Enjoy a wonderful post from husband’s new blog. Excited to see what he has to share.
McMurdo, Antarctica, set apart from the eyes of the world, far from any major city, is an oasis of peace unlike any other. Nestled on the frozen shoreline of the Ross Sea, it serves as the last refuge of society. There are no lush gardens teaming with life, no waves crashing along sandy beaches, […]
via Frozen Serenity — Quicksilversailor
Nutella buttons really should have been a simple and quick cupcake recipe. Sometimes I have a way of complicating what should otherwise be a breeze to get through and this was one of those instances. Typically I make a recipe as close to the original as possible but I no longer buy US Nutella so I had to find an alternative*. This turned into a little experiment and ended up being more of a Nutella substitute test than a cupcake test.
I tested three Nutella alternatives: Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter, Wild Friends chocolate sunflower seed almond butter and homemade hazelnut chocolate spread.
The recipe for the cupcakes is pretty simple. Yolk and dry ingredients get lightened up with beaten egg whites.
Then comes the fun part. A little batter gets put into mini muffin paper-lined tins and then a little dab of chocolate hazelnut spread gets added and covered with batter. Dorie also suggested using jam in the center and I bet this would be wonderful in these.
My cupcakes came out with cute little domed tops but they deflated a bit once cooled. Since I was covering these with chocolate it didn’t matter too much.
*Reasons I don’t use Nutella
1. It’s really bad for the environment. (Supposedly they are working on this.)
2. Orangutans are really awesome.
3. This affects people too.
If you use Nutella that’s cool, maybe drop them a note that you would prefer they speed up the whole sustainably sourced thing though. We all make choices every day on who to support and I just decided that the taste of Nutella just wasn’t worth the sacrifice for me personally. I also gave up peanut butter m&ms which occasionally brings me near the point of tears. I may have to give up my beloved Reese’s eggs too; thank goodness the regular cups are ok.
I noticed a few years ago that I got major skin break outs after sneaking some Halloween candy. Turns out palm oil has been sneaking into our manufactured foods for quite some time now. The Justin’s hazelnut spread that I tested was made with sustainable palm oil and it definitely triggered some major skin breakouts for me. Go figure, my body doesn’t like the cheapest oil out there? I tend to give most baked or sweet foods a pass on the nutritional value of their contents but if something has a negative consequence on how I look or feel I don’t really have a compelling reason to eat it.
Sometimes you come across a recipe that surprises you. I never thought something so simple as caramelizing cripsy rice could be so delicious. This simple treat had to be re-made several times for me to capture a picture of the end result. Somehow these bars kept disappearing before an image was taken.
The ingredients are simple enough but it’s how they are put together that makes them special. The trickiest part was caramelizing the rice but I enjoyed the taste so much that I did it for every batch I made.
The first time I tried to caramelize the cripsies I threw out the batch thinking I had messed up. When I went for in for a second attempt I learned I had to just keep going until the rice started looking wet and developed a caramel coating. Every time I’ve made it since then I get the feeling things are going wrong and I just keep going. The powdery sugar coating that develops is so unlike any other caramelization process that I find it a little disconcerting every time. Well worth the effort though-I could munch on this treat all day.
The cookie base comes next and is about as simple as you can get. A simple mixture of butter, brown sugar and flour with a little vanilla flavor. The base was described as “chewy” but I made this several times with varying degrees of doneness and every time the base was more crispy and crunchy than chewy. However, it was also amazing. With all the taste testing that we and our friends did it was decided the the most done, almost a little over-baked version was the best.
The hardest part of the process was getting the batter into the pan. It’s quite sticky and fights being spread. I found that keeping a little cup of water nearby to occasionally wet my fingertips helped keep everything in check.
Once the base is done chocolate pieces are added to the hot top and it’s all placed back into the turned-off oven for a minute or two. Once the chocolate is nice and melty it gets spread across the base and you can add the caramelized crispy rice.
The only problem is that the whole thing now needs to cool to room temp and then go into the fridge to cool. It’s already warm in Phoenix this time of year so I kept the bars in the fridge even after they had been cut.
The bars are a wonderful mixture of brown sugar toffee flavor, earthy chocolate and a delicious crispy, caramel topping. The reminded me of the delicious saltine and brown sugar bars that I’ve found called both bravo bars as well as matzah toffee. These were however elevated to quite another level while still maintaining the simple flavor ideas.
More to come on my love of OkGo. For now, enjoy their new video.