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Tag Archives: Dessert

Best Ever Kettle Corn

Everyone who has ever eaten this kettle corn tells me that it is literally the best kettle corn they have ever had. Apparently it’s a cross between kettle corn and caramel corn, which together is somehow better than either one is on its own. I, however, cannot vouch for this because I have never even eaten one single piece of this kettle corn.

Is that horrible? Here I am telling you this is the best popcorn ever when I’ve never actually eaten it. Really, I’m just not a big enough sweet tooth to even want to try many dessert-y things. Sure, I like cookies and ice cream, but all of my favorite desserts have one commonality: chocolate. And even with chocolate in the mix I’d pick something savory over something sweet the majority of the time. So, how did I end up with best kettle corn recipe ever? Well, let me explain. . .

I love popcorn. Like, I could eat popcorn everyday. I did eat popcorn everyday until I got married and moved and forgot to bring my hot air popcorn popper with me. I tried a few microwave methods but nothing really worked. When I got my popcorn popper back I was happily eating popcorn again with only one problem: Steve apparently hates popcorn. It seemed impossible to me, but he said it was tasteless and horrible. Apparently, the only kind of popcorn he wants to eat is kettle corn. Considering my affinity for popcorn, you’d think that I would like kettle corn, but I don’t. Taco popcorn? Sriracha popcorn? Lemon Pepper & Dill popcorn? I’ve got you covered! But kettle corn . . . no way. I knew nothing about that sweet abomination of my favorite snack.

I tried to be a loving wife and make kettle corn for Steve anyway. It consisted of air popped popcorn, sprayed with olive oil and sprinkled with granulated sugar. Apparently, that’s not the real thing. But who was I to know that?

Fast forward a few months. In the middle of a batch of popcorn the motor of my hot air popper literally died. Oh, I was bummed. I tried microwave popcorn again, but I still wasn’t happy with it. Then, we decided to try stove top popcorn. I remembered making it as a child, in an old pan we’d gotten from a garage sale because my parents said the popcorn would ruin a good pan. I was nervous to ruin a pot, but Steve encouraged me. Sure enough, not only did the pot survive the popcorn making process, but the popcorn was SERIOUSLY DELICIOUS! I was hooked on stove-top popcorn, and decided to give kettle corn another try. For Steve, that is, because I surely wasn’t going to eat that disgusting sugary gross-ness. I did some research and learned about kettle corn making. Apparently it was a success, because Steve really liked it. He was bragging to all sorts of people about this kettle corn.

One day, a friend of his was over for grilled pizza, and go figure Steve was bragging about the kettle corn. I went to make some for the two of them, but my large popcorn serving bowl had just been hand washed and was sitting on the kitchen counter drying. I figured a few water droplets wouldn’t hurt anything, and prepared the popcorn in the bowl anyway. That water didn’t hurt the popcorn – it apparently made it better. I’ve since started added a bit of water to my kettle corn mix (rather than washing and half-drying a bowl each time I make kettle corn), and its still quite a success. Everyone who has eaten this has raved about it. I’m not making this up. I try to tell people it’s gross and to eat the salty popcorn instead, but everyone likes the kettle corn anyway! I don’t get it.

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As you can see, the kettle corn sticks together a bit, which apparently adds to its appeal.

That’s the end of my kettle corn story. I guess if you’re into kettle corn or sweets this might sound appealing to you, and if that’s the case I hope that you enjoy this variation very much! If not, then I suggest stove top popcorn with salt (and if you want to know how to make that let me know)!

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Best Ever Kettle Corn

 
Ingredients
  • 1/4c popcorn kernels
  • 2 Tbs canola oil (I’ve used olive oil, too)
  • 2 1/2 Tbs sugar
  • 1/2 Tbs water
  • salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan until it is very hot. You should be able to feel the heat coming up from pan and see the oil rippling (I do this with my stove on a 7 out of 10).
  2. While oil is heating, measure out the rest of your ingredients. You can combine the sugar and popcorn kernels if you want to conserve space/dishes, but keep the water separate!
  3. When the oil is hot, dump the popcorn and sugar into the pan and stir, quickly. The sugar and oil should combine to look like road slush (if you’re not familiar with snowy driving conditions then just ignore that). Cover.
  4. Now, pour in the water and cover IMMEDIATELY. The second the water hits the pan hot oil will go flying. I just lift the lid up a tiny bit, pour int he water, and shut  it right away.
  5. Now, shake the pan. You can lift it off the burner to shake or slide it back and fourth, still touching the burner. Just make sure to keep the popcorn. It may take a minute or two to start popping, or it may start popping right away (this will have to do with how fresh the popcorn is).
  6. When the popping has slowed transfer the popcorn into a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and stir.
  7. Let the kettle corn cool for a couple of minutes and then eat!
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Lemon Bars with Almond Shortbread Crust (GF)

