These cookies are a guest, and innkeeper, favorite. Rosemary & David steal them from the freezer which makes it difficult for Shanna, our cookie baker, to keep enough for guests.
Almond Crunch Cookies
Ingredients: (Makes18 cookies)
1/2 cup softened salt free butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1/4 cup ground almonds
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup half & half or heavy cream
2 tsp light corn syrup
1 cup white chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl blend butter and sugar with an electric mixer until mixture forms a greasy paste. Scrape down sides of bowl, then add egg and almond extract. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
2. Add the ground almonds and flour and blend at low speed until combined. Do not overmix. Form dough into 1 inch balls and roll in sliced almonds, coating each ball thoroughly.
3. Place balls on 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until cookies are slightly brown along edges. Immediately transfer cookies to a cool surface covered with waxed paper.
4. To make chocolate glaze, scald cream in a small saucepan. Then remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips and corn syrup. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. With small wire whisk or wooded spoon, gently mix glaze until smooth being careful not to create bubbles in the chocolate. When cookies are completely cool, drizzle patterns on them with the warm chocolate glaze.
5. Repeat the process with the white chocolate chips.
6. Refrigerate the cookies on the waxed paper until the glaze has set, about 10 minutes.
Two years ago David decided to build a chicken house down at the barn area of Hacienda del Desierto Bed & Breakfast so we could have fresh eggs. Since he had raised chickens back in Ohio as a youth, he decided to buy Twelve Road Island Reds. One of them turned out to be a handsome rooster which gave the hens such a bad time, we had to boot him out. One eventually died which left us with ten aging hens. Last week he went to the feed store and found they were trying to get rid of their chicks to make room for Christmas displays so, of course, he wanted to help them out by taking a dozen home with him.
We now have four breeds of chicks three of which lay brown eggs and one which lays blue or green eggs (a first for us). The chicken in the video is a Brahman and lays the blue or green eggs. In about six months we should have more eggs than we know what to do with and will end up giving some away to family and friends. As part of our continental breakfast, we provide hard boiled eggs in a glass hen dish for guests who need a protein.
I usually blog about Southern Arizona events but just had to share with vacationers our recent trip to the Albuquerque Balloon Festival held in October. Although our experience was with KruseArizona Tours and included museums and other experiences as part of the six day tour, it was timed to include the evening of the balloon Glow and the early morning Mass Ascension.
At the balloon glow, hundreds of balloons fire their burners which lights up the inside of the balloon which is invariably very colorful. Their are the classic shaped balloons and also shapes such as butterflies, pigs, Darth Vader, a Wells Fargo stage coach, a cow, kissing bees, and other imaginative shapes. Those attending the the fiesta can get up very close and watch the process of unloading the balloons from the trucks, to laying them out on the ground, to blowing them up, to keeping them inflated with the burners.
The morning ascension of hundreds of balloons is also awe inspiring. Observers clap when each balloon is fully inflated and when it leaves the ground. Between 500-600 balloons participate between one weekend and the next, about 9 days in all. This is an event that should be shared with family if possible. Small children were especially enchanted with the special shape balloons. Seeing pictures of a balloon or even just one balloon just isn’t the same kind of experience as seeing hundreds ascending one after the other over a period of an hour or so. Then one can watch them drift until they descend someplace in town where a chaser car with trained volunteers help them land safely, deflate the balloon, fold it up, and transport it and the pilot with passengers back to the field.
It’s an event we at the Hacienda will surely share with guests.
Kruse Arizona is a Tucson based tour company that shines. Alan Kruse offers walking tours of historic Tucson that appeal not only to locals but to those visiting Tucson from out of town or out of state. Find out how Tucson developed between 1850-1910 and beyond. Some are morning tours, most beginning with coffee and pastry, and some twilight tours, often ending in a no-host dinner at a local downtown restaurant. Sometimes local Tucsonians don’t find the time to explore their own city and should pretend to be a tourist for a day and explore with Alan.
But his knowledge of history isn’t just confined to Tucson. He is also an expert in the history of towns like Tombstone, Bisbee, and Forence as well as some very interesting ghost towns around Southern Arizona. Join one of his van or coach trips to experience more of Southern Arizona. He also offers coach trips to other Southwestern states such as New Mexico and California.
Rosemary & David, innkeepers at Hacienda del Desierto, have taken a number of his tours including a walking tour of one area of historic Tucson, several of his couch tours to Phoenix to see musicals and museums, a tour to Ft. Bowie, and a Santa Fe Opera tour. This week we’ll taking a coach tour out of state to Albuquerque, New Mexico to the Balloon Festival which is held every fall. We’ll soon be joining him for a tour of the officer’s quarters at Ft. Huachuca and, in December, the Dolly Steamboat and Arizona Opry tour. We’ve been in Tucson since the early 50’s and always learn something new with Alan at the helm.
