holiday

Nutella Flourless Cake

This wonderful dessert is just as delicious as it looks. And it’s a perfect time to try it, just in time for Valentine’s Day. The rich chocolate taste with the hazelnut undertones will surely please your special Valentine.

I’ve made this cake on several occasions and it always is a hit. You can even serve it à la mode and definitely with a nice cup of coffee. It can be a bit rich all by itself! But well worth the time and calories!!

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours!

Bon appétit!

Nutella Flourless Cake
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sweet Endings
Ingredients
  • 6 large Eggs; separated and at room temperature
  • pinch Salt
  • ½ cup Unsalted butter
  • 13 ounce Nutella
  • 1 tablespoon Frangelica
  • ½ cup Hazelnuts; finely ground
  • 4 ounce Semisweet chocolate; melted and cooled (Ghirardelli)
  • ½ cup Heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Frangelica
  • 4 ounce Semisweet chocolate; Ghirardelli
  • 2 ounce Hazelnuts; whole, toasted and cut in half
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; butter a 9-inch spring-form pan. In a large bowl (preferably metal), whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff. In another bowl, cream the butter and Nutella, then add the Frangelica, egg yolks, and ground hazelnuts. Fold in melted chocolate.
  2. Add a large tablespoon of beaten egg whites to the chocolate batter, and mix gently until well-combined. Fold in the remaining whites, one-third at a time, very gently but thoroughly. Pour into spring-form and bake for 35-40 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting tester, which should come out mostly clean; lightly pressing finger into top to check for a slight bouncing-back; and observing edges beginning to separate from pan. (My cake was done in 35 minutes). Let cool completely, in pan, on a rack.
  3. Toast the hazelnuts in a dry skillet, or toaster oven shaking them around frequently. Do it for about 4 minutes, or until they are lightly browned, then let cool completely. If hazelnuts came with skins on, put them in a towel after toasting and rub around; this will remove most of the skins. Cut in half. (again, I use the pre-chopped hazelnuts from the nut aisle and I didn't toast them - still scrumptious)
  4. Chop chocolate, and add to sauce pan with heavy cream and Frangelica over medium-low heat. Once chocolate is melted and components are combined, whisk until mixture reaches desired thickness, then cool. Remove rim of cake pan and pour cooled ganache over, spreading lightly to create a smooth, shiny surface, and apply hazelnuts all over.
  5. This cake is at its best when served at room temperature.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 slice Calories: 555 Fat: 40.9g Saturated fat: 24g Unsaturated fat: 11.9g Trans fat: 2.2g Carbohydrates: 39.4g Sugar: 35.2g Sodium: 120.6mg Fiber: 4.2g Protein: 12.1g Cholesterol: 286.4mg

 

Chocolate Kahlua Swiss Roll

Doesn’t that just look scrumptious and oh, so decadent? Well, it is both!

Several years ago I received Martha Stewart’s book, “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School” as a gift one year for Christmas. In it are all sorts of wonderful recipes including one for Chocolate Rum Swiss Roll. This is that recipe adapted using Kahlua (homemade, of course) instead of the rum. I also added a bit of Espresso powder to the cake batter. I like both versions but because I adore coffee, this Kahlua version is my preference.

Try it for an upcoming special dinner or birthday or anniversary. You’ll impress your guests more than you’ll ever know. And don’t be afraid of the “roll”. It’s really quite easy, just follow the directions and you’ll end up with a beautiful cake to showcase your cooking talents!

Bon appétit!

