Caramel Apples

You will need:

Ginger Crust


Chocolate of your choice (we use Callebaut Belgian semi-sweet chocolate)

Organic Apples



Molasses Ginger Cookie Crust Recipe:

This batch makes a large amount of crust . The remainder can be frozen for future use.

1 lb 5 oz  or 600 grams Golden Brown Sugar

3/4 cup or 7.5 oz or 220 grams Molasses

1 lb 2 oz or 510 grams Unsalted Butter

3 Eggs 

2 lb 5 oz or 1050 grams Unbleached Flour

3/4 teas Salt

2 TBSP Baking Soda

1 TBSP Ginger

1 TBSP Cinnamon

1 1/2 teas Cloves

Put all dry ingredients (except brown sugar) in large basin

Mix thoroughly using a whisk…set aside

Put molasses and brown sugar in mixer bowl

Mix until blended

Add butter

Mix until creamy

Add eggs one at a time

Mix until soupy

Add all dry ingredients all at once

Mix only until blended

Empty into a big bowl

Finish mixing using a rubber spatula (this should be a work-out for your arms) 

Spread onto 2 big baking sheets using a metal sputula 

Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes

Break up with spatula and bake another 120 minutes


Using a blender or robot-coupe blend crust until fine crumbs

Crust can be frozen


Apple Prep:

wash and dry all apples

(we use organic gala apples from Crow’s Pass Farms in Temecula, California)

insert stick into each one and place on baking sheet


Recipe for Caramel:

1 lb  Dark Brown Sugar

1 14 oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk

225 g Dark Corn Syrup (2/3 cup)

100 g Maple Syrup (2/3 cup)

2 teas Vanilla Puree (or inside of 1/2 vanilla bean)

1 teas Dark Molasses

8 oz European style butter (Strauss is the best !!!)

1/4 teas Salt

In a heavy saucepan (copper or All-Clad are great) heat all ingredients on medium heat stirring until all sugar incorporates, wiping down sides of pan with wet pastry brush (about 15 minutes)

Raise heat to high and cook until 236 degrees F stirring constantly (about 12 minutes)

Pour  into metal bowl without scraping bottom of pan

Cool to 200 degrees F

Submerge apples in caramel

Hold upside down for a few seconds before placing on baking sheet


Melt chocolate in Bain-Marie

Dip caramelized apples in chocolate , making sure caramel still shows

Dip immediately in ginger crust

Ready to eat !

Do not refrigerate apples

All photos taken by our lovely employeeCeleste Elias-Vasquez

Recipe executed by Celeste Elias-Vasquez

Thank you Celeste !!!!!!!!


Jamming !

We have such amazing fruit available this time of year. So many of the seasons are short. Apricots, for example, seem to come and go so quickly. A great way to  capture some of these summer fruits to enjoy later is to make jam.

The first time I had really good jam was at my Belgian Grandmother Anne-Marie’s house. You could eat it by itself, not like the overly sweet jams I had eaten in the United States. I have been making jam now for over 30 years. I do not use any pectin. The method is to macerate your fruit with the sugar overnight, drain the fruit, cook the syrup first, and then add the fruit and continue cooking.

Jam is simple to make if you follow some easy guidelines :

1. Use organic perfect fruit (do not use the old strawberries at the back of the fridge that you forgot about ! Put them in your compost)

2. Taste your fruit . If it is very sweet, add a little less sugar.

3. 1500 g (about 1 flat) of fruit yields about 11 8-oz jars of jam


You will need 2 large pots, one heavy (as in All-Clad or copper ), plus a smaller pot for you lids

Candy thermometer

Tongs, funnel and ladle for putting jam in jars

Large basin or hotel pan to macerate your fruit

Jam jars with new lids (you cannot use lids that have been used already)


Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or apricots (I highly recommend local and organic fruit)

1/3 less organic evaporated cane  sugar

(ex: if you have 1500 grams of fruit , you will need 1000 g of sugar)

Lemon juice for strawberry and blueberry ( 1 lemon for every 500 grams of fruit)


Layer the fruit alternately in thirds in a large basin, starting with the fruit, and ending with the sugar

Cover and let sit on the counter overnight

Drain the juice

Put juice in a heavy large pot (the jam will rise, so you need room)

At the same time put your jam jars (minus the tops) in another pot and fill with water until jars are completely covered

Put the tops in their own pot (it is easier in to get them out when you need them) and fill with water until tops are completely covered

Put all pots on high heat

When jars and tops begin to boil, turn down to simmer

Cook juice on high heat, it until reaches 109-112 C (blow stage) on a candy thermometer ( you do not need to stir the jam at this point unless it rises too high in your pan)

Add the fruit

Stir CONSTANTLY ! You will easily burn your jam . Make sure to use a nice wooden spoon and get the entire bottom of the pan.

