Arsip Tag: syrup

cranberry syrup (and an intensely almond cake) – smitten kitchen

Almond cake, schmalmond cake… Can we just talk about this syrup? I got briefly and over-enthusiastically into making fruit syrups this summer when this September arrival forced me into a mocktail kinda lifestyle. I had quickly dismissed all of those new grown-up sodas everywhere; they were either too sweet or their so-called “natural” nature was a theory easily poked holes in upon a cursory glance at the ingredient label. Wouldn’t it be easier to just make my own fruit syrups and stir them into a glass of seltzer? I did alright with a rhubarb and a mango syrup, but they were really nothing to write home, er, I mean to you all, about. It took me a while to get back to the drawing board.

cranberries from the freezermostly defrosted cranberrieschoppy choppysugarsugar, starting to meltbubbling syrup

I understand that homemade fruit syrups probably don’t sound particularly exciting from the outset, but do consider all of the things that you can do with them: beyond the aforementioned homemade sodas, imagine splashing it in some champagne, if you’re fancy, or building a cocktail around it. You can swirl it into your morning yogurt or splash it over your oatmeal. It would be a tasty swap for maple syrup over pancakes, if maple syrup isn’t your thing (but if it is not, who are you?) or an accent to a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Or, as this cranberry syrup did a couple nights ago, it makes a easy, delicious dessert sauce for the kind of cake that needs some contrast.

almond pastespringforms, batter-ed upalmond cakes, baked and coolingalmond cake, toasted almonds, powdered

Now, about the almond cake. I told you about this one a zillion years (okay, 21 months) ago, but to refresh: if you’re into almond confections, this is a great recipe to keep around. Do you have a tube or can of almond paste in your cabinet? You can make this in in under an hour, as I did on Sunday when I realized people would be joining us for dinner.

It was spring last time I made this, so the strawberry-rhubarb compote was a good fit, but this cranberry syrup (after remembering the bag I’d stashed in the freezer after it went unused Thanksgiving week) might just trump it — the color is stunning, the flavor is sharp but toasty from a caramelized sugar base and the whole thing came together in ten minutes. I’m sold.

cranberry syrup, almond cakealmond cake with cranberry syrupalmond cakealmond cake, mine

Is it warm where you are? I’m jealous. But I’ll be nice and note that if you can get fresh strawberries, this strawberry coulis is what I consider the warm weather equivalent of this cranberry syrup. I wouldn’t swap the fruits in these recipes, however; I think strawberries taste better fresh and cranberries are always tastier cooked.

Thomas Keller’s Almond Cake [Gâteau aux Amandes]: In the archives.

One year ago: Light Wheat Bread
Two years ago: Pickled Carrot Sticks
Three years ago: Artichoke Ravioli with Tomatoes

Cranberry Syrup
Adapted from an Epicurious recipe

1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh or thawed frozen cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup water

Cook sugar in a dry 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork or flat whisk, until sugar is melted and turns a deep golden caramel. Tilt pan and carefully add cranberries and water (caramel will harden and vigorously steam). Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is completely dissolved, then pour syrup through a very fine sieve into a heatproof bowl, pressing hard on solids. Let cool.

To use: Stir into sparkling water, sparkling wine, drizzle over ice cream or yogurt or puddle underneath an intense almond cake.

Play around: Stir in a couple inches of scraped vanilla bean pulp with the cranberries for a cranberry-vanilla syrup. Add a tablespoon of orange zest in with the cranberries for an orange-hinted cranberry syrup.

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oat and maple syrup scones – smitten kitchen

The Sleep Fairy has left our apartment. I’m not sure what we did to her (I hope it wasn’t my cooking), or what we could leave out (teeth? might she be a distant cousin of the Tooth Fairy? cookies and milk? maybe Santa can help with these things?) to lure her to come back but we were sleeping and now we are not sleeping and we miss it terribly. Also, getting to the end of sentences while still remembering what they were about when we started them.

pot-luck brunch

My in-laws took pity on us last Saturday and invited our charge to notsleep at their place instead for the night. Of course, instead of pulling the shades and waking up a day and a half later, feeling a year and a half younger, we decided to host a brunch because apparently the only thing I miss more than sleep is entertaining friends. It was mostly a pot-luck, anyway, with Ess-a-Bagels, Russ & Daughter’s homemade cream cheese, various goodies from the Manhattan Fruit Exchange and a high chair that got relegated to cocktail ice bucket holding duties in the absence of its assigned toddler. I made thisbakedthing and also theseotherthings that might or might not show up in some silly old cookbook slated for 2012, and also, I made some oaty whole wheat maple syrup scones.

