sugar

Pumpkin Bread

by Nancy on November 8, 2011

in Breads,Snacks,Vegetarian

I suppose I can admit that we don’t always have pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving anymore. Kinda sad I know but the apples on my tree ripen about a month before Thanksgiving so I often make an apple pie and freeze it so all I have to do is bake it the day before. And then I have a couple of diehards that insist on a pecan pie for Thanksgiving. Carrie is one of them so she bakes the pecan pie, one less thing for me to do. But it still doesn’t seem like fall without something pumpkin with the accompanying spicy aroma.

So to get my pumpkin spice fix I make pumpkin bread and have a slice or two for breakfast with a cup of tea. Many pumpkin bread recipes suffer the same “flaw” as carrot cake (another favorite of mine). To keep the bread moist, the recipes use a lot of oil – 2/3 to 1 cup for an average loaf. I don’t like my pumpkin bread or carrot cake to leave an oil ring on my plate and that oil adds a lot of calories. So I tested several recipes and made a few changes of my own until I came up with a recipe that is moist and uses only 1/3 cup of oil.

Pumpkin Bread

Makes two 3″ x 7″ mini loaves.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup walnuts, raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
  1. Blend pumpkin, sugar and egg with spoon in 1 quart bowl.
  2. Stir in oil, salt and spices.
  3. Add water, baking soda and baking powder.
  4. Mix in flour.
  5. Pour into two 3″ x 7″ mini loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes. Do not underbake.

 

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Haupia

by Nancy on August 23, 2011

in Desserts,Snacks

Aloha! Carrie and I are in Hawaii so, of course, we have to feature a Hawaiian food this week. Haupia is a coconut milk pudding that is served at luaus and social gatherings. I first had haupia 30 years ago at a picnic on the Big Island hosted by some colleagues who had lived and worked there for several years. I even got the recipe!

Haupia is referred to a pudding in most recipes. It is similar to Vanilla Pudding that we published a few weeks ago. Coconut milk replaces at least half of the milk, in this recipe it replaces all of the milk but you could use up to half milk. Haupia should be stiff enough to be picked up and eaten as a finger food. This is accomplished by doubling the cornstarch. Haupia was originally made with pia – arrowroot starch – and you could use that instead of cornstarch in the same portion. Keep servings small, coconut milk is a laxative in large quantities.

Coconut milk is not the liquid in the center of a coconut, that is coconut water. The milk is made by grating coconut meat, mixing it (either fresh or dried) with equal parts boiling water, letting it sit 20 minutes and then draining. The liquid you drain off will be white and is the coconut milk you use. You can make it yourself and I have but the quality and flavor varies a lot. It’s better (and easier) to just buy coconut milk in a can if your grocery store carries it. Look in the Asian section.

Haupia is traditionally served on a section of ti leaf. I don’t have ti leaves available so I decided to use an origami leaf instead. Finding a pattern for the leaf was easy. A quick internet search turned up both written and video instructions for how to make this leaf. Finding the right paper took longer. I wanted green paper that would stand up to the moisture in the haupia square and be stiff enough so that you could pick the leaf up off of a serving tray. I finally settled on opalescent origami paper which has a somewhat water resistant coating on it.

Haupia

25 servings

Ingredients

  • 2   13.5 ounce cans of coconut milk or 1 can coconut milk and 1 can milk
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • coconut (optional)
  1. In heavy bottomed 1 1/2 quart saucepan, mix cornstarch, sugar and salt thoroughly.
  2. Add 1/2 cup water and stir to make a paste.
  3. Add milk and stir.
  4. Place on medium high heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly especially as the mixture nears the boiling point. Use a spatula so that you scrape the bottom as you stir. The mixture will thicken on the bottom of the pan first and will be lumpy if not stirred well.
  5. Remove from heat when first bubbles from boiling appear.
  6. Pour into 9″ square pan. Top with coconut flakes if desired. Chill. Cut into 5 sections each way.

 

 

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Vanilla Pudding

by Nancy on May 31, 2011

in Desserts,Snacks

Here we have three different flavors of pudding: chocolate with chocolate chips, butterscotch with toffee bits and vanilla with toasted coconut. So you would think that I would use three different recipes, right? I actually use the same basic recipe for all three! Only slight changes to the recipe change the flavor and other slight variations change this into pie filling, like a nice coconut cream or banana cream, or into frozen pudding pops. I’m just going to talk about pudding here, I’ll post about cream pies and pudding pops in the summer.

This pudding has only three basic ingredients: milk, cornstarch and sugar. Starch thickens the milk and sugar adds sweetness. You can vary the milk substituting whole, lowfat or nonfat milk, soy milk or almond milk. You can vary the sugar: white sugar makes vanilla pudding and brown sugar makes butterscotch pudding. You could even vary the starch using something like arrowroot starch. I haven’t tried this but if someone in your family is allergy to corn you might want to. You would have to play with the ratio of starch to milk to get a nice consistency.