Put on long gloves !

It will start to get scary towards the end. The jam will start spitting, and it is HOT ! I know this for a fact. I recently spent some time in the emergency room after I spilled boiling hot jam on my arm. It is not pretty ! (although, the morphine was amazing ! )

Finished apricot jam

You will know your jam is done by putting it on a cold plate, wait a couple minutes and turn the plate. It should drip very slowly.

The one on the left is done

Working quickly place your jars, lids, and jam on a work table Put 4 jams jars upside-down on some paper towels

Ready to put jam in jars

Fill the 4 jars with the jam, put the lids on tightly, turn jars upside down, then right-side up to sterilize the air inside. Set aside

Continue until all the jam is gone

Label with the date, and flavor. You can also go a little crazy like we do.

Jam lasts for a year.

The filling for all the macarons contains almond paste mixed with a flavor of your choice

Almond Paste:

500 g blanched almonds or almond flour

500 g powderd sugar

4 egg whites

2 teas almond extract (or to taste)


If using almonds, grind in food processor with the powdered sugar

Grind as much as possible without making almond butter

Pass through a fine sieve

Put remaining almonds back into food processor and grind

Repeat until no almonds remain left in sieve

For almond flour simply pass through sieve with the powdered sugar

Put almond mixture with egg whites and almond extract into a bowl

Beat until thoroughly mixed

In general: Mix 1 part flavoring (such as lemon curd) to 2 parts almond paste

You want your filling nice and thick, not runny…adjust accordingly

You will need about 5 g per macaron

Match up all your rounds according to size

Using a pastry bag with a 1/4″ tip pipe along the outer edge of 1/2 the macarons

Place tops on all

Macarons are best never refrigerated

If not eating the same day, you can freeze or refrigerate them up to 3 days

They are extremely delicate, always make more than you need

The broken shells are excellent crumbled on top of ice cream

The lemon filling consists of lemon curd and almond paste. The lemon curd can be made ahead. Keep it in the refrigerator (about a week) , or make lots of it and freeze. It is soooo good and so versatile I suggest the later. Please use organic lemons as you will be using the skins.

Lemon Curd Recipe:

9-12 organic ONLY lemons SCRUBBED and dried

400 grams sugar (2 cups)

12 oz European-style butter

12 eggs

Zest 9 lemons and then juice

If you need more juice to get the 2 cups use the remaining lemons

Crack eggs into mixer bowl and set aside

In a large sauce pan heat the butter, lemon juice and sugar until melted

Put mixer with eggs on low

Add 1/3 of the butter mixture to the eggs while mixer is on low

Now add all of mixer mixture to saucepan mixture

Cook on medium until curd thickens and coats a spoon

Pour through sieve into large basin

Add lemon Zests


If curd is not thick enough , you can cook it again…

Macarons are little round cakes, made with almonds, egg whites, and sugar, a thin shell on the outside with a burst of  pillowy flavor on the inside. Acccording to the Larousse gastonomique (and if you don’t own one, put it on your list of must books to have) they originated in Italy in the 700’s ! Yep ! And why  they are only trending now in San Diego is interesting !

Macarons are fun ! Use your imagination and go wild with colors, shapes, and flavors. Natural dyes are a great option. We use India Tree , available on Amazon, and also Taste of Kyoto Culinary Matcha Tea for a beautiful green.

Recipe for the shells:

230 grams egg whites

200 grams almond flour or blanched almonds

225 grams powdered sugar

225 grams granulated sugar

color: optional and according to you aesthetic taste


Heat oven to 300

Line sheet pans with parchment paper (equivalent to 2 1/2 full sheet pans)

Measure out all ingredients

If using blanched almonds grind them with 1/2 of the powdered sugar in a food processor

Sift powdered sugar and almond flour using a fine sieve

On high speed using a wire whisk attachment beat whites for about 1 min 10 seconds (if  not adding color, 1 minute is enough). You will NOT be beating them stiff, just until lines from the whisk stay on the whites

Add your color and your granulated sugar, beating only until blended

Fold in the almond and powdered sugar mixture in 3’s (the magic number ). The texture should look like homemade mayonnaise

Fill  an 18″ pastry bag with a 10 centimeter tip (3/8 inch)  with half the mixture at a time

Pipe onto sheet pans, leaving space for macarons to rise

Put into oven, lowering the temperature to 250 degrees

Set timer for 3 minutes

Lower the temperature to 200 degrees

Set timer for 10 minutes

Test for doneness by slipping your finger under parchment paper and trying to lift a macaron off the paper

THEY SHOULD STILL BE WET UNDERNEATH !!!!!! (If not, you have made meringues, NOT macarons)

If you can lift it off, they are done

Take out of oven and cut the rows of macarons into strips

Carefully lift off macarons and transfer to sheets of clean parchment

This is easier when macarons are still warm

The macarons should have little “skirts” on the bottom and have a beautiful shine

If they have cracks, your oven was too hot, if they fall, you oven is too low.

