Tried this on a whim last weekend, as I’ve been on a creme brulee kick lately, or at least the idea of it, and the idea of that plus french toast sounded grade A amazing. I think this needs another go around to get it perfect, especially with the topping. Maybe caramelizing the sugar will work better under a broiler, or with a blowtorch? Any suggestions would be appreciated. 

Seriously, though, be sure to flip the toasts to get the perfect goldenness to it, and and have some fresh berries to make it even more amazing (these are Tay barries, a cross between raspberries and blackberries). I also used a loaf of shokupan (a type of Japanese milk bread) instead of brioche, and I still think it tastes amazing. Plus, odds are you’ll have some left over, for some lovely breakfasts during the week. 

Creme Brulee French Toast

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf rich bread of choice (again, Deb recommends brioche, I used shokupan, sliced to about an inch or so thick)
  • 1 1/3 c whole milk
  • 2/3 c heavy whipping cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 c white sugar
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 T alcohol of choice (original recommended Grand Marnier, I went Kahlua)
  • 1 T vanilla extract

Topping

  • 2/3 c white sugar

If your bread isn’t already sliced, slice it into generous, thick slices – Deb recommends 1.5 in thick slices, my loaf was cut into 1 in slices, about 9 slices total. Whisk together the milk, heavy whipping cream, eggs, white sugar, sea salt, booze, and vanilla extract. If you want to use a vanilla bean, you can do so – just follow Deb’s recommended steps for whisking in the vanilla bean scraping in the linked recipe. 

Preheat your oven to 325. Take a rimmed tray or pan that will fit as much of your bread as possible (I ended up going with two separate glass pans, and even those weren’t the greatest fits, as you can see), lay out the bread, and pour the custard over it. Let the slices absorb the custard for a half hour, flipping over about halfway through to ensure every side is soaking up the custard evenly. (You can also toss this in the fridge overnight to soak if you’re so inclined, and you won’t need to flip them if that’s the case.)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper if you have it (I do because the people before me in this apartment left a lot of stuff, hallelujah), and space out the french toasts so that there’s juuust enough space that they can breathe a bit. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, flipping halfway through so that each side gets a lovely golden sear to it (I didn’t flip them, and I think they look better with both sides seared). You’ll know they’re ready when you lightly slice into the center of the bread and twist, and no wet custard comes out. 

About five minutes out from the toast being done, take a small, heavy, completely dry pot and melt 2/3 c white sugar over medium heat, stirring with a fork, and until it’s fully melted and the color of honey (see pic five). Time this so that this happens as soon as the toasts are done. Remove the bread from the oven, and then drizzle about 1 T of the caramel over the toasts, attempting to do so evenly (I just ended up doing a fancy drizzle). 

Add berries, and voila – a lovely, decadent weekend breakfast. 

(If anyone’s tried the broiler method for caramelization that Deb mentions, please let me know if it worked for you – I want to try that next time. Or maybe the hot spoon method would also work.)

I’ve been wanting a waffle maker for a while. Specifically, the Captain America shield one (I am trash). I was lucky enough to get some money for Christmas, and to find it super cheap in the post-Christmas sales, so lo and behold, I now own a pretty damn awesome waffle maker. The boy and I have gotten into the habit of me making waffles in the morning when he comes over here on the weekend, so expect to see hella waffle recipes from me in the near future, to say the least. 

These waffles in particular are pretty damn great. Just a touch of booze, a dash of eggnog spices, and altogether lovely. It takes a bit of trial and error to get just the right amount to get the nice shape you see above, but for those of you with this waffle maker: fill the star and the first ring or so. 

Eggnog Waffles
Makes 6-8 waffles

Ingredients

  • 1.5 c milk
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 t active dry yeast
  • 2 c flour
  • .5 t nutmeg
  • pinch ground cloves
  • pinch sea salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 7 T butter, melted
  • 1 t vanilla extract (I substituted vanilla bean paste here bc I’d just run out of vanilla extract)
  • 2 T dark rum, brandy, or bourbon (optional, I used Kraken, personally)

Mix your milk and sugar and microwave until lukewarm (between a minute and a minute thirty seconds at this amount), then stir in your yeast, and set aside to let foam. 

Meanwhile, whisk together your flour, nutmeg, cloves, and sea salt in a large bowl. Create a well in the center of the bowl, and add in the yolks of the three eggs, the melted butter, the vanilla, and your booze of choice if using, mixing until you have a smooth batter. 

Meanwhile, take your egg whites and use an electric mixer to beat them until you get stiff peaks, and then fold them into the batter. Let the batter stand 30 minutes. 

Heat your waffle maker according to the instructions, and then scoop the batter into the maker, cooking according to directions. And then, enjoy your wonderful breakfast (and if you have any leftovers, use them for breakfast for the week!).

