Café Caramel Parfait

Café Caramel Parfait

Café Caramel Parfait




When we cleaned out our garage, I found that I had about 798 cans of sweetened condensed milk. I kind of figured I might, just might, need to use some of them up. I was totally tempted to just sit down in front of the TV with a can or eight and a spoon and watch endless reruns of Downton Abbey, but just for YOU, I resisted that urge. Though in all honesty, I still have 796 cans of sweetened condensed milk left, so I make no promises as to my future plans. Downton Abbey and I have a date with destiny. Wait for me, Bates!!! I love you!

Sorry.

So what did I use some of that condensed milk for? Just for you, I made the noble sacrifice of developing a Café Caramel Parfait. Talk about easy, also. This is so easy, even my husband could make it. Ok, maybe I’m pushing it when I think that the man who lived on frozen burritos and Doritos before he met me could make this.

This is a whipped cream lightened with Dulce de leche, vanilla, a touch of instant coffee and sour cream layered with plain Dulce de leche. Easy, huh? You make your dulce de leche (or cheat and buy it premade), mix it with the other ingredients and layer.

This is rich and creamy, yet surprisingly light in taste (definitely not in calories). It’s like having your favorite coffee drink in a spoonable treat.

You know the drill… 🙂

Café Caramel Parfait

  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk (or 3 small cans premade Dulce de leche)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  1. To make the Dulce de leche– I’m going to tell you how I do it, but know that it’s not “recommended” by many. I will touch on other methods, but how I make it is how I’ve done it for over ten years, with not even one problem.
  2. Fill a LARGE pot with water. Put your unopened cans of milk in the water. make sure, now and at all times, while it cooks, that the cans are covered by at least 2 to 3 inches of water. This keeps the pressure inside and outside of the pan equal and that is what makes this safe. The ONLY way this would explode would be if the pressure was different in and out of the can. Keep it covered and you’ll be fine.**
  3. Over medium heat, cook the cans of milk for 2 to 3 hours. The longer it cooks, the thicker and more…well…caramelly (yes, that is now a word. hush.) it will become. I usually cook in the 3 hour range. Just keep an eye on your water level.
  4. Once it’s cooked, turn the water off, leaving the cans in the water until the water is completely cool. take the cans out, let them cool also before you open them. When you do this, you’re best off to make a few cans and just store them in the cabinet. This is the the most time consuming part of this recipe so having extras never hurts. It’s great in coffee too!
  5. Once your caramel is cooled, you can beeeeginnnnn. :-p
  6. Whip the one cup heavy cream in a medium bowl until firm peaks form.  Slowly beat in 3/4 cup of the Dulce de leche, the vanilla and the instant coffee powder. Beat in the sour cream. Cover and chill for one hour (after eating a few spoons of it 😀 )
  7.  Scoop the remaining Dulce de leche into a small bowl. Beat at medium speed for about one minute. You’re just trying to lighten it up because it’s a very thick product.
  8. Spoon a layer of the Dulce de leche into 6 small glasses. Top with a layer of the chilled cream and then drizzle with more of the Dulce de leche. Chill until ready to serve. You may end up with a little of the cream and/or the caramel. Just cover it and store in the fridge. It’s wonderful in coffee or as a dip for fruit.

**Here is a wiki detailing some of the other ways to make the Dulce de lecheDulce De Leche Wiki . Feel free to use any of these methods. The only one I’VE used however is what I detail above. Many of the others leave you with slightly burned caramel. Ick!

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Spicy Pork And Pineapple Chili

Spicy Pork & Pineapple Chili

Spicy Pork & Pineapple Chili



Don’t even say it. I KNOW it’s May and I’m making chili. But c’mon. Are you going to tell me that from the beginning of May until the first frost, you never make a chili or anything resembling it? Ha! That’s what I thought!

I had a butt ton of pork stew meat that had been in my freezer since approximately the year 1575 and I needed to use it up. But although I’ve got a fairly large amount of pork recipes, I wanted something different. I searched for about 956 hours (not that this post is having any tendency towards exaggeration or anything) and found nothing that excited me. Well, other than some shirtless pics of Matthew Mcconaughey. But that’s neither here nor there.

