Salted Caramel Sauce with Dark Honey Cake

salted-caramel-sauceI have had this dark honey cake pinned for years.  It was one of my first pins and I have been thinking about making it for so long, I think that I had built it up in my mind into something magical.  I remembered that there was a homemade caramel sauce and whipping cream with it and having these added components is what stopped me from making it sooner.  It just sounded…complicated.  Luckily it wasn’t at all.  The cake came together quickly and I made the caramel sauce, but I have to admit that I planned on saying that you could just buy a caramel sauce at the store.  Yeah, I was very wrong on that count.  Don’t even think about not making this caramel sauce.  It is the stuff that dreams are made of.  In fact I wrote a poem about it.

Ode to Salted Caramel Sauce

Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways

I love thee in the morning with yogurt, oatmeal and pancakes

I love thee in the noon day with grahams, apples and ice cream shakes

I love thee all throughout the day when I only wield a spoon

I loved thee until thou wast gone; I hope you return soon.

AnneOpinion

So I guess you can tell that I fell kind of hard for the caramel sauce.  I was amazed at how much I loved this sauce.  I’m normally more of a chocolate girl.  I like caramel, but if I’m given the choice between a caramel or a hot fudge sundae, the hot fudge will win every time.  My love of this caramel sauce took me completely by surprise and soon I was dipping all kinds of things in the caramel (see poem), but then I decided to stop wasting calories on the vehicle and just grab a spoon and satisfy the craving that way.  (could someone please tell me why I’m constantly needing to diet?) 😉

What I learned after making this a few times is that you want to whisk the water and sugar until the sugar dissolves and then turn up the heat and leave it alone.  How long you let it brown will determine how dark your caramel sauce is.  The one pictured above was just barely brown.  Other batches I let go about a minute longer and they were much darker.  All of them were good. 🙂  The key thing that I learned, is that you cannot add all of the cream at once.  The sugar will seize up and you’ll have hard sugar chunks stuck to your whisk (tasty, but no bueno).  You have to temper the sugar by adding the cream a quarter cup a time, stirring constantly. Keep that in mind and you should be golden.

The cake (get the recipe here) had a mild flavor and it went well with the caramel sauce.  The flavors worked well together and neither was overpowering.  The dark part of it was cocoa, but it wasn’t super chocolately.  I liked the honey used as the sugar in the cake and it wasn’t as dense as I would have thought.  I thought that using shortening in cake was different but it worked fine.  I think that it would also be good with a hot fudge sauce, but then you wouldn’t have reason to make the salted caramel sauce, and you really need to make the caramel sauce.

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Salted Caramel Sauce
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Salted Caramel Sauce
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring. If necessary, use a wet pastry brush to wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream, adding only a quarter cup at a time and thoroughly whisking before adding the next. The mixture will bubble and steam. Stir in the butter and salt. Allow to cool. Store in a refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
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Cheesecake Graham Cracker Pancakes with Raspberries

grahamcracker-pancakes In case you’ve missed a general pattern around here, I love anything with graham crackers. S’more Cookies, Peanut Butter Smuggies, and Kitchen Sink Pies are just a few examples. When I found this recipe on bitememore.com for Graham Cracker Pancakes with Cheesecake and Glazed Blueberries, I said “Sign me up!” These are a must try. Unfortunately I ended up with some mixed feeling about them.

AnneOpinion

grahamcracker-pancakes2Let’s start with the graham cracker pancakes. These showed such promise. They had graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and cinnamon. I thought they would knock it out of the park. They didn’t. Now, don’t get me wrong, they were good, but regular pancakes are good too and the don’t take nearly the effort or the amount of ingredients. Everyone liked them and ate all of them, but on one went crazy for them. Do what you will with that information.

