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real life test kitchen: homemade gummy candies

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The other night we were at a friend’s house for dinner, and the two-six year-olds decided to “make” some candy. The patient mom allowed them to pour some sugar in a bowl, toss in some honey, a few drops of fruit juice and a pinch of cinnamon. They heated it on the stove until it was gooey mess, spread it out on a piece of parchment paper and stuck it in the fridge. About an hour later it was thick enough that they could roll into a ball and pop it into their mouths. Without a doubt, this was one of the happiest moments of Isadora’s life thus far. A big light bulb went off in her head. You can make candy!

Her new discovered passion bubbling, the next day we looked up candy recipes. Many of them call for thermometers and double boilers, so they were off the list. Then we spotted this one for gummys at Goodie Goodie. Brightly colored squares of goodness that barely required anything special. The only thing we had to buy was some unflavored gelatin and flavored extract. Luckily, we had a few silicone ice-cube trays that worked nicely as the molds. I sprayed them with a non-stick spray first, which helped when it came time to wiggle them out the next day. The hardest part of this recipe? Waiting! You have to leave the gummys in the fridge overnight to solidify.

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Homemade Gummy candies – adapted from Goodie Goodie who has many gorgeous photos of the process.

What You Need:

4 Tbsp gelatin (get two boxes)
1 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups boiling water
4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp flavored extract – we used orange, lemon and peppermint
1-2 drops food coloring
sugar for coating

How To Make:

1. In a large pot, soften gelatin in cold water for about five minutes. Meanwhile, but the kettle on to boil water.
2. Stir in the boiling water until gelatin dissolves. Add sugar.
3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 25 minutes. Stir constantly.
4. Divide evenly into bowls, one for each flavor and color you want to use. I used three.
5. Add 1/4 tsp extract and 1-2 drops food color to each bowl. Stir to combine.
6. Pour into spray-coated pans, cover with plastic wrap. Chill overnight in the fridge.
7. The next day, remove gelatin cubes from trays. I did them one at time and it took a bit of wrestling, but they all came out perfectly. If you’re not using a cube tray, cut gelatin mixture into 3/4 inch cubes using a knife dipped in hot water.
8. Roll cubes in sugar and let them sit at room temperature for a day or two to crystallize.
9. Store in an airtight container.

Isadora was so proud of her homemade gummys that she brought them to school as a snack. We actually ended up cutting the cubes in half because no one really wanted to eat a big cube. They are lovely, super sweet, and very chewy.

From our partners

real life test kitchen: jamie oliver’s apple pie recipe that never fails

This is an update to one of our favorite posts!

Apple pie is one of those things I never thought I would make myself. It seemed like something that would require a great deal of skill and patience, not to mention equipment — none of which I have! But then a couple of years ago I stumbled across Jamie Oliver’s Apple Pie recipe. It’s one of his “top ten” favourites in this book Jamie’s Dinners. I don’t know if it was the lovely photo or the casual way the recipe was written, but it seemed like something I could handle with my limited baking skills — and it was! I have since made it three or four times. The secret to the recipe is lemon rind — added to both the crust and apples, which you saute on the stove for a bit with brown sugar and cranberries. Also, because it is “rustic” style, the crust doesn’t have to be perfect. Just patch up those holes.

What You Need

for the pastry
2 cups of  flour
10 tbs butter
1 lemon rind grated
• 2 egg yolks
2/12 tbs sugar

for The filling

1 large Bramley cooking apple
4 eating apples
3 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
a handful raisins
1/2 lemon’s zest
1 egg yolk with splash of milk.

How To Make.

1. Preheat the oven 300.
2. Make the pastry in a food processor by mixing up the flour, sugar, a pinch of salt, lemon zest and the butter into cubes. Add egg yolk and tiny splash of water. Mix until it resembles bread crumbs. Then use your hands to mix together into a dough.
3. Divide your pastry in half. Roll out half onto a flour dusted surface until it’s about a 1/4 inch thick. If it tears, just patch it up. Lay the pastry into a butter metal pie pan.
4. Wrap the remaining dough in plastic wrap and put both in the fridge for a while.

Make the Filling:
1. Quarter and peel the apples and cut them into small slices.
2. Add them to a pan with sugar, lemon zest and raisins. Add a tbs spoon of water.
3. Simmer for about 5 minutes until apples are just tender.
4. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Finish the pie:
1. Take the pan and dough out of the fridge.
2. Pour the cooled down apple filling into the pan.
3. Roll out the remaining half of the dough and place on top of the filling.
4. Brush the top of the pie with egg and milk wash, then using a small sharp knife, make a couple of small incisions in the center.
5. Bank for 45 minutes or so.
6. Serve hot with ice cream!

Angela M.

