April Food for Thought




J-E-L-L-O can be made at home along with simple cookies to re-imagine your childhood, but even more tastefully. Several recipes come to mind when I start reminiscing. Shortbread cookies were all the rage for years until butter had to take a back seat to margarine and shortening. Like I said several months ago, butter is back, and so is the shortbread cookie. This recipe is so easy to make, the only problem you'll have is making enough of them. Another dessert that people still love is Jell-O. Cookies and Jell-O go great together and the only way to improve on the two is to make homemade Jell-O, but would it still be called Jell-O? This home-made jelly dessert has only two ingredients, pure juice and a small amount of gelatin, that's it. If you must, you can add a small amount of sugar but its not needed except when using a juice that is very acidic like orange juice. I've included two recipes, give them a try and use your imagination. You could add a small amount of crushed hazelnuts to the shortbread or maybe pecans. For the jelly dessert you can add fresh fruit or fresh herbs to change things up a bit. Home-made jell-o dessert Makes from 4 to 6 servings. 4 cups unsweetened pure juice (I really like grape juice in this recipe) 1 1/2 tablespoons powdered gelatin 1/4 cup sugar if needed Take one cup of juice and sprinkle over the gelatin and let hydrate (bloom) for about 10 minutes. Heat mixture to 138 degrees or until juice turns clear and remove from the heat. Now add the other 3 cups juice and sugar if using. Stir gently so as to not create too many air bubbles. Pour into tall glasses and refrigerate. Shortbread Cookies Makes about 20 shortbread cookies. 1 cup cake flour 1 cup powdered sugar 1 3/4 cup bread flour 2 sticks unsalted butter pinch of salt Place all the ingredients in your kitchen-aid mixer and use the paddle attachment. Mix on slow speed just until mixture comes together, do not over-mix. Place dough in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Roll dough out evenly to about a quarter inch or slightly higher. Cut into rounds and bake at 350 degrees just until the edges start to take on color, a light golden brown. If the cookies are over-baked, they will be dry. Steve James, managing partner Certified Master Baker Popovers on the Square Portsmouth

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