Peanut Butter & Sea Salt Caramel Popcorn

The other day we had unexpected friends over and while they started opening some beers in the kitchen, I made some kettle corn to snack on. This is what I love about popcorn, it’s so easy and quick to make. The variety of flavors you can add to it is basically endless. And this Peanut butter popcorn is such a divine combo! I’ve partnered with Calve Peanut Butter to create this recipe. It’s crunchy, salty, sweet and addictive. The perfect snack for movie night and it also makes a nice edible gift.

This recipe makes 1 large bowl of popcorn.

Ingredients:

For the popcorn:

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

105grs of popcorn kernels (1/2 a cup)

For the Peanut butter & sea salt caramel sauce:

100grs of sugar (3/4 cup)

45grs of butter tablespoons of butter (3 tablespoons)

105grs of water (¾ cup)

75grs of Calve smooth peanut butter (1/3 of a cup)

1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt

1 ½ to 2 teaspoons of baking soda

Brush one very large bowl with vegetable oil. If you don’t have one large enough, grease two medium ones. Keep in mind that you need to have enough space to coat all the popcorn in the caramel.

Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.

In a large pan with a lid, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the popcorn, cover and keep the pan moving until all the kernels have popped. Transfer the popcorn to the greased bowl. Remove any unpopped kernels.

Add the sugar, water and butter to a medium pan. Cook over medium heat until it becomes a light golden color. This will take about 10 minutes. Swirl the pan from time to time.

Remove the pan from the heat. Quickly add the peanut butter, sea salt and baking soda. Stir with a wooden spoon until it is all well combined.

Pour the peanut butter caramel sauce over the popcorn and mix well. Spread the popcorn over the prepared baking tray. Allow it to cool down. Once cooled, you can break them apart into smaller chunks. It will keep in an air-tight container till the next day. Enjoy!

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Mini Brownie Cookie Sandwiches Stuffed with Salted Caramel Ice Cream

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It’s taken me ages to post this recipe. If you follow me on Snapchat, you’ve probably already seen it last month. I love the combination of the salted caramel in the ice cream with the brownie cookies. They make great little treats which would be very welcome in this heat.

While I was testing this ice cream recipe, on the first batch I didn’t add enough salt but that (not salty) ice cream was great to make affogato. So if you feel like making normal caramel ice cream, just skip on the salt and enjoy it with some espresso.

This recipe makes about 20 mini ice cream sandwiches.

Ingredients:

For the salted caramel ice cream:

For the salted caramel:

1 cup of sugar (212grs)

2 teaspoons of sea salt like Maldon

2 tablespoons of butter

1 cup of cream (250ml)

For the ice cream base:

2 ½ cups of whole milk (470ml)

1 cup of cream (250ml)

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

¼ cup of sugar

4 egg yolks

For the cookies:

100grs of dark chocolate, chopped

113grs of butter

1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

¾ of a cup of brown sugar, packed

½ cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

2 teaspoons of cornstarch

1 teaspoon of baking soda

Pinch of salt

¼ cup of cocoa powder

 

Start by making the salted caramel. Melt the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it becomes amber in color. Swirl the pan around to avoid the edges from burning. This will take about 9 minutes. Off the heat add the butter, salt and cream. Over medium-low heat, stir until the caramel dissolves again and there are no lumps. This will take about 10 minutes. Then carefully pour the caramel into a large bowl. Be slow so if there are any chunks of caramel, they will stay at the button of the pan and then discard them. Allow it to cool down while you make the ice cream base.

To make the ice cream base, place the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk them with the sugar.

Place the milk, cream and vanilla essence in a saucepan over medium heat. Once it comes to a simmer, slowly pour it into the yolk mixture while whisking. Then transfer it back to the saucepan over medium heat and stir for about 5 minutes until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. You know it’s ready when you draw a line with your finger on the back of a spoon and it stays.

Place a fine sieve over the bowl with the caramel. Carefully pour the ice cream base over the caramel. Remove the sieve. Whisk so that the caramel is well combined with the ice cream base. Allow it to come to room temperature and the place it in the fridge until it is completely cold. Once it is cold, freeze it in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze for at least 4 hours or better overnight.

To make the cookies, place the butter and chopped dark chocolate in a small bowl. Melt it in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring in between until the chocolate has melted completely. Then allow it to cool down.

Mix the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, salt and cocoa powder in another bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, sugars and vanilla. Then slowly whisk in the cooled melted chocolate.

Then add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture in batches. Mix until everything is combined.

Then allow the dough to chill in the fridge for 2 hours.

