Carole Bloom has been a prolific and respected dessert author for 20 years. Suzen and I have almost, but not quite, every one of her dozen books. Number 12 is new and gorgeous and enticing. Caramel is filled with sweet, gooey, decadent treasures. I can’t say you should eat one every day, but I could understand if you did.
Yes, I’m going to post a few recipes from Caramel here over the next couple of weeks. But, the one recipe I am not going to post is Carole’s Classic Caramel Sauce. For that you need to journey out and take a look at Caramel yourself. I am here really encouraging you to buy the book. I think Carole has perfected caramel sauce and I hope you learn her secrets.
Google caramel sauce instead? Oh, I tried that last night. You know how, when you start a search in Google, you are offered auto completion hints? Well, when you start with “caramel” you are offered lots of suggestions: with milk, without milk, … Too many suggestions. Go down one of the search paths, and you will find recipes that have two ingredients, three, four, … , a gaggle. There is a grove of recipes out there and an equal complexity about techniques. Take a look at Carole’s book and you’ll save yourself time and effort.
Beyond that secret caramel sauce, what other treats are there in Caramel? Well:
- Caramel Cashew Tart
- Caramel Layered Dark Chocolate Brownies
- Caramel Milk Chocolate Mousse
- Caramel Dulce de Leche Pecan Pie
- Cocoa and Caramel Sandwich Cookies
- Classic Butterscotch Pudding
- Classic Cream Caramels
- Pecan Butterscotch Cookies
- Espresso Crème Caramel
- Salted Peanut Caramel Tartlets
- Caramelized Banana Turnovers
- and more …
Temptation lies on every page. The photographs by Alexandra DeFurio are full page and as deep in color as the caramel is in flavor. They are seductive, but they also can assist you in making your daily choice.
The recipes are, typical of Carole, clearly written with detail that gracefully guides you step by step. These are not 5 minute recipes so do plan on investing some time. Greatness, sticky greatness, takes just a tad of effort.
There is that old tale, promoted by real estate agents, that if your house is going to be shown, then you should have chocolate chip cookies in the oven. The aroma will sell your house. Not that pool.
Nonsense. You should have strawberries roasting. It’s far more poetic.
From Cocktails for the Four Seasons, by Jenny Park and Teri Lyn Fisher, here’s a flavor bundle that will surely please you. And perhaps confound you, too. I tasted this and could do nothing but smile.
The idea is this. Roast strawberries to intensify their flavor. Freeze them and put the cold gems in a blender with booze and jalapeno simply syrup. The roasted strawberries have an intensified, dark flavor. They are still quite sweet, though, which provides the contrast for the smoky heat of the jalapeno simple syrup. It’s one of those rare times where you can be confused and pleased all at the same time.
I made this drink my own way, of course. I wanted it very cold so some ice cubes went into the blender. Mango flavored rum replaced the coconut — there are times when I want simple fruit sophistication instead of blunt force coconut power. You have leeway here and can use the rum of you daily preference. It’s much less about the rum. Much more about the jalapeno syrup.
Roasted Strawberry and Jalapeno Freezer
Yield: 4 drinks
- 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 12 ounces tequila blanco
- 6 ounces coconut rum
- 6 ounces jalapeno simple syrup
- Juice of two limes
- 4 strawberries hulled [for garnish]
- 4 candied jalapeno knots [for garnish, see yesterday’s post]
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Spread the strawberries onto a baking sheet and drizzle them with the vinegar and olive oil. Toss them tougher and roast for 30 to 40 minutes.
Allow the strawberries to cool. Pour the berries into a parchment-lined baking dish and place it in the freezer.
Once the strawberries are fully frozen [about 3 hours], place them in a blender with the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into four snifter or hurricane glasses.
Garnish each glass with a candied jalapeno knot and strawberry skewered on a cocktail pick.