Recently, I met Christian author and speaker, Shauna Neiquest. Well, “met” may be a bit of an embellishment for I “read her book Bread and Wine.” But, reading the book was kinda almost like meeting Shauna. In it she talks about life and community, ending each chapter with a favorite recipe. I quickly bought a copy for my mom – I wanted to introduce her to my new bestie too. Shauna, like me, loves God, people, writing and food. She also happens to be a famous author and speaker.
Minor differences, really.
I don’t want to come off as a Stalker Sue, but I would love to hang out with Ms Neiquest, eat what she’s cooking and be her bosom buddy.
My next best bet was to pull a Julie and Julia of her book which I’d like to call Susan and Shauna. I plan to cook my way through her books. Not every night – thankfully, I’m not that starstruck or stupid. But every time a spirit of culinary adventure strikes, I’ll turn to Shauna. And like my blog promises, I’ll keep it real. Which in my book – and my kitchen- translates as messy.
The first recipe I attempted was … surprise, surprise… the Dark Chocolate Sea Salted Toffee.
Dump one cup of butter and two cups of sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
(Then race upstairs because you suddenly realize that Zumba class is starting in 20 minutes. Come back down, dressed for Zumba, and stir the butter and sugar together. Something a little unsettling about that juxtaposition of facts).
Keep stirring until it reaches an amber color.
(Wonder if the butter is curdling, if butter can curdle and if the butter has expired)
Turn off the heat when the mixture turns the color of cappuccino. Shauna, bless her heart, knew that her fans would be coffee drinkers.
Pour the mixture onto the parchment-lined baking tray.
(Ignore the fact that the tray looks like it belongs in a heap of metal scraps. You now have what looks like spilled coffee on a dilapidated baking sheet.)
Allow the mixture to cool for 30 minutes.
(Drive to Zumba. Hope to goodness that you don’t smell like toffee. Wonder if this is how traitors feel when they double cross the CIA.)
When you get back:
Melt one cup of dark chocolate chips in a double boiler till it is smooth. I used the microwave on the defrost setting because I am lazy and still have no clue how to set the power at 50%.
(Argue with yourself that Zumba-ing gives you the right to voraciously lick the spoon with which you stirred the toffee. Proceed to voraciously lick the toffee lollipop and say a silent thank-you that your kids are not around to share in the spoils)
Spread the chocolate over the toffee.
(Could there be a more beautiful line ever written in literature? I could say that all day. Spread the chocolate over the toffee. Swoon!)
Sprinkle a teaspoon of coarse sea-salt that you’ve been saving for special occasions like this one.
(If you want to get all fancy and French, you can call it Fluer de Sel)
Refrigerate till cooled and solid. Break into irregular pieces. Eat. Best when crushed and mixed in vanilla ice-cream. Or with Trader Joe’s new Salted Caramel gelato which is smooth and velvety.
(Wonder if life can get any better than this exact point in time).