You can leave them out or freeze them (if you freeze them they will loose their beautiful shine…I found this out once when I had an order for Hermes for 800 macarons. I made the shells a day in advance. It took me about 16 hours to bake them. They were perfect. I was exhausted. The next day I started to fill them. As I took them out of the freezer I realized they were loosing their beautiful luster as they came to  room temperature !  Needless to say I baked them all over again. My staff and I ate macaroons for a month !

Coming next: French Macarons Lesson 2: Fillings


My niece Chef Anne-Marie Coulon (Heirloom Gatherings) got me hooked on making kale chips. Last year,  before the summer, she offered “Bikini” lunches, guaranteed to make you ready to hit the beach. Everything was delicious. I hope she does it again ! My favorite part of the Bikini lunches was the kale chips. Her boyfriend Matt (Griffin Farms) grows the kale ! How cool is that ?!?!?!? Her kale chips were so delicious, though meant  as a snack, I decided I liked them so much I turned them into a meal. The onions and sun-dried tomatoes add texture and flavor, and the sunflower seeds add a bit of crunch. The lime adds amazing depth, and the cilantro is just amazing !

Kale is full of good things, I will let you look that up for yourself. I am always impressed when I check it out  on the internet. Now, you can make it a food you cannot resist. Have fun !

Kale Chip Recipe: ( I use all organic ingredients)

2 bunches Kale (try different types, they are all good)

2 bunches cilantro

2 cloves garlic

2 large or 4 small onions

1 lime

1 tbsp chile flakes

1/2 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil

1 cup raw sunflower seeds

3/4 cup olive oil

3 cups nutritional yeast

NOTE : You will need a dehydrator

I found my dehydrator brand new at the Goodwill. I know there are better ones out there, but this one is fine for kale chips.

Wash and dry the kale

Wash, dry, and mince  the cilantro

Press and peel the garlic, peel and slice the onion

Slice the red cabbage, remove the core

Zest and juice the lime

Put all ingredients minus the kale and the nutritional yeast into a big bowl and mix

Add kale, mix

Add nutrional yeast, mix

Put into dehydrator

Follow directions for your dehydrator

Store immediately in ziplock bags, that is, if you have any  left !

Now comes the easy part, I promise !

I have been making this pie for my family every Thanksgiving for about 30 years. I also make it the same way for my shop, no corners are cut, I am so happy that our customers appreciate the hard work that goes into each pie

Pumpkin Pie Filling:

Yield 2 pies

1/2 teas seasalt                                2 teas cinnamon

1 teas ginger                                     700 grams organic sugar pumpkin

250 grams sugar                             4 eggs

750 grams organic milk or 3 cups

Put all dry ingredients into large basin

Mix well, using a whisk

Add eggs, mix well

Add pumpkin, mix well

Add milk, mix well

Notice that the filling is a little bubbly, if you want a prettier pie, refrigerate filling overnight

If you are not as picky about the appearance, you can bake it now

Here is the filling after sitting 24 hours

Remove all extra racks in your oven leaving only the bottom one, make sure it is as low as it can be

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Put your pie shell or shells into the heated oven, I put mine on a tray to make it easier to remove without messing up the  beautiful pie

Bake until completely brown, not a bit of the crust should be pale in color,this will ensure the finished pie will not have a soggy bottom (no one likes a soggy bottom !)

Using a pitcher, pour the filling into the pie crust, IN THE OVEN ! (this is why you removed all of the upper racks)

Your hand might get a bit hot, but sacrifices must be made for the perfect  pie !

Try not to slosh filling on the pretty edge of your pie crust

Fill the crust as full as possible without overflowing onto the edges

Bake 10 minutes

You will notice the filling has shrunk, refill the crust again to the top

Bake until a sharp knife comes out clean, the filling should still jiggle a bit

Serve immediately or let cool

DO NOT REFRIGERATE, you will ruin your nice crust !

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving ! I hope you enjoyed making this pie, and I hope you found this post helpful !!!!!