Batter Licker

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.

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…)

September 11, 2010

samoas

Filed under: cookies,dessert — Tags: , , , , , , — Kristen @ 12:39 pm

Tomorrow, I leave for a two-week self-guided historic food tour through Paris. There will be perfectly flaky pastries and artisanal ice cream and divine butter and rich sauces and fancy chocolates and to-die-for foie gras and crackly baguettes and delicious Moroccan dishes … and, most likely, a corresponding five- to ten-pound gain in cushion for the pushin’.

But before I depart, I want to leave you with an edible gift that’s historic (in its own American way and because it was my first catering experience for my friend Meghan’s gorgeous Lake Tahoe wedding!), rich (in caramel, butter, and chocolate), and so entirely delicious as to justify the time it takes to make it: the gift of bake-’em-yourself Girl Scout cookies.

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Camping trips, craft projects, sleepover parties, and games with my best friends – my Girl Scout troopmates – fill my childhood memories. But selling Girl Scout cookies without getting to eat any until I got home and mom finally gave in and bought a box? That was pure torture.

Back then, local grocery stores were kind enough to allow us to set up a booth to sell some cookies, but the big selling was done door-to-door. (Clearly, this was before websites existed to inform our parents that the guy next door had a prior child molestation conviction.)

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Once I became a full-fledged, incredibly intelligent and experienced, “always prepared” Girl Scout, my mom required me to lead my fledgling Brownie Scout of a sister around the neighborhood and split between us the credit for total number of cookie boxes sold.

I was less than pleased to have a mandatory tag-a-long (Ha! Bad pun on another Girl Scout cookie!), but onwards and upwards we went. Literally. (more…)

May 17, 2010

fleur de sel caramels

Filed under: candy,dessert — Tags: , — Kristen @ 10:25 pm

Growing up, we didn’t make plates full of questionable-quality cookies for Christmas. We made candy. Toffee, fudge … you name it, and my mom probably taught me how to make it. She taught me the importance of patience, precision, and consistency – all of which are essential to making quality candy and doing many other things, like surviving law school, succeeding in the workplace, and communicating effectively in a relationship. I could go on for days with this metaphor, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that I once burned a pot of boiling sugar and butter that would have been toffee, and I haven’t turned my back on the stove (while cooking candy, at least) ever since.

Making candy is also one of the financially cheapest gifts you can make as a starving college student law school student post-J.D. Bar/Bri student, but it requires paying some attention to detail (perfect for future attorneys!) and investing a tad more time (love?) than picking up the first gift that speaks to you at Macy’s. Because candy-making is a bit more involved (though, actually, much faster and cheaper – and impressive!) than your average birthday, graduation party, or holiday baked goods, I can guarantee that it’s worth the effort to make and worth the cost of a candy thermometer, which you can pick up at your local grocery store or on Amazon for $10 or at a more fancy-pants store like Sur La Table for $30.

Also, because most people I’ve talked to about homemade candy seem to squirm with anxiety about the thought of making toffee or caramel at home, I’m presenting this recipe in a photo-narrative style that’s quite a bit more specific than a mid-week throw-together fried rice recipe needs to be. Thanks to my mother, I’ve been making candy ever since I was tall enough to stir a pot on the stove, so trust me when I can say that you can do this. Let’s get started …

First, you need some heavy cream.

And a hunk of butter.

Better put those together in a cute little pot, (more…)

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