Four Clan Kitchen

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Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

White Chocolate Maple Walnut Fudge

Posted by fourclankitchen on February 24, 2018

I have been making this fudge from a recipe on the food blog ” Thibeault’s Table” for years.  This recipe is the real deal, no evaporated milk, condensed milk or marshmallows to get you fudge to gel.  However, I find the instructions a bit confusing and the timings do not work for me.  I have tried to nail the recipe down so making real fudge is not intimidating, although it is time consuming.


1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter cut into pieces

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 tsp table salt

6-8 oz white chocolate (I used 1.5 cups of ghirardelli white chocolate chips)

Or substitute 2 4 oz bars of bitter sweet or semi-sweet chocolate broken into pieces.

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup toasted walnuts crudely chopped (might want to up this to 1.5 cups)



  1.  Mix together the sugars, maple syrup, butter, cream and salt in a sauce pan fitted with a candy thermometer.
  2. On a medium flame and with frequent stirring, bring to a boil.  Lower the flame to medium low and allow the mix to come to 234-238˚F (16 min, for me; 7 min in the original recipe). This is called the soft ball stage, in candy-speak.  This means, if you don’t have a thermometer, put a cold cup of water next to your stove and at 7 min,  drop a few drops of the candy mix into the water.  When ready, it should form a soft ball.  See image below.   At this point,  the candy mix will feel like you are stirring crystallizing sugar and air.

3.   Cool for 10-15 min.  At this point, my candy mix was at 180˚F.  I added the white chocolate chips and vanilla to the candy surface without stirring.

4.  Cool further until the mix is 110˚F.  This took about 54 min, but the original recipe says to wait to 10-15 min.

5.  While mix is cooling, prepare a pan for the fudge.  I used a 8″x6″x2″ glass pan lined with foil, but you can use anything that you have.

6.  Once the mix is at 110˚F,  use a hand-held mixer to  beat the mixture for 1-2 min. till the fudge loses its sheen.

7.  Add the walnuts and mix with a wooden spoon.

8.  Spread the fudge in the prepared pan and let it cool a bit before putting it into the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

9.  Then cut into small pieces.  I usually keep this in the fridge, but it should be fine at room temp for several days and also freezes beautifully.

Note: If you don’t have a candy thermometer, just follow the provided times (which is what I used to do).  If you don’t call the soft ball stage right, and stop too early, the fudge will begin the melt at room temp.  But it will be fine to serve it straight out of the fridge where it will stay solid. The taste will be the same.

Don’t go much over the prescribed temperature or you will have hard candy.




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Shortbread Cookies

Posted by fourclankitchen on March 6, 2016


Shortbread cookies

I loved shortbread cookies and this recipe caught my eye because it had rice flour in it.  In Indian cooking, rice flour is often used in deep frying for providing a crisper texture that all purpose flour cannot provide.  I guess that rice flour is doing the same here.  The cookies have a lovely texture and take about 5 minutes to put together although rolling the dough out is not quite as easy as I thought it would be.  The recipe was taken from the following website, with only a couple of minor changes: adding salt and the demerrara sugar:




1 ¾ cup all purpose flour

¼ cup rice flour

½ c pwd sugar

2 sticks salted butter room temp.   If unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt.



  1. Mix the flours together. Set aside.
  2. Using the paddle attachment and a stand mixer or a hand held mixer, cream butter and sugar till fluffy- this takes a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the flour mixture to form a soft dough. Cut dough into 2 equal portions. Saran wrap and refrigerate 15 min.
  4. Roll out first disc between sheets of plastic wrap so that it is about ¼ inch high.
  5. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Cut out cookies using a 3” stamp or a biscuit cutter and place on the prepared sheets.
  7. Bake at 350deg F for 20 min until the edges of the cookies are light brown.
  8. Cool completely on a mesh rack and store in an airtight container.