Once you have your basic pudding, you can flavor it or add other ingredients. I always add salt and vanilla both tastes are “expected” and you don’t hardly notice them – unless they aren’t there. You might also want to add some extract: wild cherry with vanilla or butter rum with butterscotch, or food coloring. Finally, you might want to stir in a special ingredient at the end: sliced bananas for banana cream or coconut for coconut cream. And I always add a topping! It tastes better if it look appealing.

Basic Vanilla Pudding

  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 5 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. In heavy bottomed 1 1/2 quart saucepan, mix cornstarch, sugar and salt thoroughly.
  2. Add 1/2 cup milk and stir to make a paste.
  3. Add remainder of milk and stir.
  4. Place on medium high heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly especially as the mixture nears the boiling point. Use a spatula so that you scrape the bottom as you stir. The mixture will thicken on the bottom of the pan first and will be lumpy if not stirred well.
  5. Remove from heat when first bubbles from boiling appear.
  6. Stir in vanilla and pour into custard cups or dessert bowls.

I’m putting the variations for chocolate and butterscotch puddings in their own posts so they index. Here are the links:

Chocolate Pudding

Butterscotch Pudding

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Chocolate Pudding

by Nancy on May 31, 2011

in Desserts,Snacks

Chocolate Pudding is a simple variation of basic Vanilla Pudding. I just add 1/3 cup cocoa and increase the sugar from 2/3 cup to 1 cup to counteract the bitterness of the cocoa.

Chocolate Pudding

  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 5 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. In heavy bottomed 1 1/2 quart saucepan, mix cornstarch, cocoa, sugar and salt thoroughly.
  2. Add 1/2 cup milk and stir to make a paste.
  3. Add remainder of milk and stir.
  4. Place on medium high heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly especially as the mixture nears the boiling point. Use a spatula so that you scrape the bottom as you stir. The mixture will thicken on the bottom of the pan first and will be lumpy if not stirred well.
  5. Remove from heat when first bubbles from boiling appear.
  6. Stir in vanilla and pour into custard cups or dessert bowls.

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Creamy Mints and Candy Clay

by Nancy on May 17, 2011

in Candy

When I was growing up in the midwest, family milestones were celebrated with receptions. Graduations, weddings, 25th and 50th anniversaries meant family, friends and acquaintances would gather to congratulate the honoree. Food for the reception usually consisted of a catered cake, mints, and mixed roasted nuts. Coffee and punch were served as beverages.

The mints were my favorite and are so easy to make. This recipe was common at the time and usually went by the name Cream Cheese Mints. Cream cheese doesn’t really sound like it would be very good in mints but it smooths out the flavor so the mints don’t seem overly sweet and you don’t taste the cream cheese. Another nice thing about these mints is that the “dough” can formed into shapes and you have plenty of time to work with it as it doesn’t get hard quickly as it cools like a candy made with sugar syrup. Rose shaped mints colored to match the occasion are the ones I remember but you can also roll this dough and cut it with small cookie cutters or add a little more powdered sugar to make it stiffer and mold it like clay. Plan on two for each adult but four or five for each of the kids!

For the mints above, I used the Wilton Roses in Bloom candy mold. I scooped out 1/2 tablespoon of candy dough, rolled it into a ball between my hands, rolled the ball in a dish of superfine sugar (baker’s sugar), and then placed the ball in the mold. Beginning at one edge, I pressed the ball even with the top of the mold working across the mold and squeezing off any excess dough on the opposite side. After filling all 10 roses I turned the mold over, gave it a sharp wrap on top of a towel on the counter and the roses fell out.

Creamy Mints

  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. mint extract
  • food coloring (optional)
  • granulated sugar (optional)

Makes 30 one half tablespoon sized mints.

  1. With cream cheese at room temperature, mix all ingredients together to form firm dough.
  2. Roll out and cut with small cookie cutters or press into molds and pop out immediately. For sparkling candy, roll into balls and dip in superfine or regular granulated sugar before pressing into molds.
  3. Place on linen towel or other smooth cloth for 24 hours. This allows the surface to dry and a crust to form so candies are easier to handle. Can be stored in air tight container in freezer with sheets of waxed paper between layers.

Candy Clay

  • 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. flavored extract (optional)
  • food coloring (optional)
  1. With cream cheese at room temperature, mix 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar with all other ingredients to form firm dough.
  2. Knead in 1/4 cup additional powdered sugar or as needed to make a stiff, claylike consistency.
  3. Model into shape.
  4. Let air dry 24 hours so that the surface dry and a crust forms to make molded shape easier to handle. Can be stored in air tight container in freezer.

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