Eggnog Biscotti

If you like eggnog, there’s really nothing not to like here. Got this recipe from here.

Ingredients

For the Biscotti:

  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp rum extract
  • 2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

For the Glaze:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp eggnog
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Procedure:

  1. In mixer, beat butter with granulated sugar until creamy.
  2. Add eggs one at a time and beat well before adding the next one.
  3. Add rum extract, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape dough into  two 12in x 2 x 2in rolls. (Square the corners and the top)
  5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 28-30 minutes.
  6. Remove. Allow to cool about 10 minutes. Slice biscotti into 12-14 slices (about 3/4-1 inch each). Turn them on sides and put back in the oven. Bake 20 minutes.
  7. Remove and cool completely before adding glaze.
  8. For the glaze, whisk the powdered sugar, eggnog and nutmeg together until desired consistency. Drizzle on cooled biscotti.
  9. Allow to set (about 20-30 minutes) – or refrigerate to “speed set” the glaze.

Scones

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk

Procedure

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet (or use parchment paper or a baking pad)

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter. Mix the egg and milk in a small bowl, and stir into flour mixture until moistened.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead briefly. Separate the dough into 2 equal sized balls. Push the sides of each ball down so the center is taller than the sides. Cut each circle into 4 pieces and place on a baking sheet.

Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/20175/scones

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Straight from here

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus additional for sprinkling

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with a round of wax paper and butter paper.
Chop chocolate into small pieces. In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs and whisk well. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate.
Dust cake with additional cocoa powder and serve with sorbet if desired. (Cake keeps, after being cooled completely, in an airtight container, 1 week.)

Icebox cookies (sugar free)

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups flour (will vary in dough modifications)
  • 16 tbsp (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup xylitol
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract.

Procedure:

Cream the butter and the Xylitol and honey together. Mix in the egg yolks one at a time. Then, mix in the vanilla extract. Add the flour to the mixture and mix just until a dough forms and no flour streaks remain. Split the dough in half. Place each half on a piece of plastic wrap and roll into a log, wrapping each log in the plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Once the dough is firm, remove from the refrigerator. Slice 1/4″ thick slices from the dough logs and place the cookies onto the baking sheets. Chill cookie slices for 10 minutes. Place in the oven to bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes, then move the cookies to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Makes 4 dozen cookies

Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz Cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup Xylitol
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 3 Tbsp Water
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon juice

Cobbler

Another favorite that’s been in the family for a while. I remember having peach cobbler as a kid and just eating the cobbler part. Now we make it with blackberries, blueberries, apples, mixed fruit – you name it!

Ingredients

For the topping:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs

Procedure:

  1. Mix all the topping ingredients together on a large bowl (it will be crumbly).
  2. Spread the fruit evenly over the bottom of a pan. If you have a fruit that needs to be sweetened a bit, sprinkle a bit of sugar over the fruit.
  3. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit. For a little extra oomph, melt a few tablespoons of butter and drizzle it over the topping before putting it in the oven.
  4. Cook @ 375 for about 30 minutes.

Coconut Shrimp

from Ray’s Boathouse Cookbook

Ingredients:

2-3 quarts canola oil for frying

Seasoned Flour:

  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Batter:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder

Coating:

  • 2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut (I used sweetened, and was great)
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs

24 prawns (16-20 per pound), tail on

Procedure:

  1. Set up a deep fryer and heat oil to 300 degrees farenheit.
  2. Set up 3 bowls. In the first bowl, combine four and salt. In the second bowl, combine milk, flour, eggs, salt and curry powder to make a batter. In the third bowl, combine flaked coconut and panko.
  3. Holding the tail, dredge each prawn in the seasoned flour and gently shake off excess. Then, dip prawn in batter. Third, toss prawn in coconut mixture to coat completely and pat gently to press mixture into batter.
  4. Deep-fry immediately until golden, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer prawns to a plate lined with a papet towel to drain. Serve warm with Sesame Plum Sauce.
  5. Serve with a sweet thai chili sauce. Serves 6-8, as an appetizer.

Salted Caramels

This is taken pretty much verbatim from an Alton Brown Recipe. I’ve played with some different stuff, but really the only difference is the amount of soy sauce I use. Also, I dip mine in chocolate before I sprinkle salt on top.

