Well, it wasn’t my intention to miss a post, but that’s just how it worked out. We spent last weekend celebrating the hubby’s birthday, and then I spent this past week catching up. That means that I’ve spent 2 weeks dying to share all sorts of tidbits with you. Here’s the first one.
The day of my last post, my sweet hubby came home with this:
So what if you want a hot treat, but you’re in the mood for something salty? Well, you could go to the mall and get a hot, salty pretzel. One of our favorite pretzel stores, Pretzelmaker, recently sent me an e-mail saying that this coming Friday (April 26) is National Pretzel Day. According to the e-mail, you can tell them a joke or say “National Pretzel Day” to receive a free soft pretzel (while supplies last).
Do you ever get tired of leftovers? Generally, I’m happy to eat leftovers without any changes, but sometimes I need to work a little kitchen magic. The hubby and I picked up some boneless fried chicken pieces Sunday night for dinner. I sent most of the leftovers to work with him, but there were a few pieces left for my lunch. For some reason, I didn’t feel like dipping it in ranch. It occurred to me to drizzle it with honey, but I also didn’t want it too sweet. I decided to concoct my own spicy honey glaze, and let me tell you, it was incredible. I mixed together 3 tbsp. of honey, 2 tsp. of Sriracha, and the juice of a blood orange. It was sweet with a nice, little burn, and I absolutely devoured the chicken once it was drizzled with this. If you don’t want as much spice, but you still don’t want it really sweet, I would suggest subbing something like soy sauce in the place of the Sriracha. Whatever you feel like doing, just be sure that you taste it before you cover your food in it. By the way, has anybody else noticed that when you eat something spicy it takes less food to fill you up?
The last two things I wanted to tell you about were the amazing desserts we had for my hubby’s birthday. He’s not the biggest fan of cake, so he requested peanut butter brownie cupcakes. These are super simple and always delicious.
Peanut Butter Brownie Cupcakes (from Food Network)
1 box of brownie mix (or make your own go-to recipe – whatever you prefer)
24 mini Reese’s peanut butter cups
Eggs and oil called for on the brownie box
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 regular muffin cups with paper liners. (Or just grease the muffin cups.) Prepare the brownie mix for cake-like brownies (usually calls for an extra egg). Fill the muffin cups half full with batter, then press 1 peanut butter cup into each muffin tin til the batter comes to the top of the peanut butter cup. (Don’t press too far or they might stick to the pan.)
2. Bake the brownies for 18-20 minutes or til the cupcakes are set. When the brownies are cool, remove them from the muffin tin and let cool on wire racks.
It’s this last recipe that I’m really obsessed with. It is one of the most delicious ice creams I’ve ever tasted or made. Imagine this, a creamy peanut butter ice cream that’s studded with chopped peanuts, chopped chocolate, and a buttery caramel. Yum!! Let me tell you, this disappeared VERY quickly from my freezer. Surprisingly, you can be satisfied with just a little bit because the flavor is so rich. Though this recipe comes from the very reputable Serious Eats, I did have some problems with it. The first was that even though I followed their directions for making the caramel, it did not turn out. It still tasted like caramel, but had a very watery consistency. Their directions weren’t very specific, so next time I’ll just make one of my tried and true caramel recipes. If you don’t even want to bother with that, I’m sure you could also use store bought caramel sauce. Also, when I stirred in the nuts and chocolate, they sank to the bottom of the container. This didn’t really affect the taste, but you had to be sure and dig to the bottom if you wanted the goodies. (I’ve put suggestions for a fix in the recipe.) The only other bad thing about this recipe is that you have to plan ahead. Putting together the cream is quick, but you’ll still need 3 hours for it to chill and another 8 hours for the churned ice cream to harden. Still, it’s worth all of the time. Also, the ice cream would be pretty awesome on its own; it’s got a great peanut butter flavor.
Snickers Ice Cream (from Serious Eats)
2 3/4 c. half and half
1 c. peanut butter
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Caramel: (skip if you’re using your own recipe or store bought)
1/2 c. sugar
4 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. cream
2 oz. finely chopped, chilled dark chocolate (I suggest using a really good brand. I used Hershey’s, but it wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped.)
1/2-3/4 c. chilled, roasted, unsalted peanuts (I’d stick to 1/2 c. since, to me, the caramel and ice cream were the best parts and extra peanuts just get in the way.)
1. In a blender (or with my handy dandy immersion blender), combine the ice cream ingredients til smooth. Transfer the cream to an airtight container and chill 3 hours or til very cold. Once cold, chill according to manufacturer’s instructions.
2. While the ice cream is churning, heat the 1/2 c. sugar in a heavy sauce pan with just enough water to moisten. Cook on high til the sugar melts and caramelizes, rotating the pan occasionally. When the sugar turns dark amber and smells slightly smoky, stir in the butter til fully incorporated, then add the salt and cream. (The caramel will bubble up and steam.)
3. When the ice cream is done churning, transfer it to a large mixing bowl and quickly fold in the chocolate and peanuts with a large spatula. Then pour in the warm caramel sauce, folding quickly and constantly to distribute it in an even, thread-like swirl. Transfer to a freezer to firm up for several hours. (Again, this did not work for me. Next time, I plan to dump the add-ins into the ice cream maker when it’s almost done churning. That way the ice cream maker distributes it all for me. You could also mix it like they direct, but then stir it after it’s been in the freezer a couple of hours. By then it should be firm enough to hold the add-ins suspended throughout. If you get to it before me, I’d love to hear how it turns out.)
I hope you’ve enjoyed these delicious ideas. I’ll be back soon with some more!