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Archive for Cookies/Cake/Pastry

RECIPE: Christmas Ornament Cookies

If our recent article on making Christmas tree ornaments from deyhydrated fruit didn’t appeal to you, how about cookie ornaments? Unlike the dried citrus, you can eat the cookies when you take down the tree.

This is a recipe for people who want to hone their decorating techniques. Marian, cookie decorating expert and author of the blog Sweetopia, has created a tutorial to guide you. Follow her easy steps and master the art of marbling (also called feathering or swirling).

To marble, you simply add one or more colors of icing to a base coat and then drag a toothpick through the icing to create a marbled effect. Check out the step-by-step decorating instructions

If you’ve made cookies like these before you, you know that all you need are time and patience. It gets easier with every batch.

Bonus: You can use the marbling technique on cakes, cocktails with foam top layer, and of course, cappuccino and latte.

These are gingerbread cookies, but if you prefer, you can make shortbread or chocolate shortbread cookies. Prep time is 25 minutes, cook time is 15 minutes. Determine in advance how many colors of icing you want to use.

RECIPE: MARBLED ORNAMENT GINGERBREAD COOKIES

   

Christmas Ornament Cookies

Hang these ornament cookies on the tree, and eat them when the tree comes down (in theory). Photo courtesy GoBoldWithButter.com.

 
Ingredients For 30 Cookies

For The Cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 6-1/2 cups (800 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon baking powder*
  •  
    For The Royal Icing

  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) warm water
  • 5 tablespoons meringue powder (if not vanilla flavored, add 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract†)
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2-1/4 pounds (about 5-2/3 cups) powdered sugar
  •  
    For Decorating

  • Christmas ornament cookie cutters
  • Piping bags
  • Piping bag couplers
  • #2 piping tips
  • Icing bag ties or rubber bands
  • Toothpicks
  • Ribbon
  •  
    *Omit the baking powder if you do not want cookies to spread/rise.

    †Clear vanilla extract is a flavoring used when you don’t want vanilla to discolor a light icing. It is not “real” vanilla extract. Rather, it is flavored with vanillin, which is used to make artificial vanilla extract.

     

    Ornament Cookies

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/gingerbread ornament step2 GBWB 230

    Christmas Cookie Ornaments

    The three steps to decorating ornament
    cookies. In the third photo, a toothpick is
    used to drag the icing up and down, as
    shown by the arrows. Photos courtesy Go
    Bold With Butter.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Cream the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, on medium speed, until fluffy. Mix in the spices, then the eggs and molasses. Reduce the speed to low.

    2. WHISK together in a separate bowl the flour, salt and baking powder. Add to butter mixture, and mix until just combined.

    3. FORM the dough into a disk shape and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

    4. ROLL the out dough on lightly floured work surface or between 2 sheets of parchment paper to about 1/4-inch thick. Cut out the shapes with cookie cutters and cut a small hole in the top of each cookie for the ribbon.

    5. PLACE the cookies approximately 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate until the dough is firm, at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.

    6. BAKE the cookies until lightly golden, 12 to 14 minutes. Let them cool on the sheets on wire racks.

    7. MAKE the royal icing. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the warm water and meringue powder (and the clear vanilla extract if necessary). Whisk by hand until frothy and thickened, about 30 seconds. Add the cream of tartar and whisk by hand for 30 seconds more.

    8. ADD all the powdered sugar at once. Using the lowest speed, mix slowly with the paddle for 10 minutes. The icing will become thick and creamy.

    9. DIVIDE into portions to tint with food colorings. As necessary, thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.
     
    DECORATING WITH ROYAL ICING

    1. BEGIN by piping an icing outline around each cookie. Use a piping bag fitted with a coupler and #2 tip.

    2. LET the outline dry for a few minutes to create a solid border. You’ll be able to see the border somewhat when the icing dries, so alternately you could fill or flood your cookie in right after piping the outline. Once you’ve filled the whole cookie…

    3. SHAKE it gently left to right on your work surface, to help smooth the icing out.

     

    4. ADD your second (or more) layer or color of icing. Work as quickly as you can before the icing sets.

    5. TAKE a toothpick and drag it through the icing, drawing S-like shapes. Each combination of colors creates another look. Just by changing the way you set up your lines and drag the toothpick, completely different designs emerge.

    6. DO as much decorating as you like. Once the marbled icing has set (at least 15 minutes), pipe the icing at the top (crown) of the ornament, representing (use grey or gold). Let that set and pipe a few line details as desired.
     
    IMPORTANT NOTE

    Don’t be intimidated by the piping. You don’t have to make perfectly marbled cookies like an expert baker. You can make abstract swirls, polka dots or whatever you like.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Easy Gingerbread Cake & More Ways To Enjoy Gingerbread

    Gingerbread is a long-standing holiday tradition, the seeds of which are with the 11th-century crusaders returning from the Holy Land with ginger and other spices. The history is below.

