Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Caramel Cheesecake Brownies

What do you do when you have leftover caramel and cream cheese? Make caramel cheesecake brownies, naturally. That's really all I could come up with to use up my leftover ingredients and I'm sure glad I did.

Brownie Batter:
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2/3cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1. Melt the butter and chocolate together over a double boiler. Stir to homogenize.
2. While the chocolate melts whisk together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
3. Temper the egg mixture with the now melted chocolate/butter mixture. Once tempered, mix in all the chocolate. Last, mix in flour.
5. Preheat oven to 350F. It can heat while you assemble to cream cheese mixture and get your caramel out. Adjust as necessary if you're making the caramel from scratch.

Cream Cheese Mixture:
8 ounces softened cream cheese (I just used what was leftover from my stuffed french toasts)
1/4 cup of sugar (I used icing sugar)
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Caramel Sauce - see recipe here.

1. Now that you have all your batters assembled, take an 8x8 baking pan and line it with parchment paper. This will definitely save on cleaning sugary batter and caramel and cream cheese off of your pan. Trust me.
2. Place brownie batter on bottom. Dollop cream cheese on top, and then drizzle all over with generous spoonfuls of caramel. It's up to you how much you put in. Obviously don't go apeshit and but a whole cup in, but 3-4 tbsp of caramel never hurt.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Jack Daniels on Jack Daniels on Jack Daniels...

A beautiful marriage.

So, it was up to me to make brunch for the fam this Sunday. I moved back home last month and we usually get together about once a week for a warm meal together, my mum, her partner and my g'ma. Now that I'm older I really, really appreciate these afternoons together, especially because I'm usually in charge of cooking. I get along with my family AND I get to clog their arteries with all the butter they can handle? Hot dog! (love you mum).

So, because I had to make brunch this morning I decided the best thing to do last night would be to go out dancing and have as many "Burt Reynolds" shots as I could. Has anyone ever heard of this monstrosity? It's rum and butter ripple schnapps and it is designed to make you think you're having a tasty treat when you're actually consuming liquified evil. I awoke, under slept and bleary-eyed, recalling, once again, why I never drink.

What to do, oh what to do? Well, make some Jack Daniels caesars and carry on with your day, is the obvious answer. The JD eventually made it's way in to everything else, and the day was saved! May I present to you stuffed brioche french toast with Jack Daniels, with a Jack Daniels caramel.

No brunch would be complete without a mimosa.

Stuffed French Toast for 4

1 loaf of brioche, or your favorite bread
3 eggs
2 tbsp whipping cream
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp Jack Daniels

1 brick cream cheese, room temperature
3 tbsp icing sugar
2 tbsp whipping cream
your favorite fruit compote, but make sure it's not too liquid

1. Place eggs, cream, cinnamon and JD in a shallow pan and beat the hell out of it.
2. beat softened cream cheese, icing sugar, and whipping cream together until light and fluffy.
3. Slice your brioche. I was able to slice my loaf into 12 slices of about medium thickness. Take one piece and put about a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture on one side. Take another piece and put your fruity stuff on it. Yes, you are actually making a sandwich with it. Slap 'em together and do this to all your pieces.
4. Heat your skillet at medium-high and spray it down with non-stick cooking spray. **Dredge your sandwiches quickly in the egg mixture that you've got waiting. Don't let them soak in the mix or they will become too soggy. The way I do my french toast is nice and crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
5. Cook those suckers like a little grilled cheese sandwich, flipping when golden.

Jack Daniels Caramel

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
6 tbsp butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp Jack Daniels

1. Put sugar into saucepan with heavy bottom. Whisk in water to dissolve. Heat on medium-high heat, swirling often to prevent burning, until sugar turns an amber colour and smells just lightly burnt. If you are using a candy thermometer it should read 350F.
2. Turn off the heat, leave on the element. Add in tablespoons of butter, whisking to fully melt. It will hiss and spit at you, but don't worry, those are just the happy sounds of butter and sugar uniting.
3. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream until properly incorporated. Whisk in JD. Put it on EVERYTHING. You're welcome.

**I had an insane Italian boss years ago, back in high school. We cooked exclusively Italian food, yet one day I came in and he had me learn to make "the perfect french toast" with him. 16 years old, and terrified of him, I just accepted my lesson and moved on. But boy, this is one lesson I'm glad I received. He taught me that you want to put your well-greased frying pan on medium-high to high heat and only allow you egg mixture to coat the outside of the bread without actually saturating it. This allows a nice, cooked, golden outside and a fluffy inside. It's lovely. Try it.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Brioche, attempt one.

Today I got brave. Today, I decided to make brioche. By hand. With no mixer. My mixer, alas, is in another province for the time being and I have been left bereft. At first I was scared, but then I thought to myself: pull yourself together woman. You think you're the first person to make brioche without a kitchenaid? I'm no historian, but since brioche is hundreds of years old I'm fairly certain that it was made without a mixer for years. But what do I know. I only have an arts degree.

The original recipe came from Delicious Shots and can be found if you follow the link.

As this was my first attempt, I really had no idea what to expect. I'm fairly pleased with the overall result. I know I sliced it a little too soon in my zealousness to take photos of it, but other than that I have no complaints.  Tomorrow I shall make stuffed french toast with it. More details on that to come.