Chocolate Caramels

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“I had one chocolate caramel once two years ago and it was simply delicious. I’ve often dreamed since then that I had a lot of chocolate caramels, but I always  wake up just when I’m going to eat them.”

–Chapter 3, Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Anne’s cup of happiness was full, and Matthew caused it to overflow. He had just got home from a trip to the store at Carmody, and he sheepishly produced a small parcel from his pocket and handed it to Anne, with a deprecatory look at Marilla.

“I heard you say you liked chocolate sweeties, so I got you some,” he said.

“I’ll just eat one to-night…I can give Diana half of them, can’t I? The other half will taste twice as sweet to me if I give some to her.”

–Chapter 12, Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

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Chocolate Caramels

  • 1/2 Cup Cream
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 3 Tbsp. Honey
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract (I used Butter Vanilla emulsion)
  • 1 tsp. Fine Sea Salt
  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Course Sea Salt for sprinkling on top

Line a small baking dish with foil, & then spray the foil with non-stick spray. In a medium pot on medium heat, bring the cream to a bubbling simmer, & then place a candy thermometer in the pot. Add in the sugar, corn syrup, & honey & stir it constantly with a wooden spoon until the thermometer reaches about 257ºF. Quickly remove the pot from the heat & stir in the butter, vanilla, & fine salt (you’ll need to stir really well to get it thoroughly combined).

Pour the mixture into the foil-lined dish, spreading it out evenly, & let it cool completely. Coat a cutting board & large knife with some non-stick spray, & then flip the caramel block onto the board & peel off the foil. Cut the caramel into bite-size cubes, re-non-sticking the knife as needed.

In a double boiler (pot with a few inches of simmering water with a heat-proof bowl resting on top, not touching the water) pour 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips. Place your (cleaned) candy thermometer into the bowl & bring the chocolate, stirring occasionally, up to about 118ºF. Remove the bowl from the heat & stir int the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate bits until they melt & then temperature lowers to about 80ºF. Put the bowl back onto the pot & bring the temp. just up to about 87ºF, stirring so that it’s all nice and smooth. Remove the bowl again & you’re ready to dip your caramels!

Line a large tray with parchment paper. Using a fork, lower 1 caramel bite into the chocolate at a time & flip it around so it gets completely coated. Lift it out with the fork & place it onto the parchment paper. Continue this process until all of the caramels are coated & on the parchment. As the coating is still solidifying, sprinkle a little coarse sea salt onto the tops of the candies. Let harden completely & then share with your friends, family, & fabulous little orphan girls!

Adapted from a recipe in T Magazine.

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Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 22: Anne of Green Gables

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Raspberry Cordial

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“…It begins with an ‘r’ and a ‘c’ and it’s bright red in color. I love bright red drinks, don’t you? They taste twice as good as any other color.”

–Chapter 16, Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Raspberry Cordial

  • 4 Cups Fresh or Frozen Raspberries (~600 g)
  • 1 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 4 Cups Boiling Water
  • 2 Lemons, juiced + 1 Lemon for Garnish, thinly sliced (optional)

Combine the berries & sugar in a large pot over medium heat & cook until the sugar is dissolved. Use a potato masher to squash the berries thoroughly until it’s like a lumpy syrup, or jam.

Place a mesh strainer over a pitcher & pour the raspberry/sugar mixture into the strainer. Stir it around to help get the juice into the pitcher. It also helps to pour a little bit of the hot water through it. Discard the seeds & pulp. Stir in the fresh lemon juice & then pour the hot water into the pitcher as well & stir.

Let the drink cool & then place it in the fridge to chill. When you serve it, you can place a thin slice of lemon in each glass, if you’d like.

Original recipe from the Anne of Green Gables Cookbook by Kate McDonald.

Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 22: Anne of Green Gables

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Apple Carrot Currant Cake with Apple Brown Sugar Glaze

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Poor Anne, she hates her red hair (aka her lifelong sorrow) and will smash a slate on your head if you call her “Carrots.” Marilla makes apple cakes, pies, and preserves, and is famous on the island for her currant wine (try not to mistake it for raspberry cordial and pound three glasses). Matthew is so nervous to buy a puffy-sleeved dress he buys 20 pounds of brown sugar while dancing around the subject. All these things make for a delicious cake!

This cake has just enough flour and egg to hold it together, and is dense with goodies inspired by the characters in Anne of Green Gables.

Carrot Apple Currant Cake with Apple Brown Sugar Glaze

For the cake

  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1/2 apple juice (I used the nice cloudy unfiltered kind)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • spices: seeds of 2 cardamom pods, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup carrots (about 3 medium), grated
  • 1/2 cup Granny Smith apples (about 1 1/2 medium), grated
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Soak currants in apple juice for at least 10 minutes. Strain, reserving the juice.

In one bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and spices. In another bowl, which together egg, butter, brown and white sugars. Stir flour mixture into egg/butter/sugar mixture until just combined, then fold in carrots, apple, currants, and walnuts.

Spread into a prepare loaf pan and bake at 350° for 55 minutes to an hour. Remove to a rack to cool in the pan.

For the glaze

  • approximately 3/4 cups apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • pinch of salt

Using the apple juice reserved from the currants, add juice to make one cup. In a small saucepan, combine apple juice, butter, brown sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring often, until reduced to about 1/4 cup.

Poke holes in the warm cake and spoon the glaze all over the top. Allow cake to cool completely in the pan.

Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 22: Anne of Green Gables

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Anne of Green Gables

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Beautiful illustration by Kim Ji-Hyuck

Diana and Carrie discuss the story of the plucky redheaded orphan come to live on Prince Edward Island. We thought it was raspberry cordial, honest!

Recipes

Referenced

Tasty Time

Main Episode

Intro music clip: “Together” composed by Hargood Hardy, from the “Anne of Green Gables” (1985) soundtrack.
Outro music clip: “Enbukyoku” (“Waltz”) composed by Akira Miyoshi & Kurōdo Mōri, from the “Akage no Anne” animation soundtrack.

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Violet Beauregarde’s Three Course Dinner

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Violet Beauregarde, the gum-smacking, slang-slinging, disobedient daughter of a car salesman, is the second child to meet her demise in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, but not before enjoying a lovely three course meal in the form of gum.

Before she’s rolled away to be juiced, she enjoys tomato soup, roast beef with a baked potato, and then the cause of her downfall: blueberry pie.

Without Willy Wonka’s assistance, I was unable to create this gum exactly as it was described (probably a good thing), but I did create the meal that inspired it! This tomato soup was completely simple, yet fabulous thanks to the slow roasted tomatoes – I’ve already made it again since. The roast beef was nicely cooked with a red wine gravy. And the blueberry pies were miniature with an almond crust, a sweet bite at the end of a lovely meal. Don’t feel bad for Violet, all in all it’s not a bad way to go.

Tomato Soup

  • 2 pounds roma tomatoes, cut into thick slices
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1/2 an onion, sliced
  • olive oil, salt & pepper
  • 5 cups chicken broth (homemade and flavorful if possible, I made mine from the bones of an Arabic style roast chicken)
  • cream to garnish

Heat oven to 350°. Toss tomatoes with a good amount of olive oil, salt and pepper, and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet (or two if you don’t have a very large one). In another baking dish, toss the onions with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cut the top off a head of garlic and wrap it in foil, drizzled with a little olive oil. Put everything in the oven.

Bake, flipping the tomatoes every half hour and stirring the onions once in awhile, until tomatoes are cooked and caramelizing and onion is golden (tomatoes will take about an hour and a half, onions probably only a half hour – check and make sure not to burn). Leave garlic in until roasted and soft, an hour to an hour and a half.

