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So This is Christmas Cocktail

So This is Christmas Cocktail

So This is Christmas Cocktail

 

1/2 ounce Rosemary Simple Syrup (see below)

1/2 ounce pomegranate juice

1 tsp. pomegranate seeds

Champagne, for topping glass

Rosemary sprig, for garnish

 

Rosemary Simple Syrup:

1/2 C. water

1/2 C. sugar

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

2 cardamom pods

2 small fresh rosemary sprigs

 

 

In a champagne flute or highball glass, combine the rosemary syrup, pomegranate juice, and pomegranate seeds. Top off the glass with champagne and add a rosemary sprig for garnish.

 

Rosemary Simple Syrup: Combine ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Strain, transfer to a lidded jar and refrigerate; the syrup will keep for up to 2 weeks.

 

Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 11mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 48g

 

Cranberry White Chocolate Tart

Cranberry White Chocolate Tart

Cranberry White Chocolate Tart

 

crust

1 1/2 C. gluten-free oats

1/2 C. raw almonds

5 T. coconut oil (melted)**

2 T. maple syrup

 

cranberry layer

2 C. cranberries (fresh or frozen)

1 C. water

1/4 C. maple syrup

1 tsp. agar agar (substitute with gelatin powder 1:1 ratio)

 

white chocolate layer

â…” C. coconut milk (sub with cashew milk)

1 C. raw cashews (soaked*)

¾ C. cacao butter (sub with vegan white chocolate), melted and cooled

1/3 C. maple syrup

Pinch of salt

4 T. vegan white chocolate, melted and cooled

 

For the crust add oats and almonds into a food processor. Pulse until combined and add maple syrup and coconut oil. Process into a moist mixture. Firmly press dough into the tart and press up on the sides as well. Bake at 350F for about 10-15 minutes until crust appears golden brown. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes and then transfer onto a cooling rack. In a small saucepan add cranberries, water and maple syrup. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes over low-medium heat until cranberries have broken down. With a hand mixer puree cranberries and add a little bit of water if sauce is too thick. Add 1 tsp. of agar agar powder (or gelatin powder) and simmer for another 5 minutes over low-medium heat. Set aside to cool for a couple minutes, then spread cranberry jam/sauce into the crust (½ way full) and let set in the fridge for another 15 minutes. In the meantime prepare the white chocolate layer. Melt white chocolate and cacao butter in a small saucepan over low heat and set aside.  In a food processor or high speed blender add cashews, maple syrup and coconut milk. Process until completely smooth. Add melted chocolate/cacao butter and process until combined. Pour white chocolate mixture into the tart and let set in the refrigerator for about 2-3 hours. Garnish with sugar coated cranberries and white chocolate chips and serve immediately. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

 

Notes

*soak cashews in water overnight or for at least 3-4 hours.

**use refined (vs unrefined) coconut oil to avoid coconut flavor

Candy Cane Cookies

Candy Cane Cookies

Candy Cane Cookies

 

2 ½ C. flour

Dash salt

2 sticks butter, softened

½ C. sugar

2 large egg yolks

1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

12 mini-candy canes

 

Sift flour and salt into a bowl. In a large bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer. Slowly add sugar; beat until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add yolks and vanilla; beat until smooth. Slowly add flour mixture; beat until dough comes together. Wrap in foil; chill 1 hour. Meanwhile, put candy canes in a zip-close bag and crush them. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough 1-inch thick, press out shapes, and place on cookie sheets. Press candy pieces on top. Bake 10 minutes, or until just golden. Remove from sheet; cool.

 

Yield:  48 servings

Calories:  73

Fat:  4g

Fiber: 0g

Christmas Tree Squares

Christmas Tree Squares

Christmas Tree Squares

1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

11 T. (about 2/3 cup) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 C. granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 T. milk

1 tsp. vanilla

 

8 T. unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp. almond extract

pinch salt

4 C. confectioners’ sugar

3 to 4 T. milk

red and green food coloring

 

To prepare the dough. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in egg, milk and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Scoop mixture into a 10″ x 15″ baking pan coated with cooking spray, then spread to an even thickness. Place into the oven and bake until set, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set pan on a wire rack to cool completely. To prepare the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, almond extract and salt until smooth. Mix in confectioners’ sugar. Gradually add enough milk until you get a spreadable consistency. Scoop out 1/2 C. frosting and set aside. Spread remaining frosting over the cooled slab of baked bars. Slice into 24 bars. Tint half of reserved frosting with red coloring and the other half with green. Pipe a tree design in center of each square, alternating colors every other bar.

Cinnamon Cardinal Cookies

Cinnamon Cardinal Cookies

Cinnamon Cardinal Cookies

½ C. butter, softened

½ C. packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 C.  all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon or cardamom

1/3 C. whipping cream

48 miniature chocolate chips

Red, black and yellow decorator sugar crystals

 

In large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy; stir in vanilla. In small bowl, stir together flour, soda and cinnamon. On low speed, beat flour mixture into butter mixture alternately with cream. Divide dough in half. Wrap halves in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray or grease 2 large cookie sheets. On lightly floured surface, roll half of dough at a time about 1/8 inch thick. Using 3-inch lightly floured cardinal-shaped cookie cutter, cut out cookies and place on cookie sheets. Place miniature chocolate chip on each for eye. Sprinkle top of back, crown, tail and wing of each bird with red sugar crystals, neck and eye with black sugar crystals, and beak with yellow sugar crystals. Leave bottom breast of bird without sugar. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until light brown and set.

Ombre Sugar Cookie Bars

Ombre Sugar Cookie Bars

Ombre Sugar Cookie Bars

 

1/2 C. Butter, softened

1/2 C. sugar

1 large Egg

1 T. milk

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/4 C. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

 

2 1/4 C. powdered sugar

3/4 C. Butter, softened

1/8 tsp. salt

1 to 2 T. Heavy Whipping Cream

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Green food color

 

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine 1/2 C. butter, sugar, and egg in bowl. Beat at medium speed, until creamy. Add milk and 2 tsp. vanilla. Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Add flour and baking powder; beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.  Spread into bottom of ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Bake 23-26 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely. Combine powdered sugar, 3/4 C. butter, and 1/8 tsp. salt in bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Add whipping cream and 2 tsp. vanilla; continue beating until smooth. Divide frosting in half. Tint one-half with 30 drops green food color. Divide remaining white frosting in half again. Tint one-half with 6 drops green food color. Leave remaining frosting white. Dollop white frosting into center of cookie. Dollop light green frosting around white. Dollop dark green frosting around light green. Using offset spatula, carefully spread frosting in a circular motion to create ombre pattern, wiping off spatula every time it’s lifted off cookie.  Cut cookie into 12 wedges to create Christmas trees.

