Strawberry Creamsicle Taffy

As with the origination of turkish taffy this recipe came about as a bit of a mistake.  When I went to measure out the strawberry jam, I discovered I only had half a cup rather than a full cup.  Luckily I discovered some orange marmalade, serendipitously also a half a cup.  Thus Strawberry Creamsicle Taffy.

This soft, chewy taffy reminds me of the frozen creamsicle treats from the neighborhood ice cream truck.  The same truck that would race through our subdivision at 40 miles an hour with a block of children frantically having for it to stop.  The creamy texture melts in your mouth, and still manages to stick to your teeth making it last longer than most candies.  It’s sweet without tasting sugary, and the citrus in the marmalade adds a tinge of tang to the end.

Strawberry Creamsicle Taffy
Adapted from Cherry Turkish Taffy

1 large egg white
2 ½ cups sugar
½ cup water
¼ tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup strawberry jam
1/2 cup orange marmalade

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper, lightly butter parchment and set aside.

In a large bowl whip egg white to soft peaks with a hand mixer, set aside.

Combine sugar, water and cornstarch in a medium pot, attach a candy thermometer to the side.  Stir until all ingredients are wet.  Heat on medium until boiling, with a wet pastry brush wash down any sugar crystals from the sides of the pot.  Heat until the temperature reaches 260 degrees F.

Add strawberry jam and orange marmalade and stir until all but orange pieces are dissolved. Continue heating until the mixture comes back to 260 degrees F.

Turn on the hand mixer and slowly add the syrup to the egg white.  Continue to mix for another 15 minutes.  Taffy will be warm and very stiff.

Pour taffy into the prepared pan.  With a wet spatula smooth the taffy to all edges of the pan.  Place in freezer for about 20 minutes to firm up.  Allow to warm slightly and cut with cooking shears into desired size.  Store between parchment paper or wrap individual pieces in wax paper.  Enjoy!


Scones for a Rainy Day

Waking up to a gray, rainy day just makes me want to curl up with a warm cup of coffee, yarn and just hide away until the sun comes out again.  Since I have no desire to venture out I set myself the task of making Strawberry Scones.  Utilizing a basic scone recipe I substituted fresh diced strawberries for the currants called for in the cookbook.Fresh out of the oven then look inviting, pieces of strawberries peaking out from behind a coating of crumbly dough.

Light, flaky, crisp dough holds little pockets of moist, flavorful strawberry.  An excellent treat with coffee or tea.

Dark Strawberry Brownies

While my strawberry plant is just now opening it’s first blossom, the local grocery store had a sale on strawberries.  All my life I have loved strawberries.  My first one was sour and sweet, the size of my hand, and even though I puckered and my eyes scrunched I dove back in for another bite.  Bringing home the carton of strawberries I began to run through my head of what I could make with them, in addition to just snacking on the whole.  I settled on brownies.

Not wanting them to be too sweet I paired the strawberries with dark cocoa.

Dark Strawberry Brownies

Soft Butter
4 large Eggs
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup melted Butter
1 1/4 cups Cocoa
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 cup fresh Strawberries (diced)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow.  Add sugars and mix.  Add remaining ingredients and mix until combined.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove to rack and let cool completely.  Cut into squares and enjoy!

Spring has Sprung

It’s officially spring, sun is streaming in the windows and the cats aren’t the only thing soaking up the sunlight.  A few weeks ago I seeded some herbs, this week they have begun to poke out of their soil blanket.  Little seed leaves reaching out for the nurturing warmth of the sun.  Of the seedlings I have cilantro, basil, lavender, and oregano. The lavender I planted in biodegradable plant trays.  Once real leaves have become established the plants will be moved to a larger pot in the plant tray, the tray will breakdown and provide additional nutrients to the growing plant.  The other seeds were planted directly into a window box, they are heartier plants and needed more sunlight.

At the same time I sowed the seeds, I potted some established plants: tomato, strawberry, mint and thyme.  All have flourished in the afternoon light that streams in through our bay window.  The tomato plant especially has grown to twice the size, and just today flowers began to open their petals.

I am looking forward to the day round, juicy tomatoes hang, ready to be picked, from those stems.