Cookies ‘n cream fudge

Creamy and smooth, and one of my personal favourites, I have not tasted cookies ‘n cream fudge in over a year. Imagine! I decided to make my own. But can you make fudge successfully when you can’t find one of the main ingredients?

Oh, I guess you can. I suppose that would be more of a cliff-hanger question if I didn’t follow up with the picture of the finished product. Oh fudge! (Hah!) This recipe comes from Nestlé’s Chocolate 3 Books In 1 which is on Amazon.com. Am really digging this book so far.

Good to know before you start:

The recipe calls for “marshmallow crème” and “Nestlé white morsels”, whatever that is. I couldn’t find it.

After unsuccessfully scoping both the baking aisle and the junk aisle at the store, I called my mother, who consulted her neighbour, and they determined marshmallow crème is marshmallow fluff, and I should find it with the pre-made chocolate sauces for ice cream. (Thanks Mom!)

I couldn’t find a 7 oz jar of fluff, but I did find a 7.5 oz jar, and I emptied the entire jar except for about two spoonfuls. Not sure how to measure ounces.

I used white chocolate baking squares instead of Nestlé morsels.

I used 12 double-stuffed Oreo cookies.

I did not use the jar of Oreo crumbs in the background.

Time required: 2 hrs

Yields: 48 pieces

Cost per piece: $1.60

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $30.00

Special kitchen implements I used:

  • food processor
  • baking pan 9″ x 9″
  • tinfoil

Ingredients:

  • 3 C granulated white sugar
  • ¾ C butter (1 and a half sticks)
  • ⅔ C evaporated milk
  • 12 ounces white chocolate (12 squares)
  • 7 oz marshmallow fluff
  •  ½ C finely pulsed Oreos (4 cookies)
  • 1 TSP vanilla extract
  • 1 C quartered Oreos, chop them loosely (8 cookies)

Instructions:

1. Line baking pan with foil, and set aside the following ingredients for later:

  • pulse four Oreos into fine crumbs using a food processor (use the entire cookie plus filling, not just the wafer)
  • chop eight Oreos into rough quarters using a sharp knife
  • use sharp knife to quarter each square of white chocolate

Double-stuffed cookies are messy to chop, but the pieces are not supposed to look even, so that was fine. Interesting fact: when you pulse Oreos the filling becomes invisible. Why? Who knows!

2. Combine in a large sauce pan on medium heat: sugar, butter, and evaporated milk. Heat to a rolling boil while stirring constantly. Continue to boil and stir for 3 min, then remove from heat.

See those dark flecks? That is burnt sugar from the bottom which happened because I don’t have a heavy-bottomed pan. :/

3. Immediately stir in: white chocolate, marshmallow fluff, vanilla, and crushed Oreos.

I waited until the white chocolate and fluff had been combined before adding the crumbs.

Ooh it’s starting to get exciting! Well, you might not agree, but I was pretty excited.

4. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

Are you feeling proud because the surface is so smooth after you fussed endlessly over it? Waste of time, it’s going to become lumpy in the next step.

I actually don’t have a 9″ x 9″ pan, this is 8″ x 8″ so it will be a bit higher than it should be.

5. Sprinkle the chopped Oreos on the top, and use a butter knife to lightly swirl the cookie pieces into the fudge. You are not trying to hide the pieces entirely, just poke them down a bit, parts should stick up.

6. Chill at least 1 hour before slicing.  See how parts stick out? Neat-o.

Sorry about the lighting here, it’s dark out now.

Verdict: Creamy! Stupendous!

After I took the final picture I approached Boyfriend.

“It’s done! Want a piece? I cut them big for the photo shoot, we could split a piece.”

“Geez! How about we have dinner first? That’s huge. I’ve never turned down fudge before but…  that’s huge!!”

Humph.

Won’t try my fudge, will you??

That just won’t do.

I took the pieces back into the kitchen and carved them smaller, then we sampled, and both agreed they were delicious. Making Oreo fudge was a lot easier than I anticipated and it turned out perfectly.

Next time I might skip the double-stuffed and just use regular Oreos.

What is your favourite type of fudge?

Playlist: screaming Brazilian fans (Boyfriend is watching UFC, ugh)

Advertisements

Candied bacon

Are you trying to win an argument, or earn forgiveness? Perhaps somebody in your life had a bad day? Do you ever just look at a situation and think, “I wish people would just smile.”?  I have two suggestions for you.

Make candied bacon. All sorrows will be forgotten.

Make chocolate-covered bacon. You will be elevated from mere mortal to goddess.