Once the cookie dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 180C/350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take the cookie dough out of the fridge and grab about 1 tablespoon of cookie dough and roll it into a ball using your hands. Place it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat for the rest, leaving some space in between each ball. Bake the cookies for 9 minutes. While a batch is baking, keep the remaining cookie dough in the fridge.

Let the cookies rest in the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Once your cookies are cooled, start making the ice cream sandwiches. To store them, just wrapped them separately in plastic wrap and freeze them. Enjoy!

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Coconut & Dulce de Leche Rolls with Coconut Icing (And Babka)

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I can’t get enough of sweet breads and trying out different flavors. The combination of toasted dried coconut with dulce de leche is amazing. For this recipe you will need one can of full fat coconut milk, left undisturbed in the fridge overnight for the cream to separate from the liquid. I used the liquid for the dough and the creamy thick part that separated for the icing. If it happens that it didn’t separate the next day, just get some coconut cream and use it instead to make the icing. This has happened to me before and I tried using different brands of coconut milk. So no worries if it doesn’t happen. I used 1/5 of the dough to make a tiny babka. Just look at all those layers of dulce de leche and toasted coconut.

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Ingredients:

For the dough:

3 ½ cups of All-purpose flour

7gr dry yeast

1 cup of coconut milk

1 teaspoon of salt

4 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled

1/3 cup of sugar

1 egg

For the filling:

2 cups of dulce de leche

2 cups of toasted dried coconut

For the egg wash:

1 egg

1 tablespoon of water

For the icing:

½ cup of coconut cream (full fat)

1/3 cup of icing sugar or more if you want a thicker consistency

 

First leave a can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight. Be careful not to shake it, you want the cream to separate from the liquid. The next morning, open the can and carefully scrape off the top creamy part. Place it in a small bowl and keep it in the fridge until ready to use. Reserve the liquid to make the dough and let it come to room temperature.

For the filling, just toast the dried coconut in a pan (no oil) over medium heat. Just stir until the coconut gets a light brown color. Set it aside to cool down.

To make the dough, place 1 cup of the coconut liquid with the yeast in the bowl of the stand mixer. Let it sit there for 5 minutes. Once the 5 minutes are up, add the flour, salt, sugar, butter and the egg. Knead on low speed for 5 minutes, using the dough hook attachment. You can also knead it by hand (for about 10 minutes).

Then remove the dough from the bowl. Clean the bowl and then grease it with a bit of vegetable oil. Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the greased bowl. Cover with plastic film and let it rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

You can bake the rolls in an oven dish or in a cast iron skillet. If you use an oven dish lightly grease it with some butter. For the cast iron skillet, I just lined it with parchment paper this time.

Once the hour has passed, place the dough on your floured working area. Punch it down. I reserved 1/5 of the dough to make a tiny babka (in a  9x18cm loaf pan). But you can make it all into rolls.

Roll it out into a large rectangle, of about 38x32cm. Spread some of the dulce de leche evenly all over the dough but leave about 1 cm free on the edges. If the dulce de leche is too hard, place it in the microwave for 15 seconds to make it more spreadable. Then sprinkle the toasted coconut all over the dulce de leche. Roll the dough like a tight crepe. Slice off the uneven edges. Then slice the log into even pieces of about 2cm thick. Arrange them on the prepared baking dish or skillet, leaving a bit of space in between each one. Cut out a big piece of plastic wrap, brush it with some vegetable oil and cover the rolls with it (greased side touching the rolls).

If you saved some dough to make the babka, here is how to do it:

Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll out one piece into a rectangle. Spread it with some dulce de leche and sprinkle some of the toasted coconut over it. Then roll it like a tight crepe.

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Do the same for the remaining piece. Once you have two filled logs, grab one and make a clean slice over the middle. But leave the top part attached. Then twist it trying to keep the open side up. Repeat for the other log. Then twist the two logs together and pinch the edges to seal them. Tuck the edges underneath. Place the babka in a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Cover it with a piece of greased plastic wrap. Let it rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

About 15 minutes before the second rise is up, preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Once the rolls have risen, brush them with some egg wash and bake them for about 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden. The same goes for the babka.

Once the rolls and babka are baked, start making the frosting. Take out the coconut cream from the fridge and place it in a medium bowl. Slowly add the icing sugar while whisking. Add more sugar if you like it less runny. Drizzle some of the coconut icing over the rolls. For the babka, I served it on the side. Enjoy!