Chocolate Kahlua Swiss Roll
 
Prep time
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Adapted from Chocolate Rum Swiss Roll recipe by Martha Stewart, "Martha Stewart's Cooking School".
Author:
Recipe type: Sweet Endings
Serves: 10 servings
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup sifted unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for pan
  • ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour (not self-rising), plus more for pan
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 large whole eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled completely
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Kahlua
  • 1¼ cups heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Prepare oven and baking sheet: Heat oven to 450 degrees, with rack in bottom half. Coat a 12½-by-17½-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper; coat with cooking spray. Dust with cocoa powder and tap out excess.
  2. Combine dry ingredients: Whisk together cocoa powder, flour, espresso powder, and salt in a bowl.
  3. Combine eggs and sugar: Bring about 2 inches of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over (not in) simmering water, whisk eggs, yolks, and granulated sugar until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch. Attach bowl to mixer fitted with whisk attachment; beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. Raise speed to high; beat until mixture is pale and thick, about 4 minutes more.
  4. Add dry ingredients: Sift cocoa mixture over egg mixture; using a large rubber spatula, carefully fold. When almost incorporated, pour melted butter down side of bowl; gently fold to combine.
  5. Bake: Using an offset spatula, spread batter evenly into prepared sheet. Bake cake until golden brown and springy to the touch, 6 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, dust a clean kitchen towel with cocoa powder. Run a knife around sides of cake. Invert onto prepared towel, and remove parchment.
  6. Roll into log and cool: While the sheet cake is still warm, gently roll, starting from one short side, into a log, incorporating the kitchen towel. Let the cake cool completely, rolled. (This will give the cake a "shape memory," so it will be easier to roll again with filling.)
  7. Meanwhile, make Kahlua syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the water and ¼ cup sugar. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; add Kahlua, then let cool completely.
  8. Fill cake and reroll: Unroll cake. Brush entire surface generously with cooled Kahlua syrup. Whip cream and remaining tablespoon sugar until soft peaks form; spread over cake leaving a ½-inch border all around. Roll cake to enclose filling (without towel), starting at a short end. Wrap the towel around rolled cake, securing with clips or clothespins to help retain the shape.
  9. Chill and serve: Refrigerate 30 minutes (or up to 3 hours). Dust with cocoa powder, cut into slices with a serrated knife, and serve.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 slice Calories: 176 Fat: 15.7g Saturated fat: 9.2g Unsaturated fat: 4.6g Trans fat: 0.7g Carbohydrates: 10.5g Sugar: 5g Sodium: 1433.3mg Fiber: 5.6g Protein: 5.7g Cholesterol: 100.5mg

 

Classic Spritz Cookies

Christmas cookies! Now, don’t those just look yummy? They are, trust me. I love these little spritz cookies and it’s a perfect excuse to use my Pampered Chef cookie press. I know I can use the cookie press any time of the year (there are lots of different designs) but it seems the only time I think about it is during the holidays.

These are quick, fun, and you can decorate with sprinkles of any color. As you can see here, I chose a Christmas motif, using the Christmas tree design and holiday sprinkles. It can’t get any easier than that!

And, yes, these are very kid friendly. They can help mix the dough and then add the sprinkles. The press takes a bit of practice so maybe leave that for the adult! In any event, I know you’ll love this very simple yet classic Christmas cookie!

Bon appétit!

Classic Spritz Cookies
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Sweet Endings
Serves: 6 dozen
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups butter (3 sticks), softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Colored sugar or sprinkles (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed of the electric mixer about 3 minutes or until creamy, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add the egg and vanilla; beat well. Add the flour; mix on low speed just until blended, scraping down the sides as necessary. (The dough will be soft; do not refrigerate.)
  2. Fit the Cookie Press with the desired disk and fill it with the dough. Press the dough onto the Cookie Sheet 1" (2.5 cm) apart. Decorate the cookies with colored sugar or sprinkles, if desired. Bake 10-12 minutes or until the edges are light golden brown. Cool the cookies 2 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  3. Chocolate Spritz Cookies: Increase sugar to 1¼ cups. Decrease flour to 3 cups. Combine flour and ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder in medium mixing bowl; blend well. Proceed as recipe directs.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 cookies Calories: 140 Fat: 8g Saturated fat: 5g Carbohydrates: 15g Sodium: 55mg Fiber: 0g Protein: 2g Cholesterol: 25mg

 

Pecan Pie Cookies

Here is another holiday favorite. They’re like mini pecan pies! And oh so rich. You can surely only eat one at a time. But try with a cup of coffee or tea!

Perfect to have on hand during the holidays when unexpected guests drop in! Honestly, even though I said they’re a holiday favorite, you can make them any time of the year that you desire. I’m certain no one will complain!

Bon appétit!

Pecan Pie Cookies
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Sweet Endings
Serves: 2 dozen
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ¾ cup finely chopped pecans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Melt ¼ cup of butter in a saucepan, and stir in the confectioners' sugar and corn syrup until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often, and stir in the pecans until well combined. Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes to chill.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift the flour and baking powder together in a bowl, and set aside.
  3. Beat brown sugar, ¾ cup butter, egg, and vanilla extract in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until the mixture is creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the flour mixture until well mixed. Pinch off about 1 tablespoon of dough, and roll it into a ball. Press the dough into the bottom of an ungreased mini cupcake pan cup, and use your thumb to press the dough into a small piecrust shape, with ¼-inch walls up the sides of the cupcake cup. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Fill each little crust with about 1 teaspoon of the prepared pecan filling.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until the cookie shells are lightly browned, 10 to 13 minutes. Watch closely after 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool in the cupcake pans for 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to finish cooling.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cookie Calories: 185 Fat: 10.4g Saturated fat: 5.2g Carbohydrates: 22.1g Sugar: 12g Sodium: 82mg Fiber: .6g Protein: 1.7g Cholesterol: 28mg

 

Tis The Season

Or is it? I have to say its been difficult to get into the holiday spirit the last few years mainly due to the fact that I find myself unemployed, yet again. Fourth year in a row.  That makes it hard to participate in holiday festivities so when I saw this drink recipe pop up on my Pinterest feed, you know I had to make it.  You know, feeling quite Grinch-like and all.

Funny, being a former bartender I seem to always have a pretty well stocked home bar.  I had all the ingredients to make this drink except the OJ and Sprite. Not bad!  I’m glad it worked out that well because this cocktail is quite good and would actually be good anytime of year. Due to its coloring, it could be a festive drink for Christmas, for St. Patrick’s Day, or you could even add a bit of blue food coloring to make it more turquoise and it would be a great summertime drink.

Whatever time of year you choose to make The Grinch, I’m sure you will totally enjoy it as I did!

Live it up and drink it down!

The Grinch
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Libations
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 3 oz Peach Schnapps
  • 3 oz Bacardi 151 Rum
  • 12 oz Orange Juice
  • 4 oz Sprite
  • 3 oz Blue Curacao Liqueur
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a large container with lid.
  2. Shake to blend well.
  3. Pour over crushed ice in cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with peppermint stick and a maraschino cherry.

 

Cornbread Dressing

Thanksgiving has always been a very favorite holiday of mine. I love to cook the entire meal from start to finish. Back in the day, I used to love to help my Mom, when she would let me. One of the dishes she made was the delectable Cornbread Dressing. I don’t remember her having a recipe nor have we found one. She died in 2001 and since that very year, I’ve tried to find a recipe that would stack up to hers.

I was chatting with a friend on the phone the other day and came to a startling realization – I will never, ever, be able to duplicate my Mom’s Cornbread Dressing. I can come close but it will never be the same as hers. And so, with that being said, I will cease my quest to do just that because I have finally found a recipe that I am happy with and going forward, will make every year. It can be my own new tradition. It is very close to Mama’s, for sure. I might add some poultry seasoning next time. She definitely used that in her recipe and this one doesn’t call for it at all. I didn’t miss it but we’ll experiment next time. And it’ll be my recipe going forward.

Cornbread Dressing
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Salads and Sides
Cuisine: Southern
Serves: 18
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter; divided
  • 3 cups self rising white corn meal mix
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 7 large eggs; divided
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 3 cups white breadcrumbs; soft
  • 2 large sweet onion; diced
  • 4 celery stalks; diced
  • ¼ cup fresh sage; finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley; finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned pepper
  • 7 cups chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Place ½ cup butter in a 13 x 9" pan. Heat in oven at 425 degrees for 4 minutes.
  2. Stir together cornmeal and flour; whisk in eggs and buttermilk. Pour hot butter into batter and stir until blended. Pour batter into pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Crumble cornbread into a large bowl. Stir in breadcrumbs and set aside.
  3. Melt remaining ½ cup butter in a skillet over medium heat; add onions and celery, and saute 5 minutes. Stir in safe, parsley, and seasoned pepper. Saute 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir into cornbread mixture.
  4. Whisk together chicken broth and remaining 4 eggs, stir into cornbread mixture. Pour evenly into 1 lightly greased 13x9" pan and 1 lightly greased 8" square pan.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 322 Fat: 16.7g Saturated fat: 8.2g Unsaturated fat: 4.5g Trans fat: 1.5g Carbohydrates: 30.8g Sugar: 28.8g Sodium: 2387mg Fiber: 2g Protein: 13g Cholesterol: 193.2g

Cranberry Relish

It’s holiday time with Thanksgiving now behind us, Christmas on the horizon and then New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Let’s hope you have an opportunity to make this Cranberry Relish sometime during the coming weeks. If not, save the recipe and be sure to try it next Thanksgiving.

