This recipe is not for the faint of heart. It’s a two-day process that involves yeast, a fair amount of hands-on time, a stand mixer, and lots of rising. Mine took much longer to rise than the directions indicated, but in the end, I had two beautiful loaves chocolate babka. My boys can’t get enough of them.
I was thrilled to have this recipe succeed. I have tried to make chocolate babka in the past during a dark period when yeast was definitely not my friend, and I failed miserably. These days yeast and I get along much better.
Growing up, I never ate babka. I don’t think I knew babka existed until I heard about it on a Seinfeld episode years ago. Remember that one? These days I think of it as a treat to be purchased from Jewish bakeries, and I also think of it as being a bit dry. Not this babka. When the loaves come hot out of the oven, you pour a sugar syrup over them that keeps them moist for a couple of days. The syrup might keep them moist for longer than that, but the loaves were devoured before extended testing could ensue.
I like this recipe because it doesn’t contain nuts. The boys are not huge fans of nuts in their baked goods. Next time I make this, I’ll attempt to braid the dough a little more before putting it into the pans to rise, hoping to achieve more striation. Next time, I’ll also weigh all of the ingredients as I did this time. It worked well.
Until I started reading about babka, I didn’t realize that in many European countries, babka is an Easter treat, so this recipe is timely.
The boys are asking for another batch of these already.
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Recipe from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from the Chocolate Krantz Cakes in Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
4 1/4 cups (530 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast or rapid rise yeast
Grated zest of half an orange
3 large eggs
1/2 cup water (cold is fine) and up to 1 to 2 tablespoons extra, if needed
3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter (150 grams or 5.3 ounces) at room temperature
Sunflower or other neutral oil, for greasing
4 1/2 ounces (130 grams) dark chocolate (or approximately 3/4 cup chocolate chips)
1/2 cup (120 grams) unsalted butter, cold is fine
Scant 1/2 cup (50 grams) powdered sugar
1/3 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder
1/3 cup water
6 tablespoons (75 grams) granulated sugar
DAY 1: Make the dough: Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and zest in the bottom of the bowl of a stand mixer. Add eggs and 1/2 cup water, mixing with the dough hook until it comes together; this may take a couple minutes. It’s okay if it’s on the dry side, but if it doesn’t come together at all, add extra water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms a mass. With the mixer on low, add the salt, then the butter, a spoonful at a time, mixing until it’s incorporated into the dough. Then, mix on medium speed for 10 minutes until dough is completely smooth; you’ll need to scrape the bowl down a few times. I usually found that after 10 minutes, the dough began to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If it doesn’t, you can add 1 tablespoon extra flour to help this along.
Coat a large bowl with oil (or scrape the dough out onto a counter and oil this one) and place dough inside, cover with plastic and refrigerate. Leave in the refrigerator overnight. [Dough will not fully double, so don’t fret if it doesn’t look like it grew by more than half.]
DAY 2 Make filling: Melt butter and chocolate together until smooth. Stir in powdered sugar and cocoa; mixture should form a spreadable paste.
Assemble loaves: Coat two 9-by-4-inch (2 1/4 or 1kg) loaf pans with oil or butter, and line the bottom of each with a rectangle of parchment paper. Take half of dough from fridge (leave the other half chilled). Roll out on a well-floured counter to about a 10-inch width (the side closest to you) and as long in length (away from you) as you can when rolling it thin, likely 10 to 12 inches.
Spread half of chocolate mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Brush the end farthest away from you with water. Roll the dough up with the filling into a long, tight cigar. Seal the dampened end onto the log. I found that transferring the log to a lightly floured baking tray in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes made it much, much easier to cut cleanly in half. Repeat with second dough.