Nutella is awesome. Alcohol is awesome. Combine the two, and you have one of the greatest combinations anyone has ever come up with. Really, I’m surprised Nutella hasn’t done something like this yet. But hey, means more awesomeness for me.

You can do this recipe up in a half hour, plus a bit of chilling time in the fridge. I had the small glass as a night cap last night, and let me tell you, it is pretty fantastic. This is going down to Chicago with me for my con time this year, and I’m quite looking forward to it. 

Nutella Cream Liquor
Makes 1 750 ml bottle, plus a little extra

Ingredients

  • .75 c Nutella
  • .5 c sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1.25 c heavy whipping cream
  • 2 c vodka

Take your Nutella, sugar, and vanilla extract, and heat over medium heat. Whisk the ingredients together, and slowly add your whipping cream in (at about a half a cup at a time I found gave me the best control over the mixture), whisking until smooth and creamy. Heat until it starts to simmer, and then remove from heat and cool to room temperature. 

Once cooled, whisk in your vodka, and stir until combined. Take a sip. See if you’d like to add more vodka or not. (Two cups is just enough to be nicely boozy, but not overwhelmingly so.)

And then, pour into a bottle using a funnel, and chill in your fridge!

On my continuing citrus kick, I decided to make limoncello earlier this week. This is where all my leftover lemons came for the various other recipes I’ve been making.   I went for the shorter end of infusing this time around, as I wanted a quick turn around time for using this in other recipes, but would be interested to see what a longer infusion time would do to this.

Limoncello
Makes 1 750 ml bottle

Ingredients

  • 10 Meyer lemons, washed and dried
  • 1 750 ml bottle of vodka (I used closer to 2 c, New Amsterdam vodka)
  • 1.5 c sugar
  • 1.5 c water

Take your Meyer lemons, and peel them so that the outer peels, and as little of the pith as possible, are removed. Take the peels, put them in a quart jar (or in a 750 bottle like I did), pour your vodka over them, and then seal the jar. Place the jar in a dark place, and let sit for four days at minimum, up to a month. The difference between pics two and three is what the vodka will look like after four days infusing.

After your four days, run the vodka through a mesh strainer (and additionally through a coffee filter if you have one) into a bowl.

Meanwhile, combine equal amounts sugar and water and heat over medium high heat, simmer until the sugar is dissolved, and then remove from heat to cool.  Once cooled, mix with the vodka, and taste to decide whether or not you would like more sugar syrup in your limoncello. The recipe suggests starting out with 1 cup, and going from there to decide if you like the taste enough before adding more; I did this, and ended up adding a half cup more.

Once you’re at your ideal taste, run the limoncello through a funnel into your bottle, seal, and put in the freezer to chill. (You can put it in the fridge, but it will keep longer in the freezer, and will bring out the flavors better as it rests.) 

This cake is my crowning glory. mithingthepoint​ originally made this back in the days of yore as a FFXII dessert for Balthier, and it pretty much had me from the initial list of ingredients. I’ve made it three times in my life, and none of them has been perfect, but this is pretty damn close. Time one, I didn’t have a springform and I’m 99% sure I screwed up the second layer pretty badly. Time two, I had the springform, but opened it too early, and it got all over everything.

And now, time 3. I got pretty much everything right this time around, except for the second layer – that still ended up a bit on the liquid side, likely because I didn’t beat the merengue/whipped cream bit of it for long enough.  The result is still amazing.  

This will take you several days to make. This has been sitting in my fridge for about a week now due to needing to pick up extra whipping cream and Kahlua for the final stage.  It is worth every minute you put into it.

Kahlua Mousse Cake
Lasts 2 weeks worth of desserts

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1.5 c flour
  • 1 c white sugar
  • .25 c special dark cocoa powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 c hot brewed coffee (I used a leftover Pumpkin Spice Via I had from last year’s batch, this year’s is shit)
  • 1/3 c hot melted butter
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • liberal amounts of Kahlua

Mousse Layer

  • 16 oz white baking chocolate
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • pinch salt
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 8 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
  • 4 T white sugar
  • 1.5 c heavy whipping cream

Kahlua Whipped Cream

  • 2 c heavy whipping cream
  • .75 c powdered sugar
  • .5 t vanilla extract
  • 2 T Kahlua

Kahlua Glaze

  • 1.5 c powdered sugar
  • 6 T Kahlua

Preheat your oven to 350. If your springform pan is not nonstick, grease and flour it, or put parchment paper in.  In a large bowl, mix together all your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt), and form a small well in the middle. Add the hot brewed coffee directly in the center of the well, followed by the melted butter, vanilla extract, and egg, like so:

image

 Mix together, and pour into your springform.  Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Then, take your Kahlua, and pour it all over the cake. Trust me. Just do it.  The amount in picture two was about a quarter of a 750 ml bottle.  Chill for at minimum an hour in the fridge.  Longer is better here.

