Saturday, July 27, 2013

Chocolate Almond Creme Brulee, 2nd Place Chocolate Dish of the Day


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Fair is over and I am getting my kitchen back in order.  It has been a busy week.  I worked all week and then prepared my dish of the day and headed to the fair every night for competition.  The next several post I will share my recipes for dishes that I made for the competition.  The pictures are not the best as they were taken on the display table at the fair after they had been judged.  I hope you enjoy seeing my week in review!

This was my entry in the Chocolate Dish of the Day.  I won 2nd place with this dish.  I had to be careful when I was torching the sugar on top because I was setting the almond slices on fire.  Next time I think I would leave the almond slices off the top of the dessert.

Chocolate Almond Creme Brulee
adapted from: Whats cooking America

Chocolate Praline (see recipe below)
1 vanilla bean
1 Cup whipping cream
1 Cup milk
6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped
4 ounces semi sweet chocolate chopped
1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur
1 tablespoon Kahlua liqueur
4 tablespoons granulated sugar, for topping
1/2 Cup toasted Almond slices

Prepare Chocolate Praline; set aside.

Toast Almonds slices in 300 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes; set aside

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Adjust oven rack to center position. Butter four to six ramekins or custard cups and set them into a glass baking dish. If cooking custards in a metal pan, cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of newspaper to ensure an even temperature on the bottom.

Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise; scrape seeds into a saucepan. Add vanilla pod, whipping cream, and milk. Over medium heat, stir until mixture just begins to boil; remove from heat. Remove vanilla pods from cream mixture and discard

Place chocolate and chocolate praline into a microwave-safe glass bowl; heat until soft at 50% power approximately 2 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir chocolate until smooth.

In a large bowl, beat egg yolks until slightly thickened. Add sugar and mix until dissolved; mix in 1/2 cup of hot cream mixture. Add remaining hot cream mixture and mix until well combined. Pour mixture into a blender; add hot melted chocolate and whirl until no chocolate flecks remain. Pour mixture through a fine strainer into a large glass measuring cup or bowl. Stir in Amaretto and Kahlua liqueur.

Pour chocolate mixture into prepared ramekins or custard cups.  Sprinkle the toasted almond slices on top of each ramekin.  Bring the water for the water bath to a light simmer on top of the stove; carefully pour hot water into the baking pan to come half-way up the sides of the custard cups.

Bake approximately 45 minutes or until set around the edges but still loose in the center. The cooking time will depend largely on the size of the ramekin or custard cup you are using, but begin checking at a half hour and check back regularly. When the center of the custard is just set, it will jiggle a little when shaken, that's when you can remove it from the oven. If using a digital instant-read thermometer, inserted in the centers, it should register 170 to 175 degrees F. Begin checking temperature about 5 minutes before recommended time.

Remove ramekins or custard cups from water bath and cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

When ready to serve, sprinkle approximately 2 teaspoons of remaining sugar over each crème brulee. For best results, use a small hand held propane torch. Hold the torch 4 to 5 inches from the sugar, maintaining a slow and even motion. Stop torching just before the desired degree of doneness is reached, as the sugar will continue to cook for a few seconds after flame has been removed. If you don't have a torch, place crème brulees  6 inches below the broiler for 4 to 6 minutes or until sugar bubbles and turns golden brown.

Refrigerate crème brulees at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve within 1 hour, as topping will deteriorate.

Makes 4 to 6 servings (depending on size of custard cups).

Chocolate Praline:
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 Cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2 teaspoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa

Lightly coat a 12-inch square of aluminum foil with vegetable oil.
In a large frying pan over low heat, combine sugar, butter, corn syrup, and milk; stir until mixture is bubbly and just starts to turn golden, approximately 5 to 7 minutes; immediately remove from heat and stir in almond extract and unsweetened cocoa and stir until smooth. Pour mixture onto oiled aluminum foil and spread. Let cool until solid, about 10 minutes. Break praline into 6 to 8 large chunks.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Frosted Peanut Butter Cookies and 1st day of the fair results


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I ended up placing in 1 of the 2 competitions I entered on the first day of fair.  I entered the Best Cookie in the County contest with these Frosted Peanut Butter Cookies.  They were absolutely YUMMY.

