butter

basic bundt series: buttermilk pound cake

Hi there friends! Long time no see!

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve basically dropped off the face of the planet recently. Ever since diving head first into the renovations of Maxwell’s last summer, I’ve been posting less and less frequently and lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want out of my lil’ ol blog and how much time and energy I want to put into it. Things have definitely calmed down now that Maxwell’s is up and running (and doing pretty darned well, thanks for asking), but rather than jumping from that project right back into blogging the way I used to, I’ve been taking some time for myself lately and trying to enjoy the summer.

We recently bought a car (it’s used guys, we’re not that bougie) and after 10 full years in Brooklyn, the city suddenly seems sooo much smaller and more accessible than it used to. Rather than staying home to bake and photograph fruit pies on a beautiful Summer days, we’ve been piling in the car and taking field trips to parks, beaches, stores, and points of interest that are a real pain in the arse to reach by subway or bus. We’ve even taken the dogs up to the Hudson Valley for a few little hiking trips, and went to the Adirondacks for a long weekend in Lake Placid for my birthday. Hence, for the first time ever, I didn’t post any cake recipe for my birthday this year.

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’m really not trying to gloat here guys, I just want to let you know that even though I haven’t been posting nearly as frequently lately, you’re still on my mind.

Like, a lot.

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I got into blogging because I love food, especially baking and historic recipes and random food trivia; but as it turns out, blogging is A LOT of work and actually pretty pricey as hobbies go. Taking a little time for myself has given me some new perspective and helped me realize that I can’t keep up with the pace that I initially set for myself, and that’s okay. I need and deserve a life outside of blogging and I can’t beat myself up if I fall behind on posting. As much as I’d love to post constantly, life gets in the way. I’m sure you understand.

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Anyway, worrying about all this actually of made me want to stay away entirely, but with every letter I type I feel a weight being lifted off my shoulders and it’s honestly helping me remember how much I loved doing this in the first place. I know I could have just made the decision to step back on my own and just quietly moved on with my life, but if I’m not oversharing can I really even call myself a blogger at all? I mean… Probably not right?

Long story short, I guess what I’m trying to say here is that you’re probably going to see less of me around here going forward, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love you.

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

One thing that really helped me get back into the swing of things and re-discover my love for This Old Blog™ was baking one of my absolute favorite things in the whole wide world, the magnificent, magical bundt cake!

I’m sure that you know by now that I have an unnatural love for bundt cakes. A love that may even be illegal in certain states.
While I absolutely relish the interesting & creative challenges thrown my way by the #bundtbakers group over the past few years, I’ve been thinking lately that I’d really like to spend some time perfecting some simpler, easier, more traditional bundt cakes with a broader appeal and a more familiar flavor profile.

I still plan on getting jiggy with the #bundtbakers every now and again, but for the first time in several years I’d like to share some cakes that don’t necessarily fit in with their creative themes.

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’m hoping to eventually follow this post up with a an entire series of bundt cake recipes featuring simple, familiar flavors; vanilla, lemon, chocolate, spice, etc.
The basic bundt series.

Get it?

To kick the whole thing off, I thought I’d go with the simplest, and most potentially versatile cake that I could think of. The plain ol’ pound cake. Butter. Eggs. Buttermilk. Vanilla.
Heaven.

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

This cake is delicately sweet and super buttery. Since the butter is the standout flavor in this recipe, I’d recommend springing for the best you can find. I promise it’s worth the extra buck or two.

Because I use buttermilk rather than sour cream, this recipe is a little lighter and more delicate than some other pound cakes you may have had, but I actually prefer it this way. As a cake rather than a loaf, sliced thick and served with fresh fruit, I think the lighter crumb is just the ticket.
In the Summer a big thick slice of pound cake is heaven with fresh whipped cream and macerated strawberries or fresh ripe blueberries.

