Monday, March 3, 2014

Balsamic Strawberry Sundae with Salted Caramel Croutons

I gotta be honest with you.

You know that ever popular Pinterest Fails tumblr site? Well, that's me pretty much all the time.

I get SO excited to try a new recipe or craft that I see on blogs I follow, but when I actually go to make it, it's a disaster. A disaster.

Balsamic strawberry sundae with salted caramel croutons

When I discovered this recipe for Caramel Brioche Croutons on the Shutterbean blog, I wanted to try it. It looked good. Like messy good, not Pinterest-perfect good. You should pop over to Tracy's blog and look at that first picture--good and messy.

So I planned to go shopping for brioche Saturday morning, but alas, sometimes you can't find brioche at your local grocery store. Surprise surprise.

But, I discovered that King's Hawaiian Bread is a perfect substitute. Necessity is the mother of all invention!

King's Hawaiian bread = nice substitute for brioche

Cut the rolls and toast the pieces a little.

These are so tempting!

Then you make your caramel. You need to be vigilant--do not let the caramel boil too long! Watch it go from pale creamy color to a light brown color. Once it turns a slight tan color, remove from heat and start dipping STAT. The caramel will cool quickly and it will be harder to dip.

P.S. You will make a mess.

Gently toss those croutons

Because I wanted more salt with the sweet, I sprinkled some kosher salt on the parchment paper before I started putting the croutons down.

Then you let them cool--see how pretty that sugar looks.

And when you pop one (or twelve) into your mouth, you will think that you have died and gone to heaven. Crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. It's hecka good.

Blobs of caramel everywhere!

Now if you want to turn up the fancy, you need to pair these croutons with vanilla ice cream and strawberries that have been tossed in balsamic vinegar.

Easy and pretty dessert

You add a sprig of mint for color and voila! You have a beautiful, delicious dessert that makes you feel fancy, not like you failed at Pinterest.

Fancy, yes. Pinterest-fail, no.

Now go to it and feel like Martha Stewart with this fancy dessert.

Eat me!

Balsamic Strawberry Sundae with Salted Caramel Croutons
Recipe adapted from Shutterbean
Serves 4 to 6

For croutons: 
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 c sugar
1/4 c water
2 tbsp cream
4 King's Hawaiian rolls
Kosher salt

For the sundaes:
1 c thinly sliced strawberries
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Vanilla ice cream
Mint for garnish

Set oven to low broil. Cut the rolls into 3/4 inch cubes (you'll get about 8 cubes from each roll) and spread them out on a baking sheet. Toast on middle rack for 1 minute, then flip and toast on another side for 1 more minute. Remove pan and set aside bread cubes in a bowl.

Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle a couple of pinches of kosher salt on the parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, combine butter, sugar, water, and cream. Put on medium heat and stir till butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.

Allow the mixture to boil, without stirring, until the mixture turns a light amber color. While waiting for caramelization, set up the baking sheet and bread cubes near the saucepan and get two forks. Remove from heat and immediately start dipping the bread cubes in the caramel using the forks. Place each crouton on the parchment paper, making sure they are not touching and let cool.

About 15 to 30 minutes before you're ready to serve the sundaes, toss the strawberries with the balsamic vinegar. Place a few caramel croutons in dishes or cups and scoop some ice cream on top. Garnish with more croutons and strawberries.

Enjoy and feel fancy!


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