    Beyond those first gingerbread cakes and cookies, ginger has found its way into present day mousse, waffles,

    RECIPE: EASY GINGERBREAD CAKE

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses
  • Garnish: whipped cream*
  •  
    *Instead of vanilla-flavored whip cream, consider bourbon whipped cream.
     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and baking soda in a large bowl until combined; set aside.

    2. PLACE the milk in a microwave-safe bowl and cook in the microwave on high for 90 seconds. Whisk the butter into the bowl with the hot milk until it has melted. Add the brown sugar and molasses and mix. Stir in the egg.

    3. ADD the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients bowl and mix until they are completely combined. Pour the batter into an 8″x8″ pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until it the cake is firm in the center. Cool the cake completely. Serve with whipped cream.

       

    Gingerbread Cake

    gingerbread-cheesecaked-bakedbyrachel-230

    TOP PHOTO: Easy gingerbread cake made even easier in a disposable Reynolds Bakeware pan. When you’re bringing food to someone’s house, you don’t have to worry about getting the pan back. BOTTOM PHOTO: How about a gingerbread cheesecake? Here’s the recipe from BakedByRachel.com.

     
    MORE WAYS TO ENJOY GINGERBREAD

  • Easy Gingerbread Cupcakes Recipe
  • Gingerbread Bars With Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
  • Gingerbread Frozen Yogurt Recipe
  • Gingerbread Latte Recipe
  • Gingerbread Men Cookies Recipe (you’ll need a gingerbread woman cookie cutter to give equal opportunity to the ladies)
  • Gingerbread Whoopie Pies Recipe
  • Gingerbread Pancakes & Waffles Recipe
  • Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies Recipe
  • Ginger-Lemon Cinnamon Buns Recipe
  • Mini Eggnog-Gingerbread Cheesecakes Recipe
  •  
    Even More
    Make a gingerbread sundae with cinnamon, ginger and vanilla ice creams. Add cubes of fresh-baked gingerbread bars or cake, topped with whipped cream, candied ginger and chunks of Chuao Chocolate’s gingerbread chocolate bar. The truly indulgent can add caramel sauce.

    Don’t want to make anything at all? Check out the gingerbread cottages, trains, wreaths and cake pops at MackenzieLtd.com.

    Check your supermarket, frozen yogurt or gelato/ice shop for a seasonal gingerbread flavor.

    Look for Nonni’s Nonni’s Gingerbread Biscotti. We’re big fans.
     

     

    Gingerbread Man and Woman

    Gingerbread Cupcakes

    TOP PHOTO: Equal opportunity: Bake
    gingerbread men and women. Photo courtesy
    WMMB. BOTTOM PHOTO: Make these
    gingerbread cupcakes from Pillsbury.

     

    THE HISTORY OF GINGERBREAD

    At the end of the 11th century, the Crusaders returned to Europe from the Middle East with ginger and other spices. Prior to the 15th century, “gingerbread” referred to preserved ginger. It began to be used to flavor cakes and cookies. Monks baked the first gingerbread cookies for holidays and festivals, which are called Lebkuchen in German.

    Why is it called ginger “bread” in English? The spice ginger, zingebar in Latin, became gingerbras in Old French, gingerbread in Medieval English and Ingwer in German.

    Gingerbread cookies were made year-round in a proliferation of shapes—flowers, hearts, trees and so forth in different sizes. The Medieval German Lebkuchen Guild† transformed gingerbread into a highly-decorated art, crafting the fancy shapes and decorating them with sugar and gold.

    But gingerbread men originated elsewhere. The credit goes to Queen Elizabeth I—or more precisely, an unnamed palace baker who toiled during her reign (1558 to 1603). Her Majesty bestowed “portrait” gingerbread cookies upon important court visitors, decorated in their likenesses.
     
    Who Invented Gingerbread Houses?

    According to a reference in FoodTimeline.org, the tradition of baking gingerbread houses began in Germany after the Brothers Grimm published their collection of fairy tales in 1812.

    Life imitates art: Inspired by the story of Hansel and Gretel, who nibbled at the witch’s candy-covered gingerbread house (and inspired our name, The Nibble), German bakers created miniature houses from the already popular lebkuchen (gingerbread). Artists were employed to decorate the houses, which became particularly popular during Christmas.

    “Hansel and Gretel” vastly increased the popularity of gingerbread cookies and other treats. Gingerbread men and animals became popular Christmas tree ornaments.

     
     
    The gingerbread tradition crossed the ocean with the German immigration wave that began in 1820. We thank them for the gingerbread.
     
