Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Chocolate Silk Pie

It's my job as a Food Blogger to do all of the research and come up with what I consider The Best of the Best recipes to share.
We recently purchased a French Silk Pie for one of our Christmas Desserts.
It was delicious.
I wanted to reproduce that taste.
I researched many recipes and here's my final recipe.

If you've never tasted this Silky, melt in your mouth, Chocolate Pie, you're missing out on a delectable dessert.

This is just a recommended Baking Chocolate the I use.

Pie Crust to be Pre-Baked.

Here's what you'll need:
A Double Boiler.
This is the Double Boiler that I have.

A Pre-Baked Pie Crust:
If you don't make homemade Pie Crust you'll need to purchase a pre-baked crust.
My wife makes incredible pie crust so that's what I use.
Just make sure the crust is pre-baked for this non-baked pie.

The recipe calls for Superfine Sugar:
For 1 C of Superfine Sugar, Grind 1 C + 2 tsp of White Granulated Sugar in a Blender or
Food Processor for 30 seconds.
Also called castor sugar, this is simply sugar that has been ground into finer crystals than regular granulated. This makes for sugar that is lighter in weight and dissolves more quickly. It's often called for in recipes like meringue or angel food cake that are known for being light and airy.
8  oz. Semi Sweet Chocolate, chopped + additional for Garnish Shavings.
4 TBS Butter, cut into TBS sized pieces.
4 Large Eggs, separated.
1/4 C Superfine Sugar, divided.
1 1/4 C Heavy Cream, very cold.

In the Double Boiler on Medium Heat:
Stir with a Wooden Spoon just until melted and well combined.
Remove from Heat and set aside. (it will be returned to heat so add water if needed)
Beat the mixture by hand, with a Wooden Spoon until Creamy Smooth.

Return to Heat.
Egg Yolks, one at a time.
Beat well with a Wooden Spoon after each addition.
Transfer to a Large Mixing Bowl.

In another Mixing Bowl with a Hand Mixer:
Egg Whites
Beat until Soft Peaks.
2 TBS of Sugar.
Beat until Stiff Peaks to create a Meringue.

In another Mixing Bowl with a Hand Mixer.
Beat until Frothy.
2 TBS Sugar
Beat until Soft Peaks (reserve 1/2 C for Garnish, transfer to a small container, refrigerate covered with Plastic Wrap until ready to use)

In the Bowl of Chocolate with a Silicone Spatula:
Fold in until completely incorporated.
Whipped Cream
Fold in until completely incorporated.
Spoon evenly into the Pie Shell.

Refrigerate 1 Hour.

Remove and top it evenly with the reserved Whipped Cream.

Slice to serve.
Top each serving with Shaved Chocolate. (use a Potato Peeler to Shave some of the Reserved Chocolate.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Holiday Gingersnap Cookie Balls

I love making easy Holiday Cookie Balls. One of my favorites is the one I created that won 2nd. place in the Annual Dallas Morning News/Central Market Holiday Cookie Contest in 2015.

Holiday Gingersnap Cookie Balls

1 - 8oz. Package of Cream Cheese, Room Temperature.
2 1/4 C Finely Crushed Gingersnap Cookies. Buy the best you can afford. I buy Swedish Ginger Thins at IKEA. You can crush them by hand or in a Food Processor.
4 -(4 oz. ea.) Semi Sweet Baking Chocolate Squares. melted in a Double Boiler or Microwave? White Chocolate is also nice.

In a medium mixing bowl:
Cream Cheese
2 C Gingersnap Crumbs
Mix well with a Blending Fork.

Use a 1 1/4" Cookie Scoop and drop the cookies onto the Sheet Pan.
Freeze for 15 minutes.
Dip in Melted Chocolate.
Return to the Sheet Pan.
Immediately sprinkle the tops with remaining Gingersnap Crumbs.

Refrigerate for 1 Hour.
Keep Refrigerated until ready to serve.
I place them, layered, in a container with Waxed Paper between the layers.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Tex - Mex Cheese Appetizer

Here's an interesting, easy, tasty cheese appetizer that's served on a Tortilla Chip.

