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Archive for 2016

HOLIDAY: Egg Nog Recipes For National Egg Nog Day

National Egg Nog Day is December 24th. But you can enjoy the rich holiday beverage from Thanksgiving through New Year’s.

While the origins of egg nog are debated, it may have originated from posset, a medieval European beverage made with hot milk and white wine. Americans adapted it but used the New World liquor rum, and later, bourbon (which evolved to its present form in the late 19th century). Cider was also used.

George Washington was quite a fan of egg nog and devised his own recipe that included rye whiskey, rum and sherry.

We know that there are eggs in egg nog, but what’s the “nog?” Opinions differ, but it’s an American name.

  • In Colonial America, rum was commonly called “grog,” and the descriptive term for the drink, “egg-and-grog,” may have corrupted to egg‘n’grog and then to egg nog.
  • Other experts insist that the “nog” is short for “noggin,” a small, carved wooden mug used to serve drinks in taverns.
  • It could even be a combination of the two: that an “egg and grog in a noggin” was shortened to egg nog. After having one or two, it’s easy to see why.
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    In the 1800s, egg nog was nearly always made in large quantities and nearly always a party drink. It was noted by an English visitor in 1866, that “Christmas is not properly observed unless you brew egg nog for all comers; everybody calls on everybody else; and each call is celebrated by a solemn egg-nogging…It is made cold and is drunk cold and is to be commended.”

    Here’s more on the history of egg nog.
     
    EGGNOG RECIPES

  • Chocolate Egg Nog Recipe
  • Classic Egg Nog Recipe
  • Coconut Egg Nog
  • Eggnog Martini Recipe
  • Eggnog White Russian Recipe
  • Flaming Egg Nog Recipe
  • Low Calorie Egg Nog Recipes
  •    

    Classic Eggnog

    Chocolate Eggnog

    [1] Classic eggnog (photo courtesy Liquor.com). [2] Chocolate eggnog (photo courtesy Pitch.com).

     

    Eggnog Gingerbread Cheesecakes

    Gingerbread-eggnog mini cheesecakes (photo courtesy Driscoll’s).

      HOLIDAY RECIPES MADE WITH EGGNOG

  • Egg Nog Crumble Bars Recipe
  • Egg Nog Mini Bundt Cakes Recipe
  • Eggnog French Toast Recipe
  • Eggnog Gingerbread Mini Cheesecakes Recipe
  • Eggnog Ice Cream Recipe
  • Eggnog Panettone Ice Cream Cake Recipe
  • Eggnog Panna Cotta Recipe
  • Eggnog Streusel Bars Recipe
  • Eggnog Truffles Recipe
  • Eggnog Whipped Cream Recipe
  • Eggnog Wreath Cookies Recipe
  • White Chocolate Eggnog Fudge Recipe
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    TIP OF THE DAY: 12 Types Of Christmas Muffins

    We first read Little Women in our tween years. Far into adulthood, we re-read it every few years and watch the showing on TV:

  • The 1933 original with Katharine Hepburn, Joan Bennett, Paul Lukas, Jean Parker, Frances Dee et al.
  • The 1994 remake with Winona Ryder, Kristen Dunst, Gabriel Byrne, Trini Alvarado, Claire Danes, Christian Bale, Eric Stoltz, Susan Sarandon et al.
  •  
    The biographical novel takes place during the Civil War—although far away from it, in Concord, Massachusetts. As the novel opens, four teenage sisters, their mother and the family retainer are living in reduced circumstances, while the father is away ministering to the troops.

    The family is struggling to make ends meet, and the sisters are about to sit down to a special Christmas breakfast, when their mother asks if they will give up their meal to a suffering immigrant family whose father [presumably] has passed away. They are living in a shack with no food or firewood, and a broken window to boot.

    In the true spirit of Christmas charity, the girls pack up their breakfast and carry it to the desperate family.

    The passage reminds us that, no matter how poor the Marches may seem, true poverty and suffering is vastly different.
     
    OUR CHRISMAS MUFFIN INSPIRATION

    We were inspired by the Christmas story and began to donate a week’s allowance to the Salvation Army. We also induced our mom to create the March Christmas breakfast for us.

