Saturday, December 13, 2008
Salted Cashew Turtles
Sometimes it's a little scary modifying a recipe -- especially if you modify it before you ever try it to begin with. I used to get upset when I read reviews of recipes on Epicurious and the person said something along the lines of "oh this beef stew was great. only I used tofu, and added tomatoes and broccoli and corn. and I baked it instead of cooked it on the stove." or something equally silly. how can you proclaim a recipe great if you change everything about it before even trying it?
However, now a full year into my baking/blogging craziness, I find myself much more willing to change things up at a moments notice. No lemons? Limes will work instead. No pecans? Walnuts or almonds are an easy addition. No yogurt? Sour cream or buttermilk will work. Some of the changes are of course obvious -- you're not going to change the chemistry of a recipe by substituting lemons for limes or pecans for walnuts, but once you start messing with yogurt/sour cream/buttermilk/regular milk -- the chemistry can change and that can have quite an affect on a recipe. Or even adapting a pumpkin recipe to a banana lime recipe... yeah, that one didn't go so well -- but I do know it was the acidity of the limes reacting with the buttermilk that probably pushed that one over the edge...
This recipe came about because of a the Christmas package from Chris' parents. They sent us some presents and included some snack items, including a bag full of salted cashews. The only problem with salted cashews is that I love eating them and despite being healthy(ish) they are very fattening. (why does it always work out that way?) Naturally Chris suggested I bake with them to get them from being such an easy snack and temptation.
I could have made the KAF salted cashew cookies again, and I did consider it, but then I remembered a recipe that I wanted to try -- toasted pecans, melted chocolate, melted caramel = homemade turtles. Yum. With the salted cashews I figured I could kick it up quite a notch because: salted caramel = good. salted chocolate = good. salted cashews in cookies = good. So this was a sure-fire winner... right? The scary thing was that if it failed I would waste a pound of high quality chocolate (scharffenberger 70%) as well as a whole bag of cashews. Nothing ventured, nothing gained....
Overall I think it worked okay. The salt of the cashews cuts some of the uber rich chocolate and the sweet of the caramel. However, you wouldn't want to eat much of these turtles because a little goes a LONG way. Cashew problem solved. :)
Of course I managed to completely forget where I got the base recipe for this. I hate it when I do that. Somewhere, online, this recipe exists on another food blogger site and I can't give them credit for it. *sigh* If anyone recognizes it -- feel free to drop me a line...
2 cups salted cashews
1 cup caramels (about 24) unwrapped
1 tbsp rum or bourbom
1 1/2 tsps heavy cream
1 pound chocolate -- I used bittersweet
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
Melt the caramels, rum, and heavy cream until smooth. I did mine on the top of the stove.
Melt the chocolate, either on the top of the stove, or in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring after each session in the microwave. Pour half of the melted chocolate into a separate bowl. Mix half of the nuts into one portion of the chocolate, then spread the chocolate nut mixture onto the baking sheet.
Dollop the hot caramel sauce onto the chocolate, making sure to cover as much of the surface as you can. Sprinkle the remaining nuts onto the caramel and lightly press them into the caramel layer. Drizzle the remaining chocolate over the top.
Let the whole thing cool down for at least two hours. Putting it in the fridge will of course speed this process up. Once it's cool, cut or break into pieces.