He is a respected historian who speaks at the local historical society, the Adobe Corral historical group, and many other groups who want more about Southern Arizona’s past.
We’ve just launched our brand new, more colorful website at Hacienda del Desierto Bed & Breakfast. Most of our pictures have been updated and we’ve added a Specials & Packages page for those who want to create a special occasion for a honeymoon, anniversary, birthday, maybe even an engagement by ordering edible and/or visual treats. We now also offer special extended stay rates described on that page for those wishing to experience more than just a taste of the Sonoran Desert. Navigation through the site is easier now with our new menu at the top of the page. We hope prospective guests enjoy a more complete picture of what we have to offer with this new site.
Orange Coconut Ambrosia is one of the beautiful simple fresh fruit dishes served at Hacienda del Desierto Bed & Breakfast as part of their continental plus breakfast. What is a continental plus breakfast anyway??? That means you get more than just coffee and a baked item. In our case there are hard boiled eggs from chickens raised on the Hacienda, David’s very popular home made granola as well as other whole grain cereals, a fresh or cooked fruit dish, coffee and a whole selection of herbal and caffeinated teas, several kinds of juice choices, and a freshed baked goodie of some kind. Keep reading our blogs as we’ll be adding recipes for many of our fruit and baked offerings.
6 large oranges peeled with all white pith cut away and seeds discarded
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups sweetened angel flake coconut
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
Directions: Arrange layer of orange sections in bottom of large bowl and sprinkle a little sugar and coconut on top. Repeat layers until ingredients are used up, ending with a layer of coconut. Drizzle orange juice over top, cover with plastic wrap and chill well. This dish can be chilled all night, ready for a very special breakfast. When chilled, place in an attractive dish. If you have a garden, choose an edible flower and herb to make your dish picture perfect.
One of Tucson’s premier restaurants, The Grill, is offering an evening of dishes incorporating chocolate on Wednesday, September 14th from 6-8 p.m. Chef Tavel Bristol has continued to make this restaurant an important place to visit if you are a foodie and also for special occasions. It is located at Hacienda del Sol, a small resort which used to be a girls school in the 30’s-40’s. The views from the restaurant are striking and the resort grounds incorporate all that is lovely about the Old Pueblo. We, at Hacienda del Desierto, frequently recommend this restaurant to our guests who are looking for a special dining experience.
Guests at Hacienda del Desierto Bed & Breakfast often ask for suggestions for good places to eat on the east side of Tucson. One of the very best and moderately priced places we like to recommend is Zona 78 Italian Kitchen on Tanque Verde Road. We had our anniversary dinner there this August and were pleased with the menu selection. The aromas upon entering the restaurant increased my appetite. We were first seated in an area near the bar area which was a bit noisy, and the wait staff immediately offered to find us a quieter area. Our original waiter continued serving us in the new location even though this wasn’t his area. I ordered Mediterranean Penne Pasta with chicken, artichokes, Kalamata olives, pine nuts, Roma tomatoes, cilantro pesto, and Feta cheese. Unfortunately, it was so good, I ate the whole serving instead of bringing a portion home. My husband ordered Orecchiette Alfredo with chicken, house made alfredo, peas, Italian pancetta, and Parmesan cheese. All of the service was outstanding. We’ll continue recommending this fine restaurant.
We have created several wild animal ponds at Hacienda del Desierto Bed & Breakfast, and we’ve been hearing the night songs of the Colorado River Toad. They appear when our monsoon rains arrive in the summer. They must be calling to their lady loves. Breeding then commences. They eats insects, spiders, lizards, and other toads. They then dig into the ground and hybernate until the rains commence next summer in Southern Arizona. We, along with our guests, hear them during the night. We advise guests not to try to catch or handle them as they secrete a poisonous milky substance on the skin that can make you sick or paralyze you if you should tough your mouth or eyes after handling them. They are the most dangerous to dogs who like to tease them. Then owners must rinse out the pet’s mouth to get rid of the poison–if they are aware of what happened. When we used to have dogs, we kept them in the house or penned during the night during monsoon season.
If you’re looking for an evening of family fun, or even couple fun, try Trail Dust Town on Tanque Verde Road here in Tucson. It is a miniature western town offering two restaurants, an evening shootout stunt show for free, shops that are open primarily in the evening, and even a cavalry museum. Throughout the town are a covered wagon, a stage coach, and a gypsy wagon. It’s one of the most popular eastside fun locations. We often send our guests at Hacienda del Desierto for a taste of the old west.
Small children can enjoy a miniature train ride around the complex. If you are planning to spend the evening there, plan on eating at one of the two good restaurants. The steak house is Pinnacle Peak and the other restaurant is Dakota Cafe, a favorite of ours.