    The novel is scant on details, but mentions cream, muffins, buckwheat [probably porridge] and bread.* Mom made buckwheat blini with sour cream and salmon caviar, omelets and muffins with raisins and pecans. We had cream instead of the usual milk in our tea. It became an annual event until we grew up and moved away.

    Fortunately, NIBBLE readers can afford a fine Christmas breakfast. If you’re not a big breakfast eater, you can still enjoy fresh-baked muffins, and cream in your tea or coffee.

    Here are 12 recipes to consider—one for each of the 12 days of Christmas—beginning with gingerbread muffins from I Heart Eating.

     
    RECIPE #1: GINGERBREAD MUFFINS

    Ingredients For 12 Muffins

  • 2½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk low-fat ok
  • 1/3 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • Optional garnish: 2 tablespoons sparkling sugar
  • Optional: fresh sweet butter† for serving
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    *A Victorian breakfast would have included eggs baked in cream, sausages, potatoes, biscuits, fruit and a Christmas pudding.

    †For special occasions, we spring for Kerrygold, Plugrá or our favorite European-style cultured butter from Vermont Creamery.

     

    Cranberry Muffins

    Gingerbread Muffins

    Ginger Fig Muffins

    Strawberry Marzipan Muffins

    [1] Cranberry streusel muffins from Eats Well With Others. [2] Gingerbread muffins from I Heart Eating. [3] Ginger-fig muffins made with fig jam, from Dave Bakes. [4] Strawberry marzipan muffins from Sandra Lee.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners, or grease with cooking spray.

    2. COMBINE the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl, combine. Set aside.

    3. WHISK together the coconut oil and brown sugar in a separate large bowl. Whisk in the molasses, then whisk in the egg. Add the milk and yogurt and whisk until well-combined. Finally, add the flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

    3. SCOOP the batter into muffin cups (the cups will be full). Sprinkle the tops with sparkling sugar (a.k.a. decorating sugar, coarse sugar). Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
     
    11 MORE CHRISTMAS MUFFIN IDEAS

  • RECIPE #1: Apple Cider Muffins With Cinnamon Chips
  • RECIPE #2: Apple-Pecan Streusel Muffins
  • RECIPE #3: Cranberry Bliss Muffins With Cream Cheese Frosting
  • RECIPE #4: Cranberry Eggnog Muffins
  • RECIPE #5: Fruitcake Muffins (add an optional tablespoon of orange liqueur)
  • RECIPE #6: Ginger Fig Muffins
  • RECIPE #7: Meyer Lemon, Cranberry & Poppyseed Muffins
  • RECIPE #8: Nigella Lawson’s Christmas Morning Muffins
  • RECIPE #9: Cinnamon Streusel Muffins
  • RECIPE #10: Orange-Cranberry-Marzipan Muffins
  • RECIPE #11: Strawberry Marzipan Muffins
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    TIP OF THE DAY: Baked Hot Chocolate

    Baked Hot Chocolate

    Baked Hot Chocolate With Marshmallows

    Fancy Baked Hot Chocolate

    [1] Baked hot chocolate: a new texture experience (photo by F. Martin Ramin courtesy Wall Street Journal). [2] Prefer marshmallows? Pile them on (photo courtesy Framed Cooks). [3] You can use the same recipe for an elegant dessert like this (photo courtesy Fabulous Foods).

     

    What’s baked hot chocolate?

    Substitute butter and eggs for the milk, and stick it in the oven.

    O.K., it’s not really baked hot chocolate, but the name is fine. It’s not a brownie or cake, since it has no flour. The result is a mash-up of a brownie, a baked pudding and a chocolate soufflé. It’s cousin to a lava cake.

    The top layer is slightly crisp; the middle is pudding-like (similar to lava cake), and, at the bottom, you may find some hot chocolate. When served in a cup, the top covered with whipped cream or marshmallows, it is trompe l’oeil food fun.

    The recipe is said to have originated with Heidi Friedlander (now Robb), a pastry chef who first served it more than a decade ago at Moxie, a Cleveland bistro, where it is still the favorite dessert.