Tonight I made brown sugar candied bacon, maple syrup candied bacon, and chocolate-covered bacon. I did this heinous thing because Boyfriend had a bad morning, and I wanted to put a smile on his face. Oh, did I ever!

Before I got to work on this, I consulted my bacon guru M, who introduced me to Epic Meal Time, and loves all thing bacon. (Actually M coached me through cooking my first tray of bacon.) After listening to his sage advice on the questionable art of candying bacon, I got started.

Time required: 1 hr

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $18.00

Kitchen implements I used:

  • large cookie tray
  • tin foil
  • cooling rack
  • basting brush

Ingredients:

  • package of bacon
  • 2 TBSP maple syrup
  • 4-6 TBSP dark brown sugar
  • 1 square semi-sweet chocolate

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 177°C / 350°F. Line the baking sheet with tin foil, and place the cooling rack on top of the sheet.

2. Place the bacon onto the rack and don’t let the pieces touch.  Pictured above the tray are dishes of brown sugar, chocolate, and pure Nova Scotia maple syrup.

3. I used a large spoon to sprinkle sugar onto the first two strips, and pressed down with the spoon to get it flat.  The middle strip is plain, because it’s getting coated in chocolate later.  The two strips on the right have been basted on both sides with maple syrup, although you can’t tell.

4. I baked it in 6 stages:

  • 8 minutes, flip and reapply sugar and syrup
  • 8 minutes, flip and reapply
  • 5 minutes, flip and reapply
  • 5 minutes, just flip
  • 5 minutes, just flip
  • 5 minutes, just flip
  • after 36 minutes you’re done, remove from oven
  • blot both sides of the plain pieces (but not the others), and let all the pieces sit to cool

If you were thinking of skipping using tinfoil, don’t. By this point the caramelized sugar started smoking. I wasn’t positive that it had cooked long enough but after letting it sit for a few minutes it felt very crisp.

5. Once the bacon has cooled, melt the chocolate and use a spoon to coat one side of the plain strip. Let it sit for  awhile before picking it up by the edges to flip, and coat the other side. I re-heated the chocolate so it would be easy to work with.

My plan was to use milk chocolate, but it seized. Boyfriend requested bittersweet chocolate but we are out, so he got semi-sweet instead.

6. After coating the second side, let it firm up. Once it’s as hardened it’s ready.  I let it sit around 30 minutes so it was still a bit soft. If you want more of a candy bar feeling I imagine you’ll need to let it sit a lot longer.

Verdict: I made this for Boyfriend because his morning got off to a bad start and he was in a foul mood for most of the day – until he walked in the door. Once he saw what I was making, I had to beat him off with a spoon.

First we tasted the brown sugar pieces. Boyfriend said, “Hmm. It’s good… it’s pleasant…it’s nice. Not too crunchy, but not chewy. I don’t know if I can describe it.”

Next we tried the maple syrup pieces, which tasted just like regular bacon, albeit more maple flavoured.

We finished with the chocolate, which I thought was vile, but as soon as he took a bite, Boyfriend said, “Oh yeah! Oh yum! We have a winner!”

Once his raging taste buds calmed down, Boyfriend said , “I really liked the brown sugar but – actually no, I’m going to say the chocolate is my favourite.”

I thought the chocolate-covered bacon had a strange texture, and a smokey after taste, which was not present in the other pieces. Not being a bacon fan, I did find the brown sugar pieces tolerable, and kind of interesting to eat.

Playlist: Bambi – Little April Showers

Chocolate caramels

Last night I ventured into bold new territory: the art of candy making.  Chocolate caramels dusted with coarse sea salt are probably not the best breakfast, but this is from the girl who used to eat brown sugar for breakfast so really, what did you expect?

I adapted this recipe from Nestlé’s Chocolate 3 Books In 1 which is on Amazon.com. My last few attempts to make caramel failed miserably, so let’s see how this goes.

Good to know before you start: Caramel can be a dangerous item to make. You must heat sugar to a very high temperature and hot sugar is like napalm, it will burn you terribly.

Before you begin, fill the sink with cold water and ice cubes, and in the event of a burn, immediately submerge the injured arm into the cold water.

Minimize the risk of burns by wearing a heavy long-sleeved shirt, use long oven mitts, and do not put your face near the pot. Be aware that caramel will bubble up like lava once liquid is added, use a deep pot and a long-handled spoon to stir. Stir slowly, avoid splashing.

You need at least 45 minutes in the kitchen uninterrupted.  You cannot walk away from the stove, so pre-measure your ingredients and only start caramel when you have the time to do it, don’t try to rush it or you’ll be sorry.