Puree tomatoes, onions, and garlic in a blender with a little chicken broth, then pour into a pot. Stir in the rest of the chicken broth, adjusting seasoning if necessary, and gently heat, slowly simmering for 15 minutes or so. Serve hot with a little cream for garnish.

Roast Beef

I shall direct you to Simply Recipes, whose detailed method I followed pretty much exactly, including making the red wine gravy.

(Mini) Blueberry Pie (with almond crust)

For the crust

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg
  • good pinch salt

Blitz together almond flour and butter in a food processor, then blitz in egg and salt. Press into a prepared mini muffin tin and bake (before filling) at 350° for 8 minutes.

For the filling
I made this lightly sweetened, still very tart. You can increase the amount of honey to 1/2 cup if you’d like.

  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

In a small saucepan, heat half the blueberries with honey and salt. Mix cornstarch in 1/4 cup of water and add to the saucepan, stirring until blueberries are broken down and mixture is thick. Remove from heat, and stir remaining blueberries into the mixture.

Spoon into the crusts in the mini muffin tin and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Cool in the muffin tin before removing.

Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 21: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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Ginger’s Special Breakfast Ice Cream

Ever After High ice cream

“That night, I didn’t get a wink of sleep. My eyes ached as I dragged myself to the Castleteria and reflexively mumbled my breakfast order. ‘3 little candied bacon cupcakes with Maple Syrup-on a Time ice cream in a Wonderland waffle cone, please.’

–”Ginger Breadhouse Takes the Cake”, story bookmark

Oh, my fairy godmother! This food was just too specific and crazy to pass up! It obviously means something to Ginger–perhaps as a comfort food or favorite food–and sounded challenging in the first instant, and then completely doable the next when I considered it by its parts: sugar baked bacon, mini cupcakes, maple ice cream, and a decorated waffle cone. I made a paper cone wrapper to make it a little more Wonderland-iful, but that’s totally optional. Here’s the link to the template I made though, if you’re interested.

*In the podcast I mention that the maple ice cream was soft, but if you let it sit in the freezer longer (as instructed in Step 1 below), it’ll firm up nicely.

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Ginger’s Special Breakfast Ice Cream

Maple Ice Cream

  • 1 1/2 Quart Vanilla Ice Cream, softened
  • 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup (try to find one that’s more viscous, not super runny)

Candied Bacon

  • 6 Strips Center Cut Bacon, uncooked
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar

Decorated Wafle Cone

  • Large Waffle Cone (as mentioned in the podcast, I bought a couple from Baskin Robins for $.99 a piece)
  • 1/3 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips/Morsels
  • 1/4 Cup Light Blue Candy Melts (or other fun color)
  • E-Z Thin Candy Dipping Aid (optional)
  • Edible Gold Glitter Stars (I used Wilton, but there are other brands that are the same)
  • Edible Little Pearl Dragees/Sprinkles

Gingerbread Cupcakes

  • 1/4 Cup Butter, room temperature/soft
  • 1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 Tbsp. Applesauce
  • 1/4 Cup Water OR Coffee
  • 1/4 Cup Molasses
  • 3/4 Cup Flour
  • 1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. Allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 3 Chocolate Pocky Sticks (or other thin/small biscuit stick. Pretzel sticks will work too)

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 oz. Cream Cheese (not the Whipped kind), softened
  • 1/4 Cup Butter, room temperature/soft
  • 1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp. Maple Flavoring
  • Tiny Pinch of Salt

Maple Ice Cream: With the ice cream still in its original container, stir in the maple syrup until it’s well combined & then put the lid on & place the ice cream container in the freezer for at least 48 hours.

Candied Bacon: Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line a large baking tray (with sides) with aluminum foil & place 1-2 wire cooling racks on top. Spread the sugar on a large plate or shallow bowl & lightly dredge each piece of bacon in it, both sides, & then lay the pieces across the wire rack(s). Slide the tray into the oven & bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bacon is fully cooked. Remove the pan from the oven & allow the bacon to cool for a minute or 2. Use a pair of tongs or other utensil to twirl/curl/spiral the bacon strips so that as it cools the sugar will harden & the bacon will keep its curly shape. Once spiraled & cooled completely, break into several little curls about 1 1/2″ – 2″ long. Pick out 3 of the prettiest ones & set them aside until needed.

