Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sablés chocolat-caramel

For my birthday, the parents that I babysit for bought me a dessert recipe book because they knew I love to bake and try new recipes. The exciting thing is that because this is a French recipe book the desserts are different than anything I have ever made before, and plus I get to learn new french vocabulary as used in cooking! =) My plan is to post the recipe that I use, show pictures of how the dessert turns out and then give you a bit of my personal experience with making the dessert and my final opinion on the outcome.

This is the book I am using:

The first recipe that I made from this book is called Sablés chocolat - caramel. And below are pictures of how they turned out. I am taking pictures with an iPhone and am not a great photographer, so the pictures might not be pretty, but this is really how they looked. It is always so disappointing when you make a recipe and it looks nothing as fancy as the picture that the book gives you. I am translating the recipe from French to English, so if I phrased things oddly, I apologize. I did my best

These sablés were delicious! =) They are a bit rich because there is a lot of sugar!! But rich is good ;) My boyfriend suggested that we put salt in the caramel mix, which I think is a great idea. The recipe does not call for salt, and we did not try it, but you can try it if you wish.

Recipe: Sablés chocolat - caramel.

Preparation: 40 minutes // Cooling: 2 hours // Baking: 30 minutes // Drying: 1 hour


200 grams dark chocolate
1 egg
3 tablespoons liquid crème fraîche (unfortunately this is a french ingredient. The American equivelent is sour cream, or try heavy whipping cream. The recipe calls for liquid form, but try either one.)
180 grams (12 1/2 tablespoons) butter
150 grams (just a teensy bit more than 3/4 cup) white sugar
150 grams (1 1/2 cups) flour

Preparing the dough:

Sift 150 grams of flour in a large mixing bowl. Cut 100 grams of butter into little cubes and add them to the flour. Mix with fingers until the dough becomes crumbly. Add 50 grams of sugar and 1 egg. Work the dough quickly in order to well blend all the ingredients. Once the dough is well blended, roll it into a large ball and allow it 2 hours in the refrieragtor so that it becomes nicely compacted.

Finishing the dough:

Preheat the oven to 390 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out the dough onto a flat surface with a rolling pin, then with your hands pat out the dough so that it forms into a rectangle about 40 x 15 cm and 5 to 5 mm thick. If the dough is pretty tough to work, just let it sit out in room temperature for some time. Put the dough onto a cookie sheet and poke it many times with a fork so the dough can ventilate. Bake for 15 minutes. Cut 80 grams of butter into little cubes. Melt, at high heat, 100 grams of sugar with the 3 tablespoons of creme fraiche (sour cream or heavy cream).

Preparing the caramel:

When the sugar and cream begins to boil, add the butter cubes one at a time. Continue to stir without stopping. I found it best to lower the heat once the liquid starts to boil. If it heats too fast, it can burn. Continue to heat and stir the liquid for about 10-12 minutes. If you have a sugar thermometer, the temperature must reach 125 degrees C (257 degrees F). When ready, pour the caramel onto the cooked dough and spread as best as you can to fill the edges. Allow it to cool down and harden in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Layering the chocolate (you can begin this when the cooling hour is almost finished):

Break 200 grams of dark chocolate into small pieces and put them into a small pot. In a larger pot, boil water and sit the small pot of chocolate into the boiling water. This is the best way to melt the chocolate, then it will not burn. Once the chocolate is well melted, spread it onto the stop of the caramel layer and smooth it out as if you are icing the top of a cake. Allow it to dry. I put mine back into the refrigerator so that it would cool and dry quicker. Finally, after the chocolate has dried, you can cut the rectangle into squares with a knife, your preferred size.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bring on the Cheese

I don't want to apologize for not blogging since (how long has it been?) January, so I'm not going to, however, I will give you an explanation, or at least what I think is an explanation other than just pure laziness.

I wrote most of my blogs before because it was like I was on the search for something - maybe on the search for adventure, maybe on the search for a complaint or maybe on the search for just something new. Well I did find something new quite a long time ago, but I just never really blogged about it or shall I say him? Yes, my something new is a boy. And this is where it gets cheesy. He just takes all my attention. ;) baaah cheesy.

When I learned that I would be coming to France last year I saw it as my after college opportunity to soul-search, immerse myself in another culture, find new adventures and experience my first job as a post college student. In my mother's eyes, however, she was convinced that my ambition was to find a French guy, fall in love blah blah blah, live the movie-script ending and stay in France with lover boy for the rest of my life. I had many arguments with my mother over her absurd accusation, but I suppose that she wasn't too far off from what actually happened. I still have 3 months left of my employment here in France, and though I have accomplished everything that I wanted, my adventure is not over and this time of my life will be unforgettable.

Now, why did my mother's accusation become something close to reality? Back in October I went to a Halloween party where a met a boy. In fact, if you refer back to my blog post from October 30th, you will see that I wrote about a charming French boy who dedicated a song to me.. well, that is the boy. After we met that night, we really hit it off. Of course, his impeccable taste in music and cute style was a strong attraction for me, but I soon learned that he was the sweetest guy that I had ever met. We have been together for almost 5 months now and he has made my time in France amazing. Now that I have met my French boy, it is not my plan to stay in France and live out that stereotypical Frenchy romantic life, but I am excited to see where there future of Romain and I lies.

Romain was who went with me when I went to Disneyland Paris - which was a BLAST - and I do actually apologize for not blogging about that. See, I wanted to use pictures, and I just never got around to uploading them to my computer, so I forget about it. But I will say that it was so much fun! And although it wasn't as AMAZING and MAGICAL as Disneyland in Anaheim, the park was similar enough that I felt a bit at home =)

My upcoming blogs will be blogs about french dessert recipes that I have been trying. YAY! So far it has been a success, AND I do have pictures, so hopefully the posts will be up soon.