If you want to kick this cake up to the next level though, feel free to experiment a little!
This recipe is the perfect base for almost any flavor you could want to pair with it. Add a few tablespoons of your favorite booze to add another layer of flavor. Toss in a cup of fresh (or frozen) berries to make a fruity, summery pound cake. Instead of fruit, why not stir in a cup of chocolate chips and some chopped walnuts? Or infuse the butter (or buttermilk) with tea leaves, lavender flowers, fresh herbs, or dried spices. You could even stir some fresh citrus zest into the sugar before creaming it into the butter.
Once you get the basics down, the skies the limit folks!

basic bundt series | buttermilk pound cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

buttermilk pound cake bundt

1 cup (2 sticks) best quality unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 F. Butter and lightly flour a 10-12 cup bundt pan. Tap out excess flour. Refrigerate pan until ready for use.

Beat butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until very light, about a minute or two. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula and add oil and beat until smooth and combined. Add sugar and beat until fluffy and pale, about 3 minutes.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing just until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Mix vanilla into buttermilk.
Alternate additions of the flour and buttermilk mixtures to the butter, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape the bowl after each addition. Do not over-mix.

Pour batter into prepared pan, leaving at least an inch from the top of the pan. Tap the pan on the counter several times to smooth out the batter and remove any air bubbles.
Bake for about 60 minutes, give or take 5 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean from the center of the cake.

Cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack before turning out of pan. Turn out onto the rack and cool completely before glazing.

Best Simple Bundt Cake Glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons half & half

Mix sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons half & half together in a small bowl. Mix until completely smooth and free of lumps. You want the glaze to be very thick so it doesn’t slide right off the cake, but it does need to be liquid enough that it pours smoothly. If necessary, thin the glaze out with more half & half, adding only about 1/2 a teaspoon at a time to avoid thinning it too much.

Pour the glaze in a steady stream over the center of the cake. Place a pan under the rack just in case the glaze drips. Let the glaze harden for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Cake can be store, tightly covered at room temperature, for about 3 days.

butter pecan layer cake

I can’t even believe it friends.

Brooklyn Homemaker turns three years old this weekend!

butter pecan layer cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

They grow up so fast!
Sniff.

butter pecan layer cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

This year has been sort of crazy with the whole Maxwell’s thing and all the time I’ve had to spend away from Brooklyn Homemaker, and I’m so thrilled to finally be getting back into the swing of things just in time to celebrate my anniversary!

butter pecan layer cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I probably said this last year too, but I never would have believed you if you’d told me three years ago that I would have started doing this and kept with it for three whole years.
When I first started I didn’t even have a real camera, and for the first few months I shot all of my photos on my iPhone in my dimly lit kitchen at weird, unflattering angles. If you’d told me three years ago that I would not only get a real camera, but also get pretty good at figuring out how to use it, I definitely would have had my doubts.
If you’d have told me that some of my photos would be even half as good as the ones I spent hours drooling over on Pinterest, or that people would actually want to pin my photos and recipes for themselves, I probably would have laughed in your face!
If you’d have told me that people would actually want to cook my recipes, and would enjoy them enough to share with their friends and families, I’d have been absolutely floored!
Naaahhhhhh! No friggin’ way!!!

I still wake up sometimes and want to pinch myself.

butter pecan layer cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

It seems like I start having these thoughts around the same time every year, as my blog anniversary approaches, about all the things I’ve accomplished and how far I’ve come. The friendships and bonds I’ve built, the skills I’ve gained, and how my goals and priorities have changed over these past few years.

butter pecan layer cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

This is definitely a time to for reflection, a time for appreciation, and a time to be grateful. Perhaps most importantly though, it’s a time for cake!

butter pecan layer cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

The idea of this cake was a bit of a throw back to the very first cake that inspired this whole blogging adventure, the Aunt Sassy Cake from Baked.

I knew I wanted to make another big ass fancy celebration cake filled with nuts and covered in a velvety icing, but I didn’t want to just make the same cake all over again.
I did that already! haha!

I thought that a play on the Aunt Sassy Cake with a fun, autumnal twist would be a great way to pay homage to the cake that started it all, while also making it feel little more seasonally appropriate this time of year.

butter pecan layer cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I played with a few ideas in my head, but the inspiration really came when I was flipping through the channels one day and happened to catch a few minutes of Jeopardy.

