Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lemon Poppy Seed Overload Cake

Lemon Poppy Seed Overload Cake - ButterYum
I had 8 egg yolks left over from a recent baking project so I searched the internet for a recipe to use them and I came up with this rather unusual lemon poppy seed cake.  The recipe is adapted from 3-star Michelin Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner.  The high ratio of poppy seeds lends a pleasantly nutty flavor and somewhat crunchy pop in every bite which leaves you wanting more and more.  On the flip side, the original recipe called for only enough lemon zest to lightly perfume the cake so I bumped up the lemon flavor with the addition of pure lemon oil.  All in all, the cake is dense yet light, dry yet rich, crunchy yet tender, not too sweet yet satisfying.  Quirky, unique, and quite definitely, utterly spectacular.

Don't be alarmed when you read the list of ingredients - they are correct.  Be sure to cover the cake pan with foil as directed, and don't over bake the cake - remove it from the oven as soon as a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.   If you like your cakes a little sweeter, feel free to add the optional glaze I've included below. One word of caution - the cake wants to stick to the pan badly and I have found Baker's Joy works perfectly, allowing the cake to release cleanly from the pan.

beat egg, yolks, and sugar together until light and fluffy

the mixture will look like this after 8 minutes

now the flour and cornstarch are sifted into the bowl

fold them in by hand

using a spatula, go down through the middle

carefully sweep up the side of the bowl and over

repeat, turning the bowl 1/4 turn each time, until all the flour is incorporated

 now fold in the lemon oil, melted butter, and lemon zest

lastly, sprinkle the poppy seeds over the batter, being careful not to deflate the batter

put the bowl back on the stand mixer and let the whip distribute the seeds

look at all those seeds!  They must be called poppy seeds because they pop in your mouth :)

now we use this magic stuff to coat the cake pan

spray every nook - we don't want any cake disasters

don't be alarmed that the batter doesn't fill the pan... this is a short cake

cover the cake pan well with nonstick foil or buttered foil

the cake is done when a toothpick comes out clean and the cake starts to shrink away from the edges of the pan (note the cake doesn't rise much in the oven)

wait 15 minutes before turning the cake out of the pan

the finished cake is pretty small - only 7 inches wide and 2 inches tall
small in size, but big in flavor

Mmmm.  Snack time!

Lemon Poppy Seed Overload Cake
Printable Recipe
makes one short 7 to 8-inch diameter cake (baked in a tube or bundt pan)

2/3 cup sugar
8 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoon lemon zest (2-3 lemons)
2 teaspoon pure lemon oil
1/2 cup poppy seeds

optional lemon glaze:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

optional garnish:
confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 325F.  Prepare an 8-inch tube or bundt pan with Baker's Joy or other flour/oil baking spray (I used this silicone cake pan).  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg yolks, whole egg, and sugar at medium high speed for about 8 minutes until the mixture is pale yellow and very fluffy.  Remove the bowl and whisk attachment from the mixer (you'll need the whisk attachment again in a few minutes).  Gently sift the flour and cornstarch over the egg mixture and use a rubber spatula to gently fold them in.  Fold in the melted butter, pure lemon oil, and poppy seeds too.  Return the bowl to the stand mixer and incorporate the poppy seeds.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Cover pan tightly with non-stick foil (or buttered foil).  Bake for 40-45 minutes.  Remove foil from pan and cool for 15 minutes before unmolding.  Make glaze by heating the sugar and lemon juice together until the sugar dissolves (without allowing the mixture to boil); brush over top and sides of unmolded cake.  Cool completely on a cooling rack.  If desired, sprinkle with confectioners sugar after glaze dries.  Wrap leftovers well in plastic wrap and serve within 3 days.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hearty Italian Wedding Soup

Hearty Italian Wedding Soup - ButterYum

Brrrr - it's getting cold around here.  I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving, finished up all the leftovers, and is ready to start cooking again.  The outside temperature has plummeted and there are few meals better at fighting off a chill than a big bowl of heart-warming soup.  One of our family's favorite is Italian Wedding Soup.  I start by making homemade chicken stock, then I add lots of delicious goodies like incredibly flavorful bite-size turkey meatballs, sauteed vegetables, fresh spinach, and teeny tiny little pasta shapes.  Mmmm - it's so good.

