I've been collecting recipes since I was in college. Yup, that's a long time ago. For years I kept all of those clippings in manila folders, frantically going through them when I was searching for something specific I THOUGHT was in there. I usually didn't find what I was looking for.
Several years ago, I pasted all of those clippings in notebooks and indexed them. ON. MY. COMPUTER. Does any sane person do that?
That said, it's now extraordinarily easy for me to find recipes when I am looking for them. My own personal recipe trove!
So now I have all these recipe "books." Of course, I'm not quite sure what to do with all of the clippings I've acquired since then. Guess I will have to figure that one out later.
And my point? Do I ever have one on this blog?
Yeah. Here it is. I am going to start cooking and posting based on these accumulated recipes. At random.
The first one? Dulce de Leche Brownies from David Lebovitz. I met him years ago in NYC. He is the pastry and dessert chef extraordinaire http://www.davidlebovitz.com/index.html I fell in love with his partner, Kip and we stayed in touch. Sadly, Kip is no longer with us, but his memory lives on.
Before you can make these, you have to have a cup of dulce de leche on hand. Huh? What's that? Well, basically it is caramelized, sweetened milk that lends itself to all sorts of incredible dessert recipes.
Sometimes you can find it in the grocery store, but I'm never that lucky, so usually I just caramelize sweetened condensed milk. But here's where that silly indexing of mine came in handy. I actually found a recipe in there for a homemade version of dulce de leche from Alton Brown. Since I am a food snob, I decided to make it in lieu of the canned stuff. Good call, Liz!
Now that I have made it "from scratch", I will never look back. Yeah, it takes some time, but there is little work involved and the payoff is worth it. While the canned version was good, it still had that "canned" taste. The homemade version was just pure milky caramel. Oh, this makes me SO happy!
DULCE DE LECHE (1)
(2) 14-oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
Pour the condensed milk into a large glass baking dish. Cover with foil and place in a bain-marie (that means place it in a larger pan filled with hot water to come halfway up the sides of the glass baking dish). Preheat oven to 300-degrees and bake for about 1 1/2 hours or until mixture caramelizes and is golden brown.
Yield: approximately 1 cup
DULCE DE LECHE (2) (from Alton Brown)
1 quart whole milk
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (available at Whole Foods)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Combine milk, sugar and vanilla paste in a 4-quart saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low and add baking soda. Continue to cook on VERY low heat, stirring occasionally until mixture is a dark caramel color. This will take approximately 2 1/2 - 3 hours. Strain mixture and store in refrigerator in a sealed container for up to one month.
Yield: approximately 1 cup
At the end of the day (that would be the end of this experiment), I was left with something that looked like the caramel sauce I usually make (see previous blogs). But yet ... this tasted different. The milk tempered it, made it less stringent and it lingered longer in the back of my mouth. Sorry, don't want to sound like I am tasting wine, but it was radically different from the usual caramel. Verdict? Suck it up and take the three hours it takes to make this stuff....
Since it took me three hours to make it tonight, I did not get around to making the brownies. Sorry, everyone! That will be tomorrow's blog. Sleep well.