Frozen Cantaloupe Mojitos

Frozen Cantaloupe Mint Mojitos

I recently received a cantaloupe in my organic fruit co-op. I wasn’t quite sure what I would do with it. My kids aren’t the biggest melon fans, so I knew I couldn’t just slice it up and serve for breakfasts.

Frozen Cantaloupe Mint Mojitos

I cut it up in small pieces, bagged it up and placed in the freezer. I figured that I would use it for a smoothie or something along those lines later on.

Later that evening though, we had some impromptu guests and I decided to see if it would work in an adult drink.

My favorite summer drink is a mint mojito. I have a crazy amount of mint growing in my herb garden. In past summers, my frozen mint mojito has been a huge success. I decided to experiment with the cantaloupe thrown in and was very pleased.

While the cantaloupe pieces sat in the freezer, I went outside to pick some mint and made up a small batch of simple syrup.

I placed the frozen cantaloupe in my blender along with some fresh mint leaves, some lime juice and simple syrup. I muddled the mixture a bit. I then added a few ice cubes and some Bacardi white rum. I knew then that it would be great!

 

mojito-blender

I blended everything together until it was the right consistency. I tasted a bit to see if it needed anything. It was perfect. I then served with a garnish of mint leaves.

I definitely need to make these more often!

Frozen Cantaloupe Mojitos
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cocktail
Serves: 2

Ingredients
  • ½ cantaloupe, cut up
  • 15 mint leaves
  • ½ cup simple syrup
  • ½ cup white rum (I also use Bacardi)
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • juice of 2 limes

Instructions
  1. Cut up the cantaloupe and freeze the pieces for at least 3-4 hours
  2. Place the mint leaves, the cantaloupe, the lime juice and the simple syrup in the blender.
  3. Muddle the mixture a bit to bring out the flavor.
  4. Add in the ice cubes and rum.
  5. Blend until you reach desired consistency.
  6. Serve and garnish with extra mint leaves.
  7. Enjoy!

cantaloupe-mojitos

Chocolate, Caramel and Marshmallow Biscoff Cookie Bars

I first encountered Biscoff cookies several years ago on a Delta flight. I immediately fell in love with these cinnamon and ginger spiced cookies. They melt in your mouth and are so fantastic with a cup of coffee. At the time, you couldn’t find the cookies anywhere except for Europe and the plane. I can now purchase the cookies at my local store, and the cookie butter or Speculoos is available everywhere. It’s all so good! If you haven’t yet tried Biscoff or Speculoss, both the spread and the cookies, you’re missing out.

Biscoff Cookies

I recently picked up a package of the cookies and decided I had to turn it in to something else. I love cookie bars. I came up with two different recipes. One of which I am sharing with you today.


Chocolate, Caramel and Marshmallow Biscoff Cookie Bars

Ingredients:

Crust:
1 – 8.8 oz package Biscoff or Speculoos Cookies
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 stick Butter or Earth Balance Buttery Stick, melted

Caramel Layer:
14 oz or 1 package Kraft Caramel Squares, peeled
3 tbsp. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Marshmallow Layer:
1.5 cups Marshmallow Fluff
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. butter or Earth Balance

Chocolate Layer
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp. Earth Balance Shortening
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Place the cookies in the bowl of your food processor and process completely. Add in the brown sugar. Slowly pour in the melted butter to incorporate. Press crust ingredients in to a greased or parchment-lined 9×13 baking pan. Bake in oven for 17 minutes. Cool.

For the caramel layer, melt the caramel in a saucepan with the heavy cream. You must stir this often. You should be melting the caramel at a medium-low hear or it will burn.  Once the caramels are melted, stir in the sea salt and the cinnamon.

Pour the caramel over the cooled cookie crust. Let the caramel cool completely. I recommend chilling in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

For the marshmallow layer, heat up the marshmallow fluff, cinnamon and butter in a microwave or on the stovetop. You only need about 40 seconds in the microwave so it is easily spreadable.  Spread over the chilled caramel. Place back in fridge for another 30 minutes.

Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips with the shortening, stirring frequently. Stir until smooth. If the chocolate is too thick, you can thin with some additional shortening. Spread the chocolate over the chilled marshmallow. Sprinkle with the sea salt. Return to the fridge and chill for at least an hour.

Once everything is set, it’s time to slice. It can get messy. Use a sharp knife. When not eating, keep these bars in the fridge for optimal conditions. These bars are very rich, so I recommend cutting in small pieces.

Enjoy!

biscoff-cookie-bars

Vanilla Kipferl Cookies

This happens a couple times a year. My lovely daughter volunteers me to make something for the class. In December, it was latkes. She wanted to teach her class about Chanukah. This time around, she offered a German baked good. Or rather – anything German and cooked. I had no idea what to prepare.

