Butcher Salt

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http://www.butchersalt.com/

https://www.facebook.com/butchersalttruck

Main Location: Minneapolis, Breweries, Etc

              It’s been a long, long winter in this juncture between 2013 and 2014, and I’ve had my share of boring days having to wait for the trucks to come back, and frustration in missed opportunities and futile searches. But finally, the days are warming up, the sun is back, the snow is receding, and the trucks have come back to Minneapolis!

              And just my luck, I had the chance to head down not only on the very first official day back of the year, but to the very first New mobile business of 2014! Butcher Salt has been on my radar for a while after seeing their startup posts, not to mention their signatory concept for unifying their menu items.

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              With a veritable selection of different meat-based, American handheld favorites like Hot Dogs, Sliders and a roast beef sandwich called the Ranger, which are then placed next to Hashbrowns and (ugh) a Salad. With not much of a theme between items besides the fact that they might all be found in a stereotypical (though very delicious) Diner, Butcher ramps up each gloriously prepared piece of meat and vegetable with a little seasoning they name, as one would expect, “Butcher Salt.”

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               Simply a good quality sea salt infused alongside rosemary, thyme, and other herbs, this large-grained rock is sprinkled liberally over their foods to provide proper seasoning and in-depth dimensions. Or something like that. They even let the grains fall over desserts, like their Salted Caramel and the oddly-placed Crème Brulee.

               Of course it’s not the only thing they rely on; pepperjack and spicy cheese sauce, sautéed peppers, and the required bacon festoon multiple items, like the “Stuffed” Hash Browns (really it’s just layered, but looks like a tasty breakfast item).

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               Oh, and they have some of the coolest toys! Look at all of the fun things they got; a special wooden stand for the tablet to do your card-swiping, customized phone case, and the cutest little wooden tip Truck! Reminds me of my own childhood one. These set on top of a display case of various shirts and other memorabilia for us to purchase; seems to be a trend nowadays no?

               So, after multiple months of waiting, it’s time to get back to a full rating review! I just can’t wait for the self-centered indulgence!

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Food:9

                Despite only being able to purchase two of their menu items, the owners/employees were generous enough to give me a small piece of their Roast Beef to sample the flavor! And damn, it was good; tender, beefy, really moist with that au jus or whatever they keep it in. Craveably salty, but I’d imagine it’d calm down nicely in the whole sandwich.

                Overall I’d probably use that word to describe the whole menu, “Craveable.” Everything I had was just warm and comforting, umami-focused with that poignant sense that properly, fully seasoned food can do which just makes you want it more.

                I felt it a lot with those Sliders. Buns may be toasted, but that crunch is destroyed as soon as you bite into those thick little patties, their juices spreading all over the sturdy bread and your fingers; and you don’t care. The meat is just… oh, these are the closest sliders I’ve ever seen come to those good-quality, thick juicy burgers. It just has that wet, sorta chewy but fully tender texture that slicks around your mouth as you eat it. Just heaven.

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                And that’s just the meat. You top this with gooey cheese and grilled onions that are sorta cooked, sorta raw, and with the other toppings taste sorta pickled too, the best expressions of all three. The pickles themselves, which I’m pretty sure are just the simpler, store-bought style, I doubt they made them, but that firm crunch and sharp salt+acid flavor is somehow just perfect with everything else, cutting through and increasing the seasoning aspect ever further. I think I can safely say that these are the best Food Truck Sliders in Minnesota (at least for now).

                As for the Hash Browns, they tasted good, had that nice gooey cheesiness and hash browny flavor; probably wouldn’t mind getting the “stuffed” version if I needed a morning fix one day. However it was all one soft texture, I wish they had been able to actually get the potatoes somewhat crispy/crunchy; really lowered the experience to something I could get at most places.

