Saturday, January 29, 2011

Orange Hibiscus Shortbread Hearts


I often buy ingredients I see in the grocery store that are interesting to me thinking I am going to find some creative way in which to use them, and they end up sitting in my cupboard for a while because I get too busy or forget about them.  Usually some sort of spice I hadn't heard of before, or in this case, some dried hibiscus flowers.  I had been standing in the bulk spice section in the natural foods store I work in, looking for some other spice, when the hibiscus flowers caught my eye.  I had enjoyed them in tea before, but never any other way, and they intrigued me, almost calling my name to buy them and make something creative and tasty.  I thought maybe steep them in some coconut milk and make ice cream, as it was summer.  Ok, so I had good intentions, but I admit...that creative recipe had yet to be made as of this yesterday.  That is until today. 


I decided to use them in shortbread along with some orange, a flavor I have come to love in the last couple weeks due to the abundance of citrus available.  I decided to add a girly touch to these cookies, so I cut them into mini hearts and sprinkled them with pink sugar.  Because everyone knows cute cookies taste better...well not really, but no harm in looking good. 


From start to finish this shortbread came together very quickly, and I was enjoying it within the hour I started making it with my morning coffee!  It had wonderful fruity flavor with the hibiscus flowers and the zippy orange zest.  The crunchy sweet and slight saltiness of the shortbread was melting in my mouth.  They would have actually been great with sorbet...if it wasn't winter.  Here is the recipe if you would like to try something a little different.  Dired hibiscus flowers aren't just for tea!


Orange Hibiscus Shortbread Hearts
Makes 40

2 sticks Earth Balance vegan butter, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp orange extract
1 Tbsp orange zest
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup maple sugar
1/4 cup dried hibiscus flowers
pink sugar, or turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with the rack set in the center. Mix all shortbread ingredients together in a large bowl until well blended, then between 2 sheets of parchment paper roll out to 1/4 inch thick.  Use a small heart cookie cutter to cut out hearts, then sprinkle with pink sugar and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Place in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes. Remove from the freezer and bake for about 10-12 minutes until set and lightly brown. Cool on a wire rack.







Thursday, January 27, 2011

Triple Berry Orange Scented Crisp



I am summer deprived.  But aren't we all?  It is getting to that time of the winter where I am really missing vitamin d of the sunshine, and all if the summer produce.  Especially berries.  Being that it is pretty chilly however I enjoy warm desserts like crisps!  I have been making apple and pear crisp up to wazzu, and though I love both of those fruits, I am feeling berry crisp deprived.  Berries here are not so good this time of year though, as they have been shipped a long ways and they are very spendy.  I came up with a solution that eliminated both of those problems and opted for the frozen berry option!  I still had a bunch of bags of berries left over in my fridge from summer when I was making many smoothies.  So I combined a bag of boysenberries, blackberries and raspberries to make a delicious crisp!  I wanted to incorporate a little bit of winter produce however, so I used the juice and zest of a blood orange as well and it gave a wonderful orange scent and flavor to the berries!  I suppose I could have just topped my crisp off with oats, but I decided to include coconut and cardamom, since they would play well off the orange in the berry filling.  It was so delicious as I enjoyed it warm from the oven, the gooey sweet tart berries, and the crunchy coconut scented oaty topping and the vanilla bean ice cream I scooped onto it melting slowly... just as a crisp should be in my opinion!  Try some for yourself if you wish...


Triple Berry Orange Scented Crisp with Oatmeal Coconut Cardamom Topping
Serves 4

Fruit:
1 12 oz bag frozen blackberries
1 12 oz bag frozen raspberries
1 12 oz bag frozen blueberries
2 Tbsp agave nectar
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp orange zest
juice of one small blood orange
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

Topping:
6 Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
3 Tbsp maple or brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cardamom
4 Tbsp cold Earth Balance vegan butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup large flake coconut

Two 5 or 6 inch wide ovenproof bowls or pie plates

Preheat oven to 400 degrees with the rack at the center position. Place a baking sheet lined with foil on the rack. Spray two 5 or 6 inch wide pie plates or bowls with cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss together the berries, agave nectar, orange juice and zest, vanilla, flour. Spoon into prepared bowls or pie plates, and cover with foil. Place plates on baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes until fruit is cooked through and bubbling. Meanwhile, to make the topping, combine the flour, sugar, cardamom, butter and salt in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender, or 2 knives, cut butter into the flour until it is in pea sized chunks and clumping together. Add oats coconut, and with hands, squeeze the mixture together forming larger chunks as well as incorporating the oats and coconut until it is evenly distributed as you go. Place in the fridge until the crisps are ready to top. When the fruit has baked for 45 minutes, and is bubbling, remove from the oven and top with the crisp mixture. Place back in the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until lightly brown and toasted (keep a close eye on it as coconut burns very quickly). Remove from oven and let cool until warm...enjoy!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Blueberry Almond Scuffins


