Last year, for the 4th, I suggested a Butterscotch Roll-up Cake. The cake was rolled in a combination of whipped cream and rich butterscotch sauce that had been folded into one diabetic dream. Butterscotch is a variant of caramel and, when well made, is outrageously satisfying. Just a tad can make all the difference to a dessert.
This year, I project we go more healthy. Here’s the recipe just for the sauce which is lovely on ice cream. Look for a deeply rich French vanilla that can mate with the butterscotch and not be overwhelmed.
I have always presumed that butterscotch had to an ancient treat devised by Scottish clans to deal with those nasty winters or invaders from England. Not true. Perhaps because it uses what would have been pricey ingredients — butter and brown sugar — it is recent, first appearing in the literature only in 1848. And then it was described as “Doncaster Butterscotch” from the town of Doncaster right smack in the middle of England. The “scotch” part may come from an old verb “to cut or to score.” Nothing to do with geography. Here the recipe is designed, not for cutting, but for pouring.
Although, I am told that a desperate man, with a full set of lungs, can use a straw and not a spoon.
Yield: ~2 cups
- 1/3 cup [3 ounces] salted butter
- 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon whisky
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
Melt the butter over medium heat in a large heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Dump in the brown sugar all at once and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture begins to simmer and changes from a wet sand consistency to a liquid that fives off a lovely molasses smell and looks like taffy, approximately 3 minutes from the time it comes to a simmer. Drizzle ¼ cup of the cream into the mixture and vigorously blend the cram into the sugar and whisk in the remaining cream. Turn the heat up to medium-high and allow the sauce to boil, whisking occasionally, until it has darkened, about 8 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the sauce to cool for a few minutes before adding the whisky, vanilla, and salt. Refrigerate until cold.
Source: Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson
Blue cheese. I just hate assocaitin the word "bacteria" with something so beautiful. And so versatile. I love to eat blue cheese, directly, on crackers, by the quarter pound. But the truth is blue cheese belongs in salad and soups and, yes sauces.
There is a photo at the bottom of this post of the actual sauce. I will be chided for the photo. It's a conundrum. I have this great recipe and this not so perfect photo. Suzen will be displeased, but it’s summer barbecue season and I cannot go another day without giving you this secret. So, I shall publish and bear the consequences.
Do you know what the hardest think to photograph is? Soup. Followed by beverages. Followed by sauces, like a blue cheese sauce. If it’s liquid, it’s hard. Rock solid hard. Does that make sense? Probably.
I’m working on it. Please bear with me. Because of the way digital cameras focus, a liquid surface confuses the computer chips and algorithms in a digital camera. People are working on better computers, better algorithms, better lighting techniques, … better everything.
Now about the sauce. There is nothing like a great barbecued steak. It’s simple, direct and deep in flavor. So why do we all employ sauces that are so powerful they can show up on the Richter scale? Seriously. You aren’t eating steak with sauce. It’s sauce with steak. Or maybe just sauce.
Too often sauces dominate, burying all those steak flavors. What if you want a sauce that does have flavor, but that smoothly complements the meat instead of being its bitter rival.
Here’s a solution, a blue cheese dressing that you can adjust for heat but that will not overpower you meat. You can make this sauce in a couple of minutes. If you are adventuresome, you can add some herbs, too, but beware of being your own worst meat enemy.
Brian’s Blue Cheese Steak Sauce
Yield: serves 2
- 2 ounces of blue cheese
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- Freshly ground pepper
- Hot sauce to taste [Tabasco or your favorite but do not overdo it!]