When I decided to go local and package-free, one of the things I had to do was learn to make sweets, since I have the sweet tooth to end all sweet tooths (sweet teeth?).
This has been a less-than-successful effort. While I’m pretty good with cookies, my quick breads never cook all the way through and I’ve thrown away more pies than I’ve eaten.
I also canNOT get jelly to set. Here’s the whole sad tale (but don’t worry, it has a happy ending.)
Cucumber jelly- fail
I’ve made lots of jam and preserves, but what started me on the whole jelly thing was this irresistible recipe from Dabblings and Whimsey, (how could I resist a blog with “dabbling” in the name, right?) which I found via that preservation goddess Punk Domestics. I mean, whoa, something new to do with cucumbers, amirite?! Problem: didn’t set, ugly color, because I used evaporated instead of crystal sugar. Probably not enough sugar.
Lemonade from lemons: Sage Advice cocktail
1 oz. cucumber simple syrup
1-2 oz. sage-infused vodka
3-4 oz. sparkling lemonade
garnish with lemon slice, cucumber slice and sage sprig
serve over ice
Once again, too little sugar?
Lemonade from lemons: Apple leek potato salad with Apple mayonnaise
1/4 cup apple syrup
1/2 cup homemade mayonnaise
1/4 to 1/2 of a whole nutmeg, grated
ground white pepper to taste
Peach jelly-fail (ish)
Using the recipe from the pectin box. This one set, but I apparently boiled it too long, and it got hard.
Lemonade from lemons: Chocolate-covered peach jellies
Reheat, in a double-bottomed pot over very low heat, until completely melted. Pour into glass pyrex baking dish, about 1/2 inch depth. Allow to set again, then cut into 1/2 squares. (Don’t make them any bigger, these are very very rich.) I used those chocolate melting dots that you can buy in the produce section, and coated each square in chocolate. Harden on a sheet of wax paper. My friend’s husband wants to marry me because of these.
Apple jelly-fail redux
Again, recipe from the pectin box. I put the *@&^$()$%# pectin in after the sugar. (Repeat after me: pectin first, pectin first, pectin first).
Lemonade from lemons: Spiced cider liqueur
2/3 bottle of middle-shelf vodka
1 cup apple syrup
1 cinnamon stick, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, 1/4 nutmeg, crushed, 1/4 teaspoon whole allspice, zest of 1/4 orange
Mix ingredients together in the vodka bottle. Store in cool dark place for 2-4 weeks. (Another great Christmas gift, decanted into decorative bottles.)
Cucumber jelly candies dipped in white chocolate TADA!
I finally ended up with the item I set out to make. I didn’t give up on the cucumber jelly, and after the peach jelly save, it occurred to me that a cucumber jelly candy in white chocolate would be amazing. And yes, it’s true. I used D&W’s recipe again, but doubled the pectin and kept it at a boil for more than 30 minutes, until it “sat” on a spoon. Several people now getting these for Christmas.
Having finally ended up with what I started out to make, I’m feeling ambitious. Next up–green tea jelly! What do you think?