Caramel Tapioca Pudding

caramel tapioca pudding | apt 2b baking co
caramel tapioca pudding | apt 2b baking co
caramel tapioca pudding | apt 2b baking co
caramel tapicoa pudding | apt 2b baking co

Tapioca pudding is one of those old fashioned foods that I LOVE. Gimme your prunes, bran muffins, pineapple upside down cakes with neon maraschino cherries, jello I love them all. I think one of the first things I ever “cooked” was jello instant pudding. I loved the magic that happened when milk and powder was whisked together and chilled. Magic. While instant jello pudding still has it’s appeal, homemade pudding is almost as easy. All you need is a bit of milk, sugar, thickener, and flavorings. This version is a bit grown up, thanks to the extra step of caramelizing the sugar before adding the rest of the ingredients. I like to eat it a bit warm, with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream on top.

p.s. We released the trailer for my book last week, if you haven’t seen it, please check it out!

Caramel Tapioca Pudding

Serves 6-8

4 cups whole milk, divided

1/3 cup small tapioca pearls

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 teaspoon salt

unsweetened whipped cream, to serve

Combine one cup of the milk and the tapioca pearls in a bowl. Let sit for 1 hour.

When you are ready to cook the rest of the pudding. Add the sugar to a dry, heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook the sugar over medium heat, until it is melted and deep amber in color. Stir occasionally if the sugar isn’t browning evenly in the pan.

Gradually and carefully stir in the remaining milk, it will bubble and spit, while whisking constantly. Stir until the sugar is completely melted into the sugar. Then add the soaked tapioca.

Simmer the mixture, stirring often, until the tapioca is cooked through and translucent.  In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with a splash of water, then whisk it along with the salt into the pudding. Stir constantly until the mixture has thickened and the cornstarch is cooked, another couple of minutes.

Serve slightly warm, or chilled with dollops of unsweetened whipped cream.

caramel tapioca pudding | apt 2b baking co

Double Chocolate Caramel Brownies

double chocolate espresso brownies | apt. 2b baking co.
double chocolate espresso brownies | apt. 2b baking co.
double chocolate espresso brownies | apt. 2b baking co.

My best friend's family in Seattle has a cookie swap every year that even I used to look forward to because I knew that for the weeks leading up to Christmas, their freezer would be chock-full of all the cookies I could dream of - cranberry bliss bars, gingerbread men, shortbread, peanut butter buckeyes, etc. – all the hits, all the classics. 

I have attended a couple of cookie swaps myself this year, and I am so happy that the tradition of gathering to share treats is still alive and well, even in New York City. It is such a fun and low-key way to gather around the holidays, and everyone gets to go home with an exciting variety of goodies they may not have made otherwise. Now I have my own freezer full of cookies, which I have learned is both a blessing and a curse. Blessing - if you come over to my place for the next couple of weeks, you are sure to be served some excellent cookies. Curse - cookies for every meal = very tight pants...I have one more swap on my calendar this season, and I am going to switch up my usual offering for these decadent brownies. I’ll package up the caramel sauce in cute little jars so people can drizzle at their own leisure.


This post was created in partnership with Reynolds Kitchens. For more holiday fun and recipes, check out their Endless Table here

 

Double Chocolate Caramel Brownies

Makes 16-24 brownies

These brownies are of the rich and fudge variety, dense and super chocolaty. Since it is the holidays, I added something a little extra in the form of espresso spiked caramel sauce. Add a scoop of ice cream to one of these and you have a ridiculously good treat, or combine all three for a seriously killer brownie sundae. Bonus points if you warm up the brownies before topping them with cold ice cream and warm caramel sauce. They keep in the freezer (un-sauced) well wrapped in plastic wrap or foil for about a month, coincidentally, they also taste great frozen.

Brownies

1 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1 teaspoon salt

5 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 cup chopped semisweet chocolate (not chips)

Espresso Caramel

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350ºF and line the bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch baking pan with Reynolds Wrap® Aluminum Foil, making sure there is a bit of overhang on all sides. Lightly butter the foil.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt in a large bowl set over a double boiler. Stir the mixture occasionally until the butter is completely melted and the mixture is warm to the touch.

Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Whisk in the eggs, one at time, then add in the vanilla. Fold in the flour until just combined, then fold in the chopped chocolate.

Bake the brownies until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached 25-30 minutes. Cool the brownies in the pan, then use the foil as handles to lift the brownies out of the pan.

Make the caramel sauce: Combine the sugar with 2 tablespoons of water, along with the butter, and salt in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar melts and turns deep amber in color. Remove the pan from the heat then whisk in the cream, instant espresso, and vanilla extract. Let the sauce cool to room temperature then drizzle over the brownies just before serving.