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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Study Time; A.K.A. Peanut Butter and Jelly Time

As you may be able to tell from our pictures, we have obviously been cooking a little more than we’ve been writing this week, but I hope you will forgive us. It is my turn to write a post and I’m finishing up Summer quarter, so I’m busy writing papers and unfortunately trying to explain the ontological complexities created by temporality in Paradise Lost and trying to come up with anything to write about The Life of Johnson. I feel guilty about taking a break from writing for school and now I am feeling guilty about using the phrase ontological in a post. I will probably keep the post pretty short to keep from doing it again, I promise.

Because one of my favorite things to do when I get stressed is bake even though I am ridiculously pressed for time, I thought I would share some sweet recipes with you finally. Its been rather warm here so I engaged in some form of sorbet spree this week and thought I’d share the results.

On Thursday evening I stopped by the store and bought some fresh grapes. I had seen a recipe for a Concord Grape Sorbet on Gourmet’s website and I thought I’d give it a try. For some reason my camera wasn’t really cooperating with me so I don’t have a picture to share with you of the finished product. The best way to describe it was that it tasted like frozen grape jelly, in a good way (unless of course you don’t like jelly). I was somewhat afraid it was going to be a little overbearingly sweet, so I decided to cut back on the sugar and to try and pair it with something salty. So, and this was a tough one to figure out, what goes best with jelly?

Peanut Butter! But peanut butter what?

Toasted Peanut butter sandwiches? No, too boring.

Peanut butter bread? Nope, not enough peanut butter.

Ha! I got it! Peanut butter cookies!

Because I was in a hurry, I decided to make Flourless Peanut Butter cookies. I’ve made them before, with mixed results (everything from too crumbly to too hard and too soft), but this time I decided to try the recipe in my Gourmet cookbook, with some modifications of course. The recipe itself is pretty simple. Peanut butter, sugar, an egg, and some baking soda. Yup. That’s it. That’s all it calls for. Limited beating and baking for about ten minutes. Quick and tasty for my supposedly ‘quick’ break from writing.

To try and work out the texture problems I’ve had with the recipe before (and since I was only making half a recipe for Daniel and I), I used just the egg yolk which gave the cookie an almost cake like texture at the end; much more enjoyable then some of the hard crumbly messes that I have had in the past. I also tossed in a handful of oats and an addition of a little bit of vanilla (a teaspoon or so) at the last minute, which helped them to come out with a little more flavor and density. I guess that means they were not technically flourless anymore. Oh well.

Although the grape sorbet tasted well, since I have no pictures of it share with you, I’ll also share the banana custard/sorbet I made to take over to my parents for Sunday. The idea behind the sorbet was a cool, refreshing, light, addition to our Sunday meal. Since it was the anniversary of Elvis’ death (whose infamous preference for peanut butter and banana sandwiches made them a staple in my home growing up), I wish I had made the peanut butter cookies to bring over as well, but alas. It was delicious on its own. Daniel and my mom both compared it banana bread, and I was really surprised how creamy a texture the combination of sorbet and custard recipes achieved. It tasted excellent alone, but I could see adding toasted nuts, serving it with hot sauce, or of course, peanut butter cookies!

This was supposed to be a relatively short post, but as my theme for the rest of the week is going, oh well. Now if I could only harness that long windedness and finish up my work!

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

½ Cup Peanut Butter (Creamy or Chunky works best; Super Chunky does not work well)

½ Cup Sugar

1 Egg Yolk (or egg if doubling recipe)

½ Teaspoon Baking soda.

1 Tbsp Vanilla (my addition)

¼ Cup Oats (my addition)

First, preheat oven to 350. Then, combine peanut butter and sugar and mix until well combined. Add egg, baking soda, vanilla until well combined. Add oats and mix until well combined.

Lastly, roll dough into balls (I do about ½ tablespoon; the receipt calls for teaspoon sized), place on greased cookie sheet,; flatten with fork and bake 8-10 minutes. Cool for two minutes; transfer to rack, cool, and enjoy.

Custardy Banana Sorbet

5-6 medium-large bananas

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

2 egg yolks

½ Tbsp Vanilla Extract

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Pinch of salt

Pinch of ground cinnamon

First, be sure to choose extremely ripe bananas. These will be naturally sweeter so that the recipe requires less sugar. You may need to increase the sugar to as much as ¾ a cup if the bananas aren’t quite ripe enough yet. Add cold bananas, cinnamon and lemon juice to food processor or blender while you make the custard. For the custard, bring the sugar and water to a simmer in sauce pan over medium heat, just until the sugar dissolves. Next, let the sugar mixture cool for a minute, and meanwhile beat the egg yolks in a small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk the syrup into the yolks. Be careful not to cook the eggs. Return the mixture the same saucepan and stir constantly over low heat until the mixture begins to thicken slightly, 3-4 minutes. Once thickened slightly add custard mix over bananas in food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Chill the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour. Blend again if mixture has thickened, and add to ice cream freezer. Follow the normal instructions for your ice cream mixture, freeze, and enjoy!


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