    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GINGERBREAD, GINGERSNAPS & GINGER COOKIES

    A ginger cookie is a soft, molasses-type cookie that is flavored with ginger and other spices. It is larger than, and otherwise differs from, a gingersnap.

    Unlike the fancier gingerbread, a gingersnap is a small, thin, plain round cookie with a hard, smooth texture like a gingerbread cookie. It is a smaller version of the traditional German Christmas cookie known as Lebkuchen. Like a gingerbread cookie, ginger snaps break with a “snap.”

    Gingersnaps contain a larger amount of ginger, and thus are spicier, than the chewier ginger cookies.

     
    *Only Lebkuchen Guild members could bake gingerbread, except during Christmas, when anyone could bake it.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Cranberry Crumb Bars

    For a simple dessert or coffee break snack during the holiday season, try these “crantastic” crumb bars from the talented Lauryn Cohen, a.k.a. Bella Baker. See more of her terrific recipes at BellaBaker.com.

    RECIPE: CRANBERRY CRUMB BARS

    Ingredients

  • 1-3/4 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2-1/2 sticks cold butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  •  

    cranberry-crumb-bars-bellabaker-230

    Try these crumb bars with a morning cup of coffee or as a snack. Photo courtesy Bella Baker.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Line a 9×13 glass baking dish with aluminum foil and spray foil with nonstick spray.

    2. MIX together in a bowl 1-3/4 cups sugar, the oats, flour, almond meal, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. Use your fingertips or a pastry cutter to blend in the butter. With a fork, mix in the eggs to create a dough that comes together. The dough will be a little crumbly. Pat half of the dough into the buttered pan.

    3. STIR together in another bowl the second 1-3/4 cups sugar, potato starch, vanilla and orange juice. Mix in the cranberries. Pour the cranberry mixture evenly over the dough in the pan.

    4. CRUMBLE the remaining dough over the berries and gently pat down so that dough is covering all of the cranberries. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until the top is a light golden brown.

    5. COOL completely and chill in the refrigerator before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

      

    Comments

    RECIPES: Christmas Cookies

    December 4th is National Cookie Day, and what better cookies to enjoy than Christmas cookies.

    Some people bake the same family favorites every year, others look for new recipes. We loved these three fun ideas from Pillsbury.

    All three begin with a package of refrigerated cookie dough. With the time you save mixing and cutting cookie dough, you can focus on the elaborate decorations.

    RECIPE: MELTING SNOWMEN COOKIES

    Prep time for these cuties is 30 minutes, total time is 1 hr 30 minutes.

    Ingredients For 24 Cookies

  • 1 package (16 ounces) Pillsbury Ready To Bake! refrigerated sugar cookies
  • 12 miniature creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookies
  • 24 miniature chocolate-covered peanut butter cup candies, unwrapped
  • 1 container (1 pound) vanilla creamy ready-to-spread frosting
  • 12 large marshmallows
  • 48 miniature chocolate chips (for eyes)
  • 2 Dots orange gumdrop candies, cut into small carrot-shaped triangles (for noses)
  • 1 pouch black cookie icing
  • 24 pieces red string licorice, 7-1/2 inches long, clipped on ends for fringes of each scarf
  •  
    Preparation

       

    Melted Snowman Cookies

    Santa Belly Cookies

    TOP PHOTO: Melted snowmen cookies. BOTTOM PHOTO: Santa Bellies. Photos courtesy Pillsbury.

     

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the cookie dough rounds 2 inches apart on 2 ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until edges are light golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack to cool completely. Meanwhile…

    2. MAKE the hats. Remove the creme from sandwich cookies and save. Attach a miniature peanut butter cup to one half of the sandwich cookie, using a small amount of the saved vanilla frosting. Continue for the remaining hats.

    3. CUT the marshmallows in half, and place one half on top of each cookie, cut side down. In a small microwavable bowl, microwave the remaining frosting, uncovered, on medium (50%) for 20 to 40 seconds, until slightly warm (stir halfway through). Spoon the frosting on top of the marshmallow/cookie to look like melting snow. Attach a hat to the top of each cookie. Attach the miniature chocolate chips and orange gumdrop candy for the eyes and nose. Allow to set for 20 minutes.

    3. USE black cookie icing to pipe arms on each snowman cookie. Wrap one piece of licorice around the neck for the scarf. Allow to set completely before serving, about 30 minutes.

    Store in an airtight container.

    You can see step-by-step photography and a video of this preparation here.

     

    Reindeer Cookies

    These reindeer are delicious. Photo courtesy
    Pillsbury. The recipe is below.

     

    RECIPE: SANTA’S BELLY COOKIES

    The photo for these is above. Prep time is 40 minutes, total time is 1 hour 20 minutes.