Trim last 1/2-inch off each end of log. Gently cut the log in half lenghtwise and lay them next to each other on the counter, cut sides up. Pinch two of the top ends gently together. Then, lift one side over the next, forming a twist (or a braid) and try to keep the cut sides facing out (because they’re pretty). Don’t worry if this step makes a mess, just transfer the twist as best as you can into the prepared loaf pan. In one batch, mine was long enough to “S” inside the pan and I nested the trimmed ends of the log in the openings. Don’t worry if it looks like the dough isn’t completely filling the pan. When it rises and bakes, it will fill in any gaps.
Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise another 1 to 1 1/2 hours at room temperature. Repeat process with second loaf. Mine actually too much longer than this to rise, so allow for extra time. I put my loaves in a slightly warm oven (100 degrees F), and they rose a little faster this way. Make sure they have risen completely before baking them. The risen dough should almost fill the pans.
Bake and finish loaves: Heat oven to 375°F (190°C). Remove towels, place each loaf on the middle rack of your oven. Bake for 30 minutes, but there’s no harm in checking for doneness at 25 minutes. A skewer inserted into an underbaked babka will feel stretchy/rubbery inside and may come back with dough on it. When fully baked, you’ll feel almost no resistance. If you babka needs more time, put it back, 5 minutes at a time then re-test. If it browns too quickly, you can cover it with foil.
While babkas are baking, make syrup: Bring sugar and water to a simmer until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside to cool somewhat. As soon as the babkas leave the oven, brush the syrup all over each. It will seem like too much, but will taste just right — glossy and moist. Let cool about halfway in pan, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.
Do ahead: Babkas keep for a few days at room temperature. I also understand that they freeze and defrost very well.
Yield: 2 loaves
One year ago: Lemon Fusilli with Arugula
Two years ago: Easy Cold Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken
Three years ago: Homemade Marshmallow Peeps
Four years ago: Soft Chocolate Cookies with Peanut Butter Frosting
Five years ago: Orange Pound Cake
Six years ago: Sugar-Crusted Popovers
Seven years ago: Whoopie Pies!
Eight years ago: Wheatberry Salad
I made these the other day to bring to a PTA meeting and got great feedback about them. I must warn you that they taste a little boozy. You can definitely taste the bourbon. Not all of it burns off in the baking. I really liked the flavor. This is definitely an adult dessert due to the traces of bourbon left in the bars.
These are really easy to make, and they’re quick too. The resulting blondie is nice a chewy. Do you best to not overcook them. If you don’t have a bottle of bourbon on hand, you can buy one of the airline-sized bottles and that should suffice. Those little bottles typically contain 50 ml of liquid, and that’s just shy of 1/4 cup.
I found these to be rich, so if you’re making them for a party, you can cut them into small pieces, perhaps 1.5″ x 1.5″.
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Recipe from FoodNetwork.com courtesy of Duff Goldman
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
3/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1 extra-large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup bourbon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray or butter it generously. For ease, I recommend lining the pan with parchment paper and spraying that too.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and 1/4 cup of the butterscotch chips until the mixture is smooth. Transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer.
Beat the brown sugar into the butter mixture, then the egg. Add the vanilla and bourbon and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup butterscotch chips.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with not too much stuck to it. Let cool before cutting.
One year ago: Mini Churros
Two years ago: Broccoli, Cheddar and Wild Rice Casserole
Three years ago: Meyer Lemon Gelato
Four years ago: Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad
Five years ago: Alfajores
Six years ago: Pineapple and Meyer Lemon Sorbet
Seven years ago: Peanut Butter Cookies
Eight years ago: Smashed Sweet Potatoes
One of my favorite recipes to make with roasted red peppers is this Orzo dish. I always end up with extra roasted peppers. This soup recipe is a great way to use them up. This soup is now one of my favorites. If you don’t have jarred, roasted red peppers, you can buy red bell peppers and roast them yourself.
This recipe calls for chicken stock, but if you would like to make it vegetarian, feel free to substitue vegetable stock.
This recipe couldn’t be easier. You basically dump almost all of the ingredients into a blender and puree. You then put it in a saucepan, season it and heat. That’s it. When I made it, following the directions exactly, it was a little too thin for my liking, so I took two cooked potatoes and pureed them into the soup. It then had the perfect consistency for me. My husband loved it too. The boys? Nope.