1. I had trouble rolling the dough and stamping out the cookies (dough was too soft).  I rolled out the second half between sheets of saran wrap,  placed the rolled out disc in the freezer for 10 min and then stamped out the cookies.  This worked pretty well, But maybe I will roll the dough into logs, cool and cut into rounds the next time.

2. I got 18 cookies, although the recipe said 12, so I must have rolled the dough out too thin. Still the baking time of 20 min for first batch and 19 min for subsequent batches was perfect.

3. I sprinkled some demerrara sugar onto onto the rolled out disc and rolled the sugar right into the disc. This added a nice texture.


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Russian Teacakes (Mexican Wedding Cakes)

Posted by fourclankitchen on October 14, 2014

photo 2

It does not matter what you call them, these are easy to make and delicious!  Our family makes them for Christmas, but today  I am mailing these  to send to my son who is off to college because they keep well at room temperature for several days.  I use the Betty Crocker recipe except that I substitute 1/2 cup of flour with the same amount of almond meal (ground almonds).  I also add almond extract to enhance the almond flavor.  Using the food processor makes the whole thing easy and makes the fewest dishes.  So here goes:


2 sticks (1 cup butter) softened (don’t skip this step)

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 1/2 almond meal   (if yo don’t have this simply skip and use 2 1/4 cup flour)

3/4 cup finely ground nuts (I used walnuts)

1/2 tsp salt

Extra powdered sugar to roll the cookies.

photo 1


1.  Preheat oven to 400˚F.

2. In a food processor,  finely grind the walnuts and set aside.

3. Add the butter, powdered sugar and the extracts and blend.

4. Add the flour, almond meal, ground nuts, salt and pulse until the dough comes together.

5.  Remove from the processor, shape into a smooth ball and roll into 24 balls.

6.  Place  balls on an ungreased cookie sheet about 1″ apart.  You may need to do this in 2 batches.

7.  Bake 10-12 min (do not over bake).  The cookies should not be brown when you pull them out.

8.  Roll cookies in powdered sugar while still warm, then roll again.

9.  Store in a tight box between pieces of parchment.  The cookie freezes well and as I said above, it also travels well.

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Flourless Chocolate Almond Cake

Posted by fourclankitchen on August 17, 2014

photo 2

I saw this cake on one of my favorite blogs: Alexandra Cooks.  Just about everything I have made from this website has been great, so I highly recommend a visit.   This cake is called torta caprese, which I am guessing is Italian in origin.  It is gluten free and has no leavening besides beaten eggs and it is grand enough to serve at any kind of gathering.  So it is very versatile.  For grand cakes, it is also simple to make,  but it does require a number of dishes and bowls and proper sequencing.  So read the recipe all the way through before you launch into it.

photo 1


1. 2 cups almond meal/almond flour.

(Note: The original recipe calls for 12 oz or 2 cups of whole almonds. I used almond meal, but  when I measured 12 oz of almond meal, it was nearly 4 cups worth.  So I used 2 cups of almond meal, this worked fine.  I have also used 2 cups of whole almonds.  So I think may be the 12 oz is a misprint).

2. 1+ 1/4 cups sugar, divided

3. 8 oz bittersweet, coarsely chopped chocolate (2 bars of Ghiardelli)

4. 1/2 pound (2 sticks) salted butter (original recipe calls for unsalted butter, but that seemed wrong since know other salt is added)

5. 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

6. 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (I omitted)

7. 2 tsp almond extract (not in the original recipe)

8. Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling

photo 2


1.  Preheat oven to 325 and shift a rack to the bottom or bottom third of your oven.   Butter a 9″ springform pan, line with parchment paper and butter the paper as well.

2. Separate your egg whites and yolks, putting each in large bowls.

3.  Beat yolks with 1 cup of sugar for about 5 min until the yolks are light lemon colored and have increased in volume by a lot.

