Arsip Tag: deep

paris + a deep, dark salted butter caramel sauce – smitten kitchen

And so, we went to Paris for eight days, which is never enough. Eight days is long enough to get you entrenched in rhythms (morning café, long walk through old streets, afternoon pastry, nap and late dinner), long enough to convince you you cannot remember the place you were before, but also long enough for it to seem cruel when you finally have to leave.

red curb

afternoon, montmartre

It’s fun to be an observer, and partial participant, in a foreign country. You get to sit in cafes, unhurried by those needling things like work (though, from the sights of the cafés, this luxury is not limited to tourists) and watch someone else’s world from behind your cafe creme. Except, it is all so much more exciting to you. Everything in France tastes louder: the milk, creamier; the coffee, richer; the chicken, so much more “chickeny” kind of like when Julia Child had her first meal in France, sole meunière (“a morsel of perfection”) and was bowled over by the fact that it tasted so much more like itself. And their butter, oh baby… well, we’ll get to that soon.

jacques bonseargant

rue de tournelles

It is never fun to have to come home–I myself was kicking and screaming through Charles DeGaulle Airport, not only because my Suitcase of French Goodies weighed a ton but because American Airlines had unceremoniously canceled our flight. And people think the French are rude!

la tour eiffel

carousel

But do you know what helps? Having a delicious scheduling mishap with your apartment swap partners and having them home when you get there, ready to put out some pate and a French baguette and pour the Sancerre. And while it may be rude to say “even better, after they left…” it is actually true because that was when I finally opened the refrigerator and hot damn. They put Paris in there! Or, at least the Paris that I care about: comté cheese, homemade apricot jam, an apple from one of their parent’s backyard, sausage, coffee and some Poilâne bread and a seeded baguette in the freezer. I thought I had died and gone to a very well-stocked heaven.

Oh, and then I found the pack of Le Beurre Bordier. THUD.

le beurre bordier

***

One of my biggest French obsessions is salted butter caramel. Sure, we have it here now–heck, even Starbucks is in on it!–but they make it differently there. Much differently. The French always seem to cook their caramels longer, to a dark copper color, none of those golden browns we see here. This is, if you ask me, the secret to great caramel. The lighter colored ones just taste sweet and sticky but the dark ones are nutty and complex with a trace of bitterness. It is amazing what an extra couple minutes of cooking will do.

deep, dark salted butter caramel sauce

After have the most incredibly delicious, rich caramel sauce at the Breizh Cafe Tuesday night–Bretons are famous for both their butter and the dark caramels they make with them–I swore that I would eventually show you all how to make it at home, with or without Breton butter. When I saw that Buerre Bordier in the fridge, “eventually” became “right this very moment.”

caramel misesugar starting to meltgetting darkerperfect

And here we are! I’m not going to go into a lecture about how to make great caramel, because my friend David Lebovitz has already done so better than I ever could (see Ten Tips for Making Caramel and How to Make Perfect Caramel). Instead, I will tell you what you could use this batch for, which is, in short, everything: crepes filled with jam or chestnut creme (you know, if yours hasn’t been confiscated by airport security, not that I am bitter or anything), spread between cookies or, you know, this:

deep, dark salted butter caramel sauce over vanilla ice cream

Just a thought.

[Update] Where we ate in Paris: Since a few have inquired about where we ate, I put the list of restaurants we checked out on a separate page. See it here.

Full album of Paris photos: (Not viewable in RSS)

Deep, Dark Salted Butter Caramel Sauce [Sauce au Caramel au Beurre Salé]

Makes about 1 1/3 cups

1 cup sugar
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) salted butter, the better you can get, the better it will taste
1/2 cup plus two tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature

Melt the sugar over medium to moderately high heat in a larger pot than you think you’ll need–at least two or three quarts, whisking or stirring the sugar as it melts to ensure it heats evenly. Cook the liquefied sugar to a nice, dark copper color. Add the butter all at once and stir it in, before turning off the stove and pour in the heavy cream (The sauce will foam up quite a bit when you add it; this is why you want the larger pot.), whisking it until you get a smooth sauce.

You use it right away or pour it into a jar and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. When you take it out, it will likely have thickened a bit but 60 seconds in the microwave brings it right back to pouring consistency.

Serve over everything.

