Just in time for Earth Day, PBS is airing the Academy Award-nominated documentary Food Inc. tomorrow night, and I'm hosting a get-together for all my friends who haven't had a chance to catch the movie until now. I'm keeping it low-key, and won't be serving dinner at the gathering, but plan to offer two different bowls of gourmet popcorn to munch on during the film. One will be tossed with Southwestern spices for a bit of savory sizzle; its counterpart, a caramel cluster version, ought to satisfy a sweet tooth. See both offerings — and make them for your own viewing party! — when you read more.
After getting several requests from readers for dessert sauce recipes, I added caramel sauce to my lineup of this year's edible gifts. Little did I know what I was getting myself into! On my first try, the sauce turned into a hardened mass of sugar — and the second time, too. The third mixture was grainy. After reading your suggestions, I gave Alton Brown's tried-and-true methods a chance, adding corn syrup and cream of tartar to prevent crystallization. Without a candy thermometer, I missed the mark a bit on trial four, and the sauce turned out creamy but slightly burnt. And the fifth time was the charm!
Through my many trials, I've learned the following: Have everything ready to go; don't turn away for a second; corn syrup and cream of tartar are your allies. You can succeed sans thermometer if you rely on sight and smell. And, most important, don't be afraid! It's not nearly as difficult as it sounds — and, once you nail it, you're golden forever. See my foolproof recipe when you read more.
Over the weekend, I was attempting to make caramel sauce as an edible gift when something went terribly wrong. The result? An epic caramel bourbon vanilla sauce fail. During my first attempt, I boiled the sugar and water mixture over medium heat — but before it could turn amber-colored, the mixture suddenly and unexpectedly became a hardened mass of sugar.
The second time around, I adjusted my method, fully dissolving the sugar first over medium-low heat. Then I boiled the sauce gently, occasionally swirling the mixture. But the mixture took longer than expected to turn caramel in color, and, after about 10 minutes of boiling, it too turned into a crystallized mess.
After two tries, I feel more determined than ever to figure this out. Do you have any ideas what might've gone wrong? Should I have cooked through the crystallization stage? Was the heat too high?
I first learned of white trash toffee, as it's called (no, I didn't make up the name!), many years ago when a former co-worker brought some in to the office and I couldn't stop putting it in my mouth. When I got my hands on the recipe, which came from her sister-in-law, I was shocked by how fast, easy, and inexpensive it is to put together — and I haven't stopped making it since.
If you have 15 minutes and any manner of chocolate, sugar, nuts, and crisp white cracker on hand, then you are ready to make this addictive homemade gift. Feel free to modify it using your favorite chocolate and toppings. Psyched to make the easiest holiday edible ever? Then see the recipe.
Love pecan pie, but tired of making the same old Thanksgiving dessert? Then bake these brown-sugar-pecan cupcakes with caramel frosting instead! Seriously, these cupcakes are the best dessert I've tasted in weeks.
The fluffy batter is rich, but light with a distinct browned-butter flavor. Although it requires a little time to make, the caramel frosting is absolutely to die for. It's smooth and creamy with a sweet taste similar to caramel candies. The pecans tie the elements together and provide a breakfast-like texture to the cakes.
When I served these at a recent dinner party, I was shocked at how good they tasted. Everyone was simultaneously saying, "mmmm" and "these are amazing." You simply must make these delicious cupcakes. Get the recipe after the break.
If you've volunteered (or been assigned) to bring a dessert to a Thanksgiving potluck, don't run to the nearest bakery. You can bake a delicious homemade treat that will impress your friends and family! Start by selecting an unexpected dessert like caramel-walnut pie. It's similar to classic pecan pie, but is made with walnuts instead. Next give yourself plenty of time to make the pie and if necessary, experiment with the recipe. Although the resulting pie, with its rich Fall flavors, is scrumptious, the technique to put it together is wildly simple.
The dough is store bought and the filling requires nothing more than a whisk, measuring cups, and a bowl. To give this easy, yet divine Thanksgiving dessert a try, keep reading.
In the past I've done ice cream sandwiches and pumpkin bars, but this year I've been all about cakes, so I'll be whipping up a relatively easy pumpkin cake.
The batter is seasoned with orange zest and the frosting is a decadent blend of caramel and cream cheese.
The resulting cake is festive and seasonal and can be made several days before the party. To take a look at the recipe I plan on using, keep reading.
Since the cake is a huge part of your wedding day, when planning the engagement party, select a dessert that is not cake based and totally different from what you want to serve on the big day.
For Ronda and James's Latin-inspired affair, I'm making caramel-coconut shortbread. Cut into rectangles or squares, it's ideal because no utensils are necessary. Although this dessert has several components, it's far from intimidating and comes together quickly. Get the easy recipe when you, read more
On Tuesday, I revealed what Barack Obama would be eating for his last supper before the big day. Many of you were impressed by the elegant-sounding menu — but in particular, you were dreaming of the dessert, a warm sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream.
Our stars must be aligned: for my favorite uncle's birthday last weekend, I made this dream of a cake from a recipe in Sheila Lukins's stellar new book, Ten. In case you didn't know, sticky toffee pudding isn't actually a pudding. Rather, it's a traditional British dessert that's made with date-flavored sponge cake and drenched in a toffee sauce. With its moist cake and gooey, syrupy caramelized sauce, this dessert is bound to catch on in the United States. To make this simple cake for yourself, read more
If you are in a hurry for a Thanksgiving dessert, the easiest thing to do is be like Sandra Lee and take some help from the store. Use a ready-made pie crust, instant pudding mix, and caramel sauce to assemble a delicious turtle pumpkin pie. The recipe calls for cool whipped topping, but it really doesn't take that long to make.
If you have the time, I suggest whipping the cream with a couple tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. To look at this easy recipe, read more