So I went into our garage for inspiration. I can see the confused looks from here. My husband and I are of the survivalist ilk. Not big time… we have no concrete bunker or 800 semi automatic weapons. but we DO tend to keep a good food supply. it’s been quite helpful during hard financial times….. or when I have 4 pounds of pork stew meat to use up. I scouted around, found some ingredients that said “Hey! Janet! I’d go great in a pork chili!” I tend to listen when food talks to me.

I was really pleased with how this turned out. It is filled with tender meat, sweet chunks of pineapple, all in a spicy sweet sauce. We served this over rice just because that’s how I roll (did I ever mention my sad rice addiction?) but you could have it plain, like any normal chili. This is so amazingly full of flavor… one bite a little bit sweet, one bite with a bit of heat that kind of hits you in the back of the throat, one bite nice and meaty. All in all, this is a top notch chili, if I do say so myself and I will be making it again.

You know the drill…

Spicy Pork And Pineapple Chili

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 jalapeno, finely diced
  • 12 ounces chorizo, casing removed
  • 2 pounds pork stew meat ( or pork loin {NOT tenderloin}, cubed
  • 1 28 ounce can of green enchilada sauce
  • 12 ounce jar of salsa (I used a pineapple salsa I got at Trader Joes)
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas (Garbanzos), drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Garnish-
  • sliced green onions
  • grilled pineapple slices (I used my grill pan on the stove)
  • cilantro

 

  1. Pour the oil into a large pot. Add the onion, garlic, green pepper, celery and jalapeno. Cook over low heat until they are limp and tender. Remove from pot to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Crumble the chorizo into the same pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it is cooked through and browned. Spoon out into the same bowl as the veggies and set aside. Leave the oil from the chorizo in the pot
  3. Working batches, brown all of the cubed pork in the remaining oil from the chorizo, removing each batch to the bowl as it gets browned. You may need to drizzle a little vegetable oil in there after the first batch.
  4. After all the pork is browned, dump the bowl with the pork, chorizo and veggies back into the pot. Stir well to combine.
  5. Add the enchilada sauce, the jar of salsa, the can of pineapple chunks, the sugar. the cinnamon and the salt to the pot. Stir well. Cover and cook over low heat for about an hour or until the meat is tender.
  6. Add the drained beans; stir well and leave the cover off of the pot. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for another 30 minutes or until reduced to desired thickness.
  7. Add in the balsamic vinegar; stir well.
  8. Taste for seasoning (salt, more balsamic, a bit more sugar, etc)
  9. Serve plain or over rice. Garnish as desired

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White Chocolate Coconut/Lime Bars

White Chocolate Coconut/Lime Bars

White Chocolate Coconut/Lime Bars




For a few years now, there has been a recipe floating around the ‘net for lemon brownies. They have, in their various incarnations, been pinned about 4 bazillion times and remade probably as much. There is, at this point, no way to dig and find out who did it first. So, now you’re thinking, “so you made those lemon brownies even though they are all over the internet?! I’m disappointed in you, Janet!”

Surely, you jest? ( “I don’t jest and don’t call me Shirley!” Sorry… I was channeling one of my fathers old jokes.) Me? Me?! Repeat what has been repeated  ad nauseam? Not happ’nin. So what did I do, you ask? Please tell me you were asking or about to. Otherwise, kittens will cry.

I…wait for it…changed it up. A lot. You’d NEVER expect that out of me, now would you?! I took the original recipe and kind of turned it on it’s head. It’s no longer lemon. It’s Lime. With coconut flavor… and chunks of Lindt White Coconut Bar. This is…so…good. The bar is slightly chewy and then you get a somewhat melted in bite of White Chocolate Coconut bar along with the tang of lime in the bar and in the glaze. Did I mention that these are fantastic?