Baby Polar Bear Shortbread Cookies

Baby Polar Bear Shortbread Cookies

Baby Polar Bear Shortbread Cookies

1 C. butter, softened

¾ C. granulated sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon salt

2 ¼ C. Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour

 

1 C. powdered sugar

3 to 5 teaspoons milk

¼ teaspoon vanilla

 

¾ C. grated white chocolate baking bar (about 1 oz from 4-oz package)

76 white vanilla baking chips, tips cut off (about 1/4 cup)

76 mini semisweet chocolate chips (about 2 teaspoons)

19 small round chocolate-covered creamy mints, cut in half

1 pouch (7 oz) Betty Crocker™ Cookie Icing chocolate icing

 

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and salt; beat until blended. Beat in flour gradually on low speed until soft dough forms. Shape dough into ball. On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 38 circles, gently pressing together and rerolling scraps as necessary. Onto ungreased cookie sheets, place circles 2 inches apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until edges are just beginning to brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely before decorating. In small bowl, stir together powdered sugar, 3 teaspoons milk and the vanilla until blended. If necessary, stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until smooth and desired consistency. To Decorate Cookies: Using knife, spread icing over cookies in thin layer. For each cookie, immediately sprinkle about 3/4 teaspoon white chocolate evenly over icing. Press into icing 2 vanilla baking chips, cut side down, for ears, 2 chocolate chips for eyes and 1 mint, cut side down, for nose. Using chocolate icing, pipe mouth.

Fennel Gratin

Fennel Gratin

Fennel Gratin

2 pounds fennel bulbs (about 3-4 bulbs), fronds and stems removed and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

1 T. oil

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 C. mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/2 C. panko bread crumbs (or regular bread crumbs)

1/2 C. parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated

2 tsp. thyme, chopped

1 T. oil

 

Boil the fennel in water until tender, about 5-6 minutes and drain. Toss the fennel in the olive oil along with the salt and pepper and place it into a baking dish. Sprinkle on the mozzarella. Mix the bread crumbs, parmesan, thyme and oil and sprinkle on top. Bake in a preheated 375F/190C oven, covered for 20 minutes, remove the cover and bake until the cheese is melted and golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Berry-Almond Sandwich Cookies

Berry-Almond Sandwich Cookies

Berry-Almond Sandwich Cookies

1-1/2 C. butter, softened

1 C. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2-3/4 C. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2 C. ground almonds

3/4 C. raspberry filling

Edible glitter or confectioners’ sugar

 

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in almonds. On a heavily floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-in. thickness. With floured 2-1/2-in. cookie cutters, cut into desired shapes . Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 325° for 10-12 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Spread 1 tsp. raspberry filling over the bottom of half of the cookies; top with remaining cookies. Sprinkle with edible glitter or confectioners’ sugar. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 3 dozen.

Chewy Gingerbread Hugging Cookies

Chewy Gingerbread Hugging Cookies

Chewy Gingerbread Hugging Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 T. ground cinnamon

1 T. ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened slightly

3/4 cup unsulphured molasses

2 tablespoons milk

 

Candied Nuts or Candies for the hugs

 

In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, stir together flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt, and baking soda at low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Stop mixer and add butter pieces; mix at medium-low speed until mixture is sandy and resembles fine meal, about 1 1/2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and, with mixer running, gradually add molasses and milk; mix until dough is evenly moistened, about 20 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix until thoroughly combined, about 10 seconds. Scrape dough onto work surface and divide in half. Working with one portion of dough at a time, roll 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick between two large sheets of parchment paper. Leaving dough sandwiched between parchment layers, stack on cookie sheet and freeze until firm, 20-25 minutes. (You could also refrigerate the dough 2 hours or overnight.) Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Remove one dough sheet from freezer; place on work surface. Peel off top parchment sheet and gently lay it back in place. Flip dough over; peel off and discard second parchment layer. Cut dough into desired shapes and transfer the shapes to your parchment-lined cookie sheets. Space them at least an inch apart. Repeat with remaining dough until cookie sheets are full. Bake cookies until set in centers and dough barely retains imprint when touched very gently with fingertip, 8 to 11 minutes, rotating cookie sheets front to back and switching positions top to bottom halfway through baking time. Do not overbake or they won’t be chewy. Cool cookies on sheets 2 minutes, then remove with wide metal spatula to wire rack; cool to room temperature. Gather scraps; repeat rolling, cutting, and baking with remaining dough until all dough is used.

Cranberry Fritters

Cranberry Fritters

Cranberry Fritters

1 C. cranberries

1/4 C. sugar

1/2 C. water

2 C. all-purpose flour

3/4 C. sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

 

2 eggs

1/4 C. ice water

1 apple, peeled and diced

Confectioner’s sugar

Raspberry jam

Oil for frying

 

In a saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar and water. Over high heat, cook until berries begin to burst. Remove from heat and chill. Sift together flour, sugar and baking powder. Separate eggs. Beat egg yolks with ice water. Add the sifted dry ingredients, apple, cranberries and any liquid in the pan used to cook them. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into cranberry mixture. In a deep skillet or deep fat fryer, heat 1 or 2 inches of oil to 350 degrees. For each fritter, drip 2 T. of batter into the oil. Cook 1 minute, flip the fritters over, and continue frying until golden. This may have to be done in batches; be sure oil returns to 350 degrees between batches. Drain fritters on paper towels and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve with raspberry jam.