The original recipe uses two packets (each 1 oz) of Nestlé Toll House CHOCO BAKE pre-melted unsweetened chocolate flavour. I have no idea what that is, and I substituted with cocoa powder and two extra tablespoons of butter.  If using the Choco Bake stuff you only need 1 C of butter.

Time required: 1 hr, plus over night to set

Yields: about 28 pieces

Cost per piece: $1.21

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $34.00

Kitchen implements I used:

  • candy thermometer
  • baking pan 8″ x 8″ and one larger one
  • tin foil
  • plastic wrap
  • mini muffin cups
  • ice cubes

Ingredients:

  • 18 TBSP unsalted butter (2 sticks + 2 TBSP), melted
  • 1 C granulated white sugar
  • 1 C brown sugar, packed
  • 1 C corn syrup
  • 414 mL sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 TBSP cocoa
  • 1 TSP pure vanilla extract
  • coarse sea salt

Instructions:

1. Line baking pan with foil and grease.

2. Measure out condensed milk and cocoa, set aside.

3. In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, add: butter, white and brown sugars, and corn syrup. Cook over Medium heat, stirring constantly.

Mix it all up…

4. Once mixture is boiling, add cocoa powder and condensed milk. Reduce heat to Medium-Low and stir often (almost constantly).

The goal is to obtain a temperature of 118°C / 245°F which should take at least half an hour. Once it’s been bubbling that long, check with a candy thermometer, which is soft ball stage.

Stirring in the cocoa took awhile, it kept floating up and not blending. After 5 min or so it started to look like this:

5. As soon as you reach correct temperature, remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

6. Immediately pour into prepared pan, be very careful not to splash yourself.

(In the back is my candy thermometer sitting on the big spoon thing.)

Place dish into cold water bath, this will lower the temperature so the caramel does not keep cooking into the hard ball stage.

7. After the water is no longer cold, remove from water and cover with plastic wrap. Leave it on the counter overnight to set.

It’s easier to handle if you use plastic wrap instead of your bare hands. Cut with a sharp knife.

8. Set into muffin cups, and sprinkle with salt.

Verdict: These were good. Eventually I want to progress to making real caramel without corn syrup but this is a good start. The last few times I’ve attempted real caramel with just sugar and cream and vanilla it was a disaster but this turned out very well.

I tried one without salt, way too sweet though.

Playlist: Jem & the Holograms soundtrack

Milk chocolate Florentine cookies

I have no idea what a Florentine cookie is but I’m going to make them because I’m hardcore like that. Actually one reason I like making recipes I’ve never tried is there is no preconception of how the item should taste. I find that competing with nostalgia is often a quick road to disappointment.

Since I don’t know what to expect I’m going to treat this like a scientific experiment. I will need to:

  • ask a question
  • do background research
  • construct a hypothesis
  • test my hypothesis by running an experiment
  • analyze data and draw a conclusion
  • communicate your results

Notes related to the experiment will be written in red, like so.

Ask a question: what is a Florentine?

Do background research: I used my Google-Fu but was not enlightened. I have deduced that a Florentine is a flat, “Old World favourite”, sometimes made with cheap ingredients and sometimes jazzed up with lots of funky stuff, but mainly a sandwich-style cookie with a layer of something between the cookies. But that leaves a lot of room for interpretation. I remain confused.

Construct a hypothesis: If I follow the recipe in Chocolate 3 books in 1 by Nestlé, which is available on Amazon.com, I will make Florentine cookies, and I will know what they are.

(Mini book review: hard cover, sturdy ring binding, some good recipe ideas, lots of pictures, the majority of the recipes are contained on one page each which is always a plus. It contains contains Holiday ClassicsVery Best Baking, and Family Favorites. Cannot locate on on Amazon.ca)

Time required: 1 hr

Yields: supposedly 42 cookies

Cost per cookie: $1.24

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $34.00

Kitchen implements I used:

  • large cookie tray
  • tinfoil

Ingredients:

  •  ⅔ C butter, melted (10.6 TBSP)
  • 2 C quick oats
  • 1 C granulated white sugar
  • ⅔ C flour
  • ¼ C corn syrup
  • ½ C milk
  • 1 TSP vanilla extract
  • ¼ TSP salt
  • 1¾ C milk chocolate chips, melted

Test my hypothesis by doing an experiment:

1. Pre-heat oven to 190.5°C / 375°F. Line baking tray with tin foil.

2. Measure out and set aside:

  • wet mixture: milk, corn syrup, vanilla
  • dry mixture: combine in a medium bowl: oats, flour, sugar, and salt
  • chocolate chips (in a small microwave-safe bowl)

In retrospect I would have put the milk and corn syrup into one liquid measuring cup.

