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Showing posts with label Toffee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Toffee. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Brown Butter Heath Cookies



So far I have survived my first couple weeks back at work.   The little one loves her daycare which has made this transition easy.  The hubby drops her off and she is simply "Bye Bye Dada"  No tears, just runs to play. She is making new friends, getting active and getting tired out. I think my favorite part of my day is when I pick her up and she smiles and runs for a hug.  (Insert heart melting).  It's just so sweet.

I was worried about coming back after a year, thinking I wouldn't remember how to do things and  how to use the system.   We had just implemented a new system the year I was leaving and there were so many changes and a lot of learning.   I did pick up the system pretty quickly as I was pretty heavily involved with its transition and creating new report so I knew I had a good base in my head some where.   I also conducted several training sessions before I left to help others get up to speed. Still, a year of not even looking at it had me worried.
Turns out, I was worried for nothing.  After a week of being back it honestly felt like I never left.  Everything I had ever done just came back to me.  A bonus, because I had to rebuild several reports after a year of system tweaks and changes caused them not to work anymore.  Three weeks in now and despite a lack of sleep I am grooving along.


Brown Butter People! Brown butter in my opinion is a form of liquid gold.  Just the smell of it is so wonderful.  Nutty and rich, Drool!  It requires way more experimentation than I have tried thus far.

I have made brown butter cookies before and honestly they are worth making again and again.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chocolate Pecan Almond Toffee


I almost missed my 2nd Blogiversary.  Well technically I did because it was yesterday, but I was busy baking yesterday and in the last two weeks I completed cupcakes for a wedding and a 4 tiered Birthday cake for a friends 1 year old.   This has definitely been an interesting year for me.   This time last year I was getting into a groove, baking lots and blogging lots.  Several months later I was thrown into the world of nausea, tiredness and a growing belly.   All great things though, very interesting things, that will lead to a lot of new & exciting times.  My day job also seemed to get in the way a lot this summer, lots of unexpected twists and turns that made for some long days and weeks.    I do wish I had stayed on the ball a bit more this past year and maybe becoming a mom, although I know will be completely hectic in the beginning will force me to become more organized so I can manage both.

Since this is my 2nd blogiversary I am going to do posts with two desserts I really love and TWO GIVEAWAYS!    Of course it is hard to narrow down the list amoung so many desserts but today's post is one of my favorite.   I always buy a tin for myself when I attend the Christmas show in Toronto.   One year my friend and I both bought some and were supposed to split it, then we forgot to trade and then I ate it all!   OOPS!

Pecan Almond ChocolateToffee
(adapted from Baked Explorations)

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, in cubes or softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup ground almonds
  • 2/3 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 150g dark chocolate chips
  • 100g semi sweet chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS:
1) Butter a 9x13 inch glass/metal pan.   (Do not use non stick spray)
2) Toasted the pecans in non stick pan for 3-5 min on medium, until fragrant. 
3) Place the butter in a medium sauce pan over low heat.  When the butter is almost melted, add the sugar and water and cook over low heat, stirring with a rubber spatula until combined.


4) Place your candy thermometer on the side of the pot.   Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until mixture reaches 300F.   The mixture will bubble and start to brown.



5) While mixture is reaching the desired temp, combine the two chocolates in a bowl. 
6) When butter/sugar mixture reaches temperature remove from heat right away to prevent burning and stir in the pecans quickly.   Spread this mixture into your prepared pan. 
7) Wait 1 minute then spread the chocolate chips over this.  Wait 3 minutes for chocolate to melt, then use an offset spatula or rubber spatula to spread the chocolate over the toffee.


8) Sprinkle the ground almonds over the melted chocolate and place the pan in the freezer for about 30 minutes. 
9) Remove the pan from the freezer and break with a knife
10) Store toffee in a airtight container, with parchment in between any pieces.

MMMMmmmm... Toffee.   I was nice and shared this with work but I am sure I will make another version for guests around Christmas.   I also didn't get much out of the ground almonds on top so I might leave that out next time or switch up chopped pecans and use almond in the toffee base.


