We’re on another trip that includes our grandkids and hockey. This, unfortunately, is not the warmest climate in the south. There is little pride in this, as the two boys have been invited to compete in a tournament in Quebec City. The boys are 10 and 12 years old, and I’m still amazed how far these Florida natives will travel to compete on the snow. Our ancestors are also willing to travel that far to cheer them up. I’m sure I won’t go home with pictures of botanical gardens.
I am writing this column a week early and have finished dealing with palm trees. I am sharing the latest dessert recipes that I have tried. They’re all guards, of course, or I wouldn’t share them. Which is also unfortunate because they definitely don’t meet the nutritional guidelines for the Whole Life Challenge, which begins its current six-week session on Saturday. I doubt I’ll earn all 5 points in those first 4 days of our trip.
I’ve always loved butternut squash, mint pies, and fluffy mints. There is no chocolate in this first recipe. But there is no need. They are as addictive as they are. It’s very similar to the center of a mint pie. I didn’t roll it in regular sugar, but flatten it with a fork dipped in powdered sugar.
1/4 c soft butter
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (or peppermint)
4 c powdered sugar, divided
Food coloring, gel or paste, optional
1/2 c granulated sugar for rolling
Combine butter and syrup in a small bowl. Work in the snippet. Add 2°C of powdered sugar, kneading until absorbed. Add more powdered sugar as needed. Divide the dough into two-thirds, and color one section red, the other green, and the other white. Roll each section into a rope about 3/4-1 inch thick. Cut into 20-30 coins. Roll each file into a ball and roll it in granulated sugar. Place it on wax paper and flatten it with the teeth of a fork dipped in sugar. Leave it uncovered at room temperature overnight. Airtight storage, with wax paper between layers.
Next up is the cookie which is now relatively expensive simply because the Asian flu drove up the cost of eggs. I saved the yolk and used it on Sunday morning French toast. Our daughter had just come home from the grocery store in Florida with meringues, so when I ran across this recipe I had to make her own. Maybe the price of eggs will drop soon? They can’t be too bad, I tell myself, because most of them are from the air.
4 egg whites
1 c sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Oven at 225 degrees baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat the whites over medium heat until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and whisk. Gradually add sugar, mixing well after each addition. whisk over high heat until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla and food coloring if desired. Pipe on parchment paper using a large star tip. Sprinkle with colored and/or granulated sugar. Bake for 1 hour, turning sheets at the 30-minute mark. Turn off the oven, but do not open the door. Leave the leaves in the oven until completely cooled (1-2 hours, or overnight). Airtight storage.
Another of the shortcomings of the diet is shortbread. These cookies are very easy to make. I know I’ll put it in regular rotation with chocolate chip cookies and brownies.
3/4 cup soft salted butter
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 c plus 2 flour
1/4 c cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
Oven at 300 degrees. Sheets. Combine butter with powdered sugar, whisking for 5 minutes. Combine the flour and cornstarch, then add to the butter/sugar mixture, and beat for another 3 minutes. He won the bottom line. Sprinkle hands with cornstarch and roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place 1″ away from lined sheets. Press gently with a fork dipped in powdered sugar. Sprinkle with icing sugar. Bake 20-22 minutes. Bottom should be light brown, but biscuits are still pale. Allow to cool 5 minutes on baking sheet, then On wire shelves Airtight storage.
To counter all that sugar, I made myself some healthy salads. My base was a can of chickpea beans, drained and washed through a colander. I tore a bag of baby spinach in half and placed it on top of the beans. Red onions were chopped and sprinkled on top of the spinach. Then I added peeled, seeded, chopped cucumber, and halved cherry tomatoes. I added apple cider vinegar and olive oil to one serving, then chopped bell peppers and sesame seeds. To another I added balsamic vinegar, olive oil, feta, chopped black olives, and a drizzle of everything bagel. Finally, I added balsamic and olive oil, along with chopped capers and marinated artichoke hearts plus freshly grated Parmesan. I can add pine nuts or pumpkin seeds to any salad. I love my salads, which definitely helps fight that sweet tooth.