Posts Tagged ‘Food

12
Jan
14

Watch me turn this muffin into a donut

Donut Muffins 003-001

Sometimes I just want a donut.  And sometimes I give into that craving.  And most of those times, I feel icky after eating one.  Perhaps it’s the type of donut I’ve chosen.  Or maybe it’s the guilt I often associate with eating foods that are not “good for me”.  I once drove for miles on highway 99E in search of a donut shop.  Didn’t there used to be lots of donut shops in the world? They seem to be disappearing, perhaps replaced by Starbucks, McDonald’s and Taco Bell’s.  At any rate, I’ve been having a love-hate relationship with donuts, of late.

After driving south on 99E from Portland, through Milwaukie, Gladstone and practically to Oregon City, I finally found Heavenly Donuts.  My expectations were high.  Anything named “heavenly” should be, in my mind, out of this world.  These donuts should taste like God made them, right?  Or angels, at the very least.

With my sugar junkie adrenalin pumping, I entered the shop.  Nerves and guilt were starting to overtake me.  What was I doing?  Why did I drive all this way for a donut?  These things better be worth it.  I scanned the display case.  Disappointment creeping in now, as there was not much of a selection.  Just the usual suspects; cake, glazed, chocolate covered, maple bars and some really greasy looking apple fritters.  Well, I can’t leave now.  I should have, but I drove all this way.  I’m obligated to buy not one, but two of these things.  And I did.  I purchased an apple fritter and a cinnamon swirl raised sort of affair.  Then I made a mad dash for my car, where I sat and consumed these sins.

God did not make these donuts.  Nor did angels.  Hell, I’m sure if the Devil himself made these donuts, they would have tasted much better.  No, I’m pretty sure these donuts were made by the Hispanic gentleman behind the counter.  No offense to him at all, but these were not donuts worth making a special trip for.  In fact, I’m pretty sure the donuts at Safeway might be a little better.  Either I’m waxing nostalgic for the donuts of my youth, or there are no special donuts in the Portland vicinity.

All this being said, I have found a substitute sweet morsel that comes close to a donut without as much guilt attached to it.  I recently purchased a Williams-Sonoma cookbook simply entitled “Muffins”.  And in that book there is a recipe for Cinnamon-Buttermilk Muffins.  And surprise!  They taste like Buttermilk Bars.  No kidding.  You know the kind of donut I’m talking about?  Kind of shorter and fatter than a Maple Bar, with that buttermilk tang and glaze.

It is my pleasure to share with you what I now call my Donut Muffin recipe.  It could save you a trip searching the streets for a donut shop.  Or maybe that’s just me.

Donut Muffins 002-001

 CINNAMON-BUTTERMILK MUFFINS

From the Williams-Sonoma book

MUFFINS

7 tablespoons (3 ½ oz / 105 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup (5 oz / 155 g) sugar

1 large egg

1 ½ cups (7 ½ oz / 235 g) all-purpose (plain) flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

½ teaspoon salt

½  teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg IF YOU ONLY HAVE GROUND NUTMEG IT WORKS JUST AS WELL.

½ cup (4 fl oz / 125 ml) buttermilk

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract (essence)

FOR THE TOPPING

2/3 cup (5 oz / 155 g) sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

6 tablespoons (3 oz / 90 g) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).  Grease 9 standard muffin cups with butter or butter flavored non-stick spray;  fill the unused cups one-third full with water to prevent warping.

To make the muffins, in a bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg, beating well until pale and smooth.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.  Add to the butter mixture in 2 increments, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla.  Stir just until evenly moistened.  The batter will be slightly lumpy.

Spoon the batter into each muffin cup, filling it three-fourths full.  Bake until golden, dry and springy to the touch, 20 -25 minutes.  A toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin should come out clean.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.  Unmold the muffins and let stand until cool enough to handle.

To make the topping, stir together the sugar and cinnamon in a small, shallow bowl.  Have ready the melted butter in another small bowl.  Holding the bottom of a muffin, dip the top into the melted butter, turning to coat it evenly.  Immediately dip the top in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, coating it evenly, then tapping it to remove excess sugar.  Transfer to the rack, right side up.  Repeat with the remaining muffins (DUH).  Let cool completely before serving.

Donut Muffins 008

It just occurred to me as I was writing this post, you could totally substitute a simple powdered sugar and milk glaze for the cinnamon sugar, for a true Buttermilk Bar effect.

