Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Homemade Fruit Snacks Made with 100% Fruit Juice

Another great recipe found on Pinterest! It originated from MommySavers.com


Little Girls really like fruit snacks - especially Little Girl #1. Ocean Spray has a new fruit snack, which is a little healthier than the other kinds on the market. But I still wasn't crazy about them. Then I found this recipe.


I bought the Outset Hex Ice Cube Tray silicon mold on Amazon for under $8. It's got 34 holes and they're the perfect size for fruit snacks, in my humble opinion. They're about the size of dime or so.



They were pretty easy to make. The thinner snacks had a weird texture, so I think I'll make sure they're half (or more) full next time. The real test will be when Little Girls try them in the morning *fingers crossed*



Ingredients
1/3 c. 100% frozen fruit juice concentrate
2-3 .25 oz envelopes unflavored gelatin (use 2 for softer fruit snacks, and 3 for firmer ones)
molds

Directions
Pour the juice into a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the juice and let it sit for a few minutes. Put the pan over medium heat and stir until all the gelatin is completely dissolved. Pour the mixture into a measuring cup with a spout so you can easily fill your molds. Fill the molds and allow to set at least 20 minutes. You can speed up the process a bit by putting them in the refrigerator.


There's also a recipe using Jell-O and water instead of juice if you want to go that route:

Jell-o Fruit Snacks Recipe
1 3 oz package gelatin, any flavor
2 .25 oz envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/3 c. water

Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium heat and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved.  Pour into molds and allow to set at least 20 minutes.


Garlic Scapes Pesto

What is a "garlic scape" you ask?


THIS is a garlic scape....

The farmer told me: Garlic scapes are the green-colored stems and unopened flower buds of hard-neck garlic varieties. they have a mild garlic flavor with a slight sweetness.
My thoughts - it's got a nice garlic flavor - and really - you can't go wrong with that!

The girls and I went to the local farmers' market today and picked these up (along with some other amazing produce). The farmer we bought them from gave me this recipe. I went right home and whipped it up. Super tasty!

I didn't do anything with it yet, but I'm planning on trying it on pasta as the recipe suggests. Maybe on some nice crusty bread too.....



Ingredients
10 garlic scapes - ends and buds trimmed
1/3 cup unsalted pistachios, almonds or walnuts (I used natural almonds)
1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
salt & pepper
1/3 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Directions
  • Puree scapes, nuts, cheese 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a food processor until very finely chopped.
  • With motor running, slowly pour in the oil.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Stir into warm pasta with a little reserved pasta water and serve.
  • Store in fridge for up to 1 week or freeze in ice cube trays and store for up to 1 month.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Monday, June 18, 2012

S'mores Cupcakes with Graham Cracker Buttercream

Who doesn't love s'mores??

My niece's 9th birthday was last month, but her party with her friends is tomorrow. She's having a make-your-own-pizza party - how fun!

I offered to make cupcakes for her party to give her mom a little break on the party planning. I had to find something that was gluten-free since she has Celiac Disease, and also nut-free since so many kids have nut allergies. I didn't want to risk something happening with that at all.

I offered her mom a few choices and this was her pick.

I tweaked the original recipe just a bit. I used a box of King Arthur Gluten-Free chocolate cake mix instead of making a from-scratch cake like the recipe called for, along with GF graham crackers. I'd probably do the same thing if I was making a regular cake. The box I used called for 1 1/3 cups of water (plus eggs and oil), but I used only 1/3 cup of water and 1 cup of sour cream. I think the sour cream adds nice moisture to a cake!

The below recipe is how I made it, and the original can be found here at Your Cup of Cake.



Ingredients

Chocolate Cakes:
2-layer box mix of chocolate cake plus ingredients on back minus 1 cup of water
1 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
Graham cracker crumbs (fine crumbs)

Marshmallow Cream Centers:
4 oz cream cheese
½ cup Fluff (marshmallow cream for you non New Englanders)
1 ½ - 2 cups powdered sugar

Graham Cracker Buttercream:
8 oz cream cheese
½ cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
¾ cup graham cracker crumbs (fine crumbs)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons whipping cream or milk
mini marshmallows and chocolate for decoration

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 360 degrees and line cupcake pans with liners (24).
  2. Mix cake mix, ingredients from back of the box and sour cream together in a mixer until fully combined.
  3. Spoon ¾ teaspoon of graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Shake pan to spread evenly.
  4. Fill liners ¾ full and bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Mashmallow Cream Centers: Beat cream cheese, marshmallow cream and powdered sugar. Add more powdered sugar to taste. This mixture should not be thick like a buttercream, because it will be in the center of your cupcake.
  6. When cupcakes are cooled, cut out a small area from the top of the cake and pipe marshmallow cream into each cupcake.
  7. Graham Cracker Buttercream: Beat cream cheese and butter until light and creamy. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and graham cracker crumbs. At this point, the buttercream will look like cookie dough. Add heavy cream a little bit at a time until buttercream consistency is reached.
  8. Pipe onto cooled, marshmallow filled cupcakes and top with mini marshmallows and melted chocolate.