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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for New Year’s Eve

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
  •  
    Filling

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 36 fresh raspberries (about 1 cup)
  •  

    mini-eggnog-gingerbread-cheesecake-discrolls-230

    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
  •  
    Equipment

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

    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.

      

    Comments

    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.
  •  
    CHRISTMAS FOODS TO SERVE ON PARTY PICKS

    Savory Picks

       

    party-picks-creativeconverting-230

    Christmas picks, Photo courtesy CreativeConverting.com.

     

    party-picks-stars-creativeconverting-amz-230

    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).
  •  
    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.
  •  
    See more suggestions for appetizer picks and dessert picks.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: 11 Exciting Bloody Mary Garnishes

    New Year’s Day is also National Bloody Mary Day. So today’s tip is: Find a new garnish for your Bloody Marys, and change it up every year.

    A celery stalk garnish and optional lemon or lime wheel was de rigeur 20th century. Savvy hosts replaced them with a fennel stalk for the new millennium (there’s a word you haven’t heard in a while!).

    But that was 14 years ago! So here are 10 groups to consider for your “signature garnish.” You can mix and match them as you wish. And yes, you can even match them with a celery stalk and any form of lemon or lime.

    Creative types can get out the vegetable cutters and transform cucumbers, carrots, jalapeños, etc. into edible sculptures.

    BLOODY MARY GARNISHES

  • “Antipasto” Pick: an assortment of goodies such as cheese cube, cocktail onion, deli meat cube, grape tomato, pickle, pickled garlic, shrimp or your favorite ingredients
  • The Bacon-Jerky Group: bacon strips, your favorite jerky or a “BLT” (grape tomatoes and bacon on a pick with a curly lettuce leaf replacing the celery)
  • The Citrus Group: curly lemon or lime peel, blood orange wheel, grapefruit wedge, any exotic citrus from the farmers market
  •  

    A modern and easy Bloody Mary garnish: a gherkin and pepperoncini on a pick with a salt and pepper rim. Photo courtesy AGWA.

  • The Fresh Vegetable Group: cherry tomato/grape tomato (chose yellow for contrast), cucumber slice, green onion/scallion, snow pea, zucchini spear/slice
  • The Herbs Group: basil leaves, cilantro sprig, dill sprig, parsley sprig, rosemary sprig
  •  

    Bloody Mary “salad”: cherry tomato, celery,
    cucumber, dilly bean, lime wheel olive. Photo
    courtesy Arch Rock Fish Restaurant | Santa
    Barbara.

     
  • The Fruit Group: apple wedge, melon balls, pineapple spear
  • The Olive Group: stuffed olives (cheese, chili, pimiento, etc.), mixed pitted olives
  • The Pickle Group: dill spear (the whole spear or cut into chunks on a pick), gherkins,
  • The Pickled Vegetables Group: asparagus, carrot, dilly bean, okra, peppadew
  • The Seafood Group: crab leg meat, cooked shrimp,
  • The Seasoned Rim Group: cracked pepper, seasoned salt (buy it or make your own, including a salt-and-pepper rim of coarse sea salt and cracked pepper)
  •  
    KNOW YOUR BLOODY MARYS

  • Bloody Mary History
  • Bloody Mary Recipes: the classics plus Danish, Mexican Scottish, Russian and Spanish Marys
  •  

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Champagne Cocktails

    The easy way out is to uncork the Champagne, pour and serve. The fun way is to offer a menu of Champagne cocktails.

    When it comes to New Year’s Eve cocktails, we have a favorite: Champagne or other bubbly mixed with St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, a French import made by a family-owned Parisian company. At about $30 a bottle, it’s one of our favorite gifts to fellow foodies.

    While “elderflower liqueur” may sound like something from another century (and it is), it is exquisite to modern palates. It has a gorgeous lychee aroma aroma with flavor notes of grapefruit, orange, pear and peach. It’s simply luscious by itself or mixed with white wine, including any white sparkling wine. Here’s our review.

     

    The classic Champagne cocktail. Photo courtesy Chambre de Sucre.

     

    St. Germain liqueur: a perfect pairing with
    Champagne and other bubbly. Photo
    courtesy St. Germain | Paris.

