Sweets For Your Sweet: Tiny Turtles

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These candies are pretty, delicious, and best of all: simple. Chewy caramel is layered over toasted pecans, then topped with chocolate and a sprinkle of sea salt. These candies need to stay refrigerated (since the chocolate is not tempered it will ‘bloom‘ if left at room temperature. It will be safe to eat, but not very pretty). The caramel will also be easier to unmold from the paper wrappers if it is chilled.

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Tiny Turtles

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Rosemary Sea Salt Blondies

I have a special place in my heart for all of my baked-good creations, but this one has an extra large piece of it. Blondies are my kind of dessert. I like brownies, but I really have to be in the mood for that much chocolate. Blondies are always delicious. They are like a thick, chewy cookie in bar form. Add a little savory rosemary and sea salt and you have a more sophisticated version, one that belongs in your holiday cookie tins.

Rosemary Sea Salt Blondies

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Peanut Butter Sea Salt Truffles

As much as I love holiday cookies and confections, I’m just not much of a baker. I’m impatient and imprecise, two things that are not beneficial for a cook who wants to excel in the world of baked goods. Luckily for me, there are a whole lot of treats out there that look and taste fancy, but don’t even require pre-heating an oven.

Peanut butter balls were always a favorite of mine as a kid, and these no-bake truffles are a fancy version, thanks to the addition of one of my all-time favorite dessert ingredients, fleur de sel. It’s an amazing compliment to almost any sweet flavor, plus it adds a satisfying crunch. Combine this sophisticated ingredient with the no-brainer combo of chocolate and peanut butter, and you have a guaranteed winner for your next holiday party! Not to mention that the rainbow nonpareils I added are just so festive and cute. Yeah yeah, I’m one of those people who thinks rainbow sprinkles make everything infinitely better. I can’t help myself.

Peanut Butter Sea Salt Truffles

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The Endless Road Trip: Salt and Straw

We’re no strangers to crazy ice cream flavors here at ES, and let’s be real—in this brave new dessert world where salted caramel sundaes and olive oil ice cream have become the norm, a chef putting something insane inside your cone is not really newsworthy. HOWEVER, when I heard there is an ice cream shop in meat-mad Portland serving bone marrow ice cream, clearly I was there in a New York minute.

The bad news: Salt and Straw did not have the bone marrow flavor in stock on the day I visited, but really for the very best reason possible: they were waiting for cherry season to start, so that they could make a bone marrow-black cherry ice cream. Obvi.

The good news: I had enough friends with me to order up a smorgasbord of outrageous flavors: honey balsamic strawberry with cracked pepper, sea salt with caramel ribbons, coffee-bourbon, blue cheese and pear (!), honey-lavender, blood orange, and blueberry with key lime marmalade. All head-over-heels amazing. the sweet-and-savory balsamic-strawberry-pepper took top honors for me.

The better news:

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Lobster + Ice Cream?

Road tripping in Maine recently, my friends and I pulled over at Red’s Eats, the iconic lobster shack long praised as the spot to grab an authentic Maine lobster roll. Unsurprisingly, I suppose, it didn’t live up to the hype. We got a rather bland $17 roll that seemed to be coasting on its widespread fame for putting more than a whole lobster on each roll. Still, if I’m stopping for a Maine lobster roll, I care more about the taste than the amount of food, right? Apologies if that makes me un-American.

Stuffed with lobster but not sated, we instinctively followed the “Lobster Ice Cream!” sign pointing next door to Lear’s Ice Cream. Now this time, I was excepting something gimmicky—“lobster” flavored ice cream actually made from chemicals—but got something legit. There is actual lobster meat all up in this ice cream. A lot of it: three lobsters in each 2-gallon batch, pureed and then mixed into a sea salt base.

And it tastes like lobster, too. I have to admit this was perhaps the first ice cream cone in my three decades of life that I failed to finish; it was just too rich. But it’s definitely worth sharing with a group.

Unsightly, consider this your next assignment.

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1-Minute Dessert: Sea Salt Chocolate Cherry Cake

Some days are chocolate cake days.
When you drop your stud earring on the floor, then step on it thumb tack style.  That’s a chocolate cake day.
When you leave your keys in your car and the engine running and it takes you like half-an-hour to realize it and run back outside in a panic.  Um, chocolate cake day.
When your boss is out of town and the phone rings about 20 times.  And every time it’s him.  Yeah, get you some chocolate cake for that day.
All of these are possible reasons why you need to shove this cake in your face.
But you don’t really need a reason.

1-Minute Sea Salt Chocolate Cherry Cake

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Salvaging a Crime Scene

This time of year it’s hard for me to eat brunch at a restaurant. Instead of tired florentine or crab cake benedicts (or <gasp> buffets), I grab a bright red bike from the closest Capital Bikeshare dock and ride over to the farmers market. Asparagus bundles line the wooden tables. Bins of kale and spinach also take up plenty of space. But on Sunday, it was all about the strawberries. It was the first time I spied the sultry fruit this season and I couldn’t resist picking up 2 cartons (at $7) from the tiny Bloomingdale market.

The only mistake: riding my bike back home. The berries rumbled around in a box I borrowed from a vendor. When I opened it up at home, it looked like a crime scene as the berries stained the cardboard walls. I managed to save them and decided to use most of them up pretty quickly for a friend’s graduation party. (Congrats, El!) It’s a twist on strawberries and cream, and mostly all of the ingredients can be found at market.

Creating this still cheesy, but much fresher, dish makes me so freaking happy its spring! That was pretty lame, huh?!

 

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