As much as we all love classic sweets, from sugar cookies to double chocolate brownies, most of us like to dabble in something decidedly different from time to time. For those of us that truly enjoy baking, the art of making a marvelous dessert can call not only on our skills but also our creativity. We imagine the way we think (or hope!) things might taste, and through tweaking a recipe here and there, we find new favorites and get even more adventurous each time. What starts as something small, like switching chocolate chips for white chocolate chips, grows into us seeing our pantry and baker’s rack in a whole new light! Suddenly, ingredients we hadn’t even considered including in a baked good in the past find themselves at the center of the table ready to take center stage. At least that’s what happened to me and an innocent little bag of dried plums. Dried Plums – They’re Not Just for Snacking Anymore I have the best intentions when it comes to fresh fruit. As someone who really loves just about every fruit you can imagine, my palate is pleased no matter the season. But I am also a forgetful fruit-lover. A forgetful fruit-lover who always buys too much! Were I not forgetful it wouldn’t be too much, but I am, so it is. I stock up on all the fabulous fruit that catches my eye, and then I forget to bring it to work with me, accidentally leave it in the car, or do some other thing that prevents me from being able to enjoy it all before it spoils. As such, dried fruits are pretty much my best friend. And while I do incorporate them into recipes, most often I just eat them on their own. Dried plums are one of those that I eat on its own almost exclusively…until now! Dried Plums: A Play Starring: Me and Dried Plums
Location: My Kitchen
Scenario: Having friends over later for tea, dessert and perhaps some gossip.
Problem: I have plenty of tea and gossip, but no dessert!
I laid it out above as though it was a play, but this is far from fiction. In fact, as of writing this, it happened as recently as just three days ago. I wanted to make something memorable –something I hadn’t made a dozen times – so I opened my pantry door and looked for an ingredient I hadn’t used before. Some were obviously not a good idea (I’m looking at you pickles!) Others seemed like they could work somehow, including pretzels and licorice. But once my eyes set on the dried plums, I knew they were the winner. And they proved me right with the very first bite!
Working with this new-to-me baked goods ingredient, I wanted to keep the recipe as a whole simple. So I decided on a basic blueberry muffin recipe, added some dried plums for variety, topped each with coarse sugar and sliced almonds for good measure, and there wasn’t a muffin to be found when the evening was over. And no – this play isn’t a mystery; the muffins didn’t go missing. Every last one was enjoyed to the fullest by my friends. OK, I might have had one as well. Or two…