MEG's RATING : D-EEEE-LICIOUS!

DAY 1 GIVEAWAY :   Tell me what is your favorite "candy" to make at home? and you will be entered to win a $25 amazon gift certificate to buy any baking/candy tool you like.

For extra entries, do any of the following and let me know what you did for each one.

1) Become a blogger follower 
2) Follow me on Twitter - @Sweettwist_Meg 
3) Join my facebook group - Sweet Twist of Fate and Blogging
4) Follow me on pinterest - Sweettwist_Meg

Entries accepted until Thursday @ 10am EST.











Monday, May 28, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toffee Bits and Coconut


Sometimes you just crave the classics.  I find every few months I just want some homemade chocolate chip cookies.   I always know they won't last long no matter where I bring them.  Chocolate chip cookies are just like a clean house. Cleaning weekends are tiring but I just love when my house is in tip top shape.  Just like chocolate chip cookies it may not always last long but it makes me happy.  The weekend wasn't all cleaning and organizing though, we had two sets of dinner with friends and Saturday I went to see a movie with my sister and her friend.  I also worked on and delivered the picture below on Saturday.   One of my new favorites, ribbon just makes cakes look so simply and elegant.


Is anyone a fan of musicals or plays?  Tonight my sister and I are taking my mom to see "Young Frankenstein".  The funny thing is I have no idea what it is about.   It is a old movie/musical that my mom loves.   I sort of like not knowing though.  I have gone to several plays based on movies and come out disappointed in how they change the story.  The singing and acting may be great but please don't change the story of a classic.   I will keep you posted on how it goes.

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toffee Bits and Coconut
(adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 2 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 6 oz unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup brown sugar (7 oz)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

INSTRUCTIONS: 
1) Heat oven to 325F. Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside
2) In a large bowl or your mixer bowl beat together sugars and butter until thoroughly blended.   Beat in egg, egg yolk and vanilla.


3)  Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Add chips/bits/coconut and blend on low until just combined.  I choose to cover the dough with saran wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.



3) If you chill the dough, allow dough to warm up a little so it is somewhat scoopable. I would scoop and then remove excess.  Using a small-medium scoop, place rounds on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.  Flatten slightly. Bake the cookies, about 12-15 min or until edges become golden.  Depends on how soft you  like them. Cool cookies on cookie sheet and store in air tight container.



You really can't go wrong with any variation of this recipe I discover.  You can add almost anything you like and it would still taste good.

Check out Kitchen Bootcamp for lots more cookies and bars this month.


MEG's RATING : D-EEEEE-LICIOUS!!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Apple Cakes with Toffee & Dried Cherries


I am a fan of positive background noise.  When I work in the kitchen, I can't have silence and the sound of my mixer doesn't cut it.   I just need to have some noise going on in the background and it has to be noise I enjoy.  This would be either the food network, music or a good TV show.  My latest noise is Arrested Development. I never watched the show when it was actually airing but I decided to go back and check it out. Season 1 started off slow but I kept on going.  Season 2 is much better. Some characters are still annoying, but getting a lot funnier.   How can you also not love Jason Bateman.   Any one else have any background noise preference?

My latest recipe is a revival of one of the first posts I ever did.  It's funny how you can totally forget some of the delicious treats you have baked in the past.   Luckily my friend Tracey happens to remember and make some of these recipes for her family.  I remember this recipe being a pretty great and figured why not make it again.  I also decided to make a few tweaks and turn them into little cakes,  everyone loves an individual dessert.

Individual Apple Cakes
(Adapted from Cooking light)


INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup sugar + 2 tbsp 
  • 3/4 cup  (6 ounces) light cream cheese, softened 
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups chopped,  peeled apples 
  • 1/2 cup skor bits
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped.  