    The recipe ended up in The Essence of Chocolate cookbook by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg, founders of the Scharffenberger chocolate company (now part of Hershey). We adapted this recipe from theirs.

    Our favorite garnish is lightly-sweetened whipped cream with a teaspoon of orange liqueur (e.g. Grand Marnier), bourbon or rum. Since there’s currently a Reddi-Wip shortage, you can use the opportunity to make your own whipped cream. It’s fun, and it tastes glorious.

    Our article on how to make whipped cream also has recipes for salted caramel, lavender and five spice whipped cream.
     
    RECIPE: BAKED HOT CHOCOLATE

    These treats-in-a-cup can be served warm or at room temperature, topped with whipped cream.

    These can be made a day in advance and refrigerated, ungarnished. To reheat, first bring to room temperature; then place in a 350°F oven until warm, about 5 minutes.

    Total prep/cook time is 40 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 9 ounces quality* bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (you can also use chips or chunks)
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon; for Mexican hot chocolate, combine them
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Garnish: whipped cream, lightly sweetened
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    *The finer the chocolate, the finer the flavor of the finished dish. You can chop up good chocolate bars.
     
    ALTERNATE GARNISHES

  • Crème fraîche, a sophisticated counterpoint
  • Crushed candy cane or striped peppermints
  • Ice cream
  • Mini marshmallows or marshmallow cream
  • Whipped cream (very lightly sweetened)
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    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Place four eight-ounce ovenproof tea cups/coffee cups in a baking pan. If you don’t have ovenproof cups you can substitute ramekins or custard cups, but you lose the trompe l’oeil effect.

    2. MELT the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler. The water in the bottom should be barely simmering; the underside of the top section should not touch the water. As it slowly melts, whisk or stir the chocolate occasionally. When fully melted, remove the top section of the double boiler and place the lid on the bottom section, to keep the water simmering. Stir the optional spices into the melted and set aside.

    3. PLACE the eggs and sugar in a heatproof mixing bowl; then set bowl over the simmering water. Stir until warm to the touch (about 1 minute); then turn off the heat and remove the bowl to the counter.

    4. BEAT the egg mixture with an electric beater at high speed, until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Gently fold the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula.

    5. SPOON the batter into the cups. Add very hot water to baking pan, to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake until the tops lose their glossy finish and begin to look crusty: 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the cups from the pan and onto saucers. Top with whipped cream and serve immediately; or set aside and garnish when ready to serve. Serve with a spoon!

    For a marshmallow garnish: Sprinkle the marshmallows on top and return the cups to oven for 2 to 4 minutes, until the marshmallows or marshmallow cream begin to crisp. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. You can sprinkle them with a bit of cinnamon, cocoa, nutmeg or other favorite.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Quick Chocolate Dipping Sauce With Biscotti Or Ladyfingers

    If friends and neighbors are dropping by for some holiday cheer, here’s a very quick recipe for a delicious snack. It works well as a quick dessert, too.

    Keep biscotti around—they have a long shelf life—or ladyfingers, which freeze well and can be revived in a minute in the microwave. Then, in less than five minutes, make this chocolate dipping sauce.

    The combination goes with brandy, coffee, cola, fruity red wine, liqueurs, tea, and of course, a glass of milk.

    Cubed pound cake, amaretto cookies and/or sliced fruit are also delicious with the chocolate sauce. Chocoholics may prefer brownie cubes or fingers.

    The recipe makes enough for eight two-cookie servings. We turned to one of our favorite holiday snacks, Nonni’s Biscotti.

    As a bonus, Nonni’s isn’t rock-hard like conventional biscotti made for dipping in coffee or a dessert wine like vin santo. You don’t have to dip it…although don’t hesitate to follow the tradition.

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE DIPPING SAUCE FOR

    This festive but easy recipe, which we adapted from Nescafé, is presented as individual servings.

    But if you have a fondue pot, chafing dish, brazier, or other way to keep the chocolate sauce warm, you can set it on a table with a platter of biscotti, ladyfingers and other cookies.

    Apple wedges and orange segments also works.

