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Sunday, September 14, 2008

A treat from the soft coral capital of the world!

For the letter F, we have Fijian Cookies. These cookies are your basic ice box cookie (refrigerate the dough and then slice it down) which are always pretty low maintenance. Reading the recipe, it seemed very exotic: cream cheese, orange juice and coconut! Mmmm....They were good but the flavors mentioned were not as strong as anticipated once the cookie was baked.

Can you hear me now???

Ahhh...here we go: actual Elephant Ears! As stated previously, Elephant Ears are also known as Palmiers which is a French pastry/cookie. These are extremely easy to make if you use prepared pastry dough; if making pastry dough from scratch, a bit more complicated. I used Pillsbury's Recipe Creations (http://www.pillsbury.com/products/rolls/Refrigerated/RecipeCreations.htm) dough found in your local market right next to the Pillsbury Refridgerated Crescent Rolls. Two rolls of pastry dough come in the package. Just roll out the dough, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Roll the dough in from each side so that it meets in the center, resulting in a log. Slice the roll down into 1/2 inch slices. Places the slices on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 325 degrees. Cool on rack.

The Phyllo experiment

Back to my Cookies A to Z effort.....
For the letter E, I decided to make Elephant Ears, also know as Palmiers...but since I am going with the letter E, I will call them Elephant Ears here. After reading some recipes which called for pastry dough, I thought Phyllo dough would work...which doesn't make sense since phyllo doesn't rise at all. Anway, I unrolled some phyllo, spread some cinnamon sugar over it, rolled it, cut it down and brushed some melted butter on the top. I baked this contraption for about 15 minutes at about 350 degrees. What you see about was the result. It was tasty I guess, although extremely sweet, but not really what I was going for at all.

We all scream for gum free ice cream!

Dreyer's Ice Cream (aka Edy's on the east coast) had a banana walnut flavor this past summer. It was quite tasty, so we bought it often, especially when it was on sale. When not on sale it was $4.99 per 1.75 quarts which got reduced to 1.5 quarts by the end of the summer (the old, 'don't change the price but just put less in' trick that many companies such as Frito Lay and Wrigley's Gum also employed this summer). In addition to the price, I was a little concerned about eating too much due to all those ingredients listed on the carton which I am unable to pronounce. What are all of those gums?? I am sure they are added not only for "mouth feel" as they call it, but also to help ensure the ice cream does not lose it's creaminess while in transit from manufacturer to supplier to Ralph's Market. But what are these gums doing to my insides? If you make homemade ice cream, it's just fruit, cream and sugar...and none of those things are evil, right?

When I saw Cuisinart ice cream makers on sale over 4th of July weekend for $50, it seemed to make sense to get one. If we use it 10 times, it's basically paid for itself! We immediately made some lime sherbert using the recipe that came with the maker. It was tasty but a bit tart. Next time, I will cut back on the lime juice added. The next ice cream we made was banana walnut. The flavor was so good...like fresh bananas which makes sense because we USED fresh bananas! I made some to accompany Victor's Tres Leche birthday cake. The picture above really does not do the flavor any justice. In short, if you like ice cream, buy an ice cream maker. It's worth it in my humble opinion.

Banana Walnut Ice Cream (from Ice Cream Recipes )

3/4 pint milk or cream
4 oz sugar
3 ripe bananas (to puree)
Finely chopped walnuts (to taste...I probably used about 1/2 cup)

Puree bananas (we used our blender to do this). Add milk/cream and sugar. Transfer to ice maker and follow manufacturer directions. We let ours churn the ice cream for 20 minutes, adding the walnuts in the last 3 minutes of the cycle.