I was trying to decide between making scones and muffins because both sounded equally good to me.  The tender buttery flakiness of a scone vs the cakiness of a muffin...it was a tough descision!  I asked my friends on Facebook which they preferred and the poll was equally divided.  So I thought, why not do a hybrid of a scone and a muffin!  A scuffin! 


What was the worst that could happen, they didn't quite turn out and I would be left with a tasty mistake.  I decided to take my basic scone recipe and bake it in muffin tins, because doing so would change the texture slightly to make it more muffin like but still buttery and with the delicious qualities of a scone.  But what type to make?  My Dad insisted I make blueberry muffins...cutting the scone out alltogether.  This was no shock to me because one of my earliest memories was of my Dad making blueberry muffins on a weekend morning and enjoying them with breakfast.  Granted he was no baker, but I still loved them as a child and at least he was making an effort.  This weekend I decided to use his idea of including blueberries, but they are out of season right now in Minnesota and the ones that are available at the store are flavorless.  I could have gone for organic frozen berries, but I opted instead for the dried, because those I did have.  I thought the dried blueberries would be lovely with toasted almonds in the scones with a hint of lemon zest. 


The scuffins baked up wondefully and smelled heavenly!  One good thing about them is they took less time to bake, as they were a little smaller than my usual scones.  I did not wait long for them to cool before I popped one out of the tin with a knife and devoured it.  This is why I burn my mouth so many times, but not this time thankfully!  What I had created was every good thing about a scone and a muffin...still buttery and flaky, but also muffinlike, and a nice crispy top!  The flavor was wonderful with the blueberries and toastyness of the almonds with a hint of lemon!  It was a good thing I made a double batch because I had promised to share some and there would not have been any left if I had made a single!  Can't decide between scones and muffins, make scuffins!   

Blueberry Almond Scuffins
Makes 12

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup maple sugar, or granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick cold Earth Balance vegan butter, cut into chunks
1 cup cold full fat coconut milk (chilled in the fridge is best), mixed well
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup toasted sliced almonds
1 cup dried blueberries
coconut milk for brushing
turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 425 with the rack set at the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture starts to clump into pea sized pieces. In a small bowl, stir the vanilla into the coconut milk. Add the milk to the dough, and stir a few times, but do not overmix. The dough should hold together when squeezed, but still be clumpy. fold in blueberries and almonds until evenly distributed. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with non-stick spray, and drop the scone batter into the holes dividing evenly between them. Brush the tops with the coconut milk, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 12

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Orange Scented Chocolate Swirled Banana Bread


On Monday I had a really bad craving for some banana bread.  It probably had something to do with it being baked at my work, and smelling so good...on my break that day, I decided that I must make some when I got home.  The last hour and a half after my break never seems as productive as before...maybe it is the food coma.  On Monday mind was certainly elsewhere as I was dreaming about what possible ways I could make banana bread even more delicious, since I wasn't going for conventional this time.  Yes, I could add coconut, or nuts, or simply chocolate chips, but I had done all those before...but then I thought what could be more marvelous than a marbled banana bread!  Afterall marble cake is always beautiful, so why not marbled banana bread! 


I decided that was what I was going to make, but why stop there.  I decided I also wanted the bread have a subtle hint of orange and cardamom because it goes so well with the chocolate.  The loaves turned out beautifully swirled with the chocolate and studded with chocolate chips.  They smelled heavenly while baking, but what was even more heavenly was their wonderful flavor!   The sweet bread was remenicent of a banana cake...with dark chocolate and light notes of aromatic cardamom and orange.  Gooey chocolate chips studded the cake as it was still warm from the oven, all of this together was delicious!  Good thing there was more than one loaf, because one goes awfully quick!  These would be wonderful to give as gifts in the future I have decided as well!  The next time you have a few over ripe bananas, you must try this bread!