dry ingredients

a heaping tablespoon

I’ve been on a cookbook buying tear lately, to the point that you only need to make the slightest suggestion that a cookbook is good and I’ll go out and buy it. This has happened recently in the comments, which led to purchases of The Russian Heritage Cookbook and a used copy of The Cuisine of Hungary. This also happened recently over email, when I realized I didn’t own The Breakfast Book and immediately rectified that. And when Heidi at 101 Cookbooks mentioned The Many Little Meals of Rose Bakery, the book looked so charming I had it in my hands before the week was out. It had been way too long since I curled up and simple read a cookbook, end to end, and this is a sweet one to tuck into. You’ll immediately want to go to the tea shop and bakery in Paris, and hang out with its creator, Rose Carrarini, who says she wanted to “dissolve the distinction between home and restaurant cooking”. I was personally excited to learn that she found most baked goods too sweet and to find that she incorporated a lot of whole grains into her baking without making a big fuss about the healthfulness of it. I think both things come in handy when you’re making breakfast.

kneaded gently together
ready to bake, intentionally close

What’s up with all the sweets? I know! I do strive for balance, usually alternating between the sweet and the not-sweet but you see, I’ve been working on the main courses for my cookbook for the last month and much of my dinner-ish energy is going there. Not to mention, I’m running out of ways to make dead-of-winter vegetables interesting! Spring, get here soon, will ya?

One year ago: Bakewell Tart and Romesco Potatoes
Two years ago: Skillet Irish Soda Bread and Lighter-Than-Air Chocolate Cake
Three years ago: Caramel Walnut Upside-Down Banana Cake
Four years ago: Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Corn Bread and Cream Cheese Pound Cake + Strawberry Coulis

Maple Syrup and Oat Scones
Adapted from Breakfast Lunch, Tea: The Many Little Meals of Rose Bakery

These maple syrup scones have oats, whole wheat flour and maple syrup but are just barely sweet yet not at all gritty with healthfulness. I think it’s the substantial amount of butter within. Of interest, most of my favorite scones have heavy cream in them; this one does not but it has nearly the same amount of butterfat due to the higher amount of butter.

About the weights: In this recipe, they’re provided by the book’s author, not me. They differ from what I’d measure in my own cups and spoons but you can feel safe following them just the same, as they work — I did.

Yield: The book suggests 10 to 12 but I made mine (ruler-measured! yes, I’m ocd!) their suggested size and only got 8.

1 3/4 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting surface
1/2 cup (80 grams) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (35 grams) rolled oats (I used quick-cooking)
1 very heaped tablespoon baking powder (I only slightly heaped; wish I’d heaped more!)
1 very heaped tablespoon superfine (caster) or granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
Scant 3/4 cup (160 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup milk or buttermilk
1 egg, beaten (for glaze)

Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Butter a baking tray, or, if you’re me and your baking sheets are in horrendous condition, line them with un-buttered parchment paper.

Whisk the flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. With a pastry blender or your fingertips, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. In a small dish, combine the milk and syrup, then add these liquid ingredients to the butter-flour mixture. By hand or with a rubber spatula, bring everything together to form a softish dough. If it feels too dry, add a little more milk but not enough that the dough is sticky. “The dough should not be stick at all,” the book admonishes.

On a lightly floured surface, pat or roll the dough out until it is 1 1/4 inches (3 cm) tall. Using a 2-inch (5-cm) cutter, cut the dough into rounds and place them on the prepared tray so that they almost touch. Glaze the tops with beaten egg and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the scones are lightly golden. The scones will stick together, so pull them gently apart when they’ve cooled a bit — pull-apart scones!

Serve warm. Also, you may find them stale the next day but your toddler may not care, so keep them around!

