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Archive for December 2, 2014

FOOD FUN: Snowman Latte

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Frosty the Snowman in his latte debut. Photo
courtesy Caffebene USA.

 

Turn your latte into a Snowman Latte with this instructions from Caffebene, the world’s second largest coffeehouse franchise.

Laila Ghambari, Director of Coffee at Cherry Street Coffee House in Seattle—the home of American latte art. Here are her tips:

  • The micro-foam is a crucial element in creating the perfect latte art. Use a milk foaming machine that is able to produce rich, thick, long-lasting foam.
  • Use whole or 2% milk. More milk fat equals more creaminess.
  • Add air to the milk by bringing the steam wand tip to the surface of the milk (not beneath). Remember that NO air will just create hot milk and TOO MUCH air will make your milk bubbly.
  • Make sure that when you are steaming your milk that the milk is spinning. You can achieve this by tilting the pitcher, which allows for the air and milk to blend together.
  • You need to steam the milk to a smooth, creamy texture. It should look cold cream or wet paint.
  • Once the milk is steamed, swirl it around to make sure the milk and foam are incorporated, not separated.
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    THE HISTORY OF LATTE ART

    Latte art was developed in Italy, enabled by the development of microfoam, created by the steam wand of a cappuccino machine, used to foam a pitcher of milk. The combination of the crema atop the cup of espresso and velvety microfoam allows patterns to be made. (Note that other types of milk steamers/foamers do not create microfoam.)

    Latte art in the United States developed in the Seattle coffee culture of the 1980s and 1990s. By 1989 the heart pattern was a signature at David Schomer’s Espresso Vivace and the rosette pattern followed, based on a photograph Schomer saw of latte art in an Italian café.

     
     

    HOW TO MAKE THE LATTE SNOWMAN

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    RECIPE: Mini Eggnog Cheesecakes

    Here’s a cheesecake recipe developed for Christmas and New Year’s Eve: Eggnog Cheesecake! These mini cheesecakes with a gingersnap crust are from Driscolls.com.

    For a clean presentation, invest in a mini cheesecake pan (with removable bottoms); or bake the cheesecakes in festive paper baking cups (also known as cupcake or muffin papers) in a standard muffin pan.

    Prep time is 30 minutes, cook time is 15 to 18 minutes.

    RECIPE: MINI EGGNOG GINGERBREAD CHEESECAKES

    Ingredients For 12 Servings
     
    Crust

  • 3/4 cup ground gingersnap cookies (about 14 cookies)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
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    Filling

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 36 fresh raspberries (about 1 cup)
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    Ho ho ho: mini eggnog gingerbread cheesecakes! Photo courtesy Driscoll’s Berries.

  • 1-1/2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup eggnog
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    Equipment

  • 1 mini-cheesecake pan with removable bottoms ((12-cups, 1-1/2-inches by 2-inches) or a 12-cup muffin tin
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    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F. Lightly spray the wells of the mini-cheesecake pan with non-stick spray. If using a muffin pan, line the cups with the paper liners.

    2. PROCESS the cookies into fine crumbs using a food processor. Combine the crumbs and butter in a small bowl. Press 1 tablespoon of the cookie mixture into each cup in the pan and pat down firmly (for the muffin tin, press the cookie mixture into the paper liners).

    3. MIX the cream cheese, sugar and flour in an electric mixer on low speed until blended, scraping down the sides of bowl. Add the eggnog, vanilla extract, nutmeg and salt and mix until blended. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, on low speed until blended.

    4. DIVIDE the batter among the cups in pan. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or 18 to 20 minutes for the muffin pan and paper liners. The edges should be set and center slightly jiggly. The cheesecakes will puff slightly above pan.

    5. COOL completely on a baking rack. Then refrigerate at least 4 hours or until chilled throughout. To serve, carefully remove cheesecakes from pan and top each with 3 raspberries.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Linky Doodles Candy Cane Garlands

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    Deck something with candy cane garlands. Photo courtesy Kencraft.

     

    Linky Doodles Candy Chains calls itself “The world’s only linkable candy.”

    They’re specially shaped, open link shapes made from a hard candy recipe. You simply hook the pieces together, and they make an edible Christmas garland.

    At $21.99 + $9.99 shipping for 28 pieces that make a garland of 5.5 feet, you need to make a financial commitment to create too much of a garland, but you may have a space for a small one.