     

    CHAMPAGNE COCKTAILS MENU

  • Classic Champagne Cocktail: Sprinkle a few drops of bitters onto a sugar cube; let them soak in. Drop the cube into a flute with a splash of Cognac. Top with Champagne.
  • Ginger Champagne Cocktail: Add ginger liqueur to a Champagne glass, top with Champagne and garnish with a piece of crystallized ginger.
  • Grapefruit Mimosa: The classic Mimosa with orange juice is too much of a brunch standard to be special for New Year’s Eve. But a Grapefruit Mimosa isn’t something you come across often. Here’s a recipe; garnish with candied grapefruit peel.
  • Kir Royale: A Kir Royale mixes sparkling wine with crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur). Add the liqueur to a Champagne glass and then pour the wine down the side. Chambord (black raspberry liqueur) is equally delicious (just don’t call it a Kir Royale). Optional garnish: a fresh blackberry.
  • Champagne Lemon Drop: Make lemon simple syrup by stirring equal parts of sugar and water over medium heat until dissolved. Juice three lemons; cut the peel into garnishes. Combine champagne, 1/2 to 1 ounce vodka, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon each simple syrup and lemon juice; garnish with peel.
  •  

    CHAMPAGNE PUNCH

    Champagne punch is another special way to usher in the New Year. The trick is to keep the ingredients as cold as possible before mixing the punch, so you don’t need to use a lot of ice, which dilutes it.

    This recipe is from the Hyatt Regency New Orleans: It combines our favorite Champagne-St. Germain cocktail with a vodka kick. It’s called “garden” Champagne punch because of the aromatic herbs used as garnish. It’s lovely at any time of year and the pretty herb garnish is an eye-opener.

    RECIPE: GARDEN CHAMPAGNE PUNCH

    Ingredients For Pitcher Or Punch Bowl

  • 9 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 2 ounces simple syrup (recipe)
  • 1 bottle chilled Champagne or sparkling wine
  • 3-1/2 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice
  • Garnish: basil, cilantro, cucumber, mint, rosemary, thyme
  •  
    Plus

  • Punch bowl or pitcher
  • Ice cubes*
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE vodka, St. Germain, simple syrup and lime juice in a punch bowl or pitcher combine. Chill until ready to use. Prior to serving…

    2. ADD Champagne to the mixture and pour over ice; garnish and serve.
     
    Variations

    If you can’t get a bottle of St. Germain, substitute orange liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier, etc.) or other fruit liqueur, and add some orange slices or other corresponding fruit to the herb garnish.

    If you have lychee liqueur, use that with a garnish of herbs, oranges and lychees (available canned in the Asian foods aisle; fresh lychees are in season from spring through early fall).

     
    *The larger the ice cubes the slower they melt. One option is to freeze a block of ice in a small loaf pan or other container. You can add fruit and/or herbs to decorate the ice.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Mini Champagne Cupcakes

    Mini champagne cupcakes. Photo courtesy
    Golden Blossom Honey.

     

    If you celebrate the New Year with champagne or other bubbly, how about some champagne mini cupcake to take a sweet bite of the new year?

    This recipe is from Golden Blossom Honey, a fourth generation family company whose honey is 100% American-made (not cheap Chinese imports). Their signature proprietary blend combines honey from three different flowers: clover, orange blossom and sage buckwheat*.

    RECIPE: MINI CHAMPAGNE CUPCAKES

    Ingredients For 72-74 Mini Cupcakes

    For The Cupcakes

  • 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 orange juice
  • 3/4 cup champagne
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  •  

    For The Frosting

  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 3 tablespoons champagne
  • 6 tablespoons pulp free orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • Garnish: gold or silver sanding sugar, edible glitter (especially these gold stars and silver stars), gold or silver dragées
  •  
    Plus

  • Mini cupcake/muffin tin and papers
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt.

    2. BEAT butter in a separate bowl on medium speed; gradually add sugar. Add eggs one at a time, then add honey, orange juice and champagne. Gradually add the mixed dry ingredients. Once combined, fold in orange zest.

     

    Delicious bubbly for less than $10 a bottle. Photo courtesy Martini & Rossi.

     

    3. LINE mini-cupcake tins with paper cups and pour batter evenly into each. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

    4. MAKE the frosting. In a large bowl whip powdered sugar, butter, champagne, orange juice, and orange zest on medium speed. Spread onto cupcakes and sprinkle with colored sugar, edible glitter or dragées.

    WHAT CHAMPAGNE SHOULD YOU USE?

    You can use any champagne you like. The champagne is more of a “romantic” ingredient in the recipe; the cupcakes won’t taste like Dom Perignon (about $200), Roderer Cristal (about $250) or even the “bargain”-priced Veuve Clicquot Non Vintage Brut Yellow Label (about $45).

