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Archive for Holidays & Occasions

RECIPE: No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stars

A patriotic dessert doesn’t have to be red, white and blue. And a cookie doesn’t have to be baked.

This recipe from McCormick makes chocolate chip cookie dough stars.

Since there’s no oven and no knives, you can delegate the task to a fledgling cook. Prep time is 20 minutes.

RECIPE: CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH STARS

Ingredients For 24 Cookies

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup miniature chocolate chips
  • 4 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREPARE a 15 x 10 x 1-inch shallow baking pan by lining with foil. With an electric mixer…

    2. BEAT the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl at medium speed, until light and fluffy. Add the sugars, vanilla and salt; mix until blended and smooth. Stir in the vanilla wafer crumbs and chocolate chips.

    3. PRESS the cookie dough firmly into the pan, in an even layer. Freeze for 1 to 2 hours or until firm.

    4. FLIP the cookie dough onto a cutting board and remove the foil. Cut into star shapes with 2-inch star-shaped cookie cutter.

    5. PRESS the cookie dough scraps back into pan, refreezing it if too soft, to cut out more stars. (If you eat them, we won’t blame you: We’ll join you. You can eat them with impunity since there is no raw egg).
     
     
    IF YOU WANT SOMETHING SWEET IN RED, WHITE & BLUE…

    HERE ARE MORE DESSERT RECIPES

    Cakes & Cupcakes

  • Triple Berry Biscuit Shortcake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Cheesecake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Cupcakes (recipe)
  • Red Velvet, White & Blue Cupcakes (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Frosted Layer Cake (recipe 1)
  • Red, White & Blue Grilled Angel Food Cake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Layer Cake (recipe 2)
  • Red White & Blue Layer Cake (recipe 3_
  • Red, White & Blue Shortcake (recipe)
  •  
    Cookies & Bars

  • American Flag Cookies (recipe)
  • Oreo Cookie Balls (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Whoopie Pies (recipe)
  • Stars & Stripes Toll House Cookies (recipe)
  •  
    Ice Cream

  • American Flag Brownie Ice Cream Cake (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Parfaits (recipe)
  • Strawberry & Blueberry Parfait (recipe)
  •  
    Pies & Tarts

  • American Flag Pie (recipe)
  • Blueberry Cherry Pie With Stars & Stripes Top (recipe)
  • Red, White & Blue Tartlets (recipe)
  •  
    More

  • Pavlova (recipe)
  •  
     
    MORE PATRIOTIC FOOD

    For some red, white and blue recipes for other meals, head here.

     

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stars
    [1] No-bake cookie dough stars from McCormick.

    Red, White & Blue Pie Recipe
    [2] A frozen patriotic pie from QVC (recipe).

    July 4th Pie
    [3] Make a custard or cream pie with a berry top (photo courtesy American Pie Council).

    Flag Layer Naked Cake
    [4] A flag layer cake from Good Eggs, in the trendy naked cake style (no icing on the sides).

    July 4th Pound Cake

    [5] The easiest red, white and blue dessert: pound cake, whipped cream and berries (photo courtesy Knudsen Dairy).

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Turkey For July 4th & All Year ‘Round

    Jennie O Oven Ready Turkey

    Jennie-O Oven Ready Turkey

    Sweet Potato Salad

    [1] and [2] Roast turkey is a year-round treat, especially when all you have to do is put a frozen turkey in a bag in the oven (photos courtesy Jennie-O). [3] Sweet potato salad made summery with corn and tomatoes. Here’s the recipe from Averie Cooks.

     

    June is National Turkey Lover’s Month.

    There are turkey burgers and turkey hot dogs, ground turkey for meatballs or meat loaf, and turkey sandwiches from turkey breast or [far less appealing] turkey roll.

    But the turkey everyone looks forward to is the Thanksgiving turkey (well, except a few folks like our friend Terry’s dad, who doesn’t like poultry).

    So why is a roast turkey on the table only once a year?
     