    Ingredients For 24 Cookies

  • 1 package (16 ounces) Pillsbury Ready To Bake! refrigerated sugar cookies
  • 24 large marshmallows
  • 1 container (1 lb) vanilla creamy ready-to-spread frosting
  • Red, yellow and black gel food colors
  • 48 white vanilla baking chips (for Santa’s suit buttons)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. On two ungreased cookie sheets, place the dough rounds 2 inches apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Meanwhile, slightly flatten marshmallows.

    2. REMOVE from the oven and top each cookie with a marshmallow. Return to the oven, and bake 1 to 2 minutes or until slightly softened.

    3. REMOVE the cookies from the cookie sheets; cool completely on cooling racks. Meanwhile, separate frosting into 3 small bowls, using 1-1/4 cups to make red frosting, 1/4 cup for yellow frosting and 1/4 cup for black frosting. Add food color to each, and mix to get desired colors (red, yellow and black). Frost and decorate cookies to look like Santa’s belly, using photo as a guide.

    Store in an airtight container.

    You can see step-by-step photography and a video here.
     

    RECIPE: CUTE REINDEER COOKIES

    Make these reindeer in 30 minutes of prep time, 1 hour 5 minutes total time. See the photo above.

    Ingredients For 24 Cookies

  • 1 package (16 oz) Pillsbury Ready to Bake! refrigerated sugar cookies
  • 10 oz chocolate candy coating, cut into pieces (from 20-oz package)
  • 24 small white fudge-covered pretzels, halved (from 5-oz bag)
  • 48 candy eyeballs
  • 24 Junior Mints or other chocolate-covered creamy mint candies (from 1.84-oz box)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Place thr cookies 2 inches apart on two ungreased cookie sheets. Shape each cookie into oval, but do not flatten.

    2. Bake 11 to 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 20 minutes.

    3. MELT the candy coating as directed on the package. Working with one cookie at a time, dip the top side of cookie into the melted candy coating, covering fully and letting excess drip off. Place 2 pretzel halves on top of cookie for antlers, 2 candy eyeballs for eyes and 1 mint candy for nose. Repeat with remaining cookies.

    Store in an airtight container.

    Head here for a step-by-step photographs and a video.

      

    Comments

    RECIPES: Cranberry Cheesecake

    We [heart] cheesecake. Every October, we switch to pumpkin cheesecake in its many forms. But as soon as the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone, we start baking cranberry cheesecake recipes.

    Because cheesecake is such a rich and heavy dessert, we usually don’t serve it following a big dinner, but as a “tea time” snack (and honestly, we’ve been known to eat it for breakfast).

    The first recipe is a plain cheesecake with a cranberry topping, analogous to cherry cheesecake. The second recipe has a different look, with a cranberry swirl inside the cheesecake and a thin layer of cranberry gelée on top.

    Both recipes are made in a nine-inch springform pan. A nine-inch cake yields 12 slices.

    RECIPE #1: CHEESECAKE WITH CRANBERRY TOPPING

    This recipe is Philadelphia Cream Cheese’s classic cheesecake, with a cranberry topping. The result is the cranberry version of a cherry cheesecake.

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh cranberries (half of a 12-ounce package)
  • ½ cup water
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon orange zest
  •    

    Cranberry-Cheesecake-sliced-philadelphia-kraft-230

    Like cherry cheesecake, but with a cranberry topping. Photo courtesy Kraft.

     

    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oven to 325°F. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, 1 tablespoon sugar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and the butter until blended. Press onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.

    2. BEAT the cream cheese and 1 cup of the remaining sugar in a large bowl with a mixer, until blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over the crust.

    3. BAKE from 55 minutes to 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until the center is almost set. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the cake; cool before removing the rim. Refrigerate the cheesecake 4 hours. (You can leave it in the spring mold for the time being.) Meanwhile…

    4. BRING the cranberries, water, remaining sugar and cinnamon to boil in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer on low for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the sauce is slightly thickened and the berries have softened; stir occasionally. Cool slightly; thrn refrigerate until ready to serve.

    5. SPREAD the cranberry topping over the cheesecake just before serving.

     

    Cheesecake With Cranberry Gelee

    Fresh Cranberries

    TOP PHOTO: Cooked cranberries are swirled into the cheesecake and puréed into a gelée topping. Photo and recipe courtesy Taste Of Home. BOTTOM PHOTO: Fresh cranberries. Photo courtesy USA Cranberries.

     

    RECIPE #2: CRANBERRY SWIRL CHEESECAKE WITH
    CRANBERRY GELÉE

    In this recipe from Taste Of Home, cooked fresh cranberries are swirled through the batter; and then strained in a food mill or sieve to create a gelée topping.