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Holdability: 8

                Basket-based, with multiple items requiring at least one hand to hold part of the food while the other eats, via multiple sliders or needing a fork. Those that could be one-handed, like the beefy Ranger, are quite the juicy messy affair, not that that’s a bad thing; the best burgers and sliders leave half their flavor on the fingers! And aren’t they just nice enough to wrap the baskets completely in foil for those buying multiple items and/or needing to transport it some distance before eating.

                The Crème Brulee stands a bit out of place; I’ve never really considered it street food in any real sense. Placed inside a throwaway foil ramekin, though, it does make it possible to eat while walking, like a caramelized pudding cup!

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Price: 8

                 There are two main price points; all sandwiches/main entrée-sized items stand at $8, which seems reasonable based off what I was given (and can imagine for the Roast Beef Sandwich), though I couldn’t see paying that much for the Caprese, basically just cheese and tomatoes. Besides these, Hot Dogs and Side items stand at $5, also reasonable(ish maybe) except for, in my opinion, the Hashbrowns. Just seems too small and simple for anything over even $3, I mean it’s just soft potatoes (not even fried) and cheese (well, and bacon, but sadly they ran out on my visit…). Finally, $4 for the Brulee, not sure if the salted caramel is the same or less, hoping for the latter. Overall it’s great individually though buying multiple items can grey the lines.

Speed: 7.5

                 Average cooking speeds, giving you ample time to have a fun chat and ogle over all the fun doodads!

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The TOE: 9.5

                  From the front, I wasn’t really sure I’d get that much of an overall feeling of “place” that I search for, especially due to the generic-ness of using only hot dogs, small burgers, and roast beef for the menu focus. Once you eat it, though, you sorta get it… I think there’s a centered-ness to them, a great personality that rings through the deliciously prepared food. The little doodads help too.

                I still think that having Crème Brulee as the main dessert option is really weird though, sorta off-centers the whole thing a bit. Opposite that, though, the Butcher Salted Caramel sounds AMAZING; I can’t wait to come back and grab it in the Summer (when it’s served). I’d say they’ve reached Official Toe Ring status.

                       Tally: 42/50

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Final Thoughts

              Probably one of the better street stops when one has that “Meat” craving, with some good, safe bets centered on the Butcher Salt Sliders and Ranger as the main items to get. Secondarily, if in the mood for breakfast with neither of the main morning trucks on the street, their Stuffed Hash Browns may just be the item to choose among the crowd. And a third highlight, with a great snack or food-truck-day stop for those Caramels. A veritable rolling triple threat.

              Definitely a great business to start off 2014!

SFC: Cookie Day

                It’s not a true Holiday Season without at least one Cookie-based event, whether it’s the traditional “Exchange” or just baking a large batch for the upcoming party. A while back me, my sis, and cousins start our own little yearly thing of just getting together and all making different cookies. With my new pursuit into blogging and recipes during this year, I thought it’d be nice to list down all the recipes we brought over (and cookies are portable, so it counts towards my blog focus!). And no need to worry, I plan on keeping descriptions short and sweet (or copy and paste, haha), so very very little rambling with this one, except for the one or two things I ended up changing.

Chewy Ginger Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable shortening (preferably trans-fat free)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 large egg

1/2 cup blackstrap (robust) molasses

2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

1 cup raw or sanding sugar

             Arrange racks in lower and upper thirds of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, ground ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat brown sugar, shortening, and butter in a large bowl, scraping down sides halfway through beating, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

             Reduce mixer speed to low. Add egg, molasses, grated ginger, and vanilla; beat just to blend. Add flour mixture; beat on low speed just to blend. Mix in crystallized ginger (preferably some leftovers from when you made your own ;)); dough will be very soft and sticky.

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              Place raw sugar in a shallow bowl (if you don’t have raw, look to see if you can find any of those brown sugar cubes; I just found a bunch and crushed them up myself). Scoop out about a Tablespoon of dough into the bowl with raw sugar; turn to coat well. Roll into a ball. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with half of remaining dough and sugar, spacing balls 1 1/2″ apart.

               Bake about 12-15 minutes until spread and baked (not really sure on time, sort of lost this part in the recipe, haha).

