Monday, June 28, 2010

Dulce de Leche Apple Bars with Browned Butter Icing

While being a pastry chef is a job I love very much, sometimes at work I'm not able to do the same things I would like to do. I make things for teenagers and while those kids have some pretty mature palettes, sometimes its not as mature as I would like!!

Last fall I found this recipe on Recipe Girl that I was dying to try and didn't get the chance until about two weeks ago!! I was visiting my mom in Spokane, Washington and she had asked me to make something with apples in it for my grandfather for Father's Day! I obliged with the Dulce de Leche Bars and I left the day they were made.

Today I decided I was going to make them at home finally!! My husband works for a trucking company and they are very delighted when I decide to back! They are usually the ones that end up with the bulk of it as I try and keep it out of the house!

As I said before, I got this recipe from Recipe Girl, a girls got to give credit, when credit is due and let me tell you this one is noteworthy!  I think I could eat a bowl of the browned butter icing all by itself and I'm not really much of a frosting fan anymore! There are a few of my own adaptations, such as I use homemade dulce de leche and used more apples. These are super easy and have a big wow factor to the finished product! So make these if you are trying to impress your mother in law!!

Without further ado! I bring you Dulce de Leche Apple Bars with Browned Butter Icing!

The Cast:

9X9 inch square baking pan

A couple mixing bowls or your kitchen aid with bowl and beater blade


Small saucepan

Dulce de leche pre-made, if you can't find it in the ethic foods at your local grocer you may want to try the local hispanic grocery store, they will no doubt have it! If not, Alton Brown has a pretty good recipe for it.

Ingredients for the Bars:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
1 cup pack light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 medium size apples, peeled and chopped.
1/2 cup dulce de leche (I used one gala and one golden delicious, but I think it would be good with any variety)


2 Tablespoons Butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  Tablespoons heavy cream

Homemade Dulce de Leche:


Let's get crackin!!

First things first, you are going to want to pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease the 9X9 inch pan. I use the heavy glass pyrex, so if you have a metal one the final product may differ.

I always mis en place, remember that term from the first entry? I'll use it A LOT! So I clean, peel, core and chop my apples and then scale (oh! More vocabulary!!) my ingredients.

First off, I creamed the butter with the sugar, vanilla and eggs. You do this until they are light and fluffy! If you are brave like me and don't mind the risk of tapworm you can try a little bit and taste it. It will be really light!! Trust me, you'll know what I mean, because there is nothing light about butter! that is until you whip the crap out of it!

From here mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until they are just combined! Don't over do it! I like to leave them in the measuring cups until I add them, less bowls and dishes I've got to do!!

Next you will stir in the apples. Viola! Easy right?

Now pour about half the apple batter into the 9X9 pan and then spread the 1/2 cup of dulce de leche on top of that and top that with the rest of the apple batter. Pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes. I found that mine took closer to 45-50 minutes and the top gets really brown! So make sure to keep your eye on it!

What better time to make the icing than when the cake is in the oven? Now, I waited to spread the icing on top of the cake until it was cool. It wasn't completely cool, it was still a little warm.

Get that handy dandy saucepan ready and put your 2 Tablespoons of butter in it over medium heat. While it gets up to temp mis en place (magic word!) your powdered sugar and have it ready in the bowl. You can also add the cream and vanilla, just don't incorporate them yet. The butter will brown up pretty quickly, so keep an eye on it. Let it get to a tan color and then pull it off the burner and add it to the powedered sugar mixture. Whisk it all together and viola!

After you spread the icing on the cooled cake you are going to want to put it in the refridgerator and let the icing set and until it is ready to serve!

Now that you know the beauty of Browned Butter Icing, maybe you have some new ideas of different things to spread it on! I know I sure do!!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Blackberry and Marscapone Ice Cream

I feel like I should type something prolific about my blog, but I feel like I've explained everything in the, "About Sheena" section, so let's get to the food! That's what were here for right? 

My husband and I went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in April and while we were there I had some fantastic ice cream! I have thought about it since returning and haven't been able to find any flavor that is similar, at all! On the menu they called it blackberry and cheese! Mexico has many of its own variety of cheese's and when asking our waiter he was as clueless as me. Darn!!

This week I finally decided to use up my heavy cream that I got to bring home from work a couple week's ago and make my adaption of "Blackberry and Cheese" ice cream, only this time, I know the type of cheese!!! 

