Blog Posts by YumSugar

  • The Best and Worst Seasonal Peppermint Sweets

    POPSUGAR FoodSource: The Best and Worst Seasonal Peppermint Sweets

    Part thrill, part nightmare, the Christmas season is making an earlier appearance than ever with the abundant limited-edition, peppermint-flavored sweets filling grocery store shelves. We raided the aisles to bring you the very worst and best of the holiday-themed candies, cookies, chocolates, and more. As a bonus, we'll even show you the best way to eat all of the treats together at once, in GIF form. May your Christmas be sweet and your pantry peppered with only the most delicious mint-flavored treats!

    • M&M's White Chocolate Peppermint: Eek, M&M's White Chocolate Peppermint ($3) has it all wrong. The chocolate tastes fake, the candy is too sweet, and the mint flavoring is just bad. Avoid at all costs. Save the sugar and calories for something delicious . . . like something further down the slideshow.
      Stars: 1.5
    • Hershey's Candy Cane Bar: We don't have time for imitation treats! Hershey's Candy Cane Bar ($1) tastes
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  • Warning: Sweet Potato Pie is Severely Addictive

    Source: Warning: Sweet Potato Pie Is Severely Addictive

    I just completed a dry run of my upcoming Thanksgiving feast - a fancified version of turkey breast, a few of my favorite vegetable sides, and my first-ever sweet potato pie. The sweet potato pie may have been my first, but it certainly won't be my last. It's the perfect balance of textures and flavors: more soufflé-like than custardy in texture, with a crispy graham cracker and butter crust to keep each bite interesting. But in my opinion, it's the candied-nut cream topping, with its caramelized crunch and cool-whipped consistency, that makes me absolutely crazy for it. Like, stand-over-the-counter, just-one-more-piece-and-I'm-done crazy for it.

    More from POPSUGAR Food: Lightened Up, Just as Delicious: 46 New T-Day Recipes

    From Real Simple

    Sweet Potato Pie With Candied-Nut Cream


    1 pound sweet potatoes
    12 graham crackers
    5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    2 tablespoons granulated sugar

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  • 10 Party-Ready Pantry Items to Always Keep Stocked

    POPSUGAR FoodSource: 10 Party-Ready Pantry Items to Always Keep Stocked

    The holiday is a time for festive lights, edible gifts, seasonal music, and, of course, fabulous parties. This time of year, it's impossible to know who may stop by my apartment on the way home from Christmas shopping or before a spirited Saturday on the town, so have the provisions on hand to throw together a quick, snackable spread. Here are 10 ingredients essential to hosting an impromptu evening of holiday entertaining.

    • Salami: Fat slices of porky, spicy salami are a hearty nibble. Set the entire chunk of salami on a cutting board, and let guests help themselves.
    • Cheese: There are always at least two kinds of cheese in my refrigerator. For parties, select interesting and exotic cheese, stock up on a variety of milks and textures, and serve a creamy cheese next to a hard cheese.
    • Crackers: You can't have cheese without crackers! They provide an element of crunch to go along with the rest of your charcuterie or cheese
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  • Arrange the Perfect Thanksgiving Cheese Plate

    POPSUGAR FoodSource: Arrange the Perfect Thanksgiving Cheese Plate

    Let's be honest; the turkey you planned to serve by 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving will probably not be done until the sun sets. To keep hungry guests from dipping into the side dishes or from imbibing too many mimosas predinner, you must make the ultimate cheese plate. Here's what you need to remember when buying and serving the cheese and its accompaniments.

    • Pick a variety: When going to a cheesemonger, explain how many people you are serving, so he can help you with portioning. Ask for a variety of cheeses (cow, goat, and sheep) with different textures. Soft, crumbly goat cheese; oozy brie; semisoft manchego (sheep's milk); aged dutch gouda; and hard parmesan reggiano are mild, crowd-winning options. Consider buying at least one pungent and strong cheese, too, like a blue cheese, for serious cheese-lovers.
    • Choose accompaniments: Consult the cheesemonger for recommended cheese pairings. Toasted walnuts, honey, figs, fruit
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  • The Most Beautiful Butternut Squash Recipes

    Source: The Most Beautiful Butternut Squash Recipes

    All hail the mighty butternut squash! Its creamy consistency; mellow, buttery flavor; and golden-orange hue make it an ideal addition to salads, soups, pasta, pizza, and more. Take a look at these eight great recipes for squash-piration.

    Pasta With Butternut Squash Sauce
    Pasta dressed with creamy but mild alfredo sauce or a plate brightened by butternut squash sauce, warming spices, and sage? The choice is obvious.

