Episode Synopsis: In the finale, Laura hosts a girl’s day and night with some of her best girlfriends and the night wouldn’t be complete without any finger food to keep everyone going. So, that’s what Laura demonstrated this morning: different types of finger foods that her friends can munch on throughout girl’s night.
The Recipes: Cheesecake Brownies; Sea Salt Caramel Corn; Spinach and Potato Puffs; and Coconut Shrimp with Sweet Chili Sauce.
The Process and My Thoughts: Before Laura met her friends, she decided to prepare a lot of the dishes before hand, so that, later, there wouldn’t be too much work to do.
Laura started out with her cheesecake brownies. She started off by creaming her butter and sugar together. Then, she got her double broiler ready and she added some semi sweet chocolate chips to the bowl. From here, she got her dry mixture ready. She used some all purpose flour, fine salt, instant espresso powder and cocoa powder. At this point, Laura went back over to he double broiler to check on her chocolate. It looked good and majority of the chocolate was melted, so she turned to stove off and removed the bowl from off the pan and let it cool.
Then, she cracked a couple eggs and added them into the butter and sugar mixture and proceeded to mix them again. Next, she added the melted chocolate to the mixture and allowed them to mix for a couple seconds and then added the dry ingredients in. She mixed that on low and started to work on her cheesecake mixture. She added cream cheese, vanilla extract, an egg and some granulated sugar to a bowl. She whisked that until it was smooth. She grabbed her prepared pan and put about 3/4 of her brownie batter at the bottom (spread to a smooth layer) and then she added her cream cheese mixture and put that on top (also spread to a smooth layer). Next, she took her brownie mixture, again, and placed little dollops of it all around the top of the cream cheese layer. Then, she took a knife and swirled it all together to create this marble design and, lastly, popped it into the oven for about 30-35 minutes.
While that baked, Laura got started on her sea salt caramel corn. She took a pan and spread a clear vegetable oil and added about a quarter cup of popcorn kernels. According to Laura, you really need to watch your kernels because as soon as one pops, you need to immediately cover your pot. Otherwise, your popcorn will fly everywhere. I have actually experienced that as a child with that grandfather. It was fun, but it also created a huge mess.
While the kernels do their thing, Laura started to make her caramel sauce. To another pot she added some soft brown sugar, 1/2 a stick of unsalted butter and, to keep the sugar from going hard, she added some light corn syrup. She turned that on to medium, let it come to boil and let it simmer for about 3-4 minutes.
After the sauce has been boiling for a few minutes, Laura turned off the fire, added some vanilla and added her special ingredient: a pinch of baking soda. From here, she just poured that caramel sauce onto the popcorn and mixed it up, making sure that the sauce is well distributed. Now, it’s time to bake the caramel corn. She poured the popcorn onto a baking sheet, slid it into the oven to bake for about an hour, making sure to stir it every 10 minutes. When she put the caramel corn into the oven, she took the cheesecake brownie out and let it cool for a minute. It looked delicious!
Now, for the coconut shrimp. Laura starts off by taking three separate dishes and in those dishes she placed the ingredients that she’s going to coat her shrimp in. She put corn starch in the first dish (dry mixture); all purpose flour, granulated garlic, paprika, freshly ground pepper, an egg and some sparkling water in the second (wet mixture); and panko breadcrumbs and sweetened coconut flakes in the third (coconut mixture). From here, she showed us how to butterfly the shrimp, so that they can get golden and crispy all thought. After that, she proceeded to dunk her shrimp into the three dishes that were explained earlier. When they were all coated, she popped them into the refrigerator to set until she’s ready to fry them.
After taking her caramel popcorn out of the oven, Laura added the final ingredient: sea salt. They looked so good. Nice, crispy and crunchy. I would have loved to get a handful of that caramel corn. I haven’t had caramel corn in a while, so I could definitely enjoy a couple handfuls. I prefer toffee corn though, so I wonder if it would be possible to make that at home.
Anyways, now we’re moving on to the spinach and potato puffs. She already had her potatoes and garlic cooked, so she added some salt, black pepper, softened cream cheese and some sour cream to the bowl that they were in. Then, she mashed all of that together and added some shredded strong, white cheddar; parmesan; and some thawed spinach. Don’t forget to squeeze out as much liquid as you can because if you don’t it’ll make your dish soggy. Mix them all together to make sure that everything is well incorporated. Next, Laura started to make her egg wash. Add one egg to a bowl with a small amount of water or milk and mix it up.
From here, she floured her work station and got out her puff pastry. After rolling it out, she took a pastry brush to brush away the access flour. She got a knife and cut the puff pastry into nine squares. Then, she added a dollop of her mixture in the middle of each square. After that, she brushed around the edges with her egg wash and sealed the little ‘purses.’ She brushed some egg wash all around them, added some parmesan cheese on top and placed them into the refrigerator until she’s ready to bake them.
At this point in the episode, we get to go out with Laura and her three best friends as they went out and had some fun. After that, they took us right back to Laura’s house where she finished off each dish and served them up. All she had to do was put the puff pastry into the oven (for about 20 minutes) and fry the coconut shrimp.
As I said earlier, the caramel corn looked delicious, but the cheesecake brownie is what caught my eye. I love brownies and I love cheesecake, so you can’t go wrong when you’re mixing two things that you love. They looked so soft and chewy and I bet they were bursting with flavor. The puff pastries looked delicious as well. I’ve never tasted that dish before, but they look yummy. I imagine that the mixture on the inside would be creamy and the outside would be nice and crispy. It’s like having the best of both worlds. As for the coconut shrimp, they looked good too. I’m not a huge fan of coconuts, but those shrimp looked amazing, so I wouldn’t mind giving them a try.
Conclusion: This was a great episode. I liked that it was all about finger foods, so if I ever host a party, I can just look this episode up and get some quick and easy recipes. I think I might have said this in an earlier post, but I definitely need to befriend a chef because all that yummy food for free would be a dream come true.
This is the season finale, so I’m going to miss watching these episodes every week, but it won’t be too bad because Laura still post recipes on her YouTube channel, so if you’re not familiar with it, then you need to check it out.
What did you think of the season 2 finale of Simply Larua? Let me know in the comment section.
A Little Extra: I don’t put measurements in these posts because it would make them longer than they already are, so if you want the full recipes to the dishes mentioned in this post, click here. I know this post was very long, but it was only because Laura had quite a few recipes in this episode and I wanted to mention them all. It’s the finale, so we got to go out with a BANG!