Tag Archives: cherries

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Cherry Almond Cookies by accordingtocarey.com

I have a confession:  I don't usually like chunks of dried fruit.  I suppose it's the texture more than anything that bothers me but for whatever reason I won't usually eat something if it has... say raisins in it.   The same goes for dried blueberries, apricots, peaches, apples, persimmons, etc., etc.... you get the point.

And then last week at work I received this little gift:

Weird gift, right?  Except... at my day job we build and sell tree shakers.  Big machines that shake ripe fruit and nuts from their trees.  The cherries in this container were shaken from their tree by one of our shakers.  It's kinda fun to see the end product of everyone's labor, from the welders that molded the machine together to the farmers who grew the fruit.  And here it sits on my desk, farm to table.  Very cool.

What were we talking about?  Oh yeah, cookies!

Even though I normally have a bad attitude about dried fruit, I was determined to incorporate these ruby gems into a recipe.  I grew up on a cherry far for goodness sake, I can think of something!  And that's when Cherry Almond Cookies were born.

I figured if I chopped the cherries up super fine, the texture would no longer be an issue and I would still get all that great cherry flavor.  Problem solved!

I started with a base recipe from my Grandma Shirley that includes a healthy dose of natural almond flavor.  Why almond?  (Hold on to your seats because this is where the geek in me comes out.)  Did you know that almonds and cherries are related?  Yep, they are both from the Prunus genus of fruiting trees.  If you have ever cracked open the pit of a cherry, peach or nectarine you may have noticed the resemblance to an almond.  Their kissing cousins! Without hesitation I knew this flavor combo would work.  Plus the tartness of the cherries would play well against the richness of the butter. One whole cup of butter to be exact.  I never said these were health-food cookies!

My Grandma's original recipe (Chinese Almond Cookies) is so ridiculously simple, the only ingredient you might not already have in your cupboard is pure almond extract.  If you don't have it, go get some!  You can use it in a ton of recipes from baked goods to coffee to cocktails.  And if you happen to accidentally splash a little on you while cooking, it will make you smell irresistible.  To squirrels, that is.

cherry almond cookies raw cookie dough

Here is how simple the recipe is:

  • Sift together your dry ingredients.  And by "sift" I mean dump them all in the mixing bowl and use a whisk to quickly combine them all together.
  • Add the fat of your choice, butter or Crisco.  I usually choose salted butter.  Cut the butter in til the whole mixture resembles wet sand.  You can do it by hand or with a mixer.
  • Add the eggs, almond extract and in this case, finely chopped dried cherries until it all comes together in one big ball of dough.

And now you're ready for baking!  That whole process comes together in less than 5 minutes and with only 18 minutes of baking time you can have buttery, delicious cookies in under 30 minutes and you will love me because they are awesome!  I will post the whole recipe below.

Have a terrific summer weekend, bake some cookies, enjoy this crazy life!

Cherry Almond Cookies by accordingtocarey.com

2 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter or shortening, softened

1 slightly beaten egg

1 teaspoon pure almond extract

1/2 cup finely chopped dried cherries

1/4 cup slivered or halved almonds

Preheat oven to 325.  Combine first 4 ingredients in a mixing bowl, using a whisk to gently stir till all combined and no lumps are visible.  With an electric mixer or by hand cut in butter or shortening until mixture resembles cornmeal or wet sand.  With an electric mixer or large wooden spoon add egg, extract and dried cherries, mixing gently until one large, soft ball of dough forms.  Using a small spoon, scoop out a small portion of dough and roll into a 1" ball, about the size of a walnut.  Place balls on an ungreased baking sheet with about 1 inch in between each cookie.  Take an almond half or a couple slivers of almond and lightly press them onto the top of the dough ball, pressing down slightly so the middle has a slight indentation.  Bake cookies for 15-18 minutes, until the edges are just barely beginning to turn golden.  Remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes before eating.  Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.

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Happy Friday!! I'm so happy to see the weekend, I've got a lot to accomplish including getting my cherry tomato and basil plants in the dirt.  I've already harvested the basil once, still in the flimsy pots they came in.  It's going to be a good growing year, I just know it!

I've told you about my Uncle, right?  The one that shows up with the most random food items you can think of.  Wednesday I came home from work to find a branch off of a Rainier cherry tree sitting on the kitchen counter.  My uncle had brought it down to show how well the cherries were already ripening.  Of course I couldn't resist eating most of the cherries off of that branch, I'm quite certain that's what he intended for me to do.  And it instantly reminded me of a recipe from Sprouted Kitchen that I had seen on Pinterest.

