Batter Licker

January 12, 2012

we do

Filed under: bars,cake,candy,cookies,dessert,non-food — Tags: , , , — Kristen @ 1:43 pm

On October 14, 2011 …

… Jay and I prepared to exchange rings and formalize what we had already felt in our hearts since moving to San Francisco together in 2005.

… we arrived at the Julia Morgan Ballroom quite early, and spent a few hours snooping around while everything got set up; ordering two insanely large platters of Mediterranean salads, hummus, falafel, gyros, and shawarma wraps for friends and family who intended to stop by; running around downtown San Francisco in search of pita bread once we realized it had been omitted from our order by mistake; and spending a wonderfully private lunchtime together.

… I kicked Jay out once my mom arrived with my dress in tow, and sent him back to his parents and grandmother at the Omni Hotel across the street.

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… the scene was set with flickering candlelight, plush couches, roaring fireplaces, and a colorful assortment of fall elements, ranging from purple and green artichokes to fiery calla lilies to Brussels sprouts, gourds, squashes, chili peppers, pumpkins, and berries.

Yes, those are artichokes in my bouquet; it was utterly fabulous. (more…)

December 15, 2011

check me out on BlogHer!

Remember this Project Wedding Dessert Bar Series post on bourbon spice and fleur de sel caramels? I am thrilled and honored that BlogHer asked me to share my caramel recipes with the millions of BlogHer Food readers!

Syndicated on BlogHer.comPlease head on over to BlogHer.com and check out my post, in addition to the many other fabulous recipe- and food-related posts shared on their site by incredible bloggers! Right now, they’ve also shared a lot of great holiday ideas if you’re still scrambling to pull things together, from gifts to crafts to meals.

November 8, 2011

project wedding dessert bar: part 11 (cashew bacon brittle)

Until the wedding, I had never made a brittle that wasn’t chock full of peanuts. I also had never been married, and had never had such beautiful signage for my dessert bar designed and made by my dear peanut-allergic friend CB of Darts Meet Heart.

So when I saw Irvin’s bacon peanut brittle pictures on Eat the Love, and subsequently became obsessed with it despite not being a bacon freak, I knew I had to find a way to include it in the dessert bar without causing CB’s cheeks to puff up.

Luckily, CB gets along just fine with cashews, and after a quick Twitter affirmation from Irvin that yes, cashews should substitute just fine, I proceeded to pull out cashews, bacon and sugar. Little did I know how much trouble the sugar would later cause me.

But diced up a heck of a lot of bacon, refilling my cutting board with uncut strips of fatty pork about 6 times.

Then I fried the bacon until super crispy, but not burnt.

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Getting the bacon crisp initially took much more time than I thought, so I quickened the process by draining the bacon fat from the pan a few times.

Per usual, I strained the bacon while removing it from the pan, and scooped it atop paper towels to absorb the excess fat. Rinse and repeat for the several remaining batches.

In retrospect, this bacon-crisping process would have been much easier, faster and cleaner in the oven, given that I was making enough for wedding full of guests.

Bacon aside, it became cashew time. (more…)

October 27, 2011

project wedding dessert bar: part 9 (toffee)

This toffee is an oldie but goodie. It is the first candy I ever learned to make (Thanks Mom!). Except that, back then, I learned to make it with milk chocolate and almonds. Or maybe it was pecans. I forget (it’s been a couple decades). Now, I prefer it topped with bittersweet chocolate and pistachios.

The key is to start with room temperature butter. Or fake it with a microwave. Or deviate from the recipe a little and just melt the butter slowly in a pot before adding the sugar.

Reach deep down into that almost-empty 10-pound bag of sugar. I couldn’t believe I was almost at the bottom. Good thing I had another 10-pound bag on hand … because that’s the kind of over-preparation I do when making everything for my own wedding dessert bar, apparently.

Must stem from Girl Scouts back in the day. “Be prepared,” which in my perfectionist mind translates to “be more than prepared at all times for things you couldn’t possibly imagine might happen at the beginning of a project.” Like actually using up an entire 10-pound bag of sugar. (more…)

October 26, 2011

project wedding dessert bar: part 8 (fleur de sel caramels; bourbon spice caramels)

Syndicated on BlogHer.comI’m not trying to fool you. I know you’ve seen me make caramel before, and in step-by-step detail. But not with bourbon and Fall spices.

For wedding dessert bar purposes, I kept up appearances by making about 400 of my standard fleur de sel caramels. I had to, or there might have been an Occupy Dessert Bar movement. Seriously. People get passionate over burnt sugar with salt, at least in my family.

But for my own creative purposes, I wanted to try something a little different. Something infused with Autumn. Something boozy. Bourbon spice caramels were born.

After pulling out all ingredients, I re-focused on exactly how much butter was going into this dual caramel candy-making escapade. A lot.

As in that entire stick plus 2 tablespoons of butter below was only one eighth of the amount. Granted, no one was going to eat a butter stick’s worth of caramel in one sitting, but some might come dangerously close.

I looked away from the butter and cream mixture and started working on the separate pot of soon-to-be-burnt sugar.

Instead of the water used in my original fleur de sel recipe, I used bourbon here. I’m not sure if that’s how the pros do it, as I admittedly made this up as I went. And even when I looked online later to validate my in-the-moment decisions, all I found were bourbon caramel sauces. Not helpful since they don’t cook at nearly as high of a temperature.

Anyway, beyond the crazy amount of butter, I also went through two entire 10-pound bags of sugar … (more…)

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