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Ellen’s Sweet Recipes

Wild Blueberry Fool Recipe

When you get a last minute dinner invitation and you ask what you can bring, and your host suggests dessert, and you say sure, then wonder what the heck you can throw together quickly that will impress your friends, well, I suggest a wild blueberry fool. (more…)

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Magnolia Blossom Cream Cake: Recipe

Magnolias are glorious. Period. When they’re in bloom, they punctuate the landscape with gigantic bursts of color and fragrance, and some of these flowers are quite wonderfully delicious. This past weekend was a magnolia bonanza, and there will be LOTS OF recipes coming your way. But the very first (and yes, my favorite) is this Magnolia Blossom Cream Cake. It’s a surprisingly simple recipe with a unique flavor that no one will be able to guess without a clue from the cook. (more…)

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Plum Blossom Panna Cotta Recipe

The fragrance of plum blossoms is intoxicating, and something I look forward to every spring. Plum blossom season is brief, usually lasting only a few days. Early spring snow, wind, and rain wreak havoc on these delicate blooms, so get out there and harvest as soon as you see them. Usually I make plum blossom liqueur, but this time I thought of infusing the flowers in cream for a floral panna cotta. What a good idea! (more…)

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Make Your Own Carob Powder: a Step by Step Guide

It doesn’t take long to get addicted to the flavor of carob. Taste it once and you’re hooked. And if you’re lucky enough to live where carob trees grow, making your own powder is easy to do at home. It takes a little time, but it’s not difficult, and the flavor and smell of fresh carob make it all worthwhile.

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Lavender Meyer Lemon Bars: Recipe

Every year for my birthday, my pal Cayce sends me a box of Meyer lemons, foraged from her Bay Area neighborhood. What a great gift! This year I’ve been using them to perfect a lemon bar recipe. But it’s no ordinary lemon bar. This lemon bar has lavender baked into the shortbread crust. (more…)

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Mugwort Steamed Buns: Recipe

I’m not sure how to categorize this recipe. It’s a little bit sweet, a little bit savory, it’s the size of a muffin and the texture of a sponge cake, it’s moist, it’s herbal, it’s terrific dunked in coffee or tea. Mugwort steamed buns can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and any snacking opportunity in between. (more…)

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Spruce Tip Shortbread Cookies: Recipe

Spruce tip shortbread cookies make a great holiday treat. There’s no reason not to make these cookies year ’round, but I think there’s something especially wintery about evergreens, don’t you? You’ll be surprised by the bright, almost lemony flavor spruce tips add to this cookie. It’s the perfect counterbalance to the rich, buttery shortbread. Many evergreens have edible parts, including pine, spruce, fir, and hemlock. If spruce doesn’t grow near you, substitute one of these other evergreens. (more…)

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Shagbark Hickory Syrup: Recipe

I’m fascinated with the idea of making tree syrups, but tapping multiple maples, and boiling vast quantities of sap for hours is a little daunting. Plus, I don’t live somewhere I can tap a lot of trees. So I was thrilled to learn I could make a quicker, easier syrup by boiling the bark of the shagbark hickory tree (Carya ovata). It’s easy to harvest bark without damaging the tree, and the syrup is light, sweet, and has a distinctive smoky flavor. You will not be surprised to learn it also makes an excellent cocktail ingredient. (more…)

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Chestnut Mousse Recipe: So Rich, So Good

Chestnuts are wonderful, versatile things, as useful in sweet desserts (like this irresistible chestnut mousse) as they are in savory dishes. Their high starch content makes them softer and creamier than most nuts. (Fun fact: chestnuts contain twice as much starch as potatoes!) In places where chestnuts are a native crop, they’re often used as vegetables rather than nuts. Some of the most delicious chestnuts I’ve eaten were in Greece; they were roasted with onions in a light tomato sauce. Chestnuts are the only nut that contains vitamin C, and unlike most nuts, they contain very little fat, making them a low calorie choice in the foraged nut department. Not that this recipe is low cal. I make no apologies for the cream, egg yolks, rum, and sugar. This is a wonderful dessert for a special occasion, and probably my favorite way to use chestnuts. (more…)

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Silverberry Quick Bread: Recipe

As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, my thoughts turn to comfort food. I look forward to a hot cup of tea at the end of a long day and when I have a piece of toasted silverberry quick bread to go with that tea, I don’t even mind that it’s dark at 4 pm. Well, I mind less.  (more…)

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