INSTRUCTIONS:
1)) Preheat oven to 350F. Mix together 2 tbsp of the granulated sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon and sprinkle over the apples and mix together.  
2)  In a large bowl or your mixer bowl, beat together the remaining sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla on medium speed until well blended.  Add eggs one at a time and set aside. 
3)  In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture on low speed.
4) Stir in apples, dried cherries and skor bits into the batter until just mixed.
5) Spray mini cheesecake pans with non stick spray. Pour 1/4 cup batter into each hole.   Bake for 20-25 minutes until at toothpick comes out clean.

Still as good as I remember.

MEG's RATING : D-EEEEE-LICIOUS!








Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chocolate Toffee Whoopie Pies



I had mentioned in my Pumpkin Whoopie Pies that I also made chocolate whoopie pies from the other "Baked" Cookbook - New Frontiers in order to accommodate the chocolate lovers of the family.   I don't know what is wrong with me but there is something in me that always needs to tweak, adjust or add to recipes.   Maybe that is my creative baking edge,.  I am after all left handed and probably right brained. Apparently right brained people are supposed to be good problem solvers and more creative?   Well  I am not sure about all of that but I do love to experiment with baking and coming up with new desserts or I am just obsessed with skor bits.  Theories could go either way.     Well,  I think I am finally starting to get caught up on recipes and the cookie sale is in the home stretch, post should pick up soon.   


(Adapted from Baked -New Frontiers)

INSTRUCTIONS:
  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose
  • 1/3  cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup hot coffee
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola/vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

Filling:
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, cool
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp of toffee/skor bits per whoopie pie
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of caramel sauce
INGREDIENTS: 
1) Preheat oven to 350F.  In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar and oil.   In a large bowl combine the cocoa powder and espresso powder, add hot coffee and hot water and whisk until completely dissolved.  Add sugar/oil mixture to the coffee mixture and whisk together.  


2) Add eggs, vanilla and buttermilk and whisk until smooth. 




3) Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a medium bowl.  Fold in into wet mixture, scraping down the sides of bowl as you fold.
4) Line two baking sheets with parchment or silpat. Using a small-medium scoop , scoop on to baking sheet.  These did spread so pick which ever scoop size you want for size of whoopie pie you want, keeping in mind a 1/2 inch spread
5) Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the top is slightly cracked and toothpick comes out clean.   Let cool a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
6) Make the filling : Combine egg whites and sugar in a medium bowl and place over a double boiler. Heat until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is milky white (2-3 minutes)
7) Pour into your mixer bowl and with whisk attachment, whip, starting slow to soft peaks.
8) Switch to the paddle and beat in butter on medium-high for 5 minutes.  The icing may look like it will split but it will come together.  Add salt and vanilla and beat just to combine, seconds.
9) Fill the pies - using a piping bag, scoop or spatula, add filling to one side.   Top filling with a tablespoon of toffee bits and drizzle with some caramel sauce.  Top with another pie. Let firm up in the fridge for 30 minutes.


So.... to be honest I over baked the pies a little bit so they were a bit dry, which is why I decided to add the caramel sauce.  The time I gave above is correct, I left them in longer because I got sidetracked.  The flavour however, was awesome.   Coffee always just brings chocolate to a new level of intensity. 
The filling was okay.  I have been a buttercream or cream cheese filling girl for so long that I think I just had difficulty adjusting to this one.  It is probably just my crazy head so I suggest you give it a try. Skor bits were an excellent addition, rich caramel flavour and a crunch.   I will definitely use the pie recipe again and do some further experimentation on fillings. 

MEG's RATING : D-EEE-LICIOUS (3 E's until I get used to the icing) 




Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Sponge Toffee - Daring Bakers Candy Part 1


I finally got my act together to participate in my first Daring Bakers challenge.   I have been following their adventures in baking for so long, so I was quite excited to try some creations my self.    The August challenge was to make candy and practice your chocolate tempering skills.   For my first candy I decided to make Sponge Toffee.  I have never tried anything like this before.  I have made my own caramel sauce and attempted chocolate covered toffee but sponge toffee is a little different.  Different due to the addition of baking soda, which causes the caramel to expand creating the sponge look.   I will tell you this I wasn't quite prepared for the expansion.   The recipe said a 10 inch springform pan is all I would need.  Hmmm... read on.