Bûche de Noël Log

Bûche de Noël Log

Bûche de Noël Log

6 egg whites
3/4 C. sugar
6 egg yolks
3/4 C. flour
1 C. canned pumpkin
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 C. confectioner’s sugar
1/4 C. chopped pecans, toasted
2 T. each butter and milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Prepare 15″ x 10″ x 1″ jellyroll pan. Spray with non-stick cooking spray; line with wax paper; spray again. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/4 C. sugar, beating until stiff peaks form when beater is raised. Set aside. Beat yolks at high speed gradually adding 1/2 C. sugar until very thick. At low speed, beat in flour, pumpkin, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Fold mixture into egg whites. Spread into jellyroll pan. Bake at 375º for 15 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed with fingertip. Turn out on towel sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar. Remove wax paper. Roll up starting with short end. Cool on rack 1 hour, seam side down. In bowl beat cream cheese with confectioner’s sugar, pecans, butter, milk and vanilla. Unroll cake. Spread cheese mixture to within 1-inch of edges. Roll cake; place seam side down on serving plate. Chill at least 1 hour. Makes 10-12 servings. Refrigerate leftovers.

Pile o’ Presents Cheeseballs

Pile o’ Presents Cheeseballs

Pile o’ Presents Cheeseballs

1/2 C. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
24 oz. (3 packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
2 T. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground white pepper

8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
3/4 C. dried cranberries, finely chopped
2 T ginger apple chutney (or other flavorful chutney)
6-8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1 shallot, finely chopped (should yield about 1/4 c)
1 C. finely chopped pecans
8 oz. chèvre
1/2 C. green onions, finely chopped (whites & greens)
1/3 C. fresh parsley, finely chopped
Additional dried cranberries, green onions, parsley leaves, and pecan halves to “wrap” packages
Various crackers for serving


Combine butter, cream cheese, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper, salt, and white pepper in a large bowl. Mix well until smooth & creamy. Divide the mixture evenly into three separate bowls, using the original mixing bowl for one third. To the first bowl, add the cheddar, cranberries, and chutney and mix well. To the second bowl, add the feta, shallot, and pecans and mix well. To the third bowl, add the chèvre, green onions, and parsley and mix well. Find a serving platter large enough to hold three cheeseballs and crackers and set aside. Stretch out a piece of plastic wrap to about 2 feet long. Scoop the contents of one bowl onto the plastic wrap and fold the wrap around the cheese. Mold the cheese to the desired shape using your hands. Gently pull the plastic wrap away from the cheese and carefully place the cheeseball onto the serving platter. Repeat with new plastic wrap for the other two mixtures, shaping each one slightly differently to make your pile of packages more interesting. Refrigerate for at least one hour. After an hour, the cheeseballs should be fairly firm. “Wrap” your packages by arranging the additional cranberries, green onions, parsley leaves, and pecan halves (each to their respective flavor) as you would ribbons and bows. Use your creativity! Return the cheeseballs to the fridge until 1 hour prior to serving. Remove one hour prior to serving. Arrange crackers around the cheeseballs, providing an additional bowl of crackers on the side.

Christmas Cookies – From Simple to Spectacular

Christmas Cookies – From Simple to Spectacular

Everyone is pressed for time during the holidays, but that shouldn’t stop you from making a lovely batch of Christmas cookies. Our treats look great whether unadorned or dressed to the nines, so you can tailor them to suit your interest (and schedule). They’re all made with the same sugar cookie dough and frosting, so you can mix and match. And even the most basic versions are pretty enough to decorate a tree or window. You’ll find sources for the special equipment and decorations, plus packaging ideas. Or try different cookie cutters and add your favorite colors and decorations. Just get baking!

Christmas Cookies – From Simple to Spectacular

Favorite Sugar Cookie Dough

1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a bowl, with an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat room-temperature butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Stir or beat in flour until well blended. Flatten dough into a 1-inch-thick disk. On a lightly floured board, roll dough about 1/8 inch thick. Follow directions below to make cookies.

Royal Icing

4 cups (1 lb.) powdered sugar
3 tablespoons meringue powder
food coloring
Preparation

In a large bowl, combine 4 cups (1 lb.) powdered sugar, 6 tablespoons water, and 3 tablespoons meringue powder (or omit water and meringue powder and use 6 tablespoons pasteurized egg whites). With an electric mixer on low speed, beat until evenly moistened, then beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. Controlling consistency of icing is simple: If icing is too thick, add a few drops of water; if it’s too thin, gradually add more powdered sugar.

Tint icing with food coloring as desired; to make all three cookie designs with Favorite Sugar Cookie Dough, divide icing into four portions and tint three blue, green, or red, leaving one white.

Ornaments
1. With a floured cookie cutter, cut ornament shapes from cookie dough.
2. Make an imprint in the center of each cookie by lightly pressing a star-shape cookie cutter into dough, making sure not to cut all the way through.
3. Use a drinking straw to poke a hole in each cookie. Transfer to baking sheets lined with cooking parchment.
4. Bake in a 300° oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks to cool.
5. Serve when cool, or thread a ribbon through each hole, tie, and hang from a tree or in a window.
To make them special: Prepare cookies as above, but skip step 2. With a small offset spatula, spread a thin layer of tinted icing on each ornament.
To make them spectacular: Follow directions above for special version; let icing dry. With a pastry bag fitted with a #2 plain tip and filled with icing, create raised accents. Sprinkle sanding sugar over the still-wet piping, then tilt and tap cookie to remove excess. Add dragées.

Wreaths
1. With a floured 3- to 4-inch fluted-edge cookie cutter, cut out large circles from cookie dough. With a floured 1- to 2-inch cutter, cut out a circle in each cookie. Transfer cookies to baking sheets lined with cooking parchment. Gather scraps, reroll, and cut out more wreaths.
2. Bake in a 300° oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks to cool.
3. Serve when cool, or thread a ribbon through each wreath and hang from a tree or in a window.
To make them special: With a pastry bag fitted with a #2 plain tip and filled with green icing, pipe “branches” onto the wreath. Or with a small offset spatula, spread a thin layer of tinted icing on each wreath.
To make them spectacular: Follow directions for special version; with a pastry bag fitted with a #2 plain tip and filled with red icing, apply “berries” to each wreath. Sprinkle sanding sugar over the still-wet icing, then tilt and tap cookie to remove excess.

