Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Double duty kitchen utensil...

We're back with another round of what we made for the weekly Wednesday Treat Day at Jeff's office. Today's recipe, Crispy Peanut Butterscotch Fudge Squares, brought several of our favorite flavors together in a sweet little package.

The bottom layer is your basic Rice Krispie Bar with an addition of smooth peanut butter mixed in when you are melting the marshmallows. This is then pressed into the bottom of a baking dish to form the crisp crust. What is poured on top is a layer of butterscotch and peanut butter fudge. This is made from butter, sugar, evaporated milk, marshmallows, butterscotch chips and peanut butter. A sprinkling of chopped peanuts on top adds a final touch to bring the two layers together. When you take your first bite, you notice the ultra creamy fudge that has a complex duo of flavors and then you hit the contrasting crunch of the peanut buttery Rice Krispie layer. You could easily adapt this to a variety of flavors to match what you like... one example that quickly came to my mind - you use cocoa rice kripies in the bottom layer and bittersweet chips in the fudge to satisfy the chocolate/peanut butter lovers out there. Would you like to take a bite out of these sweet indulgent treats? Besides, it's just a Rice Krispie Bar with a fancy new hair-do... no?

A long time ago (right about when we started getting into cooking), we attempted to make spaetzle even though we had no spaetzle maker or even a colander as suggested in several recipes. We ended up using a plastic zip-lock bag and cut the tip off to dribble the batter into the boiling water.... it worked, but what a mess! I got the urge to try this recipe for Herbed Spaetzle and even though I've been tempted to buy the tool used to drop the batter into the water, I didn't want to wait to get it. I ended up using a large spoon-like utensil we already owned that had the requested 1/4" round holes. We do have a colander, but I thought this tool might work a little better.

While it actually worked quite well, it was still messy - I'll think I will be cleaning up for awhile! To make these little nuggets bursting with fresh thyme flavor, milk is first steeped with a few springs of thyme. The sprigs are discarded and the milk is pureed with more fresh thyme leaves, parsley, salt and eggs. This is then whisked into all-purpose flour until the mixture is smooth. We pushed the mint colored batter through the utensil and into boiling salted water - when they floated up, we shocked them in ice water to stop the cooking. This took quite a few batches, which is something I didn't account for... so dinner was a little late tonight. My batter was a little on the thin side, so I think my pieces cooked up a bit on the smaller side - when I make this again, I might decrease the milk just a touch. Once the batter is used up, the spaetzle is then lightly browned in a hot skillet of melted butter. The spaeztle have a tender texture on the inside with a buttery shell that help to keep them separate. Jeff mentioned that he thought they were going to be mushy when he saw me pull them from the water, but after he ate his first fork-full, he muddled "this is so going to be my lunch tomorrow!" I see! Maybe it is time to invest in one of those fancy spaetzle makers after all?


  1. These peanut butter fudge squares look delicious! I have a box of rice crispies to use up, so I might make these. I might do a chocolate/peanut butter combo.

  2. Anon - let me know if you try that combination, I would love to hear how it comes out!