Chocolate Peanut Butter Melt

Rich, Gooey, Decadent.

Okay, I need to get a better camera.  These photos don’t do this thing justice whatsoever.

A while ago I was interested in doing a web series about cooking geared towards those people who have a hard time not burning the house down when they pour a glass of water.  Every episode would have focused on one basic cooking/culinary principle, like knives, preparation or heat, and after each lesson I would cook/teach a recipe that used said principles.  I’m still interested in doing that series, but seeing as I started writing episode one almost a year and a half ago and now I’m up to episode one I don’t think the series will be coming any time soon.  And like I said already, I need a better camera.

This is the recipe that comes from the first episode.  I went a little overboard in making this one, and the basics of the dessert sandwich are actually much simpler than what I went through.  So this recipe will have two sections: 1) Normal text for what I did, and 2) Italics for the easy (lazy) version.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Melt

– Two slices of bread (I used a hearty whole wheat, heavier works better for this)
– Peanut Butter
– Bittersweet/Dark Chocolate Morsels
– Dried Cranberries
– Tbsp. Brown Sugar
– Butter (And lots of it. If you think great desserts can be nonfat then I don’t want to know you . . . unless you subscribe to my blog, please subscribe to my blog.  Also, room temperature and unsalted, thank you very much)
– 1/2 Tbsp. Cinnamon

  • Start by putting a handful of chocolate (measuring cups?  what?!) and a handful of dried cranberries in a food processor.  Process until most of the chocolate has turned more to a powder.  —  Using the same measurements, chop the chocolate and cranberries with a knife.  We want things pretty fine, so keep going at it for awhile.  Use a cold knife and wear rubber gloves to keep from melting the chocolate which will make it harder to work with.  You can skip down a few steps as it’s just unnecessarily complicated until then.
  • After the chocolate and the cranberries have been processed, add about a handful of peanut butter (about 1/3 – 1/2 cup if you’re silly and don’t want to dunk your hand into peanut butter) and add it.  Process again until the peanut butter is incorporated.  You’ll have a very doughy but not spreadable substance on your hands.
  • Place the chocopeanutcranberry dough (I’ll call it choconut from now on) into a mixing bowl.  Now brace yourself, this may be hard for a few of you.  Add the room temperature butter until the consistency of the mixture is that of peanut butter.  You will end up adding a lot of butter.  It’ll make it taste great, so great, so fucking great you will want to marry it.  But like marrying a millionaire who has made all of his money selling illegal pharmaceuticals, it may not be the healthiest thing for you.  If you don’t like how much butter you’re adding, or you can’t convince yourself that what you’re adding is actually healthy-nature-green-eco-spread, add two tablespoons and then use milk to achieve the desired consistency.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, whip 3 – 4 tablespoons of butter with the brown sugar and cinnamon until everything is thoroughly mixed.  —  You could just spread on butter later and then sprinkle it with brown sugar and cinnamon, but it tastes a lot better this way, so I say do it.
  • Slice two thick slices of whole wheat bread, and spread the choconut spread on both slices.  Put the sandwich together.  —  Take pre-sliced bread (no sourdough or rye please, unless you like nasty tasting shit, then hell, do what you want) and spread each slice with the choconut mixture.  Put the sandwich together. 
  • Place a pan on medium-low heat.  Spread the butter mixture onto one side of the sandwich.  Once the pan is ready, put the sandwich butter side down onto the pan.  Spread the butter on the other side of the sandwich.  —  Do this.
  • After about 40 seconds to a minute, flip the sandwich.  —  Do this.
  • Turn off the stove.  Cut off edges of sandwich (and eat them immediately) and then slice diagonally.  If you have any of the choconut spread left, using it as a dipping sauce.  —  Eat.  Eat everything.

What you’ll end up with is a dessert sandwich that is so rich that you’ll want to share it with someone.  Because not all the chocolate, cranberries and peanut butter will be completely mixed (unless you spend a lot time making sure it does, but don’t do that), each bite will be slightly different than the last.  Sometimes more peanut butter, sometimes more chocolate, sometimes more cranberries.  I highly suggest eating this with a glass of milk, as well as a good few hours of free time as this sandwich will put you into a diabetic coma pretty fast.

Enjoy!

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Sesame Chili Kettlecorn

Crispy and crunchy, salty and sweet, with a dash of spice.

In the ongoing hunt to find food that tastes good without making me look like a baby beluga, I happened upon popcorn.  Understanding that a small popcorn from the movie theater holds almost as many calories as a Big Mac (making all those Big Macs I snuck into the theater redundant), and that microwave popcorn wasn’t much better, I decided to make it for myself.  The healthiest choice would have been to go with a hot air popper, but because I am cheap I did not want to spend the money and because I’m lazy I did not want to leave my apartment.

OH MY GOOOOOOOD, NATURE! AUGGGGH!

So after some research I discovered it wasn’t that hard to cook popcorn on the stove.  With a little bit of salt and oil (I wanted to eat a healthy snack, not packing popcorn.  Trust me, that shit tastes nasty) I had something I could theoretically eat for days without waist expanding results.