Next time!

24
Nov
12

Oooey, gooey and a little chewy

Figs or grilled sandwiches?  Which is it to be today?  How about I just combine the two?  After all, the apple cheese grilled combo was delicious.  I didn’t write about the pear smoked Gouda sandwich, because it fell flat for me.  But I did learn that smoked Gouda is not a melty cheese!   Should I be writing about the failures as well as the successes?  You guys tell me.

The other day, in an effort to use the fresh figs in some way that didn’t involve something too sweet or a baked good, I created a more savory fig concoction.  My taste buds approved this delightful combination.  May I present, the Grilled Cheeses and Fig sandwich…………………………….

 Spread coconut oil** on sourdough bread slices first, then place oiled side down in a cold non-stick pan.  Cover the bread with Havarti cheese slices and top with sliced fresh figs.

Next I topped the figs with some soft goat cheese, nice and tangy!

The figs were not super flavorful nor sweet so I decided to drizzle honey over the goat cheese.  A very wise choice.

I added more Havarti cheese to help hold the sandwich all together, once all of the cheeses start to melt.  Cheese makes a very good sandwich “glue”.

And we pop the other coconut oiled bread slice on top and turn the heat to a very low setting and cover the pan with a lid.  I keep the heat low so the cheese melts as the bread slowly toasts without burning. The lid helps to heat the pan , sort of like a mini oven.

Using a wide spatula, gently turn your beautifully toasted sandwich over and continue to grill until the other side is equally toasted and golden.

 Some of the honey will spill out and that is a good thing.  The edges of the sandwich will get caramelized – OMG, right?

And here is the beautiful end result.  The sourdough bread was a perfect choice for this tasty treat.  It’s chewy texture and slight tang married perfectly with the zing of the goat cheese and the sweetness of the honey drizzled fig.  The heating of the fig brought out more flavor.  Havarti cheese is very mild and agreeable, creating no sharp contrast with the goat cheese, just lovely meltiness and ooziness.

One last parting shot because I really liked the shininess of caramelized bread edges and the melted cheese with that pretty fig poking out.

Get creative with your grilled sandwiches.  Try different bread, cheese and fruit/veggie combinations.   Have fun with your food.  Your taste buds will thank you.

**NOTE:  Coconut oil is usually rock hard.  For this sandwich I gently heated the oil (DO NOT MICROWAVE) in a metal measuring cup over the lowest setting on my cook top and then used a pastry brush to apply the oil to the bread.

31
Mar
11

All right, already, I’ll write something!



Hi, Vampire Gran here. I'm sorry I haven't posted here in Vampire Gran's Kitchen for a few months. Other interests have dragged me away, as I am sure happens to all of you from time to time. I'm back for the moment and ready to share some stories of what has kept me away. Hopefully they will be of some interest to someone out there. Let's get started, shall we?

The thing about seeing some of your blog readers in person on a regular basis is they can give you a hard time about not posting.  Right, Cat and Robert H.?  Yes, I am totally guilty of not keeping up with my self-professed passion of interest.  I’m sorry.  And I wish that I could tell you all about some amazing adventures of travel or winning the lottery or some such excitement, but there has been none of that.  Well, there was a nice trip to the coast recently and I will write about that, but not today.

Truth is I have allowed other interests to tear me away from my beloved blog.  For starters, I bought a new sewing machine.  It even has a name!  Anna. I did not name her, she came into my life already saddled with that moniker.  She’s a Baby Lock brand and she is so sweet!  Our old Singer needed some TLC and the cost of having that overhauled was about $50.00 less than a brand new machine, so, you do the math.  Anyway, I’ve been having fun mending a ton of clothes around here and making some frocks for my Barbies.  I’ve also been playing a lot of pool, getting ready to be on a 9 ball team with Katie starting tonight. I don’t want to make our team look bad by being a sucky player!

In January I taught a cooking class.  My friend, Angel, is the volunteer co-ordinator at North West Ministries and she asked me to come and teach again.  I taught a tofu class there this past November and it was a lot of fun.  Last time I had a set curriculum complete with printed recipes for everyone and actually knew what I would be working with.  Angel and I thought it would be fun to do a “black box” class.  A black box test is what you get in culinary school.  You don’t know what you will be cooking until you open the box and see what your ingredients are.  Since there is a full food pantry at the church and you never know what will be there, we thought it might be helpful to the people who depend on that food to learn how to utilize it and make it tasty.  Hence, the “Black Box” cooking class.

