Sour Cherry Jellies for Valentines Day

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Sour Cherry Jellies for Valentines Day

You know, sometimes you’re a day late and a dollar shy. I found silicon heart shaped molds at a resale shop back in November and saved them to make something for Valentines day. Spane came home from school on Valentines Day with a box of chocolate he was selling as a school fund raiser. After dinner, we went to the market to buy milk, and sell candy to the store owner. While we were there I got a bottle of sour cherry syrup to put in my coffee. Spane did very nicely selling candy on the home to people who were getting last minute Valentine gifts.

It wasn’t until the next morning when I was sipping my sour cherry flavored coffee, which was excellent by the way, and happened to look up and see the valentine molds, that I remembered I hadn’t done anything for Valentines Day, but I could be a day late and a dollar shy if I made Sour Cherry Jellies.

If you’re trying to find sour cherry syrup, look in Mediterranean markets. Zergut makes the one I use. If you can’t find it at your local store, visit Indo-European, and order directly from them. They make all kinds of really good, minimally processed foods.

Did you know that sour cherries are really good for you? Medicinally, sour cherries may be useful in alleviating sleep problems due to its high melatonin content, a compound critical in regulating the sleep-wake cycle in humans. These jellies have intense flavor, and a low in sugar and calories, so they make a healthy treat.

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Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Fudge for Valentines

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Finished Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Fudge

Sometimes you get lucky and someone gives you a whole bunch of boxes of Christmas Peppermint Candy Canes. I was lucky, my friend gave me six boxes of candy someone had given her. She was surprised when I said I wanted it, and she wanted to know what I was going to do with it. I said, “Make Peppermint Fudge, of course!”

Span was excited to help me because he got the job of breaking up the candy canes into more manageable pieces. First he did this with his hands, came and showed them to me and I said, “You know, breaking them goes quicker when you use a hammer.” So, he got a hammer, and he started banging away at them. I was washing dishes and didn’t realize he had started, or where he was going this. I now have little bits of candy cane on the floor in the living room. No big deal, I will vacuum them up. The point is he had a good time, and really felt he was helping.

We made the fudge last night and put it in the refrigerator to firm up. I was thinking of dipping the pieces in chocolate, but I only had unsweetened chocolate. If that happens to you, it’s not a show stopper.

How to Make Dipping Chocolate with Unsweetened Chocolate

Double BoilerI like to melt my chocolate in a double boiler. I also prefer to make my own double boiler by placing a metal bowl above pan half filled with water. The bowl’s circumference is much larger than the pan, so a) there is no chance of the chocolate falling into the water, and most importantly, b) because of the large circumference, there is little chance of steam getting to the chocolate and making it seize. Once chocolate has seized, about the only thing it’s good for is breaking up for chocolate chip cookies, or beating the heck out of it to make chocolate ganache.

Making Dipping Chocolate with Unsweetned ChocolateI found myself in a quandary as I did not have enough semi-sweet chocolate to dip all the fudge, and I didn’t want to waste time going to the store to buy more. It’s actually not a problem, you can add sugar to melted chocolate, and it will be just fine. As a matter of fact, just as in using salted butter gives you little control over saltiness in dishes, using semi-sweet chocolate also gives you limited control over the sweetness of the chocolate. The important thing to remember is that you must use the finest grain pure cane sugar you can get to avoid grittiness. Add the sugar to the melted chocolate, slowly, stirring all the while. Whatever you do, don’t let the sugar liquefy or you’ll just have a mess of seized chocolate. The ratio is about 1/4 cup of sugar to every ounce of unsweetened chocolate. You will have to test it for taste, though, depending on how sweet you want the final product.

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Cranberry Orange Ginger Cream Cheese Salad Ring

Recipes in this PostCranberry Orange Ginger Cream Cheese Salad Ring

I don’t know why people insist on buying the cranberry sauce in the can. Making cranberry sauce from scratch is almost as easy as opening the can. In some cases, when your can opener refuses to play well with the can, it’s even easier! Sugar, cranberries and water, how simple is that? In addition, you get the fun of listening to the berries as they pop like pop-corn. How cool is that?

Ah, but I can’t leave well enough alone. I have to make something special for Thanksgiving, so I’m going to doll my cranberry sauce up, put it into a ring mold, and have a lovely presentation.

When I was a little girl, going to my Uncle Bob’s house for Thanksgiving, he made the most wonderful cranberry ring with cream cheese. I loved it, but never got the recipe. When I asked him about it, he said he hadn’t made it in so many years he had forgotten how to make it, and never wrote it down. I’ve looked all over the Internet, but, alas no joy. So, today, I’m going to attempt to make a similar side dish. Wish me luck!

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No Bake Mocha Fudge Pie for Halloween

Recipes in this PostNo Bake Mocha Fudge Pie

A few weeks ago, I got a few boxes of chocolate on sale at the local supermarket. I discovered that Spane and his friend, Noelle, had gotten into the chocolate one night when she spent the night. Apparently, neither one of them liked the unsweetened chocolate, but it was perfect for my Mocha Fudge Pie I made as a treat for my friend, Joanna Alexander of Strawberry Creek Crochet.

This has got to be one of simplest pies I have ever made, and it didn’t require any baking because I used a chocolate crumb crust I had in my pantry. It was just a matter of melting the fudge. I folded in whipped cream to make the pie silky, otherwise, it would have just been fudge.

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Strawberry Torpedoes – Balsamic Infused Mocha Stuffed Strawberries

Strawberry Torpedoes - Balsamic Infused Mocha Stuffed Strawberries
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I recently joined a great MeetUp, Entrepreneurs Professionals Glendale, and wanted to bring something nice for everyone to share. One of the members, Aron Ganz of Ganz Media gave the berries their name, Strawberry Torpedoes, a much shorter name, and I am grateful for that!

This is a group of entrepreneurs and professionals, who own small to medium businesses. We are not drones of the corporate world, and realize that even though being self-employed has its difficulties, it has huge rewards. Our group, led by Lynn Sarkany of MarketFinders, meets to exchange ideas to help our businesses, share stories, and network with each other. If you are a like-minded individual, you might consider joining us. Please visit Entrepreneurs and Professionals to find out more.

I had recently found a whole bunch of baking chocolate on sale, had some strawberries and a package of cream cheese. But, instead of making the Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Dipped Strawberries that I made last time, I thought I would add a little more adult flavor to the dish.

I added cocoa, coffee, vanilla, almond and cinnamon to the cream cheese filling, and I injected the berries with balsamic vinegar. When you bite into these berries, they explode flavor into your mouth.

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Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Cream Cheese Stuffed Chocolate Dipped Strawberries


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The other day, when I was perusing Pinterest, I came across something that looked fabulous. It was strawberries stuffed with cream cheese, and it was called Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries. I pinned it, and decided it would make a nice treat for the kids in Spane’s class going to the Planetarium field trip. Last year, I made White Chocolate Rum Raisin Cookies for Mrs. Mary’s class when we went to The Natural Science Museum.

I lucked out, and strawberries were Buy One box, Get One Free. There are 24 kids in Spane’s class, plus the teacher, and possibly one or two more parents who, like me, volunteered to go on the trip to help with the children. There were enough strawberries, with a few extra for the house.

I decided to change the original recipe a little and dip the strawberries in chocolate. All the recipes on the Internet tell you to add shortening to the chocolate to temper it. I don’t like shortening, and I knew that I had dipped strawberries before without it. Of course, looking in The Joy of Cooking, I found that I didn’t need shortening at all, just a candy thermometer, that I have a nice glass one with a clip. There are instructions later in this post about how to do this.

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