    A $20 bottle will do, and a sparkling wine that isn’t from France will do. We enjoy two California sparklers made by great French champagne houses: Roederer Estate Brut, Anderson Valley and Mumm Napa Brut Prestige both about $20. Yellow Tail Rosé from Australia is just $8 and and Martini Asti Rosé from Italy is about $15 (and you can find it in splits); they work great in this recipe.

     
    *Varietal honey comes from the particular flower named on the label: alfalfa, clover, orange blossom, etc. We know buckwheat honey and sage honey, from two different plants; but we’d never heard of a combined “buckwheat sage honey.” So we wrote to the National Honey Board and got this response from a representative:

    “While I’ve never heard of “sage buckwheat” honey, it’s possible that the bees could be visiting both sage blossoms and buckwheat blossoms, gathering the nectar and bringing that back to the hive. This would result in a cross between the two floral sources and thus, a mixture in the honey. Honeybees travel in a five mile radius, so if both plants were growing the that five mile area, then I’m assuming it could be possible.

    “I took a look at where each plant primarily is found. Buckwheat plants grow best in cool, moist climates. The buckwheat plant prefers light and well-drained soils, although it can thrive in highly acid, low fertility soils as well. Sage honey can come from many different species of the sage plant. Sage shrubs usually grow along the California coast and in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. So again, it could be entirely possible that they blend these honey’s together to get their ‘signature’ honey.”

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Apple Cider Bar

    Hot raspberry cider. Photo courtesy Driscoll’s Berries. Here’s the recipe.

     

    A few months ago we created a feature on party food bars:

  • Breakfast & Brunch Bar
  • Drinks & Snacks Food Bar
  • Desserts Food Bar
  • Lunch & Dinner Food Bar
  •  

    Our drinks bars included the different ways to serve Bloody Marys, lemonade and iced tea. Around Thanksgiving, we realized we had left out another “essential,” and created an Apple Cider Bar.

    We liked it so much for Thanksgiving that we did it again for Christmas and we’re planning it for next Halloween as well. So today’s tip is: Don’t wait until then: Set up an apple cider bar for New Year’s Eve.

    Serve the cider cold and hot, so people can customize their drinks. Heat the cider on the stove with a ball of mulling spices, then serve it in a pitcher. If you have a hot plate or other device to keep the cider warm, so much the better.

     

    APPLE CIDER BAR INGREDIENTS

    Juices & Mixers

  • Apple cider
  • Hard cider
  • Pomegranate juice
  • Club soda
  • Ginger ale/diet ginger ale
  •  
    Spirits

  • Bourbon
  • Gin
  • Rum and/or spiced rum
  • Whiskey
  • Vodka
  •  

    Sweet Toppings

  • Ice cream: cinnamon ice cream, rum raisin or vanilla ice cream
  • Sorbet: apple sorbet, cranberry sorbet
  • Whipped cream (try these recipes for Bourbon Whipped Cream an Five Spice Whipped Cream)
  •  
    Garnishes

  • Apple or pear slices, berries, red seedless grapes
  • Cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise
  • Ground cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Honey
  • Orange and lemon wheels and curls
  •  
    Plus

  • Butter pats*
  • Glasses and mugs
  • Ice cubes
  • Napkins
  • Spoons & stirring sticks, jiggers for alcohol
  •  

    Add your favorite spices. Photo courtesy Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

     

    Related Snacks

  • Cake & Pie: apple bars, apple pie, ginger bars (recipe), pound cake, spiced bundt
  • Cheese & Fruit Plate: cheddar and washed rind cheeses with apples, pears and grapes, prosciutto
  • Cookies & Donuts: butter cookies, cider- or cinnamon-sugar donuts, gingersnaps, oatmeal raisin cookies, shortbread
  • Light Fare: chicken/turkey/ham sandwiches, grilled cheese, mac & cheese, quiche
  • More: flavored tortilla chips†, granola bars, spiced nuts (recipe)
  •  
    *To float atop hot cider.

    †We like Food Should Taste Good tortilla chips in Kettle, Pumpkin and Sweet Potato; Laurel Hill tortilla chips in Pumpkin Seed; or Way Better Snacks tortilla chips in Zesty Sweet Potato.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Tiramisu Cupcakes

    Mmm, mmm: tiramisu cupcakes. Photo
    courtesy BellaBaker.com.

     

    For more than a few people, a mini cupcake at midnight is the right way to start the new year. This recipe marries tiramisu with cupcakes, filling the soft, moist cupcake with tiramisu, the luscious Italian dessert made of ladyfingers dipped in coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of egg yolks, egg whites, sugar and mascarpone cheese, flavored with cocoa.