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buckwheat baby with salted caramel syrup – smitten kitchen

Yesterday morning, at last, I handed in my cookbook’s edits. And I know, you’re thinking, “but I thought you already handed your book in?” and I had. Copyedits, which come back six weeks later, are like closing costs (or so I understand) when you buy a house. You think you’re all done and just have some papers to sign/designs to approve and then wham! Comparatively, writing a book is a cinch. Writing is like splashing bright paint all over a giant white canvas — look at all of those lovely words all lined up! Aren’t they darling? Copyedits are like measuring the space between each mark of paint and having to answer questions like, “This splatter is .25 inches from that splatter, and you call it a ‘blue splatter’ but this one is .5 inches away and labeled ‘splatter, blue’. Was this intentional?” There were about three of these questions on each of 390 pages, and yet despite the fact that this work consumed the last 21 days of my life, I frequently wanted to HUG this poor copy editor who managed to wade through my blather and find small adjustments that made sentences sing. She is a saint.

the makings of caramel
caramel stages

Nevertheless, the three weeks I worked on this had some unintended side effects, the first is that I missed you all terribly. I dreamed of nothing but buckwheat pancakes, buttermilk chicken and hearty winter slaws and could not wait to get back into the kitchen again. However, the saddest side effect of being swallowed up by work for a few weeks was oddly not that I now have something my husband calls my “editing pants.” (What? They’re soft and comfortable and they have pockets! And now we must burn them.) but from my son, who is now enough of a two year-old that he’s capable of telling it like it is: After three weeks of his mama having no time to cook, he now sees an I NY bag and hollers “DINNER’S HERE!” Oh, the shame. It burns.

copper caramel

deep, dark salted caramel
buckwheat flour
just a little butter

But this, this is still not dinner — I needed to ease back in — although it made a decadent late breakfast and toddler lunch, one that did not come from a delivery bag. My inspiration was a Breizh galette I had years ago in Paris. (Of course, I only took a photo of my beer, because I’m classy.) It’s like a regular crepe, except it has buckwheat flour in it and the result is a lacy, thin pancake that’s has a vague sour note to it that’s fantastic. They’re served savory, filled with eggs, cheese and ham (or, in short, yes please) or sweet, with a deep, dark salted caramel. Dutch baby pancakes have always reminded me of tousled, ruffled crepes, and here I tried to mash the two of them up. I made two versions, one with half buckwheat flour — this is the one photographed here, and it was rumpled (more so before I finally got my camera out) and delightful. The all-buckwheat version was delicious, but alas, it did not loop and curl, and a Dutch baby that does not fall like a rumpled bed sheet in a buttery skillet is no Dutch baby at all. It did not, however, go uneaten.

buckwheat baby, caramel carried away
a serving

One year ago: Pizza with Bacon, Onions and Cream and Baked Potato Soup
Two years ago: Poppy Seed Lemon Cake, Black Bean Soup with Toasted Cumin Seed Crema and Cranberry Syrup (and an Intensely Almond Cake)
Three years ago: Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew, Almond Vanilla Rice Pudding, Light Wheat Bread and Clementine Cake
Four years ago: Lemon Bars
Five years ago: English Muffins and a Frisee Salad

Buckwheat Baby with Salted Caramel Syrup

Makes 1 12-inch pancake and 3/4 cup salted caramel syrup (really, sauce but with a slip more cream to thin it further), which will be much more than you need, and will set you up well for next time/heaven-on-a-scoop-of-vanilla-ice cream. This pancake can also be divided and cooked in two 9-inch skillets (12 to 15 minutes baking). I have made this pancake successful with only 2 instead of 3 tablespoons of butter in the pan but only recommend this if you have excellent faith in your pan’s seasoning. As noted above, I have also made this with 100% buckwheat flour and the result is tasty, but didn’t rumple.

Two photo notes: The photos show me making a double volume of the syrup because I apparently like to torture myself with extra sauce in the fridge. It also shows me using a larger volume of butter (4T) than I found necessary in ensuing batches.

Serves 2 (for breakfast) to 4 (for dessert) or 6 to 8 (as a dainty dessert)

Caramel syrup
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (or, salted but ease up on the sea salt)
Two pinches flaked or fine sea salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Pancake
3 tablespoons buckwheat flour
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon table or fine sea salt
1/2 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Confectioners’ sugar, to dust (optional)
Salted caramel syrup

Make syrup: Melt the sugar over medium to moderately high heat in a larger pot than you think you’ll need–at least two quarts, whisking or stirring the sugar as it melts to ensure it heats evenly. Cook the liquefied sugar to a nice copper color. Add the sea salt and butter and stir until the butter melts. Lower the heat and slowly drizzle in the heavy cream, whisking the whole time. The sauce will foam and hiss; just ignore it and whisk until the sauce is smooth. Set aside until needed. Store in the fridge for up to a week. Rewarm gently to thin it out.

