Peachy Shaved Ice

I recently picked up 8 quarts of hail-damaged peaches that needed to be dealt with in a hurry. I decided it was time to squeeze one last frozen treat into our summer and make some granita. The Nectarine Granita recipe in David Lebowitz’s The Perfect Scoop served as my guide.

While it does need to freeze overnight, this is a relatively low maintenance and healthy frozen treat that does not require an ice cream maker. The only real pain was making room in my freezer. And the kids love it.

6 large ripe peaches (2 pounds)
1 cup water
1/4 – 1/3 cup honey (depending on preference and sweetness of fruit)
Tiny pinch salt

Wash, peel, and pit the peaches. I have a vegetable peeler that has little teeth on it that does the trick.* Place the pitted peaches and water in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for 10 minutes or until the fruit is soft.  Remove from heat and stir in the honey and salt.

Allow the peach mixture to cool. Transfer the mixture to a blender to puree or use a hand/immersion blender. When the mixture is smooth, pour it into a 8 x12-inch (or thereabouts) baking pan. Cover with with plastic wrap and place on a level surface in your freezer.

In a couple hours, peel back the plastic wrap and check on the peach mixture by giving it a stir from the outside in. Check it one or two more times through the course of the day moving the frozen edges into the center while stirring.

Eventually, the mixture will freeze solid. It always seems to need to sit overnight for me. But maybe your freezer will work faster than mine. When it is solid and you are ready to serve, simply scrape it with a fork until you have enough fluffy frozen goodness to fill your bowl. Return the remainder to the freezer covered with plastic wrap.

Yield: maybe 6 cups
Prep-time: 20 minutes
Freeze-time: overnight

*Note: If your peeler doesn’t cooperate, I’ve heard you can dunk peaches in boiling water for a minute, run them under cold water, and then the peel will come off easily.

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Homemade Blueberry Fruit Leather

Who wants to place a bet on how soon my kids are going to get a cavity? I can’t stop making dried fruit purees this year and it is going to be my downfall.

Well, que sera sera. Frankly, not a bad way to go.

Dehydrated fruit purees I’ve posted about already such as the Strawberry Roll Ups and the Polka Dot Roll Ups contain very small amounts, if any, added sugar. For this reason, they are thinner and a little more brittle than traditional fruit leather. When fruit puree is loaded up with sugar the finished product is thicker and more flexible.

Turns out it doesn’t take gobs of honey to make thick fruit leather, just a 1/4 cup is necessary for this recipe. It’s not super sweet like grocery store fruit leather. I think it’s just right. 

1 pint fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup honey
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Heat the blueberries and water in a medium saucepan over med high heat until it comes to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium low so that the mixture is at a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove saucepan from heat and add the honey, applesauce, and lemon juice. Puree the mixture with a hand/immersion or regular blender until smooth.

Prepare a 15 x15-inch dehydrator tray with a lightly greased liner. Pour the blueberry mixture onto the middle of the lined tray and spread it out evenly with a large offset spatula or a spoon until it is 1/3-inch thick. It should be an approximately 12 x 12-inch square. Having the outside edges thicker is fine as they tend to dry more quickly.

Insert the tray into the dehydrator and set the temperature to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Run the dehydrator for 8 to 10 hours. The finished fruit leather may have a couple sticky spots on the surface, but for the most part it should be dried yet pliable.

Remove the fruit leather from the tray. Cut with a knife or scissors into individual servings. Wrap pieces in wax paper. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 10 pieces
Prep-time: 15 minutes
Drying-time: 8 – 10 hours

Raisin Toast with Almond Butter, Banana, and Honey

How could I be blogging about healthy snacks for over a year and not have a post about my childhood favorite? Perhaps I didn’t think it was fancy enough. But today I have the clarity of mind to know that the simple snacks are often the best. Not only because they are easy for mommy to make, but because they are darn tasty! Thanks for making me these when I was little Mom! And I’ll call you soon!

2 pieces toast, preferably raisin and/or whole grain
2 tablespoons nut butter (such as peanut or almond)
One small banana, sliced
Honey

Spread nut butter on toast. Top with banana slices and a drizzle of honey. Serve warm!

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Honey-roasted pecans

Not too long ago, Serious Eats was kind enough to share a recipe from Thomas Keller’s cookbook Ad Hoc at Home. I have been looking at roasted nuts recipes for a while now and was feeling a little overwhelmed. But Keller’s recipe for Candied Pecans is everything I was looking for. These nuts have perfect balance of crispy, sweet and salty going on. They are also flakey and buttery. If I close my eyes, it feels like I’m eating a croissant. ‘Nough said.

1 1/2 cup raw pecans
1-1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more to finish

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spread nuts out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes. Transfer warm nuts to a medium bowl. Quickly drizzle the honey and salt over the nuts and stir until they are well coated.

Return the coated  nuts to the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, rotating once. I took them out of the oven when it smelled like the honey was starting to caramelize – a tiny bit smokey.

Remove the nuts from the oven, sprinkle on a pinch of salt, and quickly separate any clumps as the honey will harden as the nuts cool. Allow to cool completely and serve. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups nuts (easily doubled)
Prep time: 5 minutes
Bake time: 1 1/2 hours

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I Heart Clementines

Recently, my three-year-old grew tired of clementines (gasp!). She is a great lover of novelty.  Here are a few ways I’ve found to rekindle the magic:

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1. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses.

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2. Drizzle with warmed  (or not) honey. Warm 1 tablespoon of honey in a very small dish in the microwave for 5 – 10 seconds. This is enough honey for two whole peeled and segmented clementines (not just two segments as pictured above).

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3. Drizzle with chocolate sauce or chocolate syrup.

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4. Serve with Honey Vanilla Yogurt.

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1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons agave nectar or honey
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
Tiny dash of cardamom (optional)

Mix yogurt, agave, vanilla, and cardamom (if desired) in a small bowl. Serve topped with chopped clementine.

Yield: 1/2 cup
Prep time: 5 minutes

You are more than welcome to add your suggestions in the comments. Thanks!

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