Cutout Cookies
1. With a floured square cookie cutter with a fluted edge, cut out 20 cookies from cookie dough. Transfer to baking sheets lined with cooking parchment.
2. With smaller floured cookie cutters (we used a pear shape), cut out 20 top pieces from dough. If necessary, gather scraps, reroll, and cut out more top pieces.
3. Brush the back of each top piece with a little water and press gently onto squares.
4. Bake in a 300° oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks to cool.
To make them special: With a small offset spatula, spread a thin layer of tinted icing on each top piece.
To make them spectacular: Follow directions for special version; use a pastry bag fitted with a #2 plain tip and filled with icing to create dots and leaves. If desired, apply a bit of gold leaf while icing is still moist.

Everything you need to make holiday treats: You don’t need many tools to make our Christmas cookies―just cookie cutters, a pastry bag, a straw, a small spatula, and some ribbon. You’ll find the following decorative sugars and candies at gourmet specialty markets, but you can also make substitutions: Use granulated sugar instead of sanding sugar, and swap in cinnamon Red Hots or nonpareils for the dragées.
Assorted cookie cutters. We used a piece of cardboard as a template for the ornament, but the fluted-edge round and square cutters for the wreath and cutout cookies can be found on Amazon.com. A similar mini pear cookie cutter is available from the Cookie Cutter Factory (866/255-9194). Pinocchio Productions sells an eight-point star cookie cutter. CopperGifts.com (620/421-0654) has a vast selection, including many star shapes, as do Michaels craft stores (800/642-4235 for store locations).
Decorative sparkle. We used a combination of dragées (dra-zhays), edible gold, matte red decoratifs, and sanding sugar. (Silver dragées are for decoration only; avoid eating them.) Look for nonmetallic dragées and sanding sugar in gourmet supermarkets, kitchen stores, Michaels, at ChefShop.com (877/337-2491), or on Amazon.com. Fancy Flours (406/522-8887) sells decoratifs, sanding sugar, and dragées. Edible gold is available at Sur La Table ($35 for 150 mg; 800/243-0852).
A pastry bag fitted with a #2 plain tip. Fill it with icing to create fine lines for making branches on the wreath cookies and adding stripes and dots to the ornament and cutout cookies. You’ll find bags and tips at kitchen stores such as Sur La Table as well as at craft stores like Michaels.

Holiday Cheesecake Presents

Holiday Cheesecake Presents

presents1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

3 tablespoons sugar

3 packages cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

 

Mix crumbs, butter and 3 tablespoons sugar, press onto bottom of 13″x9″ baking pan.  Mix cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.  Pour over crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until center is almost set.  Cool.  Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.  Cut into bars.  Decorate bars with decorator gels and sprinkles to resemble presents.  Store leftover bars in refrigerator.

 

Yield:

Calories:

Fat:

Fiber:

French Toast Christmas Tree

French Toast Christmas Tree

tree2 slices French toast, cut diagonally and sprinkled with green decorator sugar

2 links brown ‘n serve breakfast sausage

1 slice star fruit

Confectioner’s sugar

 

Overlap triangles to make body of tree. Place sausages at bottom to make trunk and top with star. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar to make snow.

 

 

Yield:

Calories:

Fat:

Fiber:

Ornaments from the Kitchen

Ornaments from the Kitchen

Gingerbread Ornaments

 

3/4 cup of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of allspice

2 tablespoons of cloves

1 tablespoon of nutmeg

1 cup of applesauce

 

Combine first 4 ingredients and blend well. Stir in applesauce and mix well. Roll out ¼ inch thick on ungreased cookie sheet. Cut with cookie cutters of different shapes. Put a tiny hole in top with toothpick. Let dry 4 days. Put string through hole and hang on Christmas tree.

 

 

Cinnamon Ornaments

 

1 cup of cinnamon

1 cup of applesauce

 

Mix equal parts of cinnamon and applesauce. A dash of cloves, nutmeg and/or ginger may be added. Roll out on a cinnamon-dusted board, rolling 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out with small cookie cutters. Using a pencil, make a small hole for a string near the top. Let dry thoroughly. Dough may be placed in plastic bag for later use.

 

Yield:

Calories:

Fat:

Fiber:

Cranberry Christmas Punch

Cranberry Christmas Punch

1 – 3 oz. package of cherry flavored gelatin

1 cup of boiling water

1 – 6 oz. can of frozen lemonade or pineapple-orange juice concentrate

3 cups of cold water

1 – 1 quart bottle of cranberry juice cocktail, chilled

1 – 1 pint of ginger ale, chilled

 

Dissolve cherry flavored gelatin in boiling water. Stir in lemonade or pineapple-orange juice concentrate. Add the cold water and the cranberry juice cocktail. Place in a large punch bowl two trays of ice cubes or a molded ice ring. Pour punch over ice. Slowly pour in chilled ginger ale. Fruit flavored sherbet may be added if desired.

 

Yield:

Calories:

Fat:

Fiber:

Snap Pea Christmas Trees

Snap Pea Christmas Trees

xmasSnap Peas

Cheese

Pretzel Sticks

 

Arrange peas on a plate in the shape of a tree. Add a cheese star (cut with a cookie cutter or knife) and a pretzel stick trunk and your healthy snack just got a whole lot more fun!

 

Yield:

Calories:

Fat:

Fiber:

Cranberry & Pistachio-Topped Jicama

Cranberry & Pistachio-Topped Jicama

1 Jicama

5oz. Blue Cheese Spread

1/3 C. Dried Sweetened Cranberries

1/3 C. Salted Pistachio nuts, chopped

 

Slice jicama into 1/4” slices.  Cut into holiday shapes with cookie cutters if desired.  Combine remaining ingredients and spoon onto jicama slices.  Refrigerate until serving.