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deep dark gingerbread waffles – smitten kitchen

I know, I know, we just talked about gingerbread two weeks ago, in a biscotti, hot chocolate-dipping format. It’s too soon! I completely agree with you. But this was a request; a commenter asked if there was a way to transplant the intensity of everyone’s favorite gingerbread cake into a waffle format. Asking me this is like asking a Muppet if they like to count. I live for this; I thought you’d never ask.

what you'll need, plus a waffle iron
wet into dry, so much molasses

True enough, the so-called gingerbread waffles I browsed on the web seemed to be in name only; pale beige specimens, softly spiced, more gingersnap than gingerthud. Proper gingerbread should make an entrance, with no restraint in the ginger or molasses department. It should be dark and a little sticky. It should either be adored or reviled; there’s rarely any middle ground. Lucky for me, my family, both young and old, cannot get enough.

the start of something delicious

the pesky part
gingerbread waffles, dusted

Pretty much everything about these will remind you of the Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread. The waffles are deeply spiced, colored, fragrant and yet harmonious and addictive. But, as I always strive for honesty here, I have to tell you that it might remind you of the worst part of the Gramercy gingerbread too — these guys really want to stick to the waffle iron. But they won’t. What they need is a little extra careful coaxing when you lift them from the waffle iron, little by little, being careful to avoid big tears (nobody will be the wiser to the small ones). You’re probably going to curse me a little. But, I want you to know that I would never put you through such a pesky retrieval if these were not absolutely, unwaveringly worth it. Plus, the moment they hit the plate, they begin to firm up. Within one minute, they’ll fulfill all of your waffle hopes and dreams: crispy edges, soft center, and a flavor that will make it impossible to have another winter holiday without them for breakfast ever again.

deep dark gingerbread waffles
deep dark gingerbread waffles

One year ago: Breakfast Slab Pie (the other way I’d feed houseguests for breakfast)
Two years ago: Cashew Butter Balls
Three years ago: Parsnip Latkes with Horseradish and Dill
Four years ago: Spicy Gingerbread Cookies
Five years ago: Mushroom Marsala Pasta with Artichokes
Six years ago: Seven-Layer Rainbow Cookies and Grasshopper Brownies, two of my favorite sweets in the archives
Seven years ago: My Favorite Peanut Butter Cookies
Eight years ago: Zucchini Latkes and Short Ribs Bourguignon

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Frozen Coconut Limeade
1.5 Years Ago: Espresso Granita with Whipped Cream
2.5 Years Ago: Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken
3.5 Years Ago: Linguine with Pea Pesto

Deep Dark Gingerbread Waffles

These waffles use more sugar than any other I’ve made, but they don’t end up tasting excessively sweet because the sugar is necessary to balance the intensity of the molasses. That said, you absolutely will not need syrup on top of these, despite my suggestion of it in photos. Just a dusting of powdered sugar and maybe, if you’re feeling fancy, a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream or crème fraîche will make these even more perfect. Serve with a mixed citrus salad (favorites: 1, 2, 3) and crispy bacon, if that’s your thing. And if it’s not, you can send it here.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yield: 15 small rectangular waffles; serves 4 to 5

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1/2 cup buttermilk, yogurt thinned with a little milk, fresh apple cider or even stout beer
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted, plus extra for brushing waffle iron
Powdered sugar for serving

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, molasses, sugars, egg and butter until combined. The butter will likely firm up and make little white splotches throughout; this is a-okay. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Heat waffle iron to a middle heat. Either brush waffle iron with melted butter or spray it lightly with a nonstick cooking spray. Ladle gingerbread batter into waffle iron until they’re about 3/4 filled out. Cook according to manufacturer’s directions. In my waffle iron, I like to cook them 1 to 2 minutes more.

To remove waffles: Open waffle iron. Wait about 30 seconds, giving them a chance to steam off a little. With tongs in one hand and a small spatula in the other, gently, carefully lift corners of each waffle section enough to slide the spatula underneath, then lift and slide some more until you can get the section out. Curse Deb, because these waffles are very sticky and eager to tear. Trust Deb, that they will be worth it. Spread them on a tray in a single layer to let cool slightly; within 1 minute, they should be crisp to the touch and easier to lift. Repeat with remaining batter. Try not to stack waffles — even though they’re firm, they will stick.

Serve immediately, dusted with powdered sugar and, if you’re feeling fancy, a dollop of barely or unsweetened whipped cream or crème fraîche.

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