It truly is very good and will change your tune from always having the canned “jellied cranberry sauce” or the other canned “whole cranberry sauce”. I don’t know why anyone would do that when a relish like the one pictured above is so easy and yummy!

And if all is not consumed during the holiday meal, there are many uses for the leftovers. I love to warm it and spoon it over pound cake then top with whipped cream! You can make a Cranberry Crumble with it, too. Or make little Cranberry Hand Pies. Or make pancakes one Sunday morning and warm up a bit of Cranberry Relish to use as a topping! Or try it on waffles! Get creative! I’ve even been known to just eat it straight from the container. It is THAT good!

Bon appétit!

Cranberry Relish
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Starters
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 4 cups cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 13 ounces orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup walnuts
Instructions
  1. Mix sugar, cinnamon, and cranberries in a lightly greased pan. Cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Mix in remainder of ingredients and serve hot or cold.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 3 Tablespoons Calories: 134 Fat: 5.3g Saturated fat: 0.3g Unsaturated fat: 1.3g Trans fat: 3.1g Carbohydrates: 22.1g Sugar: 19.9g Sodium: 7988.6mg Fiber: 2.2g Protein: 2.3g Cholesterol: 0mg

 

Happy Easter!

It’s Easter! And we all have wonderful memories of this holiday, don’t we? I remember hunting for eggs, Mom making a wonderful ham with all the sides ie macaroni cheese, potato salad, Lima beans, and I’m sure she made her wonderful yeast rolls, too. And, of course, we had deviled eggs. What’s Easter without deviled eggs?

This photo is one of my favorite childhood pictures of me and my sister in our Easter dresses. I loved that dress I was wearing (I’m on the left). And aren’t our twin haircuts cute as pie? Funny, my sister has perfectly straight hair and mine is naturally curly – but look at our hair. My Mom was determined to have us look alike, I think! I learned much later on in life to not fight the curl.

Back to Easter, although I won’t be cooking a traditional Easter dinner, I did think to make these wonderful Peanut Butter Eggs. Think Reese Cups, yes! In fact, you can most certainly use the same recipe to make your own Reese Cups. Simply make the filling, roll into small balls. Melt the chocolate. Spoon a small amount into your mini paper cup, rolling the cup around so the chocolate goes up the sides. Let set. Add one peanut butter ball per cup. Cover with additional melted chocolate and let set. Wa la, you now have homemade Reese Cups! And they are to die for.

For the eggs, I rolled the peanut butter filling into balls, then smashed that into each cavity of a silicone egg mold (you can purchase this one by clicking on the photo). Then into the freezer until firm. Then I melted the chocolate and shortening for dipping! Although mine weren’t decorated quite like Easter eggs, I used what I had on hand. That’s the beauty of these eggs, you can leave them plain or decorate as you desire. They will be delicious no matter what’s on the outside!

Bon appétit!

Peanut Butter Eggs
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Sweet Endings
Serves: 20 eggs
Ingredients
  • 3 cups Powdered sugar
  • 1½ cups Creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup Butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons Milk
  • 1-2 bags Milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
Instructions
  1. Beat together powdered sugar, peanut butter, and butter together. At this point the dough will be crumbly. Add two tablespoons of milk and continue to beat together until the dough softens. If the dough still seems crumbly that is ok.
  2. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to desired thickness. About ½ thickness. You can use egg cookie cutters or with a knife, shape the dough to look like eggs.
  3. Place eggs on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer for an hour.
  4. When you are ready to dip them, add the chocolate and 1 Tbsp shortening in a microwave and melt 30 seconds at a time. Stirring it after every 30 seconds and being careful not to cook the chocolate to burn.
  5. Dip each egg in chocolate. I used a spoon to help cover in the chocolate. Place them on wax paper to set.
  6. If more chocolate is needed, melt the second bag with the shortening. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 130 Fat: 8g Saturated fat: 4g Carbohydrates: 12g Sugar: 10g Sodium: 76mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 3g Cholesterol: 2mg

 

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