Christmas Breakfast Omelet

Christmas Breakfast Omelet

Make the Night Before

10 slices of bread
1/2 lb. cheddar cheese, grated
1 lb. bacon, cooked
6 eggs
3 cups milk
1/2 tsp. salt

Trim crust off bread, cube and put into ungreased 9 x 12 baking dish Cover bread
with grated cheese Put a layer of crumbled bacon over cheese In large bowl beat
eggs, add milk and salt Pour milk mixture over bread, cheese and bacon Let stand
in fridge over night Bake 45 mins at 350 degrees serves 8

 

Oregon Snowball Cookies (PNW)

Oregon Snowball Cookies (PNW)

Oregon Snowball Cookies (PNW)

 

The classic Russian tea cake gets an Oregon twist with the addition of chopped fir needles and brandy. One of Portland’s first craft distilleries, Clear Creek Distillery, got its start back in 1985 and became famous for its pear-in-the-bottle eau de vie. Its Douglas Fir brandy, which I boil to reduce its alcohol content, adds a delicate, evocative evergreen note to these cookies. It’s almost more scent than taste, like a winter hike in cookie form. If you can’t get your hands on the brandy, see the Note below.

1/2 C. Clear Creek Distillery Douglas Fir Brandy or other brandy (see Note)

1 1/2 C. toasted hazelnuts

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 1/2 C. confectioners’ sugar, divided

2 tablespoons finely minced fresh fir tree needles (see Note)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 1/2 C. all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

 

Heat the oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the brandy to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced by half, to V4 cup. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. In a food processor or by hand, finely chop the hazelnuts. Set aside. In a food processor or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, process or beat the butter, 1/2 C. confectioners’ sugar, and minced fir needles until light and fluffy. Add the cooled brandy, vanilla extract, and salt and pulse or mix to combine. Add the flour and nuts and pulse or mix until fully incorporated. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and arrange on the baking sheets (place them about 1 inch apart; they don’t spread). Bake until just barely beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool slightly and then roll them in the remaining confectioners’ sugar. When completely cool, roll again. Serve or store in an airtight container. Note : I happen to have a true fir tree in my backyard, but if you don’t, look around the neighborhood or go for a walk. Just don’t use your Christmas tree, unless you know for certain it hasn’t been sprayed. If you use Douglas fir needles, keep in mind that they’re more potent. Note: For a brandv-free variation, in a food processor, process ¥2 C. granulated sugar with 2 tablespoons chopped fir needles until the needles are reduced to fine particles and blended into the sugar. Roll the baked cookies in the sugar while still slightly warm. When completely cool, roll in the confectioners’ sugar.

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark

The setting time for the bark varies greatly according to the temperature of your home. Although we preferred the texture of the bark set at room temperature, you can set bark in the refrigerator if necessary.

 

Line a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet with cooking parchment; butter parchment. Chop 2 pounds bittersweet  or milk chocolate and place with 1 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening in a heatproof bowl that will nest in a 3- to 4-quart pan. Heat 1 inch of water in the pan just until steaming. Remove from heat and place bowl over water (bowl shouldn’t touch water). Stir occasionally just until mixture is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over pan. Meanwhile, place 2 pounds peppermint candy in a heavy zip-lock plastic bag; pound with a mallet or rolling pin to crush. Transfer 1 1/4 cups crushed peppermint to a fine strainer; hold over melted chocolate and knock side to sift fine dust into chocolate. Reserve candy in strainer. Stir remaining unsifted peppermint into chocolate mixture. Using a flexible spatula, scrape onto parchment and spread 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick (mixture should almost cover sheet). Sprinkle with reserved peppermint from strainer; gently press into chocolate. Let stand at cool room temperature until completely firm, 4 to 6 hours, or overnight. Break or cut bark into pieces. Store airtight in a cool place up to 1 month.

Soft Whole-Wheat Ginger Spice Cookies

Soft Whole-Wheat Ginger Spice Cookies

Soft Whole-Wheat Ginger Spice Cookies

1 1/4 C. all-purpose flour

1 C. whole-wheat flour

2 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4-C. butter, softened

1 C. white sugar

1 egg

1 Tbs. water

1/4-C. molasses

2 T. white sugar

 

Preheat oven to 350F.  Stir together flours, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, pepper and salt. Set aside.  In a large bowl, cream together butter and one C. sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and then stir in water and molasses.  Gradually stir dry ingredients into molasses mixture.  Shape dough into walnut-sized balls and roll them in remaining two T. sugar.  Place the cookies two inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten slightly.  Bake for 8-10 minutes in preheated oven.  Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for five minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Christmas Flower Cookies

Christmas Flower Cookies

3/4 C. butter, softened

2/3 C. shortening

1-1/2 C. sugar

1 T. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

4 C. all-purpose flour

Paste or liquid food coloring

 

In a large mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour (dough should be stiff).  Cover and chill dough at least 2 hours or overnight until dough is easy to handle.  Divide dough into portions, one for each color that you want to use. Knead food coloring into each portion, adding it slowly until the desired color is reached (colors lighten slightly when dough is baked). If desired, lightly knead two colors together for dough with a marbled appearance.  Break off small pieces of different colors of dough and form into flower shapes. (As a guideline, use about 1/2 tsp. dough for each petal or leaf.)  Bake in a 300 degree F oven for 15 minutes or until edges are firm and cookies look set but bottoms are not brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool. Makes about 24 cookies.

 

Peppermint Cookies

Peppermint Cookies

Peppermint Sugar Candy Cane Cookies

 

1 cup unsalted butter; softened

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 egg

2-3 teaspoons flavoring; pick what you like

2 1/2 – 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

 

Edible Cookie Paint Color

Vanilla Peppermint Sugar

 

Cream together softened butter and confectioner’s sugar.  Crack the egg into a separate bowl and add the flavoring. I use emulsions but extract also works well.  Add that to the butter sugar mixture and mix until the egg is thoroughly incorporated.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then add little by little to the mixture. (I can tell the dough is ready when most of it sticks to the paddle. When I touch it, it has a little give, but does not stick to my fingers.)  Roll out on parchment to about 1/4 an inch thick, use flour for dusting as necessary.   Cut out.  (Decorate with Edible Paint and Peppermint Sugar) Then bake at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes.

