Saturday, June 23, 2012

Chocolate-covered Sun-dried Tomatoes

Over lunch the other day I was telling my friends about the ketchup fudge disaster, and we were trying to figure out how to work out a tomato-oriented dessert. We nixed chocolate-covered tomato slices as they would be quite juicy. Then one of them suggested sun-dried tomatoes. Small, dry, and flavorful. Huh, that was a pretty rad idea, so I jumped on it.

Now there are all kinds of sun-dried tomatoes cut in many different forms. I got ones that were dry but still soft, but I think the crispy kind definitely has potential, too. Oh, and the tomatoes I purchases were julienne cut. I figured I wanted a high chocolate-to-tomato ratio, so the smaller the pieces the better.

Chocolate Covered Sun-dried Tomatoes

The directions and instructions are easy, as per usual with my chocolate-covered confections. Use the baking bark of your choice, though with the strong flavor of the tomatoes, I would suggest sticking with chocolate. Melt the bark, cover the tomatoes, and let them set in the fridge. 

I don't know if I can describe the flavor exactly, but I know it wasn't like "Ew, this tastes like a chocolate-covered tomato." So I consider it a success!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Krispy Kreme Doughnut® Brownies

Have you been exercising and eating healthy for the past few months to get ready for swim suit season? Not me. Sun and sand? I don't much care for either. So where does that leave me? In the kitchen, thinking of ways to foil your plans of achieving that perfect bikini (or speedo... yowza) bod. And I think I’ve come up with a good one: Krispy Kreme Doughnut Brownies. Yes folks, ooey-gooey brownies chocked full of glazed doughnut awesomeness.

There’s no Krispy Kreme in Boulder, shocker. But there is one within driving distance. Sure it took a little extra time to get there and back, but we got a few extra doughnuts for the ride home, which turned into a few extra doughnuts for a soon as we got into the car.

The recipe mirrors the Pumpkin Pie Brownies I made last year. It’s bank, so why mess with a good thing?

Krispy Kreme Doughnut Brownies

For the entire recipe that will make you go nuts for doughnuts, visit Foodbeast.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Frosting Creations Recipe Challenge Winners Weekend at the Duncan Hines Test Kitchen

As you have probably read via all of the social media outlets I am on, I went on a little trip this weekend. Duncan Hines recently held a recipe contest featuring their new product: Frosting Creations. I submitted a recipe, and it won me a trip to Duncan Hines' state-of-the-art facilities in Parsippany, NJ. Can I get a fist pump?

My weekend started with a flight to Newark, New Jersey Friday afternoon. Have you ever had someone waiting for you at the airport holding a sign with your name on it? It's pretty satisfying. Next time you head to Denver, let me know. I'll head on up to the airport with the appropriate signage and pick you up. After collecting two other winners (there were 12 in total—one for each flavor of frosting), and a blogger come to capture the event, we were on our way.

Okay, is it totally weird that I just up and left in the middle of writing this to cover something in chocolate?

Anyways, so we arrive at the hotel, get a chance to meet the rest of the winners, and head to dinner at Delicious Heights. It was so much more awesome than I anticipated. So many people from Duncan Hines were there: chefs, product developers, the marketing team. It was really cool to get to mix and mingle with them. They really went balls out for this whole thing. Right off the break, the appetizers were ridiculous. And the Malibu Bay Breeze I had... I'm sorry, the TWO I had, were money. 

Sitting down for dinner we had a nice spread of appetizers including tortilla chips, so what do you think my next request was? Ketchup. And, oh man, their ketchup was awesome. I managed to put some on pretty much everything I ate from then on...except dessert, which was more out of respect than anything else. During dinner, we had a chance to really get down and dirty with the people sitting around us. I learned a great deal about what it takes for DH to create a product from conception to sale. Also during dinner (and around the end of my first drink), I showed Chef Joe how I can tie a cherry stem with my tongue. (Don't act like you're not impressed). Dinner ended on an extremely high note with a dessert made especially for us by Joe, the DH pastry chef. It was the bomb-diggity and I plan on making it as soon as he hits us up with the recipe.
Me and Joe (aka Best Friends for Life)

After a night of lying in bed wondering if it was time to get up yet and start the day, we all piled onto a bus and headed to Duncan Hines. As I said before, they hit us hard with awesomeness the entire way through. And that awesomeness started as soon as we got to the the facilities as we were greeted with a red carpet to walk down. I made sure to wave and blow kisses to all of my adoring fans. 

We spent the morning learning about each other's inspiration for our recipes as well as Duncan Hines inspiration for the Frosting Creations and their road to getting to what the product is today. We got to do some taste testing and see what it was like to go through their product testing phase of development. And we spent a lot of time in the kitchen learning a number of fabulous things from Chef Joe. At one point during the afternoon, each of us were given the opportunity to share about our recipe and Frosting Creations in general on film. (Heads up to Duncan Hines, if you are looking for a spokesperson, I am totally available). 

Here's my recipe, much improved by Chef Chris's skilled hands...

It was a day full of fun, fabulous people, and frosting. Oh my gosh, the frosting. 

We got to sample each of the other winners' recipes (all made by Chef Chris): that's 12 desserts all featuring a different flavor of frosting. And this was in addition to sampling some other frostings earlier in the day. Needless to say I was full of sugar. See...

I was full of sugar running down the hall. I was full of sugar jogging in place. And I was full of sugar when they put me in the car to send me home... kind of like when you visit your grandparents.

All-in-all it was a mandible-claw-your-sister's-annoying-best-friend fabulous experience. A big shout out to the DH employees, the PR chicas and all the winners for making this weekend amazing.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cotton Candy Fudge

Again with the fudge! And I'm not even posting all of the variations I've tried, but I'm posting this one because of the sweet, sweet deal I got because of it. I entered this recipe in the Duncan Hines Frosting Creations Recipe Challenge, and guess what suckas, I won (along with 11 other bakers). So now it's time to share this awesome-sauce (or more accurately, awesome-fudge) recipe with all of you.

Cotton Candy Fudge
  • 1 packet of Duncan Hines® Frosting Creations™ Cotton Candy Flavor Mix and 1 can of Frosting Creations™ Frosting Starter
  • 12 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 ounce pink cotton candy
  1. Pour pack of Duncan Hines® Frosting Creations™ Cotton Candy Flavor Mix into can of Duncan Hines® Frosting Creations™ Frosting Starter. Stir until evenly blended.
  2. Line 8x8 or 9x9 pan with wax paper.
  3. Melt chocolate chips in microwave.
  4. Stir Duncan Hines® Frosting into melted chips.
  5. Break up cotton candy into pieces and fold into chocolate-frosting mixture.
  6. Spread evenly into prepared pan and chill in the fridge until set.
  7. Remove from pan, peel off wax paper, and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Fun to make, fun to look at, and even more fun to eat (as I say in my submission). Part of my winnings was a trip to the Duncan Hines facilities in Jersey, which was awesome. One of the chefs recreated all 12 of the winning desserts for us to try and made slight tweaks to most of them. With this recipe, he let the cotton candy dry out so it was crispy and crumbly before making the fudge. Definitely an improvement. It was like Pop Rocks without the pop. And his version definitely looked better than mine.

DH was good times. I'll post details and pictures soon.