This recipe requires a lot of prep, but it's worth it.  I like to make it on the weekend when I have time to chop veggies and roll mini meatballs to the likes of Beethoven or Bach.

Rather than add the precooked pasta directly to the soup pot, add it to the individual soup bowls just before serving so it doesn't overcook and get mushy.  Also, If you love this soup as much as I think you will, do yourself a favor and make a double batch of everything so you can have a freezer meal ready to go.  Just freeze separately the chicken stock, precooked meatballs, and precooked pasta drizzled with olive oil.  When you need a quick meal, just heat everything up and add sauteed carrots, celery, and chopped fresh spinach.

ButterYum's Hearty Italian Wedding Soup
serves 10

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely minced onions
1 clove finely minced garlic
pinch of salt
1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey
3 tablespoons Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 eggs, beaten

8 cups homemade chicken stock
4 carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
5 ounces fresh spinach, tough stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
1/2 pound acini di pepe pasta, cooked (or other teeny pasta shape like stars, orzo, etc)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Garnish - sliced scallions, chopped parsley, grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

For the pasta:
Cook pasta in salted water until al dente (a few minutes shy of package directions).  Drain pasta and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.  Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and stir to coat; set aside until needed.

For the meatballs:
Oven medium-high heat, saute the onions and a pinch of salt in olive oil until golden brown; stirring frequently.  Add minced garlic and stir constantly until very fragrant, about 30-60 seconds.  Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit before adding to the remaining meatball ingredients; mix well.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Form meat mixture into 80 1-inch meatballs (I use this #100 scoop) and place on greased or lined sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes; remove from oven and cool (no tasting at this point - they're not quick cooked through yet).

To make the soup base:
Bring chicken stock to a gentle boil and add carrots, celery, and partially baked meatballs; cook for 10-15 minutes until carrots soften.  Add chopped spinach and cook an additional 5 minutes.

To serve:
Keep pasta and soup separate until serving so the pasta doesn't get mushy.  Place about 1/4 cup cooked pasta in a bowl and top with a hearty ladle or two of soup (8 meatballs per serving).  Garnish with sliced scallions, chopped parsley, and/or grated Parmesan or Romano cheese if desired.

Note - make a double batch and freeze some for a meal later.  Simply freeze separately the chicken stock, precooked meatballs, and precooked pasta drizzled with olive oil.  When you need a quick meal, just heat everything up, add sauteed carrots and celery, and chopped fresh spinach.  Sometimes I replace the pasta with cooked wheat berries or quinoa.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Homemade Digestive Biscuits

Homemade Digestive Biscuits - ButterYum

Digestive Biscuits - for those of use who didn't grow up with these thick sandy-textured graham-like crackers, they don't sound very appetizing, but don't be fooled by their unusual name.  There's a reason why these cookies are beloved in the UK.  If you've been searching for the perfect copycat recipe, this one is spot on.

Homemade Digestive Biscuits 
makes 24 cookies
recipe adapted from Serena Wever
Printable Recipe

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat bran (see substitutions below)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
5 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons half and half
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flours, wheat bran, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt until combined.  Add butter, shortening, and brown sugar; pulse until combined.  Add half and half and vanilla; pulse until combined.  Press dough into a ball and wrap well with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

To bake, preheat oven to 350F.  Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness between two sheets of wax paper (use 1/8-inch dowels as a guide).  Cut cookies using a 2 1/2-inch cutter.  Prick the cookie cutouts evenly with a fork or skewer.  Slide the wax paper onto a sheet pan and chill for a few minutes before transferring cutouts to a silicone or parchment lined sheet pan.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool completely on a cooling rack.  Store in an airtight container.

