On Sunday I had the opportunity to participate in a charity bake off. The theme was Escape from Toronto and I decided that my escape would be to Paris since it was my most recent trip. One of my favourite things in Paris was the salted butter caramel — even R was fond of it! I settled on lavender French butter cookies with a salted butter caramel buttercream. I never actually had this combo in Paris, but to see if lavender and caramel would work I googled it and found an Alice Medrich recipe for a lavender caramel sauce so my pairing wasn’t too out there. For the cookie, I used a recipe from Poilane as a base and decided to switch it up. I think this is my first cookie I’ve “created”.
I did a test run and while the lavender cookies only needed some very small tweaking, I ruined many batches of caramel before getting it right. I used the dry method of making caramel where no water is added. It’s best to not have the heat on too high or you’ll burn it. Be patient and let the caramel work its magic.
I’d still like to tweak the salted butter caramel recipe a little bit. I’d like the filling to be a bit more stiff so it doesn’t squish right out of the cookie.
There were so many delicious things at the bake off and I wish I could have tried more, but my stomach had problems coping with that much sugar.
At the bake off my sister’s friends were there, one whom I haven’t seen since my sister was in high school (so I was maybe 10 years old at the time?). They brought these amazing patties which was such a nice change from all the sweets in the room. I could have eaten 5 of these. And I will as the recipe is posted online.
More pictures of the bake off:
Sugar Baking cupcakes — Ferrero Rocher and Pina Colada
Amazing bacon blondies. I have always stood firm that blondies weren’t my thing, they are just too sweet. The saltiness of the bacon helps offset that. Recipe here
Cake or Death’s amazing St. Lawrence Market cake!
And of course, the recipe for the cookies:
Lavender French butter cookies with salted butter caramel buttercream (makes 24 2″ cookies)
190g of butter (13.5 Tablespoons) softened
50g (1/4 cup) of sugar granulated
50g (1/4 cup) of sugar superfine (I just ran it through a food processor)
1 teaspoon of lavender syrup (you can omit and add more lavender or make your own lavender simple syrup)
1.5 teaspoons of lavender, ground
1 large egg
2 (284 grams) cups of flour
Beat butter until smooth on low. Add sugar and blend into butter. Add egg and syrup.
Add flour and mix until it just incorporated. Add lavender and mix.
Divide dough in half and shape into a disk. Chill until firm.
Roll out dough on lightly floured surface 1/4”. Cut out shapes and bake at 350F for 10-11 mins.
Salted butter caramel butter cream recipe (slightly adapted from here).
The instructions on how to make caramel using the dry method that saved my sanity here.
330g Whipping Cream (this is my translation the original recipe calls for Creme Fraiche Liquide)
30g Unsalted Butter + 140g Softened Unsalted Butter
3/4 Teaspoon fleur de sel
Make the Caramel
1. Add about 50g of sugar to a saucepan, let this melt then add another 50g sugar and let this melt. Continue three times until all 200g of sugar has been incorporated and melted (can anyone tell me why its done in this way I have never heard of making caramel this way).
2. Let the syrup caramelize until it has turned a very dark amber. I let mine go very dark, but if you want a sweeter caramel, remove it from the heat earlier. And unless you want 3rd degree burns in your mouth, don’t try the caramel. It’s hot! Remove from the heat and add the 30g butter. Add the cream which will spatter and bubble and may seize up and harden but will melt in the next stage.
3. Put the pan back on the heat and cook until it reaches 108C on a candy thermometer. Pour into a dish and cover with plastic wrap to avoid it developing a skin. Let this cool, until about room temperature.
4. Beat the remaining butter for 8 to 10 minutes and then incorporate the caramel in 2 additions. Add salt and mix until blended in.
I had a very nice woman come up to me later in the night who let me know that she liked my cookies and was surprised at the flavour. This made me happy to hear my cookies weren’t too crazy OR too boring.by