It didn’t take long for me to start experimenting with different oils, seasonings and the like, and after some horrible failures that still haunt my dreams I discovered one worth perfecting. 

Sesame Chili Kettlecorn

Now it’s not really kettlecorn.  For that you’d need a kettle, which I don’t have, and you’d need to make it in large quantities, which I don’t want.  This is more like caramel corn, but people respond better to kettlecorn so I’m just going to fucking lie.

¼ cup of popping corn
⅛ cup of sugar
⅛ cup of brown sugar
½ tbs of sesame oil
½ tbs of chili oil
1 tbs of butter (look, this recipe isn’t about health, god dammit.  Stop hounding me.)
¼ tsp of popcorn salt (or you can grind it up in a food processor, the salt needs to be a fine powder.)

  • Have everything measured and ready to go before you begin.  Once things start to happen they will happen quickly.
  • Put the oils in a medium-sized pot over a medium-high flame.  Throw in a few kernels and cover with a lid.  When the kernels pop, take the pot off the flame and throw in the rest of the popcorn and the salt.
  • Wait while the kernels cook.  You don’t want them to start popping yet, so make just keep an eye on them.  You’ll see them begin to lighten in color.
  • After a minute or two, throw in the butter and the sugar, and return the pot to the heat.
  • Stir until the sugar and butter combine and make a thick, dark, sugary paste.

I have to interject here for a moment.  If you have never worked with melted sugar before, please be careful.  Have you ever burned yourself?  It hurt, didn’t it?  Now imagine that pain-inducing heat not only touching you, but then sticking to you.  And when you go to wash it off, it only hardens into burning armor.  Melted sugar is the culinary equivalent to napalm.  So please, be careful.

  • Cover the pot.  Turn the heat down a smidgen.  Shake the pot, stirring the sugar and kernels inside, constantly.  Don’t stop.  You’re arms will hurt, yes, but it’s better than burned sugar.  Burned sugar is horrible to eat, maybe even more horrible than any other burned food because you can almost taste the good thing it was supposed to be inside it, making it a metaphysical disappointment.
  • Keep the cover on and continue to stir vigorously.  When the kernels begin to pop, keep your ears open.  When the popping has slowed, turn off the heat.
  • Place the popped corn into a bowl immediately.  BUT DON’T TOUCH IT, for god’s sake.

What did I just say?

Once it cools you can eat it right away.  Or, if you like, you can take the time to add a few more ingredients.  You can drizzle a little more sesame oil over it, or toss in some toasted sesame seeds.  You could add some paprika to give it more pep, or perhaps a little more salt to suit your tastes.  I like to do all of the above, along with sprinkling on some ginger powder to give it a distinct Asian flavor.

Enjoy!

Bacon, Lettuce, Apple and Jalapeno Sandwich

Bacon, Lettuce, Apple and Jalapeno Sandwich

Crispy, crunchy, tangy, sweet, spicy.  All in one sweet, sweet package.

After a recent cooking extravaganza that I had with my roommates we had a lot of bacon leftover.  Stifling my urge to simple cook the bacon and begin stuffing it into my face while still piping (to hell with the burns, they don’t tell me what to do), I realized that I also had a loaf of bread.  This struck me as something important.  After a half hour of sitting at my kitchen table in heavy contemplation while I stared at the bacon and the bread, I had an epiphany.  I almost had all the ingredients for a classic BLT!  Alas, I was out of tomato.  I was about to give up and just have a plain bacon sandwich (A bacon and lettuce sandwich?  What kind of American are you?), when an idea struck, and I had to experiment.

– 4 Strips of Thick Cut Bacon
– Lettuce (I used a Spring Mix Salad)
– 1 Granny Smith Apple
– Pickled Jalapenos
– 2 Slices of Whole Wheat Bread, Thick
– Mustard/Condiments of Your Choosing
– ¼ Cup of Sugar
– Butter

Do I need to put down instructions?  It’s a damn sandwich.  If you can’t make that then just slowly back away from the fire box in the big scary food room and go back outside to play whiffleball with the other children.  I’ll put what I did for the apple, but I think y’all can figure out the rest.

– Peel, core and slice the apple into ½ inch slices.
– Heat the sugar in a pan to medium high heat and pour in the sugar.  Constantly stir.
– When sugar melts and becomes gooey and start to boil, add your butter.  I never measure butter, I just use however much I think it would take to make what I’m cooking completely awesome.
– Lower heat and place apples in pan.  Let them soak up the goodness.
– Flip.  Goodness soak.

After about five minutes (or until you can’t stand the smell of bacon, caramelized apples and buttered bread any longer) take the apples off the stove, and prepare your sandwich to meet your specific sandwich needs.  I tend to like mustard more than mayo, but I was out of mayonnaise anyway.  The addition of the jalapenos is optional as I only added them as a whim at the very end, but their involvement in the dish brought this to a whole new level.  I would also be interested in seeing this down with pears, or perhaps even peaches.

Screw a BLT, try a BLAJ!