Flan

We’re at the end of January… Is it too late to say Happy New Year? I think not, so, Happy New Year! I hope the new year is treating you well so far.

It took me three tries to get the caramel sauce right for this flan. The first time, I made it in a skillet and I let it sit on the flame a little too long and the color was dark and it had a slight burnt taste. The second time I used a saucepan and I don’t know what happened, but, it just wasn’t right. The third time I used a glass saucepan and once the sugar started to caramelize I lifted the pan off the heat so it wouldn’t be heating it directly and I finally got the color and taste right.

I immediately divided it among my ramekins and it quickly hardened. I hadn’t made flan in a long time so I couldn’t remember if that was normal or not good. Thankfully, it was all good. I blended the ingredients for the custard and also divided that among the ramekins and baked in a roasting pan in a hot water bath and after letting them cool I had the perfect flan.

It was the right consistency and the perfect amount of sweetness.

Flan

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1 can (14oz.) sweetened condensed milk

1 can (12oz.) evaporated milk

1/2 cup whole milk

3 eggs

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large shallow roasting pan, place six 6oz. ramekins.

In a heavy nonreactive pan pour the 1 cup of sugar and heat over medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar melts and becomes caramel colored, about 10 – 15 minutes. Pour caramel evenly into ramekins.

In a blender combine the condensed milk, evaporated milk, whole milk, eggs, egg yolks, vanilla and salt and blend until mixture is smooth. Strain the mixture, then pour over the caramel in the ramekins.

Place the roasting pan in the oven and fill the pan with 1 inch of hot water. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the center of each flan is set.

Remove pan from oven and let cool. When the water reaches room temperature remove the ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

Gently run a knife around the edge of the flan to loosen and then invert on a plate.

 

 

Chocolate Snack Cakes with a Caramel Buttercream Filling

Remember a few years ago when people were going crazy with the idea of there being no more  Twinkies available on store shelves due to the bankruptcy of Hostess, well, I wasn’t one of those people. I did find it amusing though how people were selling the packaged baked good on EBay for insane amounts of money. I don’t have anything against Twinkies; I just never found them all that tasty. I always preferred the Hostess snack of Ding Dongs, but, it was something I definitely had to be in the mood for. Thankfully many people got their wish when Twinkies made it back to store shelves after some business negotiations. So, even though I am not a Twinkies fan that didn’t stop me from buying Fat Daddio’s Snackcake Pans when I saw them at Sur La Table in the clearance section for a ridiculously irresistible price of $2.99 each. There are so many flavor combinations that could be made that I was sure I would be able to find my favorite version of the American legend treat!

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Since I was essentially testing out these pans I decided to use a mix to make the snack cakes.

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After prepping the batter according to the box directions…

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I then filled each cavity about half-way. I honestly thought that since the mix was enough for 12 cupcakes I would end up with 12 snack cakes, but the batter was only enough for 9.

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I baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for 20 minutes and after letting them cool it was time to fill them. I opted for a caramel buttercream filling which was super simple to make as I purchased prepared caramel sauce as opposed to making it myself.

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Using a Wilton No. 230 tip I was able to fill the snack cakes without much mess or fuss.

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Final verdict… You can’t go wrong with the flavor combination of chocolate and caramel! These were a hit that went super-fast.

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Caramel Buttercream Filling

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1 stick

1 cup Confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons prepared caramel sauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Using an electric mixer beat the butter at medium speed until creamy.

2. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add in the sugar and beat until well combined

3. Add caramel sauce and vanilla extract and continue beating until all ingredients are incorporated.