Well hello there internet, how have you been? I know I promised lots of Christmas craziness last time I posted on here, but real-life Christmas craziness took over and consumed my entire life. I initially felt pretty guilty about my online absence, but my internal batteries needed some quality time to recharge. You know, sometimes we all need a proper break away from reality, especially one that's full of drunken holiday ragers, becoming a bonafide recluse during family functions, attempting to turn that childhood dream of becoming a figure skater despite Louisiana's lack of ice into a reality, ringing in the New Year semi — no, definitely — trashed in the French Quarter, and watching Clueless four too many times. It's good for the soul.
Despite the fact that my sleep schedule was totally ruined and I never stopped tweeting about it, I have finally emerged from the dead, ready to tackle the new year. (Speaking of that, please tell me that all of you guys are in the omg it's actually 2015 where are the flying cars and metallic space suits camp too.) 2014 was a rollercoaster, but 2015 is going to be even crazier. This year, I'll be turning 21 — I know what you're wondering; yes, I will be accepting bottles of gin, preferably Hendrick's, as a present — and in December, I am GRADUATING. FROM. COLLEGE. (!!!!!!!!!!!)
The past year has also been such a wonderful time for Glazed & Confused. From all of the beautiful new virtual friendships I've formed to the lovely press write-ups that I've received, it's been a whirlwind full of lots of chicken and waffles cakes and beignet ice cream sandwiches and honestly, I wouldn't want it any other way. As cliché as it is, I am so eternally grateful for each and every one of you for making this site so special. Heart emojis for everybody! You're the best!
I'm usually super into the whole new year's resolution thing, but the past two years I have decided to take an alternate route. Instead of my traditional list of strict, tangible goals, I've adopted the single-word theme approach. 2014 was The Year of Flourish, and I think I flourished rather well! This year's word, you ask? Savor.
Savor may sound a little odd, but it's a principle that I've been needing to reestablish into my life for a long time. I've neglected the smaller things in life pretty consistently over the past few years and I often get so carried away in pleasing my inner critic that I forget to enjoy the many beautiful things that surround me. I've battled with my fair share of challenges in the last year, but I've finally seemed to reach an emotional breakthrough — I am not my demons, my mistakes, or my criticisms.
As for the blog, a few big changes are happening for the year. Namely, I'll be posting a little less often — a new recipe every Tuesday and another post on every other Friday or so. The Friday posts will serve as extra recipes, special features, and more intimate glimpses into my personal life. My goal here isn't to deprive you guys of content, but to make it of a higher quality and more inspired. Disclaimer: the writing is probably going to be a bit longer, but I'll be sharing much more of what goes behind the scenes into each post, so grab your reading glasses.
It just so happens that this Tuesday is King's Day! The Epiphany, also known as Twelfth Night, serves as the official start of Carnival here in New Orleans. Though we've still got a few weeks until the parade grounds are littered with beer bottles and tourists start thinking it's acceptable to flash their breasts for a strand of plastic beads, today marks the beginning of king cake season! The traditional king cake recipe combines sweet French or Danish pastry, cinnamon sugar, and a generous dousing of powdered sugar glaze and purple, green, and gold sugars. I'm not in the mood to bore you with a recipe for the classic king cake ... or really any king cake for that matter. Seriously, y'all know me better than that.
Blogosphere, meet king cake fries.
In my quest to create the closest thing possible to dessert poutine, I made this absolute showstopper of a dessert chock-full of vitamin A. Imagine a steaming hot pile of cinnamon sugar-dusted sweet potato fries, covered in a brown butter cream cheese glaze, praline sauce, toasted pecans, and hella sparkly sanding sugar. If that isn't heaven to you, that's okay. More fries for me!
- Before tossing your sliced sweet potatoes in coconut oil and cinnamon sugar, give the slices a good dusting of cornstarch. This allows the fries to form a crispier skin for the optimal crunch factor that we all know and love. For extra crispiness, crack the oven door after the fries are done baking and let them cool a bit inside the oven.
- Some call me difficult, but I'll let the insults slide as long as I can continue using vanilla bean paste. Seriously, this stuff is one of the greatest purchases any baker could make. I use vanilla bean paste over traditional extract whenever I need a deep vanilla taste and want to see little flecks of bean throughout my glaze, frosting, cake batter, or even cookie dough. In this recipe, the paste makes the brown butter cream cheese glaze extra beautiful!
- Speaking of that glaze, you should make it to your desired consistency since you're the one who has to eat it. (Like that's a chore!) Personally, I like mine a little thicker (this is especially good for reheating if you're not eating all of your fries immediately), so I use only 3-4 tablespoons of milk. If you want your glaze to be thinner, just add extra milk by the tablespoon until you reach whatever you deem perfect!
- If you're alone or can't eat the whole plate of fries while they're warm, it's perfectly acceptable to reheat them later on. Microwave the fries for about 15 seconds, making sure to stop once you hear the praline sauce bubbling like crazy. Pro tip: don't burn the roof of your mouth. I know you want to eat them immediately, but please wait the five seconds until they're cool. Trust me, it's worth it in the end.
Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Potato Fries
(adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction)
- 3 large sweet potatoes, washed and peeled
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 batch of brown butter cream cheese glaze (recipe below)
- 1 batch of praline sauce (recipe below)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- purple, green, and gold sanding sugar
Preheat oven to 400° F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
With an extra sharp knife — because it's absolutely miserable to cut with a dull knife — slice the washed and peeled sweet potatoes into halves, then quarters, then individual slices. Desired thickness should be somewhere around 1/4-inch thick.
Once sliced, toss the potatoes in a dusting of cornstarch. Remove all excess powder and toss them in the melted coconut oil, making sure to coat each fry thoroughly. In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar, setting aside 3 tablespoons of the mixture for later. Add the the cinnamon sugar (not the 3 tablespoons!) and toss to coat. Divide the coated fries evenly among the two baking sheets.
Bake the sweet potato fries for 18 minutes on one side, flip them, and then bake for another 15 minutes. Once done, you can remove them or let them cool slightly in the oven for 20-30 minutes for extra crispiness. Coat the warm fries in the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture.
Pile the warm fries onto a serving plate and drizzle with brown butter cream cheese glaze and praline sauce. Top with toasted pecans and purple, green, and gold sanding sugars. Serve immediately, turn on Mambo No. 5, and share with your most loved ones — these are extra special.
Brown Butter Cream Cheese Glaze
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste* or extract
- 3-5 tablespoons milk**
In a small sauce pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Once melted, continue to cook the butter until brown flecks form at the bottom of the pan and begins to smell nutty.
In a medium-sized bowl, pour the brown butter over the cream cheese and whisk together until smooth. Once fully combined, sift in the confectioners' sugar. Mix in the vanilla and milk until desired consistency is reached.
(from my New Orleans sister and pretty much neighbor, Joy the Baker).
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 1/2 tsp. heavy whipping cream
- 1/8 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste* or extract
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, butter, heavy cream, and sea salt. After the butter melts and mixture becomes homogenous, let the mixture cook for about 5 minutes. It will bubble and thicken pretty significantly during this step. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.