I forgot how easy it is to make homemade pickles. It was a lot easier than putting together that jig saw puzzle they’re sitting on. The pickles took 5 minutes. The puzzle? Three months!
These are bread & butter pickles, which are also called refrigerator pickles, and now is a good time to make them. Cucumbers are at their best during summer and it’s the Kirby cucumber (not the Persian one) that is best for pickles. I sliced the cuces super thin this time and they are so soft they bend but they’re still crispy, probably because I left the skin on. If you peel the cucumbers, the pickles are a lot softer.
I also put more sugar in this time and I found I like the pickles a little sweeter. So I added a note to the recipe that you can use more sugar if you like sweeter pickles. Don’t be freaked out by the amount of sugar: it’s 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup because remember, the sugar mostly stays in the water.
So make some pickles. If you start now, they’ll be ready to eat in 3 hours. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Goodbye Snickers. Goodbye Mr. Goodbar. There’s a healthier way to get your chocolate-crunchy-nutty fix and you can make it yourself in fifteen minutes. With only TWO ingredients! It’s really easy, and they’re really good. I’m basically melting a good quality dark chocolate bar and dropping in some toasted almonds. My favorite chocolate bars for this recipe are Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet, which comes in a 4-ounce bar and Scharffen Berger 62%, which is 3 ounces. World Market also makes a good 72% 3-ounce bar. I do this with a double-boiler method but who has a double boiler these days? Not me.
So I put a glass pyrex bowl on top of a small saucepan with about an inch of water and that’s my double boiler. It’s important that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water and that you do not use a rapid boil. Just bring the water to a boil and then to a low simmer to melt the chocolate. I break the chocolate bar (3 ounces) into chunks, into the bowl, and let it melt, stirring occasionally. While it’s melting, I set out fifteen little one-inch candy paper cups. They’re like cupcake liners but smaller.
When the chocolate is melted, turn off the burner and start dropping in the nuts. Stir them around until they’re coated and lift them out in clusters, using 2 teaspoons, and drop them into the cups. At the end, whatever chocolate is left can be taken up with a little spatula and dropped onto some of the clusters. You may have to re-warm the chocolate at the end. I have made these clusters without the paper cups and just dropped them onto wax paper to cool and it works, but they will spread. The cups make a nicer presentation too.
I strongly urge you to toast the nuts and not to use plain raw almonds. Toasting nuts greatly enhances their flavor and aroma and you can do that in advance. I just toast all the nuts I use at one time and keep them refrigerated for my baking. I do a sheet of walnuts, then pecans, and then almonds and they are always available without having to wait for them to cool. I just did some over the weekend.
To toast nuts place them on an ungreased baking sheet into a 350° F preheated oven for 7 to 10 minutes. It’s good to stir and turn them over about half way through. If you do a whole bag of almonds and have them on hand, you’ll be glad you did because you will make these chocolate clusters again, especially when you see how easy this is. The whole process takes about 15 minutes. And I’d like to see you eat just one. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
My easy refrigerator pickles are ready to eat in 3 hours! And it can’t get any easier than this. Just heat up the marinade and pour it over the cucumbers. Wait three hours and enjoy! There’s no canning here, not long process, just a simple, easy recipe for these delicious, tangy pickles. When I didn’t have all the spices, I made my pickles with just the salt and sugar and they were still good but they definitely have more depth of flavor with the added spices.
Crispy pickles are my favorite and I find that leaving the peel on makes a much crispier pickle. If you like them soft and more bendable, just peel the cucumbers first. Also, I’m a big fan of red onions and besides looking pretty and being sweeter, they make some great eating along with the pickles.
They call them bread and butter pickles because during the great depression, people ate cucumber sandwiches, made on bread and butter with cucumbers that were easy to grow. At the end of the growing season they pickled the remaining cuces to last the rest of the year and continued to make the new “pickled” cucumber sandwiches on bread and butter.
Cucumbers are best in spring and summer so now is a good time to make your own pickles, seeing how easy it is and all. Even an amateur cook can’t mess this up. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones