Hey! What's cookin'?by Darlene on 07/17/11
The other night I was craving chocolate.
I always crave chocolate. Chocoate to me is like breathing air or drinking water. I have a chocolate DNA gene in me that must be satisfied and it doesn't matter what kind of chocolate I eat, as long as it's chocolate.
Truth be known I prefer things that have a richer chocolate taste but as I write that I can't think of any chocolate that doesn't have a rich taste lol.
Anyway, the other night I was having my usual and customary chocolate craving. I didn't feel like making cookies, I'm not big on cakes and I wasn't in the mood for brownies. I remembered a bar cookie I used to make alot and it is definitely a solid, good old fashioned chocolate fix. It goes by many names...7 layer bars, Hello Dolly's, etc. Thankfully, my pantry is usually pretty well stocked which helps when I have these spur of the moment cravings. I started pulling down the ingredients I would need to make these bar cookies...coconut, chocolate chips, graham cracker crumbs, walnuts and...
Sweetened condensed milk. I had all of the other ingredients but for the first time in 20 years I couldn't find a can of sweetened condense milk. I tore my cupboards apart looking and looking. I even had my daughter look through everything because there ARE times when what I'm looking for is right in front of my nose and I still can't see it.
No sweetened condense milk.
This was not good because the whole time I was looking for a can of this stuff, the craving was growing bigger and bigger. You know how it goes...if you can have something it's easier to pass it up but if you can't have it, you want it even more!
Somewhere in my foggy chocolate craving mind I had this vague recollection that there was a way to make homemade sweetened condensed milk. I got onto the computer and google'd "homemade sweetened condensed milk" (google is my best online friend...google knows EVERYthing!). There were literally hundreds of recipes! I learned that you can make sweetened condensed milk from condensed milk, or (for those inclined to take it further back to the foundation of the recipe) from scratch with whole milk.
I don't know about where you live but a little 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk is almost $3.00 a can. By reason of necessity (I was out of it) I ended up making a batch of it for my 7 layer bars, absolutely amazed by how easy it is to make and for pennies comparied to the comercially prepared product in a can.
That got me thinking because when I discover things like this that *I* find awesome, I want to share it with everyone! I also do alot of unique cooking that I love talking about so I decided that I would create a place on this site for my cooking ideas and discoveries.
My mom is an awesome cook. She can take anything and make the most delicious meal you've ever had. I inherited this gift and love for foods from her and took it to another level, bringing in a bit of gourmet to her wonderful recipes. I don't cook as fancy as I used to since I moved to the country but I still have that flair when I create new dishes. Thus the 'Rustic Gourmet' was born!
It's one thing to write down a recipe and then tell you how good it is and why it is so good lol but it's a whole 'nother thing to take step-by-step pictures of the process, which is what I'm going to do. In fact, as I write this blog, I have a recipe in the making and am photographing the steps that are involved in this particular recipe and will be posting it once the recipe is complete.
I'll give you a hint though...it has cinnamon in it and my whole house smells heavenly with the aromas of fresh ".......................................".
Keep checking the new Rustic Gourmet link...I'll be adding lots of recipes in the days ahead...from my homemade smoked bacon to who knows what!