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Brownie with Peanut Butter Cookie Crust, Whisky Caramel Sauce and Sea Salt

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I had been craving something very rich. I ate chocolate and cookies but they didn’t cut it. I wanted to make a slightly salty dessert and this happened to satisfy my winter munchies. It’s rich, fudgy on the inside, crunchy peanut butter bottom, some caramel on top and some sea salt. It ticked all the boxes. My hubby and I shared the last piece before having breakfast.

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This recipe is for a 19cm round cake mold. I used one with a detachable bottom.

Ingredients:

For the peanut butter cookie crust:

½ cup of smooth peanut butter

56grs of softened butter

¼ cup + 2 tablespoons of white sugar

¼ cup of packed brown sugar

1 small egg

1 teaspoon of milk

½ teaspoon of vanilla essence

½ cup + 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon of baking soda

¼ teaspoon of baking powder

Pinch of salt

For the brownie:

120grs of dark chocolate, chopped

57grs of butter

½ cup of sugar

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon of cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

For the Whisky caramel sauce:

½ cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of water

¼ cup of heavy cream

¼ teaspoon of vanilla essence

½ tablespoon of Whiskey

½ a tablespoon of salted butter

Extra:

Sea salt

Blueberries

 

Start by making the peanut butter cookie crust. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line the bottom of a 19cm round cake mold with a detachable bottom, with parchment paper.

Whisk the softened butter with the peanut butter. Add the sugars and whisk until fluffy. Then add the egg, milk and vanilla. Whisk until well combined. Finally whisk in the dry ingredients.

Place about 2/3 of the cookie dough in the prepared cake mold. You can freeze the rest of the cookie dough and make cookies later on. Press with a spoon to spread it as evenly as possible. Bake it for 8 minutes. Then set it aside and start making the brownie batter.

Melt the butter with the chocolate in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring in between until it is completely melted. Then allow it to cool down for a few minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar with the eggs and egg yolk. Then slowly whisk in the melted chocolate (make sure it’s not very hot, otherwise it will curdle the eggs). Then add the vanilla, flour, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk until well combined. Pour the brownie butter over the cookie crust. Tap it a bit  to get rid of air bubbles. Bake it for 25 minutes. Then set it aside to cool down in the mold.

Once the brownie has cooled down, carefully pass a knife around the edges of the mold. Carefully take the brownie cake out of the mold and plate it.

To make the whisky caramel sauce, place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook without stirring until the sugar has turned amber in color, swirling the pan from time to time. This will take about 8 minutes. Then slowly add the cream and vanilla. Mix it well with a wooden spoon. Then add the whisky and butter. Stir until well combined and then transfer it to a bowl.

Drizzle some of the caramel on top of the brownie and sprinkle it with some sea salt and add some fresh blueberries. Enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Merengon de guindones (Peruvian floating Island)

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When I was a kid, this dessert was pretty popular in Peru & my mom would make it often. Nowadays you really have to search for it, if you want to buy it. I actually only know one café in Lima where they always have it on the menu. When we are visiting, that place is always on our list as my husband also goes nuts for this dessert. It’s basically the same as an Île Flottante but made with gelatin & dried prunes, placed in a cake mold coated in caramel and baked in a water bath. It’s called merengon de guindones which means prune meringue. I made a tiny version for 2, using only 4 egg whites and served it with some vanilla bean crème anglaise. Since I’m not the biggest fan of dried prunes, I skipped them. If you would like to use the prunes, just grab a handful and soak them in hot water for a few minutes. Then chop them and add them to the meringue last.

This recipe is enough for a 19cm angel cake pan but you can easily make a larger cake.

For the caramel:

1 ½ cups of sugar

For the cake:

4 egg whites

½ cup of sugar

1 ½ gelatin leaves (total weight of 1.5grs)

¼ cup of cold water

For the crème anglaise:

3 egg yolks

¾ cups of sugar

1 cup of milk

1 teaspoon of cornstarch

1 vanilla bean

 

Preheat your oven to 180/350F

Melt the sugar for the caramel in a pan over medium heat and coat the cake pan with it.

Place the gelatin in a plate with the cold water and let it sit for a few minutes until it softens.

Place the gelatin with the water in a small pan over medium heat and stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved.

Whisk the egg whites until foamy, and then gradually add the sugar. Once you can form firm peaks, slowly add the gelatin while whisking. Pour the meringue into the caramel coated pan. Bake it in a water bath for 20 minutes. Allow it to cool down completely in the mold (it will shrink). Once it is cold, detach the edges using a knife heated with hot water. Unmold it into a cake platter. Keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.

