Showing posts sorted by relevance for query caramel. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query caramel. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, February 11, 2013

Chocolate-covered Caramel Muffins #MuffinMonday

This week’s muffin recipe called for an ingredient I had never heard of but one I am sure I would love, caramel milk chocolate drops.  I’m not much of a sweet eater but I do have a weakness for caramel, especially of the salty variety.  I was one of those children who would open a sampler box of chocolates and zero in on the little square ones because they were usually the one with caramel inside.

I am a little embarrassed to admit this, but I would sometimes poke the bottom with a fingernail to make sure it was really caramel and not some horrible fruit filling before I would take a bite.  And I am completely ashamed to admit that I would put the chocolate back in the box, if it wasn't.  I know, I know.  It was terrible thing to do but please tell me I wasn’t the only one!  With all due respect to Mrs. Gump, I wanted to know what I was gonna get. 

Anyway, back to our caramel milk chocolate drop problem.  I went off the shops in search of same but had no luck.  Instead, I bought some little Galaxy candy bars, which are chocolate-covered caramel.  Those would do, right?  The caramel was oozy, which is a good thing unless you need to cut them into bits, so my very smart husband suggested that I pop them in the refrigerator overnight to harden up.  And it worked beautifully!

The original measurements are metric so I tried my best to approximate for those who use cups.  (Scales are so much easier!)  When I say Scant, just don’t fill it up quite all the way.  Almost but not quite, okay?

Scant 2 1/2 cups or 300g flour
Scant 1/2 cup or 100g sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder           
2 eggs
2/3 cup or 150ml milk
1/2 cup or 110g butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 1/2 oz or 155g chocolate -covered caramel candies (Chilled, if the caramel is soft.)

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and either grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line it with paper muffin cups. 

In a large bowl, stir together your flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.

In another smaller bowl, whisk together your eggs, milk, vanilla extract and melted butter.

Remove your candies from the refrigerator and cut them into smaller chunks.

Fold your wet ingredients into your dry ones.  Stop when there is still quite a bit of flour still unmixed.

Add in the chopped candy and stir again until the batter is just mixed. 

Divide the batter between your prepared muffin cups.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.  Mine could have been a little more brown but we were headed out the door to drive to Abu Dhabi to sail again.  And picnic on the smallest island ever.  (I'll put a photo at the bottom of the post for anyone who is interested.  Muffins are good picnic food, by the way.) 

Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tin and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.


The tide was on its way out and our little island did grow as we set up the picnic. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Pecan Caramel Chocolate Muffins #MuffinMonday

The second in my candy bar series, made with Frey’s Caramel and Pecan milk chocolate, this sweet muffin has big dollops of caramel, just folded through the batter, leaving sweet golden streaks, and more than its fair share of toasted pecans. 

So I’m baking with my chocolate bar stash again. I take them out of the storage box and fan them out like playing cards, then choose one to recreate in muffin form, adding more of the key ingredients.  I almost did maple-walnut but my walnut supply is low. So now you have that one to look forward to, if I don’t get to white chocolate-lemon first. Or dark chocolate with chili. I know, I know. But I’m having fun!

Also contains hazelnuts. Why?
1 cup or 115g whole pecans, toasted
1 Frey Pecan & Caramel bar (3 1/2 oz or 100g)
2 cups or 250g flour
3/4 cup or 150g sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup or 180ml milk
1/4 cup or 60g butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup or 80ml caramel - plus extra for drizzling on baked muffins, optional

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and either grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line it with paper muffin cups.

Chop your chocolate bar with a knife and put aside 12 chunks for decorating the tops of the muffins. Set aside 12 of the prettiest pecans and chop the rest up to add into the muffin batter.

In a large bowl, stir together your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

In another smaller bowl, whisk together your eggs, milk, melted butter and vanilla. Fold your wet ingredients into your dry ones.  Stop when there is still quite a bit of flour still unmixed.

Fold in the larger pile of the chopped chocolate bar and the chopped pile of pecans.

Drop the caramel in spoonfuls all over the top of the batter.

Fold it in, trying not to stir too hard. You want to see big golden streaks of caramel in the batter still.

Divide the batter between your prepared muffin cups.

Top each with a piece of chocolate and a pecan.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.

Allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cool, drizzle on a little more caramel if desired.


The Candy Bar Series

1. Dark Chocolate Toasted Sesame Muffins using Lindt Dark Chocolate Roasted Sesame

3. White Chocolate Lemon Muffins using Movenpick Swiss Chocolate White Lemon


Friday, June 24, 2011

Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels

This is the chocolate that started me off.   

