My Aunt Marge has been out visiting for a few weeks and while she was here she turned 87 years old! No kidding and did i mention that she is a theater actress and performs in many plays throughout the SunCity area? Yep, her social calendar puts me to shame! I know that she loves Rum Balls but i usually save those for Christmas time, then i came across this recipe for Mocha Rum Cake, perfect: chocolate and rum in a cake! I used (and highly recommend!) this terrific cake pan, it is a heavy cast aluminum german-made bundform pan that cooks evenly and leaves the perfect swirl for cutting out even slices of cake! Be forwarned that this recipe calls for a full cup of rum! It bakes up super moist and dense and mocha-chocolatey with rum overtones. I made a simple glaze for the top using approximately 2 cups of powdered sugar and enough rum to make a fairly thick glaze. When the cake was almost completely cooled i drizzled the glaze over the top! This cake get even better tasting a day or two after baking. The flavors mingle and become more even pronounced. My Auntie really like this cake! Try it for yourself! Enjoy!
I decided to try another cookie from Alice Medrich's baking book entitled: Cookies & Brownies...Peanut butter cookies! These cookies are approximately 2 inches wide and i made a chocolate peanut butter filling to make them little sandwich cookies. I experimented with this recipe and used a little bacon salt instead of regular salt. The bacon salt gives a kind of smokey flavor to the cookie but takes away from the true peanut butter taste. My bff Annette (who loves peanut butter cookies) didnt care for the flavor, so it was a bust! Other than that the cookies themselves are actually slightly moist and dense for a peanut butter cookie. I used smooth peanut butter instead of chunky because that's what i had on hand, but i bet the chunky style would give even more peanutty flavor! This cookie is not hard or very crunchy, it is more crumbly and very rich. The smaller size is perfect for this cookie! Enjoy!
I had been reading about a terrific recipe for chocolate chip cookies from pastry chef Alice Medrich. Ms. Medrich uses some interesting techniques that i've found really enhance the flavor and texture of the cookie. Instead of creaming the butter and sugar together, this recipe calls for the butter to be melted. I took it one step further and browned the butter because i think it adds another flavor element. It is a very quick transition from brown butter to burnt butter so you have to watch carefully. Next (off of the heat) the sugars, salt, eggs and vanilla are mixed into the pot with the now browned butter. Then the flour mixture is stirred in just until combined. No mixer is used. After the dough has cooled, chocolate chips and nuts are stirred in... this is where i made a mistake! I thought my dough mixture was cooled but apparently it wasnt because as soon as i began to stir in my chocolate chips they melted into the dough creating a chocolate cookie instead of a chocolate chip cookie! The dough needs to rest for anywhere from 2 hours to overnight, before baking. This gives the dry ingredients time to fully absorb and incorporate the wet ingredients. Even though my chocolate chips melted, i must say they were still very good! The cookies bake up with a nice, slightly crunchy-crisp edge but the center stays moist and soft. The flavor is nicely complex and the nuts give an extra heft to the cookie. These cookies are still delicious and flavorful days after they have been baked. If you are a fan of chocolate chip cookies definately give these a try, just remember to let the dough cool completely before you add your chips! Enjoy!
Do you remember how fun it was as a kid to get a shiny red box of Cracker Jack? Peanuts, popcorn, caramel, yum... And a prize (I always hoped my prize would be a "diamond" ring)! When i came across a recipe for Caramel Corn i decided to give it a try! The prize here is that this recipe is definately a more tasty version of the original. A little less sticky sweet and a little more salty/buttery. I used microwave buttered popcorn instead of regular popping corn. It was faster, easier and it tasted great. Two bags will give you plenty of popcorn for this recipe. I increased the amount of peanuts and would actually put even more in next time. I also added a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the caramel mixture. After combining the caramel and popcorn mixture together i spread it out into a jelly-roll pan, then sprinkled sea salt over the top while it was still warm. After it cooled, the whole thing broke up into crunchy clusters just like the real Cracker Jack! This would be a terrific treat to take to a ball game or just to snack on while watching movies at home. Enjoy!