I have a touch of the writer's block tonight.
Maybe there are just too many things going on.
Some bright holiday things to keep me busy.
But not all fun things.
Making money and spectacularly losing it (details withheld, but this recently happened in a very disappointing way).
People being mean that I thought were nice.
Me being mean when I thought I was nice.
I might even have stepped out with my skirt tucked into my tights tonight. I'm an adult, y'all.
Feeling a bit heavy here at the end of the year, actually.
A bit dark.
Have I mentioned I have to turn the lights on at 3:00 pm here?
Let's eat dessert, eh?
And cheer up by, oh, let's say Saturday.
We'll meet then and discuss whether we followed through on this resolution.
Chocolate Salted Caramel Tartlets (inspired by David Lebovitz)
The original recipe called for a layer of ganache to go over the caramel layer and seal it in. I felt like that might stifle the delicate shortbread and sweet caramel flavor. Be a bit too strong, you know? If you want to go that direction, however, the complete recipe is linked above. You hardcore, man. Also, the recipe calls for a bit of rice flour to add lightness and crispness. But using regular flour all through is just fine too.
For the pastry:
4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rice flour (or use 1 cup all-purpose flour, total)
6 tablespoons cocoa powder, natural or Dutch-process
For the Salted Caramel Filling:
4 ounces soft, salted butter caramels
3 tablespoons heavy cream
flaky sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
To make the pastry, beat the butter and the sugar just until smooth in the stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or by hand. Add the egg, salt, and vanilla, and beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, rice flour, and cocoa powder, then mix it into the creamed butter.
Butter the indentations of two mini-muffin tins with 12 places in each, or one mini-muffin tin with 24 places. Pinch off pieces of dough and roll each into a 3/4-inch ball. As you work, put the dough balls in the indentations of the muffin tins. Take your thumb and press the dough down in the center of each indentation, then use your thumb to press the dough up the sides. Freeze the pans of dough for 20 minutes.
Bake the tartlet shells in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough appears dry and cooked.
Remove from oven and use the handle of a wooden spoon to widen and smooth the inside of the little tartlet shells, pressing the dough that’s puffed up somewhat firmly against the sides. Let cool completely, then remove the tartlet shells from the muffin tins – the tip of a paring knife might be needed to help aid them out – and set them on a wire cooling rack.
Make the caramel filling by warming the cream with the caramels in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring, until the caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth. Divide the caramel into each of the tartlet shells.
Sprinkle each tartlet with a few grains of sea salt.