Extra Crispy.com: Candied Bacon with Soft-Boiled Eggs

The secret to preparing these candied soldados, or soldiers, so that the bacon is crisp rather than chewy is to slow-roast the bacon in a low oven for up to an hour. Be patient; the result is worth the wait! At our house we ration out the bacon equally to each family member before digging into the eggs to avoid any arguments. Keep this dish in mind as a starter, snack, or even for lunch alongside mixed salad greens. On their own, the candied-bacon soldados make a great hors d’oeuvre.  Click here for recipe.

 

Dulce de Leche-Glazed Ham

ddl-glazed-hamThis recipe is adapted from Food and Wine and is a super easy, hands off recipe for a no-fuss Christmas dinner.  Takes 5 minutes to prep, and the rest of the magic happens hands-free in the oven.

  • ½ cup dulce de leche
  • 6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • One 10-pound bone-in smoked ham

Preheat the oven to 325°. In a small bowl, whisk the dulce de leche with the two mustards, and the shallot and cayenne. Whisk in the white wine.

Trim the skin off the ham, leaving a ¼-inch-thick layer of fat. Score the fat in a shallow cross-hatch pattern. Set the ham in a large roasting pan and brush generously with the dulce de leche glaze, allowing the remainder to fall to the bottom of the pan.  Cover the roasting pan with foil and roast the ham for 1¼ hours.

Remove the foil and parchment.  Glaze the ham for a second time with the pan drippings.  Roast the ham for 1 hour longer, or until nicely glazed all over. Transfer the ham to a cutting board and let rest for at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour the pan drippings into a small saucepan and skim off as much of the fat as possible. Set the roasting pan over 2 burners. Add the chicken stock and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom and side of the pan. Pour the deglazed liquid into the saucepan and bring to a boil. Transfer the gravy to a warmed gravy boat. Thinly slice the ham and serve with the gravy.

Dulce Delish Choco-Oat Cookies

Poupee eating a dulce de leche chocolate chip cookieWho doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies? They are so easy to make and their smell alone while baking can lighten the mood in any household. I pack these cookies with oatmeal; it creates a much heartier cookie that holds up well when dipped in a glass of cold milk. You won’t be able to eat just one!

Makes 2 dozen large cookies; Prep time: Active: 45 MIN.; TOTAL: 1 hour

10 ounces 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips

1 cup unsalted butter, softened (two sticks)

3/4 cup original dulce de leche

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 1/4 cups unsifted flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups oats, uncooked 

Photo Credit: Kathy Wolfe Photography
Photo Credit: Kathy Wolfe Photography

Preheat oven to 375°.  Stir flour with baking soda and salt; set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat butter with dulce de leche and brown sugar at medium speed until mixture is creamy, light in color and has a fluffy, airy texture.  Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Mix on low speed until incorporated. Gradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture. Stir in oats and chocolate chips. Drop tablespoon-sized amounts onto greased cookie sheets. Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow to cool on wire racks.


 

 

La Dorita Babies and Homemade Baby Food

Then and Now: Nacho and Elise are the two babies featured on the sides of our dulce de leche jars. Photo credit: Kathy Wolfe Photography
Then and Now: Nacho and Elise are the two babies featured on the sides of our dulce de leche jars. Photo credit: Kathy Wolfe Photography

My son Nacho was just 18-months old when Gastón and I first took our dulce de leche to market. One morning I snapped this picture of him eating his dulce de leche and banana puree.

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I wanted people to know that I fed my own babies our dulce de leche, and that once you have safely introduced cow’s milk to your baby’s diet, that it is safe for pureeing baby’s first fruits—afterall, dulce de leche is one of the main food groups that any Argentine baby must get down. Nacho is now seven years old. I still feed him bananas with dulce de leche, but instead of pureeing them, he spreads the dulce on the banana.

Elise is my friend, Dana’s youngest daughter. Dana sent me this picture of baby Elise eating dulce de leche straight from the spoon during her afternoon snack. With biscuit in hand, Elise had me at her blue bow and gained a spot on the side of our dark chocolate dulce de leche jar.

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Dulce de leche is so versatile, especially when preparing your own homemade baby food as it adds just enough sweetness as well a velvety finish that is easy for babies to swallow.

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Photo Credit: Kathy Wolfe Photography

I blend it with almost any ripe, mashed fruit and some instant baby cereal and it has gotten me through many meal battles with my children. It’s handy to have a small food processor or high-speed blender (I use my Ninja single-serve cup), but depending on the age and ripeness of the fruit, you can simply mash with a fork. I especially feel good about it because I know they’re eating wholesome ingredients, since I make each serving fresh.

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Photo Credit: Kathy Wolfe Photography

This doesn’t only work for breakfast. The dulce de leche combination works well blended with baked sweet potatoes as well as butternut squash. For heartier baby food, prepare old-fashioned oatmeal and mix in the fruit and dulce de leche blend hot off the stove; then mix in a blender or food processor. I’ve included some of my old-faithful combinations below.

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Photo Credit: Kathy Wolfe Photography

serves 1; Prep time: 5 min.

Banana:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 large teaspoon dulce de leche
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain baby cereal of choice
  • COMBINE ALL INGREDIENTS and blend until smooth. If child is a toddler, you can also easily mash with a fork for a heartier consistency.
  • serves 2; Prep time: 5 min.

Strawberry-Apple:

  • 1 apple, peeled and cubed
  • 3 strawberries
  • 1 large tablespoon dulce de leche
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain baby cereal of choice
  • COMBINE ALL INGREDIENTS and blend until smooth. Divide mixture into two 4-oz. mason jars. Keeps in the refrigerator for two days.
  • serves 2; Prep time: 5 min.

Apricot-pear baby food:

  • 12 dried apricots
  • 1 ripe Bartlett pear, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon dulce de leche
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain baby cereal of choice
  • PLACE APRICOTS IN a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer. Cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool 5 minutes. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the juice from the pan.
  • Combine all ingredients along with reserved juice and blend until smooth.

Dulce de leche devil’s food cake

dulce-de-leche-devil's-food-cake

A couple of bites of this dulce de leche devil’s food cake, and you will never crave another.  You can make this cake three or four layers-depending on how much dulce de leche you want to pack into the inside!

serves 16; PREP time:  Active: 1 hour TOTAL: 3 hours

2 ½ cups (4 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pans

1 cup and 2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for pans

¾ cup boiling water

3 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ tablespoons pure vanilla extract

6 large eggs, lightly beaten

4 ½ cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups milk

24 oz. semisweet chocolate morsels

4 cups whipping cream

1 teaspoon light corn syrup

3 cups confectionary dulce de leche

Preheat oven to 350°.  Butter two 9-inch spring form pans; line bottoms with parchment. Dust bottoms and sides of pans with cocoa powder; tap out any excess.

Sift cocoa into a medium bowl, and whisk in boiling water to create a thick paste. Set aside to cool.  In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter on low speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides twice. Beat in vanilla. Drizzle in eggs, a little at a time, beating between each addition until the batter is no longer slick, scraping down the sides at least twice.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt.  Whisk milk into reserved cocoa mixture. With mixer on low speed, alternately add flour and cocoa mixtures to the batter, a little of each at a time, starting and ending with flour mixture.

Divide batter evenly among two pans and bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into center of each layer comes out clean.  Transfer layers to wire racks; let cool 15 minutes. Turn out cakes and return to racks, tops up, until completely cool.  Once cool, cut each layer in half.

To make frosting: place chocolate morsels and cream in a heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until combined and thickened, between 20 and 25 minutes.  Increase heat to medium low; cook, stirring, 3 minutes more. Remove pan from heat; stir in corn syrup. Transfer frosting to a large metal bowl. Chill until cool enough to spread, about 2 hours, checking and stirring every 15 to 20 minutes. Use immediately.

To assemble, remove parchment from bottoms of cakes. Reserve the prettiest layer for the top and even out each layer, if necessary, so each is flat. Place one cake layer on a serving platter; spread 1 ½ cups confectionary dulce de leche over top. Add second layer and spread with another 1 ½ cups confectionary dulce de leche. Cover the outside of cake with frosting.

 

dulce de leche apple crostata

apple-crostata

This could just be my favorite summer dessert.  I get two for one…  the crostata along with a delicious apple syrup that I can reheat and serve over ice cream.  This is a forgiving rustic dessert that doesn’t need to look neat or pretty, as the taste speaks for itself. The oats-and-brown-sugar crumble that finishes off the crostata adds a subtle crunch to each bite. (I put the crostata out of my kids’ reach because they have a tendency to pick off all of the crumble!)

serves 12; PREP time: Active: 30 min.; TOTAL: 1 hour, 30 min.

Dough

2 to 2 ½ cups of unbleached self-rising flour

1 whole egg, plus 1 egg yolk

1 cup sugar

½ cup unsalted butter

1 to 2 tablespoons 2% or whole milk

Extra flour, for dusting

Apple Filling

8-10 apples (I prefer Gala or Fuji), sliced

¾ cup light brown sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup confectionary dulce de leche

Topping

1 cup oats

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°.  Put all of the dough ingredients into a food processor and pulse until it forms pea-like balls.  Flour both hands and pour dough onto a kneading surface. Gradually incorporate all of the ingredients by rolling, pushing and folding it over just until moist. Add more flour or drops of milk, as needed, to reach the right consistency. Lightly flour top of the dough and form it into a roundish shape; place on a baking tray. Refrigerate for ½ an hour to set. Dough can be used immediately or wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for 1 day.

To make the apple filling, in a large saucepan over medium heat, combine apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice until apples become soft and caramelized. In a food processor, add oats, brown sugar and melted butter, and pulse until it creates a crumble topping.

Roll out dough to ¼ inch thick circle, making sure it is even.  Move to a lightly greased baking pan and spread confectionary dulce de leche on the bottom of the crostata, leaving enough of an edge to fold over.  With a slotted spoon, add apple filling, making sure to first drain the juices and fold over the edges, creating a rustic package (this does not have to be symmetrical). Reserve the remaining apple juices for reheating at a later time and serving over vanilla ice cream.  Add crumble topping. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely.