookie refreshing mint ganache.
  • Chubby Wubby Peanut Butter Cookies creamy peanut butter ganache.
  • Chubby Wubby Raspberry Cookies sweet and tart raspberry ganache.
  •  
    A 12-piece box is $32.00, a 16-piece box is $38.00. Get yours at Cake-Chicago.com.
     
    WHAT’S GANACHE?

    Ganache is a velvety smooth blend of chocolate and cream, often with butter added. It is used as a frosting for cake and as a filling for pastries and chocolates. Rolled into balls, it becomes a chocolate truffle.

    Here’s more about ganache and why it translates in French to idiot or imbecile.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: The Best Squash For Pumpkin Pie & Other Pumpkin Desserts

    pumpkin-pie-whole-230

    What’s in your pumpkin pie? Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

     

    If your only experience in baking pumpkin pie is “from the can,” you have no idea what kind of pumpkin is inside. In fact, it’s probably not pumpkin, but a different type of squash.

    If you’ve ever tried to scoop the flesh from a big, orange pumpkin and turn it into pie, you probably don’t want to do it again! Wrangling the fibrous pumpkin flesh isn’t easy.

    But there is a solution, known to pumpkin pie bakers: butternut squash. It’s also the “pumpkin” you should ue in pumpkin flan and other pumpkin desserts.

    To prove the superiority, author and cookbook writer Melissa Clark, a popular food writer at The New York Times, tested different squashes to determine for once and for all what the best choice is for a pumpkin pie. She found that butternut squash tied with acorn squash for the best flavor, although butternut delivers better color.

    Butternut squash is very easy to work with; the skin slips right off with a vegetable peeler. Her tasting notes are adapted below. You can read the full article here.

     
    Why not take the easy road and use canned pumpkin? Fresh really does taste fresher and brighter, says Clark.

    She’s done all the heavy lifting (and roasting, and scooping) to prove it.

     

    Acorn Squash: Honeyed, moist, not too fibrous.

    Blue Hubbard Squash: Hard to cut through the rind, granular texture. The flavor was pleasing and delicate, but the flesh wasn’t as sweet as some of the others.

    Butternut Squash: Deep and richly flavored, sweet, with relatively smooth flesh that is easy to purée. THE WINNER!

    Carnival Squash: Neither tender nor sweet not tender.

    Cheese Pumpkin: Unwieldy and heavy to carry home, difficult to through skin, granular and watery flesh. The bright, fresh flavor works for savory dishes but not for pie.

    Delicata Squash: Mild, velvety flesh but not sweet enough for pie.

    Kabocha Squash: Dense and velvety flesh but a vegetal flavor that is terrific for savory dishes.

     

    pumpkins-rowanngilman-230

    What you don’t want to use in pumpkin pie: pumpkin! Photo by Rowann Gilman | THE NIBBLE.

    Sugar Pumpkin (the “pie pumpkin): It’s neither sugary sweet nor very tender, but fibrous and bland tasting. Save them jack-o’-lanterns. (And they have the best seeds for roasting, says Clark).

    Spaghetti Squash: Stringy, watery and not sweet enough for pie.
     

    Check out the different types of squash in our Squash Glossary.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Layer Cake Instead Of Pumpkin Pie

    pumpkin-layer-cake-driscolls-230

    An impressive pumpkin layer cake. Photo
    and recipe courtesy Driscoll’s.

     

    Few desserts are more impressive than a towering triple-layer cake. This beauty is paired with raspberries and brandied whipped cream.

    While Thanksgiving menus tend to favor pie (apple, mince, pecan, pumpkin, sweet potato) rather than cake, if you set a fancy table, this cake is a fitting ending to your feast.

    Prep time is 30 minutes, bake time is 25 to 30 minutes. Assembly time is 10 minutes.

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN LAYER CAKE WITH RASPBERRIES
    & BRANDIED CREAM

    Ingredients For 10 To 12 Servings

    For The Cake

  • Softened butter and flour, for the cake pans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 can (15 ounces or 1-3/4 cups) solid pack pumpkin
  •  

    For The Brandied Cream

  • 1-1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brandy or Cognac (alternative: use vanilla extract)
  • Garnish: 3 packages (6 ounces or 1-1/3 cups) raspberries*
  •  
    *TIP: If the raspberries aren’t sweet enough, roll them in granulated sugar.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the pan bottoms with parchment paper (we like these the best—the pre-cut parchment rounds have handles for easy removal of the cake layer). Dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess.

