Monday, April 20, 2020

Nice "Ketch": Easy Homemade Tomato Ketchup

I love ketchup, but I grew weary of buying it from the store—too much money, too much sugar, and another single-use plastic bottle to recycle. There had to be a better way! Thankfully, I found this recipe, and very happily tailored it for my very own! Although most ketchup recipes call for cooking on the stove for while, this no-cook version satisfies your ketchup craving in just minutes:

Easy Homemade Tomato Ketchup

Easy Homemade Tomato Ketchup
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic and herb seasoning (salt-free, such as Mrs. Dash)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar (or honey)
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or vinegar of your choice)

Mix everything together in a small bowl, and enjoy! This will keep, tightly covered, in the fridge for several weeks. I love how little sugar is used here because, honestly, I'd rather save those sugary calories for dessert :-)

As mentioned above, all credit goes to this recipe by Served From Scratch, which also encourages you to season as you like and make this ketchup your own. As you may have guessed, there are many other scratch and homemade recipes on the site—be sure to visit and explore while you're there!


Monday, February 24, 2020

Nothing But the Truth: Cherry-Almond "Bakewell Tart" Bars

I cannot tell a lie: I was only using #CherryMonth as an excuse to make these "Bakewell Tart" bars! The idea for this recipe had been on the back burner for quite some time, so when I finally had all the ingredients together, I got to work.

And boy, was it work! Mixing the dough turned into a hands-on workout, but the end result was smooth and dreamy. The cherry spread I used for the filling was a bit tart, but only because I used a juice-sweetened brand. The glaze, however, was perfect: just a drizzle to hint at that flawless white pool so iconic of those miniature Bakewell Tarts you see stores:

cherry-almond bars

Cherry-Almond "Bakewell Tart" Bars

1 cup butter, softened
7 oz. (about 10 Tablespoons) almond paste
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
10-13 oz. cherry jam, spread, or preserves
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon milk (half and half would also work)

Butter an 8x8- or 9x9-inch baking pan; set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, cream butter, salt, and almond paste together, breaking up the paste with the back of the spoon—it may be lumpy, but that's okay. Stir in one cup of the flour, then start stirring in the second cup. If the dough isn't coming together, scrape any bits off the spoon and get in there with your hands! Mix and knead everything together until there is nothing stuck to the side of the bowl, and you have a smooth dough. Reserve about a third, then flatten out and press the remaining dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until set and slightly golden around the edges. Remove from the oven and carefully (that pan is HOT) spread the cherry jam evenly over the base (if your jam isn't spreadable, give it a vigorous stir to loosen). Pinch off bits of the reserved dough and scatter over the jam, then return to the over and bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are a deep golden brown and the filling starts to bubble around the edges. Remove and let cool completely.

In a small bowl, stir together confectioner's sugar and milk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze diagonally across the entire surface of the cooled bars. Let the glaze set, then cut into 16 pieces.

cherry-almond bar

Notes: Bakewell Tart is traditionally made with either cherry or raspberry jam, but I think blackberry, peach, or even plum jam would be great here. Almond paste can be quite expensive, so if you have some almond flour knocking around, you can try making your own! Store any leftover bars tightly covered at cool room temperature for up to three days, or in a airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.


Friday, January 03, 2020

All's Fair: Cranberry-Almond Teacakes

For the first time last Fall, I entered the baking competition at my local harvest fair. There were lots of entries, of all shapes and sizes, including an outrageously decadent-looking pan of cinnamon rolls! And while I didn't win anything, these Cranberry-Almond Teacakes still say "blue ribbon" to me :-)

cranberry-almond teacakes

Cranberry-Almond Teacakes

Dry ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup dried cranberries

Wet ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature

1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with muffin liners; set aside.

Stir flour, baking powder, salt, and ground ginger together in a small bowl. Add the dried cranberries and toss in the flour mixture, breaking up any clumps as you go. In a large bowl (or the pan you used the melt the butter, if it's big enough), cream butter and sugar together until fluffy, then mix in extracts and eggs. Blend in half of the dry ingredients, stir in the milk, then add the remainder of the dry ingredients and combine until just smooth. Divide evenly among the liners (about 2/3 full each). Sprinkle tops with about 1 teaspoon each almonds and sugar, then bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

cranberry-almond teacakes

Notes: Why "teacakes?" Well, they're not sweet enough to be cupcakes, yet they're still too delicate to be muffins! These are perfect, as you may have guessed, with a cup of tea for elevenses, or even as a mid-afternoon snack. The crumb is tender and rich, and the little bit of ginger adds a pleasant warmth. The headiness of the almond extract is divine!