You know the drill… 🙂

White Chocolate Coconut/Lime Bars

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons lime zest
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime oil
  • 1 teaspoon coconut flavoring (in the same area in the store as the vanilla extract)
  • 2 3.5 ounce Lindt Excellence White Coconut bars, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour to toss the chocolate in
  • Glaze-
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • milk if needed to thin glaze
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 inch square pan with non stick foil.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, flour and salt until well combined.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, lime zest and the flavorings. Pour into the flour mixture and beat well for about two minutes on medium speed. The mixture will look really thin and even might look somewhat curdled. You didn’t mess up; it’s fine.
  4. Gently, fold in the chopped chocolate. Pour into the prepared pan
  5. Bake at 350 for between 30 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out barely clean.
  6. Cool completely in the pan on a rack.
  7. When cool, combine all the glaze ingredients and spoon over the bars. When the glaze has had a while to firm up (refrigerate if you want o hasten this) lift the bars by the foil and lay out on a cutting board.  Cut into desired size squares…or rectangles or if you cut as badly as I do, something resembling a hexagon on steroids.
  8. So far as I can tell thus far, these are good at room temp or straight from the fridge. Haven’t tried frozen.

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Cracked Pepper & Two Cheese Biscuits

Cracked Pepper & Two Cheese Biscuits

Cracked Pepper & Two Cheese Biscuits



I have a thing for biscuits, scones, quick breads, all of that type of food. They are quick, they are easy and the biscuits are pure southern comfort food. There is nothing like a biscuit, spread with some fresh butter and dripping with honey or jam.

That said though, there are times I like to change it up. Biscuits are fun to play with.  Ok, that came out sounding strange. I now have a mental image of myself and the boys outside batting around a biscuit. Hmmm, back when I was first learning to make them, that actually may have been possible, though if someone got hit with one, it would have been fatal.  Asssssss I was saying before I had an “ooo, shiny thing” moment there,  biscuits are fun to play with. The normal ones are delicious, but they lend themselves to so many variations. I have made them with the addition of bacon, green onions, cheese, dried fruits, you name it, it can probably go in biscuit dough.

This time I wanted to make them a wee bit more sophisticated. Though sophistication falls by the wayside when they are being eaten by three boys whose idea of sophistication is McDonalds and whose table manners resemble a horde of hungry Hyenas attacking an elephant carcass after being on a 4 day juice fast. But hey, *I* actually took the time to savor them and enjoy the step up from plain biscuits.  I used a good amount of cracked pepper in these (enough that when my five year old actually stopped eating long enough to breathe, he said “these are spicy, momma!” I used two slightly more upscale cheese (as opposed to say, American cheese slices 😛 ) and the flavor was wonderful…. cheesy, peppery, with all the flavors of a good biscuit also. This is perfect for a fancier dinner or a family dinner or just to nosh on.

You know the drill…. 🙂

Cracked Pepper & Two Cheese Biscuits

  • 4 cups self rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, refrigerator cold and sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup solid shortening, chilled and sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (use whole milk buttermilk if you can find it. It makes a far better biscuit and really, low fat milk in a biscuit is a waste of time calorie wise)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 ounces Fontina Cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces Havarti Cheese, shredded
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 (400 if your oven runs hot) degrees, Grease a large baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, salt, black pepper and cheeses.
  3. Drop the butter and shortening into the bowl of flour. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter and shortening into the flour until it resembles pea sized crumbs.
  4. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk, all at once, Use a fork to stir and combine the milk with the flour until you have a cohesive dough. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured board or counter top. Pat it down into a flat circle. Fold it into thirds like you’re folding a letter to fit into an envelope. Pat it down again, fold it one more time. Finally, pat it into a rough circle of about 1 inch high.
  5. Cut out as many biscuits as you can get, laying them right next to each other in the baking pan if you want soft sided biscuits or about an inch apart if you want crisp sided biscuits.
  6. Bake at 400 to 425 for about 20 to 24 minutes, until they are firm on top and golden brown. Take off the pan and serve piping hot, preferably with some nice fresh homemade butter. Believe it or not, even with the cheese and the pepper, these are excellent with honey on them too; it adds to the flavor, making a sweet/savory combo.

