Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Not a TWD: Instead, I appreciated the teachers

This week was Banana Coconut Ice Cream Pie. My dislike of coconut is well documented. I couldn't bring myself to make this one. It wasn't hard, and I like all the other components, but none for me.

Instead, I want to share the simplest, most wonderful banana concoction. It's been requested for our teacher appreciation week luncheon since I made it when the girl was in kindergarten. She's finishing third grade now. I will fully cop to stealing this from a local catering company. I saw it at a party and had to recreate it for myself.

It's not necessarily much to look at, but the flavor, oh my.

First, you take a bag of toffee pieces, and spread them out on a foil or parchment covered sheet pan. I use Heath.

Then you put some chocolate in a double boiler and melt away. I'm a semi-sweet girl.

Then you slice up a banana or two, and the fun begins. (A little side note - Don't cut up all your bananas at once. Slice as you need them.)

You take a banana slice and coat it in the melted chocolate - shake off any excess - and then lay it on the pan of toffee bits. Once you have a finished pan, put it someplace cool to harden.

That's it. The toffee hardens into the chocolate as it cools. Each bite has creamy banana and chocolate with a toffee crunch. Love them.

Some other side notes - These need to be made pretty close to the time you want to serve them. I usually make them the night before. Also, after you've dipped a bunch of bananas, (see what I did there? Bunch. Bananas) the chocolate can seize. I either add more chocolate or a bit of vegetable oil to smooth things out.

When you are done with bananas, mix the left over toffee and chocolate together. Then just plop out some blobs and waxed paper for an extra treat.

To see the recipe that I was supposed to make, go visit Spike of SpikeBakes. It's an excellent blog.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

TWD: Apple Apple Bread Pudding

I love bread pudding. I make it fairly often because we tend to have leftover challah after Shabbat. I know there was some wishy washy talking going on among the TWD bakers about making bread pudding. There was no wishy or washy in my kitchen. Except that I only sort of made Dorie's recipe. I used her idea to include apple... Does that count?

Here was my problem. Bread pudding is, at its core, a simple, homey, no-fuss dessert. When I read Dorie's recipe, I was bothered by all the fuss. I just thought there were far too many steps for this dessert. So I doctored my all-time-favorite-go-to recipe to include apples, apple sauce, and a little dulce de leche for a finishing touch. (I'll post that recipe complete with variations another time)

Instead of caramelizing the apples, I sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar and let them sit a bit. I didn't spread my challah with apple butter. Instead I tore it up and tossed it with the apples. In the custard, I used homemade cinnamon vanilla applesauce in place of most of the sugar. Mine is uncooked, which saved more time and dishes.

Here it is just out of the oven. It was golden and delicious looking. And it made the kitchen smell great.

The end result was really good. I used a bit of my dulce de leche to drizzle over the top, and it added just the right caramel flavor. Perhaps not the most photogenic dessert...

The Girl's friend REALLY liked this one.

I'm sure Dorie's recipe as written was delicious. But so was this one, and it was much much easier. I'd absolutely make it again. Our friends were over for dinner and they had some good suggestions. Next time I'll include some rum and a bit more cinnamon.

Go see Elizabeth's blog, Cake or Death, for the real recipe. Or go buy the book already!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Not a TWD: Quick Classic Berry Tart

This week is my skip week. Last week I appreciated the teachers with lots of baked goods (more details coming), and I appreciated my mom with a cake on Sunday. I was a little baked out.

Go look at Cristine's blog (Cooking with Cristine) for a gorgeous shot of the aforementioned tart and the recipe. I'll be back next week!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

TWD: Burnt Sugar Ice Cream

Oh my goodness. This is certainly a keeper recipe.

I wish I had process photos, there were some interesting stages to this ice cream. This was actually only my second or third try at caramel. It's very intimidating to me. In this case, I undercooked the caramel a bit. I was just afraid of it really burning. When I added the milk and cream to the sugar, it all stuck to the whisk. But because I had been stirring the whole time, it looked like a galaxy wrapped around the whisk. See, process pictures. It smoothed out, and I had a glorious custard. I made one small change in the recipe. I used vanilla beans instead of extract.

I always refrigerate my custard overnight when I am making ice cream. That way it gets a chance to ripen a bit. It's impressive that any of the custard made it into the ice cream maker. I kept sneaking tastes.

This is delicious ice cream. It could be that I didn't cook the caramel enough or that I used extra vanilla, but the husband and I both decided that it tastes a bit like cotton candy. The girl loved it as well. It was not a favorite for the boy. Ah well. I'm definitely going to try this one again and cook the sugar longer.

This is a much lighter caramel color. A little longer cooking time for sure when I make it again.

Mmmmmm, vanilla bean.

Thank you Becky of Project Domestication for this fabulous recipe pick.