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1 - Glass 11"X 7" Baking Pan.

3 C Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese, (divided in half)
1/2 C of your favorite Salsa.
3 Eggs, beaten
Tortilla Chips for serving.

In the Baking Pan:
1 1/2 C of Cheese, sprinkled evenly.

In a Bowl:
Mix well by hand.
Drizzle evenly over the Cheese.

Sprinkle remaining Cheese evenly over the Salsa Mix.

Bake 25 minutes.
Remove Pan to a Rack to Cool 10 minutes.
Cut into small appetizer sized squares.

Serve Tortilla Chips topped with a piece of the Cheese Appetizer.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Aunt Faye's Christmas Date Nut Bars

My Aunt Faye was a personal Chef in Metamora, Michigan. For those that follow this Blog, it was created in her memory as a great Chef. This was one of her Christmas Bar Recipes. What a memory it evokes when I bite into one. I've adapted the recipe to make it more current.

Aunt Faye's Christmas Date Nut Bars

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1 - 8" X 8" Baking Pan brushed well with Pan Release Mix. (equal parts of Crisco, Vegetable Oil and Flour) I start with 1 C of each mixed well and refrigerated in a jar. I always have it available for all of my baking needs.

3/4 C Flour
1 C Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 C Chopped Dates
1/4 tsp Salt
1 C  Roughly Chopped Walnuts
2 Large Eggs

Confectioner's Sugar to Dust the Bars after they're baked.

In a Large Mixing Bowl:
Baking Powder
Mix well with a Wooden Spoon.

Mix by hand until well combined.

Spoon Batter into the Pan.
Spread evenly with an offset Spatula.

Bake 30 - 35 minutes.
A toothpick in the center should come out clean.

Remove Pan to a Rack and Cool 10 minutes.
Invert Pan onto a flat surface.
Cut into Squares.
Dust with Confectioner's Sugar. (I use a Confectioner's Sugar Shaker)
Transfer Bars to a Serving Platter.

Taste of Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Holiday Hot Toddy!

On a cold, cold night, snuggled in front of a fire........... enjoy a Hot Toddy!
It's also a great drink if you have a Cold.
I like this because it's not a Sweet, Sugary Cocktail!

Here's what you'll need:
4 Glass Mugs
A Tea Pot
A small Strainer

This recipe makes about 4 servings.

Boil 2 C of Water. ( I use an Electric Tea Kettle)

This is not an exact recipe so personalize it according to your taste.

In a Tea Pot:
A piece of a Cinnamon Stick
A few Whole Cloves
A couple of Whole Star Anise.
A large Strip of Orange Peel.
A 1/4 tsp of Honey

Add Boiling Water and Steep for about 5 minutes to infuse the flavors.

Add 2 oz. of Whiskey to each Mug.
Strain 1/2 C of the Spiced Water into each Mug.

Christmas by the Fire!

Christmas Butter Cookies Baked with Sprinkles.

I seems that I can never have enough Cookie recipes on my Blog.
I have many that are favorites and this has just made the list.
This may easily be considered an easy cookie because it starts with a Cake Mix.

Christmas Butter Cookies

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sheet Pans lined with Parchment Paper.
A 1 1/2" Cookie Scoop

8 TBS Butter, room temperature
8 oz. Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 Large Egg
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
1/2 tsp Orange Extract
1 White Cake Mix ( I only use Duncan Hines)
1/2 C Christmas Sprinkles, divided.
1/2 C Confectioner's Sugar

In a Large Mixing Bowl with a hand Mixer:
Cream Cheese
Beat until Creamy Smooth.

Almond Extract
Orange Extract
Beat just until well combined.

Fold in with a Silicone Spatula:
1/4 C Christmas Sprinkles
Cover with Plastic Wrap.
Refrigerate for 1 hour. ( it can remain refrigerated up to 24 hours. ( the longer it's refrigerated, it's firmer and easier to work with.)

In two separate bowl:
1 for the remaining Sprinkles.
1 for the Confectioner's Sugar.

Use the Cookie Scoop, form a ball by hand.
Sprinkle with some of the remaining Sprinkle.
Roll in the remaining Confectioner's Sugar.
Place them on Sheet Pans 2" apart.
Bake 10 minutes.

Remove Pan to a Rack to cool for 5 minutes.
Transfer Cookies to the Rack to Cool Completely.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Gingerbread Cookie Dough

This Dough is for Cut Out Cookies.

Transfer Icing into Plastic Bottles to apply it easier.

I took a French Macarons Class at Sur la Table in Dallas and they recommended:
Lorann's Gourmet Professional Quality Food Coloring. It's the only food coloring I use.
Add to Royal Icing to create Holiday Colors.

Gingerbread Cookies Dough and Royal Icing.

6 C Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
16 TBS Butter, room temperature
1 C Dark Brown Sugar
4 tsp Ground Ginger
4 tsp Cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 1/2 tsp Salt
2 Large Eggs
1 C Lyle's Black Treacle

This is the product I use instead of Molasses.
The taste is incredible.

1 - Recipe of Royal Icing to follow.

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sheet Pans
Parchment Paper
Holiday Cookie Cutters

In a Large Mixing Bowl, sift together:
Baking Soda
Baking Powder
Whisk well, set aside.

In a Stand Mixer with a Paddle Attachment:
Beat until Creamy Smooth.

Black Pepper
Beat until well incorporated.

Beat until incorporated.

Slowly Add, on Slow Speed:
Mix just until combined and forms a Dough.

Divide into Thirds.
Wrap in Plastic Wrap.
Refrigerate 1 Hour.

Roll each portion of dough  (one at a time) between 2 layers of Parchment Paper until 1/8" thick.
Remove the top layer of Paper.
Cut out desired shapes with Cookie Cutters.
Remove the excess Dough, leaving the cut out cookies on the Parchment Paper.
Slide the Paper onto a Sheet Pan.
Bake 20 minutes.

Remove Pan to a Rack to Cool Completely.
Repeat with remaining Dough.

Decorate with Royal Icing.

2 Large Eggs Whites
4 C Sifted Confectioner's Sugar
The Juice of 1 Lemon.

In a Stand Mixer with a Whisk Attachment:
Egg Whites
Beat until Stiff.

Lemon Juice
Beat for 1 Minute.

If too Thick, add additional Egg White.
If too Thin, add additional Confectioner's Sugar.
Store the Icing in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Christmas in the Kitchen!

Christmas Winter Knit Hat Cake

I love this cake. I rarely post recipes and instructions for difficult cakes like this, but when I watched the instructions on this one, I realized that it's actually not that difficult. The end result is impressive.
In the 80's I worked part time as a cake decorator. I had a great mentor, I learned quickly and I really enjoyed it.
I would definitely make this one.
I'm posting the link so you can see the entire process.
I also posted a picture of the Cake Pan.


Christmas in the Kitchen!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

American Pommes de Terre Dauphinoise in a Crock Pot !

I love Pommes Dauphinoise. They're basically a fancy French Scalloped Potato. They're definitely delicious. So, Here's an alternative version to make them in a Crock Pot........... oh why not?

Freshly Grated Gruyère Cheese

Here's what you'll need:
A Crockpot lined with foil and sprayed with a Vegetable Cooking Spray.

1 Pound of Yukon Gold Potatoes, skin on and Sliced thin.
4 Cloves of Garlic, thin sliced.

1 1/2 C Milk, Boiled.
1 Large Egg, whisk into the Milk.

Salt and Pepper to taste
Grated Nutmeg
2 C Grated Fresh Gruyère Cheese, divided.
1 C of Thin sliced Green Onions + additional for Garnish.
2 TBS Butter, cut into small pieces.

