Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gum Drop Popcorn

This is a recipe shared with my by my sister in law Stacey. It is heavenly and I usually want to eat ALL of it myself.

4 quarts of popcorn
2 cups whole nuts (optional)
3 cups colored miniature marshmallows
1 cup butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 1/2 cups gum drops (or Dots candy)
1 tsp vanilla

Put popcorn into a big bowl. Add nuts, marshmallows, add gum drops/Dots on top of popcorn. DON'T MIX. Melt butter in heavy sauce pan, add sugar and corn syrup-bring to a running boil. Stirring, let simmer for 3 minutes. Take off and add vanilla. Blend well. Pour over popcorn mixture and mix well.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Kitchen Cafe's Lemon Berry Trifle

I have always loved the look of Trifle. I have never tasted it, and to be honest felt it was way above me when it came to actually making it. Well, the other day I was checking out My Kitchen Cafe, which I LOVE and think she is a cook I would aspire to be like and came across this recipe for Trifle. I actually had ALL of the stuff to make it which is a rarity and thought it would be perfect for our End of the School Year BBQ...so I tried it. I made it all from scratch, I did, the pound cake, the lemon curd. I can't tell you how much I wanted to bronze the thing instead of eat it, but eat it we did. A lot of it. It was so good! I always have worried about trifle being too soggy for me, but it wasn't at all. This is a recipe totally worth the work.

As an after thought though, there is no shame in buying pound cake and lemon curd. I don't know if I could go to store bought now that I have tried it from scratch (again, it was divine) but another idea is to make the pound cake, lemon curd and berry syrup before and then just whip the cream and assemble it when you need it. Okay so here is the recipe.

Disclaimer-This recipe is copied 100% from My Kitchen Cafe except the photos, they are mine (like you thought otherwise...still working on that aspect of the blog.)

*Note: the trifle should be assembled about 5-8 hours before serving so all the flavors can blend together. All of the components can be made from 1-3 days ahead. Look through the recipe for more specific details.

*Serves 8-10

Berries (can be cooked up to a day in advance and refrigerated):
4 cups berries (a combination of blueberries, strawberries and raspberries), you can use fresh or frozen – if using frozen, they need to be thawed and drained
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Lemon Cream (the lemon curd can be made up to 3 days in advance):
3 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 recipe lemon curd (see below) or an 11-ounce jar lemon curd

Pound Cake (can be made a day in advance or longer, if it is frozen):
1 9-inch round or loaf lemon (or plain) pound cake, homemade (Danielle used this recipe, I wanted to try a new version and typed it up below – both are fantastic) or store-bought, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

Combine the berries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook just until the berries begin to break down, about 3-4 minutes. Take the berries off the heat and let the mixture cool. This can be done a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate the berry syrup until ready to use.

In a clean bowl, whip the cream with the powdered sugar and the vanilla until soft peaks form. Put the lemon curd into a second bowl and whisk in about 1/4 cup of the whipped cream to loosen it up a bit. Then gently fold in the rest of the cream. Cover and refrigerate if not using immediately.

To assemble the trifle, spoon a layer of the cream into a large glass or trifle bowl. Add a layer of pound cake. You may need to break the pound cake slices into smaller pieces and jigsaw them together to fit. Then drizzle on about 1/3 of the berry syrup. Don’t worry if it doesn’t completely coat the pound cake – just drizzle it across and let the berries fall where they may. Spoon a layer of lemon cream over the top, smoothing to the sides. Repeat all the layers, 2 or 3 more times, depending on the size of the bowl, finishing with a layer of lemon cream. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. It is best to make this several hours before serving and refrigerate it.

Recipe Source: the idea for the lemon berry trifle came from Danielle, a reader, who saw it on this blog. I made my own changes to the method and recipes.

Lemon Pound Cake:
adapted from Martha Stewart Living 2002 Annual Recipes

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1-2 lemons)

Preheat the oven to 324 degrees. Butter and dust with flour a 9-inch round cake pan (or I suppose a loaf pan would work, also). Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Place the butter in a large bowl and using an handheld or stand mixer, beat until soft. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Reduce the speed to low. Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat until incorporated after each addition. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes (perhaps longer for a deep loaf pan). Invert onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

Lemon Curd:
adapted from Martha Stewart Living 2002 Annual Recipes

4 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons), strained
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)

Strain the yolks and whole egg through a fine mesh strainer into a heavy medium saucepan (this took a bit of work – I pressed on the egg mixture with the back of a spoon, moving it around, until they moved through the strainer). Add the sugar and juice; whisk to combine.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the butter, one piece at a time, until fully incorporated. Stir in the lemon zest. Cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming and chill in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies-No Really They Are

I got this recipe from my friend Melissa. I have been looking for a good chocolate chip cookie recipe. This so far is my favorite!

1 stick of crisco butter bar
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs

beat all together until smooth

2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2-1 tsp. cinnamon

Add mixture slowly to the butter batter.
When mixed thoroughly add 1 bag of milk chocolate chips and 1/2 bag of butterscotch chips.

Note** Something that I found to make the difference in cookies is to cook them until the edges are barely golden and the inside isn't soggy looking. They will look not quite done but when they cool off they turn out soft and perfect!! In my oven that is 9 min. per dozen.