 

 

Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies

 

2 sticks Unsalted butter

1 1/4 cup Caster sugar

2 Eggs, medium

3 tsp Peppermint extract

3 cups Plain flour

½ tsp Baking powder

Red food coloring

Green food coloring

Red, Green and white sprinkles

 

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until softened. Alternatively, you can make the cookie dough, in a large mixing bowl, by hand or with an electric hand whisk. Add the sugar to the softened butter and cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, to the creamed mixture. Beat well between adding each egg. Add the peppermint to the mixture and mix until well combined. Sift the flour and baking powder together and add to the mixture. Gently mix until the dough comes together and is smooth. Turn the cookie dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and split into 3 equal portions. Shape one piece of cookie dough into a rectangle, about 2cm thick, and wrap in cling film. This will be the white part of your cookie. Place one portion of cookie dough into the stand mixer bowl and add green food coloring. Mix well until all the cookie dough is green in color. Add more coloring until you get the color you want. The color will fade when baked, so it is best to go stronger on the coloring, rather than pale. Turn the green cookie dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into another rectangle, similar to the ‘white’ cookie dough. Wrap in cling film. Scrap down the mixer bowl and paddle to remove any remaining green dough. Place the final portion of cookie dough into the stand mixer bowl and add red food coloring. Mix well until all the cookie dough is red in color. Add more coloring until you get the color you want. Turn the red cookie dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into another rectangle, similar to the ‘white’ cookie dough. Wrap in cling film. Chill all 3 portions of cookie dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.

 

Remove the chilled cookie dough from the fridge and unwrap. Place the white cookie dough onto a large piece of cling film and place another piece of cling film on top. Gently roll the dough out into a large rectangle, until about 4mm thickness. Every 5 rolls, peel back the top layer of cling film to release the dough, replace and continue to roll out the dough. Repeat for the green and red cookie dough, so you have 3 pieces of cookie dough of similar size. Remove the top sheet of cling film from the white and red cookie doughs. Place the uncovered side of the red dough on top of the uncovered side of the white dough. Flip over the dough so the white dough is on top and remove the cling film. Remove the top sheet of cling film from the green cookie dough, and place on top of the white dough. Gently roll over the cookie dough to seal the three layers together. Remove the cling film from the top of the green dough layer, and from the narrow end begin to roll the cookie dough into a sausage. Use the bottom layer of cling film to pull the dough into a tight roll. Pour the sprinkles into a baking tray, it stops them rolling everywhere, and place the cookie dough sausage on top. Roll the sausage in the sprinkles so that they coat the dough. Wrap the sprinkle dough in a clean piece of cling film and chill in the fridge for 2 hours, or overnight.

 

Preheat the oven to 355F and line two large baking sheets with baking parchment. Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and unwrap. Using a sharp knife, slice the cookie dough into equal rounds, approximately 1cm in width. Place the rounds onto the baking parchment, leaving space between them to allow them to spread when baking. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a pale golden color. Slide the baked cookies and parchment off the baking tray and onto a wire rack to cool.

Flooded Christmas Light Cookies

Flooded Christmas Light Cookies

Flooded Christmas Light Cookies

Brown Sugar Roll-Out Cookies

 

3/4 c. unsalted butter

1 1/2 c. dark brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tbsp. milk, half and half, or orange juice

2 tsp. extract or emulsion {I used orange and vanilla}

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3 c. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. cinnamon {spices optional}

1 tsp. nutmeg

dash ground cloves

 

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, extract, and orange juice. Mix until fluffy. Sift together dry ingredients a cupful or so at a time until all of the dry mixture is incorporated. The dough should be soft but not sticky. If it’s sticky, add flour little by little until it isn’t. Divide dough into three parts, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes. Roll to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into shapes. Dusting lightly with flour as needed. Bake 375 for 8-10 minutes until tops are not shiny.

 

 

Royal Icing

 

2 pounds {one bag} confectioner’s sugar {907 grams}

5 tablespoons meringue powder {approximately 53 grams}

2-3 teaspoons oil-free extract or emulsion

1/2-3/4 cups warm water

Instructions

 

Begin by stirring the flavoring into half the water. Using a paddle attachment, gently mix the sugar and meringue powder. It’s not necessary to sift the sugar beforehand, but you can if you like. With the mixer on it’s lowest setting slowly add the water/flavoring mix to the dry ingredients. As the water is added, the icing will become thick and lumpy. Continue to add the remaining water {this may or may not be the entire amount} until the mixture reaches a thick, honey like consistency. At this point, turn the mixer to medium speed and whip 2-4 minutes until this icing is thick and fluffy. Mixing time can vary greatly so watch carefully and stop mixing when the icing is this enough to form a soft peak. Notes:  Don’t be afraid to experiment by adding corn syrup, glycerin, or cream of tartar to the mixture. Use a fan for a smooth shiny finish. Royal icing can be affected by many variables. With a little time and patience, you will find your perfect match.

 

https://www.sweetsugarbelle.com/2011/07/outlining-and-filling-cookies-with-royal-icing/

Mayberry Wassail

Mayberry Wassail

Mayberry Wassail

 

6 C. Apple Cider or Juice

1 Stick Cinnamon

6 cups apple cider or juice

1 stick cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup honey

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon rind

1 20-ounce can unsweetened pineapple juice

 

In a large pan heat the cider and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Keep over low heat or reheat in small batches as guests arrive.

Kale with Bacon and Chestnuts

Kale with Bacon and Chestnuts

Kale with Bacon and Chestnuts

This is a perfect Christmas-dinner side dish, especially for people who avoid Brussels sprouts. It also makes an excellent accompaniment to roast partridge or pheasant or can be served with a fried egg for supper.

 

1 1/2 pounds curly kale (or cavolo nero, or savoy or other winter cabbage)

2 T. canola or olive oil

6 ounces bacon, finely chopped

6 ounces peeled cooked chestnuts, coarsely chopped

1 T. unsalted butter

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Remove the tough stalks from the kale or other greens and coarsely shred the leaves. Cook the kale in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 3 to 4 minutes, until tender, then drain well and let stand to steam off excess moisture. Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan, add the oil, then the bacon, and fry over medium heat until it is just starting to become crisp. Toss the chestnuts into the pan, stirring well so they absorb the hot bacon fat. Add the kale, along with the butter and some salt and pepper. Toss well and serve right away.