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Chocolate Hazelnut Crinkle Cookies

2/3 cup toasted (and de-skinned) hazelnuts (almonds or cashews should work decently as substitute)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

6 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no less than 60% cacao if marked), finely chopped

3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/4 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup powdered sugar

            Pulse nuts with granulated sugar in a food processor until finely chopped.

            Melt chocolate in a double boiler, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and set aside.

            Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

             Beat together butter and brown sugar in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in melted chocolate until combined. Add milk and vanilla, beating to incorporate. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Stir in nut mixture. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough until firm, 2 to 3 hours.

              Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

              Sift powdered sugar into a bowl. Halve dough and keep 1 half chilled, wrapped in plastic wrap (this is an odd step, mainly assuming you don’t have enough oven/pan space to make all the cookies at once, or something). Roll remaining half into 1-inch balls, placing them on a sheet of wax paper as rolled. Roll balls, 3 or 4 at a time, in sugar to coat generously and arrange 2 inches apart on lined baking sheets.

               Bake until cookies are puffed and cracked and edges feel dry (but centers are still slightly soft), 12 to 18 minutes total. Transfer cookies (still on parchment) to racks to cool completely.

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Sage-scented Shortbread

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh sage leaves

1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces, room temperature

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               Blend first 4 ingredients in processor – this probably isn’t too necessary for all the ingredients, but I would suggest finding a way to get the sage leaves processed some more (I placed them in my teeny weeny processor with a small amount of the flour). Add butter; using on/off turns, process until dough comes together – again, as I’ve mentioned with pie dough for those w/out a processor, or prefer using other means, this can also be done quite easily with your fingertips. Since the butter isn’t cold, though, one must be extra careful to use fingertips in a gentle but thorough manner. Divide in half. Shape each dough piece into log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Chill until firm enough to slice, about 30 minutes.

                Preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Cut each dough log into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick rounds; place on sheets. Bake 25 minutes, turning/reversing sheets halfway through, until cookies are golden. Cool on racks.

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Salted Chocolate-Caramel Rounds

2 3/4  cups  all-purpose flour

3/4  cup  unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon  baking soda

1/4  teaspoon  salt

1 cup  butter, softened

1 cup  granulated sugar

1 cup  packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons  vanilla

1 can sweetened condensed milk

Chocolate chips

Coarse salt, Kosher or Sea

           Preheat oven to 375F.

           In a medium bowl stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

           In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated and brown sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour mixture. If necessary, cover and chill for 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.

           The original recipe called for filling these with some sort of chocolate-covered caramel candy, which I just don’t want to do, so making our own caramel it is! But let’s not make just any caramel, how about some Dulce de Leche. There are a few ways to make it, but since it’s my first time I’ll stick with one of the simpler and easily controllable styles (as opposed to the uber traditional where you start off with a quart of milk and end up with under a cup… super awesome, but not this time).

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           Take your can of sweetened condensed milk, peeling it of its label, and punch three holes in the top; since you’ll be cooking this IN the can, you want holes for the pressure to release, otherwise… lots and lots of pain, and a big mess.

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            Place in pot of water, brought up a little bit below the rim, and simmer for 3-4 hours depending on how dark and thick you want it (I might even go longer next time). You’ll want to keep adding water throughout the cooking as it evaporates. Once it’s cooked long enough, turn off heat and let cool in water bath before opening up and scraping out. Make sure to mix thoroughly, various levels of caramelization from the bottom of the can to the top (or don’t mix, and separate out the different levels for various uses). Move to fridge and chill overnight, should firm up nicely.

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             Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls, pressing with thumb. Spoon some thick dulce de leche into the center, along with a few pieces of chocolate chips and a sprinkle of salt, and enclose with dough. Place cookies 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet, sprinkling with more salt either before or after baking; this year I used some leftover kosher salt I had smoked a few hours during a home bbq. Seriously, you should try SOME kind of smoked salt with this or other caramel dish, it works even better than regular sea salt.