This is how the judging goes.  There are 25 entries into this contest.  You have to submit your entry into the fair office and the first 25 entries get to compete.  The cookies are cut up into bite size pieces except for 1 is left whole.  The pieces and the one whole cookie are placed on a plate and put up on stage with a number assigned to each plate.  The judges will taste each cookie and they select their top 5 numbers.  Any cookie that did not get a top 5 vote from a judge is removed off the stage.  Then comes round 2 where each judge again selects their top 5 cookies.  For round 3 the judges then sit at a table and they are presented with the cookies that have received a number 1 vote from any judge.  From these number ones they will put them in order of their winners from 1st to 5th place.  As in yesterdays competition there were 4 number ones taken to round 3 so the judges decided places 1 thru 4 from these cookies.  Then for 5th place all the cookies who received a 2nd place from any judge were taken to the table and the 5th place winner was chosen from these.

As you can see in the picture above we sit in the audience and we can see the judging going on.  Cally and I find it really nerve wracking to sit and watch but we would not want to be any other place. Cally and I both have placed several times in this contest.  In this contest if you win any place 1st thru 3rd there is a pay out and half of your winnings gets donated to the charity of your choice.  It makes a win for everybody!  The winning cookie was a Peanut Butter Sandwich cookie.  I will make it and post it in the future for you all to see.

The Rib Cook off was my second entry yesterday.  I did pretty good on them.  I place 4th in the Rib Cook Off.  

Cally also entered the Rib Cook Off with me.  Here she is sitting at the judging table.

For this competition we had to take a complete table setting and sit at the table with our ribs.

Today we will be back out at the fair for the Cheese competition.  Cally is making Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese and I will be entering Charleston Cheese Dip.  These are both Trisha Yearwood's recipes.

Frosted Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
3 1/4 cups cake flour
1- 10 oz bag Reese’s Peanut Butter chips
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Cream together butter, sugars, salt, baking soda and powder.  Add vanilla and eggs. Mix well. Add flour and peanut butter chips. Mix just until flour and chips are blended together. Scoop into 2 inch balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet about 4 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Peanut Butter Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
milk (to thin to proper consistency, I used about 3 Tablespoons)
Cream together room-temperature butter and powdered sugar. Add peanut butter and beat until smooth. Add milk a tablespoon at time, just until frosting is smooth and creamy. Set aside.
Chocolate Frosting
1 cup butter
5 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 to 1/3 cup milk
Cream butter and 5 cups powdered sugar. Add cocoa and vanilla. Add milk a tablespoon at a time until frosting is smooth. If needed, add more powdered sugar.
After cookies are cooled, frost with peanut butter frosting. Then frost on top of the peanut butter frosting with the chocolate frosting. When spreading the chocolate frosting on top of the peanut butter frosting, be very gentle and leave a small space between the edge of the peanut butter frosting and the chocolate frosting for a layered frosting look.
Monday, July 15, 2013

Pumpkin Pecan Beer Ice Cream


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The secret ingredient for the recipe challenge is Craft Beer.  I chose New Holland SUNDOG amber ale. The description on the bottle says it has a subtle sweetness and a nutty finish.  That sounded like a good combination to make a pumpkin beer ice cream.  I had gone looking for a pumpkin beer but it must all be seasonal because there was none to be found.  To get the pumpkin taste I decided to add pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice to the mixture.

When I went to get my half and half in the store, right beside it they had egg nog.  Then I had a light bulb moment and decided that the egg nog would add a nice taste in place of half and half.  For the finishing touches I decided to add a cut up bar of Ghirardelli white chocolate and glazed pecans.  I was drooling in the store just buying the ingredients and imaging in my mind how this was going to taste.

For the Spiked recipe challenge the secret ingredient has to be used and be either baked or cooked.  For this challenge I did a cooked custard ice cream base.  After cooking the custard, it goes into the refrigerator over night so it is good and cold when you put it in your ice cream maker.

 With the cooked custard ice cream base having egg yolks you will need to temper your egg mixture with a little of the scalded milk/egg nog/ beer mixture.  This is so you do not end up putting scrambled eggs in your ice cream base.

Head on over to Julie's blog This Gal Cooks and Carrie's blog Frugal Foodie Mama to see all the fabulous craft beer recipes.

