Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Red Candy Apples

Red Candy Apples - ButterYum

Since most of the children in our neighborhood have grown too old to trick-or-treat we haven't handed any candy out for the past 4 or 5 years, but the Hubs always reminds me to buy a bag of his favorite peanut butter cups, "just in case".  So while I was out getting said peanut butter cups, he called to tell me 3 trick-or-treaters had just knocked on our door.  Not knowing where I stash the emergency treats, he explained the situation to the parents and told them the only thing he had to offer were homemade candy apples.  They happily accepted - crisis averted.

Anyway, this recipe tastes exactly like the candy apples I ate at street fairs when I was a child.  They're pretty easy to make, but you definitely need a candy thermometer to ensure the sugar reaches the proper temperature.  Items that are helpful, but not completely necessary are:  a silicone sheet pan liner or parchment, and a 1-quart copper sugar pan (or similarly sized heavy-bottom sauce pan).

Red Candy Apples
Printable Recipe
makes 8-10 apples
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

8-10 apples, washed and stems removed
8-10 popsicle sticks
1/2 cup red hot candies (aka cinnamon imperials)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
15 drops red gel paste food coloring

Prepare apples by washing, drying, and removing their stems.  Push popsicle sticks about an inch into the stem end of the apples.

Over medium-high heat, combine red hots, corn syrup, water, sugar, and food coloring in copper sugar pan. (or similar heavy-bottom sauce pan)  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar and red hots dissolve.  Stop stirring, place candy thermometer in the pan, and continue to cook until the temperature reaches 302F (150C).  Turn off heat and remove candy thermometer from the pan; allow syrup to stop bubbling, about 2 minutes.  Tilt the pan so the hot syrup pools to one side and carefully dip the apples, one at a time, turning to coat completely.  Allow excess sugar syrup to drip back into the pan before placing the coated apples on a Silpat liner or parchment paper to harden (about 5 minutes).  Cool completely before serving.  Best eaten within 24 hours.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Skinny Cream of Broccoli Soup

Skinny Cream of Broccoli Soup - ButterYum

This soup is so creamy and flavorful, you'll have a hard time convincing anyone it's "skinny". 

Skinny Cream of Broccoli Soup
Printable Recipe
Serves 4
recipe adapted from Simple Success

1 tablespoon olive oil
10 cups small broccoli florets (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (try my homemade recipe)
2 cups skim milk
salt and pepper to taste

shredded cheddar
oven roasted broccoli spears

In a 6-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute broccoli and onions in olive oil for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until they begin to soften and caramelize. Add garlic and saute for about 3 minutes more; stirring constantly. Add flour and stir until vegetables are coated. Add chicken stock and milk and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before pureeing.  Garnish and serve.

Nutritional Stats Per Serving
(1 cup of soup plus 1 slice of 100 calorie whole grain bread)

260 calories
8g fat
3g saturated fat
15g protein
38g carbohydrates
11g fiber
10g sugar
430mg sodium

Friday, October 5, 2012

Make Your Own Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pumpkin Pie Spice - ButterYum

Need pumpkin pie spice for your Autumn recipes?  No need to run out and buy some - make your own.

Pumpkin Pie Spice
adapted from
makes about 1/4 cup
Printable Recipe

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice

Mix together and use as needed.  Store in an airtight container.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Blueberry Kuchen

Blueberry Kuchen - ButterYum
My dearest friend is wonderful in the kitchen, so when she sent me this recipe and insisted I make it, I knew it would be fabulous.  It's comprised of 3 layers, a lemon and nutmeg scented cake base, a luscious blueberry middle, and a sweet crumb topping.  Delish, and it takes less than an hour to make. 

Blueberry Kuchen
makes one 9x13 pan
adapted from Taste of Home

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (yellow parts only, no white)
1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (I used frozen)

For the topping:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a 9x13-inch pan with non-stick baking spray.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the dry ingredient; mix just until combined.  Add milk, butter, egg, and vanilla; beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes.  Pour into prepared pan.  Spread blueberries on top of cake batter.  

