Friday, October 27, 2017

Honey Cardamom Caramel

The smell of this caramel cooking smelled familiar to me and the first taste reminded me exactly why.  This is one of the things I love about food (or in this case honey cardamom caramel).  I love how it can evoke memories and take you back to a place you haven't visited in awhile. 

Every Christmas, my Grandma Pinegar makes honey candy.  Honey, cream, and sugar cooked together, then pulled and pulled and pulled until it can be pulled no longer, then cut into bite size pieces.  Each piece is then wrapped in small squares of wax paper.  (I have yet to try making honey candy after a taffy pulling incident that happened at my 8 year old birthday party at the Lion House that left me unsure about my pulling abilities. Just ask my mom. Hahaha!)

Those little wax paper wrapped honey candies show up every year in our Christmas goodie bags and are always a special treat.  I remember being young and hiding mine in a special spot so no one would steal mine.  I remember rummaging through my bag filled with empty wax paper wrappers hoping to find just one more piece of honey candy hidden in the wrapper aftermath that filled my goodie bag.

Along with the memory of the candy came memories of family, chicken dumplings and broccoli salad, a nativity scene, a white stocking, and simple primary songs about the Savior's birth.  Memories of my Grandma wearing her long red dress with a green necklace, peppermint ice cream with hot fudge on top, and giant elf ears and Santa hats.

It's magical to me how something as simple as a honey caramel sauce can carry with it a goodie bag of memories filled with so much joy and love and of course...honey candy.


Honey Cardamom Caramel

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups honey
3/4-1 teaspoon kosher salt (start with 3/4 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

In a large saucepan combine the cream, honey, salt, and cardamom over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.  Continue to cook caramel until it reaches 235-240°F.  Transfer caramel to a heat resistant container and let cool slightly (or to room temperature if not using right away).  Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

We use this caramel for apple dipping.  I'm sure it would be delicious over ice cream, but we just love it so much with sliced honey crisp apples.  You could leave the cardamom out, but I've made this numerous times (always using the cardamom) and everyone loves it just the way it is.

Recipe and instructions (slightly adapted) from Food 52

Friday, September 15, 2017

Birthday Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches

We celebrated Todd's birthday this past Tuesday.  He doesn't get into celebrating his birthday the same way I like to celebrate mine.  I plan my birthday celebration a couple weeks before my actual birthday and Todd is the opposite....no planning...zip, zilch, nada.  We had burgers for dinner (a bacon blue cheese for the birthday boy) and then continued the celebration at the golf course.  Preston made me hit a few shots just so he could get a good laugh and Noah is certain that he only needs his 5 and 7 iron to play the game.  Stella was driving the cart with me riding shotgun and Todd riding on the back of the cart.  She took a really sharp turn that nearly tipped the cart on its side and left Stella swinging out the side of the cart hanging onto the steering wheel for dear life.  After we stopped and the cart was still in an upright position, I started laughing and couldn't stop.  I just kept seeing Stella in my mind swinging outside of the cart.  Poor Stella on the other hand was in tears.  We finished the night off brownie ice cream sandwiches, a lovely rendition of Happy Birthday, and an episode of Last Man Standing.  Happy Birthday Toddy boy!  We love you!!


Birthday Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Brownies

1 cup unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Filling

3 cups of ice cream (more or less depending on how thick you want the ice cream layer)

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Butter 2 8-inch square pans.  Line the bottom and sides of the baking pans with parchment paper with the parchment overhanging opposite sides a bit.  Lightly grease the parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring until full melted.  Remove pan from the heat.  Add the sugar and stir well.  Add the eggs, vanilla, and espresso powder, whisk until blended.  Whisk in the salt and flour until batter is smooth.  Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and spread it evenly.  Give the pans a few quick bangs on the counter to release any air bubbles.  Place pans in oven and bake until a toothpick comes out clean.  This will take about 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.  Once cool, remove the brownies from pan and chill on wire rack in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.

Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with plastic wrap. Next, line the bottom (again) and the sides that aren't covered with another piece of plastic wrap.  You are essentially making a plastic wrap sling.  This will make it easier to wrap up the brownie and ice cream.

Place one of the cooled 8-in brownies, top side facing down, in the bottom of the plastic wrap lined pan.  Working quickly, cover with ice cream.  Use a spatula to smoosh down the ice cream and smooth it out on top.  Place the second 8-inch brownie top side up on the ice cream and press down a little (not too much or the ice cream will squish out).  Leaving the giant ice cream sandwich in the pan, wrap the ice cream sandwich up with the plastic wrap sling and place in freezer to freeze until firm, about 4 hours or overnight.