    Prep time is 30 minutes, cook time is 55 minutes plus chilling.

    Ingredients For 12 Servings
     
    For The Crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker or shortbread cookie crumbs
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  •  
    For The Topping

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F. Place a greased 9-inch springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil, about 18 inches square). Wrap the foil securely around pan and place the pan on a baking sheet.

    2. MIX the graham cracker crumbs and butter in a small bowl and press onto bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 6 minutes and cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile…

    3. COMBINE the cranberries, sugar and water in a large saucepan. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat until the berries pop, about 12-15 minutes. Add the lemon juice. Press the cranberry mixture through a food mill into a small bowl; discard pulp and seeds. Set aside.

    4. MAKE the filling. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Add the eggs and beat on low speed until just blended; pour into the crust. Spoon 1/4 cup of the topping over filling. With knife, cut through the filling to make a cranberry swirl.

    5. PLACE the springform pan in a larger pan and add 1 inch of hot water to larger pan. (This creates a water bath, or bain-marie, which adds moisture to the oven and keeps the top of the cheesecake from cracking.) Bake for 55-65 minutes or until the center is just set and the top appears dull.

    6. REMOVE the springform pan from the water bath. Cool the cheesecake on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides from the pan with a knife; remove the foil.

    7. COOL for 1 hour longer. Pour the remaining topping over cheesecake. Refrigerate overnight, covering the cheesecake when it is completely cooled. Remove the rim from the pan.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Garnish Desserts With Brittle

    If someone gives you brittle—or you’re inspired to make your own—use some of it to garnish desserts.

    Just a few small pieces make almost any dessert even more festive. If you already have “brittle crumbs” at the bottom of the box, so much the better.

    MAKE BRITTLE

    For the holidays, this spicy pumpkin seed brittle recipe is a natural. We also love classic pecan brittle (recipe below).

    You can add dried cranberries to any brittle recipe.
     
    RECIPE: 15-MINUTE MICROWAVE BRITTLE

    You can make this brittle in just 15 minutes, plus cooling time. Make sure everything is in its place before you start cooking, because the brittle sets quickly. This recipe is courtesy of Taste Of Home.

    Ingredients For 1 Pound/16 Servings

  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon butter, divided
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •    

    mini-pumpkin-pie-brittle-garnish-figandolive-230

    Plain or fancy, almost any dessert perks up with a brittle garnish. Photo courtesy Fig & Olive.

     

    Pumpkin Pie With Brittle Topping

    Turn a plain holiday pie into a festive one
    with brittle. Photo courtesy Midwest Living.

     

    Preparation

    1. GREASE a 15-inch x 10-inch x 1-inch pan with 2 teaspoons of butter; set aside.

    2. COMBINE the sugar and corn syrup in a 2-quart, microwave-safe glass bowl. Microwave uncovered on high for 4 minutes, or until a candy thermometer reads 238°F (soft-ball stage).

    3. ADD the pecans. Microwave for 4 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads 300°F (hard-crack stage). The mixture will be very hot. Vigorously stir in the baking soda, vanilla and remaining butter until the mix is blended.

    4. QUICKLY POUR into the prepared pan and spread with a metal spatula as thin as possible.

     
    5. COOL completely, then break into pieces. Store in an airtight container with waxed paper between the layers.
     
    NOTES:

  • This recipe was tested in a 1,100-watt microwave.
  • For a 1,650 watt microwave, adjust both cook times to be 3 minutes instead of 4 minutes.
  • Test your candy thermometer before each use by bringing water to a boil; the thermometer should read 212°. Adjust your recipe temperature up or down based on your test.
  •   

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: Recipes For National Lemon Cream Pie Day

    Lemon Cream Pie

    Frozen lemon cream pie with a hit of lemon-flavored vodka.

     

    National Lemon Cream Pie Day is November 29th. This year, we’re serving up something special courtesy of a recipe from New Amsterdam Vodka: a frozen pie with vodka.

    Don’t want the alcohol? Don’t want a frozen pie? There’s a very creamy lemon cream pie recipe below.

    RECIPE: FROZEN LEMON VODKA CREAM PIE*

    Ingredients For 1 Pie

  • 2 cups lemon sherbet
  • 6 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  • 12 ounces frozen lemonade
  • 2 ounces lemon-flavored vodka or plain vodka
  • 1 pie crust (we used a graham cracker crust)
  • Garnish: whipped cream
  • Optional garnishes: berries, lemon zest, mint leaves
  •  
    *A.K.A. New Amsterdam Frozen Lemonade Pie.