Almost two months ago I had the good fortune to be invited to Geneva to take part in a meeting of company spouses.  We were also treated to some lovely meals and excursions, one of which was the Cailler chocolate factory in Gruy√®re.    I’ve traveled all over the world, but somehow I had never come across chocolate with caramel and SALT. Ordinarily not a sweet lover, I ate the whole bar, square by square, nibble by nibble until it was completely gone. Then I mourned. Just as well, you say, and you are correct, but that new taste sensation has stayed at the back of my mind now for weeks.
Yesterday, I came across a recipe online, originally from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich and I knew I had to try it.

Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels
from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich (And if you, too, love Alice Medrich, check out her blog.) 

1 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup
2 cups sugar (I used only 1 3/4 cups)
3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt (I used a 1/2 teaspoon since I was trying to approximate my Swiss experience, which was definitely salty.)
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pure ground vanilla beans, purchased or ground in a coffee or spice grinders, or 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I scraped the seeds out of one fresh bean then threw the whole pod in while heating the cream, taking it out before adding the cream to the sugar mixture as required.)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened

A 9-inch square baking pan
Candy thermometer

Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil. (Really grease it well or even the foil will stick to this caramel! Mine did in places so clearly my greasing wasn’t thick enough everywhere.) Combine the golden syrup, sugar, and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Wash the sugar and syrup from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. (Meanwhile, rinse the spatula or spoon before using it again later.) Uncover the pan and wash down the sides once more. Attach the candy thermometer to the pan, without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook, uncovered (without stirring) until the mixture reaches 305°F. 

Meanwhile, combine the cream and ground vanilla beans (not the extract) in a small saucepan and heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the cream hot.

When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, turn off the heat and stir in the butter chunks. Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam dramatically, so be careful. 

Turn the burner back on and adjust it so that the mixture boils energetically but not violently  Stir until any thickened syrup at the bottom of the pan is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, to about 245°F. (This part seemed to take forever. I had my fire rather low because I didn’t want the mixture to burn but it didn’t seem to go above 225 °F for the LONGEST time, so I raised the flame and the temperature finally began to climb.) Then cook, stirring constantly, to 260°F for soft, chewy caramels or 265°F; for firmer chewy caramels. (Took mine out at 260°F and they are soft and chewy and are a danger to dental fillings for sure!)

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, if using it. (I skipped this step since the whole pot was filled with little bitty vanilla seeds and that seemed like enough vanilla.) Pour the caramel into the lined pan. Let set for four to five hours, or overnight until firm.

Lift the pan liner from the pan and invert the sheet of caramel onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the liner. Cut the caramels with an oiled knife. (This DID NOT work very well for me. My well-oiled knife still stuck to the caramels. My kitchen scissors were much more effective in cutting the caramel into squares.) 

Wrap each caramel individually in wax paper or cellophane.  (I used cling film, cutting off a wide strip and lining the squares up in the middle with an inch or two in between each one. I folded the cling film over from the top and then the bottom, pressing a finger down between each caramel. Then I cut the cling film where I had pressed my finger, to separate them.)

These caramels are delicious. If I would do anything different next time, it would be to add even more salt flakes to the top. I mashed a lot of them off as I was trying to separate the caramels into squares.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Creamy Camel Milk Caramel

Cooked in the traditional long slow simmering way of dulce de leche or cajeta, this rich caramel is made with camel’s milk, said to be a healthy alternative to cow’s milk and better tolerated by folks with allergies. Here's one fact: It is deliciously creamy. 

I have been known to do a little happy dance when the farmer’s market in Houston still has some goat’s milk left because usually all of their bottles are spoken for, by regular customers. But sometimes I get lucky. And one of my favorite things about living in Singapore was the goat farm where I could go and buy the milk directly from the, ahem, producers. Homemade soft cheese made with goat’s milk is the best. When we moved to Dubai a couple of years ago, I discovered that one could buy camel’s milk in the grocery store, which intrigued me but somehow I never got around to buying any.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, at the first birthday celebration of Food e Mag dxb, an online magazine to which I’ve been a contributor (It’s gorgeous! Do go have a look!) I met a Dubai-based cookbook author who has a weekly show on local talk radio. I regularly listen to Suzanne Husseini  on 103.8 FM Thursday mornings from 10 a.m. – noon, because her topic is one of my favorites, food! Since the party was on a Wednesday evening, nosy parker that I am, I had to ask what the focus would be for the next day’s show. And because she’s a sweet person, Suzanne didn’t tell me to buzz off. She said it would be camel milk.

That's Suzanne in the hat, and me, on the right, with our Food e Mag dxb's editors Debbie Rogers and Ishita B Saha.. 

