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  1. Tuesday, June 23

    My Smart Girls, All of the Feelings, and Inside Out Homemade Butterfinger Bars

    recipe for inside out homemade butterfinger bars from @janemaynard

    I have two very smart girls. Smart girls who make posters like this when they are playing:

    inside out homemade butterfinger bars from @janemaynard

    I mean, seriously. Just look at that poster. That is how they play. To say the kids and I were excited about the new Pixar movie Inside Out is an understatement. A movie all about navigating your feelings is totally up their alley! Plus, I think I may have a couple of future psychotherapists on my hands. (When I found that paper, it seriously cracked me up.)

    "inside out" homemade buttefinger bars by @janemaynardWe were going for “Joy” in the group shot, but Owen was apparently overcome by “Sadness”; Anna was going to do all 5 emotions for me, but we only got “Disgust” and a very happy looking “Angry” out of her

    Well, we went and saw Inside Out today. It was wonderful in so many ways and I want to give it all of the awards right NOW. Here is Inside Out in a nutshell: take the last few, way-too-emotional minutes of Toy Story 3, where all you can do is sob as you think about the bittersweetness of growing up, and turn it into a 1 hour 42 minute feature film. Needless to say I cried through ALL of Inside Out, from the first minute to the last. So did Cate. We think Anna did, too, but she won’t fess up to it. (Apparently Disgust is overpowering Sadness in her brain today.)

    recipe for inside out homemade butterfinger bars from @janemaynardThis step of the recipe is perfect for Anger!

    Once the movie was done, we were all feeling a little emotional. It was actually a rough couple of minutes where none of us were at the top of our game. And then we had to stop at the store. Owen, who was crazy tired, got really mad about our errand. (Why, hello, Anger! Nice to see you!) But then I thought to myself, “Um, duh, let’s make this fun!” (Actually that wasn’t me, it was Joy stepping up to the control panel in my brain.) Owen was the most angry about our errand, so I started identifying his feelings. “Oh, man, Anger is at the controls right now. Wait, I think Sadness just took over. Whoops, now we have Disgust. [Owen looks up and sees a giant blow-up shark.] And Joy is back!” The kids and I couldn’t help but laugh, especially since Owen’s emotions were changing at an impressively quick pace! Suddenly all was right with the world.

    recipe for inside out homemade butterfinger bars from @janemaynardrecipe for inside out homemade butterfinger bars from @janemaynard

    After we were able to laugh and let Joy take the reins, I started asking Cate and Anna what they learned from the movie. Cate responded immediately with, “You shouldn’t let your emotions take control.” Perfect. The conversation evolved from there and made me want to cry {again} and reminded me just how smart my smart girls are. Seriously, they are SMART and, even though emotions are a hard thing to deal with, I think they will have the upper hand as they navigate the choppy waters of growing up.

    recipe for inside out homemade butterfinger bars from @janemaynard

    In honor of Inside Out, going to the movies and chocolate (I’m always willing to honor chocolate), I have a recipe today for Inside Out Homemade Butterfinger Bars. To say this recipe is a labor of love is an understatement. It requires time and patience and you will probably feel Disgust, Anger, Fear AND Sadness while making them, but Joy will take center stage once you take that first bite. I promise.

