4/28/15

0 Dulce de Leche, PC Style


Dulce de Leche.

Can you pronounce it?  I can't.

All I can tell you is this.

It is sweet, brown, deliciousness.

Literally translated, it means "candy milk."

I'll take that!

It is traditionally prepared by slowly heating sweetened milk, changing its flavor and color, resulting in a thick, sweet caramelly sauce. It can be made in the oven, stove or microwave. 

What do you use this stuff for?  Well, just about anything. Over ice cream, on a cake, in a crepe, sandwiched between cookies, dip pretzel sticks or just dipping a plain 'ole spoon will do.

I have heard that this glorious stuff can be made in a pressure cooker.

Wait a minute.  Put a sealed can in a pressure cooker?  Won't it explode? 

I did a TON of research all over the web, and I couldn't find any evidence of explosions, so I buckled down and bought a can of sweetened condensed milk...


1.  Remove the paper from the can. Remove ALL the glue from the can. The paper will just get soggy and make a mess in the pot. If there is any glue left on the can from the label, it will melt, stick onto the liner of your pot, and be really, really hard to remove.

2.  Put a trivet and steamer in the pressure cooker.



3. Place can (or cans) on its side and fill pot with water. 


 Make sure you do NOT exceed the MAX fill line. In this case, 16 cups.


4. Close and lock your pressure cooker. Select HIGH for 15-20 min. (The longer you cook the milk, the darker it will be). My cooker came to pressure at 33 minutes, then cooked for 15 minutes.


5. Turn pressure cooker OFF, allow to naturally release the steam on its own.

6. When the pressure valve drops, DO NOT REMOVE THE LID.

7. Let pressure cooker sit, undisturbed, over night.  You want the cans to be cool enough to handle, so let it sit over night.  For curious kids and hubby, I made a sign:


8. Next day, remove the can, dry it off and write on the can, "Dulce de Leche." Store unopened can on the shelf. 

Open, indulge, and if there is any left over, transfer to an air tight container and put in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.


If opened and you need it to last longer, put in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.

If the dulce de leche is too stiff, you can warm it in a pan/double boiler with a little bit of milk...


Mmmmmmm..... don't think this can will last long.... stay tuned for a recipe using dulce de leche!


Thanks to all those who went before me and made this possible:


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Dulce de Leche, PC Style
Ingredients
1 can of sweetened condensed milk, outside wrapper removed

Water

Steamer basket

Instructions
Remove label and ALL glue from can.
Place trivet and steamer basket in PC. 
Place unwrapped can on its side in basket. 
Fill PC with water up to the MAX line.  Close/lock PC. 
Set to HIGH for 15-20 min. 
After 20 min, turn PC off, use NATURAL release. 
When valve drops, DO NOT REMOVE LID. Allow to sit, undisturbed, overnight.
Next day, remove can from PC. Label, store on shelf as is. 
Open, use or transfer to airtight container for fridge for 3 weeks or freezer for 3 months.
If dulce de leche is too stiff, warm over stove/double boiler with a little milk to desired consistency. 


4/23/15

0 Queso Blanco Chip Dip


I traveled to California with some friends and we ate at Miguel's, an amazing Mexican restaurant. The waiter brought out chips with two different dips. One looked like the traditional salsa or pico de gallo, and the other was some creamy white sauce.

I found that it was Queso Blanco. Queso blanco is a creamy, soft, mild cheese commonly used in several Latin countries, including Mexico. "Queso Blanco" is Spanish for "white cheese" and similar cheeses are found throughout the world by different names.

I could not get enough of this wonderful, creamy, chip dip/sauce. In fact, I didn't even eat my entree. I just sat there, gloriously dipping and munching on this new found creation.

Coming home, I began my quest to find a great recipe and found one that uses white American cheese that you can find in the deli of just about any grocery store. 


I love this recipe because not only is it easy to make, it doesn't require a whole lot of fancy ingredients. Cheese, cream (or half and half) and a jalapeno pepper was all I needed to put on my grocery list.


The spices were readily available in my pantry.


