Butterscotch Pudding – Gourmet

D&D_1886I love homemade pudding and it really could not be much easier if you get right down to it. There are two schools of thought to this – the egg yolk version or the cornstarch version. They both have the merits and to be honest, I am not sure I have a preference excepting that the egg version can leave you with some egg bits in it and that is never good eats.

1/2 packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbs plus 2 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 tsp salt in a heavy medium saucepan, then whisk in milk and cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently, then boil, whisking, 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla. Pour into a bowl, then cover surface with buttered wax paper and chill until cold, at least 1 1/2 hours.

2 June 2017 – just trying to be normal for a little while, but this is a difficult time for me. I am not sure it is working at all. Nope, not likely. But the pudding is pretty damn good. At least the best that I can expect.

Yes, while I am posting this in August, my June was quite difficult.  We will say lupus and be done with it.

Oh, I totally forgot, I made little mini cups of pudding for the office and I could not keep myself away from them … but I did my best and I think the rest of the office enjoyed them. At least I hoped so.

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Bacon-Wrapped Dates

We have a relatively new Christmas Eve tradition.  Christmas Eve fondue night. It makes a lot of sense to me – an easy, quick dinner that’s best with friends. With fresh bread, apples, grapes, and cheddar fondue, I was looking for something a little savory to go with it that would bring a different flavors. This recipe has the benefit of being able to make it ahead of time and bake when your ready. dd_1702

1 16 oz package bacon, cut into thirds
1 8 oz package pitted dates
4 ozs cheese – bleu, goat, Brie – whatever sounds good, yes Brie that is what we did
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp chili powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil and arrange wire baking rack on top. Spray lightly with cooking spray.

Stuff each date with cheese and wrap with bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place on rack, seam side down. Stir together brown sugar and chili powder and sprinkle mixture over dates.

Bake 20 – 25 minutes until bacon is crisp. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving. Because if you do not wait it will be very bad (serious burns).

I love any dried fruit wrapped in bacon. Or pretty much anything with bacon (See: baked beans). I was really pleased with this recipe and plan to make it again since the container of dates I bought had enough to do the recipe again.

And believe it or not, if you let the left overs sit out and get to room temperature, they are not shabby like that either. Yes, I did do that. I’m that person.

2016 – A Year Ago – Lime Sugar Cookies

 

Baked Beans

I do realize that I have (probably – mostly) posted about this before. It is one of those not-recipe recipes. This is a mix of my mom’s baked beans and my former mother-in-law’s baked beans. But it really is something special. I am glad to be the one who mixed these two recipes together.  And I am really glad that that had a great mom and one of the best mother-in-laws. And for many years I have had another mother-in-law that I love like a mom.  D&D_1442

It is kind of stupid, but also ironic, that I use Bush’s* vegetarian beans but top them lots and lots (and lots) of bacon. I do kind of like that the vegetarian beans are kind of neutral so I get to flavor them the the way I want. That means lots of brown sugar, mustard (yellow = more vinegar), yellow onion,  Worcestershire sauce, and baking it slow and easy. That is how baked beans work. This is not something you can rush at all. Nope.

When the Boy and I had a Wednesday Night Cooking Class about this, the most important thing I could tell him about this is test the flavors before you put this in the oven. Figure out the balance – do you need more of something to balance this out. Because if you cannot figure that out before putting it in the oven, you will not be happy. Baking only concentrates the flavors. But when you top the whole thing with lots of bacon, that somehow fixes everything.

* My favorite brand of beans. Dog not withstanding. He’s cute, but …

 

Butter usage – by month – April 2016

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars – yep

2 April –  8 Tbs – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars (for Heather)

9 April – 8 Tbs – Salted Crispy Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

11 April – 2 Tbs – Everyday Orzo (once again amazing!)

13 April – 8 Tbs – Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

16 April – 12 Tbs – Buttermilk Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze – don’t do this

17 April – 7 Tbs – Italian Cream Cake

21 April – 8 Tbs – Lemon Ricotta Cookies – don’t do that either, do this

28 April – 12 Tbs – Brown Sugar White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

30 April – 5 Tbs – Mac and Cheese My Mom’s recipe, as such which I will say again – just do it. Really. Not kidding.

30 April – 8 Tbs – Brown Sugar Pecan Scones

78 Tbs = 9.75 sticks = 39 ozs = 2.4375 pounds

Not great, but not a ringing endorsement either. And from what I can gather my May does not start out any better. Crap.