    Ingredients

  • 6 ounces chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons coffee or orange liqueur (e.g. Kahlúa, Grand Marnier
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 16 to 24 biscotti or ladyfingers
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Optional: cayenne for a bit of heat
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    Preparation

    1. MELT. Place chocolate and cream in a medium, microwave-safe dish. Microwave on HIGH (100%) power for 60 seconds. Stir with whisk until smooth.

    2. COMBINE. Whisk in liqueur and coffee granules until coffee is dissolved.

    3. ASSEMBLE. Divide the chocolate sauce among 8 small dessert dishes or whatever you have: brandy snifters, ramekins, rocks glasses, small wine glasses, tea cups, etc). Place 2 to 3 ladyfingers to each glass. Serve immediately.

    Alternative: Use a plate under the dish and put the biscotti on the plate.

    Tip: Serve with espresso spoons so everyone can scoop up the remaining chocolate sauce.
     
    Find more of our favorite desserts.
     
    ABOUT NONNI’S BISCOTTI

    Nonni’s Biscotti is the number one-selling biscotti brand in the U.S.

    Whether for a coffee break, snack or part of dessert, we’ve been enjoying Nonni’s since they came onto the market in 2012. There are flavors for everyone, plus special holiday editions.

     

    Dipping Biscotti

    Nonnis Biscotti

    Hot Chocolate With Biscotti

    [1] Warm chocolate dipping sauce with biscotti or ladyfingers: a quick and easy snack or dessert. Photo and recipe courtesy Nescafé. [2] Dip from a tea cup or whatever you have (photo courtesy Feast And Fable Blog. [3] Instead of gingerbread men, serve hot chocolate with Nonni’s holiday biscotti. Don’t want hot chocolate? The biscotti are great with coffee, brandy and liqueurs (photo courtesy Nonni’s). [4] Pick up a few boxes and treat family and friends (photo | THE NIBBLE).

     
    Nonni means “grandmother” in certain Italian dialects (nonna is mainstream Italian). As you might guess, the founder’s nonni came from Italy (almost a century ago), bringing the family recipe with her.

    Nonni never envisioned or Salted Caramel (our personal favorite) or Turtle Pecan biscotti; but thankfully, her grandson did. There are eight flavors, plus seasonal specialties like Gingerbread and Pumpkin Spice.

    There are also five flavors (including cranberry) of Nonni’s ThinAddictives, a lower-calorie option.
     

    CHECK OUT THE HISTORY OF BISCOTTI.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Potato Latkes & Beyond

    Classic Latkes

    Potato Pancakes

    Potato Cauliflower Latkes

    Latke Smoked Salmon Caviar

    [1] Nana’s latkes, served with applesauce and sour cream (photo courtesy Melissa’s).[2] A more elegant presentation (from Anne Fruart via Vermont Creamery. [3] Mix it up: potato latkes with cauliflower from Idaho Potatoes (recipe at right). [4] Our personal heaven: latkes with smoked salmon, caviar, filled sour cream and a bit of chive (photo courtesy Diva Eats World).

     

    You might prefer the parting of the Red Sea, the when God delivered the 10 Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai, or Passover, when 10 plagues passed over the households of the children of Israel and wreaked havoc on all others, culminating in the Exodus, freedom from slavery.

    But our favorite Hebrew miracle is the Chanukah lamp oil. resulting in the Festival of Lights. It commemorates the miracle of a temple lamp (menorah) which had enough purified the oil for one day. It would take a week to make more purified oil. But a miracle occurred: After the the menorah was lit, the flames burned for eight days—by which time new vats of purified oil were ready.

    Why is it our favorite Jewish holiday? It comes with fried food, commemorating the lamp oil. That includes latkes, fried potato pancakes.

    THE HISTORY OF LATKES

    The popular potato latkes of European Jewish cuisine descend from Sicilian ricotta pancakes that appeared in the Middle Ages. They traveled north to Roman, where the Jewry called them cassola. Here’s a recipe for ricotta latkes. Traditionally sweetened, you can make a savory version with herbs instead of sugar.

    Potato latkes (meaning “fried cakes” in Yiddish) are an Ashkenazi invention that gained popularity in Eastern Europe during the mid 1800s.

