These caramelized sweet ripe plantains are cooked in a syrup of panela or piloncillo brown sugar, sweet wine, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and Tabasco Chipotle sauce. Caramelized plantains are a popular dish throughout Latin America. There are many different variations including platanos al caldero, platanos calados, platanos en tentacion, and dulce de platanos; but the main idea is the same: delicious ripe plantains cooked with sugar and spices. My recipe for caramelized plantains is inspired by this idea, with the small twist of adding some spicy Tabasco Chipotle sauce. It’s no secret that I love spicy hot sauce, and I have to say that Tabasco Chipotle hot sauce is one of my absolute favorites. My kids also love it and we can easily finish a whole (5 oz) bottle per week in our house. I’ve always loved the flavor combination of sweet ripe plantains with hot sauce, so the idea to incorporate the Chipotle sauce into the syrup for the caramelized plantains was a no-brainer.
The plantains should be very ripe for this recipe, with the skin completely or almost completely black. You can either cut the plantains in halves or in thick slices. I also added sweet wine, either Moscato wine or a Riesling work great, instead of the usual water, to the preparation for the caramelized ripe plantains. If you don’t want to use sweet wine you can replace it with sparkling grape juice or go back to basics and use water. I recommend using panela, also known as piloncillo, which is hard brown sugar cane. You can usually find it in most Latin grocery stores and it comes in blocks or cones. You can use regular brown sugar in case you can’t find it. I prepared the syrup separate, then browned the plantains in butter, added the spiced syrup, and let the ripe plantains finish cooking and caramelizing in the syrup.
You can also prepare this recipe using bananas, but reduce the cooking time of the bananas in the syrup by half. I served the caramelized plantains as a dessert, with homemade coconut rum ice cream, you can also serve them drizzled with some fresh cream. In Latin America, caramelized sweet plantains are also sometimes served as a snack, an appetizer, or a side dish. [read more]
This hard apple cider sangria is a great pitcher drink for the upcoming holiday celebrations and for gatherings with friends. This cider sangria is made with an assortment of fall/winter fruits, from apples to persimmons, a spiced ginger simple syrup, Calvados or apple brandy, sparkling wine, and dry apple soda. This sangria is a small tribute to Washington state, there’s been an increase in hard cider production in the state and I wanted to prepare a cocktail using local cider. Apples and pears are grown in Eastern Washington, and the pears I used for this recipe were a gift from a good friend’s family orchard in the Entiat Valley.
I also recently discovered fruity dry sodas, which are sparkling soda like drinks made with few ingredients (including less sugar and using pure cane sugar), and it just happens that the company DRY Soda Co is a local Seattle company (no compensation has been provided to mention/use their product, I just really love it). They have an apple dry soda, which is perfect to top off this sparkling hard apple cider sangria. If you can’t find the apple dry soda, you can use sparkling apple juice or simply sparkling water if the sangria is sweet enough. [read more]