Saturday, March 8, 2014

Malted Brownies with Malted Chocolate Candy

When I think of summer, I think of a lot of things.

Hanging out in the backyard on a sunny day, riding my bike, and quenching my thirst with a nice big chocolate malt.

The malt just makes the chocolate richer, more delicious, worth savoring. So when we got a package of Malted Milk Powder from CTL Foods in Colfax, Wis., one of my ideas was to use that malt powder to deepen the richness of chocolate in other instances.

Malted Brownies

And Malted Brownies sounded perfect. To add to the malted flavor, we added a layer of malted chocolate candy to the top, which also provided a little bit of a crunch to go along with the decadent chocolate and malt brownie. And you can add some of those candies into the brownie batter, too, or you can add your favorite nuts or other brownie topping.

Disclaimer: A package of Malted Milk Powder was provided to us free of charge.

Malted Brownies

Malted Brownies with Malted Chocolate Candy
16 brownies

5 onces bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarse
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped coarse
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 ¼ cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons malt powder
1 cup chopped Whoppers
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup chopped Whoppers

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 8-inch baking pan and line with foil. Melt the first four ingredients together in microwave, stirring often, for a total of 1 to 3 minutes.

2. While chocolate mixture is cooling, in large bowl, whisk, sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, malt powder and chopped Whoppers until combined. Stir in flour until just incorporated.

3. Transfer batter into pan. Rotate halfway through, and add Whoppers to top and press, chocolate side down, gently into brownies when rotating. Bake until toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs attached, about 35 to 40 minutes.

4. Let cool completely in pan, about 2 hours. Remove from pan with foil, serve.

Disclaimer: A package of Malted Milk Powder was provided to us free of charge.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cranberry-Glazed Bacon

Cranberry-Glazed Bacon

The big game is just around the corner, that time of year when everyone huddles around the TV to watch the game, the commercials or both.

And to satiate the appetites of all those in attendance, you turn to appetizers and small bites.

Bacon is a mainstay for a lot of those people waiting in anticipation for the Super Bowl. And to complement that saltiness? Add the sugary sweetness of Wisconsin cranberries, thickened and glazed on top of the bacon.

Cranberry-Glazed Bacon

Cranberry-Glazed Bacon
(adapted from The Pioneer Woman Homemade Cranberry Sauce)

12-ounce package cranberries
1 cup cranberry juice
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons orange zest
8 to 10 ounces bacon

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Heat the cranberries, juice, sugar and zest in a pot until thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Pour into bowl and set aside, letting cool and thicken slightly.

3. On a foil-lined baking sheet, line the bacon on top of a drying rack and stick sheet into oven. (That will help in the cleanup stage.)

4. Cook bacon for about 10 minutes, then pull out. If bacon has started to render fat and started to crisp, take a brush and slather on one side of the bacon. The put back into the oven. Repeat one or two more times.

5. After the bacon has been in the oven for additional rounds of glaze on one side, flip bacon, glaze and repeat step 4.

6. Pull out when bacon looks crisp. Move to a plate and glaze bacon one more time. Glaze with any leftover cranberries. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

2013 Wisconsin State Fair Food

Best way to start the day at #WIStateFair: Omelette and chocolate milk from #Wisconsin Products Pavilion.Grape sorbet. #WIStateFairPizza fries. #WIStateFairBeer-Battered Brat Bites on a stick. #OnAStick #WIStateFairFudge cake. My state fair is better than yours. #WIStateFairGarbage fries. #WIStateFair
Door County Cherry Wheat beer from Hinterland? Yes, please. #WIStateFair #MicroFixieDeep Fried Pepper Jack Mac and Cheese with Bacon on a stick. #WIStateFair #OnAStickSil's cinnamon sugar donuts with vanilla frosting dipping sauce. #WIStateFairCheesy Mexican tortilla fries. #WIStateFair

Here's what we thought of the food we tried this year over the span of two days:

Omelette: A staple. Best way to start the day from the Wisconsin Products Pavilion.

Sprecher Grape Sorbet: Good flavor and a great cooling-off treat.

Pizza Fries: Not so great. The biggest disappointment of 2013. Just a marinara sauce with some pepperoni and sausage thrown in. Didn't mesh well.

Beer-Battered Brat Bites on a Stick: The brats and the batter were cooked to perfection. Juicy and flavorful, though the beer batter flavor needed to be punched up.

Fudge Cake: An everyyear treat. Two layers of chocolate cake with ice cream between and topped with fudge and whipped cream.

Garbage Fries: So, so good. Basically nacho toppings piled on fries, and just as delicious.

Deep Fried Pepper Jack Mac and Cheese with Bacon on a Stick: We didn't get too much heat, but the flavor was spot on and the batter very good to hold it together.