I researched German baked goods on the interwebz a bit – trying to find something that my grandmother used to make. So many things are variations on recipes most likely handed down in her family. I finally came upon an authentic German cookie that I remember her making. The buttery, almond & vanilla cookies shaped in a crescent shape. These were always among the bags of baked good that she would hand deliver to Minnesota. This seemed easy enough.

These turned out to be successful. The class enjoyed – several kids even asked for the recipe! Glad the 4th graders approve!







Vanilla Kipferl Cookies
Ingredients


2 cups of flour
2 sticks of butter, softened
1/3 cup of sugar
3/4 cup ground almonds
2 tsp. vanilla
vanilla scrapings from 1/2 vanilla bean
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 365.

Mix all of the ingredients together except for the powdered sugar.

The mixture will be crumbly.

Use your hands to form some semblance of a dough.

Pinch of 1-2 tablespoon size pieces and shape in to a crescent or horn shape.

Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Bake for around 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet.

Roll in powdered sugar and cool on cooling rack.

Enjoy!

IMG_1514

Homemade Caramel Corn

I have always hated shopping. As a kid, even more so. I was the worst companion at Dayton’s or City Center. I just wanted to get out of there. I do remember though, that at the end of each shopping trip to Dayton’s, the experience was sweetened by a trip to Candyland. This old school candy and popcorn emporium was some sort of tastebud paradise. A bag of popcorn or caramel corn for my sisters and I, and a bag of jujubees for my mom. Life was good.

I don’t think I have had real caramel corn since once of those shopping trips, but I was reminded of the crunchy sweet goodness of the stuff the other day. While browsing the kosher grocery store on Thursday night, a woman next to me had cart full of tubs of caramel corn. I mosied on over to the aisle and saw that the tubs were $5 and that they also contained pretzels and peanuts. Huh? We didn’t need the glutens, and $5 for a small tub of popcorn and sugar seemed pretty overpriced. We always have popcorn in the house. There’s always sugar and butter as well. What more did I need?

I set out to make it motzei shabbat. J is the expert at the popcorn making  – so I put him to work at the stovetop. We don’t do microwave popcorn. I find it too chemical tasting. I was surprised by how easy it was to make the caramel corn. Just a few ingredients, and a few easy steps! It really is as good as I remembered. Even the kid who doesn’t like caramel loved the stuff.

Homemade Caramel Corn
Ingredients:

6 quarts cooked popcorn (stovetop, storebought, or microwave)
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cups corn syrup
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Place the poprcorn in the biggest mixing bowl you have. I have a few of those restaurant sized stainless steel bowls. If you don’t have them, then just throw them in to a couple of baking pans. The disposable foil 9×13’s are perfect for this.

Preheat the oven to 250.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter at a medium-low heat. You do not want the butter to burn.

Whisk in the brown sugar, corn syrup, and the salt.

Keep stirring.  Turn the heat up to medium high. Let the mixture come to a boil for a few minutes. Keep stirring.

Turn the heat off after a few minutes. Add in the baking soda and the vanilla.

Pour the mixture over the popcorn.
Stir the popcorn to coat it entirely.  If you haven’t already done so, dump the popcorn in to the baking pans.

Place the baking pans in the oven at 250.

Stir the popcorn every 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven after about an hour and let cool for aout 10-15 minutes. 

Break up the popcorn and store in an airtight container. Or eat it all up. It was be hard to fight the urge to keep eating. It’s that good! Enjoy!

Babkalicious!

We eat very few baked good around here, despite my urge to master the realm of baking. So, I bake, and then I bake some more, and then I dump said baked goods on unsuspecting taste testers. Such was the case with the babka.

Babka is one of those things that has to be perfect or else it really sucks. It’s also one of those things that comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and flavors. One person’s babka, is another person’s coffee or bundt cake. My mission was to accomplish a successful chocolate babka in a similar realm of the infamous Green’s Babka. That stuff is awesome.

I ended up with the babka over at the Smitten Kitchen blog. Because the recipe is over there, I will not repost the recipe, but I will share some photos. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, and it came out great. I highly recommend the recipe, and Smitten Kitchen in general. Everything I have made from that blog comes out great.


Count the sticks of butter. You know it’s gonna be good when there is that much butter and chocolate in a recipe.



You could probably put this together by hand, but it’s much more fun with a mixer.

Ball of kneaded dough in a butter bowl, ready for some rising…


I normally detest any recipe that requires me to pull out the rolling pin and actually use it, but this wasn’t too bad. It was actually very easy. Probably has something to do with all that butter.


mmmmm….chocolate….


Now go on over to Smitten Kitchen and get that recipe and make babka! It’s so good!

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