    THE EASIEST ROAST TURKEY YOU CAN MAKE, ANYTIME

    You can have a delicious turkey (photo #1) year-round with very little effort, with an oven-ready frozen turkey from Jennie-O. It’s our best discovery so far this year.

    The turkey comes in a bag with a handle for easy carrying (photo #2). Thanks to whomever thought of this (and other turkey producers, take note).

    Just take the turkey from the freezer, remove the outer bag, and place the frozen turkey, housed in an inner bag, into the oven.

    That’s it: There’s nothing to baste or watch over. It cooks up super-moist and juicy. And clean-up is minimal.

    We received our Jennie-O Oven-Ready Whole Turkey as a sample. We couldn’t believe it would be as easy as described, or produce as good a turkey as the typical frozen turkey, thawed before roasting.

    But it is! Jennie-O has a new customer in us, and we’ll have whole roasted turkey much more often, and soon (see the next section).

    We also will likely forgo our annual heirloom bird at Thanksgiving, because Jennie-O Oven Ready is just too easy to pass up. (And who likes to scrub a roasting pan?)

    TURKEY FOR JULY 4TH

    We’re having a roast turkey on July 4th. Turkey was almost America’s national bird, after all. As for those burgers, franks, chicken and steaks: We have them all the time. They’re not exactly a celebration.

    There won’t be stuffing or cranberry sauce. We’re making summer sides: sweet potato salad, and a farmers market green salad with a dried cranberry vinaigrette.

    We have three bags of cranberries in the freezer, and are planning cranberry sorbet for dessert.

    Some participants have been asked to bring potluck dishes that complement a summer roast turkey. We know two of them: corn salad and zucchini ribbon “pasta” salad. We can’t wait to see what the others bring!
     
    BACK TO JENNIE-O…

    Jennie-O Oven Ready Whole Turkey is also available with Cajun seasonings. Both come with a packet of gravy.

    The gravy included with our turkey is not the greatest; but we added Gravy Master, and then bourbon, which helped.

    Truth to tell, the turkey is so moist and flavorful, no gravy is necessary. Or, you can make gravy from the drippings in the bag.

     
    Don’t like dark meat? Jennie-O offers Oven Ready Turkey Breast options: Bone In, Cajun Bone In, and Boneless.

    Check out the line of Jennie-O turkey products including fresh, natural turkeys; cutlets; franks and brats; burgers and ground meat; tenderloins; sausages; meatballs, bacon; even turkey pot roast!

    Need turkey tips? Visit Jennie-O for:

  • How to Buy a Whole Turkey
  • How to Thaw a Frozen Turkey
  • How to Brine a Turkey
  • How to Marinate a Turkey
  • How to Rub a Turkey
  • How to Cook a Turkey
  • How to Ensure a Juicy Turkey
  • How to Grill a Turkey, Gas Or Charcoal
  • How to Smoke a Turkey
  • How to Carve a Turkey
  • How to Store Leftover Turkey Properly
  • How To Slow Cook A Turkey Breast
  •  
    THE HISTORY OF THE TURKEY
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Chocolate Ice Cubes In Vanilla Milk Or Cocktails

    Today’s tip might be a natural for Valentine’s Day, but we like it even more for the cold drinks of summer.

    These chocolate ice cubes are the brainchild of the Parisian chocolatier Jean-Paul Hévin.

    His Summer Chocolate Ice Cubes are simply a chocolate ice cream recipe that gets poured into ice cube trays instead of an ice cream churn. Why didn’t we think of this years ago?

    While M. Hévin’s recipe is for a family-friendly, gourmet chocolate milk drink, you can also use the chocolate ice cubes in cocktails or with liqueurs.

    They keep your drinks cold, as they add chocolate flavor by slowly melting. Use them:

  • In regular drinks: Iced coffee, an egg cream, an ice cream soda, or a simple glass of…regular or chocolate milk.
  • In cocktails: Black Russian/White Russian, Chocolate Martini, Coffee Martini, Grasshopper, etc.
  • With liqueurs: Add to a rocks glass of chocolate, coffee or Irish cream liqueur.
  •  
    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE ICE CUBES & VANILLA MILK

    The recipe makes enough for one ice cube tray: cubes for 6 rocks glasses or 4 highball glasses. While it goes without saying, we’ll say it: Make the ice cubes 6 hours before you plan to use them, or the night before.

