Saturday, September 11, 2010

Three sweet recipes...

We've done a couple catch-up posts now, but they've all be in the savory department... and we are way overdue for the amount of sweets we've made lately. We even used mashed potatoes in a cupcake, though I'll get to that crazy treat next time as it definitely deserves a full post!

We've been keen on that Peanut Butter Granola we first tossed together some three years ago, making it more times than I could count since then. I was browsing through Camilla's site and came across a healthy granola rendition that quickly captured my attention and it didn't take me long to put my spin on it, making this Spiced Nutty Granola.

Rolled oats, two types of almonds (well, texturally - I used whole and sliced), cashews and unsweetened whole-grain puffed cereal were my choice add-ins, all held together using honey, pure maple syrup, molasses, olive oil, a combo of spices (I opted for a blend of pumpkin pie spice) and a touch of vanilla. A surprise ingredient you wouldn't necessarily think of adding to granola was also tossed in - egg whites! The whites add to the crispness of the granola without the need for too much oil; they also help some clumps to form - if you'd like to leave them out, top off the oil with three more tablespoons. We heeded Camilla's note and added the dried fruit - golden raisins in our case - until after the granola had baked and cooled, keeping them chewy and not hard little nuggets.

Jeff and I both love taffy and have talked about making it for the longest time - we decided it was time and gave this Saltwater Taffy recipe we found a shot. This may not be a recipe for the timid in candy making as you are dealing with scorching hot sugar syrup, but it was a fun project that we'll likely tackle again as we loved this firm and very chewy candy. You will need a fairly unique ingredient - the recipe calls for edible glycerin, which helps the candy retain a softer, creamy consistency... I'm not sure if there is an acceptable substitute for this, but we found it at at a craft-type store (Michaels).

We stuck with its natural color, but use paste coloring if you want to add rich colors - the candy is flavored via essential oil flavoring, which we actually already had from a cake store we frequented in Phoenix. We went with cherry and cinnamon, two of Jeff's favorites! I wrote the directions for one flavor, but you can do two (or more) just as easy - instead of stirring the flavoring in, pour the liquid candy as evenly as possible between the lined baking sheets and add a few drops of the oil. You'll work it in as you knead the warm confection. Speaking of, you might want a friend around for that part since it takes a fair amount of time to pull and stretch the taffy sufficiently - if nothing else, you will get in a good arm workout! We wrapped them in parchment paper, but wax would work well too.

Our final sweet for this post are these wickedly easy Browned Butter Caramel Chews. We needed Corn Flakes for a snazzy dinner recipe that Jeff had been craving (that should make its way to the blog soon!), but neither of us felt like eating the rest as cold cereal. All you need for these is butter (browned, obviously, but this is a cinch!), brown and granulated sugar, an egg, vanilla, salt, shredded coconut and a few cups of the flaked cereal.

It may not look like the flakes will hold together when you coat them with the sugar-y syrup, but the heat from the oven fuses them together, leaving you with chewy "cookies" that have a crispy shell. Frankly, I wasn't convinced with the coconut addition and thought about dropping it, but it was quite subtle in the end and added more in the way of texture, than flavor. This made more that we would eat in a few days, which landed the bulk of them in the freezer - they held up well, but did lose a little crispness as they thawed. Breaking them up into bite-sized chunks made for an outrageous topping for bowlful of vanilla ice cream, too!


  1. Oh that taffy looks so good!!!

    We love your blog and you've really shaken up what we eat! We were overwhelmed a couple years ago when we started kicking the takeout/processed meals habit and your blog has added new favorites to our meal.

    We've never tried butternut squash to work with, so I'm off to find a recipe!

    Oh, and Gus is WAY TOO CUTE!!!!

  2. Annette - Glad to hear it! Gus says Thanks!