    recipe for inside out homemade butterfinger bars from @janemaynard

    Homemade Inside Out Butterfingers
     
    Inspired by the movie Inside Out and the classic movie candy Butterfinger. This is a time-consuming recipe but oh-so-delicious!
    Author:
    Serves: 42
    Ingredients
    • 24 ounces good quality dark chocolate (the bars you see pictured used 24 ounces of chocolate - the chocolate was quite thick, if you want it thinner you could probably go down to as low as 18 ounces of chocolate total)
    • ½ cup water
    • 1 cup sugar
    • ½ cup light corn syrup
    • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
    Instructions
    1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside, along with an additional piece of parchment paper on the side.
    2. In a medium saucepan, combine the water and sugar and cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add the corn syrup and stir well. Raise heat to medium-high and clip on a candy thermometer. (I used my instant read thermometer, which worked fine, but I really wish I had a clip on candy thermometer because it takes time for the mixture to get hot and I had to hold the probe the whole time.)
    3. While the mixture is heating, place the peanut butter in a small bowl and heat in the microwave for 30-60 seconds, until melted. Set aside.
    4. When the sugar mixture reaches 280º F (this takes a WHILE, probably about 30 minutes), remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in the peanut butter, mixing thoroughly. Immediately pour the mixture onto the lined baking sheet. Working QUICKLY (the stuff starts to set up fast!), put the other piece of parchment paper on top and press down, using a hot pad on top of the parchment paper as the mixture below is very hot. Press out flat to about ¼" thick.
    5. Let harden completely. Place large pieces of the homemade butterfinger in a thick, gallon-sized ziploc bag, then bang the candy with a hammer. You want small pieces, but you don't want to pulverize it to a powder, so work carefully. Set butterfinger pieces aside (you'll end up with about 4 cups of butterfinger pieces).
    6. Line a 13" x 9" baking dish with parchment paper. Cover the bottom surface of the lined dish with a layer of butteringer pieces, about 1 - 1½ cups. Set aside.
    7. Now you need to temper the chocolate. This also takes time, so get ready!
    8. Bring a medium pot of water to a simmer. Place a dry, clean bowl on top and add about 12 ounces of the chocolate to the bowl. Melt the chocolate and cook it over the simmering water until it reaches 115º - 120º F.
    9. Remove the bowl from the heat, add the remaining unmelted chocolate, stir, and let it cool to the low 80ºs F. Do NOT get any water in the chocolate. Stir regularly or almost constantly while the chocolate cools. This process took about 45 minutes for me.
    10. Once the temperature drops to the low 80s, place the bowl back over the simmering water and bring the temperature back up to between 88ºF - 91º F. (Milk chocolate tempers at 86º - 88º F, so if you subbed milk chocolate for the dark chocolate, please use this temperature.) Do NOT let the temperature go above 91ºF or you have to start the WHOLE PROCESS OVER. Once the temp reaches 88º - 91ºF, immediately remove from heat.
    11. Pour the tempered chocolate over the butterfinger pieces in the baking dish. Spread the chocolate out evenly, then sprinkle the top with more butterfinger pieces, about 1 - 1½ cups more. Be sure to press the butterfinger pieces into the chocolate while it is still soft.
    12. Let sit at room temperature until chocolate has completely hardened. Cut into small bars with a long, sharp knife, pressing straight down firmly when cutting.
    13. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
    Notes
    This makes a lot of bars and they are very rich, so it serves a lot of people. It really depends on how big you cut the bars what the final yield is. I recommend cutting it into 6x7 rows and columns.
    You will have about a cup or so of butterfinger pieces left over. Use these however you like...I'm thinking tossed in a batch of chocolate chip cookies would be delish!

     


  2. Tuesday, February 14

    Any Excuse to Eat Chocolate…Happy Valentine’s Day!

    You know I’m always looking for a good reason to eat chocolate. One might say I have a problem. Whatever. Chocolate is good for the soul.

    I was hoping to whip up something chocolatey for a post today, but Owen isn’t feeling very well and we’re heading to the doctor in a bit. (I’m sure he’s fine, no worries…probably an ear infection, poor little guy!) Even though the day is not going as planned, I can’t leave you completely chocolate-less on Valentine’s Day! So, I’m reposting a recipe from a few years ago.

    Oh how I wish I had time to make these truffles today. THEY ARE SO GOOD. I think that’s really all I have to say. Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!!

