Tag Archives: sweet

Salted Caramel & Chocolate Samoa Macaroons, Recipe

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I had big plans for today: up early, nice run around Fresh Pond, errands, lunching, some cooking… But then last night I decided that dancing was in order and ended up heading to TT the Bears for Heroes – their awesome 80s dance night. Needless to say I didn’t get out of bed at 7am as anticipated and instead snoozed until about noon. When I did finally get up the last thing I wanted to do was go for a run or be productive in any way. After a few hours of mind-numbing TV I scavenged through my cabinets and found the ingredients to make Salted Caramel and Chocolate Macaroons. Thank god as this is just what I needed to get through the day.

These are quick, easy, and delicious. They taste like Samoas / Caramel Delites without the shortbread cookie. As Depeche Mode said, I just can’t get enough.macaroon

Salted Caramel & Chocolate Samoa Macaroons

from The Craving Chronicles
Makes about 24 cookies

Egg whites vary in size, so if you find your cookie mixture too runny and your cookies are forming puddles around the bottom as they bake, don’t be afraid to add a little bit more coconut and/or flour to firm things up. Keeping the mix cool will help prevent that too. The coconut oil is optional but helps to thin the chocolate some for easier dipping and drizzling.

Ingredients

4 large egg whites
12 ounces sweetened flaked coconut, divided
7 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt

6 – 8 ounces dark (at least 60%) chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp coconut oil (optional)

Directions

Whisk egg whites in a large bowl. Add half of coconut and flour, stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until combined. Set aside remaining coconut.

In a 4-quart or larger saucepan over medium-high heat, combine butter and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until caramel reaches a rich coppery color. (Caramel may looks separated with a layer of butter on top. Don’t panic.) Remove from heat. Carefully add reserved coconut and salt (Caution: may spatter!), and stir to combine. Cool about 5 minutes.

Add about 1/4 cup of the caramel mixture to the egg white mixture at a time, stirring vigorously to combine and prevent cooking the eggs. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Mixture should be wet but not too loose or runny.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet or two with parchment or Silpats. Scoop cookies between 1 1/2 and 2 tablespoon size, and place about 1-inch apart on baking sheet. (Return any remaining mixture to the fridge until read to bake.) Bake at 350°F for 12-14 mins, or until bottoms are golden brown. Cool about 2 minutes on the pan, then move to wire racks to cool completely.

Place chocolate and (optional) coconut oil in a small, microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals on High until chocolate starts to melt. Continue heating in 15 second intervals, stirring well between each, until melted and smooth. Dip cookie bottoms in chocolate and set on wax paper. Drizzle remaining chocolate over top. Allow chocolate to harden at room temperature, or pop cookies in the fridge to speed the process up.

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Doris Greenspan’s French Pear Tart, Recipe Link

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There really is something about the French and their pastries. The professionally done ones in shops are always so delicate and like little works of art and you can barely stand to eat (I said barely). Then you have the home bakers who seems to just throw something together effortlessly, pop it in the oven, and pull something gorgeous and inspired out. I’m certainly no pastry expert but I like to think that with Famille Jolivet blood running through my veins I can claim a smidge of that talent but I have a long way to go.

When I bought my first tart pan a few years ago I experimented with numerous different kinds of crusts and fillers before finding Dorie Greenspan’s French Pear Tart recipe. The recipe looked complicated, long, and intimidating but the results looked well worth it. I’ve since made it a few times and each time time its been absolutely fantastic. There is a lot of effort that goes into into this tart but it will show in the final product, I promise you. I don’t have any changes or edits to Dorie’s recipe, she has far perfected it.

French Pear Tart after cooling but pre-powdered sugar.

Praline Topped Brownies, Recipe

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I was making dinner for a friend this past Sunday and wanted, naturally, to include dessert but had a hell of a time trying to decide what to make. I didn’t want something too fussy that I would have to make during the evening as I wanted to enjoy being able to hang out. I didn’t want something common like a chocolate chip cookie as I wanted it to feel a little more special. I didn’t want something bulky or untransportable as I wanted to be able to get rid of the leftovers. Brownies! Yes. But not your everyday run of the mill brownies, they needed to have something special to them. Something to make them feel like dessert and not something you just add to your order at your local coffee shop. I think I got it… Praline Topped Brownies.

I made a note about the frosting below for you but, basically, the frosting will look very different whether or not you have patience. Either is totally fine and equally delicious, it’s just what you prefer esthetically. I think I prefer the cooled version myself although I have little patience when assembling desserts as I just want to eat them as quickly as possible.

The brownie recipe alone was actually really good (I ate three before I even made the frosting – not particularly proud of that). They were very chocolately and chewy and soft in the middle, just the way I like them. We enjoyed one after dinner and, turns out, they make a great mid-morning snack as well. They also transported well so that I could rid of my house of them as not to eat any more.

Praline Topped Brownies20120305-134922.jpg
Adapted from You Made That (modified from Delish.com)

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
4 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups sugar
1/4 cups light brown sugar
6 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Praline Topping
5 tablespoons margarine or butter
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 T vanilla extract + 2 T water
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 13- by 9-inch metal bakingpan with foil; grease or spray foil with cooking spray.

In heavy 2 quart saucepan over low heat, melt margarine or butter and chocolates, stirring frequently. Remove saucepan from heat.

Transfer chocolate mixture to a large bowl and beat in sugars, then eggs, until well blended. Stir in vanilla, salt, then flour just until blended. Gently stir in chocolate chips until just blended. Spread batter evenly in pan.

Bake brownies 35 min. (toothpick inserted in brownies will not come out clean). Cool brownies in pan on wire rack. If not using brownies within 1 day, cover cooled brownies with foil and refrigerate or freeze for longer storage.

20120310-113814.jpgIn 2-quart saucepan over medium-low heat, heat butter and brown sugar, until mixture melts and bubbles, about 5 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat. With wire whisk, beat in vanilla and water, then confectioners’ sugar, until mixture is smooth.

*Side Note: You Have two options here, both equally delicious. Option 1) Glaze your brownies as the frosting is still warm and let it drip down the sides or Option 2) Wait, somewhat patiently, for your frosting to cool to room temperature and then frost your brownies creating more of a traditional cake look / feel. Personally, I did one (I impatiently wanted one stat) and the the other which I think is the way to go.

With metal spatula, spread frosting on cooled brownies; sprinkle with pecans. To cut brownies lift the foil out of pan and cut even squares.