     
    Preparation

    1. BLEND the ingredients together thoroughly, and scoop into the pie crust. Freeze.

    2. SERVE with whipped cream and a sprinkle of lemon zest. Berries are optional but they provide a nice hit of color.

     

    RECIPE: LUSCIOUS LEMON CREAM PIE

    This recipe from Pillsbury gets its creaminess from sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream (whippping cream).

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 1 pie crust (9 inches)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 to 3 medium lemons)
  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 4 drops yellow food color, if desired
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oven to 450°F. Bake the crust 9 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

     

    Lemon Cream Pie - Pillsbury

    Now that’s a lemon cream pie! Photo courtesy Pillsbury.

     
    2. MIX the condensed milk, lemon peel and lemon juice in a medium bowl; set aside.

    3. BEAT beat 2 cups of the whipping cream and the food color in large bowl, with the electric mixer on high speed, until stiff.

    4. FOLD the lemon mixture into the whipped cream until just blended. Spoon it into the crust. Cover; refrigerate at least 3 hours until set.

    5. BEAT the remaining 1 cup of whipping cream in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed, until stiff. Spoon dollops on top of the pie or on slices of pie when serving. Store the pie covered in the refrigerator.
     
    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EVAPORATED MILK AND SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK

    The quickest explanation is in the names: sweetened condensed milk has added sugar and evaporated milk doesn’t. It is also much thicker: Evaporated milk pours like regular milk, but sweetened condensed milk pours like molasses. They are not interchangeable in recipes, but both can be used in coffee.

  • Evaporated milk is fresh cow’s milk from which about 60% percent of the water has been removed by evaporation. It’s then homogenized, fortified with vitamins and stabilizers, canned and sterilized. The heat from the sterilization gives the milk a bit of a caramelized flavor, and makes the color slightly darker than fresh milk. Evaporated milk was originally called unsweetened condensed milk, although that term is no longer used.
  • Sweetened condensed milk also has about 60% percent of the water removed, then sugar is added as well as vitamin A. Condensed milk contains 40% to 45% sugar, but it means that no (or less) added sugar is required in the recipe. Condensed milk requires no sterilization, since sugar is a natural inhibitor of bacteria growth. It is darker and more yellow in color than evaporated milk.
  •  
    WHO INVENTED EVAPORATED MILK & SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK?

    Both were invented by Gail Borden, who subsequently formed the dairy company that bears his name. In 1852 he was traveling transatlantic when the cows aboard ship became too seasick to provide milk (and there was no refrigeration in those days to keep milk fresh). He began to experiment, and two years later produced a canned milk that did not go sour at room temperature for three days after the can was opened.

    Borden received a patent for sweetened condensed milk in 1856 and began commercial production the following year. Unsweetened condensed milk, now called evaporated milk, took more time to perfect since it didn’t have the sugar to inhibit bacteria growth. It was finally canned successfully in 1885.

    In the days before refrigeration, both evaporated and sweetened condensed milk were used more than fresh milk because they were less likely to spoil and harbor harmful bacteria.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Best Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipes

    The best Thanksgiving leftovers recipes. Throw everything into a galette or onto a pizza, with these recipes from three of our favorite food writers: The White On Rice Couple and Audra, The Baker Chick.

    Todd and Diane, the White On Rice Couple, cleverly tossed the leftovers into a galette. Visit their website and be awed by their recipes and photography.

    A galette is a rustic pie, made without a pie pan. The crust is formed by hand, leaving a bare edge to fold up around the ingredients. The shape can be round, rectangular or freeform; the filling can be be sweet or savory.

    The crust here is shortcrust pastry or pâte brisée (POT bree-ZAY), a flaky, buttery crust traditionally used for pies and quiches, sweet and savory. It has no leavening agent so does not puff up during baking. The dough can be made one day ahead and refrigerated, well wrapped in plastic; or it can be frozen for up to one month. The ball of kneaded dough is flattened into a disc or discs to allow it to chill faster (and similarly, to thaw faster if frozen).

    FOR MORE RECIPES, see Part 2 of this article.
     
    RECIPE: TODD & DIANE’S THANKSGIVING GALETTE

    Ingredients For The Crust

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher/sea salt
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • Fresh herbs
  •  

    Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipes

    A savory galette is a perfect place for Thanksgiving leftovers. Photo © The White On Rice Couple.

  • Egg wash for brushing: 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water (substitute heavy cream)
  •  
    Leftovers For The Filling

  • 1 cup mashed* potatoes
  • 1/2 cup gravy
  • 1 cup turkey and/or ham, shredded or diced
  • 1/2 cup Brussels sprouts or other cooked vegetables, sliced
  • 1/2 cup stuffing
  • 1/2 cup cranberry sauce (more to taste)
  • Fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
  •  
    *If you have potatoes that are not mashed, mash them.
     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the dough. Place the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add the butter pieces and with your hands, pinch them together with the flour mix until most of the large chunks of butter are broken up and there is no remaining dry flour.