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              Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool completely.

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               Well that’s how it should go, apparently my ideal with the dulce de leche didn’t properly come out… they sorta “exploded” in the oven. Very difficult to seal even with cool, thick caramel. In which case, if you find yourself in a similar situation (with these or any other kind of cookie), I ended up leaveing in a warm over for about 20-30 minutes and the caramel sort of “set” itself onto the cookie. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it wasn’t messy and still tastes good.

                For future fixing, I think next time I’ll pour the dulce into a flat pant (on parchment) and place in the Freezer overnight to firm up. After I should be able to cut it in small blocks and use for easier stuffing.

Butter Cookies

1 cup Butter

¾ cup Sugar

1 Egg

1 ½ tsp Vanilla

2 Tb Milk

3 cup Flour

1 Tb Baking Powder

Pinch Salt

                An old family favorite, made every year by my cousin. Super simple but super delicious, every single time.

                Preheat oven to 450F.

                Cream together Butter, Sugar, Egg, Vanilla, and Milk. In separate bowl, whisk together Flour, Baking Powder, and Salt. Slowly add this to the butter mixture, beating until combined.

                Shape dough into balls (large ones, like 1 ½ – 2in), place on cookie sheet and top with whatever sprinkles you can find (or just leave bare, your choice). Bake for 5-8 minutes.

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Kolacski

1 cup Milk

4 packages (1oz) active dry yeast

5 cups flour

4 Egg Yolks

3 tsp Baking Powder

1 lb Shortening

1 tsp Salt

1 cup Fruit Jam (any)

Powdered Sugar

                No, I don’t know how to pronounce it either…

                Warm Milk, just above room temp. Add/”Dissolve” Yeast in and set aside.

                Stir together dry ingredients, cut in Shortening until mixture is “mealy” (cornmeal texture I assume). Stir in Eggs and the Milk-Yeast, assuming by this point it has “bloomed” properly (yeast inside should be a little thick, some bubbles may be seen on top, etc).

                Knead the dough until it comes together, probably until smooth, and refrigerate overnight (which I do not believe my cousin actually did, but they still taste pretty damn good).

                Preheat oven to 350F.

                Re-knead the dough on a flour dusted countertop for a few minutes, gently allowing it to punch down and rest. Once done, carefully roll out to ¼ in thickness.

                Cut dough out in circles, placing a teaspoon of Jam (I think this is funny, because it has a specific measure of jam but nothing said on how big the circle should be) in center. Fold dough over like an empanada and seal edges with fork (also a bit funny, because the picture shows it folded differently, with two sides coming together in the middle like a Danish or Cannoli, which I’m sure also works well).

                Bake 12-15 minutes. Do NOT store in Airtight container, as they will become soggy. Dust with Powdered Sugar for service.

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Well, that’s all the recipes we went through this year, it was as fun as ever, and I can’t wait until next year to do it again with my family and share even more cookie recipes on here! Good Luck with your own cookie creations, and Good Eating come the Holidays!

SFC: Something Sticky and Fried

            So, every year now, one of the main facets for celebrating my Sister’s birthday includes a dinner at our house with the menu of her choosing. Meat usually involves Crab, or a “Parent’s Special” like Lasagna or Fleishgnadle (see my next post); I’m usually tasked for the simple vegetable side. And every single time since I decided to make it 4 years ago, she has expected me to make Gelato. Most of the time, this is the simple Peanut Butter which I made originally (and, to my chagrin, decided to freeze with hard-to-get dry ice), with each year having to add yet another new component to it. This year, however, she decided to cut the Peanut Butter entirely for something inspired by our recent England Trip, of which she had found many new Obsessions. In particular, she wanted me to make “Sticky Toffee Pudding Gelato.”

                Luckily, she let me decide how exactly I worked gelato into something resembling this stark contrast, and of course had no problems if I wanted to cook other things to go with it… she’s such a good sister like that. So, I set the thought in the back of my mind, thinking of it every now and then as the months led up to March.