Make pancake: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk the flours, sugar, salt, milk and eggs together in a medium bowl. Leaving a couple lumps behind is fine. Melt butter in a 12-inch cast skillet, preferably cast iron but any heavy ovenproof skillet should work. Roll the butter around a bit so it goes up the sides. Pour in the batter and transfer skillet to the oven. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until the pancake browns lightly at the edges and rumpled. Transfer to a trivet, dust with powdered sugar (if using), drizzle with salted caramel syrup and serve immediately in halves or wedges.

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strawberry rhubarb soda syrup – smitten kitchen

There are a lot of great reasons to make your own soda syrup. You can use real sugar, rather than the HFCS devil that lurks in most bottles. You can make flavors that make you happy, from real seasonal ingredients with complexity and intensity, and you can use up excesses of things in your fridge like, say, the time you assumed strawberries being on sale meant that you were going to eat a few pounds of them before they went bad. You can use the syrup as a foundation for cocktails, because it’s Friday and baby, you’ve earned it, and you can package bottles up as gifts for friends, because you’re just that awesome of a person.


red and pink and pink and red
chop chop into the pot

And while every one of these crossed my mind when I made this syrup this week (uh, once my kitchen and bathroom were reassembled), I am not sure any of them are the truth. The truth is not practical, logical or even terribly grown-up; it will never make it into a longform think piece about food and culture, thank heavens: I just wanted something pink, tart and pretty in my life, something that fills your kitchen with the smell of cotton candy, sunshine and popsicles as it simmers away on the stove. I wanted spring, and seeing as the weather was not going to provide it for me, I hoped a weeklong dose of ombré green and fuchsia would suffice.

simmer until your home smells like cotton candy

strain the syrup
keep the delicious pulp

Phew, it’s a good thing none of you thought I was punk rock, because clearly, this post is as twee as anything. Fortunately, there’s a bit of substance beneath the fluff. This syrup tastes intensely like fragrant strawberries and tart rhubarb, laced with a hint of lemon, and it’s miles better than anything I have ordered for $8 from my nearest bespoke restaurant’s mocktail menu. It’s incredibly practical too; the pulp leftover from straining the syrup makes a fantastic stir-in to your morning oatmeal, yogurt or even dolloped on top of this weekend’s oatmeal pancakes. But, you know, you can also make it because it’s a brilliant ray of spring — I did not touch the saturation dial on these photos — and there are worse things than opening up your fridge after a long day and finding a hot pink bottle of fizzy refreshment waiting for you.

strawberry rhubarb soda syrup
adding the fizz

One year ago: Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons
Two years ago: Spinach and Smashed Egg Toast
Three years ago: Over-the-Top Mushroom Quiche
Four years ago: French Onion Soup
Five years ago: Tangy Spiced Brisket and Radicchio Apple and Pear Salad
Six years ago: Artichokes Braised in Lemon and Olive Oil and Chewy Amaretti Cookies
Seven years ago: Shaker Lemon Pie
Eight years ago: Arborio Rice Pudding and Potato Rosemary Bread

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Better Chocolate Babka
1.5 Years Ago: Purple Plum Torte
2.5 Years Ago: Cumin Seed Roasted Cauliflower with Yogurt
3.5 Years Ago: Quick Chicken Noodle Soup

Strawberry Rhubarb Soda Syrup

Yield: 3 cups, if you’re patient

1 pound strawberries, stems removed and halved
1 pound rhubarb, chopped into 1/2-inch segments
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 lemon

Combine strawberries, rhubarb, sugar and water in a large saucepan. Remove several strips of peel from lemon with a knife or peeler and add them to the pot. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce it to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until fruit has completely collapsed, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add the juice of half the lemon (or more, to taste) and let fruit cool in syrup for maximum infusion. Once cool, pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer (or, if you only have a coarse one, line it with cheesecloth or a lint-free towel); press solids with the back of a spoon or spatula to get the most syrup from them. You should have 2 cups right away, but I had to run an errand, left mine sitting in the strainer and was delighted to find 3 full cups of syrup when I got back. Pour into a glass bottle and chill until needed.

Save fruit pulp in a separate container; it can be used to stir into plain yogurt, oatmeal or even dollop on pancakes. (Be sure to fish out or at least look out for lemon peels if you do.)

To make 1 glass of soda, pour 2 tablespoons of the syrup in the bottom of a glass, fill with ice and then seltzer or sparkling water. Give it a stir and add more syrup to taste; for a large glass, you might use up to 2 tablespoons more. Garnish with a lemon wedge, if you wish. Drink and pretend it’s spring.

Do ahead: Syrup should keep in the fridge for at least three weeks, if not longer.

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