    2. SIFT together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl.

    3. BEAT until foamy, in a large bowl with an electric mixer—on high speed, the granulated sugar, oil and eggs (about 1 minute). Reduce the mixer speed to low. In thirds, beat in the flour mixture, alternating with two additions of the pumpkin. Mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, just until smooth. Spread evenly into the cake pans.

    4. BAKE the layers until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan on wire cake racks for 10 minutes (check out this three tier cooling rack). Run a knife around the inside of each pan and invert onto a rack to unmold the cake. Remove the parchment paper and turn right side up. Let cool completely. (The cakes can be individually wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

     

    raspberries-cartons-morguefile-230

    Fresh raspberries. Photo by J. Eltovski | Morguefile.

     

    5. MAKE the brandied cream: Use a medium bowl and an electric mixer on high speed to whip together the cream, confectioners’ sugar and brandy. Whip until the mixture is stiff. The cream can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours. If it separates, beat until stiff.

    6. ASSEMBLE. Set one-third of the raspberries aside to garnish the cake. Using a small knife, split the remaining raspberries down their sides so they can be opened flat. Put one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread with one third of the cream and add one-half of the split berries. Add a second layer and repeat with another third of the cream and the remaining split berries. Top with the last layer of cake and remaining cream, garnish top with the reserved raspberries. The assembled cake can be refrigerated for up to 2 hours (then the whipped cream starts to deflate). Serve chilled.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Autumn Bundt Cake

    thanksgiving-bundt-biritecreamery-230

    Treat yourself to a slice of autumn. Photo
    courtesy Bi-Rite Market | San Francisco.

     

    It’s easy to turn a plain bundt cake into a festive holiday dessert. Just top it with caramel sauce or glaze, candied pecans or walnuts and dried cranberries and/or cherries—an idea we snatched from Bi-Rite Market, a specialty food store in San Francisco (with a great ice cream parlor across the street).

    One of the benefits of using the nuts as a garnish instead of mixing them into the batter is that people who are nut-averse can pick them off and still enjoy the delicious dessert.

    1. PICK YOUR BUNDT CAKE FLAVOR

    While chocolate always works, think seasonally and consider:

    • Apple bundt cake (here’s a recipe)
    • Carrot bundt cake
    • Cranberry-orange bundt cake
    • Maple bundt cake
    • Pumpkin bundt cake
    • Rum bundt cake
    • Sticky toffee bundt cake
    It’s easy to find recipes online.
     

    2. PICK YOUR NUTS & FRUITS

    We personally like pecans with cranberries. Then, caramelize (candy) the nuts (here’s how).

     

    3. MAKE THE CARAMEL SAUCE

    Ingredients For 2 Cups

    This recipe was adapted from WickedGoodKitchen.com. Prep time is five minutes, cook time is 15 minutes.

    You can make a lighter caramel glaze, but the color will be pale and the flavor less deep.

    • 2 cups sugar
    • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, softened to room temperature
    • 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
    • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 2 to 3 teaspoons fleur de sel or other sea salt (types of sea salt)
     

    salted-caramel-sauce-wickedgoodkitchen-230

    Salted caramel sauce. Photo courtesy WickedGoodKitchen.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. PLACE the sugar in a 2- to 3-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat and whisk as the sugar melts. Continue to whisk as the sugar begins to clump and turn into a light amber liquid. It will be completely melted into light amber caramel in 8 to 10 minutes. Once the sugar is completely melted, stop whisking and swirl the caramel by gently tilting the saucepan from side to side.

    2. COOK without whisking until the caramel reaches a medium or deep amber color (almost dark reddish-brown), about 5 to 7 minutes based on your color preference (the darker the caramel, the deeper the caramel flavor). It is important to pay attention and prevent the caramel from smoking. Use a candy thermometer: a reading of 350°F will deliver a deep amber caramel sauce.