Decorated Waffle Cone: Have an ice cream cone holder or other contraption (like a hole in a box) ready to sit the cone upright in. Laying the cone down on parchment paper is all right, but ideally you want the chocolate drips you’ll be making to run down & harden vertically. Melt the dark chocolate in a heat-proof bowl or cup in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until it is fully melted & smooth. Adding in a little bit of the optional E-Z Thin shavings really helps with the smoothness & pourable-ness. Let the chocolate cool for a minute so it’s not terribly hot & crazy runny.

Holding the waffle cone in one hand, use the other hand to spoon in & spread around a little bit of chocolate to coat the inside of the cone. Next, spoon/spread some chocolate around the outside of the cone, going down about 1″ from the rim, letting the chocolate drip in several places. Gently blow on the chocolate t help it cool a little bit more & then sprinkle on some of the edible gold stars. Sit the cone upright in the holder & let the chocolate harden. To speed up this process place the holder with cone in the freezer for a minute or 2.

Melt the blue candy melts the same way you melted the dark chocolate & let it cool just a titch. Spoon the melt around the rim of the cone (not down the inside) & let the drips roll down over the chocolate–not covering the chocolate, only over lapping it as you can see in the photos. Blow on it a little & then place on many of the little pearl dragees (this makes it reminiscent of Maddie Hatter, my favorite EAH Wonderlandian!). Sit upright in the cone holder again & let harden (on the counter or in the freezer. Freezer is a good idea, just because you’ll be putting ice cream in it).

Gingerbread Cupcakes: In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and brown sugar. Beat in the applesauce, water (or coffee), & molasses until well combined. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, & spices. Mixing on low speed, add the dry mixture to the wet mixture to combine & then mix on medium-low speed for a minute or so. Preheat your oven again to 350ºF & grease a mini muffin/cupcake pan. Fill the cups about 2/3 full, tap on the counter, & then slide the pan into the oven on the middle rack. Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool & then remove the cupcakes from the pan & place on a cooling rack or plate.

Choose 3 pretty little cupcakes & use a skewer to poke a hole into each bottom, making sure you don’t poke all the way through. Break (or bite) the pocky sticks so they end up being about 2 1/2″-3″ long. Gently push 1 stick each into the bottom of the 3 cupcakes, & then lay them down on their sides until ready to use.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting: In a mixing bowl on medium speed beat together the cream cheese & butter. Add in the sifted powdered sugar & beat on low speed until fully incorporated, & then add in the flavoring & salt & return the speed to medium until thoroughly combined. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag or plastic baggie with a snipped corner. Place in a bowl or cup, opening pointing up so none of the frosting escapes, until needed.

Putting it all together:  Scoop a generous amount of maple ice cream into your beautiful Wonderland cone, enough so it makes a nice mound at the top, & then gently push the cupcakes, pocky side down, into the ice cream in a little cluster. Grab your frosting bag & pipe a thick, quick spiral onto each cupcake, & then place your 3 chosen bacon curls on, 1 for each cupcake. You can do all of this while holding the cone, or while it’s sitting upright in it’s holder. Now your spell-icious creation is complete! If you’re not quite ready to serve it, or if you’re making more than 1, go ahead & place it upright in the freezer until it’s eating time. Party time. Anytime!

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Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 20: Ever After High

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Square Sweets That Look Round

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The sweets looked very much like square sugar lumps–except that each of them had a funny little pink face painted on one side.
….
“You said they were round!” said Veruca Salt.
“I never said anything of the sort,” said Mr. Wonka. “I said they looked round.”
….
He took a key from his pocket, and unlocked the door, and flung it open…and suddenly,,,at the sound of the door opening, all the rows and rows of little square sweets looked quickly round to see who was coming in.