    While the ricotta pancakes, a cousin to cheese blintzes are delicious, our bet is that most people would rather have fried potatoes!

    Here’s a longer history of latkes in Idaho Potato (photo #3).

    RECIPE #1: POTATO, ONION & CAULIFLOWER LATKES

    In addition to varying the latke ingredients, you can try different condiments. We made a curry-yogurt dip for these.

    Ingredients

  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 4 Idaho baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Topping (see below)
     
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the cauliflower florets in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times until it resembles a rice texture. Pour into a large mixing bowl.

    2. ADD the onion to the food processor and pulse a few times until it is very finely chopped; add to the mixing bowl.

    3. REPLACE the steel blade with a shredding blade or attachment and feed the potato pieces through the tube until all are shredded. Add to the mixing bowl.

    4. ADD the eggs, flour, salt, pepper and parsley to the bowl and combine thoroughly. If liquid begins to accumulate at the bottom, remove with a spoon.

    5. HEAT the oil in a large skillet or cast iron pan and add scoopfuls of the mixture to form pancakes. Fry for about 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve with sour cream, Greek yogurt or other garnish of choice.

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    FOR THE TOPPING

    You can serve more than one topping. Our mom always served sour cream and her homemade applesauce (as did her mom); but this is another century. Try fusion seasonings, go crazy (within reason) with toppings like cardamom applesauce, curried Greek yogurt or 3-herb sour cream.

  • Dairy: crème fraîche, Greek yogurt, sour cream
  • Fruit sauce: apple sauce, cranberry sauce
  • Salsa (corn, corn and bean or tomato)
  • Poached egg (for a main course)
  • Gourmet: smoked salmon and salmon caviar (or other roe)
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    Plus

  • Chopped fresh herbs: basil, cilantro, dill, thyme
  • Mesclun salad
  • Grilled or roasted vegetables, ratatouille or other vegetable medley
  • Pesto
  • Asian slaw (no mayo), cucumber salad, carrot-raisin salad, etc.
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    BEYOND POTATO LATKES

    And here’s an even more veg-centric recipe from Good Eggs: the classic potato-onion combination with parsnips, carrots and leeks.

    And for beet lovers, there are (drum roll) beet latkes. Try them now or save them for Valentine’s Day. Serve them Russian style with fresh dill and sour cream.

    You can also make parsnip-centric latkes, carrot and raisin latkes: Go wherever your palate takes you.

    Want cheese with your latkes? Start with this recipe for Ginger Pancakes With Herbed Goat Cheese by Najwa Kronfel of Delicious Shots.

    RECIPE #2: VEGETABLE LATKES

    In photo #5, these latkes are paired with a crunchy Asian slaw.

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 1 white onion, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • ¾ pounds parsnip, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 2 leeks, white and pale green parts cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Canola oil
  • Coarse salt
  •  
    Toppings

  • Arugula pesto
  • Apple sauce
  • Crème fraîche
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the peeled potatoes and onions in a big bowl; mix with your hands. In another bowl, combine the peeled parsnips, leeks and carrots.

    2. SQUEEZE the excess liquid out of the potato-onion mixture, using your hands, a clean kitchen towel, cheesecloth or your hands. (We use a large strainer and press down the mixture.). Place in a separate bowl and add the eggs, a few big pinches of salt and flour—again mixing with your hands. Form patties about 3 inches in diameter and just shy of an inch thick. Do the same for the parsnip mixture.

    3. ADD oil to a large skillet, until it’s about ¼-inch deep. Heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the first batch of latkes, leaving plenty of room between each of them. Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes on each side until they’re a deep golden brown on each side, and fully cooked through.

    4. DRAIN: Place the latkes on a platter or in a baking sheet/dish covered in paper towels and sprinkle with flakey salt immediately. Keep the latkes warm in an oven set to very low. Repeat until you’ve cooked all of the latkes.

     

    Latkes With Slaw

    Beet Latkes

    Carrot Latkes

    [5] Latkes with four different veggies and a side of Asian slaw, from Good Eggs (recipe at left). [6] Beet latkes from Williams-Sonoma. Here’s the recipe. [7] Carrot latkes from Elana’s Pantry.

     

      

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