maple breakfast

This maple flavored breakfast casserole was intended for the ladies in the office at work.  Notice the background – out the window.  Snow in Tennessee.  This doesn’t happen often in Tennessee, but today there were no ‘ladies in the office’ to enjoy the casserole.

Behind the maple flavored Jimmy Dean sausage, the maple flavor of this dish is quite evident.  There is a sweetness to this breakfast casserole.  It is good, but I’m just not a fan of the puffy/egg/milk texture of this type overnight dish.

Will this be flavorful after it’s reheated?  I don’t know.

Did you notice the waffles?  Frozen waffles rather than day old bread formed the base for this dish.  The recipe can be found here.

vanilla makes me smile

In the kitchen, these things just happen.  I couldn’t have planned this.

As I drizzled dulce de leche over an iced cake, both containing more DDL, a ‘smile’ appeared.  Actually, I didn’t see this smile until I edited the images.

The vanilla beans positioned themselves in the dulce de leche drizzle in the form of two eyes and a  nose.  It was my kitchen smile of the day!

it shines alone

dulce de leche

A couple of days ago, I followed Alton Brown’s recipe and made dulce de leche.  After several hours, milk and sugar reduced to a thick, rich, brown, creamy sauce (blog post link).  The consistency of my DDL is not exactly correct; it’s probably too thin.  But, the flavor is excellent.

With about 3 cups of DDL in the refrigerator, I began searching for cake and cookie recipes containing this molten goodness.

The cake and the cookies posted below are good.  But, after tasting dulce de leche off the end of my finger, or from a spoon, it seems a shame to hide the marvelous flavor in baked goods.  The baked items did not allow the flavor to shine.  Those who sample the cake and cookies will know that there is ‘something different’ in the mix, but the flavor of the DDL is not intense enough to gain the appreciation it deserves.

My personal conclusion is to use the DDL as a garnish over ice cream or pound cake or tarts or fruit or cookies or your finger – or anything.  The true goodness of dulce de leche shines when it’s allowed to stand on it’s own – not hidden behind other ingredients.

dulce de leche cookie recipe found here:

The cookies are soft and chewy.

dulce de leche cake recipe found here:

I used a butter/ powdered sugar/ dulce de leche icing.  The icing is very good, but the cake is somewhat dry.  As the recipe states, there are no eggs in the cake.

snow dayS

In Tennessee, we are far enough south that we don’t usually get very much snow.  This year, 2010, we have seen snow twice in the last two weeks.

There’s no food in this blog post, but, there is food in the oven behind the scenes.

ice storm Jan 29-31:

snow Feb 8:

shot from the warm side of the window screen:

milk + sugar + heat = DDL

dulce de leche

I followed Alton Brown’s recipe (found here.)  My electric range low temperature is obviously not the same low temperature used while testing this recipe.  I cooked the mixture for about 6 hours, and decided my DDL was DONE.

Mine is not nearly as thick as it should be; HOWEVER, the taste is amazing.  One lick of the spoon is just encouragement to dip and lick the spoon over and over and over.

This does not taste like caramel; it has a flavor all its own.  Alton describes the flavor as ‘less sweet’ & ‘has more depth’ than caramel.  Addictive doesn’t help you understand the flavor, but that’s what this is – addictive.

I’ll try this again another day, and start the mixture at a higher temperature.  The extended time I cooked the mixture allowed it to reach a deep, dark, chocolate brown.  I think higher cooking temperatures and a shorter cooking time will yield a lighter color ddl.

whole milk; notice the ‘milky’ white color:

granulated sugar:

vanilla bean seeds:

..again:

all ingredients mixed and heating:

a slight hint of color:

more color:

heat and time yields a deeper brown:

notice the boiling points; water is evaporating (finally!):

the bottom of the pan after I strained the mixture into a bowl;  finally!, it was time to taste:

notice all the vanilla bean seeds floating in this gooey, rich dulce de leche:

It’s really not as thick as it should be – but it is delicious.  It didn’t thicken very much after chilling.
I’ve used this ddl in a cake and some cookies.  Watch for the blog posts.