Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Candy in Corningware - Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Balls

I have said several times, since starting this blog, that the only drawback to Corningware is that you cannot make candy.  I think that it is time that I elaborate a little on that statement simply because "candy" is an extremely vague term.  

Thus, in an attempt to qualify my previous declaration, I would like to add that by "Candy"... I mean any confection based on boiling Sugar Syrup.  That would include English Toffee, Seafoam, Peanut Brittle, Divinity, Taffy, Lollipops, & Fudge (real fudge, not Marshmallow Cream Fudge).  This does not mean that you cannot make Turkish Delights, Truffles, Chocolate Nut Clusters or Pralined Nuts.   

As an example, let me offer up an old family favorite.... Peanut Butter Balls.

I can remember mom making these for Christmas when I was little.  All three of us boys were ALL too happy to help dip them in the melted chocolate, though truth be told, more chocolate ended up on our faces than on the Peanut Butter Balls.    Boys will be boys. 

Please note:  The proportion below are for a single batch.  During the "filming" of this post, I was making a double batch of peanut butter filling so your double boiler insert won't be as full as it appears in the photos below.

Peanut Butter Balls

1/2 Cup of Unsalted butter
1 Cup Peanut Butter (I use chunky

Pinch or two of Salt
8 oz Confectioners' Sugar
1 Cup Rice Krispies 

10 oz Milk Chocolate for dipping

Corningware 2 1/2 quart Saucepan (P-2 1/2-B)

Corningware Double Boiler Insert (P-17)
2 Corningware Broil and  Bake Tray (P-35
(you only need 1 Broil and Bake Tray for chilling the centers, but you will need a second one when dipping cause they will need more room)
Heat about 2 cups of water in the 2 1/2 quart Saucepan (P-2 1/2-B) over Medium flame.

Place the Butter in the Double Boiler Insert (P-17) and place the insert into the 2 1/2 quart Saucepan (P-2 1/2-B)

Once the butter is completely melted, add the Peanut Butter.

Please use natural peanut butter without added sugar.

Stir until everything comes together in a nice homogeneous mixture.

Add the Confectioners' Sugar and work it into the Butter/Peanut Butter mixture until it's nice and smooth. 

(No "chunks" of Confectioners' Sugar are showing)  

Pour the Rice Krispies into a medium sized bowl (a 2 1/2 quart Pyrex #403 or #443 works well for this)  

Pour the hot mixture over the Rice Krispies.

Stir and knead everything together with a spatula until it forms a sort of "dough".

Line the Broil and Bake Tray (P-35) with waxed paper.

Grab a small cookie scoop.

Fill the scoop to level.
Squeeze the dough out into your hand and roll it into a ball (It should be a 1 inch ball)
Place it on the wax paper lined Broil and Bake tray (P-35)
Continue until you have used all the dough (it should make 42-46 balls)
Wrap the balls and the tray completely in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Wash the double boiler insert (P-17), then empty and refill the 2 1/2 quart Saucepan (P-2 1/2-B) with 2 cups of water, then place it over the lowest flame and place the, now clean, Double Boiler Insert (P-17) into the Saucepan (P-2 1/2-B).

Add the chopped Milk Chocolate to the Double Boiler Insert (P-17) and allow it to melt.

It takes awhile, but you don't want to over heat the chocolate, keep the flame LOW so the chocolate doesn't un-temper.

Line a second Broil and Bake Tray (P-35) with waxed paper.  

Grab some dipping tools, if you have them. (I have been using these for eons, but 2 forks works as well).

Remove the Peanut Butter Balls from the refrigerator.

 Dip each peanut butter nugget, letting excess drip off. 

Place each dipped Peanut butter ball onto the lined Broil and Bake Tray (P-35) spacing them about 1/2 inch or so apart to allow for potential chocolate spreading at the base.  

(you may have to re-line the first Broil and Bake Tray with waxed paper and use it as well)
Once all the balls have been dipped, check the first few and see if the chocolate has begun to harden.

If it has not, go ahead and place them in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so, uncovered.

Once the Chocolate has hardened, remove from the Broil and Bake Trays and place in a decorative tin or container lined with more waxed paper.

Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

I do not suggest leaving them out at room temperature for more than 2 hours as the peanut butter interior begins to soften a little too much.

Where is your Corningware??

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Casually Ignored Casual Elegance Line by Corning

So in my quest to document patterns on Corningware, I seem to have forgotten to include some of the various "shapes" of Corningware.   I have mentioned Corningware "Round" and Buffet Servers which are both of the B-Series.  I have expounded upon both French White (F-Series) and French White II (?-Series).  I have even eluded to French White's predecessor, the Designer Casserole (DC-Series).  But I seem to have left out a very important, yet very late to the party, shape produced by Corning in the mid 90's, 1994 to be exact.  The Casual Elegance Line....

They are shaped similar to French White II, in that they have flared rims and the glass lids are decidedly different than any previous lid produced by Corning, as they fit down inside the "flare", just like the French White II lids.  (please note, that the handles of the Casual Elegance lids are different than the French White II lids.)

