Saturday, July 1, 2017

Sweet Experiments

Today is one of those not-even-remotely-going-to-plan kind of days. The rain prevents my mowing the lawn, my brain prevents me doing the work I should be doing in shop and studio, but there's still an impulse to do something, even if it's not what I ought to be doing. So what am I doing? Tinkering, that's what.

At work (which, for those I haven't told, is Halladay's Harvest Barn), one of our product lines is "cheesecake" mixes -- sugar and flavoring that one mixes with equal parts cream cheese and whipped cream to make a no-bake mock cheesecake. They're delicious, but there's only so much cheesecake a gal can eat, and I'm trying to devise other ways of using the product, since I have access to so much of it. The ladies in production give me all the leftovers (quantities too small to package at the end of a batch), and I bring home all the damaged product I end up with in shipping (the way we store the product can sometimes puncture the bags, making for a sweet, sticky, powdery mess), so there's a growing pile of "seconds" on my kitchen counter.

Yesterday's experiment was chia pudding. If you like the texture of tapioca and don't mind the subtle nutty crunch of the chia seeds, you might try chia pudding. It's dead easy to make, and, as it turns out, the cheesecake mixes work wonderfully with it. A scant cup of milk, three tablespoons of chia seeds, and a tablespoon of any of the cheesecake mixes go into a bowl and then into the fridge. Stir every so often to prevent clumping, letting it chill for at least a few hours if not overnight, and you've got a tasty (and fairly healthy) dessert.

The experiment on the stove right now is a version of rice pudding -- no egg, no baking, just three cups of milk and a third of a cup of rice simmering in a saucepan for a while and a quarter-cup of sugar and a splash of vanilla mixed in at the end. I'm going to try one of the cheesecake mixes instead of the sugar and vanilla and see what happens. I predict I'll eat the whole batch in one sitting, as usually happens when I make rice pudding. I really ought to adjust the recipe so a batch is a more appropriate serving size, but I haven't gotten around to that yet, so there'll be a tummyache along with it... but happy taste buds.

My other idea, untested as yet, is to substitute one of the cheesecake mixes for some of the sugar in my icebox cookies. I don't quite have the energy to make the attempt just yet, but maybe it'll come to me sometime over this long weekend.

What would you do with flavored sugar? I'd love some new ideas.

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