    The vanilla milk also needs to chill for several hours. You can make the entire recipe the night before.

    You can also enhance the flavor with chocolate-friendly seasonings: cayenne pepper, cinnamon, instant coffee, nutmeg, etc.

  • Add a teaspoon of spice to the ice cream mix.
  • Mix the spice with coarse/decorating/sanding/sparkling sugar for a sugar rim.
  •  
    Hévin’s recipe starts with his homemade ice cream, which is poured into ice cube trays instead of churned into ice cream.

    We used Lactaid milk so that all of our crowd, including the lactose sensitive, could have them. Lactose-free milk is virtually like regular milk, but the lactose (milk sugar) that is hard for some people to digest has been de-activated. All the Lactaid products (cottage cheese, ice cream, holiday egg nog) are delish!
     
    Ingredients For The Chocolate Ice Cream

  • 6.8 ounces/200ml milk
  • 3.5 tablespoons/50ml water
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Optional: 1 cup of instant coffee (prepared, not granules)
  • 70g of 66% cacao dark chocolate
  •  
    For The Vanilla Milk

  • 2.5 cups/600ml whole milk
  • 1/4 cup/60g sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  •  
    Optional

  • Liqueur of choice
  • Straws for tall glasses
  • Sugar, spiced sugar or cocoa mix rim (use sparkling sugar/decorating sugar
  • Whipped cream
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CHOP the chocolate finely and place it in a heat-resistant bowl.

    2. COMBINE the milk and water in a saucepan. Add the sugar, cocoa and coffee and mix thoroughly to avoid lumps. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Then…

     

    Chocolate Ice Cubes

    Chocolate Ice Cubes

    Milk With Cocoa Rim

    A tall glass with chocolate ice cubes, and [2] wioth the vanilla milk added (photo courtesy Nordljus). [3] How about a Black or White Russian in this rocks glass (photo courtesy Ellen Fork). [4] Who won’t drink milk with chocolate ice cubes and a cocoa powder rim (photo courtesy Oxmoor House)?

     
    3. REMOVE from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let it melt for 5 minutes; then gently mix with a wooden spoon until it is smooth and creamy. Allow to cool, pour into an ice cube tray and freeze.

    4. MAKE the vanilla milk. Pour the milk into a large saucepan, add the sugar and mix to dissolve.

    5. SCRAPE the vanilla bean and add the beans and pod to the pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and remove from heat. Allow to cool; then refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

    6. TO SERVE: Place the chocolate ice cubes in the glasses (depending on the size of the glasses 3 to 4 ice cubes) then pour over the milk to the cold vanilla.
     
     
    This recipe by Jean-Paul Hévin appeared in the Elle à Table and appeared on Nordljus.com. We can across it on Sandra Kavital | Blogspot. Thanks also to Keiko of Nordljus.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Lumberjack Cake

    This impressive Lumberjack Cake was created by Elizabeth Marek of Artisan Cake Company of Portland, Oregon, and author of Visual Guide to Cake Decorating.

    Another of her works of art is the Lumberjack Cake, inspired by her husband, who chopped down their Christmas tree in a lumberjack jacket.

    Jenny Keller of Jenny Cookies Bakeshop in Lake Stevens, Washington took up the cause and created an entire lumberjack party.

    Every part of the cake is edible: The bark is made from chocolate, the axe is made from fondant.

    To both artists: Thank you for this most enjoyable bit of food fun.

    If you want to try your hand at honoring your favorite lumberjack, you can buy the tutorial ($15). Also scroll down that page to see the lumberjack wedding cake.

    For more cake pleasure, take a look at our Cake Glossary: the different types of cake, beginning with a brief history of cake.

    You may also enjoy the history of cake pans.

    And let’s not forget the history of the oven, and give thanks to all the bakers who labored under challenging conditions to create cakes that were attractive and delicious.

     

    Lumberjack Cake

    We don’t know any lumberjacks, but we want this cake! Photo courtesy Jenny Keller | Jenny Cookies Bakeshop.

     
    Now how did they keep the bottoms of the cakes from sticking and burning, in the many centuries before the invention of the cake pan and the temperature-controlled oven—and long before silicone oven gloves?

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Your Fantasy Ice Cream Pie

    One of the easiest yet impressive desserts you can make make is an ice cream pie.

    In its quickest form, you buy a cookie crumb pie crust, a quart of ice cream and a jar of dessert sauce. Press the softened ice cream into the crust, freeze, garnish and serve.

    Have a few extra minutes? Make your own cookie crumb crust and sauce, and create two different layers of ice cream, with a nifty filling in-between.

    It’s a make-ahead dessert that you can keep in the freezer, waiting for an impromptu occasion.

    (Truth to tell, that pie wouldn’t last a day in our freezer unless someone put a lock on the door. It’s iffy survival here for any ice cream, cake or cookies.)

    What’s your fantasy ice cream pie?

  • Crust: Chocolate wafers, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, oatmeal cookies, Oreos, shortbread.
  • Ice cream: Pick your flavor(s). You can also combine an ice cream and a sorbet (e.g., Creamsicle pie). Mango or raspberry sorbet are exquisite, combined with vanilla ice cream.
  • Liqueur: Blend in 3 tablespoons per quart of ice cream, 1 tablespoon per 1.5 cups of sauce.
  • Sauce: Butterscotch*, caramel*, chocolate, fruit purée, liqueur†.
  • Mix-ins: M&Ms, toffee bits, flavored chips, mix whole or halved berries, diced fresh fruit, etc.
  • Fillings: If you don’t mix anything into the ice cream itself, you can use candies or fruits as a layer, either between two different flavors or in the middle of a single flavor.
  • Garnish: Chocolate shavings, fruit, candy pieces, etc.
  •  
    You can spend the summer working on recipes (one per weekend, perhaps?) and show off the “winners” over Labor Day Weekend.
    ________________

    *Butterscotch and caramel are similar, with a key difference: Butterscotch is made with brown sugar, caramel is made with white granulated sugar. To create a sauce, the sugar is melted over high heat and blended with butter and cream.

    †You can add liqueur to the sauce; or if there’s no sauce, sprinkle it over the top of the pie. We add it to the softened ice cream as well.
     
     
    RECIPE: SWEET & SALTY ICE CREAM PIE

    This pie uses store-bought ice cream, but you make the crust and topping from scratch. Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.

    Ingredients For 1 Pie

  • 2 cups pretzels, finely ground
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1-1/2 quarts vanilla ice cream
  • 5 (1.4-ounce) chocolate covered toffee bars, crushed (substitute 7 ounces other toffee)
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped Snickers bar
  •  
    For The Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. In large bowl, combine pretzels, butter and sugar. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of 9-inch pie plate. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool completely.

     

    Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream Pie

    Blueberry Ice Cream Pie

    Grasshopper Ice Cream Pie

    Snickers Pie

    [1] Peanut butter ice cream on a brownie base. Here’s the recipe from Go Bold With Butter. [2] Homemade blueberry ice cream pie. You can also blend puréed blueberries into store-bought anilla ice cream (photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Caterers). [3] Grasshopper pie: the mint ice cream tastes even better with a few tablespoons of creme de menthe liqueur. Here’s the recipe from Taste Of Home. [4] Sweet and salty ice cream pie from Go Bold With Butter. The recipe is at left.

     
    2. REMOVE the ice cream from the freezer and let it soften for 5 minutes. Place the ice cream in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix until smooth. Add the crushed toffee bars and peanuts, mixing to combine.

    3. POUR the mixture into the cooled crust. Cover and freeze until completely firm.

    4. MAKE the caramel sauce: Combine the brown sugar, butter, heavy cream and salt in medium saucepan. Bring to boil and boil 5 to 7 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Let cool.

    5. SERVE the pie with the caramel sauce. Garnish with extra toffee pieces and peanuts.

      

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