Tuesday, March 6, 2012
"Chopped" Challenge - Mini Carrot Latkes with Chocolate Rum Caramel Sauce
Rachel at Diary of a Chocoholic is a girl after my own heart! Here is her dare for my "Chopped" challenge: "Dessert (because it's my favorite!)? Carrots, Chocolate and Rum!"
Well, how can we go wrong with chocolate and rum, and with a hint of nutrition to delude us into thinking we're behaving ourselves?
Today is sadly the last day of the challenge, in which I had asked readers to suggest ingredients that I would then have to use in creating a dish for a specific course of a meal. It's been so much fun! But at least we're going out on a sweet note.
I knew immediately that I didn't want to resort to making carrot cake with the suggested ingredients. It is one of the great foods in the universe, absolutely! But it's too obvious. I debated candying carrot sticks, turning them into gorgeous translucent rum-scented dippers with a chocolate fondue-like sauce. But adapting a candied orange peel recipe for a vegetable with a different consistency seemed to have too many variables to predict success - too soft or too hard or too gumdrop-y? A noble notion to tinker with some day when I have time to play.
So, being a girl with a Jewish soul and appetite, I then thought of latkes. They don't always need to be made with potatoes, and they don't always need to be savory; carrots offer an inherent sweetness that could be played up for dessert. The combination of mini spiced treats with a luscious chocolate sauce started to sing a Siren song to me.
These little pancakes have a fabulously enticing fragrance, and are utterly enhanced by the addictive sauce. (Pour it over ice cream and it thickens like fudge ... sigh. I'm almost - but not quite! - ashamed to admit that I made a full batch of the sauce, ate and enjoyed it with a few of the latkes, and then simply took a spoon and ate the rest of it "as is." )
Thanks to Rachel, we can all be chocoholics today while still eating our vegetables!
Mini Carrot Latkes with Chocolate Rum Caramel Sauce
1/2-pound carrots, peeled, finely shredded
4 ounces sugar cookies, crushed fine
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup oil, for frying
Combine carrots, cookie crumbs, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, salt, and eggs in a large bowl.
Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add batter by the tablespoon and cook 3-4 minutes per side, until nicely golden brown. Remove from pan, drain on paper towels, and continue with remaining batter. Makes 16 latkes.
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum
2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup half-and-half
Melt butter, brown sugar and rum together in a small saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate and stir until melted. Slowly stir in half-and-half.
Drizzle chocolate sauce over 4 dessert plates. Place 4 latkes onto each plate, and top with whipped cream.
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