Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fleur de sel caramels

 I've always wanted to make caramels.  I love salted caramels and I finally had the time to give it a try this week.  Absolutely delicious!


  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt, such as fleur de sel or Maldon, plus more for topping
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Makes 36 Caramels.
  1. Lightly butter an 8-inch square metal baking pan. Line the bottom and 4 sides of the pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to overhang the rim on all sides by about 2 inches. (The overhang will be used as "handles" to remove the caramel slab from the pan.)
  2. In a saucepan, bring the cream, butter, and salt to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often until the butter melts. Remove from the heat.
  3. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring just until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to boil without stirring, occasionally swirling the pan by its handle and wiping down any sugar crystals that form on the sides with a natural bristle brush dipped in cold water, for about 6 minutes, or until the syrup is dark golden brown-about the color of a new penny. The syrup should have a slightly acrid aroma, and a whiff of smoke should rise from the surface.
  4. Gradually and carefully add the hot cream mixture-it will bubble up-to the caramel. When the bubbles subside, clip a candy thermometer to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often to avoid scorching, until the temperature reaches 245° to 250°F (firm-ball stage). Remove the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let stand until tepid, about 30 minutes.
  6. Using an oiled chef's knife, score the top of the candy into 36 equal portions. Sprinkle a tiny pinch of salt into the center of each portion, and press with your finger to help it adhere. Let cool completely, 3 to 4 hours.
  7. Lift up the paper handles to remove the caramel slab in a single piece. Peel away the parchment paper. Using the oiled knife, cut the caramel through the scores into 36 individual pieces. Wrap each caramel in a square of waxed paper, twisting the ends to seal. The caramels can be stored in an airtight container at cool room temperature for up to 1 week.

  • Do not stir the syrup until the butter and cream are added.
  • Wash down any crystals that form on the inside of the saucepan with a natural-bristle brush dipped in cold water.
  • Judge caramel by color and aroma, not with a candy thermometer.
  • Add vanilla extract to hot mixtures after they are finished cooking

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  • Thursday, June 10, 2010

    Chicken Marsala for two!

    Wow I found a great Chicken Marsala recipe that makes just the right amount for two.  It's DELICIOUS!

    1 ounce clarified butter or oil to fry
    1 double breast of chicken
    2 ounces flour (for dusting)
    2 ounces sliced button mushrooms (or shiitake, Portobello)
    3 pieces of scallion (diced)
    4 ounces sweet Marsala wine
    1 teaspoon beef base
    2 ounces heavy cream
    1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
    1 minced shallot

    1. Add oil to hot pan, sauté chicken.

    2. Remove chicken, add Marsala, light and flambé. When flame disappears, add mushrooms, scallions, garlic, and shallot.

    3. Sauté until mushrooms are tender.

    4. Add beef base, simmer. Add cream and simmer. Whisk in butter and add chicken. Simmer one minute or so and serve.


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  • Sunday, May 16, 2010

    Beignet Recipe

    So sorry I've neglected this blog for so long, but I'm back with a very special recipe.  If you've never had a beignet you are in for a real treat.

    Makes 24-30 beignets
    ¾ cup milk
    ¼ cup shortening (like Crisco)
    3 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus an extra pinch
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 ½ teaspoons dry yeast
    ¼ cup warm water (about 90 degrees)
    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    3 ¼ to 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    vegetable oil for frying
    1 cup confectioner's sugar for garnish

    1. In a small saucepan, combine milk, shortening, granulated sugar and salt. Heat just until shortening melts and sugar and salt dissolve. Cool to room temperature.

    2. In the bowl of a mixer, combine yeast, warm water and pinch of sugar. Set aside until yeast bubbles, about 5 minutes.

    3. To mixer bowl, add cooled milk-shortening mixture, egg and vanilla. Using the paddle attachment on the mixer, mix on low speed to combine. Add 1 cup of flour and mix on low speed to combine. Add 2 ¼ cups flour, switch to the dough hook and mix to combine. Knead on medium speed 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Add additional flour, one tablespoon at a time, if needed, to make the dough clean the sides of the bowl.

    4. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

    5. Heat 2" of oil in a deep saucepan to 375 degrees. Punch dough down and divide into four pieces. On a floured surface, roll one piece out to a ¼" thickness. Cut dough into 2" squares. Repeat with remaining dough pieces. Fry squares in batches, until golden brown, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Dust immediately with confectioner's sugar.

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  • Wednesday, October 7, 2009

    Pretzel recipe.....How to make home made Pretzels

    I don't know the last time I had so much fun making something.  This really was a blast....would be a great thing to do with kids.  I hope you all enjoy this.

    * 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
    * 1 tablespoon sugar
    * 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    * 1 package active dry yeast
    * 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
    * 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
    * Vegetable oil, for pan
    * 10 cups water
    * 2/3 cup baking soda
    * 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
    * Pretzel salt


    Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

    Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

    In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

    Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Cool on rack.

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  • Tuesday, September 29, 2009

    Fantastic Chili Recipe!! the absolute best one I have tried.

    I found this recipe online and just absolutely fell in love with it. This is one of the best Chili's ever!! With the addition of chocolate and chipotle chiles it really has a depth to it....just like the recipe claimed. I loved it and it came out amazing.


    * Cooking spray
    * 2 cups diced onion (about 1 large)
    * 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
    * 1 teaspoon minced garlic
    * 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey breast
    * 3 tablespoons brown sugar
    * 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
    * 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
    * 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    * 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    * 1/4 teaspoon salt
    * 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
    * 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
    * 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    * 2 chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce, minced
    * 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
    * 1/2 cup light sour cream
    * Chopped green onions (optional)


    Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and turkey to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until turkey is browned and vegetables are tender. Add sugar and next 9 ingredients (through chipotle) to pan, stirring to blend; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Add chocolate, stirring to melt. Ladle 1 1/4 cups chili in each of 8 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream. Garnish with green onions.

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  • Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Easy Pumpkin Pie Recipe

    With Halloween around the corner and Fall upon us I thought a good pumpkin pie recipe would be appropriate. This one is quick, easy and delicious! Obviously if you want you can make your own crust, but I just tried the recipe with an already made crust.

    * 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
    * 3/4 cup sugar
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt
    * 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    * 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    * 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
    * 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    * 1 cup evaporated milk, undiluted
    * 2 tablespoons water
    * 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    * 1 unbaked pastry shell (9-inch)

    Combine pumpkin, sugar, salt, spices, and flour in a medium mixing bowl. Add eggs; mix well. Add evaporated milk, water, and vanilla; mix well. Pour into pastry-lined pie pan. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350° and bake about 35 minutes longer, or until center is set.

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