Remove ice cream sandwich from pan and place on cutting board.  Remove plastic wrap and cut into quarters.  Cut quarters into strips or squares.  Serve immediately.  (Oh and a little ganache and flaky salt never hurts!)

Brownie recipe slightly adapted (and doubled) from Delancey: A Man, a Women, a Restaurant, a Marriage

Saturday, September 9, 2017

My Beehive Pizza

I'd probably say that my two favorite foods are pizza and hamburgers.  (I kind of feel like a little kid when I say that. Haha!)  If I'm going out for pizza, my favorite place is Pizzeria 712.  Todd and I usually share the sausage pizza with roasted peppers, but right now they have a corn pizza with leek soubise, bacon, and ricotta that is definitely one of my seasonal favorites.  I also love their speck pizza and I always order a side of arugula to pile on top.  For a burger, hands down, Habit Grill.  It's cheap and it's the burger I always crave.  An added bonus is that Habit fries are always hot (the sweet potato ones are my favorite).  When you have the choice between ketchup or fry sauce for your fries, which one would you choose?  I like ketchup for regular fries and fry sauce for sweet potato. Picky, picky.

This summer we've eaten pizza a lot, A LOT.  Todd and I went to Pizza Nono in Salt Lake a few month back and ordered a pizza called the Beehive.  This pizza is my version of the Beehive.  It's topped with Calabrese, pickled jalapenos, and a drizzle of honey that makes it just about perfect.  Someday in my dream backyard, I will have a pizza oven, but until then, a pizza stone on my grill and a quick trip under the broiler before serving makes my pizza dreams come true.  (Oh and I've been using Alexandra Cooks peasant pizza dough recipe from her cookbook Bread Toast Crumbs.  The dough comes together in minutes and makes having pizza for dinner a cinch.)


My Beehive Pizza

Dough: (This recipe (I doubled it) is the best and comes from the cookbook Bread Toast Crumbs by Alexandra Stafford)

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 cup lukewarm water

Toppings:

Tomato sauce
Calabrese
Fresh mozzarella, torn into chunks
Pickled jalapenos
Finely grated Parmesan cheese
Honey

In large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and yeast.  Add the water.  Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix until the liquid is absorbed and the ingredients form a sticky ball.  If the dough seems dry, add water a teaspoon or two at a time (you want it to be sticky).  Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm spot to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough has nearly doubled in size.

Once the dough has risen, using two forks, deflate the dough by releasing it from the sides of the bowl and pulling it toward the center.  Rotate the bowl quarter turns as you deflate, turning the dough into a round ball.

Once the dough has risen, using two forks divide the dough into 3 equal portions.  Spread flour on a clean surface.  Using the forks lift (or just kind of scoop out) each portion of dough onto the floured surface.  With floured hands, shape each dough portion into a ball, using the pinkie-edges of your hands to pinch the dough underneath the ball. Let the dough balls rest for at least 20 minutes without touching.

Place a baking stone on a 4-burner gas grill right in the middle.  Turn the grill on and heat on high (all burners) for 20 minutes with the lid closed.  Once the grill has preheated for 20 minutes, turn the two middle burners to low.

While the grill is heating, place a piece of parchment paper on an upside down baking sheet (I use 3 baking sheets with a piece of parchment on each upside baking sheet, one baking sheet for each dough ball.)  With floured hands, gently stretch outward.  Then with the back of your hands, stretch the round more, using additional flour if needed.  Be careful to preserve the pockets of air trapped in the dough.  Place dough on parchment-lined baking sheet and stretch more if necessary (this is always necessary for me).  Repeat with the remaining dough balls.  (I like to trim some of the excess parchment around each pizza before I put it on the grill.)

Spread each pizza with a thin layer of sauce, calabrese, fresh mozzarella, pickled jalapenos, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of flaky salt (if you want).  Slide the parchment paper with the pizza onto the grill.  The parchment paper makes it easy to get the pizza on and off the baking stone.  Bake until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown on the bottom. 

Ok, here's my trick (It's actually not really a trick, but I think it makes the pizza extra delicious by giving the air bubbles on the crust and the cheese some good char marks).  Before you start cooking your pizza, preheat your broiler.  Once the pizza is nearly finished on the grill (it's ok if the cheese hasn't reached it's full melty goodness potential, the broiler will take care of that) pull it back onto the upside down baking sheet and slide the parchment paper out from underneath the pizza (you don't want it to catch on fire under the broiler....not good).  Place pizza under the broiler and cook until the cheese is bubbly and the crust has some char marks.  Remove from oven and sprinkle pizza liberally with grated parmesan and a drizzle of honey over the entire pizza.  Slice and Serve.