From our partners

real life test kitchen: how to grill “roast” chicken

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During the winter, grilled chicken is a staple Sunday night dinner. It makes your house smell great and the leftovers are great for soups or lunches during the week. In the summer time switch to the grill, and the whole chickens go away — mostly because of our fear of under cooking. When I spotted this technique in the August issue of Bon Appetite magazine, I decided to give it a go. It calls for a whole chicken with the “backbone removed.” I suppose you could ask your butcher to do this, but I hacked it out on my own — which is easier than I thought it would be. Once you remove the backbone, the chicken will be split, and can lay down rather flatly on the grill. This method is so simple, it’s really not a recipe at all.

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Here’s how you do it: rub olive oil and salt and pepper all over your chicken. Heat up the grill to about 400-450 degrees. Place a bunch of whole scallions, long fresh rosemary twigs, and a halved garlic bulb directly on the grill. Place the chicken skin side up on the herb pile. Close the lid and let it cook for about 40 minutes. After that, remove the charred herbs and brush some new olive oil on the skin side of the chicken. Flip it over and cook on the grill for another 10 minutes or so until nice and crispy. Remove from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. For some extra flavor, roast some additional scallions to serve along with it in the oven, for about 5 minutes. The result is incredible moist, flavorful chicken that you can’t stop eating. Enjoy!

From our partners

reflections on maine: a heaven without strip malls

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Every year, as July turns into August, we make a pilgrimage up north to Maine, specifically Mt. Desert Island and the enchanting wilds of Acadia National Park. Seven days there does wonders to revitalize your mind and spirit. We unplug (thus, no Shelterrific posts for a week), disconnect and take lots of deep breathes to savor the freshest air imaginable. One of the most charming things about MDI is that there are no franchises or chains of any kind (there may be one Rite Aid, but that’s it). You don’t realize the effect constant strip mall signage and box stores collections have on your senses until you step away from them. It’s so delightful to having nothing but locally owned and operated businesses to choose from. Sure, you may have to pay a little more for that gallon of milk, or drive a little farther to get a pint of blueberries, but in the end, you’ll be happier because of it.

At the center of this extremely local-centric region is Acadia, which is truly one of this country’s treasures. (In fact, a USA Today poll recently declared it the most popular national park, which means the house rental demand will be even fiercer next summer!) When you’re in MDI, you weave in and out of the park land all day long. It is the only national park that has private land and small towns scattered throughout, which is a nod to history: It was donated by the Rockfellers about a hundred years ago, and some families still have estates within its boundaries. This year we rented a piece a property overlooking Sommes Sound. There were no car sounds, no lights from neighboring residences, nothing but quiet. Our days were spent exploring the park by foot, boat, or horse-drawn carriage. At night we cooked lobster in a big pot and then made s’mores by the fire pit for dessert.

Here are a few recipes and local wares that have become a part of our lives every summer. Even if you’re not fortunate enough to journey to MDI this year, you can always eat some cobbler and dream.

Real Life Test Kitchen: How To Boil A Live Lobster

Real Life Test Kitchen: Grilled Pizza With Mozzarella and Corn Pesto

Real Life Test Kitchen: Blueberry Crumb Pie

Obsession: Lobster Rope Doormats

Steal This Idea: Rainbow Painted Stairs at The Naturalist’s Notebook In Seal Harbor

From our partners

real life test kitchen: cardamon-oatmeal ice cream sandwiches

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Have you noticed that home made ice-cream sandwiches seem to be very trendy this summer? I’ve seen them on the pages of several food and fashion magazines, a fad that is very hard to resist! I spotted this recipe for a cardamon-oatmeal ice cream sandwich in the August Food & Wine and decided to give a try. I love anything with cardamon (flashback: the perfect pumpkin muffins). These cookies came out lovely. They were a tad on the crumbly side which made actually eating them by hand with ice cream in the middle pretty messy. I used coffee ice cream which went really nicely with the cookie’s flavor. My recommendation: Skip the sandwich and just put the whole yumminess in a bowl!

Caradmon-Oatmeal Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches (adapted from Food & Wine)

What You Need:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 pint ice cream, for filling — I suggest coffee flavor!

How To Make:

1. Heat 350° and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Whisk the flour, cardamom, salt and baking soda in a bowl.
2. With an electric mixer in a second bowl, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, one to two minutes. 
At medium speed, beat in the egg. Beat in the buttermilk and vanilla until just smooth, then beat in the dry ingredients. Turn off mixer and fold in the oats stirring by hand.

3. Using an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon measurement, scoop 10 mounds of dough onto each baking sheet, about 
2 inches apart. Bake for 11 to 
13 minutes, until the cookies are puffy and golden brown.
4. Let cool completely on racks afterwards.
5. If making sandwiches, scoop a nice heap of ice cream onto the underside of a cookie. Top with another cookie. Wrap in plastic and freeze until the ice cream is just firm, about 
30 minutes.

From our partners