Tag Archives: dessert

Peppernuts, Pfeffernusse, Pepernoten

Peppernuts are my husband’s favorite Christmas cookie, but I did not grow up with them since I’m neither Dutch, German, or Mennonite. This recipes is different from most peppernut recipes in that it has more of some of the spices and it includes fresh ginger. The fresh ginger comes from living in places where it’s easier to find fresh ginger than dry.

The good thing about peppernuts is that they’re very flavorful and good for munching. They are sort of a strange cookie though. They’re supposed to be hard and crunchy like nuts (hence the name). They have lots of black pepper in them.

James’ family recipe for them isn’t specific about the amount of flour to use, so you have to know when the dough “looks right”. That’s the part that I’m bad at. I expect recipes to have actually quantities of ingredients and I didn’t know what peppernut dough was supposed to look like. So I would just dump all the flour in and end up with a dough that was impossible to roll into snakes (like the original recipes says to do).

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Gingerbread Men

This is probably my favorite Christmas cookie, although I also like molasses cookies. It’s not a coincidence that both of them involve a lot of molasses. I got the recipe for this cookie from Real Simple. I like this recipe because it makes a lot of cookies. Molasses is hard to find here, but you can get it in Vientiane. I also recently heard that there’s a liquid version of nam oi (solid raw cane sugar) sold at the market in town, but I haven’t looked for it yet. If you want to substitute fresh ginger for ground, you can, but be sure to use more of it since it’s not as concentrated.

I decorated the cookies with royal icing which is good for gingerbread cookies because it dries hard. The recipe says not to eat royal icing because of the raw egg whites, but I don’t think egg whites are a problem.

Apple Pie With Fresh Ginger

I made this apple pie for Thanksgiving, but it would be good for Christmas too. I just took a standard apple pie recipe and substituted fresh ginger for the dry ground ginger. When you substitute fresh ginger for dry, you need to use more because fresh ginger isn’t as concentrated. This recipe at Allrecipes.com calls for 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger, but I used 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger. Actually, I think I should have only used 1/2 a tablespoon. Continue reading

Sweet Potato Casserole

I love sweet potatoes. I think I’ve mentioned this before (sweet potato and squash bake, sweet potato pie, bean and sweet potato soup, spiced sweet potato oven fries). We buy them whenever we visit Vientiane in the fall or winter because the sweet potatoes there are fatter and better.

I made this casserole for Thanksgiving. Isn’t it funny how such a sweet dish is considered a side dish? People even put marshmallows on it and still don’t call it a dessert! You can find the recipe here.

When it says “cooked and mashed sweet potatoes” I recommend boiling the sweet potatoes instead of baking them because they’ll be more moist. Of course, bake them when you cook the casserole, but boil the sweet potatoes before mixing everything together. Also, this recipe is very sweet – you could probably reduce the amount of sugar. If you don’t have pecans, you could probably leave them out and it would still taste great.

Molasses Cookies

This is one of my favorite cookie recipes because it’s easy, soft and chewy, and because I love molasses. If molasses was easier to get in Laos, I would make these cookies a lot more often. You can sometimes find it at Phimphone in Vientiane. If you don’t have ground ginger you can use raw ginger instead. Just make sure it’s very finely grated or pounded in a mortar and pestle.

You can find the recipe at Allrecipes.com. I don’t need to edit this one – it’s good already.

Scones in 3 Flavors

 

from left to right: Chocolate Chip Orange, Maple Walnut, Cheddar Garlic

 

I’ve been making scones since a friend gave me a scone cookbook and a scone baking pan a while ago. The book is called Simply Scones and it has a lot of great recipes in it. I would still be using it, except it’s in the US with my brother, I think. The scone pan is great because it helps shape the scones into perfect little wedges. But it’s not that hard to make the same shapes without the pan either. Scones are a pretty simple combination of flour, sugar (usually), salt, baking powder, butter, and milk. After you get the basic technique down, it’s pretty easy to create your own versions by adding different flavorings to the basic dough (nuts, cheese, spices, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, dried fruits, juices instead of milk, flavor extracts . . . ).

So today I made 3 kinds of scones. I made Chocolate Chip Orange Scones from one of my favorite recipes and then I adapted that recipe to make Maple Pecan and Cheddar Garlic scones. You may also be interested in my recipe for Apple Cheddar Scones. Continue reading

Some pictures from our trip home

near Redstone, Colorado

We had a great trip to visit family in July. We think we saw more than 100 relatives total at 3 reunions. Here are some pictures from the trip:

Lake Michigan, Wisconsin side

sign at the beach in Spanish and Hmong!

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