Fortunetly, Angel had a volunteer to help me all lined up.  His name was Robert and he was awesome.  Turns out he does personal cheffing so it really turned out to be the Patty and Robert show.  He wasn’t very vocal, so I did all of the talking, but I turned the stir fry portion of the class over to him and we worked well together.  Plus he was a whiz at keeping the kitchen spic and span as we worked!

A sweetheart of a guy came in and took pictures and a little video that I will share with you now.

It’s not the greatest video, but it’s something to share with you.   I wish it had some music or narration so you could get a better idea of what we were making.  Here are a bunch of still shots where I will attempt to describe what the class was like.  I’ll share a recipe at the end of this post.

As I mentioned, there is a food pantry at the church for people in need and this is some of the pretty nice produce that was available the day I taught the "black box" class.

I'm adding olive oil to some peeled and cubed butternut squash in this shot. The photographer arrived a little late for the actual cubing of the squash. This student was fascinated with everything. She had never had butternut squash before was was ready to try it.The baking sheet was lined with foil. After adding olive oil, salt and pepper to the butternut squash, I spread it all out on the baking sheet to roast.Here I am starting to make a glaze for the squash. There is some soy sauce in the bowl and the photographer asked me to show the bowl for the picture. Not too exciting as I had not added the remaining ingredients yet.

Squeezing in some lime juice to the sauce. Fresh lime juice is better but we're using what we have on hand, remember?

Whisking it all together. There's my most curious student. Wish I could remember her name. She was pretty sweet and very enthusiastic.

He moved in for a close-up of the whisking action.

This is a really nice food pantry. They even had Portobello mushrooms! I marinade it with lots of garlic, olive oil, soy sauce and hot sauce.

We cooked this mushroom off in a frying pan.  At home I would have used a grill pan or the barbecue.  The class really was impressed with this simple, yet unusual for them, treat.

That's Robert, my volunteer assistant. Not sure what was up with the dark glasses. I'm pretty sure he could see what he was doing.

See, there really was a few more students besides my number one fan there.

I look a little confused in this shot. Getting ready to measure some rice.

Robert is on veggie chopping detail for his stir fry.

He was a lot more precise than I would have been!

I'm telling you, if you need emergency food assistance, contact NorthWest Ministries in Portland. Look how nice these vegetables are!

Let's get some onion in there.

Vampire Gran taking the squash out of the oven for a bit of a stir before adding the glaze.

Doing a little glazing action now

Still at the stove while students look on

Meanwhile, back at the prep table, Robert keeps cutting up the beautiful veggies

We're turning, we're glazing

Unfortunately, the photographer had to leave before our feast was ready, so there are no photos of the complete meal!  Everyone sat down to a meal of grilled Portobello mushroom, vegetable stir fry over steamed rice, mixed green salad with a simple vinaigrette and sweet and spicy roasted glazed butternut squash.  We did it all in a two-hour time slot, including clean up and consumption of the meal.

I love this squash recipe.  I actually adapted it from a recipe that was on Vegan Good Things (you can click on her link over there on the right under  BlogRoll).  the original recipe was for Brussel sprouts which is fantastic, but I have found that this glaze works great with any vegetable.

SWEET AND SPICY BUTTERNUT SQUASH

1 Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into 1/2′ – 3/4′ cubes
olive oil
Kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
In a large bowl, toss cubed squash in small amount of olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Spread on foil lined baking sheet and place in a preheated 350 degree oven.  Roast for about 20 minutes.

GLAZE

2 – 3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
juice of one lime
hot sauce to taste ( I usually free pour about 2 tablespoons)

Use the same bowl that you tossed the oil and squash in.  Mix glaze.  You are going to glaze the squash AFTER FIRST ROASTING IT FOR 20 MINUTES.
Remove squash from oven and toss in glaze.  Spread glazed squash back onto the baking sheet, reserving some for drizzling before serving, and return to oven.  Bake for another 15 minutes or until the squash is tender and caramelized.

That’s it.  You are done and it is delicious.

28
Jan
11

Triple Chocolate Threats

Evil temptress chocolate treat

 

Sometimes I question which is it that I am most addicted to, the consumption of sugary

goodness or the creation of such treats?  I enjoy both, but if I had to choose but one, I’m

pretty sure that creation would win.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I would have a really hard

time shaking the sugar monkey off my back.  He’s been with me for deep.  But, I know I could

do it.  I’m just not ready yet.