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Key Lime Pie Dip

Key Lime Pie Dip

Key Lime Pie Dip



I say yet again…. weird, weird weather. May in Kentucky and it’s in the mid 50’s and we had to turn the heat on last night! Some of our area got frost and it attacked my Basil the other night and killed off the tips of all the leaves. I am pretty sure we can give up on the idea of fruit from our trees AGAIN this year due to the weather. Le Sigh.

But I will (she says yet again) NOT give up on warm weather cooking and eating. I have always said that I was a person who didn’t cook according to the season, that if I wanted pumpkin in July, I was having pumpkin in July and enjoying it. And while this is true, I am coming to realize that even I, much as I hate to be normal :-p, do tend to cook according to the seasons. Maybe it’s genetically hardwired in us to do that, since we were all hunter-gatherers at one time. We have the luxury of doing what we want cooking wise, because we were blessed to be born into bodies living in developed countries, but there is still something that makes us want to use that fresh stuff while it’s there.

Ok, enough waxing philosophical. Let’s get to the food.

I have a thing for limes. I absolutely HATE fake lime flavor, such as that found in candy, but I love the flavor and scent of real lime. When I use it, I’m convinced it’s my favorite citrus. But then again, I do the same when I use lemons or oranges hehe.

This dip is awesome. My husband, who has some sort of sensory issue with creamy foods, couldn’t stop eating it. He totally loved it. I did also of course…. it’s lime, it’s rich, it’s creamy and I’m me; need I say more? 😀 The kids loved it too, so this was a hit all around. This is simple to make. Just beat, beat more, spoon into a serving bowl and there ya go. You can serve this with whatever dippers you want; I used vanilla wafers, graham crackers and sliced up marshmallows. Let it sit out at room temp for a bit to soften. It’s fine cold but harder to scoop up.

You know the drill…. 🙂

 

Side Note! Don’t forget to go to the post preceding this one (GIVEAWAY) and enter my giveaway! You could win a 6 Speed Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer AND a 6 Speed Hamilton Beach Hand Mixer! Just for entering. I don’t have a bazillion entries so your chances are actually pretty good of winning!

Key Lime Pie Dip

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
  • zest of 5 key limes (or 2 regular; about 2 tablespoons zest)
  • 2 tablespoons key lime juice (or 3 tablespoons regular lime juice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime oil (optional, but adds a nice zing)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon lime kool-aid (again; optional, but it adds the cute green color and a good amount of tang and c’mon, it costs 20 cents at wal mart :-p )
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

 

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter. Beat at medium speed until it is smooth and creamy.
  2. Add in the zest, juice, lime oil and kool aid. Beat well.
  3. Add the powdered sugar and beat at low speed until mixture is fluffy.
  4. Spoon into a serving bowl. Top with the graham cracker crumbs. Chill for about 45 minutes minimum. It can be chilled longer, but make sure you let it sit out for 30 minutes or so just to soften a little bit.
  5. Serve with dippers of choice.

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A Giveaway From Hamilton Beach!! (And Greek Yogurt Lemon Ginger Muffins)

Greek Yogurt Lemon Ginger Muffins

Greek Yogurt Lemon Ginger Muffins



A few weeks ago I was contacted by a rep from Hamilton Beach asking me if I’d like to be a Brand Ambassador for them. Being a long time fan of the company, I immediately said yes. I think I had the email answered before the poor lady on the other end even had time to breathe after sending me the offer hehe. It was rather provident also because my poor hand mixer had finally bitten the dust just the day before. It went up in smoke and stinky fumes. All we needed was flames to complete the perfect kitchen apocalypse.

The deal was this- I would receive one of their hand mixers as well as a stand mixer to try out on my own. I was also told that I could offer one of my lovely readers the same deal… both a hand mixer and a stand mixer of your own. Are they awesome and generous or what?! All I had to do was give my honest opinion of the mixers and make a Spring inspired goodie. No pressure to say they were both wonderful unless I felt that way. Well, guess what? I absolutely love them both! Now, I have a stand mixer from that other known company, who shall remain unnamed 😛 and I love it. BUT… it can be a bit bulky and it’s really heavy. Good qualities when I’m making bread or the like. Not so much when all I want to do is make some cookies or whip some cream. The #HamiltonBeach stand mixer has no such issues. I can lift it without getting a hernia lol and it is a workhorse too. The motor isn’t as powerful as the more well known brand but it still does the job just great and is easier to clean being smaller. Plus…. it’s quieter. A DEFINITE advantage in my kid chaotic household. Anything that saves me from noise headaches makes me happy. 😀 This mixer cmes with a dough hook, a paddle attachment and a whisk one, so it’s perfect for just about any job you do.