    From Alex Guarnaschelli

    Penne With Butternut Squash Sauce and Squash Caponata


    For the squash sauce:
    2 medium butternut squash, split lengthwise and seeded
    Kosher salt
    Freshly ground white pepper
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    8 tablespoons unsalted butter
    3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
    1 orange
    1 cup skim milk
    1/2 cup heavy cream

    For the caponata:
    2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into small 1/2-inch cubes
    1 tablespoon granulated sugar
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

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  • What to Do If Your Turkey's Still Frozen

    Source: What to Do If Your Turkey's Still Frozen

    If it's crunch time and you've reached for the turkey in the fridge only to realize it's still a frigid solid mass, don't freeze: we've got some methods for quick thawing, pointers for how to know when your turkey's completely defrosted, and what to do if you don't have time to thaw your bird.

    For our favorite quick-thaw method, try submerging the turkey (with its wrapping still on) in a sink or a cooler full of cold water, changing out the water every half hour. Allow 30 minutes to thaw for each pound of turkey. (If math's not your thing, then simply plug the weight of your turkey into this defrost calculator.)

    Once you've allowed your turkey to thaw, perform two tests on the bird to confirm that it's completely defrosted: reach your hand into the bird's cavity to make sure there aren't any ice crystals, and poke the thicker parts of the turkey with a fork. If you get icicles doing either one of these, then your turkey needs

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  • How to Make Challah Bread Rolls

    POPSUGAR FoodSource: How to Make Challah Bread Rolls

    The Thanksgivukkah table needs a bread roll of some sort, so why not make it challah? Start by making a challah dough recipe, and then follow these how-to steps to create adorable challah bundles of bready joy.

    • Cut the Dough: Once the dough has finished rising, use a bench scraper to cut the dough into even pieces. For this particular recipe, I cut the dough into 32 pieces. It should be noted that those challah buns become hamburger-bun-sized (perfect for turkey sandwiches the next day). If you want smaller challah rolls, then cut the dough into 64 pieces . . . and enlist the entire family to help. After all, making challah is more fun with a group.
    • Roll Each Piece Out: Take each piece of challah, and carefully hand roll it out on a flat surface until it takes on a long, thin snake shape. Try to keep each piece even in length and width.
    • Crisscross: Take two rolled-out pieces of dough, and crisscross them.
    • Twist and Pinch:
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  • Avoid the Dreaded Thanksgiving Oven Jam

    Source: Avoid the Dreaded Thanksgiving Oven Jam

    Thanksgiving typically involves appetizers, a cornucopia of vegetables cooked every which way, a huge turkey, stuffing, and inevitably some kind of pie. Factor in the reality that most of these items require oven cooking, and you might just have a stressful oven situation on your hands. So how does one avoid an oven jam while making sure all of the day's dishes are done at the same time? The key is to keep in mind how much oven space there is to work with and to adjust the menu accordingly.

    • Select appetizers that can be made ahead of time and be served cold or that don't require oven time at all. Caramelized leek, goat cheese, and bacon dip or microwaveable spinach artichoke dip served with sliced bread or fresh vegetables would be two great options.
    • Cook anything that you can the day before to save time and oven space.
    • A surprising number of dishes can be made ahead of time and served at room temperature. Think green beans,
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  • 10 Hostess Gifts to Bring on Thanksgiving

    POPSUGAR FoodSource: 10 Hostess Gifts to Bring on Thanksgiving

    When someone invites you into her home to celebrate a special holiday like Thanksgiving, show your appreciation by bringing a hostess gift. Start by thinking about your hostess and her entertaining style, then select an item that she will truly enjoy. Need some suggestions? Here are 10 hostess gifts we think she's bound to love.

    • Flowers: A fresh bouquet of flowers is always a lovely gift and doubles as a great Thanksgiving centerpiece. Cut and arrange some Fall flowers in a vase, tie with a pretty bow, and give the whole thing to the hostess. This way she won't have to find a vase, fill it with water, and cut the flowers in the middle of her party.
    • Box of Macarons: There are many mail-order macaron bakeries, so rather than traveling with your gift, arrange for it to arrive at the hostess's address. We're partial to the Payard 24-Piece Parisian Macarons ($55) due to their delicate packaging, delightful texture, and assortment of
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  • The Latest Crazy Hybrid: Mac and Cheese Pizza

    Source: The Latest Crazy Hybrid: Mac and Cheese Pizza

    When Annie's Homegrown sent us the link to its newest commercial for macaroni and cheese pizza ($8), available at Super Target, we marveled like children at the thought of such an incredible hybrid. It's a pizza crust with a layer of cheddar sauce, a sprinkling of elbow noodles, and shredded cheese topping.

    As we unwrapped the package, there was no doubt about the flavor of this pizza. Some frozen pizzas skimp on the cheese, but not this one. There's plenty of shredded cheese to go around, along with fluffy cornmeal-coated crust.

    After a trip to the oven, the pizza emerged golden brown, and the cheese bubbled like hot lava. And hot lava it was, as we couldn't wait for it to cool before plowing in to try a slice. The pizza crust itself is doughy, soft, and definitely kid-friendly. Having grown up on Annie's mac and cheese, the actual mac and cheese section of the pizza tasted more like frozen Stouffer's, a little gritty and

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