And I haphazardly bake despite my high altitude restrictions. They don’t need to look pretty, they just need to taste good!
And this plate of goodies would have you thinking that I went on a baking spree, right? Actually, this is a result of my cumulative baking efforts over the past 2 months. Since it’s just the two of us, we always have too much to consume, so I always freeze about 3/4 of my batches after I make them. That way, we get to enjoy the treats when they are fresh, but have only enough to satisfy our cravings before we get sick of them. And then we get to enjoy them again at a later date without any effort put forth (and I swear they taste just as good…that’s if you use them up within in a couple months…I wouldn’t push it too much).
I find the best way is to put each muffin, cupcake or bar on a cookie sheet (fruit/cookie bars should be individually cut up and place on a sheet of wax paper atop the cookie sheet) and into the freezer for several hours or even overnight (a deep freezer/chest freezer is best as it will help to flash freeze the product). I then take my frozen treats and place them into freezer ziploc bags and release as much air from the bag as possible.
Then all I’d have to do is take a sweet out of the freezer and let sit at room temperature for an hour or so (if I planned ahead) or throw in the microwave for a few seconds if I was impatient or didn’t plan ahead. But now with the accumulation of baked goods over time, I now have an assortment of goodies for us to enjoy over the next couple of days. It’s brilliant I tell ya!
Now, I just have to share with you the best jam recipe…and it’s so stinkin’ easy. No cooking, no canning. And you don’t even need fresh fruit! It’s called freezer jam and you literally stir your ingredients, pour into jars and stick in the freezer for up to a year (or keep in your fridge for up to a month).
I had made freezer jam last year when I had a huge amount of blueberries on hand and we were getting tired of eating them. David, having a former career in microbiology and fearing botulism, was weary of my canning anything. Plus, I didn’t want to mess with the process. I’m all about easy-peasy!
So I found a recipe somewhere (can’t recall where) and it came out pretty good…and sure enough, the batch lasted us almost a year. But this time of year, we still don’t have lots of fresh fruit to pull from and I knew I had a bunch of bags of frozen fruit in the freezer that were once destined to get into healthful fruit smoothies, but alas were succumbing to freezer burn if I let them sit in there any longer.
Whenever I get the “I-wonder-if-I-can do…” moments, I start googling. Google is my friend and has really helped me to be resourceful over the years. So I started googling freezer jam with frozen fruit and everything required pectin. So I picked some up at the grocery store and even found one by Ball specifically made for freezer jam.
Here is the their online recipe…I love it because it’s not too sweet, the addition of lemon zest imparts a wonderful clean/tangy flavor and it could not be easier.
For my recipe, I had two bags of frozen mixed berries and one bag of raspberries on hand, so that’s what I used; (I’m not sure exact size, but I’m thinking 10 oz? Whatever the standard size is in the grocery store). This amount was perfect to reach the 4 cups of fruit required. I defrosted them a bit then gave them a whirl in my food processor to make it less chunky. Added in the water/sugar/pectin mix and that’s it. Done.
David and I were shocked at how good it was and have already polished one 8oz. jar. A couple days later, I brought one jar to a friend with some scones and she, leaving the next day for a week long trip, sent me home with all the leftovers, except for the jam which she demanded to keep (to which I happily obliged!). Seriously good, folks…you gotta try!
Have I mentioned I’m a really messy cook/baker? It’s pretty bad. But I’m good to clean it all up once I’m done…just don’t have the “use it and put it right away” mentality.
Finally, I checked out my favorite bread book – from which my homemade bread recipe is from – out of the library again, for like the 3rd time! Each time I plan to make more recipes but end up running out of time. Now that things have slowed down, I have it flagged with recipes I’m hoping to try and share with you in the next couple weeks before it’s due back (which means I should just break down and purchase it since there are always a ton of holds on it and I can’t renew). More good stuff…
Food is good and I’m getting too fat. Is there such a thing as happy fat? ;)