Now to the hand mixer. I really, really, really love it. Did I mention that I really love it? It has what they call “Soft Scrape” beaters that are coated with a pretty bright red rubber coating. This helps them catch the sides of the bowl so you don’t have to scrape it as much when using it. The hand mixer also comes with a whisk attachment and regular non coated beaters if you don’t want to use the Soft Scrape ones. But the Soft Scrape ones are quite handy. The muffins I made for this had a lot of zest and if you’ve ever used a beater for a recipe with zest, you know it ends up getting caught on the beaters and you have to scrape it off, put it back in the bowl and stir it back in. Rather a pain. But none of the zest stuck to the Soft Scrape beaters. It was all in the muffin batter. WooT!

Trust me… you want to win this combo!

Now onto the muffins. I have a thing for the lemon ginger combo. I use it in tea, baked goods, savory dishes, etc; you name it, I love it. I thought for weeks about what to make for this giveaway and finally settled on this flavor combo. I mean, what better than something I love for a mixer I love, right? And Lemon is definitely a nice Spring sort of a flavor. Citrus always makes me think of warmer weather, even when I use it during the middle of Winter. These muffins are pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. They have a nice tart, but too tart, lemony flavor with a mild bite from the candied ginger and a sweet crunch on top from the sugar. I garnished them with one of my favorite candies ( a gummy candy of course. It’s no secret of my love for gummy candies hehe)… a Lemon Ginger Gummy.

You know the drill…… but today add on something to it. Go down to the bottom of the post and enter this giveaway! You could win a Hamilton Beach stand mixer AND a Hamilton Beach hand mixer!!

Greek Yogurt Lemon Ginger Muffins

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • zest of two lemons (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped candied ginger
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract or emulsion
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup lemon flavored Greek yogurt (the blended kind, not the kind with fruit on the bottom)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Sparkling Sugar for garnish
  • Haribo Lemon Ginger Gummis for garnish (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or grease them.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, lemon zest and candied ginger. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, at low speed on a hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the extracts, lemon juice and lemon yogurt, at low speed, JUST until combined.. Stir in the flour mixture; again, just until combined. Don’t over mix this.
  4. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each about 2/3 full. Sprinkle with the sparkling sugar if using
  5. Bake at 375 for about 18 to 22 minutes or until a nice golden brown.
  6. Carefully remove the muffins from the pan and let cool on a rack. When cooled, cut a small slash in the top of each muffin and push a piece of gummi candy into it. You could also use a small slice of candied ginger the same way or even some candied lemon peel. 🙂

Now! The giveaway!!

Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer & Hand Mixer Giveaway!

Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer & Hand Mixer Giveaway!

Here is the info on what you’ll win if you’re the lucky person picked at random!

 

SoftScrape™ 6 Speed Hand Mixer with Case-

  • Classic styling with brushed stainless steel housing
  • Snap-on storage case — no more lost attachments
  • Also includes 2 traditional metal beaters
  • 300 watt peak-power motor
  • Quick Burst™ button
  • Bowl Rest™ feature lets mixer rest on bowl’s edge

6 Speed Stand Mixer

  • Same mixing action as KitchenAid® stand mixers*
  • Mixing action gives complete bowl coverage
  • Powerful 300 Watt motor
  • Better mixing than 2-beater stand mixers
  • 3 attachments offer mixing versatility
  • 6 speeds and special fold setting
  • Stainless steel 3.5 quart bowl
  • Flat beater, dough hook & whisk are dishwasher safe
  • Mixing head spins as it rotates completely inside the bowl
  • Tilt-up head lifts out of the way for easy bowl access
  • Nonslip feet

To enter this contest, a blog comment below is mandatory as well as entering that into the Rafflecopter widget below.

