Truffle Butter Popcorn

truffle butter popcorn

Ah, these days.

I love 'em.  Christmas was fantastic... I love the fresh start of a new year...and here we are in the in between. It's totally perfect.  It's like these days don't count.  It feels right to sleep absurdly late.  It seems perfectly acceptable to see two movies during the day.

It's the perfect afternoon to throw away every sock that doesn't match and try to find matching lids to tupperware.  Yep, I'm totally ignoring my rotting Christmas tree and opting to organize the kitchen and my closet.  By the time 2012 rolls around, I'll be moving at the speed of light because everything will be so organized.  It's my vision...I'm goin for it.

In the meantime, we must ring in the New Year.  Make it fun.  Keep it simple.  Ignore the hype.

Make this fancy popcorn that is exactly that... fun and fancy and ridiculously simple.

Truffle popcorn and champagne is all you need to say goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012.

Hope you have a smashing New Year's and I'll catch ya in 2012.

Truffle Butter Popcorn
Recipe Notes
Truffle oil is expensive, but totally worth it. I have a tiny bottle that cost about $12, but has lasted years.  You only need a smidge so make the investment and you will have a sprinkle whenever you need it.
1 bag unsalted, unflavored popcorn (8 to 10 cups popped)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon truffle oil
1 to 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese, to taste
kosher or fine sea salt
Step by Step
Melt butter in a small microwave safe bowl.  Mix truffle oil into butter.  Pop popcorn.  As soon as popcorn is finished pour in a medium sized bowl.  Drizzle butter mixture over popcorn, making sure to turn the popcorn and evenly coat.  Sprinkle parmesan evenly over popcorn while still warm.  Taste popcorn and add salt to taste.  Serve immediately or reheat in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes.


A few of my favorite things.

1. kitchen magic whisk, Anthropologie...$8.00
2. farmer's market basket, Anthropologie...$14.00
3. egg timer, Crate and Barrell...$4.95
4. Capri Blue Volcano candle, Anthropologie... $28.00
5. baggu reusable grocery bag, Baggu...$8.00
6. microplane zester, Sur la Table... $14.95

We are down to the wire on Christmas. Here are a few of my favorite things that would be great stocking stuffers or last minute gifts.  Everything is under $30 and a few things that might seem unexpected, but will be used over and over.  The whisk adds such a magical touch.  These glass farmer's baskets have a thousand uses in the kitchen.  Have someone on your list that wants nothing to do with the kitchen?  These also happen to be the perfect size for business cards... sure would be a fun pop of color on a desk.  The egg timer might seem like a silly gift, but the person will call you every time they make a hard boil egg and tell you how great you are.  I can't say I make hard boiled eggs all that often, but when I do, I am so glad I have this little gadget and it takes up no space at all.  Anyone who likes to cook is bound to have a lingering smell of fried bacon or a garlic scent that doesn't smell so good at breakfast the next morning.  This is the absolute best smelling candle in the world... homey and fresh all at the same time.  Know a brown bagger or a green grocery shopper?  Baggu bags are perfect.  They are lightweight and portable and you can always have an extra bag on hand and not even realize it because of the small little pouch it scrunches up in.  The microplane zester is such a star.  From zesting citrus to the perfect shaving of parmesan on pasta, it's a necessity.  


Chocolate Crackle Cookies

chocolate crackles
It's a jungle out there. 

Driving a few blocks takes an hour.  

The parking lots look like scenes from Braveheart.  

I swear the woman that cut me off was wearing war paint as she came roaring out of oblivion and stole my spot in the mall parking lot.  Did she really need to yell expletives and flip me off?  She got the darn spot.  
chocolate crackles 2 
Let's lock ourselves inside.   If you're in my part of the country, let's crank the air down and act like we are experiencing winter.   Let's make spiked cider and watch Christmas Vacation.   Let's blast Andre Bocelli's Christmas album and sing Celine Dion's parts (do this one for me... I've been banned from singing too loud due to a husband who needs his peace and quiet to study for the Bar exam).  Let's make our houses smell like chocolate.  Let's make it snow in the kitchen with powdered sugar. 