                Quite often, my many conceptions brought me to think about Potter’s Pasties desserts, as well as the roll of Food Truck Desserts in general. Most of the time in Minnesota, these items fit into a very specific strata of styles: Rice Krispies, Cookies, Cupcakes, Cookie-Ice Cream Sandwich, Mini-Donuts, etc. These are the handheld items, the make-ahead and wrap in 5 inches of plastic, the generic items… but at the same time these are the items that, when done right, tug at our nostalgic heartstrings, bring us joy in their simplicity. Like when one goes to a really special, “higher end” bakery (Angel Food in Minneapolis comes to mind) and get a double-chocolate sea salt cookie that’s made just right.

                We rarely see any of the more “composed” dessert styles out of these trucks, outside of maybe a Crepe stand. And why would we? So many of these trucks spend so much time and focus showcasing foods that are unique, different, representative of who they are; and when it comes to those people, “composed plate desserts” are rarely who they are. Not to mention all the stove and oven space being used for cooking the savory items, adding a dessert that’s not pre-made, or needs only half a minute to do, can be suicide. Especially if you don’t NEED to do it.

                Right now, the only trucks I’ve seen here really try and attempt this are Potter’s and Chef Shack; and even they don’t count. Chef Shack simply turns nostalgic pies, cookies, etc into a crush bowl of goodness, and I still haven’t heard of too much success on Potter’s Banoffee and Sticky Pudding (which are still pre-made, just topped to order).

                I’d love the chance to see a truck that finds a way to make a dessert that’s just… different, going a little more on the composing side yet it really feel like it came out of a true Food Truck. Cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Fran have a whole plethora of them; I think it’s about time we in the Twin Cities kick up our own movement of special Dessert Trucks to really match.

                Well, back to my original thought, Sticky Toffee Pudding Gelato…

                I originally thought I’d convert a Burnt Caramel Gelato recipe I had and just do it with Toffee, but I found another idea I liked better. For those who don’t know, one of the main things that makes Sticky Toffee Pudding unique is the use of Dates in the dough. I myself LOVE dates (fighting urge to make really bad pun joke…. fiigghtttiiiiinngggg…..), so I figured I’d use them as my base. Then I found a really good recipe for a Date-Rum Ice Cream, see here:

http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2011/06/17/date-rum-pecan-ice-cream-recipe/

                Now, before you say anything about the “this is Ice Cream, not Gelato” thing, I’ll just stop you right there. From my experience, the official qualifications of what makes “Gelato” are constantly changing depending on who’s saying it. Some say it’s ingredients, some say serving temp, not using eggs, or any other reasons, separate or together. I myself used egg yolks and milk in my hand-done recipes quite often. So I’ve just decided it’s a matter of opinion and left it at that.

                Next, the Sticky Toffee. If I’m going to do this dessert right, I have to make the actual pudding to serve with the ice cream. The problem I’ve found, though, with this and so many other Internationally-Famous recipes, is how difficult it can be to find one that’s actually made, and tastes, authentic. Luckily I found this one that talks about, and uses, that oh-so-ubiquitous English Sweet, “Golden Syrup.” This be the recipe I used (well, mainly… love making my own little tweaks):

http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/12/warm-sticky-toffee-pudding/

                The toffee alone in this recipe is sooo good; great caramel substitute. And the writer understands that sometimes substitutions need to be made (though, I was luckily able to find my Golden Syrup at a local Byerlies).

                After making, and leaving in the fridge overnight to cool and COMPRESS, I chopped some of it up and mixed it into the Gelato at the end of its Churning Period. Now comes the part where I make this “special.”

                The one thing I immediately wanted to do is bread a couple sides of the Pudding slices and fry nice n crispy in a pan. While I was shopping, I happened to see this box of the old cake donuts (you know, the ones with all those ridges). So I bought it, broke a few pieces up and let it sit overnight to stale (Don’t make fine breadcrumbs out of fresh ingredients, they’re too moist and soft to get that texture you want. There are always special situations, of course, but that’s another post), and ground the next day.