To make the crème anglaise, place the milk, sugar and vanilla (seeds scraped off and bean) in a saucepan. Bring it to a simmer and then remove it from the heat. In medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the cornstarch. Slowly add the milk while whisking.

Pour the custard back into the pot and stir over low heat with a wooden spoon until it thickens. You know when it’s ready when you can draw a line with your finger on the back of the spoon and it leaves a path. Strain the custard and pour it into a bowl. Grab a piece of plastic wrap and cover it, touching the custard. This will prevent that layer of skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve the merengon with the crème anglaise. Enjoy!

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Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche & Caramel Corn

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I had a chocolate cake craving the other night. But I was too tired to make something, so the next day I made these. The pumpkin pure keeps these cupcakes moist. Dulce de leche is the delicious glue to the crunchy caramel corn. A really indulgent treat!

This recipe makes 10 cupcakes.

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

1 ¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon of cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ¼ teaspoons of baking powder

¼ teaspoon of cinnamon powder

¼ teaspoon of fresh grated nutmeg

¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons of buttermilk

¾ cup of pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

125gr butter, at room temperature

¾ cup brown sugar

¾ cup white sugar

3 eggs

For the caramel corn:

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

½ cup popcorn kernels

¾ cup of sugar

3 tablespoons of butter

¼ teaspoon of salt

1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda

¾ cup of water

Extras:

400gr of dulce de leche

 

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Mix all of the dry ingredients except for the sugar. In a different bowl, mix the buttermilk, pumpkin and vanilla. In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until it becomes fluffy.  Then add the eggs, one at a time.  Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the eggs, until it is all mixed through.

Place the paper cupcake liners into the cupcake pan.  Spoon the batter evenly and bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Once they are baked, allow them to cool down for 5 minutes in the cupcake pan.  Then remove them from the pan and allow them to cool down completely on a wire rack.

To make the popcorn:

Brush a large bowl and two wooden spoons or rubber spatulas with vegetable oil (you can also use cooking spray).  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large pan with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the popcorn, cover and keep the pan moving until all the kernels have popped. Transfer to the greased bowl. Remove any unpopped kernel.

In a medium pan, combine the butter, sugar, salt and ¾ cup of water. Cook over medium high heat until the mixture becomes a light golden color, about 10 minutes. Stir constantly.  Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the baking soda.  Be careful because the baking soda will make the mixture bubble up.

Pour the caramel over the popcorn and working very quickly, mix it all through.

Spread the popcorn into the baking sheet and try to make chunks about the size of the cupcake tops. Allow to cool at room temperature. Make the caramel corn once you are ready to serve the cupcakes, or make it and store it in an airtight container and decorate the cupcakes once you are ready to serve them. Otherwise the caramel in the corn will get soggy.

When you are ready to serve, spread some dulce de leche on top of each cupcake, this will glue in the caramel corn. Top with a big chunk of caramel corn and enjoy!

For more foodie inspiration, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Mini Alfajores de Maizena (Cornstarch cookies)

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Alfajores are cookies usually filled with dulce de leche from South America. Particularly from Argentina but in Peru they are quite popular as well. I grew up eating them and these are my favorite kind because the cornstarch makes them softer and they just melt in your mouth. I like to make them bite size because they crumble easily, this way there is no mess of pieces falling. Just pop one in your mouth and enjoy.

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This recipe makes about 25 mini alfajores.

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cup of cornstarch (maizena)

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

¼ cup powdered sugar

2 egg yolks

3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened

400gr of Dulce de leche for the filling

Shredded dried coconut (optional)

 

Sift the cornstarch with the flour and the baking powder.

Whisk the softened butter with the sugar until it becomes creamy. Add the egg yolks, one by one, while whisking. Finally add the cornstarch mixture and whisk until it is all combined.

Place the dough on a clean surface and using your hands shape it into a ball. Wrap it with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Once the dough has rested in the fridge, preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface. You want it to be around 3mm thick. The dough will crack, but can be easily patched back together. Cut the dough with a small round cookie cutter and place the cookies on the prepared baking tray.

Bake them for 10 minutes. You want the cookies to still be pale ( The edges of the bottom part will be lightly golden). Allow them to cool down completely before filling them.

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I find it easier to fill the cookies by piping the filling. Place the dulce de leche on a piping bag, or a ziplock bag.   Flip half of the cookies upside down and pipe some dulce de leche in the middle of each cookie. Then place the second cookie on top and gently press to create a sandwich. You can dust the sides with dried coconut if you like.

You should only fill the cookies with the dulce de leche if they are going to be eaten on the same day otherwise just store them in an air tight container. They will keep for a few days.