Sunday, November 30, 2008

When you even surprise yourself

I don't know about you but I am very hard on myself. I never think that what I make is quite good enough. Everyone else can rave about how its the best they ever had, blah, blah, blah. But I always see room for a change or improvement. ( Don't worry im working on it) But I needed to come up with something for a contest and this is what I came up with and let me tell you. This is amazing. Even I think so :). Honestly when I tasted it, I was like you don't need to change a thing Katie this is great.
Salted Caramel White Chocolate Bread Pudding

1 cup of heavy cream

1 cup of half and half

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1/2 of a 1lb loaf of dense white bread

12 oz of white chocolate chips, divided

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup of sugar

2 teaspoons of coarse sea salt

2 teaspoons of vanilla

Caramel Sauce -
1/2 cup of caramel ice cream sauce
2 teaspoons of coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 3 1/2 quart baking dish with non stick spray Heat cream, half and half, vanilla until it comes to a boil then turn it down to a simmer, mix in 10 oz of white chocolate and stir until combined and completely melted. Then set aside to cool. Chop the bread into 1 inch cubes and set aside in a large bowl. In a bowl mix the egg yolks, sugar, salt and cinnamon together, add in the warm cream mixture and whisk to combine. Pour the custard mixture over the bread and stir to coat every piece and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then pour into the baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining white chocolate chips. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the top is light golden brown and the custard is pretty much set.

Heat the caramel sauce and salt together for about 30 seconds in the microwave and drizzle over the warm bread pudding.

I can finally post this. I wasn't chosen for the contest, oh well.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Work Cook Off and a question

My work does an annual cook off. And every year there is a different theme. And this year the theme was Sandwiches. So there was a big lack of entries this year so I made several entries and then at the last minute a bunch of people entered. So since I already purchased all of the ingredients I figured I would still make the sandwiches. So 3 sandwiches were made and they were as follows.

Fake Cuban

Caprese Panini

Peanut Curry Chicken Wraps

So for the 3rd year in a row I won the top prize and it was for the Fake Cuban, (onion kaiser, bacon, sharp cheddar, granny smith apples and press on a panini maker) and most unusual for the Peanut Curry Chicken Wraps.

So I officially retired so that next year someone else can take top billing.

Now for the question -

Do you wish that your company did something like this?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And the Chocolate Salt goes too........

Again I used and P to double check my counting and to keep me honest so with out further ado. The winners are........

11- The Behlmers
17- Meg
68- Micha
75- Grace
83 - Hanna

Please email me your address so I can send these out! And you have to let me know what you use the salt for and how you like it!

And if you didn't win and you would still like to get some salt please head on over to Barhyte Foods and pick some up(

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Another Giveaway and this time a recipe too....

So a few weeks back I was contacted by a company about my website. Because we had a similar interest, the love of chocolate and salt together. So they graciously offered to send me some of their product, and as any blogger would do I happily accepted. I figured I would get a few little samples, but then the wonderful Kelly contacted me and told me to pick out whatever I wanted from the site. Now that was a bad idea because they had so much stuff that looked fantastic that I had to have some self control. So I sent it what I would like and figured they would cut it down or give me mini samples. So I was shocked when I got the package a few weeks later, and there were huge regular size containers of everything and they even threw in some extra’s for a giveaway! So thanks to Kelly, Eric and everyone over at Barhyte Foods.
My whole fantastic package.

Their whole line of salts, Chardonnay, Hazelnut, Pinot Noir, Olive, Serrano Lime and of course Chocolate!

Ok but back to the reason they contacted me, they make a chocolate salt. Yep you read that right, salt with chocolate in it. Sounds perfect right, it pretty much is. But they make a whole line of interesting salt flavors, which begs the questions how do you use salt like that. Well I found a way to use the chocolate salt, on apple cider caramels.

So because they were so gracious I am giving away 6 jars of chocolate salt! So please post a comment by Nov 19th 8pm central time. And sorry US only again. I just tried to price shipping even this small item and dang the Postal service is outrageous.

Apple Cider Caramels from this fabulous site and the original recipe source

2 cups of apple cider
Reduce to 1/3 cup, set aside

2/3 cup of heavy cream
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
6 tbsp of butter
Heat to boil then set aside.

1 ½ cup of sugar
¼ cup of corn syrup
¼ cup of water

Cook to light brown, normally I cook this until a nice amber color.
Add cream, butter and reduced apple cider all at once to caramel mixture, stirring constantly it will foam up - use a good size pot, and be prepared to back away. Cook to 250 degrees over medium heat. Once it reaches 250 immediately pour it into a 8 inch square baking pan that’s been lined with two pieces of oiled parchment paper, one in each direction - this creates a “sling” to pull the caramel out of the pan. After about 5 minutes sprinkle on the chocolate salt to your hearts content!