To make the mousse layer, melt together your stick of butter and your white chocolate over medium heat.  (I started with the butter, and added the chocolate in small chunks, and that was honestly the best way to get it to the lovely smoothness in picture 3.)  Then stir in the salt and vanilla, and whisk in the egg yolks (see picture 4 for what that looks like), and remove from heat. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy (see picture five), and slowly add the sugar in, beating until you get stiff peaks and the sugar is disolved, giving you a nice merengue.  I probably didn’t do the eggs long enough here to get that.  Fold into the white chocolate mixture.  Then beat your heavy whipping cream until thick and firm, and then fold that into the mixture as well.  

Pour the resulting confection over the soaked cake, and let it sit for one to two days. Mine sat for about five. 

On the day you’re ready to serve the cake, make the Kahlua whipped cream and the glaze.  For the whipped cream, work with all ingredients except the sugar cold, and start by using an electric mixer to beat the cream.  Slowly add the sugar, followed by the vanilla, and finally the Kahlua, and beat until thick (see pictures 7 and 8 for what that should look like).  If you properly did the confection layer, you will be able to safely open the springform and pour the whipped cream over the cake. If not, no worries, you can still pour the whipped cream on top of the cake in the springform and it’ll still work well.

For the glaze, work with the Kahlua cold, and mix it together with the powdered sugar (see picture 9).  Pipe it over the edges of the cake and/or in an abstract fashion. If you’re like me and using this as an exercise in spite baking, you might, say write this:

image

Before glazing it over to be a bit more socially acceptable (see final picture).

Either way? Enjoy your ridiculously boozy decadent ass cake.  You deserve it. Yes, you.

Sometimes, you just need a fun way to consume your booze (and to celebrate making it through yet another year). This nicely fills these criteria, and is cheap besides!  

Strawberry Champagne Jello Shots
Makes 1 large container of shots

Ingredients

  • 3 c chilled pink champagne (I used Martini sparkling rose)
  • 1 c boiling water
  • 3 envelopes Knox gelatine (they come in packages of 4)
  • 1 3 oz package strawberry Jello

Mix your Jello and Knox powder in whatever you will be setting the Jello shots in (a 8×8 glass pan is recommended, I used a Glad container of about similar size), and pour in one cup of boiling water.  Mix until the powder has dissolved. 

Slowly pour in 3 c of champagne, stir gently, and allow the bubbles to pop until they’re almost all gone. Cover, and chill in the fridge for a minimum of four hours to set.

And then, cut into them and enjoy your jello shots!

These were the last of the cookie balls I made.  Still pretty damn good, but I don’t think the base recipe was quite as good as the pumpkin spice ones. Either way? More rum and chocolate is always a good thing. (I might need to make my own version of Jeni’s Rum Ball ice cream now. Because reasons. And science.  Let’s get ready to rum ball, etc etc etc.)

Rum Balls
Makes about 15 balls

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz box vanilla wafers, crushed
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • 2 T corn syrup
  • 2/3 c rum (I again used Bacardi Superior)
  • white sugar (for rolling)

Again, for the vanilla wafers, if you’ve got a food processor, lucky you. Otherwise, again, just take a rolling pin, a bag, and your wafers, and go to town. 

Combine your crushed wafers, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder, and then add the corn syrup, and after, very slowly, the rum, until you have a barely combined mix. You can do all of this with a food processor on pulse too, which, again, if you have it, bully for you. If you don’t, roll your sleeves up, take a rubber spatula, and go. 

Take small chunks of your dough, roll them into small balls, and then toss in white sugar to coat. Chilling here is noted as optional, but it does make the flavor even better, in my opinion. Again, serve chilled or at room temp, as you prefer.

This, right here? This is likely going to be my base cookie ball recipe going forward.  These are the perfect blend of cookie, booze, and softness, and they taste AMAZING. And again, it involves lots of bashing of rolling pins and cookies, and one of the perennial flavors of this time of year – pumpkin spice. I used Bacardi Superior rum in this, this would likely be even better with a dark rum like Kraken. 

Pumpkin Spice Rum Balls
Makes about 20 balls

Ingredients

  • 1 box vanilla wafers, crushed
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • .5 t nutmeg
  • .5 t ground ginger
  • .5 t ground cloves
  • .25 c rum (I used Bacardi Superior, Sailor Jerry’s was recommended)
  • 2 T pumpkin puree
  • .25 c white sugar for rolling

For the vanilla wafers, again, if you have a food processor to do the work for you, fantastic. Otherwise, take a box of vanilla wafers, put them in a bag, and then beat the shit out of them with a rolling pin. Enjoy the stress relief. You will likely need it around this time of year.