 

Brown Sugar Pecan Scones

I have had this recipe for donkey’s years. But I finally got around to making it. But to be honest, even though I lived in England for a year, I am not sure what scones are supposed to be. They seem a bit dry, in a shortbread kind of way. Is that why the English smother these things with clotted cream (do love that stuff) and perhaps jam? Not sure. But I am a huge fan of brown sugar and pecans. Though after trying these, I think more sugar needs to involved and maybe some tea as well. Although at this point for me it is decaffeinated. But dunking something in tea is very appealing.D&D_1392

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs whipping cream
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans*
2 Tbs whipping cream, to brush on top of the scones

Preheat oven to 450°+. Stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until crumbly and mixture resembles small peas. Freeze 5 minutes. Add 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs cream and pecans, stirring just until dry ingredients are just moistened.

Turn dough out onto wax paper; gently press or pat dough into a 7-inch round (mixture will be crumbly). Cut round into 8 wedges. Place wedges 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush tops of wedges with remaining 2 Tbsp. cream just until moistened.

Notes: + I did this in a 425 degree oven for 14 minutes.

*1 cup Renfroe’s Pecans – local pecans (read: fresh and sweet) – pretty good thing that I like to keep celebrating. We are kind of stupid lucky to have those pecans, not everyone does. Maybe in the South you have a better chance, in Texas, Alabama, Georgia, North Florida – it really makes a difference to have local pecans. Those things you get at the grocery store are so inferior.

Source: Southern Living December 2010

Brown Sugar White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

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I do love my white china.

The Boy has always loved white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. But this time copious amounts of brown sugar will be involved – and no white sugar.  But I think that’s my favorite part of cookies is the brown sugar. It gives a bit of depth to a cookie.  I love a toll-house chocolate chip cookie, but to be honest, if I made it without the semi-sweet chocolate chips, I would still love it just as much, just because of the brown sugar taste. I always use light brown sugar. It is just a thing for me. You can always add a little molasses to it if you want to deepen the flavor.

I do think now I will be on the prowl for a brown sugar cookie. You know, something you roll and stamp out, but it might not be crisp like white sugar cookie. It might be a bit softer, but I’m sure it could really be tasty. That would really be nice, or amazing – yes, I am guessing amazing.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
12 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup white chocolate chips (Ghirardelli, of course)
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts (mine were salted, I saw no other kind – salt is never a bad thing)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment – as usual.

Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy.  Mix in eggs, one at a time. Mix in vanilla. Slowly incorporate flour mixture. Stir in white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.

Using a cookie scoop+, space cookies on sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes turning the pan half way through. The cookies should be set in the middle and gold on the edges.* Cool a couple minutes on baking sheet and cool completely on a wire rack.

Source: Baking Bites

Notes: * The original recipe had a longer time, but this is what worked for me.

+ How does one know the size of a cookie scoop? I have no idea, but this random tool seems to work out well for me. I’m guessing (totally guessing!) that is a smidge over a tablespoon, but to be honest, I am so not sure about that.

Egg Usage – by month – April 2016

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M & M Cookies – the Spring Edition

2 April – 1 Egg – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

2 April – 2 Eggs – M & M Cookies, Spring Edition

9 April – 1 Egg – Salted Crispy Butterscotch Pecan Cookies (These are just amazingness it self – so far these are favorite of all the people I take cookies to).

13 April – 1 Egg – Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Bars

16 April – 4 Eggs – Buttermilk Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze – don’t do this.

17 April – 4 Eggs – Italian Cream Cake

21 April – 2 Eggs – Lemon Ricotta Cookies – do not do this either. But do this  – Yes This. 

28 April – 2 Eggs – Brown Sugar White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies