Monday, August 3, 2009

a trip to Belle River... means packing some treats!

I'm spending a week with Mel and her folks in Belle River. A week on the water - fishing, tanning, reading, just plain ol' enjoying the summer - it seems the McGuires have been enjoying a rain free summer... I should have headed down there two months ago!

I got busy this afternoon planning what I was going to pack for our little road trip - and to bring Mike and Barb (my favourite surrogate parents). I decided to try out a couple new recipes and fingers crossed everyone enjoys them.

The first one was taken from Heidi's 101 Cookbooks blog - her Brazil Nut Butter Cups recipe. Can I just say - having made my own nutella - which I personally think is absolutely delighful - that brazil nut butter is probably one of the greatest discoveries I have made in the kitchen! Seriously - I love almond butter, hazelnut butter, cashew butter... BUT brazil nut butter is absolutely amazing. Now I'm trying to think up of other things I could spread this on... any suggestions are welcome (hint hint, leave a comment).

Brazil Nut Butter Cups
1 1/2 c. brazil nuts, loosely chopped
1 tsp vegetable oil
2/3 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
10-ounces chocolate (bar or chips)

I placed 10 regular sized cupcake liners in a muffin tin (they're the "cup" molds). Set aside.

Loosely chop your brazil nuts - the nicest thing about this nut is how easy it is to chop - unlike other nuts, pieces of it don't go flying all over your kitchen when your chopping (easy for the clean-up).

Toast the brazil nut pieces in a dry pan over medium heat - you want to make sure they don't burn, so keep an eye on them and toss them around every so often. This shouldn't take you more than 6 minutes to toast.

Remove from heat and allow to cool just a bit (I thew mine into the freezer for 2 minutes to chill them really quickly).

Throw the cooled nuts into your food processor and add the oil. Puree the mixture for about a minute - you'll see that the nuts will start coming together away from the sides of the bowl. Add the sugar and continue to blend. While the processor is doing it's thing, add in the salt. As Heidi mentions in her blog - the salt really brings out the brazil nut flavour - it is an essential ingredient.

Once you have reached that "nut spread" consistency, you can either remove the spread from the bowl and fill a piping bag (to pipe the spread onto a layer of chocolate) OR just set aside.

In a large bowl over a pot of simmering water (about an inch of simmering water) melt about 3/4 of your chocolate. You don't want to over whisk the chocolate - stir it from time to time to just make sure everything is melting equally. Once the chocolate is nearly melted, remove the bowl from heat and stir in the remaining chocolate. By stirring everything together you'll melt all the chocolate.

Take a large spoonful of the chocolate and line the bottom of each cupcake liner (10) with the chocolate. Gently rap the muffin tins on the counter once or twice to ensure that the chocolate spreads out over the bottom and releases the air bubbles. I put them in the freezer for 20 minutes to allow them to completely cool.

Once the chocolate had hardened, remove from the freezer and either pipe or spoon the brazil nut butter on top of it. Don't completely fill the liner - since you still need to top the brazil nut butter with some more melted chocolate. Like the chocolate, it should be about a large spoonful of spread to cover.

Now cover your cups with the remainder of the melted chocolate (again, a spoonful). I returned them to the freezer and had them set over the next couple of hours.

Another recipe with another nut spread... I know... I'm not very original. but they sure do taste good! Next time I'll make these mini... so I imagine I'll probably get 24 mini brazil nut butter cups :0)

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