Monday, February 11, 2013

Austin Sweets for your Sweetie

That most sugar-coated of Hallmark holidays draws near once again. If you're looking for a local sweet treat for someone you love (and no, it doesn't have to be someone other than you - you love yourself, right?!?), here's a guide to a few of my favorite Austin-made confections.

1.  Frosted sugar cookies from Curious Confections


I was lucky enough to win a dozen of these Curious Confections frosted sugar cookies from Melissa over at Red White and Blueberries when she celebrated her 2000th Facebook fan. Aren't they beautiful? And they're as delicious as they are pretty; nice and soft (as all cookies should be), and the frosting is delicate and not too sweet. 

2.  Macarons from Macarons by Jane


You should pretty much ignore this lame photo and go check out Jane's website. Not only is she a talented baker, but she's also an excellent photographer (oh, and she's gorgeous and weighs about 70 lbs, all of which make me want to hate her, except she's much too sweet for that). I first discovered Jane's macarons at a bake sale for Austin Bakes for Japan. I was so enamored with the first bag I bought that I hurried to another location and bought more.

3.  Brigadeiros from b.o.m. bakery


Brigadeiros are Brazilian candies, somewhat similar to truffles only they're more gooey in texture.  They contain sweetened, condensed milk - one of my favorite ingredients - and are the perfect size to satisfy a sweet craving. My friend Barbara sent a box of these to my office on my birthday last year - they were such a lovely surprise!

4.  Chocolates from Delysia


Not all chocolates are created equal. Delysia's are, as far as I can tell, perfect. Intriguing flavor profiles engage your taste buds (everything from five-spice to prickly pear, bourbon to earl grey) and modern graphics ensure the treats are as fun to look at as they are to eat. 

What's your favorite Austin-made confection?


Monday, February 4, 2013

You Put Your Sriracha In My...

I feel like I'm getting better at bumbling around in the kitchen, making stuff up.

I kept seeing blog posts about popcorn with sriracha on it (like this one) or with honey on it (like this one), and suddenly today I thought - why not both?

So I whacked off a hunk of butter, dipped a spoon of honey, squirted a generous stream of sriracha, and put them all in a pan together until they melted into a swirl of titillating aroma. Poured the stuff onto some air-popped popcorn. Salted liberally. And congratulated myself.

Sriracha Honey Butter Popcorn. Eat it and weep.

Salty. Spicy. Sweet. So freaking delicious that I kept having to tell myself to slow the hell down or I was going to choke myself.

In the spirit of my friend Christian over at Austin Food Journal, who steadfastly refuses to share recipe quantities (even when asked nicely), I'm leaving the measuring up to your tastebuds. Want it sweeter? Add more honey. More zing? More sriracha. With just three ingredients, I know you can handle it.

Pacing yourself while you're eating that's another matter altogether.


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