Yep, that will do it.  That will feel like Christmas.
crackle collage
These cookies are unreal.  Chocolatey as chocolate can get.  Smooth and creamy with a barely crusty exterior that is rolled and dusted in sugar.  Whoever you spend your Christmas weekend with will be very happy you brought these along. 

Leave a plate for Santa... he'll be impressed.  
chocolate crackles 8
From my little kitchen to yours... Merry Christmas.

Chocolate Crackle Cookies
Recipe Notes
I have a sifter and sometimes I still don't feel like messing with it.  If you do not have one or you are not in the mood, mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.  Using a fork, fluff and sift all the ingredients with a fork.  Make sure all ingredients are well mixed and no lumps of flour or cocoa powder remain.  Chocolate is the star here so I used Godiva cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate.   The dough will be unbelievable sticky when first mixed.  I had to spoon it onto the saran wrap.  But don't worry... after two hours, it will be firm enough to work with. Make sure to take only one ball of dough at a time and I sprayed my hands with cooking spray, which helped to keep the dough from sticking to my hands.  The dough will get harder to work with the longer it is out of the refrigerator.
8oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cups cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
11/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powder sugar
Step by Step
Melt chocolate in a double boiler then set aside to cool. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

In a mixer or using a hand mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Mix in eggs, vanilla, and then the melted chocolate.  Reduce speed to low mix in flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk. Divide dough into four equal pieces. Wrap each in plastic; refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350. Take one ball of dough out of the refrigerator at a time.  Working quickly,  pinch off the dough and roll into one inch balls.   Roll in the granulated sugar to coat, then in powder sugar to coat.  Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake until surfaces crack, about 12 to 14 minutes rotating sheets half way through. Take cookies out when edges are set, but be careful to not over bake.  Cool on a wire rack and store at room temperature.


Soft & Chewy Gingerbread Men

Alright, now that we are all nice and skinny, let's head straight into cookie season.

Gingerbread men... a holiday classic.
Soft & Chewy Gingerbread Men
Another adjective to describe these little guys would be barely gingery. Yeah, that's right.  Gingery.

Definition by me...
Gingery (adj.) :  The amount of kick from spice and ginger that is contained in one's gingerbread recipe.

I happen to prefer my men to have a slight hint of ginger and spice rather than a pungent kick.
I believe this recipe is for those who like the holiday spirit of gingerbread men (but not the taste of ginger) or maybe looking for  a kid friendly recipe.

This one's a star.  I also see the world only one way when it comes to the texture of these holiday studs.  I like them soft and chewy.  I personally could even have a little more gingery taste, but a crisp little man is not for me.

Hope your December is off to a great start.

From my little kitchen to yours... Merry Christmas.

Soft & Chewy, {Barely Gingery} Gingerbread Men
Recipe Notes

Adapted from allrecipes.com
1 (3.5 ounce) package cook and serve butterscotch pudding mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large or extra large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out dough
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
parchment paper
Icing & Decorations
Milk, a couple of tablespoons
Powdered sugar, about a cup
Red Hots
White Sprinkles
In a medium bowl, cream together the dry butterscotch pudding mix, butter, and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the egg. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon; beat into the butterscotch mixture on low until just combined. Cover, and chill dough until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Lay out a piece of parchment paper on a clean surface.  Sprinkle with flour.  Remove half of the dough from the refrigerator and roll into a 1/4 inch thickness.  Dough will be very sticky so sprinkle flour on top of the dough as well to keep the rolling pin from sticking.  Place parchment paper with rolled out dough on a cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator.  Let chill for 15 minutes.  Remove from refrigerator and cut into shapes.  Repeat with remaining half of dough.  Place cookies 2 inches apart of parchment lined cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies start to set on the edges. Cool on wire racks.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

Easy Icing
I just used a little bit of icing for these cookies so I made a really simple mixture that would work to harden and hold on red hots or sprinkles.  Start by pouring about a cup of powdered sugar into a small bowl.  Add a little bit of milk... about a teaspoon.  Mix thoroughly.  Add milk, a few drops at a time until icing is about the consistency of glue.  You do not want it to runny, but you want it to squeeze through a small squeeze bottle.  Put icing mixture into a small squeeze bottle and pipe onto cookies.

Click here for more info on icing cookies.