I think about what I want to eat right now, like hot Cheetos. I’ll make a hot Cheeto brittle. Or I’ll take a crazy thing and spin it into something different, like the Corn Pops and Fritos in the summer ice cream sandwich at Hola Arepa. Right now we’re topping a corn cake with pecan pie, ice cream, toasted coconut, and chicharron.
My husband is from Michigan, so every year he has to have Mackinac fudge. Of course, I couldn’t just be normal, so I put ramen noodles in it—not fancy noodles, like 39-cent trashy ramen. But everyone just went insane for this fudge.
I’m a rubber spatula girl. It’s great for everything and scraping every last little bit out of a bowl—my dad taught me to use everything, leave nothing to waste.
It’s all about playing with flavor profiles and textures. In pastry, there’s kind of a finite amount of sweet flavors: chocolate, fruit. You build with creamy, nutty things, by adding something salty.
After the first Blackbird burned down, the entire staff came back to work when they rebuilt. Our first service, they made us all Banh Mi. It was like communion. I remember that feeling every time I eat one.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Ramen Mackinac Fudge
Makes 1 8×8 or 9×9 pan
From the kitchen of Heather Kim, pastry chef at Hola Arepa
Part 1: Ramen Candy
1 c. butter
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. corn syrup
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 packages ramen noodles, crumbled
Heat oven to 250 degrees.
Spread crumbled ramen noodles on edged cookie sheet lined with silicone or parchment paper.
Bring butter, sugars, and syrup to full boil. Remove from heat; immediately stir in extracts and baking soda.
Pour over ramen, mixing thoroughly, spread mixture evenly on sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
Remove from oven; immediately sprinkle salt, then cool and break brittle into small pieces.
Part 2: Ramen Fudge
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
2 c. dark chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 c. ramen candy + the rest of the ramen candy, divided (recipe above)
Line bottom and sides of a square baking dish with foil.
In medium saucepan, melt dark chocolate in milk until thick and glossy. Mix in butterscotch, salt, and extracts. Butterscotch will be melty, streaky, and lovely.
Mix 1 c. ramen candy into fudge. Pour fudge into prepared dish.
Top with remaining ramen candy. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until firm.