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Archive for December 13, 2014

STOCKING STUFFER: Sara Snacker Cookies

If you’re Sara Snacker (legally, Sara Leand), your entrepreneurial journey began in college, where you built and ran a snack company out of your college dorm room, selling cookies and treats across the campus as well as to local merchants.

Sara now has an an entire cookie company, focusing on the nostalgic flavors of childhood. They’re different, fun and above all else, tasty.

The all-natural line includes:

  • Chipn’Etzel Original Cookies, made with potato chips & pretzel bits.
  • Chipn’Etzel Dark Chocolate Cookies, with chocolate chips added to the potato chips and pretzels.
  • Hot Chocolate Cookies, baked with rich dark cocoa, chocolate chips and mini marshmallows.
  • Ice Cream Cone Cookies, chocolate and vanilla chips and sugar cone bits.
  • Lemonade Cookies, baked with real lemonade.
  • S’mores Cookies, combining crushed graham crackers, mini marshmallow, and chocolate chips.
  •  

    snacker-230

    Sara Snacker: nostalgic cookie fun for the holidays. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

  • Vanilla Milkshake Cookies, baked to taste like a real vanilla malt.
  •  
    Looking for a fun stocking stuffer? Check out SaraSnacker.com.
     
    We’re especially partial to the new flavors: Hot Chocolate, Ice Cream Cone and S’Mores.

      

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    RECIPE: Smoked Salmon Gougères

    gougeres-pancetta-thyme-fontina-gougeres-aidamollenkamp-230r

    Gougères are the perfect hors d’ouevre to
    serve with white wine and sparkling wine.
    Photo and recipe courtesy Chef Aida
    Mollenkamp.

     

    Gougères (goo-ZHAIR) are airy French cheese puffs, savory choux pastry that is mixed with grated cheese and baked into savory bites.

    In France, the cheese is most often a hearty Swiss mountain cheese: Gruyère, Comté or Emmentaler; a hint of nutmeg is added to the recipe. Served warm from the oven, gougères are simple yet elegant hors d’oeuvres—a perfect choice to serve with Champagne, other sparkling wine, or any wine or craft beer.

    This special-occasion recipe comes from Beth and Bob Kennett of Liberty Hill Farm in Vermont.

    Beth’s ancestors began farming in 1641 in Maine; she’s a ninth generation farmer. Bob’s family, the Kennetts, started their farm in 1742 in New Hampshire. Today, their sons, David and Tom, with a new generation of grandchildren following close behind, work with Beth and Bob to continue the honored tradition of family farming.

    If you’re in Vermont, Beth hosts regular farm tours and cooking classes where visitors can follow the milk from the farm to the family and back to the kitchen.

     

    Beth used Cabot Cheddar, butter and cream cheese in this recipe. You can, of course, substitute any of the Swiss mountain cheeses for the Cheddar. The special touch here is integrating smoked salmon, a celebratory food, into the airy cheese puffs.

    If you’re not a smoked salmon fan, the gougères are just as special with crumbled bacon or minced ham. Here’s a recipe for Pancetta, Thyme & Fontina Gougères (photo above).

    Prep time is 40 minutes, cook time is 35 minutes.

    RECIPE: VERMONT CHEDDAR & SALMON GOUGÈRES

    Ingredients For 24 Pieces

    For The Gougères

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) salted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 ounces sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Pinch ground red pepper (cayenne)
  •  

    For The Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 -1 cup finely minced smoked salmon*
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 425°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

    2. COMBINE water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan and heat until butter is melted. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously until mixture breaks away from side of pan and forms smooth ball.

     

    smoked-slamon-cheddar-gougeres-cabot-goboldwithbutter-230r

    Smoked salmon-stuffed gougères. Photo courtesy Cabot Creamery.

     
    3. REMOVE from heat and let rest for two minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, stirring quickly so the egg doesn’t cook, until the dough is firm, smooth and waxy. Add all of cheddar, all but 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, mustard and red pepper, and stir until well blended.

    4. TRANSFER the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with large plain tip. Pipe dough into two dozen small round mounds, evenly separated. Sprinkle tops with remaining Parmesan.

    5. BAKE for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and bake for 20 to 25 minutes longer or until completely golden brown.

    6. MAKE the filling. Beat together the cream cheese, salmon, chives and hot sauce. Stir in sour cream to achieve proper consistency for filling. Stir in red peppers.

    7. MAKE a small slit in side of each gougère. Scrape the filling into a pastry bag or plastic bag with the corner cut off. Squeeze some of filling into each gougère. Plate and serve.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Rich Hot Chocolate With Fewer Calories

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    Just a few sips hit the spot. Photo courtesy Dolcezza Gelato.

     

    The headline is a bit of a tease, because the way to enjoy rich hot chocolate, laden with cream, is to have it in an espresso cup.

    A mug’s worth can be 600 calories or more. If you’re holding a cup with 12 ounces of delicious, high-calorie chocolate, you’ll finish it.

    So take this tip from Dolcezza Gelato in Washington, D.C.: Enjoy two ounces in an espresso cup.
     
    RECIPE: RICH HOT CHOCOLATE RECIPE

    The keys to rich hot chocolate are a rich chocolate bar and cream or half-and-half in addition to the milk. Cocoa powder adds extra chocolatey flavor.

    If you don’t have heavy cream, use light cream, half-and-half or milk with 1 tablespoon unsalted butter.

     
    Thanks to Art Pollard of Amano Chocolate for this recipe.

    Ingredients Per Cup

  • 2 ounces quality chocolate bar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon premium Dutch process cocoa powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk plus
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE 2 to 3 ounces of chocolate in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Chop into the size of chips.

    2. ADD sugar and cocoa powder, as well as a few grains of salt. Cover; process in ten second “bursts” at high speed just until finely ground (a few larger chunks of chocolate are O.K.).

    3. HEAT milk and cream in a small, nonreactive saucepan. Stir frequently with a small whisk, until the mixture is steaming hot.

    4. ADD the chocolate mixture. Whisk in well until dissolved. Serve immediately, preferably garnished with lightly sweetened whipped cream. Yields one large or two more reasonable servings.

     
    MORE LUSCIOUS HOT CHOCOLATE

  • The Best Hot Chocolate & Cocoa Mixes: our reviews.
  • The history of hot chocolate
  • The difference between cocoa and hot chocolate
  •   

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