When my sister and I were little, we used to spend a lot of time at our grandmother’s house. If we’d stay after dinner, we’d sit next to grandma on the couch and watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, and if we were good, grandma would fix us a bowl of ice cream.

Thing is, at the time I hated the ice cream flavors she tended to keep in the house. All I wanted was chocolate, or maybe mint chocolate chip, but grandma usually only had maple walnut or butter pecan. Garbage ice creams in the eyes of a child, and ones that i lovingly referred to as old lady flavors in my teen years.
As I got a little older I finally learned to appreciate those “old lady” flavors, and eventually I even learned to love them.
These days I can’t get enough of them, and even get into trouble with Russell when I come home from the store with a pint of butter pecan, when he’d have preferred chocolate, or maybe mint chocolate chip!

butter pecan layer cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

With butter pecan in mind, I decided to go for a tender pecan layer cake, and I opted to brown the butter to amp up the nutty flavor. Browning butter only takes about 10 minutes with some stirring and a watchful eye, and it adds an incredibly rich, earthy, nutty flavor to regular everyday unsalted butter. It has such an amazing flavor that I decided to brown a little extra to mix into some silky Swiss Meringue Buttercream I wanted to use to ice the cake.

To make things even richer, and fancier, and prettier, I went ahead and drizzled the whole kit and kaboodle in some heavenly homemade caramel with a splash of (optional) bourbon.

This cake is the freakin bomb. Perfect for fall. It could even work as an elegant alternative to pecan pie at Thanksgiving!

butter pecan layer cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

It’s been a wild ride so far, and hopefully this is just the beginning.

I’m so honored and grateful for all of you guys out there. I’m so so luck to have so many amazing friends out there in the world who have been so encouraging and engaging through everything that I’ve done so far. I’m looking forward to many more recipes and posts and years ahead, and I hope you’ll all be along for the ride too!

Love you guys! Thanks for everything!

butter pecan layer cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Butter Pecan Layer Cake with Brown Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Brown Butter
(Make ahead if possible)

4 sticks of unsalted butter

Melt butter in a large stainless steel (or light colored) sauce pan over low to medium heat. As the water cooks out, the butter will sizzle a lot. Stir frequently with a silicone spatula.

Once the butter starts to foam, usually about 5 minutes in, you want to watch it very carefully so it doesn’t burn. You’ll also want to use your spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan often. This will promote even browning and help prevent the milk solids from sticking to the pan as they brown. They’re delicious so you want them in your finished butter, and if they do stick they’ll be a pain in the butt to clean.

The foam may make it hard to see, but as you stir you’ll begin to see the milk solids in the butter begin to turn brown. Once the milk solids are brown and the butter smells toasty and nutty, you’re done! Immediately pour the butter, milk solids & all, into a heatproof dish to prevent it from further cooking. The milk solids can go from nutty and golden to black and burnt in less than a minute!

For the recipes below, you want the butter to be soft, but you don’t want to use the butter while it’s still hot and melted. Refrigerate the butter until solid, then let it soften at room temperature. If you want to make it ahead, it’ll keep for a long time if stored in an airtight container.
Butter contains a good amount of water which cooks off when you brown it, so after browning your 4 sticks of butter won’t measure 2 cups. Since the cake and the icing require the same amount of butter, I just say 1/2 the brown butter in each recipe for simplicities sake.


Brown Butter Pecan Cake
Adapted from Cooking Classy

3 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup whole pecan pieces for decorating (optional)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 of the brown butter (will be a bit shy of 1 cup), softened
1/4 cup peanut oil (or canola or vegetable oil)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks (reserve whites for icing)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 3 Tbsp butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add pecans, toss to coat, and cook until slightly browned and fragrant, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl or dish to stop cooking and set aside to cool. If using whole pieces for decorating, separate them from the chopped pecans and reserve for later.