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Roasted Red Pepper and Ricotta Soup
Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine, April 2016
2 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (16-ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers, rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove
2 small cooked potatoes (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives (optional)
Combine first 6 ingredients and potatoes, if using, in a blender; process 1 minute or until smooth.
Pour mixture into a large saucepan over medium heat; bring to a simmer. Stir in lemon juice and salt. Divide soup among 4 bowls; garnish with chives, if using.
Yield: 4 servings
One year ago: Nonna Luna’s Rice
Two years ago: Chocolate Nudges
Three years ago: Sugar Saucers
Four years ago: Banana Bars with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Five years ago: Jerk Shrimp Mini Pies
Six years ago: Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
Seven years ago: Black and White Cookies
Eight years ago: Lasagna with Pink Sauce, Leeks and Sausage
Shrimp cocktail is a favorite hors d’oeuvre of mine. I serve it every Christmas Eve and sometimes at dinner parties. I used to boil the shrimp until I read about an easier way to prepare it. I now roast my shrimp, and I’m never going back to boiling. Roasting the shrimp with a little olive oil, salt and pepper is the way to go. You can also spice them up with your favorite flavors – some red pepper flakes, Old Bay seasoning, a sprinkle of cayenne, etc.
One tip – really watch the shrimp as they cook so you don’t overcook them. Overcooked shrimp can get tough and rubbery.
These shrimp can be served either warm or cold. Both are delicious. Serving them warm is a nice change from traditional chilled shrimp cocktail.
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Roasted Shrimp Cocktail
Recipe from Ina Garten via Food Network
2 pounds of shrimp (12 – 15 count)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Preheat the oven to Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place them on a sheet pan with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread them in a single layer. Do not have the shrimp overlap. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, just until the shrimp are pink and firm and cooked through. You do not want to see any gray on the shrimp. When cooked, remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Serve warm or cold with lemon and cocktail sauce (or your favorite dipping sauce.)
Yield: 24 – 30 shrimp
One year ago: Sour Cream Corn Bread
Two years ago: Easy Cold Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken
Three years ago: Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
Four years ago: Easy Black Beans and Rice
Five years ago: Avocado Fries
Six years ago: Chocolate Pancakes
Seven years ago: Baked Shrimp Scampi
Eight years ago: Chicken Piccata
I love a good, hearty plant-based meal. This one fits the bill and it’s full of flavor. It comes together very quickly, especially if you microwave the sweet potatoes, so it’s a great candidate for a healthy weeknight meal.
This recipe makes 4 stuffed sweet potatoes, enough for 2 as an entree, or 4 as a side dish. It’s also great as a leftover. I could eat one of these every night. My husband could too, but he said he’d prefer to have the chick peas served next to the sweet potato. He prefers to eat them individually. The boys would have none of them.
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Baked Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Curry Chickpeas
Recipe from Fine Cooking
4 medium sweet potatoes (about 2-3/4 lb.), scrubbed and pricked all over with a fork
2/3 cup well-shaken coconut milk
1 Tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4 scallions, sliced, whites and greens separated
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil, preferably Thai basil
Lime wedges, for serving (optional)
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.
Microwave the sweet potatoes on a microwave-safe plate until soft enough to pierce easily with a fork, about 12 minutes, depending on your microwave.(Alternatively, bake the sweet potatoes on a foillined rimmed baking sheet in a 400°F oven for about 1 hour.) Set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, whisk the coconut milk with the curry paste in a medium-size bowl until smooth. Add the turmeric and 1 tsp. salt, and whisk to combine. Add the chickpeas and scallion whites and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt.
Using a paring knife, split each sweet potato open lengthwise, taking care not to cut all the way through. Gently and carefully (they will be hot), press the short ends of each potato together to expose the soft flesh. Season to taste with salt and the lime juice, and gently toss and fluff the flesh with a fork to create a nice crater for the filling.