Now, the thought of never baking another cake, cookie or pie strikes fear into my very soul.

Severe depression would be inevitable if I could never bake again.  Ya’ know, let’s just

not go down that path.

Many posts ago I shared a recipe and pictures of Lemon Coconut Pixies.  The recipe came from

the Hershey Company.  I have a recipe tin that was given to me as a birthday gift in 2009

and it sat on our kitchen counter for 10 months  before I ever made anything from it.  That

post was 13 months ago, so it’s time for another recipe from the tin.

HERSHEY’S Triple Chocolate Cookies

48 Hershey’s Kisses Milk chocolate or Milk Chocolate with Almonds (that’s what I used)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened (I used butter, of course)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa (I used cocoa powder form that bulk bins at WinCo)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Hershey’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips ( I used Safeway brand)

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees F. 

What else was I going to do with all this candy left over from Christmas? I did play poker with it the night before I baked the cookies!

 

Mmmmm.......chocolate!

Remove wrappers from chocolates.
2.  Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium

speed in a large bowl until well blended.  Add eggs and milk; beat well.
3.  Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into butter mixture,

beating until well blended.  Stir in chocolate chips. 

Make all the comments you want, it still tastes good

 Shape dough into 1 inch balls. 

Oven bound

Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Fresh out of the oven and hot

4.  Bake 10 – 11 minutes or until set. 

Press kisses into the center of each cookie while still hot

 Gently press a chocolate into center of each cookie.  Remove to wire rack and cool completely.

VARIATION:  For vanilla cookies, omit cocoa powder and add an additional 1/3 cup all-purpose flour.

I made the recipe verbatim, but I wanted to see how they would look with a little added sparkle.  I rolled the dough balls in granulated sugar before I baked another round.  Here is what that looked like.

Roll in granulated sugar for added sparkle

Both versions taste great. 

So good when they're still warm. The chocolate kiss in the center and the chocolate chips are all soft and gooey.

I can clearly state, with authority, that these are delicious.   After all, chocolate, chocolate AND chocolate?  How could they not be tasty?  These beauties will be added to my chorus line of confection.

Oh, great!  One more sweet memory to send packing with that monkey.

24
Jan
11

I say Hazelnut and you say Filbert…..

I notice that my blog gets a lot of hits using the search word Hazelnut. Hazelnut frosting,

hazelnut paste, hazelnut butter.  Lots of hazelnut.  I have written a few posts that feature

cakes frosted with hazelnut buttercream.  The addition of hazelnut paste to vanilla

buttercream equals hazelnut frosting.  I have divulged my recipe for the aforementioned

vanilla buttercream in previous posts.  But, where does one get hazelnut paste?  Well, truth

be told, I used to get it where I work when I was the pastry chef.  I would order 15 pound

buckets of the stuff from one of our fancy pants purveyors.  And it was pricey, but oh, so

worth it.  So, now that I only make cakes when a few close friends have birthdays or a few

clients who want to give me money for a cake, my need for hazelnut paste has waned.  Until a

couple of weeks ago, when my favorite client, Katie D., wanted a chocolate cake with

hazelnut frosting for her birthday.  I have searched for sources on the Internet, and there

are many, for hazelnut paste. Very pricey and the shipping is ridiculous.   Lots of calls to

specialty shops came up cold.  Then it hit me – “We have a Champion juicer!” I used to make

peanut butter with the Champion, why not make hazelnut butter?  So make hazelnut butter, I

did.

Lovely, creamy, natural Hazelnut butter

I bought 1 and 1/2 pounds of toasted hazelnuts. You can buy raw hazelnuts and toast them

yourself; the already toasted one were available at work and I wanted to save a step.  If

you want to toast them at home, set your oven at 350 degrees, spread the raw nuts out on a

heavy sheet pan and roast for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned and nutty smelling.

I know, they have a dark brown skin on them, so how do you know when they are browned?  Some

of them will start to shed their skin and then you will see it.  Once toasted, dump them

onto a dish towel and rub vigorously to help remove the skin.  Not all of it will release,

but that’s okay.  You’re going to pulverize them anyway so what’s a little skin?

Straight through the juicer and into the jar. Talk about direct deliciousness.

