RSS Feed

Category Archives: Cookies and Treats

Lemony Strawberry Jam

Lemony Strawberry Jam

Lemony Strawberry Jam

At the local farmers market in Midland Michigan last weekend, I came across beautiful Michigan strawberries from Hart. I thought I lost my chance to make strawberry jam this year when the 4th of July came and went in a flurry. I found this recipe online. It’s a new style of jam recipe for me. I have always used the Sure-Jell pectin recipe included in their box. This new recipe uses more strawberries, less sugar and no pectin! Lemon juice and lemon rind are the extra sources of pectin. Strawberries contain pectin, but not enough to firm up the jam unless you reduce it to a pulp.

When I made this lemony strawberry jam this weekend, it made 4 8-ounce jars. The Pioneer Woman said her recipe made 6 jars. I am including pics from my cooking experience with this recipe. Also, the link to the recipe is below:

Mashed strawberries with lemon syrup

Mashed strawberries with lemon syrup


Beautiful colorful antioxidants in the lemons and Michigan strawberries


Grate the lemons directly into the cooking pot. I love the Microplane for grating


Grated lemons ready for juicing in my Nigella Lawson citrus juicer


The lemon syrup made of the lemon rind and juice plus sugar


Fresh strawberries soaking in lemon syrup

Chocolate Espresso Mousse with Olive Oil and Flaked Salt

Served in votive candle holders

Served in votive candle holders

1 cup heavy (whipping) cream

9 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao), finely chopped or coarsely ground in a food processor

Espresso, 1/4 cup brewed or 2 Tbsp espresso powder

Best-quality fruity, peppery extra-virgin olive oil

Flaked salt

Very thin unflavored Italian bread sticks, cut into 3-4 inch lengths, optional

  • Place the cream in a small, heavy saucepan and heat it over medium heat until it is hot and begins to bubble around the edge.
  • Place the chocolate in a metal bowl and pour the hot cream over it. Let the cream stand for 2 to 3 minutes while the chocolate melts.
  • Slowly stir the chocolate mixture. Be careful not to stir too vigorously, or you will add too much air to the ganache. Keep stirring until all the chocolate is melted and completely blended with the cream.
  • Stir in the espresso.
  • Scrape the mixture into a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours. The mixture will firm as it cools.
  • To serve, using a melon baller, scoop balls of the mousse into small serving containers. (Mary Ann used votive candle holders which were perfect!) Lightly drizzle olive oil around mousse and sprinkle salt on top. If desired, place a very thin bread stick  into the mousse, adding another dimension.

Recipe Adapted from

Special thanks to Mary Ann Anschutz for discovering and developing this recipe!

Amaretti/Almond Meringue Cookies

Amaretti: full of almond antioxidant goodness!

Amaretti: full of almond antioxidant and omega-3 goodness!

This easiest of cookie recipes is from  Baking With Julia, my ultimate baking source.  A light Italian cookie that should be crisp outside and have a soft chewy interior. Amaretti means “little bitter things,” from the practice, common in Italy, of using both sweet and bitter almonds in the dough. Bitter almonds cannot be imported into the United States.

Only 3 ingredients are needed and a pastry bag for piping the dough.  If you don’t have a pastry bag, use a Ziploc bag with a 1/2 inch hole cut in a corner.

It is essential to use ALMOND PASTE not almond filling. Almond paste is thicker and has less sugar.

Almond Paste, Sugar and Egg White is all you need!

Almond Paste, Sugar and Egg White is all you need!

One 8-ounce can ALMOND PASTE (I use Solo brand)

3/4 cup sugar

2 large egg whites, beaten with a fork lightly

  • Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 325 degrees
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment
  • Cut almond paste into 1/2-inch cubes and place in bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment
  • Add 1/2 of the sugar and mix on low speed until paste is in small crumbs
  • Add the remaining sugar and mix until crumbs are very fine, about 2 minutes
  • Add the egg whites in 3-4 additions, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl and beating until batter is free of lumps. Don’t overbeat

Mix Almond Paste and Sugar to Crumbs

Mix Almond Paste and Sugar to Crumbs

Pastry Bag Filled With Dough

Pastry Bag Filled With Dough

Pastry Bag Technique

Pastry Bag Technique

  • Fit a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch plain tip or use a Ziploc-type bag with a 1/2 inch hole cut in the corner
  • You can also use a small scoop to form the amaretti, using about a teaspoon of batter for each cookie
  • Make the cookies tiny, one bite size.
  • Place them 1 1/2 inches apart
  • Just before baking each tray, wet a cotton or linen kitchen towel (terry won’t work). Keep it wet, but not soaking wet
  • Fold the wet towel and use it to drap over the cookies, a few at a time, and use an up-and-down motion to pat the cookies with the towel several times, until their tops are smooth, slightly flattened and glistening. This helps produce the crinkly top that is typical of these cookies
  • Bake the amaretti until they are well risen, lightly colored and covered with fine cracks; 10-15 minutes. If you make larger cookies, bake them longer.
  • Transfer the cookies, parchment and all, to cooling racks. Cool completely.
  • Gently peel the amaretti off the paper. If any cookies stick, use a thin spatula to scrap them off, or brush the underside of paper with a little hot water. Give it a few seconds to seep in, then peel off the cookie.
  • Amaretti will be moist and chewy for a few days and then become dry and crisp. Both are delish!