Use a spoon to distribute the chickpea curry mixture among the potatoes. Bake on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet until the chickpeas are warmed through, 5 to 10 minutes. Garnish the potatoes with the scallion greens and basil, and serve with the lime wedges on the side, if using.
Yield: 4 servings as a side dish or 2 as an entree
One year ago: Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cupcakes
Three years ago: Chicken, Ham and Cheddar Roll-Ups
Four years ago: Orange-Scented Almond and Olive Oil Muffins
Five years ago: Coconut Blondies
Six years ago: Asian Pork Tenderloin
Seven years ago: Black Bean Brownies
Eight years ago: Sugar Spiced Nuts
One of my sons has started to enjoy baking. He has a penchant for edible chocolate chip cookie dough, and by edible, I mean the kind that doesn’t have raw eggs, so we’ve been through a lot of cookie dough recipes recently, like cookie dough dip made with mascarpone cheese (not so good) and cookie dough frosting (just ok). This recipe was one of our favorites. My son has made it several times. I wish I could find pasturized eggs in our local supermarket; I then wouldn’t mind having our boys eat the raw cookie dough that I make when baking cookies.
I asked him if he had any recipe tips, and his only tip is that you have to really pack the dough together to get it to turn into a ball that maintains some structural integrity. He also said that he prefers them cold from the refrigerator, rather than at room temperature. He has always filled his with M&Ms, although the recipe offers lots of other options.
If you’re a raw cookie dough fan like we are, this is the recipe for you.
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Stuffed Cookie Dough Bites
Recipe from Wishes and Dishes
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted softened butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips
Mini Oreo Cookies
Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Place butter and sugars into a stand or electric mixer. Beat on medium high for 2-3 minutes, until nice and creamy. Add vanilla, beating until well combined. Add flour, salt then chocolate chips, mixing until just combined. Place 1-inch scoops of dough onto a parchment lined counter top. With tip of finger or thumb press into the center of each dough making room for filling. Fill each cookie dough piece with your favorite filling then top with enough dough to cover the filling then form into a ball shape.
Serve bites at room temperature.
Yield: ~18 cookie dough bites
One year ago: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Maple
Three years ago: Chicken and Rice Soup
Four years ago: Cajun Jambalaya
Five years ago: Red Velvet Cupcakes
Six years ago: Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes
Seven years ago: Shrimp with Spiced Masala and Coconut Milk
Eight years ago: Breakfast Cookies
We ate this last night for dinner. After all these years, do you think the boys shared it with us? Nope. Do you think the boys wanted to try it? Um, nope. Some things never change. I even made it vegetarian, so it would potentially appeal to my vegetarian son. No luck.
This dish was delicious as a vegetarian meal. I followed the recipe as it is written and simply omitted the pancetta and the anchovy. I can imagine that the recipe could be perhaps even better with these additions, but it was really great without them. It has a surprising amount of flavor, and the red pepper flakes add some nice heat. I liked this recipe because it called for canned chickpeas. Many recipes call for dried chickpeas which you have to either precook or soak overnight. I enjoy recipes that don’t involve starting the day before.
There are a million pasta e ceci recipes on the web. Some use short pasta, some long, some use lots of tomatoes, some not so many. Some recipes are vegetarian, others, like this one call for meat (but are excellent without the meat). Some are more like traditional pasta dishes, and others are soups. I am quite happy with this variation and will continue to use it.
When you chop the fresh rosemary for this dish, be sure to mince it well. It’s no fun to get a big piece of rosemary in your mouth.
Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)
Recipe from Cooks Illustrated
2 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch pieces – (I skipped this to make the dish vegetarian)
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small celery rib, cut into ½-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 onion, halved and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
1 anchovy fillet, rinsed, patted dry, and minced (I skipped this to make the dish vegetarian)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas (do not drain)
2 cups water
Salt and pepper
8 ounces (1 1/2 cups) ditalini (short, round tubular pasta)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (~1/2 cup)
If using, process pancetta in food processor until ground to paste, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add carrot, celery, and garlic and pulse until finely chopped, 8 to 10 pulses. Add onion and pulse until onion is cut into 1/8- to 1/4-inch pieces, 8 to 10 pulses. Transfer pancetta mixture to large Dutch oven. Pulse tomatoes in now-empty food processor until coarsely chopped, 8 to 10 pulses. Set aside.