Note:  ground bran cereal, wheat germ, oat bran, ground flax seeds, or any combination thereof, can be used as a substitution for the wheat bran.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cake Truffles

Cake Truffles - ButterYum

After a recent baking project, I found myself with a few leftovers - a naked layer of chocolate cake, a few cups of really good quality buttercream, and a cup of cereal crumbs.  Rather than throw these items away, I made a fun snack out of them - Cake Truffles!

Here's what I did:  I crumbled the cake layer, put it in my stand mixer, and mixed the crumbs with enough buttercream to make a chocolate truffle-like dough.  Then I used my #100 scoop to portion out bite-size amounts, chilled them until firm, and gently rolled them between the palms of my hands before coating them with the leftover cereal crumbs.  Toasted coconut, sprinkles, or chopped nuts would have been great too.  Don't you love it when you can make something so fun and delicious out of leftovers?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes from Cooking Light

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes - ButterYum

I'm trying to incorporate more whole grains into our diet - so when I saw this recipe for whole wheat buttermilk pancakes on Taking On Magazines one recipe at a time I had to try it (btw, Christiane is a scream - you have to visit her blog if you haven't already).  The recipe is from Cooking Light so I had a feeling it would be awesome - and it was!  These pancakes are light, flavorful, easy to make, and they're healthy - quite possibly the best pancakes I've ever eaten.

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes
Printable Recipe
makes 6 servings
adapted from Cooking Light's The New Way To Cook Light

3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk (homemade buttermilk directions below)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large egg
1 large egg white
non-stick cooking spray

In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk, canola oil, and eggs; set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients (except the non-stick cooking spray); add the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth.  Preheat a griddle and spray with non-stick cooking spray over medium heat.  Ladle about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake onto the griddle.  When edges are set and tiny bubbles start to appear, flip and cook on second side until done.

Homemade Buttermilk:
For each cup of buttermilk needed, combine 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to enough milk to equal one level cup.  Stir and rest for 5-10 minutes until the milk begins to curdle and thicken slightly.  Use right away.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fall Themed Cake Challenge

Maple Leaf Chocolate Cake - ButterYum

Hi Everyone.  A couple weeks ago I was asked if I was interested in participating in a 2012 Fall Themed Cake Challenge, where a group of food bloggers would join together and post some nifty seasonal sweet treats.  How could I say no?  My entry is a fairly simple solution for those who want to make an autumnal cake, but aren't comfortable doing elaborate cake decorating techniques.  I've used a maple leaf template here, but other templates would work for other occasions.  A snowflake would be perfect for a winter buffet.  Recipes for the cake are at the bottom of this post.  Also, there's a list of the participating bloggers listed below - I hope you check them out.

Chocolate Domingo Cake with Decorative Stencil
Printable Recipe
serves 10-12
recipe adapted from The Cake Bible

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (42g) Dutch processed cocoa powder
2/3 (160g) cup sour cream
2 large (100g) eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (156g) sifted cake flour
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon (4g) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (1.5g) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (3.5g) salt
14 tablespoons (200g) unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350F and line a a 9-inch springform pan with a 9-inch round of parchment paper on the bottom, then spray the parchment paper and sides of the pan with a flour/oil baking spray (hold the parchment paper in place with a dab of butter or shortening).  In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the remaining dry ingredients.  Add the butter and cocoa mixture; mix on low for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium and continue mixing for about 2 minutes.  Spread the batter into a smooth layer in the prepared pan.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center of the cake clean (one or two crumbs are okay).  Cool cake completely.

To decorate as shown:
Lay a template in the center of the completely cool cake.  Sprinkle an even layer of powdered sugar over the entire surface of the cake and carefully removed the template.  Pipe a buttercream border around the edges and sprinkle with shaved chocolate.

