Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Metaphysical Munchies:- Caramel Reindeer Noses

When you hear the phrase "food for the soul" do you too think of chicken soup and matzo balls? I'm not even Jewish, and yet it's there in my subconscious. It's comfort from within with a metaphysical twist. That's how you could describe this set of articles - comfort food with that metaphysical twist!

Christmas Sleighed

This time we will look at a Christmas and Yule to find a magical morsel.

Christmas celebrations are both a major festival and a public holiday in countries around the world, including many whose populations are mostly non-Christian. Countries such as Japan, where Christmas is popular despite there being only a small number of Christians, have adopted many of the secular aspects of Christmas, such as gift-giving, decorations and Christmas trees.

"Aren't we forgetting the true meaning of Christmas?
        You know, the birth of Santa."
It's become common practice to wish "Merry Christmas" to one another around Christmas day (the 25th of December).

Although the origins of this tradition is a little obscure, it's believed to come from an English Admiral (who first used the term Merry Christmas in an informal letter), way back in 1699. However, Charles Dickens used this phrase in "A Christmas Carol", penned in 1843.

These days, "Merry Christmas" has become a universal term to convey good wishes to others.

"At Christmas play and make good cheer,
        For Christmas comes but once a year."

The recipe I have, connects to Christmas is not a traditional one, it's something a little different: Caramel Reindeer Nose treats.

Caramel Reindeer Noses 
Caramel Reindeer Noses

I n g r e d i e n t s:
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/3 cup cocoa powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    2/3 cup sugar
    1 large egg, separated, plus 1 egg white
    2 tablespoons milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 1/4 cups pecans, chopped fine
    14 soft caramel candies

M e t h o d:
  1. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt in bowl. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2 minutes.
  2. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined.
  3. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
  4. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Whisk egg whites in bowl until frothy. Place pecans in another bowl.
  7. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg whites, then roll in pecans. 
  8. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using 1/2-teaspoon measure, make indentation in center of each ball.
  9. Bake until set, about 12 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking.
  10. Microwave caramels and cream in bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
  11. Once cookies are removed from oven, gently re-press existing indentations. Fill each with 1/2 teaspoon caramel mixture.
  12. Cool 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

This recipe was adapted from the Pixelated Crumb.

You can use milk chocolate or white chocolate instead of caramels.
For a more fun version melt red fruit candies instead of chocolate or caramels to make Rudolf versions. Try not to devour them all at once.

I hope to see you back here for some more Metaphysical Munchies.

The VuDooMan
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