–Chapter 23, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Square Sweets That Look Round (Marshmallow Pops)

  • 1/2 Cup Ice Water
  • 2 Packets Plain Gelatin Powder (~2 Tbsp. total)
  • 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Water (not ice water)
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • White Chocolate or Bright White Candy Melts
  • EZ-Dipping Aide (optional)
  • Pink Food Marker (I used the dark pink & light pink from Americolor)
  • Paper Lollipop Sticks
  • Large Styrofoam Block w pre-poked holes

Spray an 8″ x 8″ pan lightly with non-stick spray & lay a large sheet of plastic wrap over it to line the pan. Spray the plastic (in the pan) all over & then set the pan aside until needed.

In a small bowl combine the gelatine powder & ice water & set aside for about 10 minutes to solidify.

In a large pot over medium heat combine the sugar & 1/2 cup water & cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Add the now solid gelatine & bring the mixture to a boil, until the gel dissolves completely.

Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl, add the vanilla & salt, & mix on high for about 10 minutes, or until white & fluffy & increased in volume.

Pour the marshmallow mixture into the plastic-lined pan & spread it around evenly. Spray another large sheet of plastic wrap with non-stick spray & lay the plastic, spray side down, on top of the marshmallow mixture. Let the mixture set for about 4 hours.

Peel off the top layer of plastic wrap & lift the block of marshmallow out of the pan by lifting the corners of the bottom sheet of plastic, & sit it on a flat surface. Spray a large knife with non-stick & then cut the marshmallow into 1″ cubes.

Using a double boiler (or simply a large glass bowl situated over a simmering pot of water) melt the chocolate or candy melts. Stir in some optional E-Z Dipping Aide to make the chocolate/candy melt thinner (this is so great when you’ll be coating things like in this recipe). Turn off the heat & let the chocolate cool a little, just so it’s not piping hot. Dip the tip of one of the sticks in the melt & then gently press it into the center of one of the marshmallow squares, being careful not the push the stick all the way through. Repeat this for all of the cubes & then let the chocolate solidify (to speed this process, lay the marshmallow cubes with sticks down on a plastic-lined tray & slide the tray into the freezer for a few minutes).

Hold a marshmallow pop over the bowl of melt & spoon chocolate onto all sides, gently tapping the stick on the side of the bowl to remove the excess. Place the pop upright into the styrofoam block. Repeat this process for each marshmallow pop & then let them sit on the counter to harden.

Lay a marshmallow pop down on a cutting board or plastic or parchment paper & carefully draw on a face with the pink food marker, making sure the eyes are looking to one side. Put the pop back in the styrofoam & then repeat the face-drawing for each pop. Let them sit for a little bit & then they are ready to serve! These are great for a party or you could even give them as gifts–simply put a clear little treat bag over the marshmallow part & then tie it closed with a ribbon.

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Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 21: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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The Buckets’ Cabbage Soup

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“The only meals they could afford were bread and margarine for breakfast, boiled potatoes and cabbage for lunch, and cabbage soup for supper.”

–Chapter 1, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

The Buckets’ Simple Cabbage Soup

  • 1/4 Cup Butter
  • 2 Cups or so Chopped Green Cabbage
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 6 Cups Vegetable Broth (I used half veggie & half dashi)
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Black Pepper, or to taste

In a large pot over medium-low heat melt the butter & then throw in the cabbage & onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender–not brown.

Stir in the broth plus salt & pepper, lower the heat, & cover. Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Enjoy! It really is tasty.

Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 21: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Diana and Carrie talk the book and movies, including awful and/or bland children, mint sugar grass production techniques, wistful buttercup sipping, questionable treatment of animals and small humans, a little chocolate and a lot of vegetables.

Recipes

Referenced

Tasty Time

Main Episode

Intro music clip: “Pure Imagination” written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, from the “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” Soundtrack.
Outro music clip: “Seether” by the band Veruca Salt

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