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Cooking With Bitters: Aromatic Caramel Corn

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Fall is here guys. Leaves…to rake, squash, painted pumpkins, The Walking Dead (!!!), Halloween and of course, caramel. To me, caramel is one of the most important fall flavors. It’s just wonderful. What’s not to like? A fun little snack to make is caramel corn. But, you know we have to add a twist. We’re making grown up or “adult” caramel corn by adding Hella Bitters Aromatic Bitters. The cinnamon, clove and Jamaican allspice notes work perfectly with caramel, pecans and of course, homemade popcorn. I would suggest that you make this as a treat for the kiddies but, you’ll probably want to keep this for yourself. Movie night just got 10 times better!

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You’ll need butter. Lot’s of butter!

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Aromatic Caramel Corn:

1/2 Cup Popcorn Kernels

1 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

1 1/2 Sticks Butter (I don’t mind using Salted here. Use Unsalted if you’d like)

1/4 Cup Light Corn Syrup + 2 Tablespoons

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

3 Teaspoons Hella Bitters Aromatic Bitters

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2-1 Cup Chopped Pecans (Or your favorite nut)

Start by popping your corn. Follow your label instructions for best results. Chop your pecans and we can start the caramel. Heat your oven to 250° and coat a large baking dish with butter or nonstick foil. Add the popcorn and chopped pecans and set the dish to the side.

Over medium heat, add the corn syrup, brown sugar and salt to a saucepan.  Bring these ingredients to a boil and cook for 5 minutes while stirring. Reduce heat slightly and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the caramel from the heat and whisk in the Aromatic Bitters, vanilla, cinnamon and baking soda. Whisk for about 15 seconds until there’s a light foam. Immediately add the caramel to the popcorn and pecans, mixing thoroughly to coat and spread the popcorn into an even layer. Bake for 45 minutes, turning the popcorn over every 15 minutes. After baking, let the popcorn cool completely before breaking into individual crunchy bites.

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Popchips: Easy Recipes For Your Holiday Party

Chestnuts won’t be the only thing roasting this holiday season. S’mores. A campfire favorite for many, Popchips provides the perfect salty, sweet and melty bite all in one. Now that we’re past Thanksgiving, it’s time to start preparing for all of the wonderful holiday parties. Wether you’re hosting a party or attending as a guest, these one bite desserts by Popchips will make party planning a breeze. The one thing we all want during the holiday season. These little bites don’t require a long list of ingredients, hours of prep and no baking! Does it get better? Before we get into the recipes I have to let you know the Campfire Popwich is my favorite!!! I’d love to have these anytime of year. And guess what, we can 🙂

We’re slowly moving out of the pumpkin craze but I’m sure there will be some pumpkin pie at your holiday dinner. Don’t want to roll out pie crust? Don’t blame you. Pick up a bag of Sea Salt Popchips, pumpkin pie filling and a little whipped cream to try the Pumpkin Pop-Pie:

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1 sea salt popchip + 1 scoop of pumpkin pie filling + a little whipped cream = the delightful little pumpkin pie pop-pie.

Next up is the Caramel Popple. All of the familiar flavors of fall, fresh apple and caramel. Wonderful, wonderful caramel with just a touch of sea salt. YUM!

Caramel Popple:

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1 sea salt popchip + 1 slice of apple + dollop of caramel + a sprinkle of sea salt = a tiny slice of joy – the caramel popple

Last a certainly not least (may favorite) the Campfire Popwich. What I like about this one the most is if you really do have an “open fire” (I said that in my Nat King Cole voice), you can pop open a bag of sea salt popchips, break out the chocolate bars and roast your marshmallows. It’s fun and easy for the kids too. The recipe calls for 2 chips but I prefer mine in the open face style. One bite where you get the salty popchip then the chocolate and finally the gooey roasted marshmallow. The Campfire Popwich, like the other desserts, can be prepared before your holiday party and they travel well (drizzle caramel on the popple before serving). I would mention all of the healthy parts of Popchips but, you know, it’s the holidays. Live it up!

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Campfire Popwich:

2 sea salt popchips + 1 marshmallow + 1 chunck of chocolate + 1 blazing campfire = the sticky-sweet n’ salty campfire popwich

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DSC_4305Happy Holidays from Popchips!

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Chocolate [Buttermilk] Pots de Creme

One of the easiest chocolate desserts ever. Minimal ingredients, luscious flavor. Not exactly light in calories but, we won’t count today. Does one really need an excuse to eat chocolate?

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These little french puddings (meaning “pot of custard”) have been around since the 17th century. That really says something. It says good things last forever. You could put any flavor you want in a pot de creme. Espresso, chocolate, mexican chocolate, vanilla, maybe even sweet potato or other fall flavors around the holidays.

The pot de creme recipe is pretty standard and relatively inexpensive. You can easily impress dinner guest with your “fancy” pots de creme. The salted caramel whipped cream will really take them over the edge!

Pots de Creme:

2 Cups Whipping Cream

1/2 Cup Whole Milk [Buttermilk used here]

5oz. Bittersweet Chocolate [Milk or Semi-Sweet if you prefer]

6 Egg Yolks

1/3 Cup Sugar

Preheat oven to 325. Bring the milk and cream to a simmer. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in separate bowl. (After whisking the chocolate into the cream mixture, I like to let it cool for about 5 minutes to further eliminate the risk of any egg scrambling in the chocolate mixture.) After the mixture has cooled slightly, whisk in egg and sugar mixture. Fine strain and let custard cool for 10 minutes. Place [6] ramekins in a baking dish. Fill the ramekins with the custard mixture and cover each with a small piece of foil. Place the baking dish in the over and fill with water, about half way up the side of the ramekins. Bake for 55 minutes. Let cool for at least 3 hours. I let the custards sit out until they come to room temperature and then refrigerate. The custards are really great the next day!

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*Insert reference to Frasier’s “Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs”. Don’t want any in your custard!

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Skim any skins that may had formed on surface of custard after cooling for 10 minutes.

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Prepare the babies for their Bain-Marie (water bath). Don’t want any cracks in the custard!!

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After baking for 55 minutes, it’s whipped cream time!

I had some leftover caramel in the fridge, threw in some salt, heavy whipping cream and BOOM! Salted caramel whipped cream. This caramel is pretty easy to make. There’s no  adding water to hot sugar that could flare up in your face. It’s evaporated milk and sugar. Simple. Take a can of evaporated milk, throw it in your pot and add some sugar. Maybe 1/3-1/2 a cup. Taste to adjust the sweetness to your likeness. Let the mixture simmer on medium to low heat until it begins to thicken, careful no to burn. If you begin to see some black flakes or feel with your spoon on the bottom of the pot that it’s burnt, fine strain into a new pot and lower the heat. I tend to like a slightly burned or “bien cuit” flavor to my caramel. It’s okay if the caramel is loose. It will incorporate easier into the whipping cream. After about 30-45 minutes on low heat, the caramel should coat the back of a spoon. Let the mixture cool. It’s great over ice cream or pound cake and fruit (or all three together!!)

Salted Caramel Whipped Cream:

1/2 Cup Cooled Caramel [Should be kept in the fridge]

1-1 1/2 Cup Whipping Cream

Hefty Pinch of Sea Salt [Maldon, Fleur de Sel, Kosher]

2 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar [Adjust sweetness to your likeness]

Whip all ingredients in a bowl until soft peaks form.

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Bon appetit!