Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Culinary THROW DOWN: Salt


When La Diva announced the theme for this particular Culinary Throw Down, I was stumped. I mean, what recipe doesn't feature salt? I was also in the middle of a two-week period of planning, shopping, and cooking for a holiday party, so I have to admit, I didn't give this much thought until yesterday.

Which is when I ate the last of the chocolate truffles I made for Saturday's party, and thought: mmmmm . . . these would be great sprinkled with a little salt.

So I went online to Foodwishes.com and found this recipe for sea salt sprinkled chocolate coins. Except for the stoooooooopid caramelizing the sugar part, which somehow I always fork up (but made it work), this recipe is easy-peasy and fun to make. The texture is perfect (dense but not snappy), and after the initial hit of mellow caramel-tinged chocolate on the tongue, the salt comes to the fore with a fizzy, Pop Rocks zing.

I won't bother noting the recipe here, since Food Wishes contains excellent written and video instructions. Except, I do have to point out that I seem to be utterly incapable of caramelizing sugar. This isn't the first time it's gone to the hard candy stage before properly browning, and it never, ever bubbles like in the video. So what I usually do is dissolve as much of the hardened caramel as I have patience for and then squirt in a couple tablespoons of Kraft Caramel sauce and leave it at that. Works just fine.

Oh, and while this gent sprinkles them with cocoa, I think it would be much, much more fun to go to Hobby Lobby and buy a cute little rubber stamp with which to imprint each coin. Then, wrap them up in gold and silver foils from Sugarcraft.com, tie six to a bundle with some blingy ribbon, and use them as stocking stuffers or hostess gifts this holiday season.

Head over to La Diva's site to see who else is participating.

13 comments:

Allison said...

When I first clicked on your blog, I thought those were beets and I said, "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!"

Then I realized you are a genius and you used chocolate and salt. How can that EVER be bad?

And, P.S., I'm too scared to try and caramelize sugar. I was going to make salty peanut brittle, but the whole process of cooking sugar freaked me out.

Nice job.

Boxer said...

I'm still happy with you telling/showing us about how to make brittle in the microwave. I've tried caramel with sea salt and I have to say; it's divine.

Thanks for being a judge who can also throwdown an entry!

Buzz Kill said...

MMMMMMM....chocolate covered salted beets. Bwahahaha

They actually look a little like Girl Scout Thin Mints. I don't think I've ever had occasion to carmelize sugar so I can't feel your pain. You made this work though. I like the "coin" idea but it's a little too Martha Stewartish for a man like me.

Nice job and thanks for judging.

TROLL Y2K said...

Those look delicious and I like the coin idea too. Not sure what's happening with the carmelization of sugar.

LaDivaCucina said...

Oh Moi, caramelizing sugar is a pain in the butt for La Diva too! I find it is better, quicker and more reliable to make caramel out of brown sugar, butter and then adding a bit of cream! YUM! Serve it over vanilla ice cream with bananas and gingersnaps. but, I digress!

I love those coins!!! They do look like GS Thin Mints! Yes, the coin idea would be precious. I'm really loving the salty/sweet trend....caramel/salt, maple/salt and chocolate/salt...what else? I'll have to bookmark the link with the vid.

Thanks so much for being judge, darling, I can't wait to see your final posting! It was fun to have so many diverse participants and so many lessons too!

Sandcastle Momma said...

Anything with chocolate is a winner in my book! I love salty and sweet in the same bite. The idea of making the coins is a good one and whoever is lucky enough to find those in their stocking will be a happy camper.

Karl said...

Good evening Moi,

Caramelize sugar is a little like magic, if you don't know the trick it never seems to work.

My wife's family has this secret recipe for peanut brittle. They pass it down one to the next, yet they keep it in the family. It's been 30 years and I've still never seen the entire process.

I thought about trying your recipe and seeing how they reacted.

Aunty Belle said...

Moi Cherie
them links is worth the whole post.

Chocolate salt--why not??

Big Shamu said...

Hmmmm, chocolate and salt, now I'm going to have to trek over to Christopher Elbow's despite the ice to get me some little nibbles of chocolate and salt.
Now I'm intrigued with the whole carmelization discussion. Sounds like a weekend project.

Buzz, don't let Martha hear you say that, she can be one scary bitch.

moi said...

Allison: Check out my post on making peanut brittle in the microwave. It comes out perfect every time, takes about 20 minutes to do, and it makes a great holiday gift.

Boxer: The brittle – oh, it's so yummy, I've eaten a million pounds of it already.

Buzz: Aw, come on. Be a little Martha. It won't hurt a bit.

Troll: Me, neither. But I've tried a half dozen times and it comes out like that every time. So, if I want caramel, I Kraft it.

La Diva: Phew. That makes me feel better knowing you're having trouble, too. And kudos to you for choosing this topic – it's been fascinating and educational!

Sandcastle Momma: 'Tis the season for bling!

Karl: Oh, do make my brittle and let me know how it compares. I used to SLAVE over my candy making. I once spent $50 on a thermometer because I SWORE the supermarket ones I owned were off. But I even make pralines in the microwave and I can't tell the difference. The only candy I made the old fashioned way is divinity. Can't cliff note that one.

Aunty: After Shamu brought a box of Elbow's confections to the Summit, I will never again discount chocolate and ANY flavor.

Shamu: Let me know if you have any luck with the caramel. And be careful on your way to Elbow. I'm SO JEALOUS!

All: I have to work, work, work today, so will most likely have my results post up tomorrow. Thanks to all of you for making this one of the most interesting Throw Downs ever!

LaDivaCucina said...

Moi, where is this peanut brittle recipe that I can nuke? Sounds dangerous to me! But I want it! Thanks!

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