Tag Archives: spices

Time to Make Mincemeat

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

MincemeatThis Mincemeat is meatless and easily made.  Coming from England, it essentially consists of cutting up a lot of fruit and letting it age with citrus, spices, rum and brandy.  As the years have gone by, the meat has been removed and almost anything goes as far as what fruits to include.  This is my version but by far not the only one.  You can tell it comes from long ago when spices and alcohol were used as preservatives. Continue reading

Flavorings as Used in Baking and Pastry

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Meringue for Flavorings as used in Baking and PastryFlavorings are used to enhance, add to or change the taste of the base product, be it cake, cookies, sauces, yeast doughs, pastries, candies, etc.

Flavorings can come from extracts, emulsions, oils, compounds, powders, spices and herbs. Where to use what is another question. Each of these can be double or triple strength.  For professional baking purposes, we always checked to make sure they were bake-proof meaning the flavor would not disappear when heated. Continue reading

Hot Cross Buns Revisited

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Hot Cross Buns are traditionally made during Lent.  Full of spices and raisins with a cross on top of the rolls, they are eagerly awaited during the year.  Hot cross buns are a welcome and tasty staple of Lent.   According to Wikipedia: “English folklore includes many superstitions surrounding hot cross buns. One of them says that buns baked and served on Good Friday will not spoil or mold during the subsequent year.”  Well, in my house they won’t last that long!

I posted these Hot Cross Buns five years ago but feel it’s worth repeating this season.

If you’ve never baked with a product by Sun-Maid called bakers raisins, you’ve missed the perfect raisin for baking.  They are moist and plump and don’t need any soaking to use.  A friend of mine introduced me a few years ago and I have been a fan every since.  I have included instructions for regular raisins that should be soaked to plump them before using in the Hot Cross Buns.   Continue reading

Hermit Bars with Lemon Glaze

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Hermit BarsI am a sucker for spiced cookies and these Hermit Bars are one more example.  You need only look at the Honey Diamonds, Pfeffernusse, Triple Ginger Crisps, and Plantation Spice Cookies.

This is one of the most addictive cookies I have ever eaten. The original recipes, which seems to be the norm in books and on the internet made a rather sodden, heavy cookie with no icing. Changing a few of the ingredients made one of the most moist, spicy cookies that last forever in a closed tin. The Lemon Glaze, which is the perfect foil for the spicy cookie and sprinkles are optional but add another dimension to the bars.

The bar on the left is the traditional bar, the one on the right is the updated version which is higher, lighter and more moist.

Difference between two Hermit Bars

Making them even more attractive is the ease with which it is prepared.  This has to be one of the easiest, most rewarding cookies ever.  It can be cut into bars or cut those in half for a smaller cookie. Continue reading

Honey Diamonds – A cookie? A small cake?

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Honey DiamondsHoney Diamonds were among my mothers unusual Christmas cookies.  I have no idea why we didn’t have them more often.  But Mom had a great collection of cookies served only at Christmas.  I have never seen most of them anywhere.  I noticed in years passed while blogging that for some reason, I have never shared Holiday recipes ahead of time.  I plan to rectify that this year as you will see them throughout the next few months.

A rare cookie with no shortening, these soft pillows of spiced chocolate are actually more little cakes packed with flavor that only get better when they sit. Its quick preparation is a boon to busy bakers and as a bonus they make the house smell wonderful while baking. Continue reading