December 23, 2008

Candied Ginger Applesauce

This creation is slightly sweeter than I meant for it to be, so if you are looking for a traditional applesauce reduce the sugar a bit, try 1 cup instead of 1 & 1/2 cups. This is lovely baked into a tart shell for a quick Gingery Apple Tart, dolloped over Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, or simply spooned out of the jar as is, yummmmm!

Gingery Applesauce
Makes 5 Pints

7lbs Farmers' Market Apples (a mixture of crisp, tart, sweet & soft. such as granny smith, jonagolds, galas & golden delicious)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups organic sugar
2/3 cup crystallized ginger, minced
1 t sea salt
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground ginger

Combine lemon juice and water in a large stockpot. Peel, core and cut apples into 3/4-inch chunks; place apple chunks into lemon water immediately to prevent browning. Add sugar, crystallized ginger, salt and spices. Stir over medium-high heat for a few minutes to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat once the apples are soft and a touch translucent. Mash the apples using a potato masher or fork to desired consistency. I like mine a bit chunky.

Process as you normally would for preserving. If you are unfamiliar with preserving, simply ladle the applesauce into hot clean 1-pint glass canning jars, leaving 1/2-inch space at the top. Remove the air bubbles by placing a wooden spoon into the jar against the glass on the sides, move up and down to release any bubbles. Wipe the jar threads and rims with a damp clean cloth. Cover with hot lids; secure with screw bands. Place in a pot of boiling water and process for 20 minutes. Remove jars onto a towel covered counter top. Cool completely. Make sure that the lids have properly sealed, by pressing into the center of the lid, it should not move, if by chance the lid hasn't properly sealed then pop into fridge and eat within a week or two.

Cookie Parcels

It's that time of year. When the world falls in love with cookies. The house is warmed by baking off batch after batch, and the scent of buttery sweetness settles into every nook and cranny.
This year I packaged my cookies into little old-fashioned parcels, reminiscent of old world sweet shops. I snugly secured cookies into a brown paper lunch sack and dressed it up with a label and silk ribbon.
Happy Baking & Happy Holidays!

December 5, 2008

Bittersweet Coconut Kisses

Christmas in LA is always a funny time of year! Although it has been a bit chilly at night, the temperature during the day is still inching into the upper 70's F. The weather isn't throwing me off too much this year, as I've been working on all sorts of fun homemade gifts and we already have our tree up and decorated.

This year I've taken up knitting, thanks to my friends Whitney & Jamie for having a beautiful baby girl. I felt the need to give it a second chance. So I took lessons in a proper knitting studio, rather than on a train to Cinque Terre (where one can easily lose focus due to the stunning scenery). Thanks Whitney for trying! I've now fallen in love with it and had knitting fever for most of the summer. So of course I'm attempting knitting a handful of gifts this year.

As of late, our house looks like Christmas elves have taken over. The kitchen table is a giant workstation, where stuffing stockings, wrapping gifts & I must admit a bit of magic takes place. It seems as though every other day I'm baking batches of cookies for the cookie monster that has taken over Travis' studio.

As for my homemade gifts, here are some pictures of my most recent creations. Decadent Bittersweet Coconut Kisses lipbalm. Yummy! It is of course edible, which I believe anything one wears on one's lips should be.

Above you'll find one of my favorite ways to create applesauce, studded throughout with Crystallized Ginger and a traditional way to wrap up those holiday cookies!

Happy Holidays!