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                Chopped my pudding into 6 large blocks, then dredged completely in my special Donut Crumb mixture. The great thing is, this can be done ahead of time and left in the fridge for most of the day, so no worrying about time constraints.

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                All that was left was heating a pan, adding butter and frying the Puddings. If doing at home, two things one needs to take into consideration: Low-Medium heat or Thinner Slices; it was hard to heat these fellas through. Secondly, flip often after the first side, the rest will sear a decent amount faster. But it gets this nice, hard, crispy crust (aided by the toffee which leaked out and caramelized with the crumbs).

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                As for serving, I ended up making a caramelized apple-date-banana compote with rum for the bottom, soaked some fresh diced apples in a limoncello-syrup I still had in the fridge, and of course got more of that Toffee on the plate. You’ll notice I didn’t take any pics with the actual Gelato… let’s just say I made some modifications to it that didn’t work all that well in the Ice Cream Machine. We were still able to eat it, and it was very good, just not “camera-ready.”

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                Now, in looping back to my earlier comments, am I saying I think this is a dish that would work in a Food Truck? Heck no, I made this for home and that’s where it stays. But the Pudding by itself, fried in a pan… something about it just gives me that feeling of potential, that feeling that if worked right, it could fit somewhere on its own. It’s that special little twist on a nostalgic base, that if worked right could fit in among the greats. Maybe cut into smaller cubes and served in a bag, or put on a stick, covered in batter, and deep-fried… that’d be a fun thing to try.

              Either way, we all ended up happy and full that night, just like the many years before.

 

What’s your most memorable dessert? What kinds pull at your heartstrings?

SFC: Special Krispies

                So, the friend who sent me the Cacao Beans wants me to make her fudge; Maple-Walnut, to be exact. Since I always prefer my special shipments to contain a variety of homemade goodies, and I had an abundance of walnuts leftover, my favorite Rice Krispies seemed a good option. Not to mention all the marshmallow goodness I’ll have to myself after shipping half of it….

                As those who’ve read my review of SCRATCH, one of my favorite Toe Rings in the city is their Ginger Rice Krispies. They’re that perfect balance of childhood nostalgia, mixed with that little ingredient to heighten the enjoyment even more. And like them, I have my OWN special ingredient for heightening my Krispy, along with other confections.

                That is, a very simple, and very delicious method for Candying Nuts. Very much like the style of those cinnamon-roasted varieties one sees at the Farmer’s Market, this is a recipe that one can use for almost any kind of nut. I’ve used it for Pecans, Almonds, Peanuts, and now Walnuts; on a side note, I would probably avoid trying with Macadamia or Brazil, just not the right texture to match with the coating. Hazelnuts are debatable.

                So, before even going near the marshmallows, we start making our little candies (can do a couple hours before, a day is good… though make sure you have enough to last through the highly occasional snacking. This is not a temptation you can resist).

                Separate a couple egg whites, add a drop of Vanilla, and whisk until Foamy (can do this by hand easily), stopping after there’s no more “loose whites” but before getting even close to “soft peak.” In a separate bowl, mix White and Brown sugar (more white than brown), a little Salt, a pinch of Baking Powder (or more if doing a lot), and any seasonings. I just did Cinnamon for this, but I’ve also done cayenne, chilli powder, ginger, etc.

                As you can see, this is a very non-specific recipe, much how I like it. All one needs to know is having enough of both whipped whites and sugar that it can completely cover all the nuts one uses.

               Fold Walnuts into whipped whites until covered; if there’s a decent amount leftover in bowl, carefully scoop onto the mixed sugar. Otherwise, just dump; lots of people like mixing these in a plastic bag together, whatever your fancy. Fold and mix completely until the egg and sugar mix into this sticky, light brown paste; if more sugar is needed, one can easily add.

