I've been working on some big projects lately, friends.
One is a book entitled Baking With Steel, which I wrote with Andris Lagsdin of Baking Steel. It was my first time as a co-writer and it was a really interesting experience. It will come out this holiday season.
The other one I'm super excited about but I can't reveal quite just yet.
And through it all, I've maintained a kind of ridiculous writing schedule (22 blog posts per month for one client; 8 blog posts per month for another client; 10-12 blog posts per month for this site) and done an illustration per day for the Verlo Mattress blog. I was also teaching yoga, but I've taken a hiatus (enough is enough!).
A friend asked me recently, "how do you stay inspired?". I said something stupid in return, like "I take a lot of long walks". But upon further thought, really, what keeps me happy and inspired is SWEETS.
These candy cups are super simple, and barely even require a recipe. Basically, it's "pour some melted white chocolate in a cupcake liner, spoon some caramel on top, let that set, then pour some more melted white chocolate on top". But of course, I have outlined more specifics in the recipe below.
For me, confections like this are comfort, and they remind me of the stuff my mom would buy for us as treats while growing up, at Jean Louise Homemade Candies in Spring Lake, NJ. (it's still there, btw).
These ones are fancied up a little bit with the addition of pecans and sea salt, but you can totally omit and just make white chocolate cups, too.
Make a batch of these and give yourself one as a treat when you feel overwhelmed. That's what I do, and it's truly a sweet treat and kind break!
White chocolate pecan caramel cups
For the filling / topping
- about 6 tablespoons prepared caramel sauce, either homemade or store bought, (thick is good), chilled slightly
- about 1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
- a sprinkling of coarse sea salt
For the coating
- 2 bars (3.5 ounces each) good quality white chocolate chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Place 6 cupcake liners in a cupcake tin. Set to the side.
Make the coating. In a double boiler, or in the microwave, melt the chopped white chocolate and butter together. Once mostly melted, remove from heat and stir; any residual bits should melt as you stir.
Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the white chocolate mixture into each of the cupcake liners. Using either a spoon or a pastry brush, spread the chocolate along the bottom of the liners and about halfway up the sides. Place the tin in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes, so that the chocolate can slightly “set” before you proceed.
Once the chocolate has set slightly (it doesn’t need to be completely firm, just not wet), remove the tin from the refrigerator. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the caramel mixture into each cup. I didn't measure exactly, so it might be a little more or less, but just spoon a good amount in that doesn't exceed the level of the chocolate sides in height.
Divide the remaining melted white chocolate among the cups, pouring it on top of the caramel mixture and gently (so as not to expose the caramel beneath the chocolate) spread to ensure that the chocolate covers the entire top of each cup.
Place the tin back in the refrigerator briefly so that they can set.
Once set completely, serve at room temperature. I didn't temper my chocolate (ANNOYING, sorry, but I said it) but I find that white chocolate doesn't quite "bloom" in the same way as dark or milk.