    In this recipe, cupcakes replace the ladyfingers. It’s from one of our favorite bakers, Lauryn Cohen of BellaBaker.com.

    “I like to make filling my cupcakes easy—no cutting cones out or slicing and dicing my cupcakes,” says Lauryn. “Just stick a pastry bag into the cupcake and squeeze. It works every time, I promise!”

    She made these as mini-cupcakes for portion control, but you can make standard size cupcakes if you prefer.

    RECIPE: TIRAMISU CUPCAKES

    Ingredients

    For The Syrup

  • 2-3 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • For The Cupcakes

  • 1-1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  •  

    For The Filling & Frosting

  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces fat free vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coffee extract
  •  
    Garnish

  • Cocoa powder
  • Chocolate covered espresso beans*
  •  
    *Available at candy stores, coffee bean stores, food markets (including Trader Joe’s) and online.

     

    Ttiramisu filling, tiramisu frosting. Photo courtesy BellaBaker.com.

     
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the syrup (be sure to do this first). Stir together the espresso powder, sugar and water over low heat until dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool while making the cupcakes.

    2. MAKE the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a mini muffin pan with cupcake liners. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

    3. CREAM butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, until smooth and pale in color. Add eggs one at a time, making sure that each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next one. Stir vanilla into milk. Switch mixer to low speed and add dry and wet ingredients, alternating with half the dry, all of the wet, and the remaining dry, making sure not to overmix.

    4. SCOOP batter into liners and bake for 10-12 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. As soon as the cupcakes come out of the oven, poke hole in the tops with a toothpick, and, using a pastry brush, brush tops of cupcakes with the coffee syrup. Allow cupcakes to cool completely.

    5. MAKE the filling and frosting: Beat butter, mascarpone and yogurt in an electric mixer on medium/high speed until fully combined. Add confectioners’ sugar, a half cup at a time. Beat in the coffee extract.

    6. PLACE the filling/frosting into a piping bag with a narrow round tip. Push tip into top of cupcake and gently squeeze filling out of pastry bag until tip naturally starts to rise out of the cupcake. You will quickly get the hang of when to stop squeezing. Be gentle and do not over-squeeze. Once you have completed the filling, spread frosting over the cupcakes in a dome-like shape. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and top with a chocolate covered espresso bean.

    TURN CUPCAKES INTO A CLOCK

    Alternatively, you can make cupcakes into a clock presentation for New Year’s Eve. Use any cupcake recipe and decorate the top of each cupcake with a different number from 1 to 12. Arrange them in a circle like the face of a clock, with chocolate pretzel rods as the hands.

    Here’s the recipe, plus Lauryn’s tips for baking perfect cupcakes.

      

    Comments

    NEW YEARS EVE: Chocolate Caviar Tart Or Tartlet

    Dominique Ansel, the acclaimed pastry chef who invented the Cronut, has an entire store full of delicious things to eat.

    For New Year’s Eve, anniversaries and other special occasions, we like his chocolate caviar tartlet*. He fills a chocolate tart crust with caramel coffee cream and tops it with chocolate caviar pearls and gold leaf.

    You can use any chocolate tart recipe you like. Here’s a delicious coffee-chocolate tart recipe is from pastry chef Pichet Ong.

    WHAT IS CHOCOLATE CAVIAR?

    Chocolate caviar comprises small beads of chocolate that are formed to look like real caviar beads (which are also called caviar pearls—check out our Caviar Glossary). They provide a visual delight, toothsome texture and of course, intense bites of chocolate.

     

    Caramel chocolate “caviar” tartlet with edible gold foil. Photo courtesy Dominique Ansel.

     
    Chocolate caviar is typically made from cocoa powder, sugar syrup, water and alginate to hold it together.

    Here’s the rub: Buying chocolate caviar in small quantities is costly. It’s sold as a gourmet novelty gift.

    But if you can see your way to buying seven pounds of it—the commercial size from top chocolate manufacturer Callebaut—for $56, it’s an affordable $8 a pound, and leaves you with a lot of caviar pearls to repackage in 8-ounce portions as Valentine gifts. Check it out.

     
    *A tartlet is an individual portion. A tart is a multiportion size, six inches or more in diameter.

     

    Milk chocolate caviar pearls. Photo courtesy Tienda.TorreBlanca.net.