    You can also use Linky Doodles for napkin rings, or adorn yourself with an edible necklace.

    Made by Kencraft, a quality candy maker, Linky Doodles are also available in Rainbow, Pink, and Blue, for year-round celebrating. All of these colors are cherry flavored.

     
    WHERE TO BUY LINKY DOODLES

  • Buy online: red, white and green peppermint Linky Doodles
  • Buy online: red and white cherry flavor Linky Doodles
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    Visit LinkyDoodles.com for more information.

     
      

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    GIFT: Treat House Gluten Free Crispy Rice Treats

    Gluten free*, artisanal and an appropriate portion size—two square inches as opposed to those supersized Rice Krispies Treats—the gourmet Crispy Rice Treats from Treat House have been a NIBBLE favorite since they debuted. (Here’s our original review, a Top Pick Of The Week.)

    These gourmet crispy rice treats (that’s Rice Krispie treats without the trademark infringement) continue to dazzle with an ongoing stream of seasonal flavors and designs.

    For Holiday 2014, there’s a gift box of crispy rice treats topped with holiday and winter theme garnishes, including a dreidel and chocolate foil coins for Hanukkah.

    All treats are gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free. The marshmallows are made using raw cane sugar, not corn syrup.

    And, the line is kosher (dairy), supervised by United Kosher Supervision.

    There’s a feel-good component, too: Ten cents of every treat (more for larger items) is donated to The Food Bank For New York City, a relief organization working to end hunger.

       

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    Nostalgic and gluten free! Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

     

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    Perennial favorite S’mores joins holiday candy cane and peppermint treats. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

     

    The flavors at Treat House range from kid stuff (Birthday Cake, Bubble Gum, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Pretzel, M&M, etc.) to sophisticated (Chocolate Raspberry, Salted Caramel, etc.).

    But for the holidays, head for the seasonal specialty gift box.

    The 12 pack of holiday crispy rice treats in a the silver and snowflake gift box is $31.

    Get yours at TreatHouse.com.
     
    THE HISTORY OF RICE KRISPIES TREATS

    This childhood favorite, no-bake cookie was invented in 1928 by Mildred Day and colleagues in the home economics department at The Kellogg Company. It was created as a fund raiser-for the Camp Fire Girls, a nationwide American youth organization.

    The recipe consists of butter, marshmallows and Rice Rice Krispies cereal. The butter and marshmallows are melted together, blended with the Rice Krispies and pressed into a pan. When cool, they are cut into bars. Many subsequent variations mix in other ingredients, from chocolate chips to licorice and gummi bears.

     

    Check out the different types of cookies in our tasty Cookie Glossary.

     
    *Some flavors have garnishes that are not gluten free.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Party Picks, Fancy Toothpick Skewers

    If you like to add a flourish to your party food, consider fancy party picks.

    They not only make the food look better, but can also serve as party favors or stocking stuffers (at about $5.00 per box).

    These special party picks, found on Amazon.com, will make your hors d’oeuvre even tastier:

  • Holiday party picks, silver and gold picks with a star on top
  • Christmas party picks: assorted red, green and white with Christmas trees on top.
  • Foil party picks: fun metallic fringe in blue, green, purple and silver for New Year’s Eve.
  • Conventional frilled party picks, with cellophane frills in bright colors for Thanksgiving.
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    CHRISTMAS FOODS TO SERVE ON PARTY PICKS

    Savory Picks

       

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    Christmas picks, Photo courtesy CreativeConverting.com.

     

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    New Year’s Eve picks, Photo courtesy CreativeConverting.com.

     
  • Caprese salad: halved cherry tomato stuffed with mozzarella and a basil leaf; optional balsamic vinaigrette dipping sauce (photo).
  • Greek salad: feta square base topped with Kalamata olive, mini cucumber and cherry or grape tomato (photo).
  • Mini meatballs: topped with pastry stars, served with mustard dip (photo).
  • Pepperoni boats: pepperoni slice wrapped around cheese, cherry tomato half and basil or parsley (photo).
  • Sausage slice: base topped with pepperjack (or other cheese), a fresh parsley leaf and a pimento-stuffed olive (photo).
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    Sweet Picks

  • Santa heads: green grape base topped with banana slice, inverted strawberry and mini marshmallow (photo)
  • Star fruit and cheese skewers: cut fruits into stars with canape cutters and alternate with cheese cubes.
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    See more suggestions for appetizer picks and dessert picks.

      

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