    2. ADD just enough cold water for the mixture to bind together; forms it into a rough ball. Knead the ball just until the dough begins to become smooth. Never overwork dough or it will be tough when baked.

    3. DIVIDE the dough ball in half and roll each half into a ball, then flatten them into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight. When ready to make the pie…

    4. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper.

    5. LET the chilled dough sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Dough will roll out best when is still cold to the touch. On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 12″ circle and transfer to the baking sheet.

    6. LAYER the fillings, including any fresh herbs, leaving a clean edge of 2 inches to fold up. Fold the edges of the dough over the filling, creasing and folding all the way around. Brush the folded-up crust with the egg wash or cream. Grind black pepper over the filling. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the crust is golden.

    7. SERVE hot, warm or at room temperature with knives and forks. If you have more gravy, pass it so that participants can pour more over the top of their slices.
     
    Click here to see a step-by-step video.

     

    Thanksgiving Leftovers Pizza

    Toss those leftovers onto a pizza crust, and
    add some mozzarella. Photo courtesy The
    Baker Chick.

     

    RECIPE: THE BAKER CHICK’STHANKSGIVING LEFTOVERS PIZZA

    We adapted this recipe from Audra, The Baker Chick. Our leftovers are different from hers, and we put them in parentheses. See all of Audra’s recipes at TheBakerChick.com
     
    Ingredients For One 14-Inch Pizza

  • ½ batch of pizza crust (or a 14″ ready made crust)
  • 1½ cups mashed potatoes (substitute mashed sweet potatoes)
  • Optional: leftover gravy
  • 8 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled (substitute diced or shredded ham, turkey or other protein)
  • 1 cup of sweet corn (substitute green beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts or other leftover vegetable)
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin (substitute other onion)
  • 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese (mozzarella is best, but you can substitute other shredded cheese)
  • Optional: any other leftovers that work, e.g. arugula, cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs, raw kale or spinach
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 500°F and heat the pizza pan or stone along with it, for at least 30 minutes

    2. COVER the work surface with a sheet of parchment paper and place the dough ball in the center. Coat your hands with olive oil, then roll and spread the dough until it is thin and shaped. Form a thin crust ridge around the edge. Use a bit of extra oil as needed to spread the dough thinly.

    3. SPREAD the mashed potatoes on top, up until the crust rim. Optional: Drizzle the potatoes with gravy.

    4. SPRINKLE the bacon, corn and scallions on top of the potatoes. Add any other leftover ingredients you want. Then, top with any fresh herbs and the cheese.

    5. USE a cutting board or pizza peel to help transfer the pizza to the hot stone. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

    What about the cranberry sauce?

    You can place dabs of it over the toppings but before the mozzarella, or serve it on the side so people can garnish their own slices.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: PieCaken & Its Recipe

    PieCaken Recipe - David Burke Fabrick

    Piecaken from Zac Young @ Fabrick

    Zac Young’s Thanksgiving PieCaken. Photos
    Dillon Burke | sndwch creativ.

     

    Fans of the Lifetime series, Drop Dead Diva, will remember when April invented the Pake—pie plus cake—and opened her Pakery.

    Executive Pastry Chef Zac Young of the David Burke Group now makes the PieCaken for Thanksgiving, the dessert version of turducken. The three-layer confection consists of a layer of pecan pie, pumpkin pie and apple upside down cake, along with cinnamon buttercream.

    It’s sold at The Burke Group’s New York City restaurant, Fabrick for $49—and following an appearance on “Live With Kelly And Michael,” it’s pretty much sold out.

    You can try your hand at it with his recipe, below.

    A bit of PieCaken history:

    According to an article on DailyDot.com, Charles Phoenix, whose Wikepedia bio calls “an author and chef whose work explores and celebrates 1950s and 1960s kitsch and Americana,” credits himself with creating the combo cake in 2007. He called it the Cherpumple or “The Monster” Pie-Cake: a three-layer cake stuffed with cherry, apple and pumpkin pies.

    The inspiration was the number of dessert plates used for Thanksgiving dinner, to accommodate his family’s traditional four desserts: three pies—cherry, pumpkin and apple—and a spice cake.

    Phoenix doesn’t claim to be the first person to bake a pie in a cake, but more the first person to have gone Internet-viral with it.

    And viral it is. Just do a search for PieCaken and you’ll turn up recipes galore.

