20101231

CANDIED NUTS and CANDIED PECAN LIQUEUR RECIPE

 
CANDIED NUTZ
Here's a great recipe for candied nuts that I made this week.  They are totally easy and they taste as good as those expensive candied nuts you buy!  Not only that they're fresher because you just made them.
 
This is the easiest recipe ever and doesn't require any boiling sugar or candy thermometers - you just mix and bake them! They'll keep in a sealed container for a good month but they won't need to - you'll eat them up way before then!

You can do this with any kind of nut you like and you can add spices and flavorings as well!  I'm going to try using some Grand Marnier next time instead of the vanilla!
 
I got so excited about their toasty, caramelized flavor that I have decided to try one of my vodka infusions with them!  Here's what I did:
 
CANDIED PECAN LIQUEUR RECIPE

Ingredients:
1/2 C. Candied Nuts (I used pecans)
8 Oz. 80 Proof Medium Quality Vodka
1/4 C. Sugar

Tools for Infusion:  A Blender, An infusion bottle or jar, A funnel
  • I simply put the candied nuts, sugar and the vodka into my little Magic Bullet blender and hit pulse about 5 or 6 times.  I didn't want to grind the nuts too small.
  • Then I poured this mixture through my funnel into my clean and waiting infusion bottle, labeled it and it's sitting in the fridge distilling!
  • I will shake the bottle every time I open the fridge for something and I will check the flavor profile every few days until I feel it's reached the flavor strength and mellowness I want.
  • When it has distilled to my tastes I will filter it to remove all the bits of pecan and detritus from the infusion.
Tools for Filtering: Medium sized metal strainer, several coffee filters, 2 clean glass jars.
  • Take the strainer and place it over one of your clean glass jars and pour the pecan liqueur through for the first straining step.  This will remove the largest pieces.
  • Do this several times and be patient as the smaller pieces will clog and you'll have to stop and clean the strainer.
  • With each cleaning of the strainer pour the strained liquid into the other clean jar.
  • Once all your liqueur is strained for large chunks, clean the strainer then line it with a coffee filter and pour it through this for the smaller particles.  You'll do this several times as well.  The smaller particles will clog the filter a lot so just pour a bit in and walk away for about 10 minutes or so and when you come back it will have filtered through, then you can throw out the filter and the sediments and repeat until you have filtered all your liqueur.
You will then have a nice jar of clear Nut Liqueur which you can then pour into a pretty bottle and serve or give as a gift!
 
My Candied Pecan Liqueur will be ready just in time for my birthday on the 14th of January and I'm planning on a special Candied Pecan Martini recipe to celebrate both so check The Martini Diva Blog on January 14th for the results!

  Making Martinis for your
New Year's Bash?
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on my Champagne New Year's Martinis!
TODAY! @ 12:30 pm PST
 


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20101230

Butter Tarts Recipe for Your New Year's Party


BUTTER TART RECIPE

These Butter Tarts are little flaky, sweet bites of buttery goodness.  They're very much like miniature pecan pies with some dried fruit added.  In my case I've added dried cranberries but the classic butter tart recipe calls for raisins.  I've done these with dried apricots - which really rocks with the pecans, dried cherries and I've done them without the fruit as well.  I just don't like raisins much so I've never done them with raisins!  Yes, I was one of those kids who would sit there and pick out all the raisins from my oatmeal cookies and my breakfast pastries!

No matter what you put inside of them, be it the pecans or walnuts, raisins or another dried fruit, it's the butter that makes these such delectable little bites of pastry melt in your mouth.  They are a classic holiday food in Canada and, according to Wikipedia they are "considered one of only a few recipes of genuinely Canadian origin. - One of the earliest known Canadian recipes is from northern Ontario and dates back to 1915."

In Scotland similar versions are called Ecclefechan butter tarts, in France they are called tarte à la frangipane where almonds replace the pecans, but the base recipe always consists of butter, sugar, and eggs in a pastry shell.

These make a great addition to your New Year's holiday buffet or dinner and they are very easy to do, especially if you're lazy like me and buy your pastry shells instead of making your own!

Tomorrow I'm posting a recipe for Candied Nutz so grab a couple bags of pecans or walnuts (about 4 cups) and make sure you've got brown sugar, white sugar, an egg and some parchment paper!


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20101224

Holiday Holly Spread - Christmas Appetizer


HOLIDAY HOLLY SPREAD

This is an unusual cream cheese spread that combines cranberries and cucumber together with some green onions and the cream cheese.  I love the cucumbers with the cranberry, it's a fresh flavor thanks to the cucumbers with a nice little surprise of sweet tartness from the dried cranberries.
 
If you can find some fun holiday shaped crackers it makes this an even more festive snack for your Festivus!

The Christmas Martinis are here @ The Martini Diva
 
Previous Tiny Foods for Christmas:
Bacon Cheese Tart Bites
Christmas Cheese Ball
Christmas Crab Stacks
 Baked Cranberry Brie
Sugared Cranberries
Christmas Spinach Dip
Cranberried Meatballs
  Christmas Cheese Bites

HAVE A SAFE & HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

20101223

Christmas Cheese Bites - HOLIDAY APPETIZERS


CHRISTMAS CHEESE BITES

These Christmas Cheese Bites are bite size versions of the traditional cheese ball, little amuse bouche cheese balls made with blue cheese instead of cheddar.  They're more like a spread because they have celery and onions as well as the blue cheese and cream cheese.
 
These are my "Tiny Food" versions of my Dad's blue cheese dip.  Dad would make that every Christmas and it's not the holidays to me without that touch of blue cheese!

More Christmas Martinis @ The Martini Diva
 
Previous Tiny Foods for Christmas:
Bacon Cheese Tart Bites
Christmas Cheese Ball
Christmas Crab Stacks
 Baked Cranberry Brie
Sugared Cranberries
Christmas Spinach Dip
Cranberried Meatballs


20101222

Cranberry Meatballs - CHRISTMAS APPETIZERS


CRANBERRIED MEATBALLS FOR CHRISTMAS

These Asian flavored meatballs are topped off with a spicy cranberry sauce and bring a nice amount of heat from the chili sauce which balances the tart sweetness of the cranberries and the sugar.

Make a double batch - they'll go fast!

This is a perfect appetizer to serve with my Christmas Cosmopolitan!

More Christmas Martinis @ The Martini Diva
 
Previous Tiny Foods for Christmas:
Bacon Cheese Tart Bites
Christmas Cheese Ball
Christmas Crab Stacks
 Baked Cranberry Brie
Sugared Cranberries
Christmas Spinach Dip 







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