Monday 30 November 2015

Pineapple Jelly

I think I just discovered something that is going to revolutionize my life.   I love ham, grilled pork chops, pork ribs, grilled chicken........  I could go on and on.  My favorite food group is definitely meat.  I would give up any other food group (even grains, my sweet little carbs), before giving up meat.

What goes deliciously with grilled pork and chicken?  SWEET GLAZES.  A lot of my favorite marinades, BBQ sauces, and glazes have some sort of sweet component such as orange juice, pineapple juice, brown sugar, or ketchup.

Where am I going with this?  Mint jelly with lamb.  Apple jelly with pork roast.   What about ham with PINEAPPLE JELLY?  What about pork chops or chicken basted with PINEAPPLE JELLY in the last couple minutes of grilling?  I'M SHOUTING ABOUT PINEAPPLE JELLY!!!!  SHOUTING!!!

I didn't even realize that pineapple jelly existed.  I don't know why.  There are tons of recipes out there for it.  A lot of them call for fresh pineapple to be cut up really finely and drained through cheesecloth, which is usually what you do with berries after cooking them to render the juice.  I happened to find one that just uses a carton of store bought pineapple juice.  Yup.  That's all.  Juice, sugar, and pectin.

I made it during a naptime and was thrilled with the results!  I found the recipe via Pinterest, which lead me here.  This recipe made 5 x 250 ml (1 cup) jars for me, and was so easy.

Pineapple Jelly

3 1/2 cups 100% pineapple juice
4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 box of powdered pectin (I used Certo)

Sterilize all jars, lids, rings and tools.  Combine juice and Certo in a large pot.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, over medium-high heat.  When it reaches a boil, stir in sugar.  Return to a full, rolling boil (you shouldn't be able to stir it down), and continue boiling for 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Skim any foam off the top and pour into warm jars, leaving approximately 1/4 inch headspace.  Ensure the rim is free of any sticky liquid and top with lids and rings.  Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Note:  The original recipe adds 1 tsp of margarine or butter to reduce foaming.  I don't find that this helps, so I omitted this.  The original recipe also omits processing in a boiling water bath.  I have also done this in the past, but I just like the peace of mind that comes with this extra step.

Monday 23 November 2015

Chocolate Coconut Blizzard Bars

It's that time of year -  I have a backlog of things that the kids and I have been baking that I really want to blog...... BUT, this one had to jump right to the front.  I created this little morsel on the weekend and I feel like it's going to revolutionize my Christmas treat rotation.   I combined two of my favorite things:  nanaimo bars and coconut.  Now, I realize that many of these bars already have coconut in the base.  That's what inspired me to create these.   If only I could make something with a coconut base, with a fluffy filling sandwiched underneath a rich and chocolaty topping.  Then, what if I garnished it with some chopped coconut candy bar?

The result would be THIS!!

Coconut Blizzard Bars Base:
1/2 cup melted butter
1/3 cup cream of coconut*
2 cups chocolate baking crumbs (such as Oreo)
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut

Melt butter in a small saucepan.  Add cream of coconut, baking crumbs, and coconut.  Gently stir until it is an even consistency (it will appear quite wet).  Press firmly into a 9x9 inch pan.  Place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to set up, and prepare the filling.

*Look for cream of coconut in the liquor mixers aisle of the grocery store.  I use Coco Real brand.  Don't confuse this product with coconut cream, which is an unsweetened, thicker coconut milk.

1/4 cup softened butter
2 tbsp cream of coconut
1/4 tsp coconut extract
2 cups icing sugar
1 to 2 tbsp milk

Cream softened butter with an electric mixer.  Add cream of coconut and extract.  Gradually beat in icing sugar, and then enough milk until it is a soft spreading consistency.  Spread evenly over chilled base layer.

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 standard (57g sized) packages coconut filled candy bars (such as Bounty in Canada, or Mounds in the US)

Combine chocolate chips and vegetable oil over low heat in a small saucepan.  Stir frequently until completely melted.  Remove and allow to cool until just warm to the touch.  Spread evenly over filling.  Coarsely chop coconut candy bars and sprinkle over warm chocolate.