Recipe: Butterscotch Crème Brûlée

I have a hard time figuring out what to bake sometimes. There's just SO. MUCH. OUT there. Love the internet, but damn, the oodles and oodles of recipes can be overwhelming. How does one even choose? For me, I'm a very visual person so often times it's the photographs that draw me into a recipe (pretty colors! shiny lights!), sometimes it's the sheer number of good reviews it gets (4,500 five star reviews? Ok!) and other times it's simply the name of the recipe ("Peanut Butter Double Chocolate Dream In Your Face"). My process goes something like this. Once I figure out the specific dessert I want to make, I usually put in a good amount of research before deciding on the recipe. Maybe I'll find a handful via Pinterest or maybe it's just from random online research. After that, the hemming and hawing process beings. Even after all the research, the recipe could suck, or I screw up the execution of it. Poopie. I'm definitely my hardest critic, but I've learned that it's not the end of the world if I bomb a recipe. It's only dessert! I'm not saving lives here!

When I heard my dad wanted me to make butterscotch créme brûlée for his birthday, I forgoed my usual process and literally went with the first recipe listing I found on the web, and called it a day. Sometimes, a girl gets lazy. Lucky for me, it turned out pretty good. Plus, I got to use a blow-torch for the first time which was awesome.

Butterscotch Crème Brûlée
Recipe from Chef Jamie
Yield: 8 servings, 6-ounce ramekins.

Ingredients
1 cup whole milk
4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for caramelizing
12 large egg yolks
1 cup brown sugar

Directions
1.  Place eight 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups in the bottom of a deep roasting pan. Combine the milk and cream in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.
2.  Place the 1/4 cup of granulated sugar in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat over medium heat while stirring with a wooden spoon. The sugar will begin to melt and lump. Continue stirring until the sugar starts to turn golden. Chop up large lumps of sugar into smaller pieces with the end of the spoon. They will dissolve as the sugar caramelizes. Stir until the caramel is a deep gold/brown color. If there are still a few lumps it is of no concern, they will be removed when the custard is strained.
3.  When the sugar is golden brown in color remove the pan from the heat. Slowly pour in the cream and milk, a few tablespoons at a time at first, while stirring constantly to keep the sugar from seizing up and turning into hard ribbons. Note: Use caution when you pour the cream-milk mixture into the sugar. Do not place your face directly over the pan and be conscious of where your hands are. The steam rising form the pan can cause a serious burn. After the cream mixture has been added place the pan back on the heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is smooth and caramel in color. Turn off the heat and cover the pan. Place the oven rack on the lowest rung. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk the yolks and brown sugar together lightly. Bring the cream mixture back to a boil. Pour it in thirds over the eggs while whisking constantly. Strain and skim off the air bubbles from the surface of the custard.
4.  Pour the brulee into your cups or ramekins to fill 1/4-inch below the rim. Pour enough hot, not boiling water, into the roasting pan to come up three-quarters up the sides of the ramekins. Bake the custards in the preheated oven on the low oven rack, covered with a piece of parchment paper until set, 30 to 40 minutes. To test to see if the custard are done, jiggle one gently with your hand. They are done if the custard is set in all but the very center, a circle about the size of a dime. Pro Tip: Same jiggle test I used for my Pots de Creme recipe. Carefully remove the ramekins from the water bath. Cool the custards before placing in the refrigerator, uncovered, until they are completely cold. Then cover tightly with plastic until ready to serve.
5.  To caramelize the brulees, sprinkle the top of each with 1 tablespoon of granulated or superfine sugar. Roll and tap the ramekin to spread the sugar evenly on the surface of the custard. Use a blowtorch or a broiler to brulee the sugar just until it has melted and turned golden. Be careful not to curdle the custards when using a broiler. (See blow torch tips below).

Blow torches are a crowd pleaser

Blow Torch Pro Tips:
•As you torch, move in circle motions. It doesn't have to be fast movements, just don't hold it in one spot for awhile or else you'll burn the sugar.
•Your flame should be a few inches away from the brûlée. I cranked mine to high and as the gas ran out, I moved in closer to the brûlée.
•After 10 seconds or so, you should start to see the sugar melt and form bubbles.
•When are you done torching? When the sugar is melted and the majority of it is a nice golden color.

Review: Desserts of Disneyland

My family and I go to the happiest place on Earth, Disneyland, every year. This is partially due to the fact that we all truly love it, but mostly because there's a dental convention in Anaheim that my parents attend. (Ironic fact: my dad is a dentist and my mom is a hygienist...and we're all dessert fiends. GASP). Since we've been going for so many years, we know the park waaay too well, especially when it comes to the desserts (didn't see that one coming huh?) Luckily, Mr. Walt Disney didn't disappoint in this area. My fam and I have dessert traditions that we try to partake in each visit and I'd like to share some of the highlights with you.

Clockwise starting left: Chocolate Chip Cookie Hot Fudge Sundae, Strawberry Ice Cream with Hot Fudge, Firehouse Dalmatian Mint Sundae and Mocha Almond Fudge Ice Cream.

Best Ice Cream Sundae: Firehouse Dalmatian Mint Sundae @ Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor.
This sundae can do no wrong. Two scoops of mint chocolate chip ice cream, served in a waffle cup, with hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry. This past visit, I stupidly ordered the Chocolate Chip Cookie Hot Fudge Sundae to mix things up. Don't do this. It was below average. Plus, I got to watch my sister happily chow down on the Mint Sundae across the table from me. I was an angry panda.

Why so happy friend? I'm about to eat your face.

Best Frozen Nibble: Mickey's Ice Cream Sandwhich @ Frozen Treat Cart.
Snag one of these adorable cookies 'n cream ice cream sandos and bite Mickey's ears off with glee.

Best Afternoon Snack: Churro: @ Churro Cart.
When you're in between meals and you need a little something something to tie yourself over, order yourself a Churro. It's sugary crunchy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside.

Best Baked Sweet Treat: Chef Cookie’s Deep Dish @ Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue.
Choose from a classic chocolate chip cookie or seasonal cookie (ours was a snickerdoodle), each served with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with hot fudge or caramel. It's yum.

photo cred: disneylandblackoutdates.com

Best Hot Day Refresher: Pineapple Whip @ Tiki Juice Bar.
This pineapple fro-yo is not only delightfully refreshing, but is probably the healthiest dessert at DL. Order this when you've been porking out on corn dogs and want a lighter sweet.

Clockwise starting top left: Some fruity dessert, some PB choco number, my duo of crème brûlée: vanilla and hazelnut and lastly molten choco with flare.

Best Exclusive Dessert: Crème Brûlée duo @ Club 33
You can't help but feel like a VIP getting to dine at Club 33. The 4 desserts we tried were not all mind-blowers, but most were really tasty. Tom Colicchio would give them all high marks on presentation, but I personally think the crème brûlée duo tasted the best.

Disneyland will always hold a very special place in my heart...and stomach. My hat is tipped to you Walt!

Overall Rating: 5 Ice Cream Scoops