With Syracuse University playing in the Final Four this year I wanted to make a special dessert to celebrate and eat during the game on Saturday! It has been 10 years since Syracuse made the Final Four, so it is not an everyday occurrence. I received my Master’s Degree from Syracuse, and have lived near the school for many years. Luckily since their mascot is an Orangeman it is fairly easy to make something themed, after all there are lots of ways to incorporate oranges in cooking.
My family and I had great fun making these cute popcorn balls for Christmas this year. These are traditional treats, and although the process is a little messy it is worth it. You can also experiment with different flavor extracts to make each taste a little different. We made the green balls vanilla flavored and red ones peppermint flavored.
My son had to make a dessert for his homeschool co-op history class, and he ended up making this Maple Nut Cake. It is supposed to be colonial although I am not sure how colonial a packaged cake mix is. Anyway it was a way to use some of the maple extract I bought a few years ago and had never opened! It tasted delicious, and it was very easy to make.
I made this delicious bread pudding using the organic fruits and nuts that I received from Bella Viva Orchards. I love apricots and almonds, and I thought they would make a great combination for a bread pudding. I tried to make the recipe not too unhealthy, so the recipes has less eggs, sugar and butter than most bread pudding recipes. Even with that it was plenty sweet, since the dried apricots are so sweet they don’t need extra sugar.
I am always looking for fun activities to do with my kids. Yesterday we went ice skating, and one of the things I realized while we were there is that I haven’t been doing as many fun activities with my children as I used to when they were younger. It seems that I am always busy, but not always busy with the things that are most important! Of course an outing is not always possible, but there are many fun things to do around the house.
Working on the assumption that almost everything tastes better with chocolate, I decided to add chocolate chips to my Meringue Cookies this year. I like to make Meringues, because they are so simple and involve so few ingredients, and they melt in your mouth when you eat them. They are also about as low calorie as you can get for Christmas cookies. The only drawback is my recipe calls for cream of tartar, which I only use a few times a year. So I usually have to ransack the pantry to find it, because it has invariably ended up all the way in the back underneath something.
I love the Peppermint Kisses candies. They look so cute and you can really taste the candy cane flavor. So this year instead of making cookies with chocolate Kisses I wanted to use the Peppermint Kisses in a cookie. I kept it very simple and just put them on top of sugar cookies as they came out of the oven. The resulting cookie was delicious and super easy to make. If you aren’t into baking you could use refrigerated dough and end up with a very easy dessert to take for a party or cookie exchange.
I love apple pie, and fall seems like the best time to make it. I found this recipe in the The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion cookbook, and decided I had to try it. It uses rum and cider in the apple pie filling, which intrigued me. It was delicious, and the small amount of rum enhanced the taste. I modified the recipe a little to cut the amount of sugar in the recipe and increase the cinnamon. I think most apple pie recipes use too much sugar, apples are so naturally sweet already they just don’t need much extra. I use very little sugar in my apple pies, and no one has ever complained they aren’t sweet enough.