Homemade Snickers Bars of Glory

Posted in Recipes By Brooks Clifford

June 20, 2016 3:02:31 AM CDT

13bars I think we can all agree Snickers bars are one of the finest candy bars out there. Everyone loves them, so serving them at your parties is a no-brainer. But, it being the holidays and all, perhaps you want to dress them up a bit by making them at home, with top notch ingredients.

These are easy, and they really do make everyone smile. You can sub cashews or almonds for the peanuts, use an alt-butter in place of peanut butter, you can make them with dark or white chocolate, whatever gives them that little extra sparkle for you.

Yes you are going to make your own nougat, the fragrance of this alone is worth the effort. Just dreamy. 13nougat You'll spread your nougat evenly over your bottom layer of chilled and hardened chocolate. 13nougat2 When I was little I used to make these with my mom and I have always liked eating them cold. Here are some peanuts swimming in caramel. 13peanutscaramel2 Spread evenly over the bottom two layers of chocolate and your nougat. 13peanutscaramel You'll want a nice, even presentation so you should trim those edges and then eat said edges yourself. 13trimmingedges Just look at them. Gift-worthy, dessert-able and decidedly fun to make. Happy Holidays everyone! 13bars2

Homemade Snickers Bars of Glory

Servings: 30

Makes 9”x 13” pan.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups milk (or dark) chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (or almond butter, cashew butter, etc)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups marshmallow crème (1 – 7 oz. container)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups salted peanuts (or almonds or cashews or…), roughly chopped
1 pound Annie B’s baking caramel (1 block)
1/4 cup heavy cream

Instructions:

  1. Prepare 9” x 13” pan by lining with parchment paper.
  2. In heavy saucepan, melt together 1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter.  Pour into prepared pan, spread into an even layer. Chill until set while preparing next layer.
  3. In separate saucepan, bring 1/4 cup butter, 1 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup evaporated milk to a boil over medium low heat.  Watch carefully for scorching. If mixture begins to scorch, lower heat immediately. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir marshmallow cream, 1/4 cup peanut butter, and vanilla into the butter/sugar mixture.  Pour and spread evenly over the first layer. Chill.
  5. Melt caramel and whipping cream until smooth either in heavy saucepan over low heat or in microwave at half power in 30 second increments, stirring frequently.  Stir in peanuts. Pour and spread evenly over second layer. Chill.
  6. Melt together 1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons peanut butter until smooth. Pour and spread over top of the third layer in the pan. Chill.
  7. Remove from pan by lifting edges of parchment paper. Cut into squares. Serve. Store in refrigerator.

Optional step: For individual candy bars, skip steps 2 and 6 above. Cut nougat and caramel layers into bars and dip into 2 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips and 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter that have been melted together.

Recipe & Photography by Jill May    

Cardamom Pistachio Caramels

Posted in Recipes By Brooks Clifford

June 20, 2016 2:59:19 AM CDT

I was feeling very Swedish the other day and wanting to express my Scandinavian roots with a little treat. I thought cardamom was a cozy way to do that, because it's a spice used in Swedish cookies and breads I ate growing up. Crushed pistachios add some texture and a pleasant pop of color. Plus, pistachios have several health benefits, so pat yourself on the back as you indulge. 14finalcaramelsNot that I feel we need to improve on our caramel but sometimes it's fun to accessorize it a bit. So you can feel fancy presenting them to your work buddies, your book club or even your Valentine!   14caramelAnd these are genuinely simple to make. The smell of melted caramel alone is worth the effort. If you think the cardamom will be overpowering for your taste, start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more to taste.   14caramelcardamom       14caramelpistachiosPretty, right?   14caramelpistachios2You don't have to be of Swedish descent to enjoy these.   14caramelpistachios3But it doesn't hurt! Have fun.   14caramelpistachioscut

Cardamom Pistachio Caramels

Servings: 21-24

Ingredients:

       1 pound Annie B’s baking caramel (1 block), cut into large chunks
       1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
       1/4 cup coarsely chopped pistachios

Instructions:

  1. Prepare a 4”X 8” loaf pan by lining with parchment paper.
  2. Melt caramel using either a heavy saucepan over low heat or in a microwave safe dish in the microwave – about 2 minutes at half power, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in cardamom. Pour and spread evenly in prepared pan.
  4. Sprinkle pistachios over the top and gently press into the caramel. Cool. Cut into squares. Wrap individual caramels in waxed paper squares or store in airtight container in the refrigerator. Let set at room temp for a few minutes before serving.

Note: Ground cardamom can lose its flavor rather quickly, so grind whole cardamom using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and use freshly ground cardamom in this recipe.

Recipe & Photography by Jill May

Simple "Roasted" Grapefruit

Posted in Recipes By Brooks Clifford

June 20, 2016 2:57:42 AM CDT

We just received a few surprise inches of snow here in St. Paul, and immediately wanted to taste something bright, light & warm. Enter this 5-ingredient citrus wonder, perfect for brunch or as a sunny complement to your rich Easter dishes. It's quick, super simple and one of the ingredients is water, so really...it's a 4-ingredient sunbeam. gf2 You only need 1/8th of a baking caramel block for 2 servings. Grapefruit, balsamic vinegar and fresh mint round out the party. gf20 I love cutting into a grapefruit. The color is so bright and cheerful, and the fragrance is  just uplifting. In fact, the scent of grapefruit has been shown to be beneficial in more ways than one, you can read more about that here. gf11 Active cooking time is about a minute or so, then you'll let the fruits rest in the cooking liquid until they are warmed through. gf13 Plate your grapefruits, spoon some remaining sauce over them and shower with a generous helping of chopped mint. Bright, sunny & delicious. Cheers! gf8

Simple 'Roasted' Grapefruit

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

1 grapefruit
2 oz. Annie B’s baking caramel (about 1” slice off the block)
1 tablespoon water
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons finely chopped mint

Instructions:

  1. Rinse outside of grapefruit. Cut in half and loosen all sections with a sharp knife. Remove center pith with sharp knife.
  2. Put the caramel and water in a heavy 10” skillet and place over medium heat. Stir until completely melted and pan is hot.  Immediately add the grapefruit halves, cut sides down and heat for 30-60 seconds. Turn off heat. Let sit for 4-5 minutes until grapefruit is heated through.
  3. Occasionally move the grapefruit in the pan to coat the cut surface. Using tongs or two spoons, transfer to serving dishes, cut side up. Spoon remaining sauce over the grapefruit halves. Sprinkle with mint and serve immediately.

Note: For a sweeter variation, omit the balsamic vinegar. For a deeper flavor, omit the balsamic vinegar and replace with 1/4 teaspoon molasses.

Recipe adapted from NYT Cooking.

Recipe adaptation & photography by Jill May.

Easy Caramel Apples

Posted in Recipes By Amanda Henke

October 9, 2015 4:08:39 PM CDT

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