Orange Scented Chocolate Swirled Banana Bread
makes 3 mini loaves

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup maple sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup pureed banana
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp orange extract
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp orange zest
2 Tbsp orange juice
1 cup mini semisweet vegan chocolate chips

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 oz semisweet vegan chocolate
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and position rack in center of oven. Spray three small (3x6 inch) loaf pans with 2-inch-high sides with non-stick cooking spray. Whisk flour, baking soda, spices, salt, and sugar in a large bowl to blend well. Whisk banana, oil, vanilla extract, orange extract, orange zest, orange juice, and coconut milk together in small bowl to blend well, then whisk into the flour mixture until well blended, then stir in 1 cup chocolate chips and set aside for a minute.  Melt chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals until smooth. Whisk in cider vinegar into batter and stir quickly (pale swirls will be in the batter, which is the baking soda reacting with the vinegar, which allows the cake to rise since there are no eggs).  Remove half the batter to another bowl and whisk in chocolate.  Drop batter into prepared pans, alternating chocolate and plain and swirl with a knife to marble.  Bake breads until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes (check at 15 and if tops are browned, cover with foil and continue to bake until done.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

a Pink Panther Martini...and random memories


I have to warn you this blog post is very random!  Yesterday at work I was daydreaming while multitasking, and I was thinking about my past years working there in the deli.  The first year I started, I was pretty quiet.  I guess I was a bit shy, but also trying to concentrate on my work.  Whatever the case was, I didn't say a whole lot.  We had this one food delivery guy who would deliver all the cheese to  the deli, and he was very talkative.  One day I was back doing the dishes, and happened to be wearing a pink shirt, and he randomly told me "You are like the pink panther...you wear pink a lot, you are thin, and you sure don't say much!  That should be your name!"  I thought that was funny, and an odd thing to say, but I guess he wasn't aware of how much I could talk if you know me well.  He is no longer our delivery man, which is a shame, since he was pretty funny.  And I am no longer so quiet now that I have worked in the deli 4 1/2 years.  So last night when I made myself a pink cocktail, as it was Monday, and I was wondering what I should call it...Pink Panther popped into my head!  The coctail appeared as if it would be simply very sweet...maybe too sweet.  But in actuality it was tart as well, and quite silky as it had blood orange juice and coconut milk as well as Chambord and vodka.  It was way better than it looked, because as you know things aren't always as they seem!  Here is the recipe for my Pink Panther Martini if you would like a weeknight treat! 


Pink Panther Martini
Makes 1

4-6 large ice cubes
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 oz Prairie Organic Vodka
2 oz Chambord or raspberry liqueur
2 Tbsp full fat coconut milk
2 oz fresh blood orange juice

In a martini shaker add the ice, vanilla, vodka, raspberry liqueur, coconut milk, and orange juice place top on shaker. Shake until well blended. Pour through a strainer into a chilled martini glass, and serve!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Little Almond Poppyseed Muffins



My Mom has always told me about this really good almond poppyseed cake my Great Grandma used to make.  She described it as having a delicate but present almond flavor with a hint of lemon, and loaded with lots of wonderful poppyseeds in a moist dense cake.  This cake was a layer cake and was very beautiful with cream cheese frosting.  I have never seen this cake, because by the time I met my Great Grandma, she was in a nursing home and no longer baking wonderful cakes.  She has since died, and we do not have the recipe.  But all of those wonderful flavors in the cake sounded so good to me that I thought they would be perfect in a muffin!  The muffins would be much simpler to make, and a lot faster, but still just as delicious!  I decieded to make them in a mini muffin tin, because I like little cute things.  Not to mention that it is an excuse to eat more...so much for portion control!  I was going to skip the cream cheese frosting this time however, since I didn't have any and simply sprinkle the muffins with turbinado sugar for crunch.  I my vanilla vegan muffin recipe but replaced the coconut milk with almond milk and added a good amount of almond extract for an heavenly almond flavor.   Also, I made sure to add plenty of poppyseeds and a little lemon juice, so it would be just as flavorful as my Great Grandma's cake.  The muffins smelled wonderful, and filled my kitchen with the aroma of almonds, somewhat remeniscent of a Christmas cookie!  I had to try a warm one right out of the oven and it was wonderful...bright almond flavor with crunchy poppyseeds in a moist cake!  I gave my Mom some to sample and she loved them, saying they had just as good of a flavor, if not better than her Grandma's cake.  My Mom has always been an almond lover though, so maybe she is biased.  Whatever the case, they were delicious, and if you would like to enjoy some as well try this recipe out!