Chocolate Egg White Buttercream
Printable Recipe
makes about 2 cups (double to frost an entire 9-inch cake)
adapted from The Cake Bible

5 ounces (142g) bittersweet chocolate
1 cup (227g) unsalted butter, softened
2 large (60g) egg whites
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar

Gently melt chocolate in microwave on high, stirring every 10-15 seconds until almost completely melted.  Rely on the residual heat to finish melting the chocolate as you continue to stir; set aside to cool.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form; slowly add sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.  Gradually add the room temperature butter, a tablespoon at a time, until it's fully incorporated.  Add the cooled melted chocolate and whip until fully combined.  Note:  use pasteurized egg whites if you have any concerns about using fresh egg whites.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Harvest Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Harvest Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies - ButterYum

I was inspired to try this recipe after a friend raved about the Archer Farms Harvest Cookies that are sold at Target.  I did a quick google search and found this copycat recipe on Modern Day Moms.  I confess I've never tasted the Archer Farms version, but wow, this copycat version is fabulous.

Harvest Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
Printable Recipe
makes 36 cookies
adapted from Modern Day Moms

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 3/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries (I used Craisins)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 3 sheet pans with silicone liner or parchment paper.  In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla; mix until combined.  Add flour mixture; mix to combine.  Stir in oats and dried cranberries.  Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared sheet pans and bake for 10-12 minutes.  Allow cookies to rest for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Note:  I use a #50 cookie scoop to portion the dough, which helps all the cookies turn out the exact same size.  To prevent the cookies from spreading too much in the oven, chill the cookie dough before baking and be sure to bake on cool sheet pans.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Oven Baked Tilapia with Butter, Lemon, and Chervil

Oven Baked Tilapia with Butter, Lemon, and Chervil - ButterYum
This is a really easy way to prepare tilapia.  The recipe calls for dried chervil (or parsley), making it a great dinner option when you don't have fresh herbs in the house.  And it's fast too - from start to finish, you can have this dish on the table in about 30 minutes.  It's a must try.

Oven Baked Tilapia with Butter, Lemon, and Chervil
Printable Recipe
serves 4

8 tilapia fillets (fresh or thawed)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon dried chervil (see note below)

Preheat oven to 375F.  Spray a 9x13-inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Place fish fillets in a single layer, overlapping slightly.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Melt butter and stir in lemon juice; pour over fillets.  Bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the of the fillet reaches 140F.  Remove casserole dish from oven and sprinkle fillets with dried chervil; rest 5 minutes before serving.

Note:  Chervil, which is related to parsley, has a delicate flavor and is used extensively in French cuisine.  Parsley may be substituted.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Sticks

Chocolate Chip Cookie Sticks - ButterYum
So there I was, around 9pm the other night, when out of nowhere my daughter tells me she needed to bring cookies to school in the morning.  *Sigh*  I really hate when that happens.

So I started brainstorming my memory banks for a fast cookie recipe and this one came to mind.  It was perfect for this situation because you don't have to wair for butter to come to room termperature, the doughh is easily mixed by hand, and all 36 cookies bake on one sheet pan in less than 10 minutes.  Oh and they're super cool looking too.

Mix the dough and divide it into two equal portions.

Pat each portion into a 3x15-inch rectangle.

You don't have to do this, but I like to use a pastry scraper to make the edges nice and neat.

Chocolate chips are gently pressed into the cookie dough before baking.

The baked cookie rectangles are allowed to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the sheet pan.

Allow cookie rectangles to cool completely before cutting into 1-inch wide sticks.  Now grab a beverage and dunk away.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Sticks
Printable Recipe
makes 36 cookies sticks
adapted from Taste of Home

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.  In a large bowl, combine oil, both sugars, egg, and vanilla; add the dry ingredients and stir until well blended.  Divide dough in half.  On a silicone or parchment lined sheet pan, shape each half into a 3x15-inch rectangle, leaving 3 inches of space between the two rectangles.  Sprinkle each rectangle with 1/2 cup chocolate chips; gently pressing the chocolate chips into the dough.  Bake in the center of the oven for 6-7 minutes for chewy cookies (8-9 minutes for crisper cookies).  Allow to cool completely before cutting into 36 cookie sticks.  Use a serrated knife for best results.