Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cooking with Harbor Sweets

Twitter has led me to some of the coolest events as of late. A while ago, I saw a tweet from Harbor Sweets, an amazing local candy company, announcing a cooking class that they would be hosting in their factory. Cooking with Sweet Sloops, my favorite of their chocolates, made with almond toffee crunch, white and dark chocolate, and pecans? Sure - imagine the amazing cookies you could make with them! But no, the class was going to focus on a full menu of recipes, not just desserts. When I saw the words "Sweet Sloops Pad Thai," I knew I had to go.

So last Saturday, after getting more than a little lost, we arrived at Harbor Sweets' factory in Salem only a few minutes late. The small room was packed with tables and people, and we squeezed into our seats as the chef starting talking. The afternoon was led by Chef Bill, a local personal chef, and he taught us a lot about cooking with humor and verve.

We started with dates stuffed with goat and gorgonzola cheeses, bacon, and Sweet Sloop Crunch. I thought I wouldn't like these, but surprisingly, this was my favorite dish of the day. The saltiness of the cheese and bacon were married perfectly with the sweetness of the candy and the dates, and the bacon and the Sweet Sloops added plenty of texture to an otherwise soft dish. These would be perfect for a holiday appetizer, as you can make them ahead and just pop them in the oven to warm through. Since this was my favorite, the recipe is below.

We then moved onto Pad Thai. A lot of people seemed skeptical about pairing candy with pad thai, but I thought it would be a great match - there's already sugar and peanuts in pad thai, so why not? In fact, Chef Bill took out both the sugar and the peanuts and used the Sweet Sloops to provide those flavors - it worked perfectly, although I can't see making this routinely. It's definitely a conversation piece, though, and would be great to wow your friends and family with.

For dessert, we actually tried two different dishes. Chef Bill passed around Toll House cookies that were made with Sweet Sloops Crunch instead of chocolate chips. They were delicious, as I expected them to be, and is probably the recipe that most of the attendees are going to try at home. We also had Bananas Foster, with Sweet Sloops Crunch used as a garnish. (Above, Chef Bill gets ready for some flambe.) I'm not crazy about cooked bananas, but I loved the Sweet Sloops over ice cream.

So, as if I didn't already love Sweet Sloops, I now have even more excuses to buy them.

Can you see the chocolate all melty and delicious in that picture?

Dates with Goat and Gorgonzola Cheese, Bacon, and Sweet Sloops Crunch
4 oz goat cheese, room temperature
3 oz gorgonzola cheese, room temperature
3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup Sweet Sloops Crunch
15 Medjool dates

Preheat oven to 350°.

Mix together the two cheeses, then mix in cooked bacon and Sweet Sloops Crunch. Make a slit in the top of each date, keeping the bottom intact, and remove the pit. Put one teaspoon of the cheese mixture into each date. Place dates on a sheet pan and bake for less than 5 minutes, until cheese are heated through.

2 comments:

kristen said...

Oh, thanks for posting this! I had wanted to go and really wondered how the food items would be. Fascinated by the cheese candy combo.

Justine said...

that looks heavenly! also, do you have an recommendations for moderately priced restaurants in marblehead?

thanks!!