Butter 3 8-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper, butter parchment paper and then lightly dust pans with flour shaking out excess. Set pans aside.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butters and sugars together until very pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, adding in vanilla with the last egg.
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed just until combined, then add in 1/2 of the buttermilk and mix just until combined. Repeat alternating flour and buttermilk, ending with the final 1/3 of the flour. Remove the bowl from your mixer and fold in pecans until they’re evenly distributed. Divide batter evenly among the 3 prepared baking pans, using a kitchen scale for accuracy if desired.
Bake in preheated oven 25 – 30 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cool for 10 to 15 minutes on a wire rack, then run a knife around edges of the pans to ensure the cakes are loosened, and invert them onto the racks to cool completely.


Bourbon Caramel Sauce
Adapted from Minimalist Baker

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup unsalted butter (4 tablespoons, or 1/2 stick)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp bourbon (optional)
pinch of salt

Place sugar and water in a large saucepan over medium heat, gently swirling the pan (not stirring) to combine. Simmer (not stirring) for about 15 minutes or until a rich amber color is reached. It should look almost a reddish-brown, and have a slightly toasty aroma. Once the sugar starts to go from clear to golden, watch it very closely as it can go from perfect to burnt in under a minute. If you want to use a thermometer, cook until the sugar reaches 350 degrees.
Remove the pan from heat and slowly stir or whisk in the butter. It will bubble up a lot so be careful. Once the butter is combined, repeat the process with the cream. Then add the bourbon and salt stir or whisk to combine.
Place the pan back over the heat and simmer for another minute or two while stirring continuously.
Remove from heat and let it cool for about 15 minutes before pouring into a heat-safe dish or jar to cool to the touch. Then close or cover the container and transfer it to the refrigerator to cool completely before use. Any leftover caramel (I didn’t have much) can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for several weeks.


Brown Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Adapted from Martha Stewart 

6 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
remaining 1/2 of the brown butter (will be a bit shy of 1 cup), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and a small amount lemon juice or vinegar to remove any trace of fat or grease. Make a double boiler by placing the mixer bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.

Place egg whites, sugars, and salt into the bowl and whisk gently but continuously until the sugar is completely dissolved and the egg whites reach between 150 and 160 degrees F.
Attach the bowl to your mixer and use the whisk attachment to whip the egg whites on high speed until thick, glossy peaks form and the bowl no longer feels warm to the touch, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Switch to the paddle attachment and reduce speed to medium-low. Add butter, about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating after each addition. The meringue will deflate slightly as butter is added, don’t worry. Once all the butter is added, beat until the icing is smooth and silky, usually about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the vanilla and beat on low just until combined.

If the buttercream curdles, don’t worry! Just keep mixing and it will come back to smooth.
If the buttercream is too thin and runny, refrigerate the bowl for about 15 or 20 minutes before mixing again with the paddle attachment until it comes together.


Assemble cake:

Remove parchment from each layer, and trim the domed tops off with a cake leveler or sharp bread knife if necessary. Flat layers will definitely result in a much prettier & more professional looking finished cake. My cakes didn’t dome much, so you may not need to do this step. Make sure the layers are completely cool (or cold) before you proceed.

If you’re not serving the cake the same day it’s baked, I recommend you brush each layer of cake with two or three tablespoons of simple syrup before assembly to keep it nice and moist for days. Just heat 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water together until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Place first layer on a cake stand, serving platter, or cardboard cake round. Top with roughly 1/4 of your icing (about one generous cup), and spread the icing out with an offset icing spatula, in as even and level a layer as possible. Place the next layer on top and check from above and from multiple angles to make sure it’s stacked perfectly centered with the layer below, and that it’s flat and level. Adjust if necessary.
Add another 1/4 of the icing, smooth it out, add the top layer, and check and adjust if necessary.