Ingredients

14 1/2 ounces sugar (~2 cups)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1.5 teaspoons soy sauce
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Directions

  1. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the sugar, water, corn syrup, and cream of tartar in a heavy 4-quart saucepan and put over high heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Cover and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the heavy cream and soy sauce in a liquid measuring cup. Have this and the butter standing by.
  4. Remove the lid from the sugar mixture, and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. When the sugar mixture reaches 230 degrees F, reduce the heat to medium and cook, without stirring, until the syrup is a golden color and is approaching 300 degrees F, about 6 to 7 minutes. At this point, there is less likelihood of any crystallization, so gently swirl the pan to break up any hot pockets.
  5. When the temperature approaches 350 degrees F, it will turn deep amber. Remove the pan from the heat, and gently swirl again to break up all of the hot pockets. Cool for 2 minutes.
  6. Carefully incorporate the cream and soy mixture and the butter into the pan. Stir to combine. Return the caramel to medium heat, stir until the butter is completely melted, and continue cooking until it reaches 255 degrees F. Remove from the heat and pour into the parchment-lined pan, tap gently to release air bubbles.
  7. Cool on a cooling rack for a couple of hours and then cut into 1-inch pieces ( I use a pizza cutter).
  8. Now you can dip them in chocolate! Here are some good resources on tempering chocolate.

The quick version:

  • Bring the chocolate to 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 C) for dark chocolate or 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 C) for milk or white chocolate.
  • Seed the remaining chocolate and cool to 90 F (32 C) for dark chocolate or 87 F (30 C) for milk or white chocolate

S'more Cake

S’More Cake

So Chase this year wanted a cake shaped like a giant s’more. This is what I came up with.

 

Graham Crackers

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • Cream these together and then add
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 tablespoons water

Directions

  1. chill for 30 minutes before rolling out.
  2. Roll out dough on parchment paper about 1/4 inch thick and cut at 12″ square.
  3. Transfer each cracker to a cookie sheet and poke with a wooden skewer to give it that “graham cracker” look.
  4. Bake each cracker for 30 minutes each at 350 degrees. You might need to play with this a bit. You just need to make sure it is firm enough that it doesn’t start to bend when you set it on top of the cake. If it does, just throw it back in the over @350 for another 20 minutes or so.

I got the graham cracker recipe from here.

Chocolate

I decided for the piece of chocolate to not go with an actual giant piece of chocolate. I figured using cake would be much easier for the kids to eat so I made the Hershey’s Perfect Chocolate Cake (the same one I used in the Lightning McQueen cake) and cover it with chocolate ganache so it looked like an actual piece of chocolate that was melting. I think that worked out pretty good!

 

 

Marshmallow

So for the marshmallow part, I made a 3-layer cake (recipe from here) and covered it in white fondant. Underneath the fondant though is Martha Stewart’s 7-minute frosting. I used this frosting because it’s essentially a cross between frosting and marshmallow anyway, so I thought it might make it taste more marshmallowy. The problem though is that the frosting is very airy and with the weight of the fondant, it got pretty compressed. I think if I were to do this again, I’d just use buttercream.

Ingredients (cake)

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk

Directions (cake)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×9 inch pan or line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven. For cupcakes, bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch.

Ingredients (frosting)

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions (frosting)

  1. In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine sugar, corn syrup, 1/4 cup water, and egg whites. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes.
  2. Attach bowl to a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat mixture on high speed until glossy and voluminous, about 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Use immediately.

  

 

So after I frosted the cake, I covered the whole thing in white fondant. It’s a little tricky to get around the corners and stuff – the best advice I can give is to work very slow. It’s pliable enough to do it without creases, you just need to take your time.

 

And of course, Chase wanted transformers fighting on top.

Shortbread Cookies

My mom has made these every year at Christmas for as long as I can remember. So now we make them at Christmastime. Doesn’t get much simpler – or tastier!

McSkimming recipe from Scotland:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. of room temp butter
  • 1/2 C packed brown sugar
  • 1&1/2 to 2 cups sifted flour

 

Procedure:

  1. Mix sugar and butter by hand until sugar seems pretty much desolved….it never desolves completely.
  2. Gradually add all purpose flour by handful until nice rolling consistency. Use 1&1/2 and then put some on rolling board to make up the rest. It will be VERY sticky and you need the extra flour to keep it from sticking to everything-including you. Dough will be soft.
  3. Put on rolling board and kneed with heel of hand 15-20 times.
     
  4. Shape into circle about 3/4″ thick.
  5. Cut into diagonal diamonds.
  6. Gather up the rest of the dough and keep repeating until used up.
  7. Place on ungreased cookie sheet 1″ apart.
  8. Prick with fork clear to the bottom of cookies three times so they’ll cook evenly.
  9. Cook somewhere between 250 to 300 degrees, 20 to 40 minutes, depending on your oven.

They’ll still be soft when you take them out of the oven but will crisp up after and hour or so.
Don’t let them get brown and it’s even better if you can cool on pan.

Cheesecake

NEW YORK (WABC) — “Junior’s” cheesecake is considered to be the best cheesecake in New York. And now they are offering you and your family the exclusive recipe just in time for the holidays. This makes 1 9-inch cheesecake.

 

Crust (cake, really)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 extra-large eggs separated
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 drops pure lemon extract
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

 

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 F and generously butter a 9-inch springform pan. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. Beat the egg yolks together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high for 3 minutes. Then, with the mixer still running, gradually add the 1/3 cup of sugar and continue beating until thick light-yellow ribbons form in the bowl, about 5 minutes more. Beat in the vanilla and lemon extracts.

 

Sift the flour mixture over the batter and stir it in by hand until no more white flecks appear. Then blend in the butter.

In a clean bowl, using clean dry beaters, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together on high until frothy. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form (the whites should stand up in stiff peaks, but not be dry).

Stir about 1/3 cup of the whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining whites (don’t worry if a few white specks remain).

Gently spoon the batter into the pan. Bake the cake just until the center of the cake springs back when lightly touched, only about 10 minutes (watch carefully!). Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack while you continue making the cheesecake filling. Do not remove the cake from the pan.

Makes Enough for One Cheesecake

 

IMG_4160

Filling

Ingredients:

  • (4) 8 ounce packages cream cheese (the regular variety, not light Neufchatel cream cheese) at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar (or 1 1/6 cups xylitol for a sugar-free version)
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350degrees Fahrenheit and generously butter a 9-inch springfoam pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with foil, covering the bottom and extending up the sides. Make the batter for the sponge cake as the recipe directs. Evenly spread the batter on the bottom of the pan, and bake just until set and golden, about 10 minutes. Place the cake on a wire rack to cool (do not remove it from the pan). Leave the oven on.

While the cake cools, make the cream cheese filling: Place an 8 ounce package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally. Beat in the remaining 3 packages of cream cheese.

Increase the mixer speed to high and beat in the remaining 1 1/3 cups of sugar, then beat in the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating the batter well after adding each one. Blend in the heavy cream. At this point, mix the filling only until completely blended (just like they do at Junior’s). Be careful not to overmix the batter.

Gently spoon the cheese filling on top of the baked sponge cake layer. Place the springfoam pan in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the pan. Bake the cheescake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the center barely jiggles when you shake the pan, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool the cake on a wire rack for 1 hour. Then cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it’s completely cold, at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove the sides of the springfoam pan. Slide the cake off of the bottom of the pan onto a serving plate. Or if you wish, simply leave the cake on the removable bottom of the pan and place it on a serving plate. If any cake is left over, cover it with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

 

 

Ingredients for the Macaroon Crunch

  • 1/2 cup chopped mixed nuts (almonds, peacans, and/or walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup angel flake coconut

 

Ingredients for the Strawberry Topping

  • 1 quart large ripe strawberries
  • 1 cup strawberry jelly
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves

 

Directions for the Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake

Preheat the oven to 350 F and butter a 9-inch springform pan. Make and bake the sponge cake layer. Make the cheesecake filling and bake the cake as for Junior’s Famous No. 1 Pure Cream Cheesecake. Transfer the baked cake to a wire rack to cool, about 1 hour.

While the cake is baking and cooling, make the macaroon crunch: Spread the nuts and coconut on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 F oven until golden and crunchy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Set the crunch aside to cool.

To prepare the strawberries: Wash, hull, and sort through the strawberries, then pat them dry with paper towels. Starting at the outside edge of the cheesecake, arrange the berries on their sides, in rows, with ends pointing toward the edge of the cake. Continue until the top of the cake is completely covered by strawberries.

Now make the strawberry topping: Melt the strawberry jelly and apricot preserves together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Strain and drizzle the warm jelly over the berries. Sprinkle the macaroon crunch ina 1 1/2-inch border around the edge of the cheesecake, covering the berries around the outside edge. Loosely cover the entire cake with plastic wrap, being careful not to let the glaze stick to the wrap.

Refrigerate the cake until it’s completely cold, at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove the cake from the pan and serve it chilled. Wrap any leftover cake in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

ENJOY!!