Christmas Ham with Red-Eyed Gravy and Creamy Grits

Christmas Ham with Red-Eyed Gravy and Creamy Grits

4 1/2 C. milk

2 T. butter

Salt

Freshly ground white pepper

2 C. quick white grits

1 pound ham steak (fresh) or a leftover ham roast with juices from baking

1 C. strong coffee

8 slices white bread-toasted and buttered

 

In a saucepan, over medium heat, add the milk and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil. Whisk in the grits. Stir constantly for 6 minutes or until tender.  Set aside and keep warm. Heat a skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the ham and sear for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. (If using leftovers from a ham roast, add some of the juices from the pan.) Remove the ham from the pan and set aside. Stir in the coffee. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. To serve, cut the ham into four portions. Spoon the grits in the center of each plate. Lay each piece of the ham next to the grits. Spoon the gravy over the ham. Serve with toast.

String-of-Lights Cookie Wreath Shop

String-of-Lights Cookie Wreath Shop

 

1 C. butter, softened

1 C. margarine, softened

1 C. sifted powdered sugar

4 C. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

Plastic drinking straw

Frosting

20 to 25 chocolate-flavored candy coating drops, melted

Small pastry brush or paintbrush

Red or black licorice, cut into 8″ strips

Several 20″ x 30″ sheets of green tissue paper or Christmas fabric

 

Beat butter and margarine at low speed of an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture. Mix at low speed until blended. Roll dough to 3/8″ thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out cookies, using a 3″ spade-shaped cookie cutter (or use template on page 149). Place on ungreased baking sheets. Make a hole in “socket end” of each cookie, using a straw. Bake at 350° for 16 minutes. Let cookies cool on wire racks. Spread Frosting on the “bulb end” of each cookie, using the back of a small spoon. Place frosted cookies on wire racks to dry. When frosting is dry, brush “socket end” of each cookie with melted chocolate, using a small brush. Let dry. When cookies are completely dry, lace licorice strips through holes in cookies. Place tissue in a large flat box, if desired. Arrange cookies in a loose circle on tissue paper to resemble a string of Christmas lights. Note: Use these cookies as tree ornaments or as edible place cards at a children’s party. Write names on frosted cookies using tubes of decorating gel.

 

Frosting:

 

7 C. sifted powdered sugar

1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

25 vanilla-flavored candy coating drops, melted

Paste food coloring

Preparation

 

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large microwave-safe bowl; stir well. Gradually add melted vanilla-flavored drops, stirring slowly to avoid air bubbles. Microwave at HIGH 45 seconds or until thin enough to spread; stir well. Divide frosting equally among four shallow bowls. Tint frosting to desired colors, using paste food coloring.

Scent Simmers for the Holidays

Scent Simmers for the Holidays

 

It goes without saying — don’t eat this 😉

 

Scent of Christmas

 

3 tablespoons of ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons of ground cloves

1 tablespoon of anise seed

1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

1 quart of water

 

Mix together. Add water. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally, then simmer on low. Dry mix can be used as gift.

 

 

 

Christmas Scent

 

Peels of 2 oranges

3 cinnamon sticks

12 whole cloves

2 1/2 cups of water

 

Combine in a saucepan. Simmer, add water as needed.

 

 

Christmas Scent Simmer

 

1 pkg. of pickling spice

1 pkg. of whole cloves

1 pkg. of stick cinnamon

1 jar of apple juice

 

Put in crock-pot. Fill to top with water. Bring to boil, put on simmer.

One Cheese Ball — 4 Great Ways

One Cheese Ball — 4 Great Ways

 

 

2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened

1 package (3 1/2 to 4 oz.) soft chèvre (goat) cheese

1 C. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp. white pepper

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/8 tsp. salt

 

Beat all ingredients in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium-low speed until smooth. Shape mixture as directed in recipes below. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

 

Christmas Pears: Double the above recipe. Shape each cheese ball mixture into pear shape on waxed paper or plastic wrap. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate. Place pears in large shallow serving bowl or on platter. Spoon 1/4 C. whole berry cranberry sauce over one pear; spoon 1/4 C. chutney over other pear. (If desired, process chutney in blender or food processor until smooth.) Break 1 cinnamon stick crosswise in half; insert in each pear for stem.

 

Festive Bird’s Nest: Shape cheese ball mixture into ball. Place cheese ball on plastic wrap. Place cheese ball and plastic wrap in bowl, 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Place plastic wrap on cheese ball, then push second smaller bowl, 4 to 5 inches in diameter, into cheese in larger bowl. Refrigerate. Remove bowls and plastic wrap. Sprinkle 1 C. chopped fresh chives or other fresh herbs over cheese “nest.” Fill nest with cherry tomatoes, olives or assorted breadsticks.

 

Magical Holiday Tree: Shape cheese ball mixture into pyramid shape on waxed paper or plastic wrap. Smooth sides with knife if necessary. Freeze pyramid about 20 minutes or until firm. Cut pyramid horizontally into thirds. Spread 3 T. roasted red bell peppers (from 7-oz. jar), finely chopped and well drained, on bottom piece. Spread 3 T. basil pesto on middle piece. Assemble tree; top with star cut from starfruit or yellow bell pepper. Serve immediately or wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate.

 

Holiday Pinecone: Shape cheese ball mixture into oval shape on waxed paper or plastic wrap. Press 1 package (6 oz.) sliced almonds (2 C.) into cheese ball. Sprinkle with 1/4 C. crushed dark rye crackers. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs. 

Holiday Crab Meat Appetizers

Holiday Crab Meat Appetizers

 

1/2 C. Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

1/3 C. Cream Cheese, softened

1/4 C. Minced Crab Meat

2 tsp. Green Onion

15 individual mini-phyllo shells, thawed

 

Bake phyllo shells as directed on package.  Place cranberry sauce in a small mixing bowl; beat with a fork or wire whisk until smooth.  Combine cream cheese, crab meat and green onion in a small mixing bowl.  Fill each shell with about 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture.  Top with 1/2 tsp. Cranberry sauce

Holiday Italian Herb Crescent Christmas Trees

Holiday Italian Herb Crescent Christmas Trees

 

2 (8 ounce) cans refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1/2 cup prepared sour cream and chive dip (I use recipe 101256)

10 medium cherry tomatoes, sliced into 30 slices

1 medium yellow bell pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

 

