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Strawberry Muffins Recipe

Strawberry Muffins

01.14.10 by Jackie

Marbled Muffins made with homemade strawberry jelly are our family favorite. The muffin batter is  mildly sweet with a touch of acidity from the strawberry jelly. I used strawberry extract and lemon zest in the batter and repeated both flavors in the jelly.

The muffins have a subtle elegance that makes a perfect treat for tea parties or for children's birthdays or play dates. I've made them for both, and they're always a hit. The design is my own attempt at modern art; I put a dollop of the jelly on top of the batter and then use a toothpick to draw in random designs. It's not Jackson Pollock, but hey, I'm sure it tastes better than his paintings!

Strawberry Muffin Recipe with Picture


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Cranberry Bars with Chestnut Spread and Crushed Pecans Recipe

As Thanksgiving approaches, I've been giving more thought to new dessert recipes to go with the traditional pecan and pumpkin pies that we make each year. I recently had an absolutely delicious lemon bar, and it occurred to me that a modified cranberry sauce would be a good substitute for the lemon curd.

I used shortbread as the cookie layer. Shortbread is very easy to make, and the buttery and crumbly texture is a nice foil to the sweet and tart flavor of the cranberries. Once the shortbread had baked, I spread a thin layer of chestnut spread over it. The chestnut spread balances the tartness of the jellied cranberries.

To make the cranberry jelly, I added guava in place of the usual orange juice to give the jelly sweetness as well as a more complex flavor. (It also reminds me of our recent anniversary trip to Cancun). Guava is not really in keeping with the season, so if you prefer, apple juice would be fine, but I think the guava has more depth. The goal is to limit the sourness of the jelly because after all, we're making a dessert.

After applying a generous layer of the cranberry spread to the bars, I finished them with a sprinkling of chopped pecans.


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Poached Figs in Puff Pastry Recipe

Poached Figs in Puff Pastry

09.18.09 by Jackie

Our garden is very abundant with figs this season. I gathered a full basket of large brown Turkey figs; they're re fairly wide and about 3 inches long. I love their flavor; they have a copper-colored skin, pinkish pulp and very few seeds. They are simply delicious and perfect for baking.

I poached them first in heavy syrup and wrapped them in puff pastry. It's a pretty easy dessert to make but sure to wow your guests.


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Orange-Flavored Spritz Sable Cookies dipped in Dark Chocolate Recipe

Spritz sablé cookies are French butter cookies. They have a very rich flavor. Depending on the shape of the cookie and on the baking time, spritz can either be crumbly or have a chewier texture. Spritz sablé cookies are the perfect canvas upon which to introduce other flavors. From the basic recipe, you can make an unlimited number of variations.

My little sister-in-law who is allergic to egg yolks (not egg white, go figure!) loves these cookies. They are one of the few sweet treats she can enjoy. I made some today and flavored them with orange blossom water. I then dipped them in dark chocolate to make them extra decadent.


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