#POPSICLEWEEK: BANOFFEE-COFFEE POPSICLES

 
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It’s Popsicle Week! And I’m back!

In the past two months, I/we: bought a condo, packed, moved, unpacked, went to California twice, unpacked some more, and got married. It’s been nuts (but the best kind of nuts!) I’ll do a wedding recap soon. Also - you'll have to excuse these photos. They're a little off, as I'm still getting used to how the light works in our new place.

I’m pretty excited about popsicle week. Partly because there are so many other amazing bloggers sharing their craftiest popsicle recipes, but also because popsicles are, hands down, one of my favorite food/drink-related ways to cool off during the summer.

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Banoffee-Coffee popsicles are pretty much exactly what they sound like – a banoffee pie + coffee hybrid. Coffee + bananas is a seriously legit combo, you guys. It sounds weird, but I promise it’s delicious. Next time you’re at an ice cream shop getting a milkshake, get a coffee-banana milkshake. That shit is bananas. No joke.

To see the whole Popsicle Week menu, go check out Billy’s blog, Wit & Vinegar.

 
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Banoffee-Coffee Popsicles

makes 10-12 popsicles. easily doubled.

3 ripe bananas
2-3 TB granulated sugar
2/3 cup toffee (recipe below)
1/3 cup brewed espresso or strong coffee
½ tsp vanilla extract
7oz plain Greek yogurt (I used Fage 2%)
ice

Melted bittersweet chocolate
Graham cracker or Biscoff cookie crumbs

Directions:

  1. Slice bananas into coins. Sautee in a skillet with the granulated sugar, until the bananas caramelize a bit. Add to blender.
  2. Add toffee, espresso, vanilla, and yogurt. Blend until thoroughly combined.
  3. Add 2 cups of ice, and blend again.
  4. Divide mixture among your popsicle molds, and add sticks. Freeze.
  5. Once popsicles are thoroughly frozen, remove from molds.
  6. Dip in melted chocolate, and then in the cookie crumbs. Freeze again to harden the chocolate.
  7. Eat!
  8. For storing, I wrap mine individually in plastic wrap, and then stick them all in a gallon-sized freezer bag.

*Note: you can make these without the espresso, if you really want to. They won’t be quite as amazing, though.

Toffee

(recipe from Saveur)

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
pinch of salt
½ cup dark brown sugar
1-14oz can condensed milk (I used nonfat, and it worked just fine.)

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a small saucepan.
  2. Stir in the brown sugar and salt. Melt over low heat, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the condensed milk and bring mixture to a boil for 3-4 minutes, whisking continuously. The mixture will darken slightly.
  4. Pour into a bowl to cool slightly. Don’t leave it in the pan! It’ll burn and make cleanup absolutely miserable. :)



FOODJAMS Vol. 5: COFFEE CARAMEL

 
 

Coffee + caramel...I can't even believe how good this stuff is. But first...

It's FoodJams Volume 5!  As always, we've (Brandon and I) chosen a food-related song to share, and a recipe to go along with it. This week's pick is:

 
 

Per usual, click the album art above to head on over to Black Porridge to read Brandon's post and listen to the song.

I'm not sure I've ever publicly admitted how much I love coffee. I'm just a hot beverage lover in general, but coffee always takes the cake. It's not even about the caffeine...I'm pretty sure caffeine does nothing for me unless I've had maybe 3 or 4 cups of coffee in a row (this almost never happens, but when it does, I go from zero to 60 pretty quickly and then, if there were such thing as negative speed, crash right back down to -20 within a couple hours). I love coffee because there are so many things you can do with it. It's lovely to drink in all variations, but it's also fun to cook and bake with. Coffee-rubbed meat is a very real, and very delicious thing. Coffee in baked goods...yes. Coffee WITH baked goods....double yes. This is also serving as a reminder that I need to share a recipe for Espresso Muffins with you soon. That said...

I don't think you're ready for this jelly...well, actually, caramel.