The cheesecake topping was really good. I thinned it out by putting in more cool whip than was originally called for. When I ate it on the pancakes I felt like it overtook the whole thing. I ended up spreading it on very thin and it was perfect. It was a delicious filling and would work well as a frosting. I’m keeping this recipe tucked away to use on a cake or cupcakes in the future. It would be perfect with pumpkin cupcakes, or pumpkin bread, or gingerbread…you get the idea.

I’ve saved the best for last…the glazed fruit. The original recipe called for using blueberries.  I’ve been buying raspberries like crazy this year (yeah for low prices!!) and so I had raspberries on hand. I love that the fruit is not cooked for this glaze. You simply make a lemon syrup and then toss the berries in it. The syrup gives them a wonderful sweet tang that would pair well on any breakfast or dessert that berries would be appropriate for.

So there you have it. The pancakes may not have been all that I was hoping that they would be, but the cheesecake and berries (great surprise!) made up for it.

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Cheesecake Graham Cracker Pancakes with Raspberries
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Cheesecake Graham Cracker Pancakes with Raspberries
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Ingredients
Graham Cracker Pancakes
Cheesecake Topping
Raspberries
Servings:
Instructions
  1. For the pancakes, in a large mixing bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, whole milk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Gently stir egg mixture into the dry ingredients do not over mix, lumps are okay. Over medium heat, pour batter onto a hot griddle. Cook until bubbles form, flip pancake and continue to cook until done. Serve with cheesecake topping and glazed raspberries. To make the cheesecake topping, beat cream cheese on medium speed with a handmixer until soft and fluffy. Add brown sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon continue to beat at medium speed until well combined. On low speed, add Cool Whip just until combined. To make the glazed raspberries stir powdered sugar, water and lemon juice in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat until mixture boils vigorously, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in berries.
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Easter Eggs Benedict

eggs-benedictI have always loved Easter.  I was dying eggs until I left for college and my parents even have a picture of me participating in the family Easter egg hunt when I was 15.  My favorite part was always getting a new Easter dress every year.  There was something always very special about that dress and each year I searched for the perfect one. I think I could tell you what each one looked like until I turned 18 (I remember dumb things like that) and then real life set in and I quit getting them every year.  That is probably the one thing that comes around every year that makes me wish I had a daughter.  My boys could care less about getting Easter ties and in fact they seem to think it’s a chore to have to get their pictures taken in their Easter outfits. Sigh, the differences between boys and girls. 🙂

My thoughts on Easter now have more to do with making sure we keep up on traditions and preparing good food than getting a new dress.  One thing that I have found is that I always have a lot more hard boiled eggs than I know what to do with.  There are only so many deviled eggs and egg salad sandwiches that we want to eat.  I got this recipe at a recipe exchange group years ago and after some tweaking of my own, it has become a staple of after Easter menu.

AnneOpinion

I love this recipe because it uses two of the both of the things that I have left over after Easter, hard boiled eggs and ham.

I love it when you make something really easy, but you can make it sound super fancy. Like this: You start by making a béchamel sauce (that’s the fancy French way of saying white sauce.)  After adding some cheese, lemon juice and mustard to help make it taste more like a hollandaise sauce, you add in chopped egg whites.

Next you build your Eggs Benedict by starting with a toasted English muffin, add a piece of ham or Canadian bacon, pour on the sauce and add egg yolk crumbles and smoked paprika.

It’s as simple as that.  No messing with poaching eggs, you get to use the words béchamel, faux hollandaise, and eggs benedict when describing it to someone and it is a delicious way to use up all of those eggs!

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I didn’t feel like I could talk about my thoughts on Easter with out mentioning Jesus Christ. I am grateful for all that I am and for all that I can become because of Him. I hope you enjoy this video!  Happy Easter!!!