4.  Melt 2 sticks butter in the microwave in a largish bowl about a minute.  Then add the chocolate and mix.  Microwave for 30 seconds, mix and repeat if needed to melt the chocolate entirely.  Depending on the microwave, the first 30 seconds should do it, since the butter is already warmed up.  Do not overdo this step, or your chocolate will seize (separate from the cocoa butter and form little criddlies-you cannot recover from this mistake to my knowledge).

photo 3

5.  Fold in the almond meal into the egg yolks.  Then add the chocolate mix and almond extract (or grand mariner).

6.  Using a stand mixer, beat eggs whites at a slow speed for a minute or two, then add the remaining  1/4 cup of sugar and beat at high speed  till it forms firm peaks.

7.  Fold in the chocolate mix into the egg whites and mix gently to incorporate (don’t deflate the eggs).

8.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 55-90 min (mine took 80 min), until an inserted tester comes out clean.

9.  Cool in pan for 15 min.  Remove the edges of the pan and cool completely.

10.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

The cake is moist and lasts several days, so it is a good make-ahead cake.

photo 5

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Homemade Marzipan and a Marzipan Streusel Cake with fresh fruits

Posted by fourclankitchen on July 12, 2014

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I found this recipe on this fantastic blog called the Daring Gourmet when I was searching for instructions on how to make marzipan at home.  This blog has a recipe for marzipan and it was a revelation.  It took all of 3 minutes to make and was about 5x more flavorful than the store bought log.  It was also significantly cheaper.   As I read the recipe for the streusel cake,  I could tell it was a winner.   I did not have all the stuff needed for it, so I improvised.   Instead of using 2 cups of cherries,  it used 1 3/4 cup mixed fruits (blueberries, peaches, cherries).  I mixed in 2 tsp of strawberry freezer jam into the fruit mix to enhance the flavors of some rather dull tasting blueberries.  I substituted the buttermilk with full fat yogurt.  Finally,  I took out the vanilla extract and added almond extract because a cake cannot be almondy enough for me.

Marzipan:photo 1


1 1/2 cup almond meal (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tsp almond extract.

1 egg white.


Whiz the almond meal and pwd. sugar in the food processor,  stir in almond extract and the egg white.  Pulse till the marzipan comes together and resembles pie dough.   The original recipe called for rosewater, which I don’t like.  So I skipped it.

The recipe also says that this can be stored in the fridge for 6 weeks and longer in the freezer.   I simple made half a recipe and used it all up for the cake.  If you do this, then the egg white cooks with the cake and you don’t have raw egg issues.  You can do this if are squeamish about raw eggs or you can just buy the marzipan (not the same as almond paste).

Marzipan Streusel Cake


For the cake:

½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
⅓ cup Marzipan
1 egg
½ cup yogurt (the original recipe calls for buttermilk)
1 teaspoon pure almond extract (the original recipe calls for vanilla)
1½ cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved (I used a mix of fruits because that is what I had at home)

For the Streusel:
½ cup all-purpose unbleached flour
½ cup sugar
⅓ cup  Marzipan (see recipe above), crumbled
4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
Powdered sugar for dusting  (I did not use).


photo 2

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a  9 inch springform.
2. Make the streusel:

a) Combine the flour and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the marzipan and butter and use your fingers to combine the mixture until it resembles sandy clumps. Set aside.

photo 3

3.  Make the cake:

a) Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together for several minutes until light and fluffy. Add the marzipan and almond extract and beat until combined. Add the egg and beat until combined.

b) Then add the yogurt, almond extract and marzipan.  Beat till combined with the butter-sugar mix.  The mixture will be grainy.
c) In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
d) Stir  the flour mixture into the batter  about a 1/3 at a time and mix well.  Do not overmix.

e) Spoon the mixture into the greased springform, smoothing the top.

f)  Mix the prepared fruit with the jam and place on top of the batter, then sprinkle the streusel topping over it.

g) Bake on the middle rack for 45-55 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Mine took 55 min (maybe because I added the jam).

h) Let the cake sit in the springform for 10-30 minutes before removing, then allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Once cooled, sift powdered sugar over the top (I did not do this).

Link to the original recipe is below.
Read more:

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