The Cast:
Ice Cream Maker

Mixer, Kitchen Aid or otherwise

2 pots
-One that you will be able to fit the heavy cream and milk into
-One that you will be able to fit a bowl on top of.

4 bowls
- One that sits on top of the pot without touching the water beneath and big enough to fit all the ingredients for the ice cream base.
-One bowl that is bigger than the above bowl so that you can make an ice bath 
- One for your blackberries if you are making the swirl yourself
- One to beat the marscapone in or your kitchen aid bowl if you have one

A heat safe spatula


Plastic wrap

Storage container for finished ice cream. The Glad plastic storage containers work well. 

For the ice cream base:
6 ounces of egg yolks (about 9 yolks)
1 3/4 cups of sugar
1 pint of whole milk
2 pints (or 1 quart) of heavy cream 
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract 
pinch of salt

For the "cheese":
8 ounces of marscapone 
3/4 cup of sugar (this is to mix with the marscapone)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

For the Blackberry swirl:
6 oz. of blackberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup of blackberry jam

Day 1:

First thing you will need to do is read your manufacturer's directions for your ice cream maker and follow those directions. If you have a kitchen aid ice cream attachment like me, that means you need to freeze the bowl for a minimum of a day. 

The first day you will be making the ice cream base and the blackberry swirl. These two need to sit overnight to develop the flavors! 

So let's start with the Ice Cream Base:

1. In the commercial kitchen we are big on mis en place, the literal translation is "putting in place". In the kitchen it means, getting your stuff together before you do it. This would be a good time to make sure you have all your ingredients measured out (or as we say "scaled out") and ready to go! That also means fully reading your directions before you start! :)

2. Get your pot that is going to have the bowl on top of it, this is a double boiler of sorts. You are going to fill the bottom with water, you don't want the water to touch the bottom of the bowl, the steam from the boiling water will heat up the bowl resting on top. Get this all ready and turn on the heat, you want a low boil.

3. Pour your heavy cream and milk into the pot,  you are going to scald the milk and cream. Scalding means bringing it up to the temperature right before it boils! You will be able to see the steam coming off the top of the milk and cream, this means it is done.

4. While scalding the milk and cream combine your egg yolks and sugar in the bowl that you are going to put all the ingredients for the ice cream base in. You are going to want to combine them until the egg yolks are light and the sugar is fully incorporated. 

5. Once the milk has reached the scalding point pour a little of it in with the egg yolk and sugar mixture and mix them together. This step is called tempering and this prevents your egg yolks from scrambling! At this point I would also get that bigger bowl that the bowl on the pot can fit into and put your ice in it for the ice bath! You will need it after the ice cream base is done on the double boiler.

6. After you have tempered your eggs add all of the heavy cream and milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture and rest the bowl on top of your pot. Add the vanilla and salt. 

7. From here on out you want to be constantly stirring the ice cream base. You want to stir it over the double boiler until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. You will be able to run your finger down the back of the spoon and it won't fill in with more of the ice cream base mixture. 

8. Once you have reached the desired consistancy you want to immediately put the bowl in the ice bath and allow it to sit and come down in temperature. I usually allow it to sit for about an hour before I wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the refridgerator, I let it sit at least over night.

Blackberry swirl:

All you do is mash the blackberries and sugar together. You want the blackberries all broken and mashed up, so that it can create a nice swirl through your ice cream. You will also have this sit over night with the ice cream base mixture. If you are choosing to go the jam route, skip this step.
Day 2:


For this step you will want to mix the marscapone, sugar and lemon juice together until it becomes soft. 

Making it all come together!!!

At this point you will want to mix the ice cream base according to the ice cream maker manufacturer's directions, they all vary. Once you start churning the ice cream in your maker you will want to add the cheese mixture and finish the product according to the ice cream maker manufacturer's directions. DO NOT add the blackberry swil while it is in the ice cream maker. The Blackberry swirl is the last step!!

Adding the Blackberry Swirl:

After your ice cream is done churning you will want to pour your ice cream out into the container you are choosing to freeze it in.  At this point you will add your blackberry swirl, just pour it into the mixture and fold in. You don't want to stir it into the mix, you want it to have a hint of blackberry. 

Bon Appetit!