3. Melt butter in large pan and remove from heat.

(The vanilla was added here. I was not very efficient in making these.)

4. Stir wet mixture and dry mixture into the butter.

5. Drop cookies by using a level teaspoon onto foil, about 3 inches apart, and spread flat with a spatula.

Poor experiment control # 1: accidentally used tablespoon instead of teaspoon. Big cookies.

Hmm. Lots of goop. Not liking this so far.

6. Bake 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. I expected flat cookies since there is no leavening agent but I didn’t expect them to spread out into Mega-Cookie.

Perhaps it would have been smarter using a maximum of 2 cookies per row, teaspoon sized.

7. Cool cookies completely in pan on wire rack. Once cooled, remove from foil and flip upside down.

Poor experiment control # 2: a lot harder said than done, used a butter knife to pry them apart. Much cursing and shouting.

8. Melt chocolate chips by microwaving on High for 1 min or so, stirring until smooth.  Spread melted chocolate over half of the cookies (on the flat sides), then top with the remaining half of the cookies.

Poor experiment control # 3: didn’t want to eat a lot of cookies so returned most of the chocolate chips back in the container, and melted about ¼C. Am unable to comment on how these cookies taste the next day after the chocolate has set. This is bad science!!

Analyze your data and draw conclusions: I didn’t like these at all. They were very greasy, and the taste was nothing special. I used cheap vanilla extract but doubt my premium vanilla would have saved them.

I suspect Boyfriend didn’t like them either. He didn’t say, but normally he’s falling over himself to eat my cookies (naughty!), but not this time.

I made these because I’ve had a bottle of corn syrup for a year and done nothing with it, and I wanted to get rid of some ingredients in the pantry before Boyfriend has an apoplexy every time he opens it. “It’s bursting with stuff Patty, why do you need so much stuff??”

I’m looking forward to trying other recipes from this book though.

Conjecture:

  1. Is this really an “Old World favourite”? I am thinking no, not if it’s made like this.
  2. Suspect this recipe is loosely based off the idea of a traditional Florentine, whatever that is, but Americanized to utilize cheap ingredients and make it easier to produce. Hard to  imagine traditional Florentines contain corn syrup and quick oats.
  3. Suspect cookies from the Old World, like their architecture, is superior to modern ones. Suspect a traditional Florentine is probably delicious and nothing at all like this recipe.

Playlist: Ayashi no Ceres – OST

Communicate your results: and… publish!

Have you ever been disappointed by a new recipe?

Boyfriend’s First Blog Post… Ever ;~)

Boyfriend here.

So I have my own blogging account now, never had one before, and don’t know if I’ll even keep up on my own blog, but here is my very 1st blog post, on my girlfriends’ blog.  Thats right world be jealous, my girlfriend is a Spatulagoddess.

My lovely girlfriend had never really made Rice Krispies Squares(RKS) before, but I have many times, so when I heard she was gong to try making them, I put my 2 cents in about making Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Rice Krispies Squares(PBCCRKS).  She wasn’t interested :~(  so she went ahead and made her RKS which turned out great.  I told her that was fine, I would just make mine at a later date.

And that date was tonight.

For starters PBCCRKS are made the EXACT same way that one makes regular RKS, only I added 3 large soup spoons worth of Peanut butter in, and then eye-balled out the semi-sweet chocolate chips, mix it all together. 

Now take it from me, it is much better to prep all this before, hand because once the melted marshmallows start to cool it becomes real “fun*sarcasm* trying to mix it up.  I decided to make these tonight on a whim, and just went to er.  It would been much less messy, and easier on the arm if I hadda prepped everything 1st.

Thank you to Mom, for making these for me as a kid, and for always being there for me when I call to find out what it was you actually did.  I know I could always google it, but Mom always knows best.

And thank you to my wonderful Girlfriend who always inspires with her treats.

This is Boyfriend signing off


P.s. Lol she is checking my punctuation.  Must be careful you don’t want to anger a Spatulagoddess

P.s.s.  LOF’nL not allowed to spell them the way I want to, I “have to spell it the same way as on the box” for the Record I spell them Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Rice Crispy Squares.

P.s.s.s. I love this woman from the bottom of my heart

no really signing off now ;~)

White velvet cupcakes

Velvet. Silk. Leather. At what point do textile-inspired recipe names become weird? Oh, who cares. I have never eaten white velvet before, and I’ve been curious about it for some time.

I found an amusing white velvet recipe on cookbookmaniac that appealed to me, and I paired it the cream cheese frosting in my Betty Crocker book.

Good to know before you start: This recipe uses cake flour which is milled from soft wheat flour (as opposed to all-purpose flour which is milled from a blend of soft and hard wheats), which results in a finished product with a very tender crumb.  Cake flour also has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour.

You can find regular cake flour and self-rising cake flour, which already contains salt and baking powder. I used self-rising, so I skipped the salt entirely and lowered the amount of baking powder. The original recipe calls for full cream milk and caster sugar which I don’t have, so I substituted with granulated white sugar and 2% milk.

Cream cheese frosting must be refrigerated. If you are like me, and don’t like cold cupcakes, don’t frost them ahead of time. Store the cupcakes at room temperature and frost them as needed.

Time required: 2 hours

Yields: 36 mini cupcakes

Cost per cupcake: $1.17

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $42.00

Kitchen implements I used:

  • KitchenAid

Cake ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites, room temp
  • ⅔ C milk
  • 1½ TSP vanilla extract
  • 2 C self-rising cake flour
  • 1 C granulated white sugar
  • 1 TSP baking powder (instead of 2½ TSP)
  • NO SALT (instead of ½ TSP)
  • ½ C butter, room temp

Frosting ingredients:

  • one 8 0z block of cream cheese, room temp
  • 4 TBSP butter, room temp
  • 1 TBSP milk
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 TSP vanilla extract
  • 4 C icing sugar

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 175°C / 347°F. Use rack that is third from the top.

2. Separate the egg whites into a medium bowl, and save the yolks for something else. Stir in the vanilla and three tablespoons of the milk. Whisk until just combined.

You know, I really wanted to show you a picture of me separating egg whites like a pro, but since nobody was home to be my camera man you’ll just have to use your imagination.

3. In your mixer, with a flat beater attachment, add: cake flour, white sugar, and baking powder. Beat on Low for 30 seconds.

4. Add butter and remaining milk. Beat on Low until combined, and then beat on Medium for 90 seconds.

This is the first time I’ve used the flat beater and it is AWESOME. It is so much easier to beat ingredients with, why did  I use the wire whip for so long??

5. Add half the egg white mixture and continue on Medium speed for 30 seconds.  Add the remaining egg whites, beat another 30 seconds.

6. Spoon into muffin tins.  Bake 14 minutes. Cool in pan for 1 minute, before transferring to cooling rack for at least one hour before frosting.

7. Make your frosting by combining the cream cheese, butter, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat well, and add the icing sugar one cup at a time. Beat until smooth.

(Edit Aug 17, 8:40am) Got up early to take one more picture.

Verdict: Delicious. White velvet cake is really good. My frosting turned out very runny though, next time will use a little less milk, and more icing sugar. These were a big hit, Boyfriend was quite impressed.

It has an unique texture and comes out of the oven so pale, an interesting change from the cupcakes I’m used to. Really enjoyed these.

No idea why I only got 36 minis instead 48, which is what I usually get from converting a cake recipe to minis.

I was discussing this recipe with Best Friend, who (poor girl) has never eaten any type of velvet cake.  Can you imagine? That’s going to be remedied STAT next time I go home.

Next up: blue velvet!

Playlist: A-ha – Take On Me

Rice Krispies squares

Eureka! I have done it!  I have finally made Rice Krispies squares! Fourth attempt was successful. There was no burning or marshmallow shrinkage this time.

Am so happy. Never making these again!

Recipe:

  • ¼ C melted butter
  • 400 g bag of large marshmallows (official recipe uses one 250 g pkg)
  • ½ TSP vanilla extract
  • 6 C cereal

Instructions:

1. Grease 9″ x 13″ pan.

2. In a large glass bowl melt butter for 1 min.

3. Add marshmallows, stirring until evenly coated. (I cut the marshmallows in half first.)

4. Microwave on High until melted smooth (it took 4 minutes, stirring every 60 seconds).

Wow making these sucks. It’s gooey and sticking to everything, ugh!!

5. Stir in vanilla, then stir in cereal. Hmm. This is the largest glass bowl that I have, and it wasn’t large enough. Yet another excuse to never do this again.

6. Press into prepared pan and chill for an hour.  I used a buttered spoon but it’s impossible to get this crap off the spoon and into the pan. Forget “square”. It is quite lumpy and not sitting flat in the pan, after 5 minutes I’m pissed off from fussing with it and just stick it in the fridge.

Verdict: They tasted pretty decent. I used a lot of marshmallows.

Boyfriend tells me they taste just like they are supposed to. We have a lot of cereal and another bag of marshmallows left over, and he has a different way of preparing them, so my next post might be written by him. 0_0

I was feeling very ashamed of my deficiency, but now I have crossed these squares off of my list of things to make. Never again!!

What supposedly-easy food item is your personal bane?

Playlist: Diablo dungeon theme