Using another 1/4 of your icing, spread a thin layer of icing over top and sides of cake with an icing spatula. I like to start at the top and slowly work my way down the sides. Be sure to fill in any gaps between layers and make the sides and top is as smooth and flat as possible. This thin layer of icing is referred to as the “crumb coat” and is meant to seal in any crumbs so they’re not seen in your final layer of icing. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to an hour to set the icing before you proceed.
Spread the remaining icing evenly over top and sides of cake, trying to get as smooth a surface as possible.

Top the cake with about 3/4 to 1 cup of the cooled caramel sauce, carefully and evenly drizzling some down the sides.
If desired, top the finished cake with the optional 1/3 cup of toasted whole pecans from above.

This cake is best the day it’s baked, but will keep well in a cake saver at room temperature for up to 2 days, if the weather is not too hot or humid. Otherwise, wrap tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If refrigerated, you’ll need to let it come up to room temperature for at least an hour before serving.

nori and black sesame caramel corn

You may or may not already know this about me, but I’m totally lame.

nori & black sesame caramel corn | Brooklyn Homemaker

Other than going to work, I rarely ever leave the house. I loathe going into Manhattan, especially to go shopping, and thanks to the magic of the internet I don’t even have to leave the house to buy underwear!

I can remember a time (in my 20s) when my social calendar was overflowing, but over the years I started going out less and less. I got married, I took a stressful job, I got two little dogs, I started a food blog, I started trying to save rather than spend extra money. Before I knew it all these things added up to me going home, cooking dinner, and watching the Walking Dead after work rather than going out drinking with friends.

nori & black sesame caramel corn | Brooklyn Homemaker

A few weeks ago, some amazing friends of mine invited me to the movies with them. It was a hard choice to make, whether to sit on my duff in front of the TV or to go talk to live humans in the wilderness of Williamsburg Brooklyn, but after some soul searching and option weighing I chose human interaction. Weird right?

nori & black sesame caramel corn | Brooklyn Homemaker

Thing is, going to the movies in New York City is expensive. Like crazy expensive.
We discussed picking up snacks on the way to smuggle into the theater, but before I left the house a funny thing happened. Russell was out of town and I was alone at home on my day off and I was bored. I started getting excited about the prospect of leaving the house, and the next thing I knew I was in the kitchen.

nori & black sesame caramel corn | Brooklyn Homemaker

Out of nowhere, I decided I needed to make caramel corn. I’ve only made caramel corn once before, but before I knew it the popcorn was popping and the caramel was bubbling away. You might not expect it, but caramel corn is actually a pretty easy recipe. Easy for homemade candy anyways. You don’t need a candy thermometer at all, just an easily adjusted burner and a good kitchen timer. And the ability to move quickly while handling bubbling hot sugar without injuring yourself.

I’ve been on a bit of a sesame oil kick lately, so I decided to swap some of the butter in the recipe for some nutty, toasty sesame oil. And some black sesame seeds. And why not, some crushed up toasted nori flakes too.

nori & black sesame caramel corn | Brooklyn Homemaker

Before you turn your nose up at caramel corn with seaweed in it, rest assured this stuff is GOOOOOOOD. My friends were going crazy for it and impassioned whispers about how amazing it was could barely be heard over the movie. Weeks later they’re still cursing me for how good this stuff is and how they couldn’t stop eating it through the whole movie.

nori & black sesame caramel corn | Brooklyn Homemaker

This is everything you want in good caramel corn with a little something extra. First you get the crunchy, sweet, salty, caramely, amazingness that you expect, but then you notice the nutty toasty sesame flavor and a gentle hint of salty brininess from the nori. The nori is really just a subtle hint that pairs incredibly with the sesame flavors and complements the salty caramel in a really modern, mature, and interesting way.

nori & black sesame caramel corn | Brooklyn Homemaker

If you still really aren’t sold on the nori though, I promise you can leave it out and still maintain the modern and mature flavor of this caramel corn.

About a week later I actually made this recipe again at my grandmother’s behest. We were having the same friends over to watch the Oscars and planned to make some braised chicken for dinner. Grandma asked what I had planned for dessert, and when I said we weren’t having dessert she insisted that I couldn’t have a dinner party without something sweet at the end. So, with only an hour or two before I needed to start dinner, I decided to try another twist on this same recipe.