Now, I have no clue how you would do this if you do not have a Champion juicer.  If you use

a blender or food processor I don’t think you will get a creamy nut butter.  More on that in

a sec……

Here is, the bad boy himself, the Champion juicer. Seriously worth every penny spent on it.

So now I’m all proud of myself for making hazelnut butter, but I realize this stuff is not

going to work for frosting.  I’ve made the error in the past by putting natural peanut

butter in buttercream and ending up with oily frosting.  Not good.  I really need hazelnut

paste.   Back to the Internet I go and, lo and behold, I stumble upon a website called

gourmetsleuth.com where I find a recipe for Hazelnut Paste!  And it is so simple!

2 cups toasted hazelnuts
2 large egg whites
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp Hazelnut liqueur

Dump 2 cups of toasted hazelnuts into your food processor

Grind it until it is course, like cornmeal

Add egg whites, Hazelnut liqueur and powdered sugar

You don't have to buy brand name sugar or liqueur to get excellent results

Process until smooth

So pretty, so shiny, so tasty!

Once I figured out that only hazelnut paste was going to work to make the frosting. I was on a roll.  I made the vanilla butter cream and started chucking in the hazelnut paste a scoop at a time and tasting after each addition until it was just right.  Not only was I making a birthday cake for a client, I had a second cake in the wings as well.  We were taking our good friend Robert out to dinner on the same night as I was making Katie’s cake.  We were celebrating Robert’s birthday and I could not show up to celebrate his special day without a cake from Vampire Gran’s Kitchen!  A light bulb went off in my brain like in the cartoons and I created a hazelnut filling to slather between the layers of cake.

This is literally two bites worth of cake. I made a taster piece like they do when you go to try cakes for a wedding, ya know? I had to make sure it all went together. after all....

The filling was fabulous!  I mixed the hazelnut frosting with a bit more hazelnut paste, added some of the hazelnut butter and a bit more of the hazelnut liqueur.  It was a bit thin so I thickened it with more powdered sugar.  It was perfection.

Katie's cake was a nine-inch, four layer job. I know, all of my cakes are starting to look-alike. Guess that's my signature style.

I made some chocolate curls to decorate both cakes.  These were fun to make but time consuming.  You have to soften the chocolate without melting it by zapping it in the microwave for like 6 seconds at a time.  Once it is the right – softness (?) – I used a vegetable peeler to make the curls.  Oh, you must have a chilled plate for them to land on as you’re doing this.  Don’t use the same plate that you use to microwave with.  It will be warm and melt your curls.  Yes, I know this from experience and that is why I am telling you.  Learn from my mistakes.

They look like little rosettes (or pencil shavings?)

So, let’s review.  Hazelnut frosting you need hazelnut paste, not hazelnut butter.   Hazelnut butter you need a Champion juicer or a nut butter machine.  Hazelnut paste is easy to make and you need a food processor.  Chocolate curls – microwave and cold plate and a vegetable peeler.

I hope you enjoyed our lesson for the day.  It just made me want a hazelnut butter and jam sandwich followed by a hunk of cake.

11
Jan
11

The world needs another Kale Salad recipe

The top selling salad at work is the Kale Carrot.  I made a batch of it yesterday.  It will all be sold out by the end of today.  How much kale is in a batch at a busy deli?  20 large bunches.  8 cups of toasted sunflower seeds and about 25 carrots. 

A few posts back I gave you the recipe for the kale salad we sell at work.  Kale is our new green at home.  I used to make dinner salad with romaine, but it has been replaced with kale.  I love it!  Plus, it has to be better for us than romaine or leafy green lettuce, right?

Lots of good nutrition in that bowl

According to Food Lover’s Companion, kale is a member of the cabbage family.  It is a cruciferous plant (having four-petaled flowers, suggestive of a cross) that provides ample amounts of vitamins A and C, folic acid, calcium and iron.  I knew it was better for us than romaine!

So, last night our salad consisted of kale, shredded carrot, red onion, thinly sliced, a handful of chopped walnuts and satsuma wedges.  The satsumas are in season now and are oh, so sweet and juicy.  Be sure to remove the stems from the kale and wash the leaves.  Slice the leaves into thin strips.

