Double trouble – Caramel chocolate shortbread and pretzels

Chocolate and caramel shortbread recipe

I have to confess, the idea for this cookie didn’t come from, as many similar others do, homemade twix. There’s no denying that homemade twix is scrumptious, as is regular factory made twix. (Pretty much anything involving cookies, chocolate and caramel is scrumptious in my book). But as inspiring as that famous candy bar is, the idea for these came from Lille’s Thins. Not as famous, they are impossibly thin cookies with just a sprinkle of sugar, and just the other day I got a tin of them as a gift and, being the cookie monster I am, I opened them right then and there where it was slightly dark. The plastic tray thingy they come in is chocolate coloured, and I of course got super excited because the outside did not advertise any cacao goodness. But to my great disappointment,  it was all a sneaky ruse from the packaging, there was no chocolate involved. But I could not stop thinking as I dunked a couple in a glass of milk, how much more nice they would be if they had a thin thin layer of chocolate as well as that “sprinkle of sugar”. So I set out to make a shortbread thin version covered with chocolate. And in the process thought that an also very thin layer of caramel wouldn’t hurt anyone. And voila! Three ultra thin layers of some of the best components of pastry: caramel, chocolate and shortbread. The result is beyond scrumptious, if that’s possible.

But that’s not all. I knew I’d have some leftover caramel from the recipe, and hence the double trouble: the day you make these you can turn into a two-treat kind of day, because if you have some extra chocolate chips and a few pretzels around, you can also make pretzelcaramelchocolatechunks. (Which don’t have a name that I’m aware of) These both make excellent gifts if you wrap them individually in waxed paper, and they keep very well as long as you keep them away from heat and moisture. So go on, read more for the recipe (s) ! Continue reading

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For a spotty friend – Almond and chocolate scones

Almond chocolate scones

I’m a huge Dr. House fan. I’m also a huge scone fan. And how might these two relate? (apart from Hugh Laurie being british) Well, I was watching an episode about two weeks ago in which a family went scuba diving to an old shipwreck and got infected with what appeared to be smallpox. Which was eradicated quite a bit ago. and as I was watching the show, I was also getting a few spotty-faced snapchats from a friend who’d been infected with…wait for it…..chicken pox! Which is almost eradicated even in little kids…so how she got it was also a mystery worthy of House. And so while watching the family slowly die in isolation, I thought up these scones to bring to my friend who was also in isolation (though thankfully not dying, just quite itchy) and who, like me, also finds solace in crumbly pastries which you can have for breakfast, lunch or dinner. (because scones are just awesome like that). So if you have a friend in need, or just want a snack to munch on while you watch House re-runs, go read more for the recipe. Continue reading

Insanely sweet – Tres leches and strawberry cake

tresleches0

This post contains what I’m just going to go ahead and without any research or authority on the subject, call Mexico’s favorite cake. While it’s not strictly Mexican (I know it’s also out there in other latin american countries, also probably a favorite) it is an incredibly  mexican flavor for me, because it’s one of those things that you eat in traditional restaurants, in pueblitos, or at your grandmother’s house when your family gets together. And I’m not singing its praises just because its traditional… oh no. Not in the slightest. How could I not talk up the spongiest of sponge cakes that’s thoroughly imbibed in all the variants of sweet milks out there? Because that’s exactly what this cake is, tres leches, meaning three milks. Condensed milk? Yes please. Evaporated milk? Yes please. Table cream? Um, also yes. Top it all with chantilly? Too much cream you say? No. That is absolutely impossible! Especially if you have bits of fresh strawberries all over. Trust me on this, it sounds insanely sweet, but what did you think the first time someone told you to dip your oreos in peanut butter? Aha. Thought so.
This cake is the kind of cake you don’t eat as often you’d like… because it takes a bit of work. But the texture, and flavor, and insanely sweet goodness are absolutely worth it.  Note: The pictures here are for three-layered mini cakes, because I’m crazy like that, but the recipe is for a regular, two layer cake. (Trust me, you’ll want to go for the easier one-cake bit unless you’re insane like me).
Read more for the recipe.
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Cashew Brittle – Vanilla ice cream

Cashew Caramel - Vanilla Ice cream

So lately I’ve had floating around my head gazillions of ideas for ice cream (probably because I stuck my ice cream maker in the freezer about 9 days ago and hadn’t yet brought myself to the actual task of putting something in it.) Amongst those ideas have been a mamey one, which is probably coming next, a strawberry crumble one, a nutella-banana one, and a rosemary one. But, even though I rarely repeat recipes, I thought I’d start this ice-cream frenzy my mind is on with something tried and true – and oh so very true! I made this recipe before for a friend who’s crazy about nuts (heh, crazy about nuts -insert childish giggle-) in any form, but particularly mixed with anything sweet, namely caramel. The cashews in this ice cream are slightly salted, roasted, and then turned into brittle, all by a very simple process. They are then incorporated into an adaptation of The perfect scoop’s vanilla ice cream recipe. I made extra brittle for serving, and also just because it’s delicious by itself, you can serve it with tea or just munch on it while you blog about it give it to said friend as an extra present. Keep reading for the recipe.

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Pine nut and dulce de leche cookies

Pine nut - dulce de leche cookies

“A poem begins with a lump in the throat” – so said Robert Frost. And while these cookies are far from being a poem, they also began with a similar lump in the throat. Things have not improved that much since my last rabbit post, hence the lack of recipes. But yesterday, after a day of doing pretty much nothing and pleading guilty to myself of intense wallowing, I decided, with the lump in my throat, that it was time to pay my kitchen a much needed visit. And as I could not muster enough energy to chop chocolate or did not feel adventurous enough to bake a cake, I made up a quick-cookie recipe. Now, these are made with pine nut dulce de leche, (or cajeta, as we call it in mexico) but you could use any dulce de leche you can find, and add the pine nuts, previously roasted. Pine nuts have always been, in my opinion, funny tasting. But these cookies, while different from  any others that I’ve tried, proved to be a success with both my mom and my friends.

Here follows the recipe:

Pine nut and dulce de leche cookies
(Own recipe)
Makes aprox. 24 cookies.

1 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 1/2 cups  flour
3 tbsp dulce de leche
2 tbsp roasted pine nuts

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly flour two baking sheets.

In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking soda. Separately, using the whisk attachment of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture. When fully mixed, using a spatula, mix in the dulce de leche and pine nuts, not mixing entirely but leaving it in swirls. Drop by spoonfuls on your cookie sheets and bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes.

These are really good served with vanilla ice cream.

Pine nut cookies before baking