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              Best picture of the look I could get, forgot to use camera until after already getting into the pan.

              Bake at a LOW temperature, 300-325F, on a parchment-lined Baking sheet. Now, the trick here is stirring every 8-10 minutes or so; I like to think of it similar to making a really fluffy scrambled egg, still moving it around to mix and distribute now and then but mostly leaving it alone to build that nice, thick, fluffy (or in this case crunchy) layer.

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             As it cooks, you’ll notice the slow change from liquid to a dragging, textured scramble of sugar. Keep doing what you’re doing, stirring a little more often as one gets closer, until the crust is brown and noticeably hard while stirring. To test, take a nut out (since the crust is hard, one doesn’t have to worry about sugar-burn), let it cool for a few minutes, and bite in half; a good test of what texture will be after letting it cool, plus you can see if the nut is toasted where you want.

               Since the oven is so low, one has little worry about overcooking if needing to leave in a little longer.

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             Out of the oven and cooled, we can finally get to the Krispies! With each batch I do, I try to find a couple new things I can do with it, and this was certainly no exception. Along with the Walnuts, I figured I’d Toast the Marshmallows beforehand and add some Bourbon; I also had some figs in the cupboard.

            So, we start with the Bourbon (get the cheap stuff, you’re cooking), cooking it down with those Figs. Following up, we add a whole stick of butter; one of the secrets from my Mom when she made her Rice Krispies. She’d do the traditional recipe all exact, except for doubling the butter; really makes it tasty.

            Now, one of my first big secrets to my recipe; when I first made, I had a lot of leftover pre-made caramel in the fridge, so I add a few spoonfuls. This particular batch, I sadly didn’t have any, so I just used brown sugar instead, mixed with some salt of course.

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            If you can get them at the same or lesser price, Mini Marshmallows are preferred for toasting; more surface area. As for the Krispies and Nuts, I usually prefer about 6 cup Rice and 1 or more extras.

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            My second secret comes not with the addition, but with packaging. Instead of pushing into the traditional brownie/baking sheet, I free-form onto a sheet of wax paper. This leaves the final product gooey and loose, stretching slowly as you pick it up. One can do one giant mound or, if wanting to portion, individual mounds.

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            At the end… this actually didn’t turn out like how I wanted. Still tasty, but apparently when one toasts marshmallows their “volume” decreases; not if it’s all the stuff left in the baking pan or just an air thing, but it leaves krispies that aren’t completely enveloped. It’s still very tasty, but more in a buttery-burnt sugar way, and has a nice crunch to it, but missing the real gooeyness it deserves. Not to mention a nice saltiness to contrast.

               Which is why I saved the recipe for the end of my post despite already typing way more than I should be. So, without anymore ado:

 

(Revised) Toasted Marshmallow-Bourbon Rice Krispies

½ Cup + ¼ Cup Bourbon

1 Stick (1/2 Cup) Butter

1½ Bags (15oz) Mini Marshmallows

¼ Cup Caramel or Brown Sugar

1 Tb Salt (Increase 2-3 times if wanting that Salted-Caramel flavor)

6 cups Rice Krispies

1-2 cups Candied Nuts/Extra

  1. Heat over 400-425F
  2. Add ½ Cup Bourbon plus and Dried Fruit to Large Pot, reduce on Medium to 50% or more.
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  4. Pour rest of Bourbon over ice and consume to your leisure.
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  6. Pour Marshmallows on Parchment-lined Sheet, pop into oven, WATCH CAREFULLY
  7. Add Butter, Caramel, and Salt to pan, melt
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  9. Once browned, quickly move marshmallows to pan, scraping off as much as possible.
  10. Stir until completely “melted” and incorporated.
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  12. Add Krispies and any other Extras, mix thoroughly until marshmallow mix “spiderwebs” evenly.
  13. Pour onto Waxed or Parchment Paper, let cool, and move to storage (don’t fridge)        

What’s your favorite Rice Krispies add-ins? Any favorite childhood memories with them?