Easter Eggs Benedict
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Servings
8 servings
Servings
8 servings
Easter Eggs Benedict
Print Recipe
Servings
8 servings
Servings
8 servings
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Cut eggs in half and remove yolks. Chop egg white into small pieces and set aside. Place egg yolks in a bowl and break up into a crumble mixture using the back of a fork; set aside. On a medium heat melt the butter, add flour and whisk together for 30 seconds. Add milk and whisk until thick. Add cheese, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Add egg whites to sauce. Cut English muffin in half and toast. Brown Canadian Bacon on a frying pan. To assemble place an English muffin half on a plate. Top with a slice of Canadian Bacon, egg white sauce, sprinkle with egg yolks and smoked paprika. Enjoy!
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Cuban Sliders

cuban-slidersI love everything in miniature. Slinkys, cupcakes, and babies to name a few.  Sliders have always had a place in my heart for that reason.  The little round buns, the cute little hamburger patties.  What’s not to love?

There’s only been one time that I remember not being impressed by sliders. For a number of years date night, for my husband and myself, consisted of one of us putting kids to bed and the other going and picking up take out and a movie.  On one such night I had ordered the sliders from Chili’s, which always looked adorable in their commercials.  When I got home I was dismayed to find that I had gotten a full size hamburger, cut into quarters, with a toothpick in each quarter.  Oh, and I got to pay a couple of dollars more than a regular hamburger for the privilege of having them do that.  Just for the record Chili’s, I was not impressed.

Alright, rant over.  So, I found these Cuban sliders from House of Yumm and they looked so good (and cute) I knew I had to try them.  They reminded me of the fabulous Ham and Cheese Sliders on The Girl Who Ate Everything with a little bit of a twist, and I’m always up for a good twist on a recipe.

AnneOpinion

The original recipe looked delicious but I couldn’t figure out what made it a Cuban. It seemed like it was just a ham and cheese sandwich with pickles and Dijon mustard. Really good, but nothing special.  Since I’d never had one, I did some research and found that a traditional Cuban has ham, salami, pork (prepared with a special blend of spices), Swiss cheese, pickles and Dijon.

I immediately knew I could add the salami.  The pork presented the harder part.  The point of making this is that it’s something easy to assemble and takes little prep work.  I didn’t feel like making a pork that had to cook for 24 hrs qualified. 😉  I decided that the simplest thing to do would be to forgo the pork and add the spices to the melted butter and mustard mixture that you pour over the top of the sliders.  I found a recipe on The Fork ran away with the Spoon that was for “sazon complete,” a Cuban seasoning mix.  I referred to this as a guideline for what to use and what ratio to keep things in.  The results were pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

I used baby Swiss cheese because I don’t like the strong flavor of Swiss.  I also decided to make my Hawaiian rolls because I had some pineapple juice on hand and needed to use it.  The rolls were perfect with it, but you can buy them just as easy.  The store bought ones are about half the size so adjust the recipe accordingly if you use them.

Everyone in my family loved them!  They were also great the next day in lunches and as after school snacks.  They can be eaten cold or reheated in the microwave for about 30 seconds. They also would make a great party or buffet food.

So, make some of these, crank up the Will Smith, and “Let’s go to Miami!” (did I just really date myself)

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Cuban Sliders
Print Recipe
These cute little sliders are bursting the flavors of Miami. Perfect for a crowd, but can easily be scaled down.
Cuban Sliders
Print Recipe
These cute little sliders are bursting the flavors of Miami. Perfect for a crowd, but can easily be scaled down.
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to Cut rolls in half, horizontally, and place in 2 9x13 pans. Cut ham slices in half. Fold each slice in half and place one on each roll. Cut slices of cheese in half and place one half on each roll. Place one slice of salami and one pickle in the center of each roll. Replace top on each roll. Whisk together remaining ingredients. Slowly pour over sliders, making sure to cover each with the mixture. Cover with foil and cook in the oven for 15 minutes. Uncover the pans and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Recipe Notes

This recipe was made using homemade King's Hawaiian Rolls.  If using store bought, they will all fit in one 9x13 pan and some adjusting of ingredients may be needed.

Recipe from AnneOpinion adapted from House of Yumm

 

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