Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sweetened Condensed Milk Caramel part 2

Regina inspired me.  Yesterday we baked with  Sweetened Condensed Milk Caramel. We made chocolate thumbprint cookies and filled them with the caramel and chopped up M&M's.  They were easy, look festive and taste great. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sweetened Condensed Milk Caramel

I am in love with caramel made from sweetened condensed milk. My sister Eileen told me about this last spring, but I never quite found the time to try it out. Finally, this fall I made the time! Yes, the few minutes it took to peel the paper off a can of sweetened condensed milk and submerge in a crockpot full of water and leave it on low for 8 hours. Yup, that's it! 
Caramel & Chocolate Ganache Bites

I finally did this and discovered it worked. My next concern, what to do with it? Sure, you can dip apples in it, or even marshmallows or any other tasty treats (Eileen placed it alongside her chocolate fountain, I believe, at her daughter's First Communion celebration). Since discovering it actually worked and how easy it was, I have been on a quest to find new uses. Below, take a look at what we have done with this little bit of caramel yummy-ness.

First, for Thanksgiving we made Milky Way Tarts. We used the store-bought graham cracker crumb crusts in the small sizes. Filled them with: a spoonful of caramel, topped with chocolate mousse and then drizzled with melted chocolate and more caramel. They were a huge hit. So huge, that I didn't get my own, just tastes of my daughters'.:)

Next, we were going to a party and I wanted more bite-sized, so we got the phyllo shells and baked them for a few minutes, layered a little caramel and some chocolate ganache, then drizzled with a little more caramel.

In the midst of all of this, we also discovered that it is delicious on fudge topped with a little sea salt. 

Next up: I will be looking for chocolate cups (or breaking down and making my own) and filling with some combination of the above. Thinking a little caramel, a little mousse, and a little ganache. After that, maybe on some shortbread, with some chocolate of course! Oh, the possibilities are endless!

Update, February 2015: We just recently used this delicious caramel as the filling for a cake for my mother's 80th birthday. My mother loves chocolate and caramel. We made a wonderful chocolate cake, filled two layers with this delicious caramel and topped it with the best chocolate frosting. It was wonderful!

Shrimp Appetizers - Two Ways

I love, love, love shrimp in most ways. It is truly one of my favorite things to have and I love how many things you can do with it. I thought I'd share with you two great shrimp appetizers that we have discovered this fall. They are both, homey and cozy and delicious, as well as elegant and beautiful. The perfect appetizer!

The first, Shrimp & Chorizo Tapas, a friend brought to a dinner party. George and I loved it so much, she brought it to a party we were having. It is to-die-for. (Thanks, Alicja!)

In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil and saucte 1 lb sliced chorizo until it begins to brown around the edges, about 7-8 minutes. Add 1 1/2 c thinly sliced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, about 4-6 minutes. Add 1 Tbsp minced garlic, cook, stirring for another minute. Add 1/4 c of sherry, cook 1 more minute. Add 1 1/2 lb. peeled and deveined raw medium shrimp, 1 Tbsp Spanish paprika, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 c of sherry and 1/4 c olive oil, 3 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 Tbsp minced parsley, remaining tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper; stir to combine and remove from heat. Serve immediately on small plates with accumulated cooking juices spooned over top and pass some nice crusty bread to accompany it, or in a large dish surrounded by crusty bread. Serve with more bread than you think necessary or people will be licking the dish clean! It is THAT good! 

The second, Shrimp Bruschetta, was a recipe my daughter and I saw Giada DeLaurentis make and my daughter requested for her confirmation party. It was soooooo good. It will certainly become a go-to appetizer for us, I think. (We enjoyed the leftovers the next day just as much!)

Toasts: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice a 1 lb. ciabatta loaf into 14 1/2 inch-thick slices and arrange in a single layer on a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until light golden, about 10 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes, rub with the cute side of a garlic clove and set aside.

Topping: In a medium skillet, heat 3 Tbsp of olive oil over med-high heat. Add 1-2 sliced shallots and 1 chopped clove of garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 2 minutes. Season shrimp with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Cook about 2-4 minutes, remove the shrimp and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

In the same skillet, add 6 chopped Roma tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until the tomatoes start to soften, about 4 minutes. Turn the heat to high. Add 1/4 cup of white wine and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook for 2 minutes.Stir in 1/4 c chicken (or veg) stock and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add 3 Tbsp chopped tarragon, 1 c packed chopped arugala, 1/2 c marscapone cheese and cooked shrimp. Stir until the mixture is creamy. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the toasts and serving plates and drizzle with the sauce.

I hope you will enjoy these great recipes!