Sil's Cinnamon Sugar Donuts with Vanilla Frosting Dipping Sauce: Amazing, and a great sugary treat.

Cheesy Mexican Tortilla Fries: Good, but essentially nachos but with fried flour tortillas instead of corn chips.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Eats and Scenes from 2013 Wisconsin State Fair, Day 1

Melissa and I enjoyed the sun, weather in the 70s and a day of food, animals and more at the Wisconsin State Fair today.

This was our first trip to the fair this year, and we're planning to go back there next weekend. So Here is our Day 1 mini travelogue of the time hwe spent traipsing around the State Fair Park in search of food and fun.

The scenes:

Our friend Dairy Carrie said this is a Mille Fleur chicken.

Beautiful flower arrangement in the horticulture building.

The eats:

Best way to start the day at #WIStateFair: Omelette and chocolate milk from Wisconsin Products Pavilion.

Pizza fries: Fries with a marinara sauce with sausage and pepperoni and cheese. They were not that great.

Beer-Battered Brat Bites on a stick. These are new this year, and they were delicious. The only downside: We didn't really taste the beer batter. Still, a good fair food.

Grape sorbet from Sprecher Brewing Company.

Fudge cake. Yep, it's as good as it looks.

We'll share some more stuff we found at the fair on the A Duo of Chefs Facebook page and on our blog next week.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Weeknight Sausage and Pesto Pasta

Pesto. It's one of our favorite foods that we made from our herb container garden last year. And, luckily for us, we still had some sitting in our basement, frozen in individual servings.

That's when we took some inspiration from a Cooking Light recipe we saw. And we wanted to make sure our recipe was quick, easy and something we could make on a weeknight -- as well as highlighting the pesto.

Our recipe is super-simple, a 4-ingredient workweek celebration that can act as a base for you to jazz it up. Want to add some garden veggies that you're harvesting? You can do that. We promise: It will still be amazing and super simple.

Weeknight Sausage and Pesto Pasta

Weeknight Sausage and Pesto Pasta
6 to 8 servings

16 ounces spaghetti
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 sausages, cut on a bias
3 to 4 tablespoons pesto
  1. Cook spaghetti according to directions. (We broke the spaghetti noodles in half so that they're easier to eat.)
  2. While the noodles are cooking, in a medium pan over medium heat, put sausage in with heated oil.
  3. Take out cooked sausage; set aside.
  4. Place cooked spaghetti into a bowl. While noodles are still hot, throw in frozen pesto. Mix thoroughly until pesto has thawed and is evenly distributed. Add sausage, mix and serve.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tomato Basil Mac and Cheese

Tomato Basil Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese. It's one of those perpetually delicious comfort meals.

And we love to experiment. That's what we did when we spotted some Cabot Tomato Basil Cheddar. And that's the blend of flavorings for a summertime mac and cheese dish.

We combined the Cabot cheddar with Crave Brothers mozzarella pearls for off-the-charts decadence that is rich and creamy. Toasted breadcrumbs would make a great topping to cut through some of that rich and creamy flavor.

Tomato Basil Mac and Cheese

Tomato Basil Mac and Cheese
Adapted from Cooking Light
4 servings

8 ounces uncooked pasta shells
1 1/4 cups fat-free milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded tomato basil cheddar cheese
1/3 cup (1 1/3 ounces) mozzarella pearls
1/4 cup (2 ounces) reduced fat cream cheese
fresh chopped basil
fresh chopped tomato

1. Cook pasta shells according to directions.

2. While pasta is cooking, combine milk and flour in a medium bowl and whisk until combined. In a large pan over medium-high heat, add the milk mixture and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

3. Reduce heat to medium and stir in the tomato basil cheddar, mozzarella pearls and cream cheese. Cook until cheeses melt. Add cooked pasta and stir to combine.

4. Garnish with basil and tomatoes.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Chicken Pesto Paninis

Chicken Pesto Paninis

Summer pesto is a great thing. And one of its best qualities is its ability to freeze.

So it was with great anticipation that we pulled some of our 2012 summer pesto from our freezer and paired it simply with cooked chicken breast.

Add in a couple of other ingredients and we had simple and easy Chicken Pesto Paninis.

Chicken Pesto Paninis

Chicken Pesto Paninis
2 servings
serving size: 2 paninis

1/4 cup pesto

1/4 cup light mayo
Parmesan, sliced
2 medium chicken breasts, cooked and sliced
1 loaf French bread, cut into about half-inch slices

1. Take one slice of French bread and brush a little bit of mayo and pesto on it. Top with a couple of pieces of sliced and cooked chicken. (Ours was seasoned simply with salt and pepper.)

2. Top with a few slices of Parmesan and the other slice of French bread.

3. On a stovetop griddle, cook panini until golden brown on one side, about 3 to 5 minutes. Then flip to other side and cook until golden brown.