Fleur De Sel Caramels (Salted Caramels)

Fleur De Sel Caramels

Fleur De Sel Caramels

The fancy name sounds so purty, but it’s just salted caramels. I was about to say “just plain old salted caramels”, but that would have been an insult to these rich creamy pieces of goodness. There’s nothing plain about these. There’s also nothing difficult. Back when I first made my Homemade Caramel Sauce, I was one of those people that assumed that something that tasted so decadent had to be hard to make. Nope; flat out easy. Now don’t get me wrong. You walk away from this during the caramelizing of the sugar, you will end up with every smoke detector in a ten mile radius going off, an embarrassing fire department visit, a ruined pan that no amount of soaking will save and worst of all…. NO CARAMEL! And while this isn’t hard, it is not a put the pot on the stove during ANY step and go sit and watch The Real Housewives Of The Amazon Rainforest sort of thing to cook. You need to stick close by.

Is it worth it? You tell me. Your choice is this- go spend 5 bucks at Trader Joes for a container of caramels that, while good, gives you about 20 caramels for the price and STILL isn’t as good as homemade. Or you could go buy a bag of Kraft or Brachs caramels that are cheap but..well, you can tell they are cheap. Very little flavor, the mouth feel isn’t the same and you get what you pay for. OR… you can spend about 6 bucks and get a 9 inch pan of gloriously burnt sugar tasting, creamy rich “OMG, if I eat any more of these, I’m gonna weigh 500 pounds but they are so damn good!” caramels. So you choose. πŸ˜€

Also, if you prefer just regular caramels, just omit the salt in the caramel and on top. Regular caramels at your service. Fat girl pants optional.

P.S.- If you don’t have Fleur De Sel, you can use any coarse grained salt. Just don’t use table salt.

You know the drill….

Fleur De Sel Caramels (Salted Caramels)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups heavy cream, warmed
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel

Make sure you have all your ingredients at hand. Have the cream measured and nearby and to save time, just grind your salt right into the cream as well as pour the vanilla in it and make sure your butter is unwrapped and at the ready. Then set it all aside right by the stove. Line a 9 inch square pan with foil (preferably the non stick kind.). Butter the foil, bottom and sides. Set aside near the stove.

  1. Get a nice deep heavy bottomed saucepot. At least a 4 quart one. Combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in the pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Swirl the pan a couple of times while cooking but do NOT stir it. If you stir caramel as it’s cooking, you stand a good chance of ending up with grainy, gritty caramel.
  2. Boil until the mixture has turned a nice dark golden brown color. Do NOT leave the stove during this step. When it is the right color, immediately move it to a cool burner. Pour in the cream mixture all at once and carefully drop in the butter. This is going to sputter like crazy so be prepared. Just pour and then give it a minute to settle down some.
  3. Set it back on the stove over medium high heat. Don’t stir. Just swirl the pot a few times carefully to combine the mixture. You can, very carefully, if you have to, use a wooden spoon and gently stir in the middle of the mixture, making sure to not touch the sides or bottom of the pan. But just the one time to get things combined.
  4. Keep the mixture over medium high heat and cook to 245 degrees. Use a candy thermometer or good instant read thermometer to get an accurate reading. This will take about ten minutes.
  5. When it gets to 245 degrees, take off the heat and immediately pour into the prepared pan without scraping the bottom of the pot. If there’s any left in the bottom, just let it cool and consider it the cooks treat. πŸ™‚
  6. Allow this to sit overnight or until firm. You can refrigerate it and it will get firmer much quicker but it also makes it a bit more difficult to cut, though not hard if you have a good knife. Cut into about 48 pieces, using a sharp knife.
  7. Sprinkle more fleur de sel on top of each piece and either wrap in plastic wrap or put in mini candy cups. These are perfect for Christmas gift giving!

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Toasted Coconut Key Lime Pie Fudge

Toasted Coconut Key Lime Pie Fudge

Toasted Coconut Key Lime Pie Fudge


Last post I made was an ode to Autumn because our weather had been so unseasonably cool and wet. Now however August is back with a vengeance. It’s hot as Hades out there and extremely humid. So my mind is back to thinking of Summery foods. And what is more Summery than key lime pie? Why, key lime pie made into fudge with some tropical coconut flavors thrown in there for good measure, of course.