    RECIPE: APPLE PUMPKIN PECAN PIECAKEN

    Ingredients For 8-12 Servings

  • 1 (9 inch) pumpkin pie (store bought or your favorite recipe—Zac uses the one from the back of the Libby’s can
  • 1 (9 inch) pecan pie (store bought or your favorite recipe)
  •  
    For the Apple Upside-Down Cake

  • 1 large Granny Smith apple
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  •  
    *Buttermilk substitute: For 1/2 cup buttermilk, substitute 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1/2 cup.
     
    For the Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

  • 4 large egg whites (totally clean, no bits of yolk)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  •  
    Plus

  • Whipped cream or ice cream for serving
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8” cake pan with nonstick spray and line with a round of parchment paper.

    2. MAKE the apple topping: Peel, core and cut the apple into quarters. Slice each quarter into very thin (1/16”) slices. Melt the butter in the microwave. In a bowl, toss the butter, brown sugar and apples together. Spread the apple mixture into a thin layer in the bottom of the prepared cake pan and bake for 10 minutes. The sugar and butter should be melted and the apples should start to soften. There may be a little liquid that has seeped out of the apples, which is fine. Let the pan cool while you make the cake.

    3. MAKE the spice cake: Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl and whisk until blended together. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the oil and sugar together. It’s actually easier to do this with a whisk than with an electric mixer; but if you really like the mixer, use it. Add both of the eggs and whisk until smooth. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and whisk until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in two installments, whisking until blended.

    4. CAREFULLY POUR the batter over the apple layer. If you simply dump it on top, you run the risk of displacing the apples and ruining the pretty apple design, but it will still taste good.

    5. RETURN the pan to the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the center of the cake is fully cooked. Once the cake has cooled for 20 minutes, flip it out of the cake pan and onto a cooling rack. Remove the parchment. Let cool fully while you make the frosting.

     

    PieCaken Slice - Zac Young

    Plain Pumpkin Pie

    TOP PHOTO: A slice of PieCaken up close. Photo courtesy Dillon Burke | sndwch creativ. BOTTOM PHOTO: A pumpkin pie becomes the center layer. Photo by Mike Johnson | SXC.

     
    6. MAKE the cinnamon buttercream frosting: Find a pot that will fit the bottom of the bowl of the stand mixer, fill it with three inches of water and bring to a simmer. Place the egg whites and the sugar in the mixer bowl and place over the simmering pot of water. Stir the mixture until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm, about 4 minutes.

    7. PLACE the bowl on the mixer stand, fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium high until cool (about 8 to 10 minutes). Cut the butter into 1 inch cubes and gradually add to the mixer. Mix until the butter has incorporated and the frosting is light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the salt, vanilla and cinnamon and whisk until combined.

    8. ASSEMBLE the PieCaken. It is easier to assemble if the pies are chilled. With a small knife, cut the outer crust off the pies, leaving only the filling and the bottom crust. With a serrated knife, cut off what was the top of the cake, which is now on the bottom. Do this by cutting straight through the cake horizontally about a half inch up the side of the cake. Reserve the scraps for snacking.

    9. PLACE the pecan pie on an 8-inch cake board or serving plate. Spread a ½ inch layer of frosting over the top of the pie. Place the pumpkin pie on top and spread a ½ inch of frosting on top. Place the cake, apple side up, on top of the frosting. With a serrated knife, trim the sides of the cake to be flush with the pies. Add the scraps to the snack pile.

    10. USING an offset spatula, spread a ½ inch layer of frosting around the cake, covering the sides. Using a piping bag with whatever tip you want, pipe a pretty border around the top of the cake. Zac likee to leave the top of the cake unfrosted so you can see the apples.

    11. REFRIGERATE the PieCaken for at least an hour, or tightly wrapped for up to 5 days. Let sit at room temperature for an hour before serving so the buttercream softens. Cut the PieCaken into 8 to 12 slices using a sharp knife dipped in hot water. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Angry Turkey Cheesecake

    For years, we’ve loved the designs of Elegant Cheesecakes,

    Since 1988, Elegant Cheese Cakes has designed memorable wedding cakes, birthday cakes, and other special occasion delights. It was one of our Top Picks Of The Week ten years ago. We’ve been evangelists ever since.

    Working in cheesecake, chocolate cake and other popular flavors, owner and pastry chef Susan Morgan and her team create masterpieces to look like whatever the client requires.

    Burgers, cigar boxes, footballs, gift boxes tied with ribbon, guitars, handbags, jack-o-lanterns, miniature replicas of homes…no design is too intricate for these cake artisans.

    Of course, more traditional shapes are also in the portfolio.

    If you have a dream cake in mind, check out the ideas at ElegantCheeseCakes.com.

    Our questions: Who ordered the angry turkey? And when do we get a slice?

     

    Turkey Cheesecake

    “Bite me,” says the turkey. Photo © Elegant Cheese Cakes.

     

      

    Comments



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