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
2 eggs
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.

To serve:
Whipped cream

Drizzle chocolate sauce over 4 dessert plates.  Place 4 latkes onto each plate, and top with whipped cream.

Serves 4.


Unknown said...

Didn't seem like any of us gave you that much of a challenge! You blew them all out of the park. Even old chef Zakarian would agree you were the chopped champion!!
LOVE this carrot latkes idea.. will definitely have to try this soon!

Mary Sullivan Frasier said...

Geeze Louise Mary! I'm constantly and happily amazed by the way you come up with such yummy twists on the classics... and you did it again!

Carrot cake-y, caramel-y, chocolate-y, rum-y goodness! I love everything about these little beauties. (I'd love to see those candied carrot dippers too, if you ever do give them a try)

Hope all is well with you and that you're having an awesome week!

Candace said...

What a great idea to make latkes with carrots! And to make a chocolatey rum dip? This is genius, Mary. I can imagine that dip on all sorts of things including right off the spoon or my finger. You did an amazing job with this challenge. I'm sad that this is ending. It has been fun.

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