Thursday, September 22, 2011

Amazing Caramelized Onion and Bacon Dip

Caramelized Onion and Bacon Dip - ButterYum
Wow, this is an amazing homemade onion dip. Mmm, mmm, mmm.  This recipe by Lucinda Scala Quinn is a winner!  Bacon, bacon fat, 3 pounds of onions that are slowly caramelized... no wonder it's so good!  Aside from the time it takes to caramelize the onions, which you could easily do ahead of time, the recipe is a snap to put together.  It makes a ton - great if you're feeding a crowd over to watch the big game, but I'd suggest cutting the recipe in half for a smaller crowd.  Leftover dip makes an excellent sandwich spread.  Make this dip!!

Caramelized Onion and Bacon Dip
Printable Recipe
adapted from Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn

6 strips of bacon, chopped into bits
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 pounds yellow onions, diced
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (I used seasoned rice wine vinegar)
1 1/2 cups real mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mild flavored vegetable oil (canola works well)
3 shallots, sliced thinly into rings

In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook bacon until brown and crispy; remove from pan and reserve; saving the rendered fat.  Add the olive oil to the rendered bacon fat, add onions and salt.  Reduce heat to low and slowly caramelize onions, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown (this can take up to an hour). Remove onions from pan and allow to cool.  In the same skillet over medium heat, cook the sliced shallots in 1/4 cup mild flavored oil until they're caramelized; stirring frequently (add a little more oil if needed); reserve for garnish.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayo, sour cream, and vinegar (definitely don't skip the vinegar - it elevates the flavor of this dip from so-so to phenomenal).  Stir in the cooled onions and bacon.  Garnish and serve.  Refrigerate leftovers (great spread for sandwiches).  Enjoy!

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Scratch Gooey Butter Cake - Secret Recipe Club

    Scratch Gooey Butter Cake - ButterYum

    I'm so excited to be joining the Secret Recipe Club for the very first time this month.  What's the Secret Recipe Club?  Basically, it's a once-a-month blog hop party for food bloggers - each month, participants are assigned another member's blog where they secretly spend time perusing the assigned blog, pick a recipe, make it, write a blog post about it, and then everyone reveals their secret by publishing their posts at the same time.  

    My first assigned blog - Sweetly Serendipity by Taryn.  This is a girl after my own heart - she loves all food, but baking is her passion and she proudly proclaims, "I'm all about the sugar" :).  Oh boy, something tells me she and I would have a great time in the kitchen together!

    So, what recipe did I choose?  Let me tell you, it was not an easy task - Taryn's blog has tons of recipes dating back nearly 2 years, but I settled on her Homemade Gooey Butter Cakes.  I had heard about the infamous Gooey Butter Cake for quite some time and really wanted to try it, but every recipe I ran across called for the use of a boxed cake mix - not that there's anything wrong with that, but you guys know I prefer to bake from scratch.

    My review:  Wow, these are some seriously sweet and buttery dessert bars.  I had originally cut the 9x13 cake into 2-inch square portions, but quickly decided half that size was best.  The cake puffs up a bit in the oven, but sinks down in the middle when it cools.  If you like crunchy and sweet, the edges will be your favorite part - if you like buttery goodness, the middle is for you.  Thanks Taryn!  I really enjoyed visiting your blog, and I look forward to following your kitchen escapades.

    Scratch Gooey Butter Cakes
    makes a 9x13 pan (serves 48 if cut into 1x2-inch bars)

    Bottom layer:
    2 cups cake flour
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 large egg, room temperature
    1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
    2 tablespoons whole milk

    Top layer:
    8 ounces cream cheese, softened
    2 large eggs, beaten, room temperature
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
    16 ounce box of powdered sugar, sifted

    To make the bottom layer:
    Preheat oven to 350F and prepare a metal 9x13 cake pan by spraying it lightly with non-stick cooking spray.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and kosher salt.  Add the egg, melted butter, and milk; mix until it forms a dough.  Press the dough evenly in the bottom of the cake pan.. Set aside.

    To make the top layer:
    Beat the cream cheese until smooth, slowly add the beaten eggs, vanilla, and melted butter until mixture is smooth and creamy.  Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat again until the mixture is smooth and creamy; pour on top of bottom layer. Bake in a 350F oven for 40 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting.  Sprinkle with powdered for garnish if desired.

    Note: When pressing the bottom layer into the cake pan, dampen your fingers with water to prevent sticking.  For the neatest presentation, cut with a serrated knife, cleaning the blade often. These bars are fragile - use a spatula to transfer them from the pan to a serving platter.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    No Bake Cereal Ball Cookies

    No Bake Cereal Ball Cookies - ButterYum

    I'm always looking for ways to use up the leftover crumbs at the bottom of the shredded wheat cereal box.  These no-bake cookies are the perfect solution, and they're simple enough for anyone to make.  Just roll the dough into balls and coat with cookie crumbs.  Doesn't get much easier than that!

    These cookies are great for lunch boxes or after school snacks, making them a hit with the kids, but the inclusion of Nutella, mini chocolate chips, shredded wheat, honey, and peanut butter mean they'll please almost anyone.  The recipe is fairly flexible as well - I've listed several ingredient substitutions below.

    No-Bake Cereal Ball Cookies
    makes 60 cookies

    Cookie Dough:
    1 cup honey (or agave nectar)
    1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (or any nut butter)
    1/2 cup Nutella
    2 cups dry milk powder
    3 cups shredded wheat crumbs (or quick/instant rolled oats, or other cereal crumbs)
    2 tablespoons wheat germ (or ground flaxseed, or ground nuts)
    1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (or chopped nuts)

    finely ground cookie crumbs (graham cracker crumbs, or ground nuts, or cereal crumbs)

    Mix all the ingredients except the cookie crumbs together in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment.  The dough will be crumbly, but will become moldable as you work it with your hands.  Squeeze the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls; then roll in cookie crumbs.  Serve at room temperature or freeze in resealable snack bags for longer storage.

    Another recipe for shredded wheat crumbs:
    Light and Crispy Shredded Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies