The Setting: Rain is off and on...such is the onset of hurricane season in my hood.
The Soundtrack: Glee: The Road to Sectionals on DVD (pretty much my new default)
On the Stovetop: Dulce de leche
The Scenario: Testing two products from the store plus one Latin-inspired recipe I've been itching to try since my first trip to South Florida.
El Rey milk chocolate, pistachio halvah (a Lebanese sesame-paste confection), and homemade dulce de leche will join forces to create delectable mini candy bars. This might be genius.
For the Dulce de Leche:
For a slight shortcut on making dulce de leche, see the note at the end of this post, or see this post for a slow-cooker version.
2 cups skim milk
6 oz (approx. 3/4 cup) brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Add the milk and brown sugar to a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a simmer over med-high heat.
When sugar has dissolved, stir in baking soda, and reduce heat to med-low.
Cook gently, stirring occasionally but avoiding reincorporating the foamy parts for 3-4 hours or until mixture is a dark, caramel-ly color and has reduced by about half. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
For the Candy Bars:
The amounts you need of the below items are up to you...make a little, make a lot...it's pretty intuitive.
Pistachio halvah, cut into 1-inch-x-3-inch strips
Dulce de leche
El Rey milk chocolate, chopped
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment paper, and clear a space in the freezer large enough for the pan to fit.
Arrange the strips of halvah in a single layer on the baking sheet. Spread the tops of the strips with delce de leche, and chill in freezer for 30 minutes.
Before removing the halvah strips from the freezer, place the chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring well in between each, just until chocolate is completely melted.
Dunk the halvah strips in the melted chocolate so that they are completely coated, and return to the baking sheet. When all halvah strips have been dunked, return the sheet to the freezer till chocolate has completely solidified.
Transfer candy bars to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until eaten. They will last a long time this way, but they are so tasty that it is unlikely their shelf-life will be an issue.
One of my better ideas...ever. The halvah can be crumbly, so if you desire to create a whole lot of these and you care deeply about uniformity of shape and size, you should purchase a lot more halvah than you think you'll need. You can always munch on the crumbled pieces as you go, or toss them to the "vultures" that inevitably circle the kitchen when the promise of chocolate is thick in the air.
Suspension of perfectionism may be necessary for ultimate enjoyment of the process, but the outcome will be surefire deliciousness.