Monday, February 28, 2011

"$250" cookies

Today I'm making cookies.  Some of you are probably familiar with the "myth of the $250 cookie recipe" others may not even know what it is... so I'll explain.

I got an email one day that described a situation involving a woman having lunch with her daughter at Neiman Marcus.  For one of the common texts go here.  Basically, this woman and her daughter finish their lunch and want a cookie for dessert.  They like the cookie so much that they want to get the recipe, but the waitress tells them that she can't give it away, but they can buy it for "two fifty."  Of course, the woman doesn't realize that she's actually paying $250 for a cookie recipe until she gets the bill.  She then (to get retribution on Neiman Marcus) sends the recipe, in email form, to as many people as possible, telling them to forward it on to everyone they know.

This story never actually happened.  Neiman Marcus has, recently, started offering cookies (somewhat similar to this recipe but with some instant espresso in the mix) and offers the recipe free of charge to anyone that wants it. This email also went around for a while using "Mrs. Fields" as the over charging antagonist.  Apparently the original story goes all the way back to 1948 when the outrageously priced recipe was for a red velvet fudge cake, made by the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, that had cost someone $25.  Inflation has a lot to answer for...

Apparently, no one knows where this recipe actually came from... but I read about other people trying it and saying it was a darn good chocolate chip cookie.  So I figured I'd give it a try too.  I altered the recipe a little, so this is my variation of the recipe:


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Potential Comic Fridays

It has been recommended that I should post my silly Lazy Wife pictures here (sometimes they even evolve into comic strips).  So, hopefully... even if I'm not doing anything particularly interesting craft-wise, you'll still get a weekly Lazy Wife update.

I now present, the first Lazy Wife comic:

This all happened because I put on a bright pink tank top and a bright green sweater one morning.  My husband didn't actually say that I was a watermelon, but he was thinking it.

This came out of Husband's remark about "Indignant pig" which is apparently his inside joke about Black Cauldron.  I didn't get the reference because I haven't seen it, but I thought "Indignant pig" was really funny.  He does a super cute impression too.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Crabapple Jelly

It's a Crab - Apple... get it?
I have been particularly lazy of late.  I don't have any good excuses for my laziness, so I won't give any.  But I did draw a silly picture for you all... Well, I drew the apple part... the limbs were taken off another picture (when I realized that I couldn't remember what crab legs looked like).

Today, I will relate the events that occurred a few months ago when the trees were bearing fruit, and I happened to be listening to quite a bit of British literature, such as P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster and Jane Austen Novels adapted for radio.  Within those stories, I heard how frugal people would pick fruit from the trees and preserve it for the winter months when fresh fruit was hard to find.  While considering this, I was walking to pick up the mail from our box at our apartment and I began to wonder what kind of fruit trees were in our complex.

I picked one of the globular pinkish fruits and a couple leaves and took them back to my apartment.  I searched on the internet to find a description that matched the fruit I had found.

I discovered that apples are the only fruit with seeds in a star pattern.  They are related to roses and also have serrated leaves.  I compared my samples with the descriptions and discovered that I had several crab apple trees in perfect readiness for harvest.  Crab apples do have an apple-like taste and smell, but are generally a more tart.

So I harvested them.  I made Husband go out with me and hold a bag while I pulled the small apples off the higher branches (using a step ladder, of course).  I brought them home, and washed them thoroughly.  Once they were well washed, I cut them up and boiled them in water.  I squeezed them through a cheesecloth and then used that juice to make crab apple jelly.

The first try I got it into my head that I might not have to use pectin, because after doing a little reading, pectin apparently comes from apples, and other relatives.  However, I must have done something wrong (or my apples just didn't have enough pectin) because the jelly didn't set.  So I boiled it all over again, added pectin this time, and got a quite nice jelly in my re-sterilized jars.

Here's the recipe:


Crab Apple Jelly

Crab Apples (about 8 cups?)
1 box Pectin
3 cups sugar

If starting with whole fruit:
Remove stems and leaves.  Cut crab apples in half (or quarters if you have large crab apples) and put them in a large pot.  Pour in enough water to almost cover the apples, but not to make them float.

Bring to a boil and then turn down to medium.  Let cook until the apples change color and are soft.  (You can also use a juicer, if you have one)  Let it cool, then strain the apple mash through a few layers of cheesecloth... you may need to squeeze the juice out.

Measure about 4 cups of juice and put in a pot with 1 box of pectin.  Bring to a boil, then add 3 cups of sugar.  Bring back to a boil and boil for at least 1 minute.

Pour into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4" space at the top.  Put on lids and process in boiling water for 5 minutes.  Remove jars from water bath and let cool, being sure the lids seal and the jelly has set.  Keep in a cool dark place, and these should last for at least a year.



That's it for the recipe.  I must admit that every time I hear "Crab Apples" I think of some sort of strange crab with the body of an apple... then I stumbled across this picture:

and I'm glad that my imagination lines up so well with other people's.