 
 

If you've never had it before, coffee caramel is the business. It's a marvelous balance between bitter and sweet, and in this recipe, you have total control over how much coffee flavor you want. It's smooth and creamy, with a little added crunch from the coffee grounds (if you choose to leave them in!) Coffee caramel makes the best ice cream topping, too. I'm a rainbow sprinkles kind of girl, actually, so for me this is a close 2nd place to rainbow sprinkles (and closely followed by marshmallows and mochi), but you catch my drift. Drizzle it over ice cream or cupcakes, add some to your latte, eat it by the spoonful...it's entirely up to you.

 
 

Coffee Caramel

makes about 1 1/4 cups

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup cream (I used light cream, which is 18% milk fat, but you could use heavy cream too)
1/2 TB unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 TB fresh coffee grounds
1 tsp espresso powder (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan or milk warmer, steep coffee grounds with the cream for 15 minutes over low heat. Remove from heat once finished steeping. You can strain the grounds from the cream if you'd like, or you can leave the grounds in to add a little texture to your caramel.
  2. If you want extra intense coffee flavor, this is where you'd want to stir in the espresso powder until dissolved.
  3. Add in the vanilla, too.
  4. Set coffee/cream mixture aside.
  5. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine sugar and water. Cook over medium to medium high heat, swirling occasionally (NOT stirring!), until your sugar/water mixture reach a deep amber color. This could take up to 10-15 minutes (maybe even a little more), but don't walk away -- burnt sugar is no fun to clean out of a pan.
  6. Once your deep amber color is reached, remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the butter and salt, followed by the coffee cream mixture. Stir carefully, but thoroughly, until everything is combined.
  7. Pour your caramel into a heat-proof glass bowl and set on counter to cool. Alternatively, you can pour directly into a mason jar and leave that out (lid off!) to cool to room temp.
  8. Store in an airtight container or mason jar in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. You may need to heat it for a few seconds in the microwave to loosen it up before using.

PUMPKIN SPICE SYRUP

 
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IT'S SEPTEMBER. Where has this year gone? Actually, with all the stuff that has happened this year, I'm completely ready for a new year, so it's really okay with me if this year keeps speeding by.

Because it is now September, I can declare it officially PUMPKIN SEASON! It's perfectly acceptable to make all the pumpkin goodies now! Pumpkin season is my favorite. Fall is the best season, and I wish it would just show up already. Parts of the country are already having fall-ish weather, and we're just over here with all this mid/upper 80's and gross humidity nonsense. It's like Chicago is resisting a weather change because according to the farmer's almanac, we're going to get majorly shit on by winter. Is the farmer's almanac accurate? I don't even care. Cooler weather now please!

With all the "controversy" (don't we have better things to obsess over these days? Read the news.) around the Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte...carcinogens, caramel coloring, no real pumpkin, blah blah blah...I thought it might be pertinent to share an important bit of information with you:

You can make your own pumpkin spice syrup!

And it is obscenely easy.
And it is delicious.
And it will save you a boatload of money.

Maybe if you give less of your money to Starbucks, you can spend more money on pumpkins. Or pumpkin beer. Or something else cooler than a $5 latte.

If you feel so inclined, you could dial back the pumpkin a bit. You can adjust the spices to your liking, too, if you want more/less of something. It's adaptable. I also imagine you could use pumpkin pie spice instead of all the spices separately, but I'm not sure how the spice ratio stacks up there. I think it'd be worth a shot, though.

 
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Pumpkin Spice Simple Syrup

recipe adapted from Cynthia over at Two Red Bowls

makes one pint.

1 ½ cups water
1 cup granulated (white) sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
a scant ½ tsp ground cloves (shoot for closer to 1/3 tsp)

Directions:

  1. Combine water and sugars in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugars dissolve, then turn heat to low.
  2. Whisk in pumpkin and spices until smooth. Simmer for 10 minutes (but don’t let it boil!).
  3. Remove from heat, and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove cinnamon stick.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  6. Use as desired in coffee, tea, etc. I usually use 1-2 TB per cup of coffee.
  7. According to my calculations (nerd alert), the homemade syrup is about 36 calories per tablespoon. A 16oz PSL with 2% milk and NO whipped cream at Starbucks clocks in at 310 calories (according to their website). I'd be willing to guess that most of those calories are NOT coming from the milk. So there’s that.