I feel like this a lot. A ginormous blonde girl growing awkwardly and taking altogether too much space in whatever room I happen to be in, all hunched and elbowy, sometimes with a bottle in her hand. (Which may or may not account for said feelings of ginormity.)
I know you’re already acquainted with Alice, but here’s a new, edible incarnation of the story – Alice Eats: the Wonderland Cookbook. It’s here!
I feel like this a lot too.
We arrived in a very foggy Vancouver tonight to do a little book tour for Alice Eats, which has finally FINALLY arrived, all beautifully printed and bound (in Canada!) and brilliantly illustrated and designed by the fantastically talented Pierre A. Lamielle. If you haven’t heard, it’s the story of Alice in Wonderland in its entirety (think you know it? I did too – it’s a good read) along with recipes inspired by the storyline – plenty of crumpets and scones and jam tarts, but also juicy little homemade jellies, and bacon and egg sandwiches, and sunken chocolate cake with berry fool, and salted caramel dipped pretzel sticks, and really everything that makes an afternoon tea divine. (Tea optional.)
Because our schedule is so spread out, with early morning shows and evening demos, I brought W along for a Vancouver adventure; we’re going to visit the aquarium and go exploring, likely hit a beach and eat a few good things along the way. Vancouver is all too often a pit stop on the way to Tofino, so I’m happy to be hanging out until Friday and doing a few shows in between. And we decided to tweet it all, and post a summary of our days here, sort of a live play by play via social media, if you will. Is that a thing? Let’s say it’s a thing. Stay tuned here, on Twitter and Facebook. Hilarity may ensue.
If you’re watching, I’ll warn you I look like a lopsided chipmunk – dental issues. Going on Monday. Meanwhile I’m puffy – just enough for people to wonder what’s up with my face.
I’ll leave you with some mini caramel-dipped pretzel sticks – like those big ones you get at Starbucks, only teeny enough to nibble. Crunchy-chewy-salty-sweet-ohyes.
HEY! I should give away some copies, yes? (I have more truly awesome stuff for you coming soon, too. Really.) While we’re in Vancouver, leave a comment here and I’ll draw a book a day until Friday!
Alice’s Salted Caramel Teardrops
Pretzel sticks dipped in homemade caramel are a curious combination of sweet, salty, crunchy and chewy. They might make you exclaim something like “Curiouser and curiouser!” and even if that is not proper English you would not be wrong. Excerpted from Alice Eats: A Wonderland Cookbook, by Pierre A. Lamielle and Julie Van Rosendaal (Whitecap)
1/2 cup Roger’s or Lyle’s golden syrup or corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. lemon juice
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 large bag salted pretzel sticks
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the syrup, sugar, salt and lemon juice over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. At this point stop stirring – you can swirl the pan as the temperature rises.
Cook uncovered, swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture reaches 305°F on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, warm the cream in a small saucepan.
When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the butter. Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam, so be careful. It will clump up as some of the carmel solidifies – don’t worry about it. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring occasionally at the beginning and then more frequently at the end, for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth and reaches 260°F on the candy thermometer.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Set it aside for 5 minutes or so, until it thickens to the texture of thick molasses. Dip each pretzel stick a third to halfway deep, swirling to catch drips and coat the end of each pretzel, then set on a parchment-lined baking sheet and let sit until cool. If the caramel thickens to the point where you can’t dip the pretzels anymore, warm it again over low heat. If you like, shape the soft caramel around the end of each pretzel when it cools enough to handle, but is still pliable.
Makes about 100 caramel-dipped pretzels.