On another note, today is my birthday! I am 49 years old today. Damn… I’m old. Lol. The only 49 year old I know of with a 4 year old son. So what were my birthday meals like? Totally not exciting, that’s what they were like hehe. I made smoked sausage, rice a roni and carrots. Woohoo?? And my birthday cake is from Wal mart. I have got to learn that it’s ok to make myself a nice birthday dinner the same as I do for the rest of the family. Why do we women do that anyway?Β  But all in all, it’s been a nice birthday. I have my kids, I have the worlds best husband who is still happy to make cups of tea because he loves me. I have books to read, food to eat and lifes little luxuries. I’m good. πŸ™‚

This fudge is quite yummy. Even the non sweets loving hubby loved it. I was originally going to make just key lime pie fudge but do you have any idea how many of those there are online?! At least 99,999,999,999,999 (please don’t ask me to say out loud what number that is). I could NOT bring myself to just repeat the version someone else made. Nope, not me. So I made this MY way. How, you ask? You did ask, I hope? T’was easy. I topped this with swirls of a homemade lime curd, added some coconut flavor to the fudge itself and topped it all off with some toasted coconut. Oh… my…gosh… this is good! I will definitely be making this again and I am pretty sure it will make into my Christmas treats too. Smooth, creamy, very rich, but saved from overwhelming sweetness by the lime curd and the toasted coconut. The lime curd is just the same recipe I use for lemon curd, with lime juice and zest subbed in there. It makes a pint of curd and you only need half a cup or so for the recipe, but I totally promise you, you won’t mind having extra. This stuff is amazingly good. I keep sneaking spoonsful of it on a spoon. You can do that, spread it on a muffin or scone, top ice cream with it…

You know the drill. Git to cookin’!

Toasted Coconut Key Lime Pie Fudge

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 lb GOOD white chocolate, chopped (please don’t use, say, “Acme Brand White Baking Chips”. Use the real thing here. It will make a difference.
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • zest of one small lime
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (this will take about 2 small limes t get)
  • 1/2 cup Lime Curd (Use this recipe for lemon curd, just substituting limes where it calls for lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut flavoring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut, toasted
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a 8 or 9 inch square pan with foil Butter the foil, then set the pan aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Stir well. Dump mixture into the prepared pan and press down into the bottom of the pan to form a crust.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Take out and set aside to cool.
  4. In a medium non stick saucepot, combine your white chocolate, a tablespoon butter and sweetened condensed milk.
  5. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and all the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and add in the lime zest, lime juice and extracts.
  6. Quickly pour into the prepared pan. Spoon dollops of the lime curd over the top of the fudge then using a butter knife (or your fingers. I won’t tell), swirl it into the fudge. Top that with the toasted coconut, pressing down lightly to make sure the coconut sticks.
  7. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.
  8. Using a knife you heat under hot water and wipe dry is the easiest way to cut this (or any) fudge. You’ll get much cleaner cuts.
  9. Leftovers can be stored tightly wrapped or even better, wrap each piece individually and freeze them. When you need a sweets fix, there you have it… portion controlled fudge πŸ™‚

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

 

You Got Your Chocolate In My Peanut Butter!

Anybody else remember those extremely silly commercials from back in the day? You have one person walking somewhere with a jar of PB (like the person who posted the video asked, who walks around munching from a jar of peanut butter?) and another walking around with a chocolate bar. They crash, the foods collide and junk food magic is created, aka Reeses Cups.

 

 

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge peanut butter fan. I would go hungry before eating peanut butter cookies (I can’t even handle the smell of them cooking lol), I tend to omit the peanuts or PB in any recipes needing it and I eat a PB&J sandwich maybe twice a year. I DO however like Reeses Cups (and cinnamon raisin peanut butter but that’s a different post). They may be peanut butter but the taste is different. So when I saw the following recipe here on Big Red Kitchen , I knew I had to try it. Especially since I knew that in my family, it would be a hit. One of my sons is about like me when it comes to PB but the rest of them like it and my daughter in law would kill someone to swipe this from them Love you Tiffy!) πŸ˜› .

As for those I know in the blogger community, Erin ,
Peabody and Lindsey , this is for you ladies who if I remember correctly are peanut butter fans. I know I am remembering correctly that Peabody shares my love for a certain brands cinnamon raisin peanut butter πŸ™‚

The rest of you, if you like peanut butter or Reeses Cups, give this a try. It tastes amazingly similar to a pb cup yet is more fun somehow with the big chunks (ok, that’s just cause I’m a pig) and homey look of it. This is exceedingly simple to make…and way too easy to eat. πŸ˜› The only thing I really changed from the original recipe was to use chocolate chips instead of candy coating because I don’t care for the somewhat fake flavor of coating.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark

  • 2 1/2 pounds candy coating (or chocolate chips. (I used half milk chocolate, half semi sweet.
  • 1 pound peanut butterΒ  (I used a full 18 ounce jar. I was NOT about to try and measure out a pound. I just used it all.)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Melt half the chocolate according to package directions.
  2. Spread it out to about 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly greased baking pan. The original called for parchment paper lined but over time (over 30 years of cooking. OMG, I’m freaking OLD!), I’ve learned what can go w/out the called for parchment and IΒ  knew that since the chocolate would harden in the fridge and be able to be lifted off, it wouldn’t be needed.
  3. Set aside in the fridge.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla. Beat well. The mixture will be thick.
  5. Crumble this over the top of the first chocolate layer.
  6. Melt the remaining chocolate and pour it over the peanut butter layer. Spread it out making cutesy little swirls πŸ˜›
  7. Refrigerate this for at least a few hours or overnight until totally hardened.
  8. Break up in pieces.
  9. Store in the fridge.

Barking Up The RIGHT Tree

I have a bone to pick with a few of you. Why you ask? Because if I get fat, it’s your fault. Yep; YOU and YOU and
YOU and
Even YOU .

All. Your. Fault.

You got me craving bark of some sort… any sort. If I could put the word bark in it, I’ve been craving it. Ok, maybe not tree bark. Or liver bark. Or a bark that’s worse than it’s bite. I don’t want anything that has the word worse in it. I’ll pass on all of those.

So what did I do today? I made two different kinds of bark. Chances are I will not be able to resist them because they are so damn good and I will need to get more fat girl pants.

And it’s your fault.

Aren’t you ashamed?

So, since I know you’re horribly ashamed of yourself, you need to make one or both of these and get fat with me. Then we can go out shopping together for fat girl pants and maybe stop and get some mall food. We all know how healthy THAT is.

Lemon Vanilla Bean Bark

I made this one because I absolutely LOVE anything lemon. My kids will be lucky to get any of this kind.

  • 2 bags (11 to 12 ounces) white chocolate chips
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 bag Brachs Lemon Drops, crushed (put them in a ziploc bag and go at them with a meat tenderizer or a hammer)
  • 1 tablespoon solid shortening
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract or 1/4 teaspoon lemon oil
  1. Slice your vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds (don’t throw out the bean. Put it in your sugar bowl and in a few days, you’ll have delicious vanilla sugar) and put them in a large bowl with the white chocolate chips.
  2. Melt the chips and the shortening in the microwave. Use one minute increments, stirring after each one, until the chocolate is melted and liquidy. Don’t over cook it or you’ll end up with a hard lump. Believe me; I’ve done that many times in the past. It’s extremely annoying to put it mildly.
  3. Working quickly, stir the crushed lemon drops and the lemon extract into the chocolate
  4. Plop the mixture onto a foil lined, parchment lined or VERY lightly greased baking sheet and spread it out.
  5. Put in a cold place (I put mine on my front porch) until it is hard. Break it into pieces and eat enough to need fat girl pants. If there is any left, store it in a cool place (front porches work great) in a ziploc type bag.

Rum Raisin Bark

I made THIS one because my favorite candy bar is one I can not find ANYWHERE *sobs*. It is a German one that I got addicted to when I lived in Germany. Many of you probably know of Ritter Sport bars. They can be found at a lot of large grocery stores. The problem is that they don’t seem to ever have the Rum, Trauben, Nuss one and I love it. It is a rum raisin chocolate with nuts. I omitted the nuts because I just wasn’t in the mood but you could probably add about 1/2 cup of chopped hazelnuts to this.

