Hope They Love Them

I spent about half of yesterday making passionfruit marshmallows and cranberry-cashew milk toffee and dragonfruit chocolates for a gift order — I think someone was giving them to clients or staff? Hope they love them.

I’m going to add cayenne-chocolate gilded roses to the Serendib store as a confection option — I thought people might like them for Valentine’s Day, if their love is spicy — any other requests? Let me know!

It’s too late at this point to order custom confections from me for this Christmas, sorry! If you want them for next year, think early December — and if it’s a big order, even earlier would be appreciated. You could set a calendar reminder now… 🙂

Feast at Carnivore

Swung by Carnivore Oak Park to drop off some more copies of Feast — they’d sold out of the ones I brought before. It really is a great holiday gift!

They have the last of my paperbacks for now; I’ve ordered more, but doubt they’ll arrive before Christmas. So stop by Carnivore if you want one, locals — someone bought one when I was there (!), so there’s just four left. 🙂

Reducing the Day of Hecticness

Party tip: prep trays in advance and cover with plastic wrap (refrigerating as needed) to reduce day of hecticness. Also, Trader Joe’s really does have some fun holiday beverages. Also, I feel totally justified in buying a giant gnome platter now. 🙂

Spiced Pumpkin Muffins with Cashew and Ginger

This pumpkin muffin recipe adapted from Lovely Little Kitchen — I spiced it up a bit, and added in cashew and ginger.

1 3/4 c. all purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. jaggery or dark brown sugar
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cardamom
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 eggs
1 15 oz. can pure pumpkin puree
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. cashews, chopped

1/2 c. candied ginger, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Oil and flour muffin pan (I spray Baker’s Joy into a Nordicware autumn-themed mini cakelet pan).

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, and spices.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin puree, oil, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir together until just blended.

4. Stir in chopped cashews and candied ginger, then spoon batter into muffin wells (until mostly full).

5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

You Certainly Could

Now I’m not saying you *have* to take my spiced apple cake and serve it for dessert with extra spiced apples sautéed in butter and a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, but you certainly *could*…

Chai-Spiced Apple Bread

(30 minutes + 1 hr baking time)

1/2 c. jaggery or dark brown sugar
1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cardamom
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 c. milk
2 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking powder

1 cup peeled, cored, and diced tart apples (Granny Smith recommended)

1. Preheat oven to 350F; spray loaf pan with baking spray (mix of oil and flour).

2. In a small bowl, mix the jaggery / brown sugar and spices until combined.

3. In a large bowl, beat eggs and granulated sugar on medium until pale and creamy, about two minutes.

4. With mixer on low, gradually add melted butter, milk, and vanilla, blending until combined.

5. Add flour, salt, and baking powder and mix until combined. Fold in apples by hand.

6. Spoon about 1/2 the batter into the prepared pan, and sprinkle about 2/3 of the spiced sugar mixture on top. Spoon remaining batter over the top, followed by the remaining spiced sugar mixture. Use a butter knife to swirl the layers.

7. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn out onto rack, and let cool before slicing. It should keep for about four days on the countertop under a cover, but ours never lasts that long…