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Archive for 2010

TIP OF THE DAY: Have A Merry Christmas

Photo © Victoria Pearson for Sprinkles Cupcakes.





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RECIPE: Christmas Sangria

Still looking for a smashing holiday drink?

Get out the punch bowl or the pitcher and fill it with Christmas sangria.

That’s pomegranate sangria with red and green apple slices, plus citrus.


More tips:

  • Freeze “Sangria ice cubes” so you can chill the drink without diluting it.
  • Leave out the alcohol in the recipe and substitute 750ml worth of ginger ale to make a kids’ punch. Provide spoons so they can eat the chopped fruit. Kids love it!

Make a red and green sangria for Christmas.
Photo courtesy Pom Wonderful.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Christmas Coffee

Put some thought into Christmas coffee.
Photo CSP.

“Christmas coffee” is a growing trend: There are coffees flavored with nutmeg and cinnamon; with bakery flavors such as almond, caramel, coconut, and vanilla; and even candy cane-flavored coffee.

But you don’t need flavored beans to create a Christmas vibe around your coffee. Here are some tips from Eight O’Clock Coffee and THE NIBBLE editors:

1. Enable Guests To “Flavor Their Own.” Put toppings such as cinnamon, cocoa, ginger and nutmeg.

2. Offer Flavored Creamers. We’re very fond of Bailey’s Irish Cream flavored creamers. Also look for Caramel, French Vanilla and Hazelnut flavors.

3. Add A Liqueur. Put out all of your coffee-friendly liqueurs: Amaretto (almond liqueur), Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur), Irish Cream liqueur (such as Bailey’s and Carolan’s), Kahlúa (coffee liqueur) and Sambucca (anise liqueur) go especially well with coffee.

4. Decaf & Lowfat. Be sure to have a decaf coffee (and tea) option, as well as nonfat milk, if people in your crowd prefer it. (We know…it seems like the last thing calorie-counters need to worry about during Christmas dinner—but that’s the point.)

5. Coffee Before Cocktails. If it’s cold in your ‘hood, guests may appreciate a hot cup of coffee when they walk in the door.

6. Blender Drinks. Take out the blender so you can make iced lattes and blender drinks for those looking for something cold. Freeze coffee in ice cube trays prior to the event.

7. No Surprises. If you have a new coffee maker or brewing gadgets, test it long before company comes.

8. Coffee To Go. Find holiday-themed “to go” cups and lids so you can send guests home with a hot cup of coffee for the road. Those with a long ride ahead will be grateful. We found a cache of inexpensive green, red and silver travel mugs that we bought as party favors. Every guest is leaving with one, filled with hot coffee or tea.

9. Coffee For Large Groups. If you’re brewing coffee for a crowd in a high-capacity urn, consider storing and serving coffee in carafes after brewing. Carafes keep coffee hot and fresh, while urns may “burn” your brew over time.

10. BYOC. Be different and bring coffee—especially Christmas coffee. While most guests bring wine, you’ll be as distinct and tasteful as your gift of Eight O’Clock Coffee.


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TIP OF THE DAY: Sifted Flour

Baking up a storm? Pay close attention to the flour specifications.

It’s important to note that in a recipe, “sifted flour” is not the same as “flour, sifted.”

In the first instance, you sift the flour, than measure out what you need. In the second, you measure out what you need, then sift it.

Baking is chemistry: slight deviations can create disappointing results.

Don’t pack flour into a measuring cup: You can end up with 20% more flour than intended. Instead, use a measuring cup that is exactly one cup to the brim. Fill to overflowing with a scoop or spoon, then level it off with a knife.

Photo courtesy King Arthur Flour.

And be sure to use the right flour. The wrong type of flour (or too much flour) can result in a tough, dry product. Too little flour can cause a cake to collapse.

Put your baker’s thinking cap on and you’ll be fine.

Thanks to Chef Louis Eguaras for this tip.


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RECIPE: Tequila Christmas Cocktail

Party drink or a “homemade gift” for
a lucky someone. Photo courtesy Corzo Tequila.

Another cocktail recipe? Well, it is the season to be jolly.

Here’s something fancy that you can make and bring to a party. And you’ve still got time to make it!

First, you infuse a bottle of silver tequila. (Corzo Tequila, which created this recipe, has the benefit of a decanter-like bottle as well.) Then, you use the infused tequila to make a cocktail—or simply enjoy it straight.



  • 1 part infused tequila (recipe below)
  • 1 part apple juice
  • 1 part simple syrup
  • 4-6 apples for infusion plus apple slices for garnish (you can use all green apples, all red, or a combination)
  • 6-10 cinnamon sticks for infusion
1. Infuse tequila a day in advance. Empty 1/3 of the tequila into a second container (a large glass jar will do). Infuse both the the tequila bottle and the second jar at the same time.
2. Slice apples to fit through mouth of bottle. Add cinnamon sticks. Infuse until ready to create cocktails.
3. Shake ingredients—infused tequila, apple juice and simple syrup—with ice and strain into a martini glass.
4. When the Tequila bottle is drained, refill from the second container.


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