Viewing entries tagged
dessert

Homemade Samoas!

Comment

Homemade Samoas!

When girl scout cookie season arrived this year, I couldn't help but instantly start craving samoas... it happens every year. Those caramel coconut chocolate wonders combine some of my favorite flavors of the dessert world into one package. But every time I buy them these days, they never quite live up to the hype I have in my mind. So this year I decided to put together my own homemade version of the samoa - and I think you'll agree that homemade is so much better in this (and most) case(s)! 

And you can always give those girl scouts a cash donation, which will be much more useful to them than the fraction they get from the price of that box of cookies! 

Plus, this means we can have access to samoas any time of the year we might start craving them - a definite bonus! 

The process is actually quite simple. We make a classic shortbread cookie circle (if you're felling really crafty, cut a hole in the center of the cookies to mimic the originals... but that seemed like a lot of work for very little reward to me), then make a caramel packed with shredded coconut and spoon that on top of the cookies. Top it off with a drizzle of chocolate and a sprinkle of sea salt and you're all set! 

So here we have the recipe, broken down into three separate sections so you don't feel too daunted by the task. Believe me, it's going to be worth it! 

the shortbread cookies

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups white flour

pinch of salt

  • Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, an electric mixer, or a strong arm, cream together butter and powdered sugar until it reaches a nice fluffy texture. If my butter is fully softened, I usually run the stand mixer for two minutes or so, longer if i'm starting with butter that is still a little cold. 
  • Add the vanilla and mix until combined. Then add the flour and salt, and mix until just fully combined. 
  • Using your hands, reach into the bowl and clump the dough together. Move it to a lightly floured work surface, and roll the dough out to about 1/4in thick. 
  • Cut the dough into circles using a medium circular cookie cutter, a glass, or whatever you have on hand! You can make them whatever size you prefer. 
  • Place cookies on a baking sheet covered with parchment or a silicone baking mat. They'll only expand a little bit so you can put them pretty close together. 
  • Bake the cookies at 360 degrees for about 15 minutes, until the edges are just lightly golden. 
  • Cool completely on a wire rack. 

The Coconut Caramel 

Note: If you'd like to make these cookies but don't want to take on caramel making, you could melt down some purchased caramels and mix in the coconut. 

1/2 cup heavy cream 

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

3/4 cup cane sugar 

2 Tbsp corn syrup 

2 Tbsp water 

1/2 tsp vanilla 

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 

  • Melt the butter with the cream over medium heat. When the butter is fully melted, give it a good stir and set it aside. 
  • Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a high sided saucepan of at least 2 quarts. Stir these ingredients together until fully combined into a thick granular paste. Using a wet pastry brush, rinse the sides of the pan to remove any stray grains of sugar. Without stirring, cook the sugar mixture over medium heat until it reaches 300 degrees. 
  • Whisk in the cream and butter, then slowly bring the caramel up to between 245 and 250 degrees. Remove from heat immediately. 
  • Whisk in vanilla and salt, then coconut. 
  • Allow the caramel to cool slightly, so that you can spoon it on top of the cookies without it spilling off the sides. 

Cookie Assembly! 

1 cup chocolate chips, melted in a double boiler 

sea salt 

  • When the caramel has cooled enough that it will still spoon easily, but won't spill off the sides of your cookies, top each cookie with a bit of caramel. Use a spoon to scoop it on top of each cookie and gently push it as close to the edges as you can, without pushing it over the edge. 
  • Let the caramel set while you melt the chocolate. 
  • If you want, dip the bottoms of the cookies in the melted chocolate to more precisely mimic those classic samoas. 
  • Use a fork, or a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip to drizzle the chocolate over the top of the cookies. 
  • Sprinkle the cookies with a small pinch of sea salt on each one. 
  • Cool the cookies in a cool spot in your home or in the fridge until the caramel is solid and the chocolate has hardened. 
  • Store the cookies in an airtight container, with parchment separating layers, in the fridge. These cookies keep well in the fridge for about a week, but good luck keeping them around for that long! 

 

Comment

Smoked Butter Blueberry Crisp

Comment

Smoked Butter Blueberry Crisp

A little while back I was looking though old photos, as it's always fun to revisit the little snippets of life that can so easily get lost in the hustle of the everyday (especially if you take as many photos as I do!). I was totally halted by the below photo of Boss Mouse Cheese's smoked butter - an ingredient that regularly graced my table when we lived in Michigan.

