Thursday, February 12, 2015

Cinnamon Candy Popcorn for Valentine's Day

A Sweet and Crunchy Treat

The Cooking School staff at Jungle Jim's International Market has had cinnamon on the brain lately. We have been enjoying a highly fragrant and delicious tea from Harney & Sons Fine Teas called Hot Cinnamon Sunset. You can find this wonderful tea near Sherwood Forest in the International Department. We also love the Backroad Country Old Fashioned Cinnamon Twists. To continue the cinnamon obsession, we made a batch of Cinnamon Candy Popcorn. It's a fun and easy snack to make and it's a pretty red color just right for a Valentine's Day gift. 

 
Combine the butter, cinnamon candy, sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Boil for 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and add salt, vanilla and baking soda; stir well. Mixture will sputter and become thick and foamy.

 
Pour the hot cinnamon mixture over the popped popcorn and stir to coat as evenly as possible. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely on waxed paper and break apart. Makes 12 cups.

 
This is an easy gift to package up. It's portable and delicious.


Cinnamon Candy Popcorn

3 quarts air popped popcorn (1/2 half cup before popping)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
9 ounces Red Hots or Cinnamon Imperials (1-1/8 cups)
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place popcorn in a large, ungreased, shallow stainless steel bowl (15 inch diameter).

Combine butter, cinnamon candy, sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Boil for 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and add salt, vanilla and baking soda; stir well. Mixture will sputter and become thick and foamy. Pour over popcorn and stir to coat as evenly as possible. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely on waxed paper and break apart. Makes 12 cups.

To bake in a baking pan:  Place popcorn a a large bowl. Pour cooked cinnamon mixture over corn and stir well. Turn into a greased 15 x10-inch baking pan and bake as above.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Candy Bar Mug Blondie

Spend a Snow Day in the Kitchen

Chances of a snow day in February are pretty good, so we've got a great activity you can do with your kids. Try this simple, sweet treat that you can easily mix up and bake in the oven. Candy Bar Mug Blondie will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth! It's fun to do with kids, but delicious enough to serve as dessert for guests. The Cooking School staff recommends eating the blondie while it is still warm and strongly suggest topping it with a scoop of good quality ice cream. Our candy bar of choice was a Snickers bar, but you can use your favorite candy to mix into the batter. We nestled a scoop of Steve's Burnt Sugar Vanilla on top. You can find this creamy confection in the craft ice cream freezers at Jungle Jim's International Market.



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare all the ingredients. We needed 3 regular sized Snickers bars to get one cup. Our blondies were a little chewy, but we think the nougat from the Snickers made them that way. Not bad, mind you! You usually don't describe a blondie as chewy. So the texture of the blondie will probably vary depending on your choice of candy.


Mix butter and brown sugar in large bowl until well blended. Add egg yolk and vanilla; mix well. Mix 1/2 cup of the flour, cinnamon and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set aside. Toss chopped candy bars and remaining 2 tablespoons flour in a small bowl. Set aside.


Add flour mixture; mix just until moistened. Shake chopped candy bars to remove excess flour. Stir into batter.


The batter will be thick and sticky.




 Divide amount four ovenproof 8-ounce ungreased coffee mugs. 


Place mugs on  a baking sheet. The batter fills the mug a little less than half way.


Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean. 


Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


Add a scoop of ice cream to the warm mugs. Enjoy! 


Candy Bar Mug Blondie
recipe courtesy of McCormick

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped candy bars
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix 1/2 cup of the flour, cinnamon and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set aside. Toss chopped candy bars and remaining 2 tablespoons flour in a small bowl. Set aside.

Mix butter and brown sugar in large bowl until well blended. Add egg yolk and vanilla; mix well. Add flour mixture; mix just until moistened. Shake chopped candy bars to remove excess flour. Stir into batter. Divide amount four ovenproof 8-ounce coffee mugs. Place mugs on baking sheet.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. (Blondie may fall in center upon cooling). Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Serves 4.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Baked Mini Ham and Swiss Sandwiches

A Blast from the Past

Some of you may fondly recognize these sandwiches from your youth. Both Leigh and Jenny's mothers made these hot ham and Swiss sandwiches when they were young. We searched the internet for a recipe that would recreate our memory of enjoying these buttery, 
cheesy, warm sandwiches and Baked Mini Ham and Swiss Sandwiches come very close. The only ingredient missing is a mother's love! The cheese and ham are both from Boar's Head:  Gold Swiss and Sweet Slice Ham. You can purchase both these products at the deli at Jungle Jim's International Market. Enjoy these sandwiches as a hearty side to a hot bowl of soup. 


Cut  the dinner rolls in half. We bought the dinner rolls from the bakery at Jungle Jim's. They fit perfectly into a disposable 9x13 inch pan. You can make them in a glass or metal 9x13 inch pan, but if you are taking these out, a disposable pan is very convenient. Cut the sliced ham and cheese into pieces and cover bottom of rolls. 


 Put the tops back on the rolls. Arrange the filled rolls tightly in a 9x13-inch baking dish.


Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan; place over medium heat until the unsalted butter melts.


Mix well as the butter melts.


Spoon the butter mixture evenly over the rolls. 


Cover with foil and refrigerate four hours or overnight. Bake, covered with foil, at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until golden and cheese is melted. Serve warm.

Leigh's tip:  Once the butter mixture is poured over the buns, place in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. The butter hardens and doesn't stick to the foil.



Baked Mini Ham and Swiss Sandwiches

12 Jungle Jim’s Dinner Rolls (1 pound)
12 ounces deli ham, sliced thin (Boar’s Head Sweet Slice)
6-8 ounces Swiss cheese, sliced thin (Boar’s Head Gold)
1 stick butter
3 heaping tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
¼ teaspoon garlic powder


Cut rolls in half. Cut ham and cheese into pieces and cover bottom of rolls. Put tops back on rolls. Arrange filled rolls tightly in a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan; place over medium heat until butter melts. Mix well and spoon evenly over rolls. Cover with foil and refrigerate four hours or overnight. Bake, covered with foil, at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until golden and cheese is melted. Serve warm.


Makes 12