This Salted Macadamia Rum Toffee candy is a special treat for the holidays. If you have a thermometer that goes to 300°F, you can easily make this candy
Whether you call them cream horns or lady locks, the long ago name for a pastry that resembled the curls of a woman’s hair, they are fun to eat.
They are simply puff pastry that has been rolled very, very thin and wrapped around a metal form. After baking, the form is removed and the cream horn is stuffed with a variety of fillings. Continue reading
TJ’s Cowboy Bark is a perfect segment for TV. Easy, quick and absolutely delicious. Somebody first told me about Trader Joe’s Cowboy Bark and I knew I had to try it. A bark is melted chocolate, spread out and almost anything you wish can be sprinkled on top. The nine ounce package of Cowboy Bark costs about $3.69. You get about 4 times that with this version. The thing that is so interesting about this bark is the add ons. How can you go wrong with oreos, peanuts, almonds, toffee bits and pretzels. Sweet and salty all at once.
Research showed that there are quite a few copycat recipes out there. I picked the one from Averie Cooks at www.averiecooks.com as my starting point. When I read comments about the Cowboy Bark on the web, the most prevalent criticism is the use of semisweet chocolate for the base. It seems people thought it overcame any of the other flavors.
I also thought the chocolate base was really thick. So in I chose instead to use half semisweet chocolate and half milk chocolate to allow all the other add ons to shine. I will say that this combination does make for a softer chocolate base – but really good.
Because all the add ons for the Cowboy Bark need to stick to the chocolate, make sure everything is prepared before you melt the chocolate. Then add them in the order of the recipe to make sure you go from large to small so they all stick to the chocolate. I added another step to insure that everything sticks.
One other suggestion is to use single stuffed oreos. I used double stuffed and they had a tendency to separate when the Cowboy bark was broken into pieces.
Cowboy Bark1 pound chocolate, all semisweet or a combination of semisweet and milk chocolate, melted
About 1 to 1 1/4 cups salted mini pretzels
7 to 8 oreo cookies cut into quarters (Trader Joe’s Chocolate Jo-Jo’s may be used also)
1/4 to 1/3 cup salted, roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 to 1/3 cup roasted slivered almonds
1/4 to 1/3 cup toffee bits (Heath makes these)
Line a half sheet pan with parchment. Draw a 10×15 inch rectangle on the paper for a thin base or a 10×13 for a little thicker base. Turn the paper over and line the pan. Set aside. Have all other ingredients prepared.
Combine the chocolates if using more than one. Melt the chocolate or chocolates over a double boiler or at half power in a microwave for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Start with the shortest amount of time. Stir the chocolate until completely melted. Spread the chocolate within the rectangle on the parchment paper.
When firm, break into pieces.
Enjoy your very own Cowboy Bark (and try to share some with others)
Last week the Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Cake used a glaze. This week I want to go more in depth as the glaze is one of the important techniques in pastry making and quite easy once it has been mastered. This liquid brown coating has an intense flavor since it has no sugar other than that in the chocolate. We glazed small single layers or individual cakes to four layer wedding cakes as seen below. After setting it has a beautiful sheen and the glaze itself is set softly but firmly. However, if you touch it a fingerprint will be left. It cannot be used as a coating for chocolates as it is too soft. For this discussion, we are using a dark chocolate glaze.
The glaze is dark chocolate and cream to which other ingredients such as cornsyrup, butter and flavorings can be added. Our Cream Glaze, consisting of cream and chocolate, was used for almost everything we glazed with the exception of one cake that required a butter instead of cream. The glaze can also be set out at room temperature to firm up. We did this often and used it as a filling for cakes as well as to undercoat cakes that were to receive no other finish, such as decoratifs, vermicelli or sprinkles – all the same by different names. Once set up, the finished item can be held at room temperature. See sprinkles blog. Continue reading
Orange Cranberry Cake is one example of my love of cranberries. Their tartness allows them to be paired with sweet items perfectly. As oranges and cranberries go so well together, I decided this year to come up with a light but intense cake with depths of flavor that also looks stunning. This Orange Cranberry Cake was the answer.
The orange chiffon cake is as light as a feather. It is delicious on its own and can be baked in a tube pan, loaf pan or bundt pan if you want a more simple version. We paired this at the bakery with a passion fruit buttercream for an unusual flavor combination for wedding cakes. As with all chiffons, it is easy, easy to make. Basically all the ingredients except the egg whites and a portion of the sugar are mixed in one bowl. While the egg whites are beaten with the sugar to the soft peak stage. The most important thing to watch with this cake is to make sure your egg whites are not overbeaten. Eight to ten minutes later the layers are done. They will be very thin and that is how they should be. These can be frozen for assembly later if desired. I realize most people don’t have 5 cake pans. If you don’t see yourself using multiple cake pans very often, consider buying 9″ foil cake pans that are disposable. Although I generally don’t spray the sides of the pans, if these are rippled or crimped, spray well.
The Cranberry Filling can be made a week ahead of time. If tasted seperately, it seems tart. But every other component in this cake is sweet and the tartness is the perfect addition to cut the sweetness. Continue reading