I know this may seem a bit lengthy, but I promise once you do it a couple times, you'll be a pizza grilling pro.  You'll learn how your grill heats and whether or not you need to adjust the grill temperature.  Have fun with the toppings and remember that more toppings isn't necessarily better.  Go for simple!

Oh and here's the recipe for my favorite tomato sauce.  It takes just a few minutes to throw together and always makes more than I need so I freeze the extra in 1/2 cup portions in baggies.  This is awesome because it makes pizza night even easier.

Tomato Sauce

28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt

Mix the crushed tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil together.  Add salt until the sauce goes from tasting blah to good (or as good as cold tomato sauce can taste...haha).

Friday, September 8, 2017

Pickled Jalapenos

Noah loves it when I make anything pickled.  He just loves the smell of vinegar.  Bahahaha!  He actually hates it and even the pickle lover in me doesn't love the smell of vinegar fumes wafting through our house.  I of course am willing to suffer through the smell because I love all things pickle-y.  Every summer I grow jalapenos in our garden just so I can pickle them.  So here's to a smelly house and lots of pickled jalapenos.


Pickled Jalapenos

15 jalapenos, stemmed and sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3-4 pieces orange zest cut from stem to end of orange. (If I can get a strip that long, it's a miracle.)
1 cup distilled vinegar
1 cup water
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt

Pack the jalapenos tightly in jar(s) adding pieces of the orange zest between the layers of the jalapenos.

Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and kosher salt in a small saucepan. Drop in the garlic.  Heat over medium heat until sugar and salt have dissolved.  Pour the pickling liquid over jalapenos until covered.  Let cool to room temperature, then seal and refrigerate.

I like to use a little of the pickling liquid in salad dressings and will often add a splash when I make refried beans.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Chocolate Chip Scone Loaf

The summer before 6th grade, I moved into a new house.  I pretty much thought my parents were the worst for making me move and change schools.  To make matters worse, they were making move away from my best friend.  The best friend that I went with to the mall and classic skating.  The best friend that did the science fair with me every year and who was my siamese twin for Halloween.  The best friend who wore the other half of the best friend heart that dangled on a chain around my neck.  My parents, like any parents would, told me that I'd make new friends, but I wasn't convinced.

That same summer, before our big move, I went to 5th grade camp with the elementary school I had been attending and a few other schools.  A day into the camp, my best friend went home with a bad case of "homesickness".  I remember going back to my tent feeling sad and alone.  Little did I know that Heavenly Father was watching out for me and that soon I'd be introduced to a group of girls that would become my very best friends.

I remember standing in field with a big group of kids and a girl wondered over to me with a small group of girls standing a few feet behind her.  She asked me if I was the new girl moving into the purple house (yes, our new house was a purple-grey color) and then told me they'd bring me cookies when I moved in.

I'm not sure how out of all those kids, they knew it was me who was moving into their neighborhood, but I remember afterward feeling not so alone.

Those girls did bring me cookies when I moved in and they became my very best friends.... really the best friends anyone could ask for.  We've been through a lot together...A LOT (pretty much everything imaginable) and to this day I love them with all of my heart.

A few weeks ago, one of these best friends was visiting from Florida (the one that told me they'd bring me cookies).  As soon as I found out she was coming, a group text was sent out to all our Utah friends to plan on a girl's brunch at my house while she was here.

We sat around my kitchen table for 4 hours eating, talking, laughing, crying, and eating and laughing some more.  The time apart from each other may be months and in some cases years, but when we get together it's like we were never apart.  After everyone left, I sat in my kitchen with piles of dirty dishes, platters with crumbs of chocolate chip scone loaf and brown butter blueberry muffins, and a heart filled with so much love and gratitude for these amazing women in my life.



Chocolate Chip Scone Loaf

7-8 ounces marzipan, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons sugar + 2 teaspoons
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Homemade ricotta and vanilla bean honey, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Line a 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, allowing the parchment to hang over the edges on the long sides of the pan.