Pumpkin Pecan Beer Ice Cream
Nina Jones

1 Cup whipping cream
1 Cup egg nog
1 Cup beer
5 egg yolks
2/3 Cup sugar
2/3 Cup pumpkin puree
1 Tablespoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
4 ounce chopped White Chocolate
1/2 cups chopped pecans

Mix together the egg yolk and sugar until light and fluffy, set aside

In a medium sauce pan add the whipping cream, egg nog and beer.  Bring the mixture just to a boil.  Take off the heat.  Take a little bit of the hot mixture and add it to the egg/sugar mixture stirring it in quickly to temper the egg mixture.  Pour the egg mixture into the sauce pan with the cream/egg nog/beer mixture and place back on the stove and cook until it reaches 170 degrees.

Mix the pumpkin pie spice into the pumpkin puree.  Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla to the ice cream mixture.  Put into an air tight container and place in the refrigerator overnight.  

When ready place the ice cream mixture into your ice cream maker and follow your manufactures instructions.  When the ice cream is almost done (about 15 minutes before you think it is finished) add the chopped candy bar and glazed nuts into the maker.  When ice cream is done put it in an air tight container and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Strawberry Banana Yogurt Ice Cream


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I say "yogurt" ice cream because I added yogurt to my basic ice cream mixture so it is not really frozen yogurt.  I am not a fan of frozen yogurt but I like the taste and texture it gives to my ice cream. I have another secret ingredient added to this ice cream.  I tasted the mixture before I put it in my ice cream maker and the strawberry banana flavor was not very strong.  I was also getting ready to make a strawberry banana sunsational cake and it calls for a package of jello.  So I decided to take 2 t of the strawberry banana jello and add it to my ice cream.  The jello really made the flavor pop.  It also helped the color of the ice cream turn a more pink color.

Strawberry Banana Yogurt Ice Cream
Nina Jones

2 C whipping Cream
2 C half and half
3/4 C sugar
1 T vanilla
2 T strawberry banana jello (powder, right out of the box)
2  5.3 oz Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt

Mix the sugar and half and half together.  Add the cream and vanilla.  Whisk in the yogurt and jello.  Pour into your ice cream maker and freeze according to your makers directions.  Mine was soft even after it quit churning.  I put it in an air tight container and placed it in the freezer for 4 hours or overnight.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Peanut Butter & Marshmallow Creme Ice Cream


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Oh wow...Did I say WOW?  I have a new favorite ice cream.  This ice cream is heavenly.  If you like peanut butter or Resse's peanut butter cups then you have to make this ice cream.

I started out with my basic go to ice cream base.  Whipping Cream, half and half, sugar and vanilla.  I wanted peanut butter but I did not want just globs of creamy peanut butter in my ice cream.  Cally had bought some Amish Peanut Butter spread last week from the Deli where she works and that sounded like a good idea.  I looked at the grocery store yesterday and they did not have it.  We use to purchase it in Berlin when we would go up to Amish County.  I was told a long time ago that the spread was Creamy Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Creme.  So the wheels in my head got to turning and I decided to buy peanut butter and marshmallow cream for the ice cream.  Oh and you can not forget the mini Reese's cups either.

I mixed my peanut butter and marshmallow creme together with my mixer before I added it to the ice cream machine.  It was kind of thick so I decided I would let my ice cream churn for about 20 minutes before I added it.  I think I should have waited a little longer for the ice cream to set up a little bit more because once I added the peanut butter mixture and my mini resse's cups it quit churning.  I had to mix it in by hand and then I was able to get the machine to churn for about 3 more minutes and it quit again.  It was not quite set up like I prefer it to be before I put it in the freezer but after it has been in the freezer over night it does scoop out just fine.

In this close up picture you can see the peanut butter chunks that are mixed through out the ice cream.  I actually liked the chunks of peanut butter/marshmallow creme better than the Reese's cups.

Peanut Butter & Marshmallow Creme Ice Cream
Nina Jones

2 Cups whipping cream
2 Cups half and half
3/4 Cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
3/4 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/4 Cup Marshmallow fluff
1 cup peanut butter cups, chopped

Mix sugar with half and half until well combined.  Add whipping cream and vanilla and mix well.  Put in covered dish and refrigerate over night.

Mix peanut butter and marshmallow creme together with mixer and set aside.

Put ice cream mixture in your ice cream maker and make according to your machines directions.  When you think the ice cream is almost done add the peanut butter mixture and Reese's minis.  You just want these ingredients to mix into the ice cream. 

Place ice cream into an air tight container and freeze over night or until it is set up to your liking.  

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