Heat oven to 375°F. Unroll cans of dough and separate into 4 long rectangles; firmly press perforations together. Sprinkle each rectangle with 1 tablespoon cheese and 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Starting with one short side, roll up each rectangle, forming 4 rolls (like a jelly roll). With serrated knife, cut each roll into 8 slices (now they look like pinwheels). To form 1 tree, on cookie sheet, (I line mine with parchment paper it’s easier to move trees to cool and to final decorating plate), Place 1 slice, cut side down, for top of tree. Arrange 2 slices below, sides touching. Continue arranging rows of 3, 4, and 5 slices. Use remaining slice for trunk. Bake first tree 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on wire rack. Repeat for 2nd tree on another cool cookie sheet. Place trees on serving platter. If you do not have a decorators bag and tip, spoon the dip into a zip lock bag. Cut 1/4 inch hole in bottom corner of bag; and pipe over tree like garland, and a dollop of dip in on each pinwheel except trunk. Place tomato slice on each pinwheel except top and bottom ones. With 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch star shaped cutter, cut 2 stars from yellow bell pepper; place one on top of each tree. Chop remaining bell pepper; sprinkle over trees. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until serving time.

Cheese Ball Santa

Cheese Ball Santa

 

The highlight of any Christmas party is an appearance by Santa — especially this Santa. Defer to your kids’ imaginations when you assemble this appetizer; try mini rice cakes instead of cream cheese for a beard or broccoli for ears. Before serving, bring it to room temperature for the best flavor and consistency.

 

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

4 ounces Grated Sharp Cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon softened butter

1 tablespoon minced onion

1 clove minced garlic (optional)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon tomato paste

Black pepper, to taste

Red bell pepper

1 to 2 cups whipped cream cheese

Radish slice, carrot stick, pretzel, black olives, crackers, and a cherry tomato

 

Make Santa’s face by blending the first eight ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Spoon the mixture onto a large piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a ball. Tightly wrap the cheese and chill it for 1 hour. Unwrap the cheese ball and place it on a large serving tray. Drape new plastic wrap over the cheese, then flatten and shape it into a face. Remove the wrap and turn the red pepper upside down for Santa’s hat. Spoon the whipped cream cheese into a sealable pint-size plastic bag. Seal the bag and make a small snip in a lower corner to create a pastry bag. Use piped-on whipped cream cheese to stick a radish-slice pom-pom to the hat. Pipe on more cream cheese for a hatband, eyebrows, and a beard. Press on a carrot nose, a pretzel mouth, olive eyes, and cracker ears. Add cherry tomato halves for rosy cheeks. Makes 8 to 10 servings. Kids’ Steps: Shaping Santa’s face and then decorating it with vegetable features are perfect jobs for little helpers.

Christmas Tree Vegetable Platter

Christmas Tree Vegetable Platter

4 C. broccoli florets

1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved, and sliced or Pretzel Sticks

1 C. – red pepper strips

1 container cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes

1 C. cauliflower florets

1 C. sliced carrots

1 sliced starfruit

 

Arrange broccoli on a large flat platter in the shape of a Christmas tree. Add the sliced cucumber at the bottom for a trunk. Arrange the red pepper strips as a garland over the broccoli. Dot the tree with the tomatoes, cauliflower, and carrots for the “ornaments”. Add the sliced starfruit in a single pile at the top of the tree for the star.  Can also use small vegetable/cookie cutters to cut shapes from bell peppers for ornaments

Christmas Eve Hamballs

Christmas Eve Hamballs

1 lb. of lean pork, coarsely ground

1 lb. of lean ham, coarsely ground

2 eggs

2 cups of soft breadcrumbs (white baker bread, broken up by hand, crusts and centers)

1 cup of milk

1 teaspoon of salt

 

Glaze:

1/2 cup of cider vinegar

1/2 cup of water

1 1/2 cups of brown sugar

1 teaspoons of dry mustard

10 whole cloves

 

Glaze: Bring to a full, rapid boil. Mix ham ball ingredients together with hands. Form into 2 inch small egg size balls by squeezing tightly 4 times into shape. Place ham balls, side by side, in a glass/enamel baking dish. Pour the boiled glaze mixture over the ham balls, covering each one by spoon if necessary. Cover loosely with foil (don’t seal edges around pan). Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. 45 minutes on first side; turn each ham ball over. Spoon glaze over ham balls again. Bake 45 minutes on second side. During the last 30 minutes, remove foil and periodically spoon glaze mixture over the ham balls. Serves 6-8 people, 6-10 ham balls/person. Traditionally served with German potato salad and baked beans.

 

Yield:

Calories:

Fat:

Fiber:

Festive Cabot Cheddar Tree

Festive Cabot Cheddar Tree

festive cheeseAt your next holiday gathering, try this fun and festive idea for displaying a variety of Cabot cheeses – a lactose free cheddar tree! This creative take on the traditional cheese platter livens up any food table and is loved by kids and adults alike.

5 (8-ounce) bars Cabot Sharp Cheddar, plain and flavored
Fresh thyme sprigs
Grape cherry tomatoes or olives
1 mushroom

Cut each bar of cheddar into 1-inch cubes. On large platter or cutting board, arrange cubes in rows to form tree shape, using different flavor for each row and separating flavors with thyme sprigs and rows of tomatoes or olives. For star on top, peel skin from mushroom; press star pattern into mushroom with point of knife.

Christmas Morning Casserole

Christmas Morning Casserole

201412-xl-christmas-morning-casseroleButter, for greasing
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced pepperoni (2 ounces)
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 medium onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
8 large eggs
3 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 pound day-old challah, sliced 1 inch thick and cut into 1-inch dice (10 cups)
6 ounces Black Forest ham, finely diced (1 1/4 cups)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (1/4 pound )
1 cup shredded aged white cheddar cheese (1/4 pound )
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions, plus thinly sliced scallions for garnish
Hot sauce, for serving

Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the pepperoni and cook over moderate heat until the fat is rendered, about 3 minutes. Add the shiitake and cook until lightly browned and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned, about 7 minutes; let cool completely. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, mustard, soy sauce, pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt. Add the cooled vegetable mixture, challah, ham, both cheeses and the chopped scallions and mix well. Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 
 Preheat the oven to 350°. Uncover the casserole and bake for about 50 minutes, until it’s just set and the top is browned. Let stand for 10 minutes, then top with thinly sliced scallions and serve with hot sauce.