Monthly Archives: May 2011

Salted Toffee-Chocolate Bars

Salted Toffee Chocolate Bars

Sometimes only a super sweet and chocolatey mess will resolve a downward spiral of a day. You know what I mean, those moments where you feel like you’re about to lose it and then you bite into something totally awesome and you’re blinded by all the insanity. So, a few weeks ago I was in a baking frenzy, just as everyone in the house was on the verge of illness. Of course, it was not a coincidence that there was also a Cranky-Pants Festival in town that week.

Thank goodness this recipe came to mind. I found it a while back in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food and set it aside for a rainy day as a recipe to try out. Check it out! This recipe is super easy, totally tasty and massively impressive. Ok, it’s not so impressive if you’ve read the recipe, but it got pretty good reviews from the kids’ preschool teachers, not to mention that I ate more than half the batch myself. I really had planned on bringing some of it to work, but it just didn’t make it that far out of the kitchen.

Oh yeah, the reason I set it aside in the first place was that it’s fantastically easy with very little hands on time, and definitely doable during the witching hour with kids underfoot.

It’s not chicken soup or anything, but it certainly made me feel so much better as I began my downward spiral into sickness.

Shopping List:

13 graham crackers

1 bag (8 ounces) toffee bits

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped, toasted almonds (I used peanuts instead)

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

3/4 cup (4 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, chopped or chocolate chips

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place graham crackers in a single layer on sheet with edges touching.

2. Sprinkle toffee bits and nuts over graham crackers.

3. In a small saucepan, bring sugar and butter to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and cook at a rapid simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is syrupy, 2 minutes.

4. Immediately pour over graham crackers. Bake until sugar topping is bubbling, 12 minutes.

5. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate and salt over graham crackers. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into 2-inch squares. Let cool completely on sheet on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container up to a week.

This salty, sweet treat is one reason to keep toffee bits on hand for sure.

Adapted from: Everyday Food

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Chili Crusted Scallops with Peach Remoulade

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Chili-crusted Scallops with Peach Remoulade

In my “experiment with flavor” (which I have subjected my family to) I have attempted to introduce a previously foreign or disliked item into the mix. This time around I was successful in rewiring the subject. In this case my husband was the unwitting target.

He’s always claimed that he doesn’t like scallops, but he loves all other seafood — and most other meats for that matter. So, I figure he’s just never had good scallops before. Now, I, on the other hand really like scallops. They seem like a less fussy version of lobster to me. There’s no shell to crack and their flavor is so buttery who can really pass them up?

Ok, so I’m not really sure what a remoulade is but it sounds like a fancy word for sauce to me and that’s what this is a simple pan sauce to enliven any poultry or fish entrée. Feel free to use it with some grilled chicken or as a condiment on a turkey burger. It works great.

Shopping List:

1/2 lb. of sea scallops

1/2 cup of ripe, peeled and diced peaches

1/2 an orange, squeezed

1/3 cup chicken or veggie stock (I used reduced sodium)

1 tablespoon red onion, diced

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 tablespoon butter

Instructions:

1. In a small saute pan over medium heat, add the red onion, peaches, orange juice and stock. Bring this mixture to a simmer, then reduce it to low heat to keep warm. It will start to thicken and look like a jam almost.

2. In a separate saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Meanwhile open the package of scallops from the fish counter and dry them off. Lay them all flat on that white paper they come in and sprinkle the chili powder on both sides of the meat.

3. Now that the butter is melted, go ahead and plop those big babies in that loveliness and watch them sizzle a little. Don’t move them in the pan for at least 3-4 minutes, so they get a nice crust to them.

4. After that flip ’em and let them sit another 3-4 minutes, again a crust should form (otherwise the heat is set too low). Check that they are opaque in the center and serve them on top of the peach sauce “remoulade”.

This serves two.