Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Perfect Caramel Corn

Today I am going to share a recipe with you that is so effortless and wonderful that it would just be cruel not to share it with you.  I'm talking about a caramel corn recipe that doesn't even involve you turning on your oven OR stove.  A gourmet tasting recipe that is completely made in the microwave?  I'll take it!

That little hand couldn't resist sneaking in the picture to grab a sweet treat!
This recipe comes from a family friend who is as effortlessly perfect as this recipe.  This caramel corn is crunchy and tasty in all the right ways.  Whenever I have made caramel corn before it ends up being sticky and forming huge clumps that are impossible to break apart.  Not this one, this one has every piece of popcorn coated in a perfect, crunchy shell of caramel.  It's perfect for gifts or just munching on by the handful.  

Ready to get started?

Perfect Caramel Corn

3 quarts popped popcorn
1 cup light brown sugar, packed lightly
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Dump the popcorn in a large paper grocery bag.  

Combine the sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt in a large microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 3-4 minutes or until the mixture has been bubbling rapidly for at least 2 minutes.  Remove from microwave and rapidly stir in the baking soda.  

Pour the caramel into the popcorn in 2-3 batches, shaking and stirring the popcorn between each.  After all the caramel is in the popcorn and the popcorn is well coated, fold the bag down.  Microwave for 1.5 minutes.  Remove from microwave with pot holders and open bag. Stir well.  Return to the microwave for another 1.5 minutes.  Remove with pot holders, stir again.  Pour contents of the bag onto cookie sheets and spread out to cool.  After the popcorn is cooled, break it up in small pieces and place in a air tight container for storage.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

chocolate buttercream

I guess I could start out by telling you how many chocolate cupcakes I have eaten in the past month, but that would be too embarrassing.  So instead I will describe how incredibly good they are.  These chocolate cupcakes are moist, fudgy and have that "let me inhale 5 in a row without blinking" quality.  Oops, did I just say 5 in a row?  Let's pretend I didn't for the moment, but when you go make them we can have secret conversations about how many we have eaten because we just can't be stopped.  Sound good?
chocolate frosting

These cupcakes, which really are the best ever, are topped with a perfect chocolate buttercream.  You take a run of the mill chocolate buttercream and whip it for 5 minutes–magical things happen.  So here we are, combining the best cupcakes ever with magical chocolate buttercream.  I'm guessing you're already heading to the kitchen to whip up a batch.
chocolate frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Chocolate Frosting
 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

To make cupcakes:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stir to combine.  Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium for 2 minutes.  The mixture will be very thick.  Add in boiling water and beat on low, being very careful not to splatter yourself with hot water, until combined.

Pour the mixture into cupcake liners until they are half full, DO NOT OVERFILL.  The recipe typically makes 27-30 so you may need to work in batches.  Bake for 8-12 minutes until the middle of the cupcakes are set, not squishy but still a little soft.  Do not over bake.  Remove from pan and cool.

To make frosting:
Combine butter and cocoa in mixer and beat for 20 seconds.  Add in the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and mix on low until combined.  You may need a little more powdered sugar if the mixture seems to thin, at this point it should be fairly thick.  Beat for an additional 5 minutes on medium-high.  Frost cooled cupcakes using a bag and decorating tip or by spreading icing on cupcakes.

Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake
Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Frosting

Friday, October 3, 2014

Hot Chocolate

hot cocoa

This past Saturday I got the wee one to fall back asleep around the same time that Lily woke up.  Instead of having her zonk out in front of a show I conquered my desire to sleep in and went downstairs with her to have a little mommy/daughter breakfast time.  One thing led to another (an intense chocolate craving may have been involved) and we ended up whipping up a batch of homemade hot chocolate to go with our pancakes.  I was so glad we did.

Oh man, this stuff is delightful.  Rich, thick, creamy– all those things you crave in hot chocolate but rarely get.  Since Saturday I have made 3 batches.  That's how good this is.

Treat yourself to this hot chocolate this weekend.  Pile it high with whipped cream and curl up and enjoy it!

Hot Chocolate

2 tsp cocoa powder
4 tsp sugar
1 cup milk
1 tsp corn starch
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Whipped cream- optional

In a small saucepan, combine the cocoa, sugar and 1/4 cup milk.  Heat over medium-high heat, whisking frequently until the mixture is bubbly.  Meanwhile, combine the remaining milk and cornstarch and stir well.  When the chocolate mixture is bubbly, add the remaining milk mixture and salt.  Continue to heat, whisking, until the mixture is boiling and thick.  Remove from heat and let sit to cool for about 5 minutes before pouring in a mug and topping with whipped cream.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Shrimp Scampi with Linguini + I Had A Baby!

Hello there!  Remember me?  I've been gone for awhile, you know baking and delivering a baby and then surviving the first three months with two kids.  I finally feel like I am getting the hang of things on the home front and so here I am, back to blog world with a delicious recipe but more importantly to introduce to you our perfectly sweet little girl.

Meet Rose Marie!  We call her Rosie.
Born June 3rd 7lbs 8oz

This is Rosie when she was a few days old.

This is Rosie now.  We're kinda in love with her.

Well now that I have caught you up on the latest member of our family– lets dig into the new recipe.

Whenever we go to a restaurant the first thing I do is look to see if they have shrimp scampi with linguini, not because I will order it, but because Wor will.  He's adorable and when it comes to food– rather predictable.


This past Valentine's Day, when I was miserably pregnant, we decided to stay in and Wor volunteered to cook dinner for us.  What did he make?  You guessed it, shrimp scampi with linguini.  It was fantastic and it has been making frequent appearances at our house ever since.  He actually asked me to stop making it when people come over for dinner because it means he doesn't get leftovers.  


This recipe is very simple and comes together super quick.  We tend to like a ton of garlic and so if you are insane aren't quite as garlic crazy as we are, I would suggest cutting that amount in half.  

Shrimp Scampi with Linguini

Serves 4

1 tablespoon kosher salt plus 2 teaspoons
1 lb linguini
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 lemon, zested
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, thinly sliced in quarter rounds
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, optional

Boil a large pot of water and add 1 tablespoon salt and the linguine, cook according to package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, in a large dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil together.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute, do not burn the garlic.  Add the shrimp, remaining salt and pepper.  Saute until the shrimp are just turning pink.  Add in the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices and the red pepper flakes if using and cook for one more minute.  

Once the pasta is al dente, drain the pasta in a large colander and dump the pasta into the dutch oven.  Toss the pasta with the shrimp and sauce until well coated and combined.  Serve.

Adapted slightly from Ina Garten