Add oil to pancetta mixture in Dutch oven and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fond begins to form on bottom of pot, about 5 minutes. Add anchovy (if using), pepper flakes, and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, chickpeas and their liquid, water, and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, passing Parmesan and extra oil (if desired) separately.
Yield: 4 – 6 servings
One year ago: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Two years ago: Sugared Pretzel Cookies
Three years ago: Carrot Soup with Ginger and Lemon
Four years ago: Zvi’s Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Five years ago: Roasted Butternut Squash
Six years ago: Parmesan Cheese Crackers
Seven years ago: Cardamom Spritz Cookies
Eight years ago: Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
This is a dessert that one of my sons has made several times recently. It’s certainly not fancy, nor is it particularly gourmet, but what it is, is delicious! It’s hard to go wrong with graham crackers, vanilla pudding and chocolate. I can do without the artificial Cool Whip, but it does make the pudding layer nice and fluffy. Next time I might try to substitute homemade whipped cream.
This dessert is a cinch to make because there’s no baking involved, primarily just assembly. You need to make it several hours before you plan to eat it because the graham crackers need to soften. It’s a real crowd pleaser. It would be great to bring to a pot-luck dinner if you’re in charge of dessert. It doesn’t always look beautiful when it comes out of the pan, but it tastes great. Our family can inhale the whole pan in a couple of sittings.
We have tried several different versions of frosting with this cake. The frosting in the picture is the frosting I use for a Texas Sheet Cake. It was slightly too thick for this recipe. I recommend the frosting recipe below. I have also heard that spreading some fudge sauce on the cake in lieu of frosting is very good. I think I’ll try that next time.
No Bake Eclair Cake
Recipe from Tip Hero
1 box (16 oz) graham crackers
2 packages (3.4 oz each) instant vanilla pudding
3 1/2 cups whole milk
8 ounce container of Cool Whip
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons salted butter, melted
3 Tablespoons whole milk
Whisk together the pudding and milk in a large mixing bowl until thickened, about 2 minutes. Fold in the Cool Whip.
Spray a 9×13 baking pan with non-stick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a single layer of graham crackers, breaking them in smaller pieces to fit the edges of the pan.
Spread half of the pudding mixture evenly over the bottom layer of graham crackers. Top with a second layer of graham crackers, followed by the second half of the pudding.Top with the third and final layer of graham crackers.
Whisk together the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, melted butter and milk to make the chocolate frosting.
Spread carefully and evenly over the third layer of graham crackers.
Refrigerate overnight so the pudding has time to set up and the graham crackers soften before serving.
Yield: ~12 servings
Two years ago: Eggplant Un-Parmesan
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Three years ago: Peanut Butter Blossoms
Four years ago: Ginger Scones
Five years ago: Cherry Banana Muffins with White Chocolate Chips
Six years ago: Classic Dinner Rolls
Seven years ago: Malted Milk Ball Cookies
I receive a bunch of daily recipe emails from cooking websites and blogs. This recipe caught my eye the other day. The sauce looked so luscious, yet so simple. I’ve said this before, but sometimes the best recipes are the most basic and uncomplicated.
The main ingredient in this sauce is Meyer lemons. If you want to try this sauce and you live in the Northeast, try it now. We’re right in the middle of Meyer lemon season. They are plentiful in stores right now, and I don’t often see them at other times of the year. For those of you that don’t know what a Meyer lemon is, it’s a round lemon that is a cross between a lemon and a Mandarin orange. They tend to be sweeter than traditional lemons, with a thinner skin, a rounder shape and a deeper yellow/orange color. I love them.