To make the topping:
In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients together with a fork until crumbles form..  Sprinkle crumbles evenly over blueberries.  Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Miette's Homemade Graham Crackers

Miette's Homemade Graham Crackers - ButterYum
How do homemade graham crackers sound?  Irresistible if you ask me.  That's why I ran straight to the kitchen to make them when I came across the recipe in the Miette Cookbook.  I had a lot of fun making them.  Flavor-wise they're scrumptious, although the original recipe called for honey which I found to be a bit over powering so I substituted my favorite ingredient, Golden Syrup, which adds a beautiful caramel flavor.  The dough can be made up to 2 days ahead and the baked cookies can be stored for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container..

Roll cookie dough between 2 sheets of wax paper.  I find a ball-bearing rolling pin does the job best.  To ensure all the cookies turn out the same thickness and bake in the same amount of time, use 1/8-inch wooden dowels as a guide when rolling the dough.

 Cut your cookies with your favorite cookie cutters.  I love my set of scalloped cutters and my Williams-Sonoma Message Cookie Cutters.

 The message cutters are so fun to play with.

Transfer wax paper to a sheet pan and chill until dough is very firm.

 When dough is firmly chilled, slide an offset spatula between the cookie dough and wax paper.

 Transfer cookies to a parchment or silicone lined sheet pan.


After making several batches, I discovered I could speed the process along a bit faster if I chilled the cutouts in the freezer for about 5 minutes.

Partially freezing the dough firms it enough to peel the wax paper away easily.

And the partially frozen cutouts are easier to transfer to a prepared sheet pan for baking.

Keep cutouts chilled until it's time to bake them.  Before they go in the oven, sprinkle them with granulated sugar.

 If cutting round shapes, use a skewer or toothpick to poke a few decorative holes - this will help the cookies bake evenly.  This step isn't necessary if you use the message cutters.

Eat 'em plain.

Or turn them into ice cream sammies.  Fun-fun!!

Homemade Graham Crackers
makes two dozen 2 1/2-inch cookies 
adapted from the cookbook Miette: Recipes from San Fransisco's Most Charming Pastry Shop
Printable Recipe

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (6 ounces)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (4 ounces)
2 tablespoons Lyle's Golden Syrup (or honey)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
1/3 cup whole wheat flour (1 1/2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
granulated sugar for sprinkling

To make the dough:
Sift dry ingredients together; set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, and golden syrup together for 5 minutes.  Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days.

To cut cookies:
Using a rolling pin, roll dough between layers of wax paper to 1/8-inch thickness.  Use 1/8-inch wooden dowels as a guide.  Cut shapes from rolled dough and chill well before transferring to a sheet pan.  I used these scalloped round cutters and these Williams-Sonoma Message Cookie Cutters

To bake cookies:
Preheat oven to 350F.  Place chilled cookie cutouts on a cool parchment or silpat lined sheet pan and sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 10-13 minutes.  Cool completely.  Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

My Notes - Measuring ingredients like flour and sugar by weight is much more accurate than measuring them by volume so weigh ingredients with a digital scale.for the best results.

Oven Roasted Broccoli

Oven Roasted Broccoli - ButterYum

I love to roast vegetables and this broccoli is a family favorite.  The teens absolutely devour it - I can even get away with putting a platter full on the table for them to nibble on while doing their homework.  How's that for a healthy after school snack?  Frozen broccoli won't work here so be sure to get fresh.  I can buy 3-pound bags of fresh pre-cut florets at Costco for $5; enough to fill 4 sheet pans.

Cut the florets in half and place them cut side down on a sheet pan that has been spritzed with olive oil (I roast veggies so often that I have a dedicated roasting pan).  Spritz the top of the florets with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Pop the pan into a preheated 425F oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the broccoli starts to caramelize.

Mmmmmm.  Look at all that toasty goodness.

 Pile them up on a platter and watch them disappear.

Oven Roasted Broccoli
serves 4-6
Printable Recipe

1 head fresh broccoli florets, cut in half
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
olive or canola oil spray
optional - grated Parmesan and crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 425F and place a rack in the center position.  Spray surface of sheet pan with olive or canola oil spray.  Arrange broccoli halves evenly on sheet pan, cut side down.  Spritz the broccoli with a little more oil.  Sprinkle the salt and pepper evenly over the broccoli.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges start to brown and caramelize.  If desired, sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan and/or crushed red pepper flakes.  Enjoy hot or cold.