     

    OTHER CHOCOLATE CAVIAR OPTIONS

  • Godiva Chocolate Pearls. This item from the Chocoiste line seems to have been discontinued; it’s no longer on Godiva’s website. But it is on Amazon. In addition to the dark chocolate pearls, you can find milk chocolate pearls, mint dark chocolate pearls and white chocolate pearls, among other flavors, while they last. These chocolate pearls are larger than chocolate caviar pearls.
  • Venchi Chocolate Caviar. This fine Italian chocolate maker sells 1.4 ounces of chocolate caviar
  • in a classic glass caviar jar: $16.99 (or $12 an ounce). However, these are not round “pearls” but irregular “pebbles.” And given the price, it makes sense to buy the Callebaut chocolate caviar in bulk: You get 112 ounces for $56, or $2 an ounce.

     

  • Then there’s Gourvita: a retailer that sells caviar pearls made by Sosa Ingredients and packaged in the classic blue metal caviar tin. Gourvita is a German gourmet food store that sells the chocolate caviar on Amazon.com but ships it from Germany. A 100g (3.5 ounce) package is $33.90. That’s $9.69 an ounce—better than Venchi, but nowhere as good as the Callebaut bulk chocolate caviar.
  •  

    Don’t forget the edible gold leaf.

    And don’t forget to save a tartlet for us!

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Penguin Oreos

    The perfect Oreo for Christmas, New Year’s
    Eve and black tie occasions. Photo courtesy
    Mackenzie Limited.

     

    How do you make Oreo cookie even better?

    Turn them into penguins!

    These adorable Oreo penguins aren’t inexpensive: 12 cookies are $42.95 at MackenzieLtd.com.

    But if you’re game to make your own, head to the store for the ingredients to make your own.

    RECIPE: PENGUIN OREOS

    Ingredients

  • A jumbo bag of Oreos (ideally Double Stuff Oreos)
  • Dark and white chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips
  • Red and yellow food color-or-gumdrops, Starbursts or other orange candies for beak and feet
  • Wax paper
  • 2 quart-size plastic storage bags
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MELT dark chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Dip Oreos completely in the chocolate and set on wax paper to harden, about 10 minutes. We used tweezers to hold an edge of the cookie. Then, after we set the cookie on the wax paper, we added a dab of chocolate to the small “naked” spot.

    2. HARDEN and when the chocolate has set, melt the white chocolate in the same manner. Transfer into the plastic storage baggie. Cut a small corner off the bag and draw the “vest” on each cookie. Don’t worry if your lines aren’t as perfect as the professional version—they used specialty tools to achieve perfection.

    3. CREATE the beaks and feet. After the white chocolate has set, melt another batch of white chocolate and use food color to make it orange. Transfer to the other plastic storage bag to pipe the beaks and feet. (Unless you’ve got a great hand, it’s best to omit the bow tie.)

    4. CREATE eyes by dabbing white and dark chocolate with a toothpick. Let harden and store in an airtight cookie tin between sheets of wax paper until ready to serve.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Eggnog “Martini”

    The Eggnog “Martini” in sunny Napa Valley. Photo courtesy Boon Fly Café | Carneros Inn.

     

    Can you call any a cocktail poured into a Martini glass a Martini?

    Of course not; otherwise you’d call a Cosmopolitan a Cranberry Lime Martini with triple sec substituting for vermouth.

    The Martini is a cocktail made with gin and vermouth, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. The first recipe for a vodka Martini appears in 1951, but didn’t gain world notice until the publication of the second James Bond novel, Live and Let Die, in 1962 (Bond’s cocktail of choice was a vodka martini, “shaken not stirred”).

    Why a vodka Martini? Two good guesses are that a bartender made it for a customer who didn’t like gin; or that a vodka distributor created and promoted it to move more vodka—also a clear spirit but without the aromatic gin ingredients.

     

    If you want to make a cocktail with rum, tequila or whiskey, call it something other than a Martini.

    Here’s more Martini history.

    But even if they don’t know the rules, the folks at Boon Fly Café at the The Carneros Inn in sunny Napa Valley are pleasing customers with Eggnog “Martinis.”

    All you need is eggnog, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and a Martini glass.

     

    RECIPE: BOON FLY CAFE’S EGGNOG MARTINI

    Ingredients For One Drink

  • 1 ounce of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
  • 3 ounces eggnog
  • Garnish: Dash of nutmeg or cinnamon
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SHAKE rum and eggnog with ice and strain into a Martini glass.

    2. GARNISH and serve.
     
    MORE CHRISTMAS MARTINI RECIPES

    Candy Cane Martini

    Cranberry Martini

    Ginger Martini

    Pomegranate Martini

     

    Captain Morgan, ready to pour rum into his eggnog. Image courtesy Diageo.

     

      

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