December 24, 2009
Thought I’d expired, eh? Well, you’d be wrong. I’ve just been running around, ice skating and carousing instead of updating the ol’ blog. I’ll try to be better next time!
This is a bit of an unusual dish, since I’m not even sure exactly how it’s supposed to taste! I suppose I’ll just wait till it’s done and see, but there’s nothing to over/under-cook, and what is there is pretty tasty by itself.
So we begin with our ingredients:
Whew that’s a lot of software! Nuts, dried fruits like figs and apricots, and four different kinds of seeds. Oh, as a side note, do you know how hard it is to find Anise Seeds in the middle of Oklahoma?? Not easy, let me tell you. It took three stores, including one where an employee on the phone blatantly lied to me and assured me they had them… Then when I arrived told me they had Fennel Seeds, which “were the same thing.” Under almost any other circumstance I’d probably have just gone with his assurance, except that my recipe called for BOTH Fennel Seeds AND Anise Seeds. So if there’s not distinction, why include both? Heck, why SELL both? Eh, third time/supermarket’s a charm, and I returned home triumphant.
So the nuts and fruits go into the food processor, and:
Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have processed them until they became a big, fat ball, but I learned another important lesson along the way… If you’re using figs, be sure to remove the pits! They’re seed-shaped and hard as rocks, and more importantly not friendly to food processors! I didn’t destroy my precious Cuisinart, but the chopping blade definitely had several fig pits rather comically embedded into it. Poor guy, he tried his darnedest!!
Before mixing up the nuts with the seeds and sugar, be sure to toast the seeds on the stove briefly to wake up the essential oils. It doesn’t take long, and will fill your kitchen with aromatic goodness:
Mmmm, hard-found Anise Seeds!
Finally, put all the ingredients in a big bowl with some honey, mash it around for a bit, and use a little mechanical scoopy to put onto a cookie sheet:
One note I’d make at this point is, if your dried fruits are of especially high quality, as mine were (no, I’m not bragging, I was actually gifted a huge plate of Harry & David dried fruits by a client), they’re going to be juicy. Combined with some honey and you have a sticky sticky mixture in that bowl. Now, I’m not say you absolutely MUST have a spring-loaded mechanical scooper like I have above, but it can get gooey things onto the sheet far more effectively. I could only imagine trying to do this with a spoon or non-mechanical scoop and it would have been a HUGE pain.
Ultimately, here was the result:
Not 100% perfect, but absolutely serviceable little sugarplums. Now they shall dry for a bit (probably overnight), then rolled in some coarse sugar for a finishing touch.
Woo, am I beat. This has been one heck of a day, and TOMORROW is Christmas Eve! I’m going to need to start early and get that oven firing. Oh, you haven’t seen anything of the Eggnog, as I promised, but it’s not because I slacked. It got separated and beat a bit, but needed to cool, but I figure I’ll beat the egg whites into the mixture tomorrow (and give the requisite post then). I did swing by the ol’ megamart for replacement ingredients after my cocktail sauce mishap from before and got it into the processor, and here was the result:
So 3 1/2 of 8 dishes down. Not too bad for one day, all things considered. But now it’s almost 2 AM and I’ve got another long day tomorrow, so all’s well that ends well. Allez cuisine!
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