Pears Galore: Pear Pudding & Brown Butter Spiced Pear Muffins
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Pears Galore: Pear Pudding & Brown Butter Spiced Pear Muffins

It is, in my view, the duty of an apple to be crisp and crunchable, but a pear should have such a texture as leads to silent consumption

Edward Bunyard

Pears are one of my favorite fruit – when ripe, they’re incredibly sweet & juicy and when you take a bite, they pretty much dissolve in your mouth. What’s not to love?!
In addition to their deliciousness, they also provide you with a variety of health benefits; they serve as a great source of fiber, Vitamin C, and even Vitamin K, and are a low allergy fruit. Though not normally mentioned, pears are known to have antioxidant & anti-inflammatory properties, reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. 

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Hot Chocolate Cookies
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Hot Chocolate Cookies

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I know holiday baking has come to an end, and I would have got this post out sooner, but I have been sick for the past week. It just seems to be getting worse. What sucks the most, isn’t the stuffy nose or the fever, ohhhh no. What is it you ask? Not being able to taste food! Seriously, everything tastes the same to me…bland bland bland : (

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Banana Walnut Bread
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Banana Walnut Bread

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One of my favorite recipes to make is this Banana Walnut Bread with maple syrup drizzled thru the batter. The first banana bread I ever baked was the Starbucks version - they used to have recipe cards you could pick up at the store. But their recipe calls for ingredients that I don’t always have on hand aka buttermilk, so over the years, I have adjusted the recipe to my liking and tastes.

If you ever have overripe bananas and are thinking about just throwing them out. DON’T!!!! Make this instead. It’s a simple, foolproof recipe that goes great as a snack or during tea time.

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Just in Time for Your Christmas Meal: Persimmon Pudding
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Just in Time for Your Christmas Meal: Persimmon Pudding

‘Tis the season for persimmons falalalalaaaa lalaaala

Persimmons are a delicious, edible fruit that seem to be relatively unknown in the United States. There are two kinds astringent or non-astringent, and the variety I purchased was the non-astringent fuyu version. They are less astringent and lose their tannic quality as they ripen, making them palatable. They are in season from late October to December, which is why they are currently sold in grocery stores. They strikingly resemble tomatoes, but don’t worry, taste nothing like it! When ripened, the fruit is sweet, almost custard like.

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A word of caution, if they are not fully ripened, they do have a bitter, mealy taste to them, which leaves little to be desired. A good way to tell when they can be eaten is by their color (change from orange to red) and cracking skins.
Growing up, they were a common sight in my home, and since I haven’t had it in a while I decided to purchase some, and what better way to eat it than in a dessert?!

I scoured my foodgawker iphone app (a godsend, I tell you!) for an appropriate app, and found the perfect one: a vintage Persimmon Pudding & Hard Sauce recipe made by Boulder Locavore’s Grandmother! I love English puddings, they are so dense, and have an intense nutty flavor to them. Putting some persimmons into the mix could only mean a good outcome : ) I am not afraid to explore and try new recipes even though it sometimes means you could end up with a disaster. While, that has happened before, it wasn’t the case with this recipe!

In the UK, Hard Sauce is associated with Xmas/New Years desserts and is made by creaming butter, and sugar with alcohols like rum, or brandy. It is best served cold and accompanies hot desserts such as puddings, pies or cakes.

Persimmon Pudding with Hard Sauce

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Chouquettes: Bringing a Little Bit of France into Your Home
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Chouquettes: Bringing a Little Bit of France into Your Home

The other day I turned on the Cooking channel and watched The Little Paris Kitchen: Cooking with Rachel Khoo. I have to say, currently, this has become one of my favorite cooking shows. What’s not to love…Paris, French cuisine with a twist, and food! J’adore Paris. It is a city where I can definitely see myself living, speaking French, and having a cafe & pastry at a cafe while looking at the passersby.

One of the featured pastries she was baking was the chouquette. It is a simply divine baked good made from choux pastry and sprinkled with powdered sugar, pearl sugar, chocolate chips, and sometimes even filled with custard. Watching Rachel make the chouquettes reminded me of last summer when I was in Paris. I remember the smells of fresh baked goods, early in the morning, wafting through the street, enticing me. I had to go into the patisserie and enjoy some. I still remember trying my first chouquette, fresh, straight out of the oven. Warm, delicious, and mmmhmmm melted in your mouth.

That little reminiscence decided it; I had to make them myself! Bring a little bit of France to my kitchen. : )

The recipe was fairly simple; I converted it to US measurements, and since I couldn’t find the nibbed sugar she used as a topping, I just used icing sugar & chocolate chips to sweeten the pastry.

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Look at this delicious pastry, fresh out the oven. You can only imagine the smell that permeated from my kitchen.

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