Pretty little citrusy dressing

The dressing is what really made this salad outstanding.   Here goes:

1 large spoonful (2 tablespoons) of vegenaise

1 heaping tablespoon of frozen orange juice conentrate

1 tablespoon of orange muscat vinegar (Trader Joe’s)

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

zest of one orange

Whisk it all together in a small bowl and dress salad.  Salad is best if the dressing has a chance to soak into the kale for about 30 minutes or more before serving.  I usually make the salad first and then prepare the rest of our meal.

A microplane is a great tool for zesting

If you don’t have a microplane, you can use a cheese grater.  A microplane is just so much easier to use and you get a finer zest.

A lovely salad for any time of the year

I hope you give this one a try.  We really liked it.  What did I serve this with?  Butternut Squash Ravioli in a garlic veloute sauce topped with Parmesan cheese and sweet and spicy roasted Brussel sprouts.  But it would be good just on it’s own with perhaps a hunk of garlic bread.

03
Jan
11

Cookiepalooza

It seems like everyone makes cookies at Christmas time and I didn’t want to bore my audience

with a post about cookies.  But then I thought, Hey!  This is what I do.  I bake and I cook

and I blog about it, sometimes.  And maybe my cookies will be different from the cookies

others bake and blog about.

I started making cookie dough in November.  And then stocking my freezer full of it.  That

way, I could bake-off what I needed and still have plenty to see us through Christmas time.

Freezerful of cookie dough balls ready for the holiday baking frenzy

Here's a closer look

What started off to be a plan that sounded something like this “I’m going to make a platter

for Katie’s work mates and some bags for a few select, special people.  That’s it, no big

deal.”  So, it started off simple enough.  One afternoon I baked off about 6 kinds of

cookies and made some toffee. 

Some Snickerdoodles cooling

English Toffee cooling and hardening - this stuff is way addicting, right Cat?

You know how I like my close up shots

 I made a lovely large platter for Katie to carry off to work the next day. 

A platter for Katie's workmates

I had cookies and toffee left over, of course, so I put some little gift bags

together and brought them to my work.  Everytime I saw someone who I felt a special

fondness for, I would give them a bag of treats.  It felt really good to do that.  Since I

enjoy feeling good, I started baking more cookies off every few days and kept carrying bags

of goodies to work.

Color coded bags of treats, red contained vegan, blue were caramel corn and white had regular cookies and toffee

Some  treats were especially geared toward certain folks.  The Parmesan Black Pepper

Biscotti went to those few who are not sweet tooths.  I can’t imagine not being a sweet

tooth, being highly addicted to the stuff myself, but, oh well.  Let me tell you, HUGE HIT

is an understatement.  They loved it.

Savory Biscotti - who knew? Apparently these went really well with red wine

I work with quite a few vegan people.  I didn’t want to leave them out, as it sucks to feel

like the odd man out because of dietary differences.  My vegan goodie bags contained vegan

English Toffee, Orange Almond Biscotti and Ginger Molasses cookies.  I have never seen so

many pleased vegans!  Many told me I should market the vegan biscotti and the toffee as they

had never seen any, anywhere.  One friend told me that if it weren’t for the goodies bag

from me, he would not have had any treats on Christmas day, as he spent the day with his

family and he is the lone vegan.  He also said it had been years since he had toffee and he

was so grateful.

I pulled out my text books from culinary school, found a recipe for peanut brittle and whipped up a batch

I don’t even know how many bags of treats I gave out.  Actually, the very first person to

get a small platter of cookies was Dr. Alice C., our chiropractor.  She is pregnant and very

protective of her food.  She said she might eat them all herself, but later confessed to

letting her hubby have a cookie or two.  Not only did co-workers get the cute little bags,

but our mail carrier, Ken, who looks forward to his annual sugar fest, and the smart alec

cashier at Rite Aid, Gary, scored.    Our favorite waitress at Sam’s Billiard’s, Stephanie,

was presented with a large platter to take home to share with her family.  The following

week we were greeted with lots of ohhhhs and ahhhs over the sweets.  Although, she is way

sweeter than those treats.  I even made caramel corn closer to Christmas and the

ladies at our optometrist’s office practically wet themselves when they dove into the bag I

presented to them.

How about a closer look at that toffee and peanut brittle

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies and Cherry Chocolate Chip Biscotti dipped in white chocolate - yum!

So, long story short, I made tons of cookies and lots of people happy (and maybe a little

tubby!)  I for one am glad to see an end to the holidays and am truly ready for a new and

exciting year.




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