Mix together the crushed vanilla wafers, powdered sugar, and spices. In a separate, smaller bowl mix together the rum and pumpkin puree. Combine in the larger bowl until the batter’s just barely combined, as in pic 4. Take small chunks of your dough, roll them into small balls, and place them on a plate to rest as you roll them all up.

Take the balls, toss them in sugar to coat, and then chill in the fridge for an hour minimum. You can eat them either chilled or at room temp; just try not to eat all of them at once.

I made these… significantly earlier than I would care to admit, but things have been busy enough around here with the holidays and such that I haven’t gotten to posting these just yet.

I made these alcoholic cookie balls for the bosses this year (with a few leftover for me), and they also kind of served as tryouts for a good base ball recipe. This was definitely one of the more interesting ones, but not the one I’ll be ultimately using.  Very good recipe, though. And around this time of year, I’m all for alcoholic cookie balls.

This recipe isn’t quite perfect, as I ended up having to do some guessing on whether or not I had the right chocolate (long story short there was chocolate in my pantry but I didn’t know what kind it was as it had been taken out of the packaging and scattered all over the pantry), or enough of it. These ended up being a bit more moist following the base recipe, and I ended up adding powdered sugar to compensate. Not sure how much the Kahlua came through on this, but still a no bake, relative stress relieving assembly process.

Kahlua Balls
Makes appx 20 balls

  • 3 c crushed graham cracker crumbs (comes out to about two and a half of the small packages of graham crackers you find in a box)
  • .75 c powdered sugar
  • .25 c dark cocoa powder
  • 1.5 c semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 3 T corn syrup
  • .33 c Kahlua
  • 3 T brewed coffee
  • .5 c white sugar, for rolling

First, crush your graham crackers. If you have a food processor, you can do it that way. Alternatively, do what I did – take a large bag, add a package at a time, and beat it with a rolling pin until you have relatively uniform, fine crumbs. Trust me, it’s a pretty fantastic feeling. To chop your chocolate, use a large knife (such as the one in picture two above), and use it on the squares to kind of shave the chocolate off the squares, to a fine enough point that it will blend in the batter well eventually. 

Take your chocolate, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and graham cracker crumbs, and whisk them together until you have a relatively uniform mix. Add in the vanilla, Kahlua, corn syrup, and coffee, and stir with a rubber spatula until the dough just barely comes together.  If it ends up too moist, add more powdered sugar to firm. 

Take chunks of dough and roll them into 1" balls. Put them on a separate plate to rest while you roll them all out. Once rolled, put them in the white sugar, toss to coat, and then place in a container. Put them in the fridge to chill – two to three days to develop the flavor is best.  And then, when you decide to eat them (and it will be sooner rather than later), bring them up to room temp, and enjoy!

venneh:

justaweekendchef:

So, I went to the farmers market this morning, not in the least because my garden has been abjectly failing because of the heat – only the garlic, basil, ginger, and mint are holding on, and just barely at that.  And lo, one of the stalls a) took cards, and b) had strawberries at a pretty reasonable price – $4.50/qt.

So, entirely reasonably, I got three quarts of strawberries.

So, you must be wondering what the hell I’m going to be doing with that much strawberries, and how the hell they’re going to stay good long enough for me to be able to do anything with them.

Well, you’re gonna be seeing a hell of a lot of strawberry recipes in the near future, that much is for sure.  Including further down in this post.

But how they’ll stay good enough for me to be able to do anything with them for about a week ago is a little trick I learned last year.

What you do is combine one part apple cider, or white, vinegar, to 4 parts or so water.  In my case, what I did was fill up most of a storage container with water, and then top it off with apple cider and white vinegar (see the first pic).  The wash keeps the berries in the fridge for at LEAST a week, if not more.  I ran it on my tomatoes (cherry and full sized) that I picked up today, too, cause I want to see if it’ll work on them, too.  Odds are high it will.

And today began my strawberry odyssey – with strawberry infused vodka.  Which, in my experience, can only end in the best of ways.

Here’s how you make it – take two cups of strawberries, hulled and halved.  Put them in a quart jar (or in two smaller jars, whatever works best, just so long as it seals).  Pour two and a half cups vodka over them.   Put in a dark place to infuse.

And then check on them in a week, and drink.  😉

So, now you have your strawberry vodka.  Surely you’re wondering what to do with it next.  Well, here’s your answer:

Strawberry vodka lemonade with mint.

Doubt me? Here’s a testimonial from a friend about the awesomeness of this drink.  She’s not kidding about how deadly this is, though; me and some friends went through my first jar of vodka with this recipe in a night and we all had killer hangovers the next morning.

How do you make it? Muddle the mint at the bottom of the glass, pour about a third to a half of whatever cup you’re putting this in with the strawberry vodka, then fill it up with your lemonade.