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Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

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Don’t even bother with the words, “vegan” and “tofu.” Just let “silken chocolate mousse” roll off the tongue. It’s as creamy and delicious as it sounds.

I haven’t been too successful cooking with tofu at home. It’s just not that appealing to me in texture even though I know its benefits as a protein in meatless dishes. In order to make the golden tofu that I enjoy so much in Thai restaurants it takes some skill with corn starch and patience to brown it just right in cooking oil. I haven’t mastered that well enough to do it for the low-level midweek cooking I prefer.

But use silken tofu to make chocolate mousse in a blender? That I can handle.

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A few weeks ago we threw a party for a colleague who was retiring after nearly 43 years of service to The Christian Science Monitor. In addition to being one of the nicest persons in the newsroom, Ross Atkin, a longtime sports writer, was also the presenter of baked goods. Without fail, so much so that we could set our Monday morning breakfast plans to this routine, Ross cheered the early hours of new week with a home baked treat.

He didn’t make enough to feed the entire newsroom, so you had to make sure you got work at least on time to run to the kitchen and pick up one of that day’s offerings ranging from cookies, muffins, bars to the occasional Bundt cake.

So at the 11th hour before the party (as in the afternoon before) I thought it would be a neat idea to bake Ross something from the pages of the Monitor as close as possible to the time he had first arrived in Boston as a fresh college graduate from Indiana on June 21, 1971.

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Swedish apple pie

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Apple picking is one of those seasonal markers in New England.  With four seasons to pack in over 12 months it’s easy to sometimes forget to participate in annual rituals such as filling a plastic sack with MacIntosh, Macoun, and Empire apples or picking out a perfect pumpkin. This weekend, some friends and I managed to squeeze in a visit to a local orchard to harvest the fruit and pick up some cider doughnuts.

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Strawberry sugar pop

Remember Pop Rocks and how fun it was to have a little explosion taking over your tongue?

Molecule-R, which makes molecular gastronomy kits for the “amateur chef” to make edible and unusal delights in your own humble kitchen, has packaged popping sugar in 2.8-ounce canisters. I thought popping sugar would be a great treat for the Fourth of July – fireworks in your mouth!

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Red, white, and blue shortcakes are a standard Fourth of July treat in our family. Just a simple, warm shortcake topped with red strawberries or raspberries and blueberries with whipped cream. This year I got to dreaming a bit. What if I kicked up the flavors a notch? And that is how candied ginger shortcakes with strawberry rhubarb sauce came to be.

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Frosted brownies

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When the word came that Nemo was heading our direction blowing 65 m.p.h. winds and bringing at least 2 feet of snow, my friends Nathan and Emily, who live a few blocks away, extended the invitation for homemade chicken pot pie. I was in charge of bringing brownies.

I knew immediately that I wanted to bring The Pastry Chef’s Baking Frosted Brownies, since these are so decadent and delicious I definitely did not want to be left in the house alone with a pan. I have very little self-control around chocolate. Bringing them to a group dinner was the perfect solution!

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There’s not a lot to say here except that this will be the best chocolate cake you ever bake. Ever. It has stood the test of time, fads, and the convenience of box cake mixes. This chocolate cake recipe first appeared in The Christian Science Monitor in the 1930s or ’40s. It was reintroduced to readers a few years ago in this essay.

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On most American Thanksgiving tables, pumpkin pie is as much a presence as the turkey centerpiece. In modern forms it may appear as a flan, a cheesecake, or a frozen whipped delight.

In a Victorian-era cookbook, “The Art of Cookery: A Manual for Home and Schools” by Emma P Ewing, I found a recipe for a pumpkin pie that surprised me for two reasons: the heavy use of molasses and no cinnamon.

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The first known recipe for Election Cake, one of the first foods to be identified with American politics, was published as early as 1796 in Amelia Simmons’ “American Cookery” cookbook. In the 1800s, the cake was served at election time and by the 1830s it had became popularly known as Hartford Election Cake. (more…)

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An easy place to begin for a month of Victorian recipe testing is custard pie. With its short list of ingredients, not much go wrong with this simple dessert.

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