I first saw this recipe on The Kitchn a few months ago and I had a lot of fun creating a gluten free variation. I figured lemon bars would be the perfect dessert to have around on hot, summer days. Oh, and these were! Even as the weather has cooled down a bit these chilled bars are just as appetizing. It’s difficult to eat just one! The lemon curd is tangy, but sweet, and the almond shortbread is just out of this world. In fact, I love the almond shortbread so much that I increased the crust to lemon ratio.

ImageAlthough these bars are so delicious, they do require some time, effort, and patience to prepare. There’s juicing and zesting the lemons, making the shortbread crust, baking the shortbread crust, making the lemon mixture, baking it all again, and finally the bars cool and sit in the refrigerator for a few hours. Phew – it’s even a lot to type out!

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I had planned to make these bars yesterday, knowing I wanted to post about them today. I had nothing scheduled until the evening so I figured I could take my time and enjoy the baking process. My plan was foiled when I found out that the Apple Keynote was yesterday. Now, I am a huge Apple fanatic. I came from a family of Mac users, my husband is a Mac user. I think we have enough iDevices around to have one for each room of the house. The Apple Keynote is like Christmas for all of us. Except, instead of unwrapping a present we’re excitedly waiting to find out what new, cool electronics Apple has created for us now. We all gather around our respective computers, watch the live blogging of the event, texting back and fourth the entire time. So, at 12:03pm I set out to make these lemon bars, knowing that I needed to be at the computer for the Apple Keynote at 1:00pm. Could I actually complete all that baking in under an hour?

The answer was, almost, yes. By 12:30 the crust was mixed and baking and I was mixing up the ingredients for the lemon curd. The lemon curd finished cooking, the crust came out of the oven, I poured the lemon curd over the crust and popped it back in the oven for the final baking. It was exactly 1:00pm! I asked Siri to “set my timer for 10 minutes” and watched the Keynote until the timer went off. Then it was just a matter of sneaking to the kitchen for a second to pull the pan out of the oven. The rest of the process is just letting the lemon bars set and cool, which is all inactive.

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So, yes, this is a somewhat complicated recipe and it might look daunting (if you are anything like me, that probably excites you). If you choose to invest the hour of your time and a spot in your refrigerator to these lemon bars you will not be disappointed. Its a little more work than whipping up a quick batch of chocolate chip cookies, but the result is truly decadent.

ImageLemon Bars with Almond Shortbread Crust

(makes about 18 small bars)

Recipe adapted from: The Kitchn

Ingredients:

Crust
  • 3/4c butter (1 and 1/2 sticks)
  • 3/4c powered sugar
  • 1 3/4c almond meal
  • 1c GF all purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Lemon Curd
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1c granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 5 lemons

Baking Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Zest and juice the lemons, saving both the zest and the juice.
  3. Mix the powdered sugar and the 3/4c butter listed in the crust ingredients together in a stand mixer. I used the paddle attachment on medium speed.
  4. When the butter and sugar are creamed together (looks like frosting) scrape down the bowl and add in the remaining crust ingredients and mix until combined.
  5. Line a 7 x 11 inch glass baking dish with either parchment paper or silpat. The edges might hang over, but that is fine. Press the crust firmly into the pan, spreading it evenly with your hands.
  6. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until the edges just start to brown.
  7. While the crust is in the oven, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar in a medium sized saucepan.
  8. Stir in the reserved lemon juice and lemon zest (from step 2), and the salt.
  9. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. Watch for the mixture to thicken, it will take under 10 minutes.
  10. Immediately, when the mixture thickens, remove the saucepan from the heat. Strain the mixture to remove any clumps. This takes me a few minutes, and some stirring to get the liquid to keep moving through the strainer.
  11. Return the strained lemon mixture to the burner (which will still be warm, but off at this point) and add in the butter, stirring until it melts.
  12. Pour the lemon curd over the finished crust, spreading it out if needed.
  13. Place the baking dish back in the oven for another 10 – 15 minutes; however long it takes for the edges of the lemon curd to set.
  14. Let the lemon bars cool, and then place them in the refrigerator for a few hours before cutting and serving.

Hazelnut Crepes (GF)

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Here’s the cool thing about crepes: they are often naturally gluten free! I’m definitely not an expert on the history of crepes, but what from everything I’ve read, buckwheat was just as much, if not more a part of the development of crepes than wheat was! Neat, huh? 

Now, ironically enough, these hazelnut crepes are not made with any buckwheat flour! I stumbled upon these one of the first times I made crepes, when I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed for another crepe recipe. I made a few substitutions and ended up with something delicious!

A few notes about ingredients. First of all, the hazelnut flour. It’s one of the more uncommon GF flours so it can be difficult to find. I am able to buy it at a local health food store, but I know some mainstream grocery stores also carry it. This type of flour can go bad, so store it in the refrigerator to increase the shelf life. Next, the melted butter. I frequently leave butter out of recipes or replace them with olive oil in the name of health. Sometimes you wouldn’t know the difference and other times it’s a mess. In the case of these crepes, I’ve found that adding a little butter or oil to the batter makes the cooking process go smoothly, by keeping the crepes from sticking to the pan. If you want to sub oil in for butter, go for it! If you want to leave it out all together I think you will have a great end result, too, just spray your pan if the crepes start to stick! Lastly, the sugar. You have a few options here. If you are not eating refined sugar you can leave it out completely and these will still be delicious. I’ve also used Stevia and cut the sugar down to just under a teaspoon. When I make these for my husband I double the sugar. He seems to be immune to extra calories and loves anything sweet. My preference, 2 tsp, is what is listed in the recipe.

These slightly sweet crepes are excellent for breakfast or dessert. I have them for breakfast, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and feel like I am having dessert for breakfast. I’ve often made a batch of these over the weekend and heated up a few in the microwave each morning that week for a quick breakfast. Crepes seem to be just as good reheated as they were fresh out of the pan.

Now, you might be thinking that making crepes sounds difficult, and I’m here to tell you it is not! There’s a few tricks, but it’s really quite simple. I plan to do a full post with a photo tutorial on how to make crepes soon. Until then, try following the directions below. Consider your first few crepes as experiments until you perfect your technique! Even if the crepes ending up looking strange they will probably still taste delicious!

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Hazelnut Crepes

Ingredients (makes 1-2 dozen crepes, depending on the size of the crepes)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c hazelnut flour
  • 1/2 c white rice flour
  • 2 tsp sugar 
  • 1 tbs melted butter 

Cooking Directions:

1. In a blender, food processor, or large bowl and an immersion blender (I’ve used all three methods, and they all work) mix eggs, milk, and salt.

2. Slowly add in each of the flours and the sugar.

3. Lastly, add the butter.

4. Heat  a non stick skillet to medium high heat. Spray it with olive oil or cooking spray.

5. Pour some batter (try 1/4c to start with) into the center of the pan and then lift the pan off the burner and tilt it around in a circle, slowly. The batter will spread out across the pan.

6. Put the skillet back on the burner. After a minute or two the crepe will start to bubble. When it does, flip it over with the spatula. 

7. Cook for a minute or 2 longer. The crepe will be solid at this point, so you can lift up an edge and check for doneness. I cook mine until the bottom has some golden brown spots.

8. Repeat with remaining batter. Top crepes with cinnamon sugar, syrup, or fold up your favorite sweet filling inside.

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF)

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These cookies are by far the simplest GF cookie I make. There’s no rolling out dough, no messing with multiple flours and only half a dozen ingredients. Even better, these cookies don’t taste gluten free. You know what I mean – that funky texture or taste you get from swapping out wheat flour for any one of the gluten free flour options. Even people who are on a non GF diet will find these cookies not just acceptable, but delicious.

This recipe is not really an original of mine. There are multiple versions all over the web (and I’m not surprised – these are too good not to share). There are different tweaks you can make – brown sugar vs. white sugar (or sweetener of your choice), crunchy peanut butter vs. smooth, semi-sweet chocolate chips vs. dark chocolate chips . . . you get the idea! This recipe is my favorite combination. Give it a try, I think you’ll love the result!

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients (makes about 2 dozen cookies)

  • 1c crunchy peanut butter
  • 3/4c brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4c semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cooking Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Mix the first five ingredients (you can do this by hand or in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment).
3. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Roll a spoonful of dough (about 1-2 tablespoons of dough) into a ball in the palm of your hand. Place cookie dough balls onto a baking sheet. Either a non-stick baking sheet or a greased regular baking sheet should work just fine. 
5. Bake for 8 -12 minutes (watch for the bottom edge of the cookies to start to brown). Let the cookies sit on the sheet for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack or plate (or eat).
6. Repeat with any remaining dough. 
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