Little Almond Poppyseed Muffins
makes 12 mini muffins

3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup maple sugar or granulated sugar
2 Tbsp poppyseeds
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp lemon juice or cider vinegar
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and position rack in center of oven. Spray a 12 cup mini muffin tin with nonstick spray in the holes.  Whisk flour, baking soda, sea salt, sugar and poppyseeds in a large bowl to blend well. Whisk oil, milk, vanilla and almond extract together in small bowl to blend well, then whisk into the flour mixture until well blended. Whisk in lemon juice and stir quickly (pale swirls will be in the batter, which is the baking soda reacting with the vinegar, which allows the cake to rise since there are no eggs). Spoon the batter into prepared tins filling each 2/3 full, sprinkle each with turbinado sugar, and bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 10-12 minutes.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Maple Chipotle Shortbread


Sometimes I need to bake in order to cheer up.  Today was definately one of those days.  Sometimes I feel like making something elaborate, taking out my aggression kneading a dough ball for bread, or making an elaborate cake, but I just needed something simple and good this time.  I had lost something very precious to me, and just was in need of cheering up.  When I can't think clearly something filled with ingredients probably is not the best idea.  This is why shortbread was the first thing that came to mind. 


Although I would have been very happy with a plain vanilla bean or chocolate variation, I felt the need to be creative and try something new.  As I stood with my cupboard open with all my spices and herbs in plain view, my eyes rested on the container of ground chipotle peppers.  I picked them up and couldn't put them down.  I had paired them with chocolate in the past and loved the result, but I was wondering how they would be in something light...say maple?  I love the combination in savory applications of maple and chipotle, and I figured it would be the perfect flavor base for my shortbread.   


So I took my vegan short bread base, and used maple sugar and extract to give it that wonderful deep caramelly maple flavor that I love and spiked the cookies with a bit of chipotle.  Honestly I wasn't sure how much exactly to use, because I know it can quickly overpower, but I wanted it to be present and have an after kick.  I also decided to stir in some red pepper flakes, simply because they are lovely and I wanted the dough to have red flecks throughout.  A little cinnamon and vanilla plus a good amount of sea salt was added to round out the flavor.  I sprinkled my shortbread with turbinado sugar for crunch before popping it in the oven and I only needed to wait 15 minutes (sans cooling time) before my creation was finished!  It smelled like french toast when it was baking, which made my hungry for that as well, but I would dive into the shortbread first!  When it was finally cool enough to dive in (which wasn't long, because I put it in the garage to cool faster), I picked up a piece, and thought to myself how nice and quick it was to make, admired the beauty of it, then took a rather large bite. 


It was wonderful...the sweet caramelly maple flavor with the afterburn of the pepper and the buttery texture of the cookie!  I forgot all about anything that was bothering me for the moment and went to my happy place.  I had quite a few more moments after because these are not something you can eat just one of and when I need cheering up I am entitled to way more than one cookie (especially if I made them).  Ok, so I was nice and shared one with one of my harshest food critics, my Mom who loved them as well!  But seriously these were delicious, and you should try them out too if you are in need of a cheering up, or just a fabulous quick to make cookie!  Even if you are very busy...you have time for these, so no excuses not to make them!  Enjoy!


Maple Chipotle Shortbread
Makes 12

2 sticks Earth Balance vegan butter, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp maple extract
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup maple sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground chipotle powder
1 Tbsp red chili flakes, plus additional for topping
turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with the rack set in the center. Mix all shortbread ingredients together in a large bowl until well blended, then press into an 8 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Score the shortbread into 12 wedges, and prick each wedge a couple times with a fork if desired. Place in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes. Remove from the freezer and bake for about 20 minutes until set and lightly brown. go over the score marks again with the knife when removed from the oven. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Almond Butter Swirl Brownies


Peanut butter and chocolate are a match made in heaven.  But so are almond butter and chocolate in my opinion!  I actually prefer almond butter to peanut most of the time, since I prefer it stirred into my oatmeal or on toast.   When I decided to make peanut butter swirl brownies the other day, I discovered I had no peanut butter on hand so I went for the almond instead! 


A great substituition it was!  Almost like a more sophisticated grown up version of the peanut butter chocolate combo.  The almond butter had a more toasty flavor, and was heavenly in the chocolate brownies! I used my vegan brownie base sweetened with agave nectar and filled with dark chocolaty goodness.  I baked them in muffin tins this time so they would already be in individual servings, no cutting would be necessary!    It made for a pretty presentation, but not that it mattered since they weren't around long!  If you are an almond butter fan, try out these brownies for a change!