I learned so much from that show! Do you know that the farmer cannot separate the camels from their calves, as we do to cows, or they’ll stop producing milk? Also, the top producers only make between 5 and 20 liters a day vs. 40 liters from top producing cows. Camels are not mature enough to be mated until they are four years old and they carry their babies for more than 13 months before giving birth. Compare that to cows that can mate at 13-15 months old and have a gestation of nine and a half months. Or goats that can be bred at seven months old and that give birth after only five months! So, why would a farmer choose to raise camels for milk? It will come as no surprise to learn that camels are uniquely suited to the dry environment here and, while they don’t produce as much milk, they also don’t need as much water as other dairy animals would.

Camel milk doesn’t coagulate as easily as goat or cow milk so I decided that cheese would not be my first foray into using it. Instead, I decided to try making cajeta – that sticky sweet caramelized condensed milk usually made with goat’s milk. Or if bought in a can as dulce de leche, cow’s milk. Make this on a slow day when you are going to be home for a few hours anyway because it has to cook long and low. Mine took almost three hours.

Adapted from this recipe on Pati’s Mexican Table.

Ingredients – yields about 1 1/4 cups or 300ml creamy camel milk caramel
4 1/4 cups or 1 liter camel milk
3/4 cup or 175g demerara sugar
1  1/2 teaspoons  vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon flakey salt or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or to taste

Pour your sugar, vanilla and baking soda into a large thick-bottomed pot with the milk and heat gently over a medium flame, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved.

Let it come to a slow boil and then turn it right down, or add a diffuser under the pot. I had other things going on at home that day and I was afraid the milk might scorch so I used the diffuser.

These are great for making sure the rice at the bottom of the pot doesn't burn either. 

If you are a thermometer-using type, I kept one in the pot and the temperature stayed between 165-180°F or 74-82°C.

Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until the milk reduces by at least half and starts to turn a warm golden color.

Keep a closer eye on it now and stir more often. The camel milk caramel is done when a spoon pulled through the liquid shows the bottom of the pot for a few brief moments before running together again. It should be a deep golden color.

Put a metal teaspoon in a clean jar and pour the caramel in. Remove the spoon and seal tightly.

Still pourable

The caramel will thicken considerably when refrigerated and will keep for several months.

Cold, it's pretty stiff.
This is great over ice cream or spread on bread or simply eaten with a spoon. Tomorrow I'll be sharing an Egyptian cookie recipe using it as well.


Update: Here are the basbousa using the camel milk caramel!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Caramel Apple Muffins #MuffinMonday

Apple muffins are wonderful plain, but they are kicked up several notches with the addition of caramel.  Add some cinnamon and you’ve got the perfect fall snack.

When I am counting my blessings, friends in Kuala Lumpur are right near the top of the list, along with family and health.  There are a few things in life that keep me sane, and getting together with folks who share my stories and complete my memory is among them.

I am fortunate to be staying with a dear friend and baking in her KL kitchen this week.  It was like old times as we discussed the muffin recipe and decided on caramel and apples.  She put out the paper muffin cups and I was delighted when I saw her choice because, now, I will always remember where I was and with whom I baked these lovely muffins when I see the photos.  Our friendship goes back to my arrival in KL almost 12 years ago, from the time my younger daughter was in third grade and I volunteered to help with the Girl Scout troop.  That baby girl is now finishing the first semester of her third year at university, to give you some perspective.  That’s a long, long time in a mother’s life!  We all did a lot of laughing and crying and loving and growing up in those many years.  It’s been wonderful to refresh our memories and tell stories on each other and to catch up on all the news.  And bake some muffins.

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup or 240ml milk
1/4 cup or 60ml canola or other light oil
1 Granny Smith or other green tart apple
24 square or 200g caramels, divided

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your 12-cup muffin pan by greasing it thoroughly or spraying with non-stick spray or lining it with paper muffin cups.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and stir well.

In another bowl, whisk together the milk, oil and egg.

Cut half of your caramels into smaller pieces making sure to set aside 12 whole caramels.  Put the cut caramels into the flour mixture and mix so that the caramel pieces are coated with flour and won’t stick together.

Peel and chop your apple into small pieces.

Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold them together until just mixed.

Fold in the apple pieces.

Divide half of the batter evenly among the muffin cups.  Put one caramel in each and push down slightly.

Evenly divide the rest of the batter among the muffins cup, making sure to cover the caramel.

Bake in the preheated oven about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted just next to the middle comes out clean.  (The middle should have a sticky soft melted toffee, remember.)

Cool on a rack for a few minutes and then remove the muffins to cool completely.

These are the perfect snack or breakfast with a cup of coffee or tea.  Or even a cold glass of milk.


I even have a helper dog here.  His name is Max.