(Adapted from Christine Cushing via Daring Bakers)
INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup - (I used half dark, half light)
  • 6 tbsp (60 ml) water
  • 2 tbsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Vegetable oil for greasing pans
  • 350 grams bittersweet/dark chocolate for dipping

INSTRUCTIONS:
1) Grease a 10 inch round spring form pan with the oil. Cover the bottom and sides with parchment and grease again. 



2) Add the sugar, corn syrup, water and vanilla to a medium-large saucepan.   Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Do not stir!  If sugar crystals form on the sides of the pan during the cooking process, brush the sides of the pan with a clean pastry brush dipped in water.


3) Cook until hard crack stage - 300F on a candy thermometer.  If you don't have a thermometer, take a small piece of the mixture and drop it into cold water.   The caramel should become brittle and break easily when dropped or bent.

4) Remove from heat.  Work quickly, add the baking soda and quickly stir and combine to incorporate the baking soda.  


The mixture will expand and bubble up with the addition of the baking soda.  It is hot, do not touch.  Thanks to my husband for taking the photos while I am stirring.


5) Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.  Now, you are supposed to let the mixture set completely before touching. My mixture however continued to expand overflowing the pan, so there was slight panic and I attempted to scoop some off and put into another pan.  The scooped portion did not turn out quite as light and airy as the original pan. So yes, let it sit and don't over crowd the pan.


6)  After the toffee has set, at least 20 minutes.  Cut into pieces.  You will not get perfect pieces and you will get lots of crumbs.  I am going to save these for future baking.


7)  I decided to dip parts of my sponge toffee in proper tempered chocolate.  Melt the chocolate, using a double boiler.  When the chocolate reaches 113F, remove from heat and pour 3/4 of the chocolate onto your desired worktop.  


 8) Using a scraper or palette knife, move the chocolate around the surface to help it cool, spreading and folding it back on to it self.   You want it to cool slowly, without setting.


9) Once the mixture has cooled to 80F, place the chocolate back into the bowl with the remaining chocolate and combine.  You want the temperature to return to 89F.  If it fails to return to 89F when combining, place back over simmering water.  Monitor the temperature so it does not rise above the 90F.
10) Remove from heat. The chocolate is now properly tempered and ready for dipping. Place half the sponge toffee pieces into the chocolate and let dry on silpat or parchment.


Final Step is crunch away.   This recipe was fun and interesting, not to mention delicious!   What a great Daring Bakers challenge.   Caramel and toffee can be tricky if you start to get crystallization but this recipe worked out very well, other than the pan size.  I might have a back up ready for next time.  The toffee has a great deep caramel flavour with an awesome crunch.  Now I need to figure out what to do with the bits and pieces.  Fun.

MEG's RATING : D-EEEE-LICIOUS!

toffee, caramel, chocolate







Thursday, July 28, 2011

I (HEART) CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES!

Who was seen the movie,  "Bridemaids"?   It is quite funny and a must for any upcoming brides, previous brides or anyone who has ever had to put on a hideous bridesmaid dress.   It is full of lots of laughs and crazy wedding antics.  This post is a spoiler alert if you haven’t already seen it. Stop reading but at least skip to the fantastic recipe.  In the movie there is a giant heart shaped cookie at the bridal shower. I just happened to see this movie with three friends, one of who was having her shower in a week. I didn’t have time to make one of these for the bridal shower but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make it for the bachelorette.    I wasn’t in the mood for a sugar cookie so I decided to go with chocolate chip cookie.  I looked to the NY times, a chocolate chip recipe highly rated and very well know.  They claim they have made their share of tweaks and adjustments to create perfection.   This recipe unlike many others requires you to put the dough in the fridge for 24-36 hours, drying out the dough and creating a richer, more consistent cookie.    Sounds like a good idea to me. 

