Opposites attract, even in the kitchen

Published 10:29 pm Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Opposites attract most of the time. The same goes for food. For example, sweet and salty are terrific paired together.
Here’s two recipes to try out for your next tailgate or kid friendly party.
Sweet and Salty Popcorn Balls
4 tbs vegetable oil
2 cups unpopped popcorn
one-fourth cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
one-half cup light corn syrup
two-thirds sweetened condensed milk
one-half tsp vanilla extract
1 cup roasted and salted almonds or peanuts
Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to a 4 quart saucepan and heat over high heat. When oil is hot, add half cup of popping corn. Keep pan moving constantly. When corn stops popping, remove from heat. Place popped corn in oven to keep warm. Repeat until all corn has been popped. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan with a candy thermometer inserted, combine butter, sugar and corn syrup. Stir well and bring to boiling over medium heat. Stir in condensed milk. Simmer, stirring constantly until thermometer reads 238 degrees F. Stir in vanilla. Pour caramel over popped corn and stir to coat. Quickly add nuts. Butter hands lightly and shape popcorn into balls about 3 and a half inches in diameter or smaller for smaller hands or easy snacking.
Sweet and Salty Nutty Toffee Brownie Bars
4 tbs unsalted butter, melted, plus one-half cup butter for toffee
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
one-fourth cup granulated sugar
one-fourth cup packed dark brown sugar, plus three-fourths cup for toffee
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, slightly beaten
one-half cup all-purpose flour
three-fourths cup chopped high quality milk chocolate
2 tbs ground almond
1 cup chopped roasted and salted pecans
one-eighth tsp sea salt crystals
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square metal cake pan with parchment.
In large bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons melted butter and the melted chocolate.
Blend in granulated sugar, quarter-cup brown sugar, and vanilla.
Whisk in egg. Stir in flour.
Spread in pan and bake for 15 minutes, remove and leave oven on.
Heat half cup butter and three-quarters cup brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
Boil for 2 minutes.
Pour over brownie base and bake 7 minutes more.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with milk chocolate, let sit 5 minutes and spread to cover the top. Dust with ground almonds and then pecans. Sprinkle with salt.
Press down pecans.
Cool, then freeze 30 minutes before cutting. Serve at room temperature.
Until next time, have fun in the kitchen, experiment and indulge your cravings.

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