    3. TURN off the heat, the remove saucepan from the heat and wait 20 to 30 seconds. Then add all of the butter at once and whisk vigorously until it is fully melted and combined into the caramel. The addition of the butter will cause the caramel to bubble up vigorously. Just keep whisking.

    4. WHISK in the cream slowly and carefully, along with the vanilla extract. Expect more bubbling, and just keep whisking until the caramel is smooth and the cream is fully incorporated. Add the salt and whisk until completely dissolved.

    5. SET the caramel sauce aside to cool slightly and thicken, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a glass jar. Cool completely before capping jars and refrigerating.

    6. ASSEMBLE the cake. Use a spatula to transfer the majority of the caramel to the cake. You can then melt the remainder and pour it on top for the “drippy” effect. Top with the nuts and fruits and admire your handiwork (then eat it!).

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Maple Cheesecake

    While maple is a year-round flavor, we always enjoy it in the fall, as the leaves turn. We use it in a cup of coffee or tea instead of table sugar, we add a bit to mashed sweet potatoes, we drizzle it over baked squash and vanilla ice cream.

    And then, there’s cheesecake. This recipe, courtesy of Cabot Creamery, comes from Jacques and Pauline Couture of Missisquoi Valley Farm in Westfield, Vermont. The farm is a winner of Vermont’s Outstanding Farm of the Year.

    While Jacques runs the dairy farm, Pauline is busy managing their maple syrup business and bed and breakfast. This Maple Cheesecake is one of the many delightful treats prepared for their overnight guests.

    The Coutures make this recipe with Cabot Creamery’s salted butter and cream cheese.

    Make the effort to use maple sugar instead of table sugar: You’ll be pleased with the difference. (Check out the different types of sugar.)

    We also like to garnish the top of the cake with maple candies, shaped like maple leaves. They’re available in hard, clear amber leaf or a semisoft, opaque beige leaf.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 55 minutes.

       

    MapleCheesecake-cabot-goboldwithbutter-230

    Maple cheesecake. Photo courtesy Cabot Creamery Cooperative.

     

    RECIPE: COUTURE’S MAPLE CHEESECAKE

    Ingredients For 12 Servings

    • 1 sleeve graham crackers (9 whole crackers)
    • 4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
    • 1/4 cup granulated maple sugar (or substitute white sugar)
    • 3 packages (8-ounces each) cream cheese at room temperature or softened in microwave (you can substitute reduced fat cream cheese)
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 cup Grade A Dark Amber maple syrup (see the different grades of maple syrup)
    • Optional garnish: maple leaf candies in maple syrup or maple sugar

     

    maple-sugar-kingarthur-230

    Indulge yourself: Maple sugar makes a difference in delivering great maple flavor. Photo courtesy King Arthur Flour.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Wrap the bottom and sides of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with aluminum foil (to prevent leakage while baking).

    2. PLACE the graham crackers in 1-gallon zip-close bag; crush into fine crumbs with rolling pin or heavy pan (you will have about 1-1/3 cups). Combine in a bowl with butter and sugar, stirring until well blended. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom and partly up the sides of the pan.

    3. COMBINE the cream cheese and eggs in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the maple syrup and process until combined. (Alternatively, in large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time just until blended, then beat in the maple syrup.) Pour the mixture into the crust. To ensure no cracks on the top of the cheesecake, create an optional bain-marie: Place cheesecake in large roasting pan and add boiling water partway up sides before baking.

    4. BAKE for 45 to 55 minutes or until set nearly all the way to the center. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool, then cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Remove from pan, garnish with candies around the top rim and serve.

     

    WHAT IS MAPLE SUGAR

    Maple sugar was the preferred form of maple by First Nations/Native American peoples. Unlike the sap or syrup, the sugar could easily be transported.

    It is produced by evaporating the sap of the sugar maple tree (and some other maples). The sap is boiled until almost all of the water has been removed and the remainder has crystallized solid (the same process is used to boil sugar cane sap into table sugar).

    Maple sugar has a strong maple flavor and aroma, just like maple syrup. It sold in pressed blocks, granulated in bags, or molded into small shapes like maple leaves, to be enjoyed as candy.