  • 1 12 ounce bag milk chocolate chips
  • 1 12 ounce bag semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons solid shortening
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rum extract
  1. In a large bowl, melt your chips and shortening in the microwave. Melt at one minute increments, stirring after each minute, until the chocolate is melted.
  2. Working quickly stir in the raisins and the rum extract.
  3. Spread on a foil lined, parchment lined or lightly greased baking sheet.
  4. Put in a cool place to harden then break into pieces.
  5. Eat a lot. Go get those fat girl pants. Sob. Eat more for comfort and get involved in a vicious cycle that only a woman could do.

Nobody Knows The Truffles I’ve Seen

The Truffle Towers? Maybe The Leaning Tower Of Truffles? πŸ˜€

*Watches in horror as all my readers groan and block my site*

Uh oh. I’m in truffle now! πŸ˜›

Ok, ok, I’m done. But if you’ve been reading me for a while, you know it won’t last. I’m always causing truffle. Hehehe. I’m glad I amuse myself because I can see all the eye rolling going on even through the internet. πŸ˜€

I’ve never understood why the candy truffle is named after the ultra expensive fungus Truffle. Beyond the fact that both tend to be outrageously expensive (I paid $14.00 for a small bottle of Truffle oil. Fourteen dollars! I keep waiting for that stuff to spew out recipes using it, cook them and then clean the kitchen for that price!) I don’t care what anyone says, they look nothing alike.

Here are Black Truffles.-

Here are dark chocolate candy truffles-

Nope, nope nope, not the same. The first I might use to make an elegant Risotto. The second I would hide in a box marked with the words “Old Underwear”. It would go under my bed and only be brought out late at night when all the males in my household were snoring.

Since we haven’t won the lottery yet, I have had to learn how to make homemade truffles (the candy, not the fungus though if I had the fungus nearby, I could sell it and buy the candy πŸ˜› ). For the most part, they are far simpler to make than people realize. They can a bit more complex if you go to the trouble of dipping them into a liquid chocolate coating but for “let’s make these bad boys quickly because I want to eat them NOW” pleasure, rolling them in cocoa does the trick. I made one change from the typical though. I don’t care for the taste of unsweetened cocoa on its own, so I mix my cocoa with some powdered sugar to cut the bitterness.

People tend to think of making truffles only around the holidays to add to gift baskets or cookie trays but in all seriousness, they are a perfect sweet to make any old time. They are so easy, can be made with so many variations to fit what you’re craving at any given moment and last a long time if wrapped tightly and kept in the fridge. Not that they WILL last because you’ll be sneaking them every five minutes, but the potential for long term storage is there. πŸ™‚

This recipe makes a LOT, so feel free to cut it in half. I make a lot because I tend to give some away and this way, I can placate my teen boys if they walk in while I’m making them by putting some in the fridge for them…. and hiding the bulk of them. Yes, yes, I’m evil that way.

One tip- make sure your truffle mixture stays COLD. When it starts to warm up, any shaping you try to do is going to end up all over your hands and while that can be tasty, it IS messy. So work fast and put it back in the fridge as needed to get cold again. I made Chocolate Raspberry truffles because that is one of my favorite flavor combos, but you could sub any flavor of jam you prefer or even leave it out altogether. If you leave it out though, add an extra 2 tablespoons of cream to prevent your mixture from being too stiff to work with.

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TRUFFLES

These aren’t the prettiest candies in the world, but I promise you; you won’t care.

  • 1/2 cup Heavy cream
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (you can also use bittersweet or milk or a mix of types. I used an equal mix of semi sweet and milk)
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into bits and softened
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam, preferably seedless
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry liquor or 1/2 teaspoon raspberry extract (optional)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  1. In a medium saucepan bring to the cream just to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Add chocolate, stirring until smooth.
  4. Let cool slightly and add butter, bit by bit, stirring until smooth.
  5. Stir in jam, Chambord and a pinch of salt and transfer to a bowl.
  6. Chill, covered, for 4 hours, or until firm.
  7. Form mixture by heaping teaspoons into balls and roll in cocoa powder. A melon baller works wonderfully for this step. If the mixture has softened up too much to roll easily by the time you finish scooping it, chill the balls for about an hour, then continue with the rolling them in cocoa step.
  8. Chill on a baking sheet lined with wax paper for 1 hour, or until firm.
  9. Keep in an airtight container, chilled, for up to 2 weeks. Or that container marked Liver that I’ve talked about before works well too. πŸ˜€ You HAVE made your “Secret Stash Liver Container” haven’t you? Right? Right?