Wednesday, February 13, 2013

malt ball and peanut crunch semifreddo

days go by and i find myself waiting for thoughts, the kinds of thoughts i know were once there.
it feels so many times, as of late, they don't come.

i'll force myself to try, just to try starting anywhere. dear lord, let me have an original thought.

but eventually, i'll have a night like this. i lay in bed, my back feels in shock from yet another 12+ day, and my mind refuses to shut off and dream its usual creepster scenarios.

all i hear is the rain outside and the hollow clicking of my keyboard. i must say, this is beyond pleasant.
and holy yes look, i'm putting words into space. clearly nothing special. but nonetheless, words!

i should probably talk about the semifreddo. the semifreddo with malt balls and peanut crunch.
i made this with a purpose. it was meant to be eaten by some very cool important people.
the dinner ended up being cancelled leaving me with two hefty loaves of frozen cream.

things could be worse.

this isn't my first romp with semifreddo. there was this one with raspberry swirls and rainbow curls. that was a good time.

this one here is surely more addictive though, with the crunchy malt chunks and the salty peanut crunch.

top it with the simplest chocolate sauce, and IT's ON.

alright, i think it's time. i can walk away (fall asleep) from this writing onset situation content.
i should seriously go to bed.
i should seriously write a self-warning sign to not take forkfulls of semifreddo for breakfast.
bananas and cereal, bananas and cereal, bananas and cereal.

Malt Ball & Peanut Crunch Semifreddo
adapted from Baked Elements by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

*this base recipe is completely adaptable. layer it with whatever you like. if you don't want to go through the extra process of making the peanut crunch, then don't. i do love the crunchy salty element it adds, but it's still delicious without it. 

2 cups malted milk balls
peanut crunch (recipe below)
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/3 cup malted milk powder
5 large eggs, separated
2 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

line two 9 inch loaf pans with plastic wrap and allow a generous overhand on all sides. spray a paper towel with nonstick spray and wipe the plastic wrap with it. 
in a food processor pulse the malt balls until they are just coarsely chopped (or chop up by hand). don't process until it turns into powder - we want decent sized chunks. sprinkle the bottom of each loaf pan with about a quarter of the chopped malt balls and about 1/4 cup peanut butter crunch. 
in a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp of the sugar, the malted milk powder, and the egg yolks fairly vigorously until the mixture turns pale, 1-2 minutes. 
in a chilled medium bowl, vigorously whisk the cream for 1 minute. sprinkle the remaining 3 tbsp of sugar and vanilla over the top of the cream, then continue beating until soft peaks form. fold the whipped cream into the yolk mixture. set aside. 

in the bowl of a standing mixture fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with the salt just until stiff peaks form. do not whip past the stiff peak stage or the whites will become dry and unusable. 
fold one third of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk base. add half of the remaining egg whites and gently fold until almost incorporated. fold in the remaining egg whites. 
use a large spoon to fill each loaf pan halfway with the semifreddo and smooth surface with the back of the spoon. place in the freezer for 10 minutes. 
remove the loaf pans from the freezer and sprinkle the remaining chopped malted milk balls over the semifreddo in each pan, and another 1/4 cup peanut butter crunch. then cover with the remaining semifreddo. smooth out top. cover tighytly with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 6 hours. 

to serve, invert onto a platter and remove the plastic wrap. to slice, use a knife dipped in hot water then dried, and slice into 1 inch slices. drizzle with chocolate syrup. 

Peanut Crunch

1/3 recipe peanut brittle (method to follow)
3/4 cup skippy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups feuilletine
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt

combine the peanut butter, brittle, feuilletine, confectioners' sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on medium low speed for 1 minute, until homogenous. the crunch can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. 

Peanut Brittle
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanuts

line a quarter sheet pan with a silpat (parchment won't work here)
mak a dry caramel: heat sugar in a  small heavy bottomed saucepan over medium high heat. ass soon as the sugar starts to melt, use a heatproof spatula to move it constantly around the pan - you want it all to melt and caramelize evenly. cook and stir, cook and stir, until the caramel is a deep dark amber, 3-5 minutes. 

once the caramel has reached the target color, remove the pan from the heat, and with the heatproof spatula, stir in the nuts. make sure they are coated in caramel, then dump onto the prepared sheet pan. spread out as thin and evenly as possible. the caramel will set quickly. let cool completely. 
in a zip lock, break up the pieces as small as possible with a rolling pin or simply grind it down in the food processor to the size of short grain rice. store in an airtight container. 


  1. dont say that- no signs allowed! dessert for breakfast is the best kind of breakfast

    favorite memories from childhood = birthday cake for breakfast.

    1. you are so completely right. who do i think i am?