In a large bowl, toss together the marzipan and powdered sugar to coat. Add the chocolate chips and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar and pulse to combine.  Add the butter cubes and pulse until the butter is the size of peas.  Add this to the bowl with the marzipan and chocolate chips.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, and extracts and add to dry ingredients.  Using a spatula or wooden spoon, stir until just combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf and spread it out evenly.  Sprinkle top with 2 teaspoons sugar (I used raw sugar) and bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  

Cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes.  Using the overhanging parchment, remove scone loaf to the rack to cool completely.  Slice with a serrated knife and serve with ricotta and honey.

I've made this without the marzipan and it was still incredibly delicious!

Recipe slightly adapted from Molly on the Range

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Pumpkin Chocolate Scones with Spiced Pumpkin Glaze

My birthday is coming up here pretty quick and I can hardly believe that another year has come and gone.  This year for my birthday I asked for a plane ticket to Utah for my sister Stephanie who lives in California.  I'm pretty much getting the best birthday gift ever (and all of my sisters and mama are thanking me for the gift I asked for and am getting)!  Her visit will be short (too short), but we are definitely planning on making the most of it and I can hardly wait for her to get here.  I have that tight, excited Christmas feeling inside.

Last night, my thoughts were filled with planning the food we will eat while she is here (she loves food as much as I do).  You'd laugh if you saw all my planning lists.  Dinner menus, breakfast menus, lunch ideas, grocery lists, food preparation lists.  It might all seem a bit crazy, but if I can plan it out (at least the things that I really want to be included) and can prepare the things that can be made ahead of time then I don't have to spend every moment in the kitchen while she's here and we still get to eat really great food.

These pumpkin scones were at the top of one of my lists.  It is October and something pumpkin seemed to be the perfect way to start one of her mornings here.  I've made these scones before (without the chocolate) and I couldn't help but think that a great dark chocolate would be a very welcome addition to these scones.  So, this afternoon I gave them a whirl to make sure they'd turn out the way that I wanted them too and heaven help me...the chocolate was the perfect addition!  I ate one and I seriously couldn't refrain from eating another (and right before dinner too).  The pumpkin. The chocolate.  The glaze.  I was in scone heaven and I know Stephanie will be too!



Pumpkin Chocolate Scones

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 large egg + 1 yolk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup pure cane sugar
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate

Spiced Pumpkin Glaze

1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
dash of cinnamon
dash of fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together pumpkin, cream, and eggs.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices.

Using a pastry cutter, your fingers, or a food processor, cut butter into the flour mixture until the mixture is crumbly and there are no pieces of butter bigger than a pea.  Add chopped chocolate and toss to combine.

Make a well in the center of the flour/chocolate mixture and pour in pumpkin mixture.  Using a fork, combine until dough just comes together.  Do not overwork the dough.  Form dough into a 6"ish square and cut into 9 squares (thirds and then thirds again).  Place square scones on prepared baking sheet.  Place in freezer.

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Once oven is preheated, remove scones from the freezer and bake for 15 minutes.

While the scones are baking, make the spiced pumpkin glaze.  In a flat bottomed bowl, whisk together cream, pumpkin, salt, and spices.  Add the powdered sugar and whisk until no lumps remain.  Glaze scones while slightly warm (not hot) and sprinkle with chopped chocolate.

Scone recipe adapted from The Faux Martha

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bleeding Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are my very favorite chocolate chip cookies!  I personally think they are the very best, and most delicious when eaten while they are still warm (or reheated in the oven for  few minutes).  I call them bleeding chocolate chip cookies because the proportion of chocolate to dough is amazing, and by using a good quality chocolate that pools when it melts instead of staying in "chip" form, the cookie if warm (as it should be) will "bleed" melty, glorious chocolate when the top of the cookie is gently pressed.  It's pretty much chocolatey amazing-ness!


Bleeding Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (220 grams-I always weigh my flour for this recipe)
8-ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut with a serrated knife into roughly 1/2-inch chunk
Flaky salt, for sprinkling

Heat oven to 360°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butters and sugars with an electric mixer until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add the egg and vanilla, beating until incorporated.  Scrape down the bowl with a spatula.  Add the baking soda and kosher salt and beat to combine.  With the machine on low, slowly add the flour. When the flour is halfway absorbed, add the chopped chocolate and mix until the remaining flour is incorporated.

Scoop dough into mounds (I use a big scoop, probably close to 1/4 cup dough).  Space the dough mounds evenly apart on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with flaky salt.  Bake for 9-10 minutes or until golden brown, but still very gooey and soft inside.  Let the cookies cool slightly on baking sheet before transferring them to a cooking rack.

Recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen and originally from Not Without Salt