Creme Brule

Crème Brule is my favorite dessert.

A few years ago, I learned how to make it at home and since then it’s become my thing. In some circles, I’m the crème brule girl. When we invite people for dinner, they expect it now and on the few occasions when I’ve gone rogue and made another dessert instead, I’ve noticed a slight tinge of disappointment in the faces of our guests.

I’ve tried a few different recipes over the years. I’ve made variations with pumpkin, coconut and white chocolate espresso, but my favorite is the classic crème. It’s simple and perfect. It’s also very easy to make with this recipe:

Crème:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

In a medium sized bowl, combine:

5 egg yolks*
2 cups Whipping Cream
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp vanilla

*When separating the eggs make sure to remove as much as the whites as humanly possible, apparently this is what leads to lumpy custard. Lumpy custard is the worst!

Whisk until creamy.

Distribute mixture evenly into 6 small ramekins.

Set ramekins in an 8×12 baking pan and fill pan with water until the water level is halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake for 1 hour. The custards should jiggle slightly in the centre.

Let the custards cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

Add the crust before just before serving.

Crust:

With a paper towel, gently remove any excess moisture from the surface of the custards. Any moisture will prevent the sugar from hardening.

Sprinkle the top of each pot of custard with a tablespoon of fine brown sugar and caramelize using a small blowtorch (available at most kitchen stores).

Serve to friends and enjoy the praise as they marvel over your culinary genius.

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Holiday Baking Blitz 2010 – Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, my baking blitz came to an abrupt end after the caramel corn on Tuesday even though I had three more projects planned for the rest of the week. A few more important things came up an there was just no time left for baking.

I’m still determined to follow though with my plans, so first thing this morning I got back to work in the kitchen. Today I made peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies.

Peanut butter cookies are the easiest cookies to make. You don’t need a fancy mixer or multiple bowls. One bowl, a fork, a spoon and a spatula is all you really need for the preparation (and of course, a baking sheet for cooking part). There are only a handful of ingredients to round up, and since there’s only a little bit of flour involved, you can easily convert it to a gluten free version, for us wheat/gluten free freaks out there.

Here’s how they’re made:

Ingredients
2 cups peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, whatever you like)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup flour (or gluten free substitute, like Bob’s Red Mill)
3 eggs

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix peanut butter, sugar and eggs. Stir until smooth. Combine flour, then fold in chocolate chips.
Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 17-19 minutes, depending on how soft you would like your cookies (less baking time will give you a softer cookie).

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Holiday Baking Blitz 2010 – Caramel Corn

Every year I make grandiose plans to bake up a storm during the holidays, but then I get busy and/or lazy. Sometimes I get around to making one batch of cookies from one of the many recipes I’d planned to make. I decided this year, if I was going to get anything done, I’d have to plan a week long baking blitz.

I started on Sunday with Smitten Kitchen’s Brownie Rollout Cookies . This cookie is the love child of a brownie and a sugar cookie. It’s a fantastic recipe.

Then on Monday I tried a recipe for Egg Nog Cookies . I’d never made these before. Jeremy’s eaten at least five of them already, so I’m declaring them a success.

Tonight’s project was caramel corn. It’s been years since I’d last made this.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

8 ounces popcorn (1 cup kernels)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

Mix sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt into a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until mixture starts to boil. Continue cooking for 5 minutes without stirring.

Remove from heat. Stir in cream of tartar and vanilla. Pour over the popped popcorn. Stir popcorn until evenly coated. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring every 10 minutes.

Remove from pan to cool .

Store in an airtight container.

Next on the agenda: rice crispy treats. I thought I would give the oven the night off tomorrow.

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