In your blog comment, let me know, “What’s The first thing you would make with your new Stand Mixer?”. Then click the button on the Rafflecopter entry below. This will open up a bunch of extra entries to this contest that you can use if you’d like. The only mandatory one is the blog comment, but it’s worth 2 entries apiece for the other methods! (Please note all extra social media entries will be checked for completion if you are chosen as a winner. If they are found to be invalid, a new winner will be notified. (So make sure you actually click and follow or it will be invalid.) Contest is open to U.S. residents 18 years old and older and Hamilton Beach can NOT deliver to P.O. Boxes. You must have a valid U.S. mailing address.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclosure Notice-  Hamilton Beach provided me with both a stand mixer and a hand mixer for review, but all opinions in this post were my own and I was not otherwise compensated. 🙂 (May 13, 2014)

Midnight Milky Way Brownies

Midnight Milky Way Brownies (Done up MY way! :-D )

Midnight Milky Way Brownies (Done up MY way! 😀 )




Is there anything like the smell of something chocolatey baking? Well, maybe baking bread could rival it, but it’s a close call.

Today, here in my part of Kentucky, it’s grey, stormy and just downright perfect for baking. I knew what I’d be making; I gave a small tease about it on the Facebook Page the other day. But I had no idea how yummy it would smell!

When I was a kid, I never cared for the original Milky Way candy bar. Even then, it was just too sweet. I would still eat it of course if it crossed my path. Kid-dom has rules you MUST abide by. It’s the law. But it wasn’t a favorite. When they came out with the Midnight Dark Milky Way though, I had to try it because…well…new…and food….and sweet…and that’s the way I roll. I’ve loved it ever since. Using the more or less dark chocolate on the outside and changing the nougat part made it far less sweet. I love it frozen. 😀 Frozen caramel for the win!

So when I saw a brownie recipe in the cookbook “The Good Cookie” (excellent cookie cookbook btw… you need to buy it!) using FIVE of them in it, I knew I had t try it. But I did it all for you. Everything I do, I do it for you *cue Bryan Adams* Never in me is there any wish to indulge in gooey, dark chocolate brownies just oozing with chunks of melty Dark Milky Way candy. Not I.

These are ultra rich. Even the batter was rich. I mean, just look at the ingredients! So cut these small. The recipe says to cut into 16 squares and that’s about right and honestly, one of those squares will still go a long way towards curing a chocolate craving…for days. 😀 But you’ll still find yourself going back and grabbing a bite even though you just ate seven one of them. My advice? Let them cool, except for that one you can’t resist eating while it’s still gooey. Then wrap them each individually, store them in the freezer and take them out as you need some chocolate comfort. Just make sure to label them “raw liver” to keep the kiddos out. 😛

Not much changed in this. I changed the directions a bit to make it more user friendly and added both 1/2 an ounce more unsweetened chocolate and an extra teaspoon of vanilla.

You know the drill…. 🙂

Midnight Milky Way Brownies

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1.76 ounce Milky Way Midnight candy bars, chilled then coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, sliced thin
  • 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I actually used 5.5 ounces, because it’s what I had & I wasn’t wrapping back up .5 an ounce of chocolate. It worked fine)
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9 inch square baking pan with foil, then lightly grease the foil. Set aside.
  2. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Toss the candy chunks with 1 tablespoon of the mixture and set aside. This help them not sink to the bottom.
  3. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate and butter. Microwave for one minute at a time, at 50% power, stirring after each minute to help it melt. Mine took 2.5 minutes to melt and become smooth.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs for about a minute to blend them, then add in the sugar, whisking just until incorporated. Add in the chocolate mixture, whisking just until combined. Then add the flour, again whisking just until combined. It’s ok if there are still a few small dry spots.
  5. Fold in the candy chunks. Then pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Try to make sure the candy is all inside. I had a few chunks peeking out and they left pits as they melted.
  6. Bake at 325 until the brownies are puffed and set and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it. Do NOT overcook these. You have to remember that they will continue cooking some as they cool and that there is little worse than a dry overcooked brownie. Err on the side of undercooked and gooey. No one will mind hehe.
  7. Let cool in the pan, then refrigerate until they are firm enough to cut easily, then use the foil to lift the cooled brownies out onto a cutting board, Peel the foil down and use a serrated knife to cut them into 16 squares.