The cream is warmed on the stove and the cubes of cheese are dropped in, a few cubes at a time while stirring constantly.  Stirring prevents the milk from burning and helps the cheese melt evenly.  The spices and pepper are added after the cheese melts.




Here is my reward.

Creamy, cheesey, goodness that I can have any time!

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QUESO BLANCO DIP
Ingredients
1 lb white American cheese (found in the  deli section of the grocery store)
1 cup half-and-half  (can use fat free)
2 tablespoons diced jalapenos
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt  (taste first)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
1 dash chili powder


Instructions
Using a heavy saucepan on low heat pour in the half and half.  Cube the cheese and stir a few cubes into the half and half.
Stir continuously until cheese begins to melt, adding more half and half to the consistency you desire.
Add diced jalapenos to mixture. Stir.
Begin to add the spices, tasting as you go.
Add a pinch of chili powder, and serve hot with tortillas or chips.

Store in the fridge for up to one week.

Leftovers can be microwaved (add more half and half or water to keep consistency.

Makes approx. 2 cups dip 



4/13/15

0 Create Texture to Your Sports Ball Cookies

May contain affiliate links.  Please refer to my disclosure policy.

Think you need fondant to make this fabulous texture on these Soft Sugar Cookies?
Country Kitchen Sports Ball Cookie Cutter Texture Set

Think again.  You can use butter cream frosting and these texture sheets to create a cool texture to these sports themed cookies!


The process is very simple.

1. Frost your baked and cooled sugar cookies using this method with butter cream icing.

Cover and let dry overnight.  I love these plastic covers that fit my baking sheets!



2. Use a clean, dry template and line it up with your cookie.


3.  Using gentle pressure with your fingertips, smooth the template onto the cookie.

4. Carefully lift the template.  If the template sticks to your icing, it is not dry enough.  The best type of butter cream recipe is one that uses milk or water. This is also known as a "self crusting" icing.


5.  Smooth the edges of your cookie with a clean, dry fingertip.

I love how soccer, basketball, and volley ball turned out.  Not so much on the baseball...seems like the lines are a little too close together.


The football turned out great! It paired really well with the jersey and helmet cookie.


The template package includes a tennis ball, but I prefer this design and EASY method of making the curved white lines. 


I like the #8 pool ball, but my first experience in making black frosting ended up tasting very bitter.  I'll need to do some research on making a great tasting black frosting.

Happy Baking!

Items used in this project:


4/6/15

0 KA Flex Edge Beater Review: A Useful Kitchen Tool


May contain affiliate links.  Please refer to my disclosure policy.   

Have you tried this cool kitchen tool?
It is a paddle scraper designed for a Kitchen Aid mixer.
I had a Christmas gift card and decided to splurge.  I'm so glad I did!
It is technically called a KitchenAid KFE5T Flex Edge Beater, but I call it a "paddle scraper."
Let's put it to the test on some room temperature butter, which will become my go to buttercream frosting for soft sugar cookies.


As you can see, it scrapes the sides pretty well.  Not perfectly clean, mind you, but clean enough that I don't have to stop the mixer, tilt the head back, dig a rubber spatula down all the sides and repeat the process throughout the recipe.

It even does a fair job of keeping ingredients from piling up on the "dimple" in the bottom of the mixing bowl!  I''m pretty thrilled about that.

I have been consistently using this paddle scraper for all my cookies, cakes and frostings, all with great results. 


I would NOT recommend putting this tool in the dishwasher, although it states on the box that it is dishwasher safe. The surface of my original KA paddle began bubbling and pieces of the white coating began breaking off. Not good.

To qualify as one of my Cool Kitchen Tools, it must:

~ Must be comfortable/easy to use  YES
~ Easy to store   YES
~ Easy to clean  YES - hand wash only
~ Does it serve more than one purpose? No, but mixes more than one type of recipe
~ Good quality for the price; durable YES - I paid less than $25
~ Use often YES

My next Kitchen Aid Flex Edge beater will be for my 7 qt. mixer.  I can't wait for it to go on sale!
Check out Flex Edge Beaters in Various Sizes

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