I have a confession to make. It pains me to say this, but it’s time to come clean: I am a (recovering) snob. Continue reading
Hi there! I feel a bit like a ghost coming back from the grave to haunt my former life – it’s been a while since my last post, yes? Somehow I thought I might still carve out a little time here on a regular basis, even after little dude came along, but I think perhaps I was, well, wildly optimistic. For the most part I’m just Continue reading
I’ve been writing a lot of blog posts in the shower lately. Well, not *literally* writing them . . . showers and computers don’t coexist peacefully, after all. But in my head, in the shower, post after post just comes rolling out. It’s too bad, really. If only I had a shower-proof computer those posts might actually see the light of day. Why the shower? Continue reading
What to do with leftover marshmallow peeps? S’more them! The peep above is a homemade marshmallow version, but the store bought ones work just fine, too. I used a jumbo peanut butter cookie for my base – since I had a batch just out of the oven – but you can use anything you have on hand, cookie, graham cracker, etc. Top with chocolate (mine was ganache from a batch of truffles, but a piece of chocolate bar works better). Then top with your choice of marshmallow peep creature. Place under your broiler AND DO NOT WALK AWAY. It should only take a couple of minutes to melt the chocolate, goo-ify the marshmallow, and caramelize everything nicely. I’m a burnt marshmallow smore type of girl, which is good because I did take one small step away from my oven and sure enough, my peep went from golden brown to smoky black in that instant. But still, so very tasty!
People, let it be known – I have found Confectionery Nirvana. And it lives at the intersection of David Lebovitz and Shauna Sever. Which should come as no surprise to any of you who spend any time
drooling over reading food blogs.
It all started way back in 2009 when I saw David’s post about caramelized white chocolate. It immediately caught my eye, since I often have white chocolate “discards” from my business – pieces which chipped when they came out of a mold, which can’t be melted down again because they have cocoa butter designs which change the color of the chocolate. Still tasty, but as I’m not a huge white chocolate fan, what to do with all of it? Enter David Lebovitz – also known as My Hero – and his super easy (and brilliant) technique of slow cooking the white chocolate until all the sugars caramelize Continue reading
Disclosure: I do not like the above photo. It is too dark. The backdrop is awful. And I don’t know what possessed me to write “eat me” on a dipped marshmallow. Also, you should know that I actually do like the taste of those little conversation hearts. And I already ate all of them.
Thanks for listening.
I had planned to post a recipe for Chocolate Shortbread Hearts with Cherry Icing this weekend. And this post about Cinnamon Marshmallows was going to be posted last week. But then I made the shortbread cookie dough and put it in the fridge . . . and then I ate some of it (no raw eggs, yay!). And then I forgot to bake it the next day, so I took it to work with me the following day. Continue reading
Well that was just mean of me, wasn’t it? Posting a picture like that and then leaving y’all hanging for a week? Especially when the “recipe” is so ridiculous that I have to use quotation marks around the word. Forgive me, I did get a bit distracted by birthday, houseguests, parties and general chaos in the chocolate kitchen!
Ever heard of a Nanaimo Bar? They are a delightful little treat from Nanaimo, British Columbia–not all that far from Vancouver and the 2010 Olympic Winter Games! You can find these goodies all over the Pacific NW, particularly in coffee shops, and usually in a mammoth sized portion. They have a chocolate base which often includes graham crackers, coconut, and nuts. The base is topped with a thick layer of buttercream, which is then topped with a layer of semisweet chocolate. Heavenly. And sa-weeeeet! The original version has vanilla buttercream, my family’s version was always made with a mint buttercream, and commercial versions come in all kinds of flavors and colors.
I actually grew up with Nanaimo Bars, which in my family were called “The Dessert”. As in The Only Dessert. The Best Dessert. The Don’t-Get-Between-Me-And-The-Pan Dessert. My earlier memories of the treats always include Namo (pet name for my paternal grandmother), who I don’t recall caring much about baking or cooking, but I sure do recall her slapping together a batch of these anytime we went to visit. And never once snitching on me when I had an extra serving (or five). Grandmas are the best!
Considering the number of things I’ve made recently that include caramel, I really should have posted this super simple recipe before. Of course, you should still go to the master for tips and techniques.
The most important thing to remember when making caramel is not to taste it until it is cool. Believe me, you will want to stick your finger, your tongue, your whole body in this stuff. You will have to chant to yourself “not yet not yet not yet” while you are waiting. Or, you will be like me and always have a burned finger and tongue. Ah, sacrifices!
Super Easy Salted Butter Caramel
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 4 Tbs salted butter
- scant 1/2 tsp fleur de sel, sea salt or kosher salt (NOT table salt)
- 1 cup heavy cream
Place sugar in an even layer in a heavy saucepan. Heat over medium heat, shaking the pan or stirring occasionally. As sugar begins to melt, watch carefully. Wait for the sugar to be fully melted and a deep amber in color–just before burning. Don’t let it burn! Give it a sniff to see if it smells like yummy golden caramel, and when it does, pull it off the heat and drop in the butter. Sprinkle the salt over the top and mix well–watch out for the steam. Once the butter and salt are mixed in, carefully add the cream, again watching out for the steam. Whisk until fully combined and smooth. Don’t worry if it all clumps up! Just put the pan back over low heat and continue to whisk until the lumps are gone. When the caramel is smooth, pour it into a bowl and allow it to cool.
I keep my caramel in an airtight container at room temperature. I have no idea how long it lasts since mine is always gone within a day or two. Use it over ice cream, slather it on a shortbread cookie, gussy up a brownie, make yourself some girl scout cookies, or just keep dipping a spoon into it until *poof* it is gone.