‘scotcheroos

In a large pot over medium heat, combine 1 cup of light corn syrup, 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup creamy peanut butter. Remove from heat and mix in 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 6 cups Rice Krispies. Stir to combine. When thoroughly combined, spread into a parchment paper lined 13 x 9 pan.

While the Rice Krispies mixture begins to cool, melt 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips in a microwave safe dish. Start with 20 second bursts in the mircowave, and stir with a fork between heatings. When the mixture is smooth and warmed throughout, pour over and spread atop the cereal mixture.

Allow to cool approximately 35 minutes and either serve warm, or chill in the fridge to make it easier to cut and portion.

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Bottled Sunshine

Lemon curd goes well with lavender shortbread cookies and is a good way to use up a dozen lemons when life hands you a barrel full.

Zest and juice about 12 small-medium lemons. You’re looking for 1/2 cup of lemon juice and I like to use however much zest accompanies that much juice. It should go without saying, but you’ll want to wash your lemons before you zest them.

In a sturdy pan over medium heat, combine the 1/2 cup lemon juice, zest, 1/2 cup sugar and 3 eggs. Whisk constantly until mixed thoroughly. Add 6 tablespoons unsalted butter. Continue whisking and cooking the lemon curd until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Transfer to a storage container of your choice. Let cool. Eat over cookies, on toast, or with a spoon, I won’t tell anyone.

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German Dumplings

It took me far too long to figure out how to spell fleisch knoephla. I’d only ever heard the words so I didn’t entirely know what to search for.

For the dough:

Mix together 2 cups of flour, 2 eggs, a pinch of kosher salt, and 1/4 cup of water. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for about an hour.

For the filling:

Caramelize one large diced yellow onion: cook over low-medium heat with approximately 2 tablespoons of olive oil for about 15 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of white sugar and continue cooking until the onions take on a more more golden color. Remove from heat and let cool. Sprinkle lightly with a couple pinches of kosher salt.

Mix together 1 pound of ground beef, the cooled caramelized onions, 1 teaspoon ground white pepper, 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon ground brown mustard seeds and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Use your hands. You want the heat of your hands to help mix everything together.

For the croutons:

Cube sourdough bread to make about a cup of croutons and toss lightly in two teaspoons of olive oil. Place onto a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven until lightly browned.

Roll out the dough as thin as you can. Cut into squares and fill with beef mixture, folding to make a triangle and crimping along the edges with a fork.

If you end up with extra filling (I do), brown the beef mixture and use as the base for the rest of your food.

Cooking in batches, drop into boiling salted water. Cook about 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Serve with croutons sprinkled over the top.

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Salty Focaccia

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together 1 3/4 cup warm water, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast. Let sit approximately 15 minutes, or until frothy. Attach the dough hook, then mix in 5 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1/2 cup olive oil. Knead approximately 5 minutes or until the dough appears smooth.

Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface. Clean out any additional dough from the mixer, then wipe the bowl with olive oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with wrap (I use beeswax cloths) and let sit in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled in size.

Coat a full size cookie sheet with with 1/4 cup olive oil. Use a cookie sheet with walls. Put the dough ball into the pan and begin pressing to fit the pan. Brush an additional 1/4 cup olive oil over the top. Continue pressing the dough into the pan. Use your fingers to make dimples in the bread- flat focaccia is boring. Press it to the corners a couple more times over 30 minutes to get the dough to remain stretched. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup room temperature water and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt. This is your brine. Pour brine over the dimpled dough and allow to rise for approximately 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450. While the oven is preheating, place another cookie sheet, upside down, on the rack. This will get nice and hot and work in lieu of a baking stone.

Just before putting the bread in the oven, sprinkle large grain salt over the top lightly.

Bake for 25-30 minutes with your dough-filled cookie sheet atop your inverted sheet. Check the bottom after 25 minutes and see if golden brown.

Remove from oven, brush with olive oil and let sit for about five minutes. The oil should absorb into those dimples.

Remove from pan and transfer to a cooling rack.

Serve warm.

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Cheesy Egg Drop Soup

Sometimes I end up with extra Parmesan cheese, and I almost always have eggs and chicken broth on hand. I use homemade chicken broth, but store-bought works just as well. The saltiness of the Parmesan cheese is a nice addition to traditional egg drop soup.

Begin with about 6 cups of broth and bring it to a low simmer.

In a measuring cup with a spout, whisk together 4 eggs, 1 teaspoon ground white pepper and 1/4 cup of finely minced parsley. Add to this egg mixture 1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan. With the broth continuing to simmer, slowly stream this mixture into the broth in a slight serpentine pattern. This way, your eggs cook in ribbons instead of one big clump.

Consider adding some chicken or finely shredded carrots for extra flavor. Garnish with additional cheese or croutons.

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Mayan Brownie Cookies

Preheat your oven to 350*.

In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Add 8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate (I use chocolate chips for ease). Stir often.

When fully melted, add 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon chili powder and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Whisk until completely combined. Let cool slightly while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

In a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer, beat 3 eggs, 1 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon kosher salt until white and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Add 2 teaspoons baker’s extract (or vanilla; baker’s extract is a little more stable in the heat) and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix until combined. Add the warm chocolate mixture and stir until combined. Mix in 1/2 cup flour and 3/4 teaspoon of baking powder.

By hand, fold in about 5 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Bake heaping tablespoons about 2″ apart for 14-17 minutes.

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