Friday, November 17, 2017

From the Kitchens of Bunny and Brandy: Sweet Corn Pudding and Caramel Glazed Drop Donuts

With the holidays right around the corner, Brandy has begun an annual tradition of her own: testing recipes to make sure they are worthy of her circle of foodie friends. "Heaven forbid if I were to put something inferior in front of that lot. I'd never hear the end of it!" she says, "For years to come it would be, 'Remember when Brandy put that slop out for us on Thanksgiving?' One year, one of them brought a casserole that had slightly burnt edges and she was so embarrassed that none of us have seen or heard from her since." The high standards of such an audience were obviously amplified by the fact that this year it was Brandy's job to prepare the post-Thanksgiving brunch. Luckily for Brandy, she had quite a few things at hand to help inspire her creations.

First of all, there was the Feast VoxBox she received from Influenster. Among the many goodies were a classic can of corn from Del Monte, Country Crock margarine in a new easy to use stick form, and a container of crispy jalapenos from French's (a spicy cousin of their famous crispy onions, which grace the tops of green bean casseroles across the nation). A quick search of her cabinets also turned up a box of corn muffin mix, which was the thing that really switched on the light bulb. "Of course, corn pudding!" she exclaimed, and quickly went about making up the batter. But as she poured the golden liquid into her baking dish, she couldn't get over the feeling that it was still missing something.

Enter a couple of delectable condiments from Chut Up, a small start up company dedicated to creating healthier condiments by not adding in any sugar to their products, but also not sacrificing flavor or quality. Their Beet Ketchup really impressed Brandy with its true to form consistency and clean flavor and their Peri-Peri Hot sauce certainly packed quite a punch. Wanting add a little color to her corn pudding, she ended up mixing the two condiments together to produce a sort of "sweet heat" style sauce, then she dropped the mixture into the pudding and swirled it for a pretty effect. After baking her masterpiece, Brandy added a handful of the French's jalapenos to the top of the pudding to add crunch and just a bit more heat. She absolutely loved how her creation turned out, determining that it could easily be a side dish for the main event, or served with an egg and some sausage for a perfect sweet and savory post-Thanksgiving brunch. It was definitely the Chut Up condiments that made the dish pop, adding a little vinegar and heat to balance the natural sweetness of the Del Monte corn.

Next, Brandy determined to make something sweet and easily munch-able. She settled on the idea of "drop donuts," or a simple cake batter fried into small rounds, then glazed and sprinkled. For this, she turned to some amazing products from Nielsen Massey and McCrea's Candies. Brandy used a bit of Nielsen Massey's coffee extract in her donut batter, then made a simple glaze with some of the McCrea's salted caramels, which she soaked her donuts in and then topped them with Nielsen Massey vanilla sugar to add a little crunch. Because there was barely any sugar in the donut batter itself, the sweetness of the caramel and the sugar topping didn't overwhelm the palate and the subtle flavors of salt, vanilla, and coffee were able to shine through.

Finally, Brandy chose the perfect bottle of wine to compliment her dishes; Vivanco Tempranillo Garnacha. This particular rose had a bight fruity and acidic flavor with slight floral notes, making it ideal to pair with two dishes that used both sweet and salty elements. Brandy was also quite drawn to the beautifully rich color and the extremely unique wide lipped bottle, which was meant to mimic Vivanco's original 18th century bottle.

"Well, I'd say I am well prepared for the coming food storm," said Brandy as she surveyed her sweet and savory creations, "Now to start prepping for the New Year's Day brunch!"

Sweet Corn Pudding

1 can of Del Monte Whole Kernel Corn, drained
1 stick of Country Crock Salted Margarine
1/4 cup of sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 package of corn muffin mix
1/2 cup of milk
1 can of creamed corn
2-3 tablespoons of Chut Up beet ketchup
1-2 tablespoons of Chut Up peri-peri sauce
French's fried jalapenos for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together the sugar and margarine (no need to soften before hand). Add in sour cream and continue to beat, then add in eggs. Alternate adding in corn muffin mix and milk until everything is well combined and there are no lumps in the batter. Carefully fold in the whole kernel corn and the creamed corn. Season with salt if desired, but the sea salt in the corn and margarine should be enough for most palates.

Pour the batter into a greased 9x9 baking dish. Carefully drop small spoonfuls of the ketchup/peri-peri mixture into the batter, then use the tip of a knife to swirl the sauce a little further into the batter. Bake for about an hour, or until the edges are golden and the center is solid. Top with fried jalapenos and serve warm.

Caramel Glazed Drop Donuts

1 cup of milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon of Nielsen Massey Coffee Extract
2 cups of white flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
5 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 stick of Country Crock Unsalted Margarine, melted
4-8 cups of frying oil (vegetable, corn, or canola oil works well), depending on the depth of your frying pot

For the Glaze:

1 cup of McCrea's Black Sea Salt Caramels
1/3 cup of milk
1/2 cup of Nielsen Massey Vanilla Sugar

Heat the oil over medium high heat, making sure there is enough oil in the pot so that the donuts are never touching bottom.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a small bowl, scramble the egg and then add in the milk and coffee extract, then whisk them all together. Slowly pour this into the dry mixture and mix well, then add in the melted margarine and continue mixing until a smooth, soft dough forms.

Using two spoons dipped briefly into the hot oil, form small 1 inch balls of dough and carefully drop them into the heated oil. Only fry about 5-6 donuts at a time to avoid the temperature of the oil falling. Let them cook for about 2-3 minutes, making sure to turn them so that all sides turn a golden brown, then lift them out of the oil with a slotted spoon and place them onto some paper towels to drain.

In a small sauce pan over medium low heat, add in the caramels and milk and stir continuously until they are completely melted and just start to bubble. Add the finished donuts to a large bowl and pour the warm caramel over them, then toss vigorously to make sure they are completely coated. Turn the donuts out onto a serving plate and sprinkle them with the vanilla sugar. Makes about 3 dozen.

The writers of this blog were sent products by the companies mentioned in order to facilitate the writing of this post.

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