If you didn't grow up on a cherry farm like I did you might need a little info on Rainiers.  A Rainier cherry is a reddish-yellow-orange cherry and is a cross between a Bing and a Van (not a Queen Ann as some might think).  The more sunshine the cherry sees, the more blushed it will become.  They are a hardy cherry, plump and sweet.

This Rainier Cherry Muddler Recipe from Sprouted Kitchen very smartly pairs the cherry with lemon basil, which keeps the flavors light and refreshing.  It will be a perfect drink after a hot day of gardening.  And I know just where to find some more cherries!  If you can't find Rainiers, I would try a Queen Ann cherry (yellow) or whatever fresh cherries you have available in your local markets.

I promised you a two-fer so here it goes:  we had another impromptu gathering this week and everyone was starving hungry so I perused the refrigerator to see what kind of Last Minute Pasta I could throw together this time.  Unfortunately, there was a shortage of cheese, only a hunk of Parmesan.   But I spied some bacon and that got my wheels spinning... I had just bought some basil plants so I ran outside and plucked a bunch of basil leaves... we had white wine... yep, I could make this work!

I'm not going to get too detailed but in case you find yourself needing to feed a small group you might take some inspiration from this week's Last Minute Pasta.

  • 1 box of Barilla Cellentani
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • about 1/2 cup of fresh grated Parmesan (plus a little more at the end)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves, torn at the last minute
  • olive oil
  • butter, 3 pats
  • splash of white wine

I set the pasta to boil then got cracking on the rest of the ingredients.  I cooked my bacon, drained off the excess grease on a paper towel then chopped it into little bits and I grated my Parmesan.  Back to the pan that bacon was cooked in, I drained off most of the grease and added a splash of white wine (maybe 3-4 tablespoons) and cooked that down a little over medium heat so the bacon bits would pick up from the bottom.  After the pasta was done I drained it and reserved about  1 cup of the cooking water.  I put the drained pasta back in the pot and dumped in all the other ingredients, tearing the basil and dumping that in as well.  At this point I checked for texture and sauce.  It needed to be loosened up a bit so I added most of the pasta water and a drizzle of olive oil and gave it all a big stir.  It still was missing a little... something.... so in went about 3 pats of butter, stirred some more.  I added just a little more Parmesan and black pepper and it was done!

I realize it was all a little unconventional, but hey, we make do!  I fed 7 people in less than 1/2 hour.  Not a bit was left.

I hope your weekend is a blast!!

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Now that summer is in full swing we have the opportunity to enjoy some wonderfully sweet summer fruit.  Berries, watermelon, peaches and so much more!  Here are a few recipes to get you started this weekend:

Pineapples are available in grocery stores year round, but they are at their best March-July. One of my favorite ways to "summer-ize" a food is to throw it on the grill and this recipe from Skinny Taste does just that. And the honey-lime-cinnamon glaze adds just the right spice and sweetness to make it a satisfying dessert.

This photo makes me drool! Who can resist a frozen treat on a hot summer day? This easy recipe from Just Cook Already only has 3 ingredients! No excuses, make this frosty treat any busy summer night.

I'm betting most of you haven't heard of a Rainier Cherry.  What is it?  Well, this cherry-farmer will tell you!  It is a cross between a big, juicy Bing Cherry and a white, flavorful Queen Anne Cherry.  When you squash them together (grafting) you get the plump, white, tasty Rainier cherry.  The Sprouted Kitchen uses Rainier's for a cooling cocktail, but if you can't find Ranier's you could substitute for any cherry in season. And if you would rather leave out the alcohol, substitute a splash of ginger ale for a refreshing mock-tail.

There are lots of melons growing in the summer time and they are so refreshing on a sultry day.  There is no recipe to link you to, but I can tell you how I made them for LeiLani's baby shower:   Using various sized melon-ballers, scoop out the flesh of watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, and any other melon that suites your fancy into a large bowl.  Put the bowl into the refrigerator to chill while you make the syrup.  In a saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup of water and one cup of sugar until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the juice of 2 limes and allow the mixture to simmer for a minute or two.  Remove from the heat and add a couple sprigs of slightly crushed mint.  Allow mint to steep for just another minute or two.  Too much mint is nauseating so go lightly with it.  When you are ready to serve, drizzle the syrup mixture over your chilled melon.  You can garnish with a spring of mint to fancy-it-up.

Nectarines are one of my favorite fruits and pairing them up with this gingersnap crust is perfection. The creamy, rich filling is the perfect foil for the spicy ginger and the whole thing can be made a day in advance.  The recipe is called Nectarine and Mascarpone Tart in Gingersnap Crust from Epicurious.com

Visit your local farm or farmer's markets and get some sun ripened, fresh fruit to enjoy this summer!