If there is one thing I crave as the weather gets cooler it’s caramel. Creamy, rich, smooth and full of delicious. A few days ago I was in the kitchen watching Gilmore Girls on my phone and decided to make caramel sauce. I blame Sookie. I have to admit, I’ve never had much luck making caramel. Last year I tried to make caramels at Christmas and they ended up like hard candies. Good, but wrong. For this Salted Caramel Sauce I used Two Peas and Their Pods recipe. The only change I made was that I only used about a teaspoon of fresh cracked salt instead of a tablespoon of flaked salt and it was plenty. As usual I had some difficulties. Sugar stuck to the corner edge of the pan and some stayed in clumps… I thought the butter would never whisk in, but it did. And after whisking in the cream I just poured the sauce through a fine strainer and into a big ceramic bowl to cool before pouring into jars.
This past Friday I had the amazing opportunity to go to a chef demo at Nielsen-Massey in Waukegan, IL. Thank you to Rosie Discovers for thinking of me! In case you don’t know, Nielsen-Massey has been making the worlds finest vanilla since 1907. They craft vanillas, almond (my favorite), chocolate, coffee, lemon, pure peppermint and orange extracts, orange blossom water, and rose water! It smelled absolutely amazing there, everyone was so sweet…thank you Katherine in reception for getting us the wifi password. Bloggers are dependent on their wifi connections, you know. The demo kitchen and reception area are impressively well equipped.
The smells of vanilla hanging in the air and watching cooking demos got my brain to popping. It was great watching Chefs John Conley and Sarah Simington, yes from Diners Drive-ins and Dives!, but right in front of me all morning…can you see it?
Yes, the Madagascar bourbon vanilla paste! It was right in front of me the whole morning and to my delight we were sent home with a bottle of it in our goodie bag! Thank you again Nielsen-Massey! After tasting Sarah’s captain crunch French toast and cinnamon rolls, then John’s flan and pollo papantla I was 1. on a nice sugar rush and 2. so inspired.
~Bourbon vanilla, oatmeal chocohunk cookies with browned butter
1 cup browned butter
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 raw sugar
1 tsp Madagascar bourbon vanilla bean paste
1/4 baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup oatmeal
2 1/2 c flour
1 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Add 2 sticks of butter to a heavy pan and heat to medium low. After a couple minutes it will bubble and begin to foam. Once it starts foaming, stir with a whisk until it turns a nice golden brown and takes on a nutty aroma. Take off heat and pour into your mixing bowl. Add sugars and mix well, this will incorporate your sugar and help cool the butter. You can let this set for several minutes to cool a bit, or temper your eggs before mixing them in. I tempered my eggs by cracking them into a small bowl and stirring in bits of the butter/sugar mixture. I then turned on my mixer and slowly added the eggs. Add vanilla, salt and beat until well incorporated. Mix in baking soda, baking powder, oats and four. Your dough will begin to come together and pull away from the sides of the bowl. Add in your chocolate bits and stir well.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a sheet lined with parchment and bake for 7-9 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for 1 minute on the sheet and transfer to a cooking wrack.
Squishy asked for 2nds, 3rds and 4ths. The Mr liked the balance of sweet, salty, vanilla and bitter from the chocolate.