    Scotch Truffle Hearts
     
    Recipe contributed to the Scharffen Berger book Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate by Alice Medrich. From the book: Since we began Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, Cocolat founder Alice Medrich has been a constant help, ready to lend a hand with everything from bean tasting to recipe tasting. We’re especially honored to have Alice’s chocolate recipes in our book because both of us are fans of her chocolate confections, which she first began selling in Berkeley in the 1970s. These chocolates have a thin dark shell around a decadently soft center, underscored with the warmth and fragrance of a single-malt Scotch. Alice recommends that you mix this ganache gently with a spatula rather than vigorously with a whisk. Because the chocolate coating is not tempered, the hearts must be stored in the refrigerator to keep them from discoloring or blooming. Enjoy them cold, right from the refrigerator, or let them sit at room temperature for a half an hour or so, to bring up the flavors of the chocolate and the Scotch.
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 7 ounces 62% semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 2 Tablespoons single-malt Scotch
    • 12 ounces 82% extra dark chocolate, finely chopped
    • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
    Instructions
    1. Line an 8X8 inch 2-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, overlapping the top slightly, and set out a fine-mesh strainer.
    2. Place the 62% chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside.
    3. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate, and stir gently with a heatproof spatula until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Do not whisk or splash the mixture by stirring too briskly, or the texture of the chocolates will be cakey and granular. Add the Scotch and stir just to incorporate. (Jane note: I left out the Scotch b/c I didn’t have it on hand and they came out very delicious just the same!)
    4. Strain the ganache into the prepared pan. Tilt the pan to level the ganache. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.
    5. Transfer the pan of the ganache to the refrigerator to soften for 20 minutes. Choose a baking sheet of dish that will fit in your freezer and line it with parchment paper.
    6. Place a sheet of foil about 12 inches long on your work surface. Remove the ganach, using the foil that you used to line the pan to help lift it. Invert it onto the clean sheet of foil. Peel the foil from the bottom.
    7. Using a 1½-inch heart-shaped cutter, cut out hearts as close together as possible to avoid excessive amounts of scraps, and transfer to the prepared pan. (Jane note: I found a set of heart cutters for fondant made by Wilton at Michaels – the hearts were 3 sizes, which was helpful in making a lot of hearts with little scraps. The leftover chocolate I rolled into round balls to make a more traditionally-shaped truffle.) If the ganache becomes too soft to work with, cover with plastic wrap and return to the freezer to harden.
    8. Once all of the hearts are cut, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until very hard, at least 4 hours or overnight. (At this point the hearts can be placed in a an airtight container and frozen for up to 2 months.)
    9. TO COAT THE HEARTS: Choose a baking sheet or pan that will fit in your refrigerator and line with parchment paper.
    10. Melt the 82% chocolate and stir until smooth. Cool to 100-105 degrees F. (Jane note – I melted the chocolate over a double boiler. The chocolate was quite warm and took some time to come down in temperature. At 109 degrees it started to harden, so I would recommend working with it around 115 degrees – I had no problems with it melting the truffles.)
    11. Put the bowl of melted chocolate next to the prepared baking pan.
    12. Remove the hearts from the freezer one small batch at a time. Place a heart in the center of the bowl of chocolate and, using a dipping fork or table fork, flip it over and push it under the surface of the chocolate to coat completely. Slip the fork under the center and lift the heart out of the chocolate, tap the fork on the side of the bowl so any excess chocolate drips back into the bowl, and then wipe the bottom of the fork on the edge of the bowl and set the heart on the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining hearts. (Jane note: These directions were spot on and it was actually pretty easy to do if you follow them. I did need to zap the dipping chocolate twice in the process to remelt it a bit.)
    13. Use a small fine-mesh strainer or shaker to dust the hearts with the cocoa. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until the chocolate has hardened. (Jane note: the chocolate hardened FAST…so if you’re going to put toppings on (cocoa, powdered sugar, decorative sugar crystals, sea salt) you gotta get them on there quickly!)
    14. The hearts can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Makes 30-36 hearts.