Day 13

Image

Banana-Walnut Oatmeal Bars with Salted Caramel and Chocolate

Image

Oh sweet, salty, gooey, and caramely goodness. This recipe was intense. I guess I didn’t realize how many steps go into making a bar like this of. Stove top cooking, oven cooking, melting, caramelizing, and freezing. On today’s stormy day, it was a fun recipe to make.

I guess I didn’t realize that when the recipe said bars, it meant candy bars. I’m glad they’re pretty small though because they are rich.

I left some of the bars without chocolate and the banana flavor comes out a bit more in those.

I also made two different batches of caramel. The first one was a smaller batch and caramelized much better than the other batch, which was about twice the size. Making caramel isn’t easy, but as long as you’re there with a spatula the whole time scraping and stirring it actually works (Even with soy creamer).

I need to move on to real food, my family and I are getting fat with all of these desserts. I do want to try making milk-free ice cream though…

Top with Cinnamon Blog Recipe:

Ingredients

1/2 cup golden syrup / mild honey (International)
1/2 cup (4 oz) butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp mashed ripe banana
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats (not instant)
optional: 
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup desiccated coconut, toasted

For the salted caramel:
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream / double cream (I used Soy Original Creamer)
1/4 tsp fleur de sel
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Decoration: chopped toasted walnuts, toasted desiccated coconut, chocolate chips*

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and line a 10″ x 7″ or 9″ square tin with baking paper and grease the baking paper.

Melt the butter in a medium-large sauce pan. Stir in the sugar and syrup/honey and cook for 5 minutes over a medium-low heat, while constantly stirring. Add in the mashed banana and cook for a further 2 minutes. Sir in the oats, vanilla and optional extras (if you’re adding them in). Pour the mixture into the lined tray, then spread and flatten it out with your hands. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown on top. Leave it in the pan and let it cool on a wire rack.

In a heavy based saucepan, stir together the brown sugar, cream and salt over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved completely. Turn the heat up to medium-high, bringing the mixture to a boil. Let it simmer while you stir constantly with a spatula, scraping the sides and edges of the pan, for 5-7 minutes, until the mixture has thickened slightly. Take it off the heat and add the butter and vanilla. Stir until the butter has melted in, then pour the caramel over the baked base and spread it so it covers the entire surface. Sprinkle on any desired toppings then refrigerate until the caramel is firm. Cut into bars/ squares and serve.

*you can melt the chocolate then dip the base of each square in it and drizzle it on after the bars have been refrigerated like I did.

Day 9

Image

Salty Sweet Strawberry Crisp with Lazy Basil Ice Cream

Image

Wow, this dessert is seriously nailing it and it’s also amazing to be cooking in a beautiful kitchen at the house my family is renting on Canandaigua lake (will post pictures tomorrow).

Using Ritz crackers and almonds for the topping made for an unbelievable crunch. Additionally the strawberries get extremely hot and make for a gooey warm sauce that ends up boiling all over everything (AMAZING). I love the little ramekins I used to bake and dish the dessert. It makes for awesome presentation and easy/portioned eating.

Adding basil to soy ice cream made for an extremely fresh topping that ends up melting its way into the dessert as you eat. Also, out of everyone who tried the dessert, not one person noticed any difference in the taste of the soy ice cream. I guess basil and strawberry goo does the trick.

I’d have to say… Strawberries are definitely the most used ingredient so far in the blog. What can I say, they’re on sale at Wegmans and they’re amazing.

Salty Sweet Strawberry Crisp Ingredients

2 heaping cups hulled & diced fresh strawberries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons sugar (depending on berries)
1 tablespoon cornstarch

15 Ritz crackers
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 cup raw almonds, finely chopped
3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
pinch of coarse salt

Lazy Basil Ice Cream Ingredients

1 cup good vanilla ice cream
6-8 large basil leaves

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place 4 6-ounce ramekins on a foil lined baking sheet.

Toss strawberries, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch together in a bowl. Divide evenly among ramekins.

Using your hands, crumble crackers into roughly pea sized pieces a medium bowl. Add brown sugar, almonds, salt and melted butter. Toss together until damp and evenly mixed. Top ramekins with mixture.

Bake ramekins uncovered on foiled lined baking sheet at 350°F for 25-30 minutes, or until fruit is bubbling and top is browned.

About 20 minutes before you’re ready to serve the crisps, remove ice cream container from freezer and sit at room temp to soften. Roll basil leaves into a cigar-shape and slice finely (aka chiffonade), then chop finely into small pieces. Scoop about 1 cup of softened ice cream into a small bowl and fold in basil with a spatula. Serve immediately over warm strawberry crisps.

To make ahead: You can bake the crisp several hours ahead of time. Cool, then keep loosely covered at room temperature. (I don’t recommend refrigerating, as the topping will get soggy.) Reheat at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, or until warm.

Day 4

Day 4

Image

Citrus Berry Terrine

Image

This recipe was a little bit more nerve racking than usual. When I took the gelatin out after two hours it was in no way “the consistency of egg whites.” I ended up blending it up with a little extra orange juice to get to a consistency that could mix with the fruit.

My brother Logan tried this tonight and said: “it’s okay, just too fruity.” I’ll take that as a compliment. The recipe was pretty good, and was a nice spring treat with lots of great fresh fruit flavors. I used orange juice (not grapefruit juice) and I might try using grapefruit juice next time for a bit more of a sour taste.

It’s a little frustrating how long most desserts take with freezing, refrigerating, and baking. I think I might be more of a “real food” cook. I’m going to try to tackle a Johnny Iuzzini dessert recipe before the month is up.

Ingredients

segments from 2 navel oranges cut into bite sized pieces
segments of 1 pink grapefruit cut into bite sized pieces
2 packets of unflavored gelatine
1/3 cup cold water
2 cups orange juice
1/3 cup sugar
3 cups (1 each) raspberries, blackberries, blueberries

Directions

Cut orange and grapefruit into bite sized pieces. Rest citrus fruit on double layer of paper towels and cover with another double layer of paper towels. If paper gets very wet, change it.

Sprinkle over water in large bowl to soften. Bring juice and sugar to a boil in medium pan to dissolve the sugar. Pour some of the juice over the gelatin and stir gently to dissolve. Stir in remainder of juice. Put gelatin mixture in refrigerator and let sit for about two hours, stir occasionally.

When gelatin reaches consistency of egg whites, rinse a 9×5 loaf pan with cold water and shake out extra water. Gently stir the citrus and berries into the gelatin mixture. Shake the pan to settle the gelatin. Chill for a minimum of four hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, dip pan into bowl or sink of hot water for a few seconds and turn a knife around edges. Unmold onto a platter.