Wednesday, January 30, 2008

absence makes the heart grow fonder?

hey everyone, i just want to apologize for the lack of posts. this month i've been out of town for work and sick twice. so, it's not you, it's me. but i'm hoping to make it up to you soon. any requests?

most sincerely,

Monday, January 21, 2008

dough enhancer

so, i got some of this dough enhancer that my mom asked me to pick up for her and tried it on two different recipes and it makes the bread SO good. so much lighter and it raises so much better. i thought i'd fill you in on this tip so that the next time you make bread you could try it and you would see a huge difference.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

peanut butter bon bons

i gave some of these away at work and to a few friends. these are candies that my family loves that we got from my brother's friend's mother. got that? anyway, these are a better take on a lot of the "buckeye" or peanut butter bon bon recipes i've looked up. the use of rice krispies adds a great texture.

1 stick unsalted butter
2 c. peanut butter (i like to use one cup creamy, one cup crunchy)
1 lbs. powdered sugar
2 c. rice krispies (crushed)

12 oz. choc. chips (i used more than that, and it helps to melt a tiny bit of shortening with the chocolate to make it melt better and to look shiny)

roll peanut butter into balls.

once the peanut butter balls are formed, it helps to put them in the freezer first so they are easier to handle and set up better once you dip them in the chocolate.

to melt chocolate, i just put the chips and shortening in a heat safe bowl and melted it over boiling water, and if you keep the chocolate over that hot water, it stays easy to handle. but can be a bit hot. so be careful.

this is a really blown out picture of my hand dipping the chocolate. once they are dipped and chilled, i like them best kept in the refrigerator so that they are really crunchy.

i don't have a finished product picture, unfortunately because i had to give them all away. but they are pretty and so good to eat.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

banana bread pudding with caramel sauce

to celebrate the new year, i had a breakfast pot luck at my house. i know it's not really breakfast and more of a dessert but i decided to make banana bread pudding for my contribution. it's got bananas and that's fruit so i say it falls in the breakfast category. i sort of ad libbed this recipe but based it on this one:

For the pudding:
2 tbsp. butter
4 ripe bananas, peeled, halved crosswise and then lengthwise
2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
2 cups whipping cream
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 oz. firm white bread sliced, crusts trimmed, each slice cut into 3 strips (i used cinnamon swirl bread)
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

For the sauce:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
pinch of salt

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add bananas and 2 tablespoons sugar and cook until bananas are tender, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from heat. Combine whipping cream, eggs, vanilla extract in a medium bowl and whisk to blend.

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter 9x13-inch loaf pan. Arrange 1/3 of bread strips crosswise in bottom of prepared pan. Arrange 6 banana pieces atop bread. Arrange 1/3 of bread strips crosswise atop bananas. Pour half of egg mixture over. Arrange remaining banana pieces atop bread. Arrange remaining bread strips crosswise atop bananas. Pour remaining egg mixture over. Press gently on top layer to compact. Let stand 15 minutes.

Bake bread pudding until puffed and golden and knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool slightly.

Meanwhile, make caramel sauce. Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cream, sugar and salt. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.

Drizzle with warm sauce and serve.