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Raspberry Amaretto Poundcake

Raspberry Amaretto Poundcake

Raspberry Amaretto Pound Cake



Not a fancy looking cake, is it? Trust me; you won’t care. I’ve never been a huge fan of layer cakes, even with the sweet tooth I have. I make them for birthdays and whenever I get a strange craving for one, which isn’t often. Then I eat one slice and no more, reminded of the fact that I don’t care for them. Too messy, too darn sweet. But give me a pound cake and I can chow down on that bad boy… or girl. I’ve never been proficient at identifying the gender of my pound cakes.

Totally off the subject of pound cakes and gender, I had a…fun…experience the other night. My husband and I were checking the pool the other night (we haven’t yet opened it for the year) because my son Jordan had said that it was full of tadpoles. Went up there with a flashlight and yep, our pool has become a froggie resort. I am pretty sure I heard some lively Caribbean style music and saw one frog with a Mai Tai. Well, we looked, we got sad thinking of all the tadpoles who were going to have to die for the sake of cleaning the pool and then we left. Russ went first down the stairs. No problem. Then me. I got two stairs down the five stair deck, hit the third and “CRAAACCCKKK!!”. Suddenly, I was half airborne. I say half because as I was flying, I was also falling as that crack was the sound of the old poorly made staircase breaking. The stair went down, I followed, my bottom half slamming into the side of the stairs, my top half slamming into the next stair down as I tried to prevent myself from hitting head first into the next stair. Talk….about…pain. My R.N. husband was convinced for a bit that I had broken my leg. But it’s not. I do however have one whopper of a huge bruise on my right thigh and I walk like someone who has been hit by a bus… or a staircase. I feel about 95 years old right now lol.

So what’s my cure? Back to cake 😀 I had seen an Amaretto Pound Cake on Southern Living and wanted to try it. But I also love using fresh fruit any chance I get this time of year. I have a MAJOR love of Blueberries and Raspberries. Blueberries aren’t quite there yet in the stores; still expensive and still being imported from Chile. Raspberries are looking pretty good, though still not quite up to par in the way of sweetness. Baking takes care of that though (and pigging out on pound cake makes me forget that I am in pain). Baking fruit concentrates the sweetness plus you have the added sweetness of whatever is with it, in this case a moist, love almond scented and flavored pound cake. The raspberries do tend to break down in the batter, leaving holes, but again, you won’t care. This isn’t a fancy party cake, not something to serve to the Queen. This is a homey, comforting sort of cake to have with coffee, tea, as a midnight snack, after school treat, you name it. This is a nice densely crumbed cake, very moist and the almond flavor is wonderful.  Then you run into a nice tart raspberry with that almond flavor and oh my gosh, it’s yummy.

My changes from the original are the almond extract, the Fiori Di Sicilia (which I list as optional), the raspberries and the original called for scattering almond slices on the bottom of the pan before baking, but I didn’t want those, so I skipped it. I also changed the amounts for the glaze as when I made it, it made far too much and a good portion ended up dumped.

You know the drill…. 🙂

Raspberry Amaretto Poundcake

  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Amaretto
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fiori Di Sicilia flavoring (optional)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • Amaretto Glaze-
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
  • 1 tablespoon water
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the butter and cream cheese. Beat at medium speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl once if needed.
  3. Gradually add the sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the Amaretto and the extracts, beating well afterward. Gradually add the flour to the mixture, keeping the speed at low speed so you don’t end up looking like Casper The Ghost. Beat just until blended.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each one. GENTLY fold in the raspberries. You can’t avoid crushing some, but you can minimize the damage. Gently spoon batter into the prepared pan. When you have it in the pan, firmly bang the pan on a countertop to help remove any air bubbles.
  5. Bake at 325 for 65 to 95 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. When the cake is almost done, make the glaze- in a small pot, combine the glaze ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat and set aside until the cake is finished.
  7. Set the cake on a rack. Spoon the glaze over the top, a little at a time, letting it soak in each time. Use about half the glaze. Let the cake cool completely on the rack, then turn out onto a serving dish. Reheat the glaze and spoon the rest of it over the cake, again letting it soak in each time before adding more.

