My picture should be in the dictionary next to the definition of “daddy’s girl.” I always have been and always will be a daddy’s girl…I am not ashamed to admit it and wouldn’t want it any other way. And on Father’s Day, more than any other day, I want him to know just how much he means to me.
If you didn’t know my dad well, you’d think he was a man of few words. You’d see an imposing figure with long gray hair, a full beard and cowboy boots who you’d be just a little scared of if you met him in a dark alley by yourself (not that he spends
a lot of any time in dark alleys). Very quickly, you’d figure out that he is fiercely protective of his family and would do anything for his girls. After a while you’d see that he’s chattier than he initially lets on, has an uncanny ability to tune out two daughters and a wife (a talent honed after almost 40 years of being the only man in the house), and that beneath his tough exterior is a gentle, loving, devoted husband and father. If you were really lucky, you’d get to experience the unfeigned way that he laughs when he REALLY laughs. I’m not talking about just a chuckle or a giggle here…he’s normally pretty low-key, but when something hits him just right, he laughs harder than anyone I’ve ever seen. It’s laughing to the point of red-in-the-face, not breathing, choking and coughing. These moments make up some of my favorite memories even though no one can remember exactly what he was laughing at because we’re all too busy laughing along with him.
It’s impossible to recount all the wonderful times I have with my dad. I’m lucky that way…ours is the kind of relationship that didn’t have many bumps along the way and only continues to get better. Being a tomboy, there was softball, tennis, fishing and a period of infatuation with professional wrestling (don’t judge!). But nowadays, if I had to choose a favorite thing to do with my dad, it’s the time we spend together in the kitchen, which means more to me than he will ever know. He is the reason I have a love of food and cooking, and is just about the only person I would let touch my “good” knives. We bicker about what ingredients to use, laugh at the other when they do something wrong, completely ignore each other’s suggestions, tips and advice, and in general, have a blast. Because at the end of the day we both know that what we made is better than anything we would have made alone, and for all the needling and mocking, there is absolute respect and admiration. I love the look in my dad’s eyes when he’s in the kitchen, happily chopping vegetables, frying bacon, caramelizing onions. He’s full of life, in his element, doing something he loves. I cherish that time with him.
So when I was thinking about what to make as a Father’s Day treat, I immediately thought of the enormous bag of miniature candy bars stashed in my pantry. They are hidden away because I’m the kind of person who can’t pass a candy dish without eating one (or seven) and this is definitely a trait I got from my dad. He is a chocoholic through and through.
And here’s what happens when I bake with Dad and Milky Ways in mind…
Milky Way Pots de Crème
Pots de Crème:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
12 Milky Way mini candy bars, chopped (about 3 1/2 ounces)
1 1/2 ounces dark chocolate chips (60% cocoa)
4 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg
3 tablespoons sugar
15 caramel squares
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Chocolate Whipped Cream:
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
For pots de crème: In a small pot, heat heavy cream almost to a boil. Remove from heat and add candy bars and chocolate chips. Let sit for a few minutes to melt, then whisk to combine. Reserve for about 5 minutes to cool.
In another bowl, beat egg and egg yolks with sugar. Whisk in a small amount of the chocolate mixture to temper the eggs, then slowly pour in the remainder, whisking constantly.
Pour mixture into a large measuring cup through a sieve to remove any solids, then divide amongst ramekins. (I used ramekins that hold approximately 8 ounces.) Place ramekins in a hot water bath, cover with foil, and bake for 43-45 minutes, until set but still jiggly in the middle (yes, I said jiggly).
Carefully remove from water bath and transfer to refrigerator to chill for at least several hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, heat caramel squares and heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat. When caramel starts melting, stir constantly to combine until completely melted. Spoon onto the top of the pots de crème.
Meanwhile, make the whipped cream by placing all ingredients in an electric mixer and whisking until stiff peaks form. Place a dollop of whipped cream on top of the caramel. Serve immediately.
I’m not going to lie…these are ridiculously rich and made me feel like I never wanted to eat candy again. Of course that silly thought only lasted for about an hour before I was contemplating eating another one. The pots de crème themselves are lighter and fluffier than others I’ve had and have a definite Milky Way essence. Topping them with caramel really puts them over the top, and adding the chocolate whipped cream? Well, it’s a chocoholics dream come true. I think Dad will happily approve.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy-o! I love you more than chocolate!
“I’ve got sunshine, on a cloudy day…when it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May…”