Homemade Strawberry Syrup

It’s the end of March, officially spring, and there’s 6-inches of snow on the ground outside my front door right now. While I love snow, I’ve had my fill of snow cream for the year. It astonishes me that it can be 70 degrees one day, and 20 the next!

One thing that does have me feeling like spring are the delicious strawberries I’ve been getting at the store recently. While snow might be still blanketing the ground here – in warm, sunny Florida it’s strawberry season! So whenever I see any berries from the sunshine state  in my local grocery store, I can’t pass them by without picking up a package. I haven’t had bad berries yet!

Most of the time they just get gobbled up, before getting the chance to be transformed into something else in a recipe. But, I did get a chance to make this delicious strawberry syrup a couple of weeks ago. It’s perfect over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, stirred into a cold glass of milk, served over hot Belgian waffles, or mixed into a cocktail to give it a fruity twist. It’s also wonderful to toss with some fresh sliced strawberries and then pour into a graham cracker crust for an easy, but delicious dessert.

The batch I made barely lasted a week, and I’ve already made it a couple of times since then. It’s so wonderfully versatile, and it’s nice to have that burst of fresh strawberry flavor in my refrigerator anytime I’d like!

Source: adapted from StrawberrySue.com

Paczki

For me, Heaven on Earth is frying a ball of dough and then stuffing it with pastry cream. So I naturally fell in love with these traditional Polish doughnuts when I came across them on Nikki’s site a couple of years ago. They’re often made around Lent, to use up all the rich things hanging around the house – stuff like butter or lard, sugar, and eggs.

I wanted to make them for Fat Tuesday last year, but never got around to it. This year I did, and I know that it will be a tradition from here on out in our house. The dough is tender, yet denser than a traditional doughnut. A bit of vodka is added to the dough, which evaporates during cooking, but prevents too much oil from being absorbed into the dough during frying. They’re then filled with a rich pastry cream or fruit filling, and dusted with a bit of powdered sugar before serving.

They’re best eaten the day that they’re made, so don’t dilly-dally in enjoying them. Take some into work to share with your co-workers, or to a Mardi Gras party. Just don’t let them go to waste! This recipe makes about 25 doughnuts, which is plenty to enjoy and plenty to spread the love too. A great weekend project!

Source: adapted from Epicurious and All Recipes via Seeded At The Table

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

A dairy opened in our little town. They’ve always been there actually, but just not open to the public. I can’t count how many times I’ve driven by, and contemplated stopping by with a milk jug to find out what the dilly was. So, when I saw a sign pop up over the winter, saying that they were opening to the public in the spring – well, let’s just say I was beyond excited.

Homemade ice cream, cream-top milk, homemade cheeses and breads. Everything is beyond wonderful! The cows are right there on the premises, and the boys love eating their ice cream on the patio by the pastures. We’ve been several times already, and are always looking forward to our next trip. It’s  on the way home when I take the “back road” to pick up our crop share – so I always try to swing by and pick up some fresh milk. The milk is so rich and creamy, and sweet. With milk of this caliber, I felt horrible mixing in store-bought syrup that’s chock-full of corn syrup and fakeness. Then I remembered Annie’s post on a homemade version, and went right to work making it. It took all but about 5 minutes, and the results were pretty much bananas.

This syrup is thick, rich, and indulgent. I can never go back to the brown bottle again! This will be a staple in my refrigerator from now on. Perfect stirred into milk, over ice cream, drizzled over pretty much any dessert. A keeper for sure!

Blueberry Doughnut MuffinsWhen I saw these muffins, I was pretty sure they were going to be a hit. I love blueberries, I love doughnuts, and I love muffins – win, win, win. What sets these muffins apart from the standard blueberry variety and into the realm of doughnuthood is that the “muffin top” is dunked in a dreamy glaze.  It made a regular, ordinary muffin a little more special. And, it really helped to seal moisture into the muffin. These guys were just as good on the third day as they were on the first!

We have muffins and yogurt often in our home for a quick breakfast before everyone gets off to work or school for the day. They’re so easy to grab and run out the door with, which is another reason to love them. So, I’m always happy to have another recipe to add to my repertoire. And I’ll definitely be making this one again. Looking forward to trying it with different fruits – I’m sure strawberry would be phenomenal too!