I loved the consistency of this sauce; it was nice and thick, and I also loved that it was so easy to make. It was done in under 5 minutes and was a great and beautiful addition to the salmon I served for dinner. The sauce has the tang of a lemon and a hint of sweetness from the simple syrup. If you try this and you find that your sauce is too thick, add a little water and keep blending until you get the consistency you like.
I have a Vitamix blender, which was perfect for this task. It ground the whole lemons like they were made of butter. In a matter of minutes, you never would have known that lemons, skin and all were the starting point for the sauce.
If you want to make this for a large group, assume a lemon per person. That way you should have plenty of sauce, with maybe even a little left over.
This sauce was delicious on salmon, and I plan to use it with other types of fish as well.
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The Simplest Lemon Sauce
Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com
4 Meyer lemons
4 Tablespoons sugar
4 Tablespoons water
Salt to taste
Make a simple syrup. To do th is, put the sugar and water into a sauce pan. Stir over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil. Reduce the heat to low. Continue to cook and stir for an additional 2 – 3 minutes. Make sure all of the sugar is completely dissolved. Cool.
Rinse the lemons, slice them in half and remove all of the seeds that are visible. It’s ok if a few seeds remain in the lemons if you can’t get at them easily. Add the simple syrup and lemons to a blender and blend until you have a smooth sauce. Salt to taste. If you think the sauce is too thick, you can thin it by adding a bit of water.
Yield: Sauce for 4 – 5 servings of fish
Two years ago: Chocolate Covered Digestive Biscuits
Three years ago: Candied Bacon
Four years ago: Barley and Wild Rice Pilaf with Pomegranate Seeds
Five years ago: Crab Meat Gratin
Six years ago: No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars
Seven years ago: Spritz Cookies
In college there was a small group of us who would bring vodka jello to parties. We did it for years, post-college too. My parents grew to like it, and they would serve red and green vodka jello at their annual Christmas party. I have lots and lots of vodka jello stories from giving it to strangers in airports and on the street, to having a friend’s wedding cake make out of it. Just the thought of vodka jello brings back floods of wonderful memories from college.
I have been making these Knox Blox for the boys for a while now, sans vodka, of course. They really love them. The four of them can devour a 13×9 pan in a single sitting. Recently they started to ask for layers of multiple colors in a single block. I think that’s a great project for them to try.
This recipe calls for four cups of liquid. If you’re making regular Knox Blox, use four cups of boiling water. If you want to make vodka jello cubes instead, and I highly recommend trying this and bringing them to your next party, use two cups of boiling water and two cups of vodka. Don’t boil the vodka.
One little bit of science: these Knox Blox are a colloid. A colloid occurs when you have tiny particles (not visible to the naked eye) that are evenly distributed throughout a liquid. They’re not dissolved in the liquid, but evenly distributed, and they won’t ever sink to the bottom or float to the top. A couple of additional examples of colloids are mayonnaise, shaving cream, whipped cream and hair gel. Milk is surprisingly also a colloid, but a thin one, with tiny particles of fat distributed throughout the liquid. That’s your science tidbit for the day.
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4 boxes of Jello (3 oz. boxes)
3 envelopes of Knox Unflavored Gelatin
4 cups of water
Bring the water to a boil.
In a large bowl, stir together the jello and the unflavored gelatin. Add the boiling water and continue to stir until all of the gelatin powder is completely dissolved.
Pour the jello mixture into a 9 x 13 pan. Let the mixture cool a bit on the counter and then cover it and put it into the refrigerator to firm up. It should be firm enough to cut in about 4 hours.
Cut into cubes and serve.
Yield: 1 tray
Two years ago: Sparkling Cranberries
Three years ago: Pressure Cooker Chicken Piccata
Four years ago: Pomegranate Berry Smoothie
Five years ago: Smoked Tuna Dip
Six years ago: Curried Rice and Quinoa Salad
Seven years ago: Maple-Braised Pork Chops