The kick-ass Sue Kurta makes some crave-able cheeses, but she also cold smokes these beautifully tied packets of butter in a custom built smoker her sweet dad helped her create. It's the most magical ingredient for, well, just about anything you might use butter for! Sautéed morels, smokey tempeh strips, slathered on toast with peach jam, the options are endless. 

So after stumbling upon this photo, I couldn't help but start to crave that smoky buttery goodness. A quick search didn't result in any discoveries of smoked butter happening in Portland (and they say this is a food city...), so I had Sue mail me a magical bounty of butter. You too can have her mail it to you, just visit the website! This is the first of the creations, but I'm so looking forward to having a stash of smoked butter in the freezer to indulge myself in. 

You'll also see it with this pretty red string - a pile of magic! 

Find her at the farmers market, and Sue rightly recommends you slather your spring asparagus in smoked butter... in fact writing this post is a reminder that I have both smoked butter and asparagus in the fridge - why don't I have a plate of smoked butter asparagus next to me?! Better write faster so I can indulge! 

Anyways, smoked butter has long been a favorite ingredient of mine and baking with it takes things to a whole new level of special! This recipe is all about the simplest of fruit desserts, the humble crisp, dressed up a bit by simply replacing our butter with Sue's smoked butter. 

It's packed with jammy blueberry goodness and a subtle smoke. 

We pile all our berries into a baking dish (I'm obsessed with this beautiful pie plate my babe's aunt bought for us on her annual venture to the Fiestaware tent sale). Then toss them with a few other simple ingredients and set it aside while we make the topping. 

The topping gets sprinkled on top of the blueberries... 

You really can't go wrong with a crisp topping packed with smoked butter : ) Once we have a nice littler layer on top of the berries we toss it in the oven, set a timer, and get on with whatever else we need to do... or watch a little netflix while we wait... whatever floats your boat. 

And voila - crisp! 

Smoked Butter Blueberry Crisp 

notes: While smoked butter makes this simple fruit crisp a decadent and special treat, this recipe will also work well using unsmoked unsalted butter. You can use frozen or fresh blueberries to make this, but I suggest defrosting the blueberries before starting. Baking from frozen blueberries will likely lead to a wetter, yet still totally delicious, crisp). 

about 5 cups blueberries 

1/3 cup sugar 

1 Tbsp lemon juice 

3 Tbsp cornstarch 

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, or all purpose flour 

1/2 cup brown sugar 

1 tsp baking powder 

1/2 tsp cinnamon 

1/4 tsp sea salt 

8 Tbsp smoked butter (I used Boss Mouse Cheese butter), or unsalted butter 

  • Fill a 9in pie dish or 8x8 baking dish with blueberries. I like to fill it just about to the top for as fruity a crisp as possible. 
  • Add sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch to the blueberries and stir to coat the berries. Set aside. 
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. 
  • Cut the butter into cubes, then add it to the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter (or two knives), cut the butter into the flour until only pea sized clumps of butter remain. If needed, use your fingers to break up any bigger pieces of butter. 
  • Spread the topping evenly over the blueberries. 
  • Bake at 350F for about 35 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling away and the topping is a golden brown. 

Comment

Brown Sugar Vanilla Pudding

Comment

Brown Sugar Vanilla Pudding

While my babes and I gobbled up some Sunday afternoon pudding, I started off on a mini-rant of curiosity about why more people don't make their own pudding from scratch. I understand the reasoning of convenience behind a lot of processed food items, but I'm sorry - instant pudding and pudding cups are not included. 

Pudding is SO EASY to make from scratch, friends! 

It takes less than 20 minutes, and involves little more than a bit of measuring and some stirring. You got this, believe me! 

Brown Sugar Vanilla Pudding 

adapted from Mark Bittman's Vanilla Pudding 

2 1/2 cups whole milk 

2/3 cups lightly packed brown sugar 

pinch salt 

1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1 tsp vanilla extract 

3 Tbsp cornstarch 

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, but into cubes 

  • Combine 2 cups of the milk, sugar, salt, and scraped vanilla bean in a medium saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat until the milk starts to steam. 
  • While the pudding is heating, stir cornstarch into the remaining 1/2 cup milk until no clumps remain. 
  • Once the pudding is steaming, add the cornstarch mixture and stir to combine. 
  • Continue cooking the pudding, stirring constantly, until it has thickened. About 10 minutes. 
  • Place pudding in a tightly sealing container, and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. If you don't like a skin on your pudding, place some plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent the skin from forming. 
  • Pudding will keep for about a week in the fridge, but it will seep a little liquid after a few days. Just stir it back together before serving! 

 

Comment