Friday, October 23, 2009
Last night I made cinnamon ice cream, homemade caramel sauce, and toasted pecans. My plan was to cut up bananas for a twist on the banana split but when my husband and son surprised me with a birthday cake, I tossed the banana idea aside. Two desserts? Surely a happy accident that they went together stunningly. It was a gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting from the lovely Miette bakery and the combo was perfection. Gingerbread/cinnamon/caramel/pecans might just be the best birthday on a plate you can imagine. My favorite part? Eating leftover cake for breakfast today...don't tell anyone. As you can see from the picture above, lots of fork (and finger) prints-I'm definitely getting caught.
If you're in the mood for homemade ice cream, this could not be easier. Give it a shot. It's my recipe for Vanilla Bean Ice cream with a slight adjustment. When you're heating the cream/milk/sugar, add six cinnamon sticks, gently crushed. Once the mixture has warmed, remove it from the heat and let it steep for about 30 minutes. Strain and proceed with the rest of the recipe. Just the right amount of subtle cinnamon flavor.
If you're craving caramel sauce too, here's how I make mine. Once it is done, it keeps in the fridge for at least a week. If you're ever looking for the perfect gift to bring when you are invited somewhere for dinner, this is it. It will assure you continued invitations for many years to come.
Homemade Caramel Sauce
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
6 tbs butter, cut into 6 pieces
1/4 tsp fleur de sel or other flaky sea salt
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water, stirring gently to avoid any splatter on the sides of the pan. Heat the mixture over medium high heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, stirring occasionally. Once the sugar has dissolved, continue cooking but do not stir again. If there are splattered bits of sugar on the side of the pan, use a pastry brush dipped in cold water to brush them down. The sugar will boil and cook until it begins to turn amber in color, 4-5 minutes. If necessary, gently swirl the pan to even out the color. When the mixture is a nice dark caramel color, remove it from the heat and s-l-o-w-l-y pour in the cream-be careful as it will bubble up and make an obscene mess if you do it too quickly. Add the butter and stir gently until melted and well combined. Stir in the salt and let the caramel cool. Transfer to a jar, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. It works cold or gently heated, over ice cream or just on a big spoon. Just cover your tracks so you don't get caught!