Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Homemade Chocolate Syrup | Culinary Cousins I ate a brownie the other day, and I didn’t like it.

This is not a usual occurrence in my world. I was born with my family’s propensity for chocoholism, and I never turn down the opportunity to inhale it. But this was a luncheon brownie, at a catered workplace barbecue, wrapped in plastic and glistening with chocolate(or is it?)-y icing and, well, chemicals.

I don’t eat a lot of processed stuff — especially baked goods — so I think I’m attuned to the artificial when it appears. Ick. That’s a key reason that chocolate syrup in the brown, nostalgic bottle doesn’t permanently reside in my fridge, as it does in many others’. I like chocolate syrup, and everything it is used to create, but I can’t get over the fact that it’s really just gloppy corn syrup with some chocolate flavoring. Double ick. Continue reading

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Fluffy Homemade Marshmallows

Fluffy Homemade Marshmallows | Culinary Cousins

Something about this time of year makes me think of marshmallows. Really, it starts back in the fall with camping, fires, s’mores. Then winter brings hot cocoa and fudge.

Or maybe it’s because this year I’ve heard the “It’s a Marshmallow World” theme song on Cooking Channel about 46,123 times since Thanksgiving — at least 84 times per hour.

It’s no surprise that I’m a bit obsessive about making things from scratch. And I first tried my hand at homemade marshmallows a couple of years ago. Inspired by an upcoming camping trip, I had visions of roasting campfire marshmallows until good and charred then smushing them between graham crackers and oozy chocolate. Continue reading

Pie Crust Update — and Dutch Apple Pie!

Dutch Apple Pie | Culinary Cousins

It wasn’t my fault!

Last we talked, I promised you a pie crust experiment. Well, I conducted said experiment (using coconut oil) and was all geared up to tell you about it. Then my annual Thanksgiving cold (going on four years in a row now, like clockwork) took me out. Flat. For a week. Happy Thanksgiving.

In between gulping tea (with shots of Jameson honey) and Mucinex and huddling under a heated blanket, it took everything in me to actually bake the pies for my family’s Thanksgiving. As usual, I overdid it: seven adults, four pies. But it’s really the only time of year I make pie, and I get swept up in the excitement and challenge of it. Plus, I’m not allowed into the house without my great-grandmother’s renowned pumpkin pie. (The recipe makes two.) I also attempted my first latticed pie — cherry, which was edible but needs major work. This pie, though, number four — this pie is it. Dutch apple goodness, with soft, syrupy apples and a crunchy, buttery topping. Keep this one in your back pocket for the holidays — or, you know, Tuesday. Continue reading

Food Find: Coconut Oil

Food Finds: Coconut Oil at www.culinarycousins.com

I know, I know. I’m way late to the coconut oil party.

In light of that, I’m not going to wax on and on about its benefits. You can read those elsewhere. Actually, Mel’s Kitchen Cafe did a great roundup on coconut oil recently. I certainly can’t say it as well as I can just link to her post.

I snapped up a jar of coconut oil at Trader Joe’s, with great intentions of using it in stir-fry and with sauteed greens. Then I realized that Thanksgiving is upon us. And Thanksgiving means pie. Continue reading

Chocolate Pavlova with Strawberries

Chocolate Pavlova with Strawberries at www.culinarycousins.com
Chocoholism runs in my family. My grandmother always had something chocolate in the house — usually a pie, but often cake, ice cream, candy. It’s kind of shocking that no one was obese. And I still crave chocolate above all things — it soothes my soul.

After making custard for the rhubarb crumble, I had so, so many egg whites left over. I’m not a big egg fan in general, so an egg white omelet doesn’t appeal to me. Let’s be real — the yolks are the main reason I can even eat that. So, since I can’t bear to throw food away, it was time to be creative. What to do, what to do? Continue reading

Lemon Cheesecake – Part II

Here it is. The long-awaited reveal!

We’ve made lemon curd. We’ve made candied lemons. Now, let’s make some cheesecake. And put it all together.

We do have a birthday to celebrate, remember?

Lemon cheesecake at www.culinarycousins.com

Continue reading

Candied Lemons

Candied Lemons at www.culinarycousins.com

My lemon cheesecake adventure continues. What’s a dessert without decoration?

To finish, the lemon cheesecake is topped with candied lemons. Once lemons are cooked — especially when doused in syrup — they are completely edible, rind and all. You just slice lemons thinly, cook them in a sugar syrup mixture and leave them to cool. The work is not hard but the results are pretty impressive. You can mound the lemons artfully in the center of the cheesecake, or you could lay them flat in a pattern on top, like a pretty food doily. Continue reading

Homemade Lemon Curd

I teased you yesterday talking about lemon cheesecake. But, in all fairness, I said I had to do a few things before I could really give you a recipe. And, here we go.

Lemon curd.

Homemade Lemon Curd | Culinary Cousins

It pools on top of the creamy cheesecake and drips down the sides when you cut into it. It’s swirled into the cheesecake batter for a tart and tangy flavor burst. In essence, it makes this cake. Well, really it does, since it wouldn’t be lemon cheesecake without it. Continue reading

Lemon Cheesecake – Part I

Lemon cheesecake at www.culinarycousins.com

I have a bit of a reputation in my family.

Jessica is the caterer for our events, and the one who keeps us on track with healthy eating. But I’m the baker, the dessert maker. Whenever a holiday or occasion comes around, sweets are my go-to contribution. And I tend to get a bit wild when I have the opportunity to bake for a crowd, when I can try my hand at all the fancy, complicated things that I would never make for myself. Like red velvet cheesecake and from-scratch cinnamon rolls at Christmas, or southern caramel cake at Easter.

I’m even starting to get special requests. Continue reading

Strawberry-Rhubarb Custard Crumble

One of the best things about spring is seeing new fruits and vegetables appear in the grocery store. In April, strawberries go on sale, and a unique vegetable appears among the greens: rhubarb.

I’ve always been intrigued by rhubarb, but I’ve never cooked with it — and I never actually ate it until last year in London. On the run, I grabbed a cute little dessert at a convenience store: a rhubarb-apple custard crumble. Rhubarb/apple compote was covered with rich vanilla custard and a crunchy topping, and it was a total revelation. I think I ate one every day.

rhubarb crumble

As soon as I saw rhubarb in the grocery store this week, I wanted to see if I could recreate that traditional English dessert. Continue reading