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Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken



My family and  are still on a quest for a good Chinese restaurant. It has to have a buffet, because, for one, we’re feeding two teenage boys, who are simply walking hormonal stomachs. And two, I tend to be a picky and poor eater and I do better if I have variety. So far though, all the ones we’ve tried range from “omg, this sucks”, to the point where I actually left a bad review for it on Yelp and I’m not the type to do that normally, up to “ehhh, it was ok, but I wouldn’t pay for it again.” We aren’t asking much…. just food that is fresh and not sticking to the warming dishes because it’s older than my husband, food that hasn’t been salted to the point where you could use it as a salt lick to lure animals in when hunting and a decent variety of dishes.

One of my husbands favorite things from a buffet is the Orange Chicken. I’m a General Tsos kind of a gal myself, but I do enjoy a good Orange Chicken. Good being the operative word. And that’s hard to find. So I gave up for now and decided to make it myself. I have to admit, I’m rather glad I did. No, we didn’t have the variety of 17 different kinds of (Americanized) Chinese foods to choose from, but the one dish was fresh, had an amazing orange flavor that was real, not like a cook poured a bottle of orange extract in it to flavor it and I could eat lying in bed watching bad TV. Hey, don’t judge… I wasn’t feeling well yesterday. That I even MADE dinner is to my credit :-p

This is fairly easy to make. As I’ve told you many times before and will many times more, do your prep work ahead of time. have all the ingredients cut and measured, oranges zested and juice squeezed, etc, etc, etc. Doing this saves so much time and hassle. You don’t get to a certain step and suddenly realize “Oh, crap, forgot to do this or that!” and have to put everything on hold. Do. Your. Prep. Work. And you’ll breeze through this.

You know the drill… git to cooking. 🙂

Orange Chicken

  • For chicken-
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite sized cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • oil for frying
  • For the sauce-
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger *
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (use less if you prefer less spicy)
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup warm water combined with a tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (low sodium is a good idea if you have it)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • zest of 2 large oranges
  • juice of 3 oranges
  • sesame seeds and extra sliced green onion for garnishing
  • rice and broccoli to serve with the chicken
  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Combine the cubed chicken with the egg, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. Dump in the cornstarch and flour and stir to combine. A wooden spoon works well here. Pour enough oil in a medium pot to go up two inches. Heat the oil to 350 degrees, then fry the chicken in batches of about 8 to 10 pieces at a time, until golden brown and cooked through, about 8  minutes. Set onto a paper towel lined oven safe plate or bowl. When all the chicken is cooked, set into the oven to keep warm while you make the sauce.
  3. In a medium saucepot, combine the sesame oil, tablespoon of vegetable oil, garlic, green onions, rice vinegar and ginger. Stir fry over medium high heat until the onion is wilted and everything is fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  4. As that cooks, combine the soy sauce, sugar, orange zest and orange juice in a measuring cup. Add them to the stir fried green onion mixture. Bring to a boil, then pour the water/cornstarch mixture into it. Stir until the mixture comes back to a boil and thickens up, stirring constantly.
  5. Toss the chicken in the sauce mixture (Or serve the side on the side if you have some people who only like a little bit of sauce and others who like more.), and serve with Basmati or Jasmine rice and steamed broccoli.

*NOTE- For an easy way to peel and grate ginger, just get out a spoon and a fork. Use the edge of the spoon to scrape the peel off; so much easier and much less waste. And then lay the peeled part of the ginger down on a small plate, holding the other end with your free hand. Use a fork to scrape across the ginger. It grates it quite nicely and you can use the edge of the fork to mash/slice up any bits that come off too large.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.