    Maple sugar can be used in recipes in the same way as cane sugar is used, but is almost twice as sweet—so plan accordingly in recipes. A rule of thumb: When using maple sugar, use slightly more than half the amount specified for cane sugar.

    We enjoy using it:

    • In baking (it’s a nice surprise in a pie crust)
    • In coffee or tea
    • On oatmeal
    • In meat rubs

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Apple Cider Donuts

    apple-cider-glaze-donuts-karosyrup-230

    Fresh, warm donuts with an apple cider
    glaze. Photo courtesy Karo Syrup.

     

    On Thursday we purchased an apple cider donut at our local farmers market. It was just OK, with no detectable hint of apple cider. So we went home, got out the recipe file and made our own with a recipe from Karo Syrup.

    That’s the difference between these and the one we purchased: corn syrup and apple cider combine for a delicious glaze.

    Prep time is 35 minutes, rest time is 45 to 60 minutes. You can fry them or bake them (bake time is an additional 15 minutes).

    RECIPE: APPLE CIDER DONUTS

    Ingredients For 15 Doughnuts

    • 3-1/4 to 3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 envelopes Fleischmann’s RapidRise Yeast
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 3 egg yolks
    • Corn oil for frying

    For The Apple Cider Glaze

    • 1 cup apple cider
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE 2 cups flour, undissolved yeast, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a large mixer bowl.

    2. HEAT milk and butter to very warm (120°F to 130°F). Add to flour mixture with egg yolks; beat for 2 minutes at low speed. Continue adding flour until a soft dough forms.

    3. KNEAD on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic (4 to 6 minutes). Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

    4. ROLL out the dough on a lightly floured counter into a 12-inch circle, about 1/2-inch thick. Using a 3-inch cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible. Cut out the centers with a 1-inch cookie cutter (or poke a hole through the center with your finger).

    5. PLACE the doughnuts 2 to 3 inches apart on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Re-roll and cut the remaining dough. Cover the doughnuts and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

    6. TO FRY: Heat at least 2 inches of oil to 350°F in a deep fryer or deep pan. Fry 2 to 3 doughnuts at a time, turning occasionally until well browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. TO BAKE: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the risen doughnuts for 8 to 10 minutes. FOR BOTH: Cool a few minutes, then transfer to wire rack.

     

    karo-light-corn-syrup-230

    Light corn syrup. Photo courtesy ACH Food Companies.

     
    7. MAKE the glaze: Boil the apple cider in a small saucepan until reduced by half, 7 to 10 minutes. Place the powdered sugar in medium bowl. Whisk in the hot cider and corn syrup until smooth.

    8. GLAZE: Drizzle the donuts with the apple cider glaze or, using tongs, dunk the doughnuts into the glaze. Serve warm.
     
    Enjoy the donuts warm, with a hot cup of coffee or a cool glass of milk or apple cider.
     
    CORN SYRUP VERSUS HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP

    Corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are two different sweeteners. The latter is a sweeter form of corn syrup made from corn starch. It is 20% cheaper and easier to transport than sugar; hence, a more profitable sweetener for manufacturers to use. The process was developed in the 1970s and introduced widely into American processed foods in the 1980s. Here’s more about high fructose corn syrup.

    Corn syrup, called glucose syrup outside the U.S. and Canada because it is composed mainly of glucose, is made from corn starch. It was invented in 1812 by a German chemist, Gottlieb Kirchhoff, and has long been used to sweeten soft drinks, ice cream, ketchup, breads and many other mass-produced foods. Before commercial brands (Karo Light and Dark Corn Syrup products were introduced in 1902), housewives would carry their syrup jugs to the grocery store to be filled from the barrel.

    Light corn syrup is almost clear, with a delicate flavor; dark corn syrup has a more pronounced, molasses-like flavor. They can be used interchangeably in most recipes.

    Corn syrup is a good product that is often confused with the highly processed high fructose corn syrup. The best manufacturers use it in because corn syrup doesn’t crystallize and turn grainy in cold temperatures. It thus keeps a good consistency for products like fudge and caramel sauces and and candies. In mass production, baked goods made with corn syrup are moister and stay fresher longer than those made with sugar.
     
    CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SWEETENERS IN OUR SUGAR & SWEETENERS GLOSSARY.

      

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