As mentioned, I participated in the DC Food Bloggers' Great American Bake Sale to raise money for hungry kids in the U.S. (A whole week ago. I'm still so behind.) We raised $612, which is a good chunk of the $16,500+ that the entire national event raised last Saturday. The rest of the goodies were donated to Carpenter's Shelter, in Alexandria, Va.
I follow some of the bake sale participants' blogs (blame Modern Domestic for getting me into the whole cooking/baking scene--I have found most of my food bloggers through her) and their feeds on Twitter, so it was cool to see them in person.
And, speaking of Jenna (Modern Domestic), the one purchase I allowed myself were her strawberry-rhubarb jam oatmeal sandwich cookies. A lot of us had baking snaffoos while trying to bake for the cause (see my tweet here), and Jenna was no exception. But I really enjoyed her cookie, even if they were the backup. Rhubarb, strawberry, and oatmeal are three of my most favourite things in the world!
My baking, however, was a bit more, uh, problematic (see link above). The soft pretzels were renamed Death Pretzels, and I now have new respect for the name I gave my oven two and a half years ago: "Demon Oven." (No matter what setting I put it on, the oven goes all-out trying to heat itself, so when I put the soft pretzels in on the baking sheet with parchment paper, the paper combusted almost immediately. Hence, Death Pretzels.)
I have previously blogged the recipes for the Death Pretzels and roasted pecans. After the blaze, I decided to nix the Hell Yes Chocolate Macaroons (also, it was midnight and I was tired). The only thing I have not previously blogged about is my patent-pending chocolate saltine caramel brittle candy things. (Actually, you can't patent or copyright a recipe, just the collection, or something like that. I'm not sure the details, but go ahead and steal it if you wish. I can take no legal recourse.)
Start with a layer of salted goodness (Saltines, salted motza [which I used], whatever you wish) on a baking tray lined with parchment paper (the noncombustible kind). Caramelize some sugar, and when it's thick and just starting to change colour, pour evenly over the crackers. You'll have to spread manually and the crackers will shift in the pan, but just move them back into place when you're done and lick your sticky fingers. Then, sprinkle a layer of chocolate on top and stick the pan in the oven that's preheated to whatever low temperature you wish (170 Fahrenheit, 200, whatever). Keep it in there until the chocolate melts, which should not take long at all--the hot, fresh caramel will do most of the work for you. Take it out of the oven and spread the warm, gooey chocolate in a fairly even layer. You can add any nut or raisin or candy you wish as a topping, or just go straight-edge and have only the three ingredients. Then, stick the stuff in the refrigerator until it solidifies (overnight is best) and break it up into chunks. The salt, sugar, and chocolate make a very nice mixture, and it's a very versatile recipe.
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