Never wanting to serve the same thing twice, I decided to make a few little changes to add a different flavor. I skipped the nori, and added a heaping tablespoon of srirachi chili sauce instead (added at the end with the vanilla and sesame oil).
This version was equally phenomenal, and I’d be really hard pressed to pick a favorite. Along with a great chili flavor, the Sriracha adds just a hint of lingering heat that’s amazing with the sweet buttery caramel and isn’t overpowering in any way. If you’re really not stoked on the idea of seaweed in your caramel corn, go ahead and try the sriracha version instead.

nori & black sesame caramel corn | Brooklyn Homemaker

Nori and Black Sesame Caramel Corn

  • Servings: makes about 8 cups
  • Print
adapted from the New Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, 2005

2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/4 to 1/3 cup unpopped popcorn kernels (8 cups popped)
1/4 cup crushed nori (optional)
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 300.

Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed stockpot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add popcorn and cover with a lid. Using potholders or a towel to hold the handles, shake the pot around to keep the kernels moving as they pop. When several seconds pass between pops, remove from heat. Remove and discard any un-popped kernels and return popcorn to the pot it was popped in. Crush nori up into small flakes with your hands and add, along with sesame seeds, to the pot with popcorn.

Combine brown sugar, butter, salt, and corn syrup in a medium sauce pan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture begins to boil. Reduce heat to medium to maintain a moderate boil, and cook, without stirring, for exactly 5 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and stir in sesame oil, vanilla, and baking soda. Immediately pour caramel mixture over popcorn and gently toss toss toss to combine as quickly as you can. If you don’t work quickly the caramel will harden and become difficult to mix.
Spread popcorn in an even layer over a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, stir mixture around, and bake for 5 minutes more. Once cooled enough to handle gently toss the popcorn around so it doesn’t all stick together in one large block.

Store tightly covered for up to one week. It probably won’t last that long.

*variation: If you’re not sure about the nori but like a bit of heat, try skipping the nori and add a heaping tablespoon of sriracha along with the sesame oil and vanilla in the recipe.

maple dijon roasted carrots

When I was growing up I absolutely loved carrots, and could plow through a bag of baby carrots (with a tub of ranch dip) in under an hour.

maple dijon roasted carrots | Brooklyn Homemaker

There’s just something so refreshing and satisfying about the fresh sweet crunch of a fresh carrot. Cooked carrots though, were another story.

I hated them so much I can’t tell you. I think it was probably a textural thing as soft and mushy were the exact opposite of everything I thought a carrot was supposed to be. I also think I may have been traumatized by an abundance of rubbery flavorless frozen ripple cut carrot disks.

maple dijon roasted carrots | Brooklyn Homemaker

Either way, it all began to change a few years ago when a roommate made me some baby carrots in an orange juice glaze with tons of butter. Despite my hatred I ate a few of them to be polite, but after one bite my whole world changed. They were sweet and buttery and slightly salty and tender and delicate and wonderful in a way I’d never experienced. A love of cooked carrots blossomed from that moment on.

maple dijon roasted carrots | Brooklyn Homemaker

While we’re on the subject of food likes and dislikes, let’s talk about my husband for a moment shall we?

When we were first dating he confidently announced one night that he was “allergic” a laundry list of foods including eggs and mushrooms, two of my favorite things in the world. I also learned that beyond his “allergies” he was also a picky eater in general, never used condiments on sandwiches or burgers, and especially hated all forms of mustard, another one of my favorite things.

To someone who used culinary prowess as a way to bring all the boys to the yard, a beau with food allergies and picky eating habits was completely devastating.

maple dijon roasted carrots | Brooklyn Homemaker

Eventually I built up the courage to sneak some of these alleged “allergens” into a meal to witness his reaction, or lack thereof, first hand. Now, before you recoil in horror and call me a monster, rest assured that I had spoken with him in great depth about his “symptoms” and knew with 110% certainty that his “allergies” were not life threatening or even harmful in any way other than a vague irritation. I realize still that this was an irresponsible and potentially dangerous way of calling him on his bull, but I was young and my judgement was clouded by the emotional rollercoaster of having my love of food and my growing love for my future husband pitted against one another.

