I've been asked again to provide the sweet endings to a meal taking place next month celebrating multiculturalism. It's a fantastic opportunity in my eyes as the international options available are both astounding and mouthwatering. Last year for the event I prepared Alfajores (Peru), Linzer Cookies (Austria), and Baklava (Turkey) which were well received. Besides those three desserts, the sky is the limit for this years selections.
The menu has yet to be finalized but today seemed like a good day to do a little recipe testing for one of the treats I have in mind. Seeming as Valentine's Day is tomorrow, a little chocolate seemed appropriate. I present to you: The Brigadeiro.
Sometimes the oddest food cravings seem to come out of no where. If those cravings involve a real food item, I generally always give myself the go ahead to consume it. I feel it's my body and minds way of telling me I'm lacking something in my diet. Other times my food cravings are directly related to an idea, an emotion, a smell, a spoken word, or more often - an image. When my jaw dropped/eyes widened while viewing a stunning photo in the latest issue of Saveur magazine at the same time a hankerin' for dried apricots hit, chocolate turtles became my must-have on a rainy afternoon.
For those who don't know, Turtles are a chocolate confection/candy prepared and sold by Nestle. Full of chewy caramel, toasted pecans, and milk chocolate, Turtles get their name from the shape of the candy. The nuts peeking out the sides resemble feet, tail, and head while the rounded chocolate top resembles a turtle shell.
To satisfy my cravings, I decided to skip putting money into Nestle's pockets and prepare my own version of Turtles instead. If you're comfortable preparing a homemade caramel sauce, the flavour combinations you can create are endless and more importantly - delicious.
In an attempt to make as many in-house baked goods as possible, I can now cross graham cracker cookies off the list. With the sweetness of local honey and toastiness of whole wheat flour, these cookies are a necessity when assembling s'mores- the gooey, sweet treat usually enjoyed by the campfire on hot summer nights. Filled with a thick layer of squishy marshmallow (yes, homemade) and milk chocolate ganache, Valentine's Day just got a little bit more lovable. Keep reading to see how they are put together.
On the third day of Elgin Christmas, we're celebrating with sweet, juicy strawberries. I realize locally grown strawberries aren't available at this time of year. This is when the art of preserving shows its value- I used berries that were washed and hulled back in June and then stored them away like a chipmunk. Flats and flats of berries were made into preserves, juiced into lemonade and some frozen whole. It's those whole strawberries I used to make chewy, creamy caramels.
Eating. Drinking. Sharing.