Thursday, July 5, 2012

S'mores Cakes in a Jar

Today this is a blog post of a blog post from How Sweet it Is, but with one little twist of a recipe.  These S'mores Cakes were a HUGE dinner party hit for me a couple weeks ago.  Just look at this photo...need I say more?  Placing various food in jars has become quite the trend because it looks so darn pretty and yet has a homey, down-to-earth feel, but there are some practical reasons, too:
  1. You can transport liquids and salads and other fun things for lunch and to parties without spillage.
  2. If you don't finish what you eat, you can twist the lid on the jar and it will keep better in the fridge than other methods.
  3. The transparency shows off all of your hard work.
  4. No messy crumbs on the floor or cupcake papers left over at your get-together.
  5. You can individualize each serving to allow for food allergies or vegan/vegetarian friends.
Without further adieu, click here for S'Mores Cakes in Jars recipe!  And read on for my COOKIE DOUGH tweak.  Yes, I baked cookie dough in the bottom first when I realized that I had forgotten graham crackers at the grocery store, and since I simply loathe going to the grocery store (I'd rather do laundry), I wasn't about to go back.  Awhile ago, I bought some SUGAR COOKIE DOUGH from my niece for a school fundraiser and had frozen it for safekeeping...ding-ding-DING!  Pre-made cookie dough to the rescue!  I used a 2-inch ball of dough for each jar, cooked the cookie dough in the jars (with the jars in a cake pan with a 1/4-inch deep water) for 8 minutes, almost all the way through but not completely.  Then I followed the recipe completely thereafter.  Also, as you can see in the picture, I torched the marshmallows a bit too can do this part with the oven rack on the lowest tier if you like them just browned a friends loved it just like this!  xo, AB

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Low-Sugar Blueberry Jam

I'm baaaaack!  I have no excuse or real reason for my absence, other than life -- fun stuff and not so fun stuff.  I am very happy to share the following recipe and information with you, I've missed you!  My work travels take me all over the state of California, much of it by car.  I recently was taking one of my 'secret' ways to get to the Central Coast from Los Angeles without having to take the 101 (awful traffic), and I passed by a sign that I had never noticed before:  Pick Your Own Blueberries. !!!  Yay!  I never knew there was something like this so close to where I live, so I stopped on my way home and spent an hour picking several small boxes of blueberries (pictured left).  I paid $20.  To buy the same amount at a grocery store, I would've spent about $50.  Of course, I had to take the time to pick, but it gave me time to clear my head prior to getting back into traffic.  I used all of the blueberries to make this epic jam...low sugar because the berries were so beautifully sweet on their own that to add full sugar would've ruined the jam.  So far, this has been a HUGE HIT for all who have tried it, including myself.  I have one jar left...and I'm so nice that I'm giving it away to someone who so sweetly offered to pay for it (I don't sell my jam).
Keep it simple...nothing more needed than toast to enjoy this treat!

Low-Sugar Blueberry Jam
8 cups blueberries
4 cups organic cane sugar
2 pouches liquid pectin
1/4 c. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
12-14 8 oz. canning jars
Sterilize jars, lids, and rings.  Clean berries and remove stems.  Toss any over-ripe (squishy) berries.  This ensures the best tasting jam.  Combine blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a large, wide-bottomed pan and cook on medium high heat.  Bring to a boil.  While boiling, add the pectin.  Bring to a rolling boil for two minutes.  Skim foam and ladle into jars.  Attach lids and rings, then boil in a water bath for 10 minutes.  Scroll below the pic for some additional notes and tips!

1.  Use a combination of very ripe and barely ripe berries for the best flavor.
2.  This recipe is low-sugar and untested for safety, so although I canned them, this is to be eaten within a few weeks, not one year like most recipes.  Don't worry, this jam won't last long!
3.  If you're in the Los Angeles or Ventura County areas, you may pick your own blueberries here: 
You can make a day of it with little ones, as there are animals and small playground with picnic tables.  They also allow you to pick raspberries and they have a great variety of produce to buy at their outdoor stand.