December 31, 2013

It's A Marshmallow World In The Winter

Don't tell anyone but I don't like marshmallows.  There is an exception, I LOVE s'mores, so I do have an affinity for toasted marshmallows sandwiched in between graham crackers and chocolate, but raw marshmallows without the crunchy caramelized crust, not my cup of tea or in this case cup of cocoa.

Lucky for you marshmallow lovers, I enjoy making them.  They are quite an adventure in the kitchen, from bubbling sugar, to whipping egg whites to the fluffy outcome.  Now, lets talk conventional marshmallows....seriously do we have to put food coloring and chemicals in everything?  
Especially, something as innocent as a marshmallow?  Many of us grew up with the bag of conventional marshmallows, purchased for summer vacations, holiday casseroles and the wintry hot cocoa.
Who knows what the ingredient list looked like when we were younger?  Nowadays that bag of marshmallows contains a few odd ingredients, "Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate," which apparently is a "whipping aid" and of course artificial flavors and the color Blue 1.  Food coloring, oh my, how many products on the market have food coloring?  I'm all for coloring food naturally with fun food-based dyes, but I'm saddened by the ever-growing artificial and over processed world we live in.  Whenever I see this as an added ingredient, I always think to myself, what would the color of the product be without the added color?  In this case probably not that bleached out white.

If you are up for an adventure, then please read the following before jumping in!

December 29, 2013

T'was The Night Before The Party

A Visit From The Fire Alarms
T'was the night before my friend M's dinner party, when all thro' the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse........
My husband was nestled all snug in our bed,
While visions of cloud migration danc'd through his head.
And I was in my pajamas watching the pot of bubbling sugar.....
When up above there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the kitchen to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
The fresh air whooshed in and I waved a towel to air out the smoke,
When what to my wondering eyes should appear, my husband had awoke!
He rubbed his eyes and began to chuckle when it became clear to him that I was making caramel.

Now! Dash away! Dash away! Dash away smoke!

The alarms had silenced and my husband went back to bed,
I continued to burn sugar so that we would all have a sweet to be fed.
And then in a twinkling, I saw in the pot
The bubbling and darkening of something quite hot.
As I poured in the cream, and was stirring around,
I crossed my fingers The Caramel would not create a sound!

December 26, 2013

Honey Dumplings Has A New Look

Hello My Dearest Blog Followers,

Honey Dumplings has a new look!  We also have a Seasonal Newsletter that you can subscribe to for free! Please take a look around and let me know what you think!

I hope that you all had a lovely Christmas yesterday. 
We had a very long and delightful Christmas day, we started off at T's childhood home and then we ended the night at my childhood home.  The whole day was packed full of holiday cheer!

Above is a photo of my Christmas dessert this year, Hot Cocoa Cake.  This recipe will be starring in my cookbook, which will be released next winter.  

Wishing you all love, happiness, laughter and joy this New Year and always.


December 14, 2013

Homemade Granola

Granola is the perfect homemade gift for the holidays.  Make a large basic batch and sprinkle in your favorite ingredients.  Pack into mason jars, cover the lid with festive fabric, tie with twine and voila!

My classic base is both gluten-free and dairy-free.  Remember if you are planning on gifting granola to any gluten-free bellies out there, definitely purchase "certified gluten-free" oats.  Oats are naturally gluten-free, however they may be grown next to wheat fields and many times are harvested and processed with the same milling equipment as wheat, therefore contain cross-contaminants unless labeled GF.

If you opt to use the vanilla beans I promise you won't be sorry!  The best thing about vanilla beans besides their true flavor is that you get multiple uses out of this precious ingredient.  After you've split each pod open and de-seeded, pop into a jar of sugar for a vanilla kissed version, which you can use for any baking; I like to leave the pods in my sugar for months, but even after a week the sugar will be sufficiently scented.  If you are one to keep simple syrup on hand for desserts or cocktails, add the beans and let cure for a few days before using.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!