Yesterday I decided to make a couple of new snack and dessert items that I had downloaded recipes for a while back. Sean had picked out the first one as something he wanted to try, which is Butter Toffee Popcorn. he helped me make it and there is not much too this recipe as far as ingredients or effort, but the final result is a great snack. I got the recipe from Cook’s Country, one of my favorite sources for recipes.
Butter Toffee Popcorn
3 quarts popped popcorn
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups salted peanuts
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 250 degrees. Grease a large roasting pan and place the popcorn in the pan.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the vanilla and the baking soda (the mixture will foam a little). Add the peanuts and pour the mixture over the popcorn, tossing well to coat.
Bake, stirring occasionally, until the popcorn is a deep golden brown and the caramel has set, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cool to room temperature and serve. The popcorn can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days.
This is certainly the easy way to make your own version of Cracker Jacks and save you some cash. You want to be sure to just use plain popcorn, not popcorn that is already seasoned with anything so you don’t get any additional flavors that might affect the caramel (unless that is what you want of course). Also, I used a disposable aluminum roasting pan when I did this to save myself the aggravation of having to try to wash a roasting pan with baked caramel stuck to it. Overall, it’s a pretty tasty snack that is very easy to make. I love toffee myself, so this worked out very well for all of us.
The second recipe I tried was one from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa of the Food Network. It is for a simple Lemon Yogurt Cake that makes for a great item for a brunch, to bring to a party or housewarming, or just to have in the morning with coffee or for dessert.
Lemon Yogurt Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into 1 bowl. in another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup of sugar, the eggs, lemon zest and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure that it all gets well incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Meanwhile, cook the 1.3 cup of lemon juice and the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place the cake on a cooling rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and the lemon juice and pour over the cake before serving.
I did opt to omit the second glaze even though I am sure it looks great and tastes great too. I just thought it was too much sugar overkill for the cake and I liked the way it looked with just the first lemon-sugar mixture on it. It has just the right amount of sweetness and lemon flavor. It’s a great cake to make without needing a lot of time or ingredients if you want something at the last minute.
That’s all I have for today. Check back again to see what other recipes come along. I still have a number of recipes I have tried recently to put up, including a roast chicken and vegetables recipe from Marc Murphy, a grilled sausages recipe from Bobby Flay and a pulled pork sliders recipe from Williams-Sonoma, among many others. Check back and see what comes along. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!