Monday, November 17, 2008

And the winner is.....

After using the fantastic random integer generator at and P as my witness to keep me honest it is number.......59. So Christine email me your address and I will ship it out to you right away!

And stayed tuned for another fantastic giveaway and this time there will be more than one winner!

Maple Pecan Granola

This post has been a long time coming. A while back I made breakfast for my day at work and part of my mission that day was to make as much as possible from scratch. Kind of like a mini challenge to myself. So I went searching for granola recipes and could not find a single one that I really liked. So after reading about 20 recipes I decided to just come up with my own. So this is what I came up with and P really likes it. He never really asks for anything because I'm always making something and he happily enjoys tasting my creations but he says I can just keep the container full at all times and that is ok by him. It makes a great addition to a parfait, or as a bowl of cereal in the morning.

Maple Pecan Granola

4 cups of old fashioned oats

1 cup of coconut

1 ½ cups of roughly chopped pecans ( I smash them with the back of a measuring cup)

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of nutmeg

1 stick of unsalted butter

½ cup of honey

¼ cup of maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Mix together the oats, coconut, pecans, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. In a small sauce pan melt the butter, honey and maple syrup together until it just starts to simmer. Pour over the oat mixture stir to combine. Make sure you bring the bottom of the bowl to the top so that everything gets coated. Spread onto 2 half sheet pans and bake for 30 minutes. Stirring often and rotating the pans halfway through. If you are using a darker non stick pan it might not take as long so keep an eye on it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

National Bundt Cake Day and a Giveaway

Tomorrow is National Bundt Cake day and I will find out which other finalist beat me! Really it's ok that I didn't win, really I'm fine with it. :) So in honor of National Bundt Cake day I am giving away a wonderful bundt cake pan! Sorry no recipe today as I might use the one I tested to enter next year! So all you have to do is post a comment by 5pm on Monday the 17th and I will pick a winner, randomly of course.

This is the Bavaria Bundt cake Pan. Don't worry this one is mine. Yours will come to you brand new!

Disclaimer - This is open to the US only, sorry in advance.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thanksgiving in a Panini

So this last month has been crazy between the Bundt cake competition, Birthdays in P’s family and his brother getting married. So I feel like I have been neglecting my blog. So I am going to try to be better, I promise. I do however have another competition to get ready for, it is for my work. This one does not have a cash prize but the bragging rights are fantastic to have. I have won the top prize both years I have worked there can anyone say 3 peat! This year the theme is sandwiches, so any kind of sandwich or wrap or something like that will be allowed. So I had to put my thinking cap on and try to decide what to make. So this is my first contender. I don’t know about you but most of my sandwich ideas normally come from one of the ingredients and I build from there so when I saw the cranberry cheddar cheese at Whole Foods I just knew I had to buy it and try to make something with it.

Thanksgiving in a Panini

½ of a loaf of good white Italian bread, cut into slices

½ of a pound of turkey lunch meat ( I used honey flavored)

3 big slices of cranberry cheddar cheese

1 apple sliced into thin pieces

Assembly –

I know I probably don’t have to tell you what to do but here goes anyway. Take a slice of the bread and then layer in this order on top of it turkey, apple slices, cheese. Then top off with the other piece of bread. Press on your Panini maker or in a skillet with a weight until the bread is crusty and the cheese is melted. Slice and enjoy.

Now P and I both agreed that this is missing something so I will have to work on that but for my first try it was pretty good.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pistachio Spice Cookies

1 cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups of packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons of dark molasses

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon of almond extract

3 cups of AP flour

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground cardamom

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup of finely chopped unsalted pistachios

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In the bowl of a mixer beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add in the brown sugar and cream it until the mixture is no longer gritty. Add in the molasses, egg yolks, and almond extract and beat until blended. In a bowl mix together the flour, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda and salt. Add into the butter mixture in 4 additions until blended then stir in the chopped pistachios. Turn the dough out on a floured work space and work into a disk. Divide the dough in half and roll each into a log that is about 6 inches long and flatten each log alittle so that it makes more of a rectangle shape. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for atleast 2 hours but up to a few days. When you are ready to bake slice the chilled dough into 1/8 inch slices and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on the pans for a few minutes then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Cookies, by Marie Simmons (Simon & Schuster, 2002 )