Pan Roasted Pears with Caramel Sauce

Super easy, quick, dessert – I mean I had everything on hand and could also see doing this with two apples as well. Sometimes the simple things are just the best. I could have this for dessert, but would also enjoy for breakfast. Next time – this just occured to me – toast an English muffin and spoon the pears/sauce over it for a nice crunch, mostly healthy, breakfast. Yep. The English muffin would soak up all the caramel sauce. Just another excuse to make it again – like I needed one.D&D_2462

3 pears, peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
pinch of Maldon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
garnish – whipped cream, or nothing at all, maybe some chopped nuts
finishing salt

Melt butter in large skillet on medium heat. Saute pears for several minutes, turning over with tongs or lifter (a what??) during the process.  Remove pears gently from pan once they are of desired doneness.

Add sugar to butter in pan and cook until melted, while stirring. Reduce heat to low.

Gradually stir in sour cream; cook 1 minute stirring occasionally.

Add pear pieces to caramel sauce and cook just until pears are heated through.

Spoon pears and caramel sauce into four dessert dishes.

Top with whatever kind garnish suits you – for me, it was unnecessary, excepting a little black lava finishing salt – now that was pretty and tasty too.

Source: Mennonite Girls Can Cook

Egg Usage – by month (January 2016)

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Best Sugar Cookies – um, ever

8 January – 3 – Chicken Salad
8 January – 1 – Sun-dried Tomato Palmiers – egg wash
9 January – 1 – Shortbread Chocolate Squares
16 January – 2 – The Browniest Cookies
16 January – 2 – Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
18 January – 2 – Sugar Cookies
26 January – 1 – Sour Cream Pecan Sandies
31 January – 2 – Lemon Crisps

14 eggs.  Meh. Need to try harder.

With eggs going at about $4 a dozen, that’s $4.66. Manageable but I do wish the egg prices would come down but I don’t see that happening this year.

Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

D&D_11611 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
14 caramels *
2 Tbs heavy cream or half and half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 inch square baking pan, line with a parchment sling and spray or butter the parchment. Over a sheet of parchment, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, mix in completely after adding each egg. Mix in vanilla.

Gradually add flour mixture and beat until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.

Place caramels and cream into microwave safe bowl. Heat at half power in short bursts. Stir until melted, heating as needed. Pour caramel over batter and swirl caramel into batter.

Bake 30 – 35 minutes on until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in pan completely. Remove with sling and cut into bites.

* You can use about a 1/2 cup of caramel bits instead of caramels. I had caramels in the pantry, so that’s what I used.

Notes: I’ll be doing this again soon to share with the office. The Boy got most of these and gave his seal of approval.
Source: http://www.bakeorbreak.com

Star Crunch or fancy-ass rice crispy treats

I don’t have a lot of experience with star crunches – a little Debbie thing – but I have a friend who asked if I could make them for him. I get the impression it was because it was a favorite childhood treat. So, given a challenge of any sort, I just try to make it work.D&D_0956

First thing I noticed was no-bake, which in my head usually means no-brain involved – there it is – I said it. Suffice to say this is a fancy rice crispy treat – had no idea.
So this is not difficult to do, but it takes a bit of time and I already have some changes for the next time. No surprise.

11 ozs caramels
4 Tbs unsalted butter
2 cups mini marshmallows (about 1/2 bag)
4 cups rice crispy cereal
12 ozs bag Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips
2 Tbs vegetable shortening

Line a baking sheet with parchment*. Measure out the 4 cups if rice crispy cereal. In a large glass bowl, add (unwrapped) caramels and microwave in 30 second bits, stirring as you go. When caramels are mostly melted, add the butter and keep up the same routine. The butter and caramels won’t completely come together. There will be little pools of butter. Add marshmallows and keep doing the same 30 second thing.

Once all is as close to combined as you can get it, add the cereal and stir to completely combine. Quickly, using wet hands, shape into disks. Place on parchment to cool and firm up. Cover with plastic wrap at let sit 2 hours or up to overnight.

In a large microwave safe bowl, add chocolate and vegetable shortening. Melt in a 15 second interval. The original recipe said to do this with half at a time and that was a saving grace. You didn’t scorch the whole batch, but could work with half at a time while keeping the chocolate flexible enough to work with (hate ending a sentence this way). I just used my hand to dip the disks in chocolate and it worked well. Put them right back on the parchment sheet and put in the fridge to set up. They can sit out at room temperature after this point, but I kept them in the fridge and thawed for a few minutes before eating.

These went over famously at work. I guess it was because I !finally! made something chocolate. My friend who asked for it said it wasn’t quite right (Again, no frame of reference), and who am I to argue, but the raves of others made up for that.

Bench Notes: my gut told me, and I should have listened, not to use milk chocolate. Ugh (Have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day? When Andie McDowell realizes she tried fudge. “Yuck. I don’t even like fudge.”) Yep. That’s how I’m feeling about this milk chocolate right now. Ghirardelli is always the way to go, but I should have used semisweet instead.

* Just received refillable parchment from King Arthur Flour for this baking season. Woo hoo excited. And that, my friends, means I’m easily amused.

Source: AverieCooks.com

TBM (to be made) List

I read a lot of books – yep – I’m another kind of book nerd besides being a food nerd. Jane Austen, Colin Dexter, Agatha Christie, P.D. James. And cookbooks.

And I read other bloggers that like to read too. Apparently they all have a TBR pile – to be read. But I have figured out that I have a TBM list = To Be Made. It is an on going and ever changing list. No big surprise there. Lists are a thing with me which is kind of annoying. During the week, usually when I’m hungry, I write down things that sound good to make – it helps me make the grocery list – ugh yet another list – but then I get practical and start to cull the list of unrealistic things that I always seem to plan.

So right now, what are the things on my TBM list, you ask? – or not, as the case may be. Here’s the mental jumble that is my thoughts on being in the kitchen this upcoming week.

Roasted Potato Salad – with tiny new red potatoes.
Salted Caramel Sauce
Sugared Lemon Cookies – made them this week, by the way -Post to follow
Salted Lemons
Chicken Francese
Hot Pepper Jelly
Blackberry Jelly – from blackberries from a friend. In the freezer until I’m ready.
Cheddar Pepper Jelly Thumbprint. These are so good.
Pecan or Walnut Tassies
Brown Sugar Pecan Scones
Off-to-bed Butter Cookies
Lemon Doughnut Muffins
Pecan Cream Cake
Bacon Wrapped Dates
Couscous Salad – unless the Boy drinks all the orange juice. Which I am pretty sure he will.

There it is. My list of lists.