So anyway, one night I mixed a few finely diced mushrooms into a pasta dish just to see how he’d react, and just as I suspected, he didn’t react at all. After we’d finished our meal and had another glass of wine or two, I explained what I had done and had a long and boozey conversation with him about his food issues. The conversation finally culminated in a tearful realization and admission that he just didn’t like these foods and that his “allergies” were all in his head.

maple dijon roasted carrots | Brooklyn Homemaker

To this day he still won’t even come into the kitchen when I’m making myself an egg for breakfast, but mushrooms have actually become one of his absolute favorite foods. Armed with the knowledge that he can be swayed, I’ve also made it my mission to get him to like, or at least not hate, my beloved mustard.

I don’t ever expect that he’ll reach for a knife and slather some brown deli mustard on his sandwich, but I really really REALLY want to be able to at least cook with mustard again. Dijon has always been one of my secret weapons in the kitchen. A tablespoon or two added to a sauce adds just enough sharp tangy acidity to brighten up any dish. I especially miss being able to cook with mustard in the fall, when I could and would be pairing it with apples and pork, maple syrup, brussels sprouts, salad dressings, and the like, but haven’t been able to for years.

maple dijon roasted carrots | Brooklyn Homemaker

Being a truly devious man on a mission, a while back I started sneaking small amounts of mustard into sauces and dressings just to see if he’d notice or complain. Slow and steady wins the race, as they say, and I’m finally reaching a point where he can actually taste the mustard in certain dishes and doesn’t seem to mind anymore.

The flavor still needs to be subtle for him to be okay with it, but we’re getting there.

maple dijon roasted carrots | Brooklyn Homemaker

This beautiful dish from our Fakesgiving dinner is the perfect balance of bright vinegary dijon mustard, sweet caramely maple syrup, rich salty butter, fresh woodsy green thyme and parsley, and tender earthy sweet carrots. Since the carrots are roasted not boiled, they are packed with flavor and wonderfully tender with a subtle crispness on the ends and edges. The sauce seems loose initially, but in the oven the butter, maple, and mustard caramelize and thicken and coat the carrots perfectly and give them an elegant autumnal flavor that’s perfect for Thanksgiving.

I recommend using multiple colors of carrots if you can find them. Not only do they make for a more beautiful, dramatic presentation, but they also offer slight variations in flavor and sweetness. My local grocery store carries mixed bags of yellow, orange, and purple carrots and these days I don’t believe they’re difficult to find in most parts of the country. Standard orange carrots would work just fine though in a pinch.

I like to think that this is one of those gateway dishes that will convert even the most avid cooked carrot, or mustard, hater and guide them on the path toward food love.

maple dijon roasted carrots | Brooklyn Homemaker

Maple Dijon Roasted Carrots

  • Servings: about 6-ish
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2 lbs carrots (multiple colors if possible)
4 tablespoons butter
2 to 3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup dark amber (real) maple syrup
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard (optional)
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 400F.
Wash, dry, and peel carrots and place in a shallow dish long and wide enough to fit them all.

Add butter and thyme to a small saucepan and heat over a medium flame to melt butter. Continue to warm the butter for 1 to 2 minutes. The butter should take on a green-ish tint from the thyme leaves. Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes. In a small bowl combine maple syrup, mustards, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Whisk in butter until smooth and well combined.

Pour the butter/syrup mixture over the carrots and toss to coat. Arrange the carrots on a parchment lined baking sheet, and use a spatula to scrape any remaining butter/syrup mixture over them. You may want to use two sheets of parchment to make sure the whole pan is completely covered.  Roast until tender and brown, for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, using tongs to turn each carrot about 30 minutes in. Watching carefully that the sugar in the maple syrup doesn’t burn onto the parchment. Top with chopped parsley before serving.