(Adapted from the NY Times)

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 2/3 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 bag of heath chocolate and toffee bits
  • 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
I did some tweaking of the recipe as I was missing a few things.  See original recipe here : NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie

INSTRUCTIONS:
1) Sift together flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.
2) In a large bowl or mixer bowl, cream butter and sugars together until very light and creamy.  Add the  eggs, with vanilla at the end, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. 


3) Slowly add the flour with the mixer on low and blend until just combined.


4) Add the heath bits and dark chocolate mix on low or fold by hand until just incorporated into the batter. 


5) Cover the dough in plastic wrap, pressing up directly against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may refrigerated for up to 72 hours.


6)  When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat or spray the heart mould.

7)  For the giant heart cookie scoop out several mounds using a spoon or mini scoop and place them in the heart leaving about 1 inch around the edges.   Slightly press the dough down to fill any gaps, still leaving about a 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch gap along the edges to allow for spreading. Bake until golden brown but still soft, 25 to 28 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, careful remove cookie to cool further.

Cookie version : Scoop golf ball size mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, turning horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Cookies bake about 15-18 minutes.  Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. 
Yields: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies or 1 giant heart cookie
Are these better than Cooks Illustrated recipe? Tough call. Neither cookie really has any cons and I would go to either one in a second.  This recipe does have strong, rich chocolate chip cookie flavour. They are like making bakery style cookies at home. The inside was soft and chewy with a slightly crunchy crust. Ten girls finished this cookie in two days. It really didn't stand a chance.  
MEG'S RATING : D-EEEEE-LICIOUS

best chocolate chip cookie, cookie, chocolate, toffee, heath, ny times, bridesmaids, heart

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sugar, Butter & Water. AKA "Toffee"

Are you surprised that when you put together these three ingredients you get yummy magical goodness.   Is it really difficult to go wrong with butter and sugar together.  Last year, my friend Heather and I went to the Christmas Show in Toronto and there was a booth selling chocolate covered toffee.   Actually there was actually two booths, each a little different,  so we decided to buy a pound each and split it.  That plan never happened because we never got the chance to split it and I ended up eating my bag all to myself.   Ooops..Sorry Heather, but I am trying to create more for you.    The tricky thing is actually turning those three ingredients into hard toffee.  Some recipes also use brown sugar and corn syrup but I think I will try one of those next.   I had made toffee once in the past and I decided not to use my candy thermometer and just go by time in the recipe.   Note to all : Use a candy thermometer.  :-P  It had turned out soft and not nearly as crunchy as this batch and not nearly as tasty. I  adapted this recipe from the Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook. 



INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans


















INSTRUCTIONS:
1) In a heavy 2 quart saucepan, heat sugar, butter and water to boiling, stirring constantly; reduce heat to medium.  Cook about 13 minutes, stirring constantly to 300F on candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into cup of very cold water separates into hard brittle threads.   





2. Immediately pout toffee onto ungreased large cookie sheet.   If necessary, quickly spread mixture to 1/4 inch thickness.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips, let stand 1 minute or until chips are completely softened, then spread evenly.   Sprinkle with pecans.

3. Let stand at room temperature about 1 hour or refrigerate if desired until firm.  Break into bite size pieces.  Store in airtight container. 

MY VARIATION:
1. I didn't stir constantly as I was always taught in to not touch the pot when you are creating caramel.   I used a wet brush and water to prevent crystallization.
2. I used a mix of dark and semi sweet chocolate, as well as more than 1/2 cup.  1/2 cup is clearly not enough!
3. I also used slivered almonds instead of pecans and did a quick toasting in the oven (350F for about 4-5min) 

Although I waited for the thermometer to reach 300F, I don't think the toffee was quite ready as some of it was quite runny when I went to pour it on the sheet.   I also didn't love the almonds, so I may actually try the pecans next time.  Oh yes, there will be a next time. It is my goal to perfect toffee.

I swear my next recipe will have no toffee of toffee bits. 

Meg's Rating: D-EE-LICIOUS!



(This is my practice at creative shots for photography class)

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