Vegan Almond Butter Swirl Brownies
Makes 24

Swirl:
1 cup roasted salted almond butter
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Brownies:
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup coconut oil
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup agave nectar
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp pure almond extract
3/4 cup pureed silken tofu
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle position. Spray a 24 cup standard sized muffin tin (or 2 12 cup pans) with non-stick spray in the cups(or line with tins and skip the spray). In a medium bowl, whisk together almond butter agave nectar and vanilla extract (for the swirl) and set aside.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, and sea salt, and set aside. In a large bowl, place chcocolate and oil. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between to melt the chocolate, until the chocolate and oil are smooth and well combined. Whisk in the agave nectar, extracts, and tofu until well incorporated. Then add the flour mixture and whisk until well blended, then whisk in vinegar until well incorporated.  You should see pale streaks in the batter from the vinegar reacting with the baking soda. Pour the batter into the prepared tins dividing evenly between them. Drop about 2 tsp almond butter swirl onto each brownie, and swirl with a knife, or a toothpick.  Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until set, starting to pull away from the edges of the tins and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out fairly clean. Do not overbake! Let cool in pan on a wire rack.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lemon Cream Pie Martini


It is the perfect time of year to use lemons in dessert.  Their sunny yellow color and bright tart flavor bring a bit of sunshine to otherwise cold winter days.  This is why I thought they would be perfect in a dessert like drink I was creating.  I was thinking some lemon cream pie sounded awfully good...but didn't want to go through the trouble of making one, so I put all the flavors of the pie into a cocktail!  Why not have my drink and dessert at the same time! 


I used coconut milk to make it creamy, and fresh lemon to give it that tart flavor along with vanilla bean syrup to sweeten.  The result was a delicious drink that brought a bit of sunshine to my taste buds!  If you wanted a non-alchoholic version, you could substitute some lite coconut milk for the vodka, and add a little more lemon.  Try this drink out to chase away the winter blahs! 


Lemon Cream Pie Martini
Makes 1

4-6 large ice cubes
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 oz Prairie Organic Vodka
1 oz lemon infused vodka
3 Tbsp vanilla bean syrup*
2 Tbsp full fat coconut milk
1 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
lemon zest for garnish

In a martini shaker add the ice, vodka, vanilla bean syrup, coconut milk, and lemon juice place top on shaker. Shake until well blended. Pour through a strainer into a chilled martini glass, garnish with the lemon zest and serve!

*Vanilla Bean Syrup:
Combine 1/2 cup agave nectar with 1/2 cup boiling water, and one vanilla bean split.  Stir to dissolve agave, and let sit to let flavor of vanilla bean infuse into the syrup.  After a few hours remove the bean.  Store in the fridge in a jar or bottle.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Cardamom Orange Coconut Pudding Brûlée


I felt like a simple dessert yesterday, so I decided to make myself some coconut pudding.  Not just plain however, I thought it would be nice with a little cardamom, orange, and rosewater to make it fragrant as well as delicious!  The pudding was wonderful, comfort food for dessert, the delicate flavors dancing on my tongue and putting me in my happy place!  Now, I know there is no such thing as making too much dessert, but I had leftovers.  So I thought it might be nice to experiment with them!  I wanted to chill the remaining pudding and top it off with a crunchy brûlée topping!  So I tried it and it was delicious!  Like the classic french dessert crème brûlée but different, being that the base was a vegan coconut pudding.  I love it when experiments turn into successes, and this one definately was!  I suppose you couldn't call it crème brûlée, since it is so different in the custard base, but who cares!  So if you would like an a new twist on a brûléed dessert, try this out!


Cardamom Orange Coconut Pudding Brûlée
Serves 2 to 3

1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 3/4 cups coconut milk
1 cup agave nectar
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 Tbsp orange zest
3 Tbsp orange juice
pinch of sea salt
2 tsp rosewater
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
granulated sugar for brûlée

In a medium saucepan, place cornstarch, and slowly whisk a little coconut milk in at a time until you have a smooth paste. Whisk in remaining coconut milk, agave nectar, cardamom, orange zest and juice, and sea salt and heat on medium high, whisking continuously until mixture thickens.  Remove from heat when the consistency of pudding, and whisk in rosewater and vanilla.  Strain custard through a fine mesh strainer if desired, then pour into 2 or 3 creme brûlée dishes (depending on how large yours are), place a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface (to prevent a skin from forming), and refridgerate until cold, or overnight.  To do the brûlée topping, sprinkle a layer of sugar over each custard in the dishes.  Run a crème brûlée torch over the custards until the sugar is browned, melted and caramelized (alternatively you can place the brûlées under the broiler in the oven and caramelize them). Let cool slightly.  Serve!