Hi Ho Hi Ho. Its Stealing Recipes We Go!

Yes, it’s that season, the best time of year to steal a few recipes.

Cookie Exchanges, holiday parties, treats for teachers, gifts for neighbors and of course family holiday meals.  It’s a lot of food and a lot of recipes.  Did you ever wonder where all those recipes came from?  I know they didn’t suddenly spring out of my brain and most of the favorites I couldn’t tell you who gave them to me.  Since I don’t believe in ESP I must have stolen them…like the many pens and pencils that seem to accumulate on my desk; pens and pencils I never bought.

You are probably thinking – “me, who me, no I know where my recipes came from and I always tell people it’s Aunt Judy’s recipe;” but is it Aunt Judys. Really, is it Aunt Judys?  Casually leafing through an old book that gives hundreds of recipes from the backs of boxes, bottles, cans and jars I found that Amy’s – and almost every other holiday cook’s,  Bourbon Balls started out on the label of Karo Corn Syrup.  Turns out one of my mother’s spectacular sure to please desserts – Brandy Alexander Pie was created by the folks at Knox Gelatin.

I do know where my favorite eggplant parmesan recipe came from – Susan Balch Clapham….now where she got the recipe I don’t know.

Stealing, borrowing, recipe cards attached to the plate of cookies – it all comes down to the same thing:  we really don’t know who came up with most of our favorites, we just enjoy and pass on.

In a brief effort to reform my ways here’s a holiday favorite my family insists on every year.  It actually came from Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network website.  Here’s the recipe (with my comments):

Cayenne-Candied Bacon

2 tsp vegetable oil

1 cup packed light brown sugar

¾ tsp cayenne pepper

1 pound thinly sliced bacon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a broiler pan with aluminum foil.  Place the broiler rack on the pan and lightly coat the rack with the vegetable oil.  (You don’t want to skip this step – the brown sugar as it bubbles and melts when cooking really does make a sticky mess)

Combine the brown sugar and cayenne in a shallow dish, stirring to mix well.  Press 1 side of each slice of bacon firmly into the sugar to coat well.  (I’ve always coated both sides – just because I have such a sweet tooth)  Arrange the bacon on top of the broiler rack in a single layer, sugared side up (in my case I don’t have to worry about which side is up, a side benefit of my sugar fetish).  If there is any sugar left it can be sprinkled on the bacon.  Bake until the bacon is crisp and the sugar is bubbly – 15-20 minutes.  (I once tried with thick cut bacon but never felt the bacon got fully cooked by the time the sugar was bubbling – thin is best for this recipe).

Ethically is it really stealing when you alter the recipe?  Later this week I’m going to try a recipe from Cooking Light but plan on making a few changes.

Key Lime Balls

2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs

6 Tbl fat-free sweetened condensed milk (OMG – I didn’t know such a thing existed!  I’ll be using the original stuff – the one with multi-thousand calories.  Talk about sucking the holiday out of Christmas – fat-free – Really?)

1 tsp grated Key Lime Rind (since Key Lime’s are almost impossible to get around these parts I’ll be ignoring that ingredient – hope it’s not key)

1 ½ Tbl fresh Key Lime Juice (the bottled stuff is going to have to suffice) (anyway why do food writers think everyone has access to non-standard food staples,  Some of us don’t have interns to run from store to store to find the perfect key lime.  Sorry for the brief rant; now back to the recipe)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut  (I believe the package in my freezer at this very moment says “sweetened” – it will have to do)

1 1/4 Cups powdered sugar.

Combine crumbs, milk, rind, juice and vanilla in a medium bowl.  Add 2/3 Cup coconut and beat with a mixer at medium speed for 1 minute or until no longer grainy.  Add sugar, ¼ cup at a time, beating until well combined.  Cover and chill 20 minutes.  (ok who thinks that I will wait 20 minutes?  Anyone?  No one?)

Shape crumb mixture into 24 balls, about 1 teaspoon each. Place remaining 1/3 cup coconut in a shallow bowl; roll balls in coconut.

Refrigerate balls in an airtight container for up to one day.



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