Unlike French White II, however, the rims of the Casual Elegance Line have embossed designs on them.  I know of three different designs in this product line...  Though at least one of the "books" specifically states that there was only one design in this shape.

White Flora 
(which seems to be the most prevalent)

(This is the same pattern that was later released on Suprema dinnerware as "Lucerne")

(of which I have only seen a Broil and Bake Tray)

The casseroles are embossed on the bottom, rather poorly I might add, with an L-Series.

I currently am in possession of an L-21 and an L-32 (My mom has the H-15 platter in Vineyard), but there is also an oblong open roasters (L-13 & L-15)

as well as various other Round and Oval pieces such as L-20, L-22 & L-23 (Round) and the L-30 & L-31 (Oval).  I currently have no other information on what volume measurements these pieces have.

Plastic covers for storage were also available and imprinted with "Casual Elegance".  Unlike the glass cover, the plastic storage cover encompasses the whole of the piece, including the rim. (on French White II pieces the plastic covers sit down inside the flared rim, like the glass lids do)

The Broil and Bake Platters are embossed with an H-Series instead of "L", my assumption is because the L-15 was already used on the Open Roaster.

Both Calypso & White Flora are oval in shape (H-14 & H-16)....

 (Both of the above pictures were "Borrowed" from eBay)

but Vineyard is Oblong (H-15)......

Hopefully this help shed some light on a somewhat obscure and late released Corningware Product line.  To make matters more confusing, I am pretty sure that I have seen these in stoneware just like French White and French White II.  So check the bottoms for firing rings to make sure you are not getting a hunk of stoneware!

Where is your Corningware??

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Classic Dishes in Classic Black - Pommes de Terre au Dauphinoise (Scalloped Potatoes the Dauphine Way)

Like most, I suffer from seasonal food cravings.  It's frigid and wet and nasty outside, so I want food that sticks to my ribs.  Food that makes me feel all warm and snugly inside.  Usually this entails massive quantities of fat calories.  This dish is no exception to the rule...  Think of it as complete and utter fat drenched potato Nirvana.

It's OK.  You can justify consuming this dish with relish for two reasons.  One; it is a classic dish made in Dauphine France.  One should always be well acquainted with the classics; be they literary or culinary.  Two, while you can just as easily prepare this dish in a Corningware French White, French Bisque or French Bleu 1.8 liter (F-6-B) casserole, if you are worried about the potential caloric intake from consuming said Potato Nirvana, I would highly recommend the Classic Black (aka: French Black).

Why, you ask?  The Classic Black dish has the magickal effect of lowering the fat content of this dish.  After all, we all know that black is slimming. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

Pommes de Terre au Dauphinoise
(Scalloped Potatoes Baked in Cream and Nutmeg)

2 cups Heavy Cream; divided
2 lbs Russet Potatoes (although Yukon's work well also)
3 TB unsalted Butter; divided
2 Cloves of Garlic; divided
Kosher Salt or Fleur de Sel
White Pepper; finely ground
Freshly grated Nutmeg

Corningware French White/Bisque/Bleu/Classic Black 1.8 Liter Casserole (F-6-B)
~optional~ Pyrex Opal 2 1/2 quart Cinderella Bowl (#443)

Preheat the oven to 325F Degrees and peel the Potatoes (DO NOT rinse).

Pour 1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream in a Large bowl. (Pyrex 2 1/2 quart #443 works nicely)

Place a mandolin over the bowl of Cream and begin slicing the potatoes, letting them fall into the bowl of Cream. (use the guard please... fingers must remain intact for the next step)

Give the Potatoes a good tossing in the Heavy Cream to make sure they are well coated. (this will prevent browning)

Cut 1 of the cloves of garlic in 1/2 and rub the inside of the Classic Black 1.8 liter Casserole dish (F-6-B).

Then rub the dish down with 1 TB of the Butter.

Mince the remaining 1 1/2 cloves finely.

Sprinkle the minced garlic over the bottom of the 1.8 liter Casserole (F-6-B)

Begin layering in a circle around the edge of the pan, slightly overlapping the previous potato slice. Once the outer ring is complete, simply fill in the middle with more overlapped slices.

Sprinkle the layer with Salt, White Pepper and freshly grated Nutmeg.

Repeat the last 2 steps, two more times, but layer the potato slices in the opposite direction giving you 3 layers of potatoes.

(No more than 3 layers or it will take them way too long to cook)

Carefully pour the starchy cream from the bowl over the potatoes.

The level may not be quite high enough. You want the potatoes to be just barely covered, so you may have to add another 1/2 cup of heavy cream (I usually have to)

Dot the top layer with 2 TB Cultured Butter.

Bake for at least 50 minutes. (1 hour if using French White/Bisque/Bleu... Classic Black absorbs more heat and cooks slightly faster than regular white Corningware)

See what I mean about making sure there is enough room in the dish.... Nice and bubbly!

Check to see if the potatoes are tender, using a knife;

If not, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes (Low and slow is the key to keeping the resulting cream sauce from separating)

Remove the casserole dish from the oven and allow to set for 10 minutes.

Serve and consume with wild abandon!

Where is your Corningware!!