In the Crock Pot:
A Layer of Potatoes.
A few slices of Garlic.
Sprinkle with some of the Onions.
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Continue layering, using all of the Potatoes, Garlic and Onions.
Pour the Milk over the Potatoes.
Add Additional Salt and Pepper to taste.

Sprinkle the top with 1 C of the Cheese.
Dot the entire top with pieces of Butter.
Cover with a piece of Foil and the Crock Pot Lid.

Cook on Low for 8 Hours.

Lift the Potatoes out of the Pot and transfer to a Serving Bowl.
Top with Remaining Cheese.
Sprinkle with additional Green Onions.
Serve Hot.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Individual Streusel Bread Pudding

I absolutely love Bread Pudding. I make Savory and Sweet. I have a favorite, sweet, traditional one that I've made for years. Sometimes you just don't need a large recipe of Bread Pudding so here's an option. These are made with Rhodes Frozen Rolls. I have a favorite recipe for Buttered, Rosemary and Sea Salt Rolls that we make for every Holiday and family gathering. If it saves you time....... I love it.

Individual Streusel Bread Pudding

Corning Ware Ramekins

Pyrex Custard Cups

Here's what you'll need:
6 Small Ramekins or Custard Cups, sprayed with a Non Stick Cooking Spray.
Preheat the Oven to 350 degrees.

10 Rhodes Frozen Dinner Rolls, thawed. (cut each one into thirds and set aside.)
3/4 C Light Brown Sugar
1 TBS Cinnamon
3 TBS Butter, melted.
4 TBS Flour
3 Large Eggs
1/4 C Half and Half

Add a few Raisins to each one just before baking.

In the Ramekins:
5 Pieces of Dough
Cover with Plastic Wrap.
Place in a Warm Area and allow to rise and double in size. (2.5 Hours)

In a Small Mixing Bowl:
Brown Sugar
Whisk well.

In a Small Bowl:
Half and Half
Whisk well.

Sprinkle each Ramekin with 1 TBS of the Sugar Mixture.
Top evenly with some of the Egg Mixture.
Sprinkle each with remaining Sugar Mixture.

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
Serve Warm.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Vanilla Snowflake Martini

I just received a post from a friend that had this recipe.
I love every ingredient in it.
I adapted the recipe without changing the integrity of the original.

Vanilla Snowflake Martini

Here's what you'll need:
A Cocktail Shaker
1 oz. Vanilla Vodka
1 oz. Creme de Cacao
1 oz. Frangelico Liqueur
2 oz. Half and Half

Fill the Shaker Half Full of Ice.
Add all remaining ingredients.
Shake well and strain into a Martini Glass.

Peace in the Kitchen!

The Best of the Best Gingerbread!

I love Gingerbread. I like a dark and very tasty Gingerbread. It reminds me of a Charles Dickens Christmas.  I have many recipes for it. I'm always in search of the Best of the Best Gingerbread. That's a title that I use when I find a recipe that is better than any other in it's category, (The Best of the Best)

Candied Ginger

I use this whenever a recipe calls for Molasses.
There's also Lyle's Golden Syrup
that I use whenever a recipe calls for Corn Syrup.

My favorite Springform Pan
from The Pampered Chef.

Here's my choice for The Best of the Best Gingerbread.

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
1 - 9" Springform Pan, sprayed with a vegetable cooking spray. (my favorite is the Pampered Chef Pan with a Tempered Glass Bottom)

Chopped Candied Ginger for Garnish. (it's baked on top of the batter)

1 C Dark Molasses or British Treacle.
1/2 C Boiling Water
5 TBS Butter
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 C Flour

In a Large Mixing Bowl:

Boiling Water
Stir until well combined with a Wooden Spoon.

Baking Soda
Stir just until combined, don't over mix.

Continue stirring by hand with a Wooden Spoon.

Spoon the Batter into the Pan.
Top it with the Chopped Candied Ginger.

Bake for 25 - 35 minutes.
The top should spring back when lightly tapped and it should pull away from the pan.
When I made it, 30 minutes was enough.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Vegetarian Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Bread Roll

We had this for Lunch this Week. It's so delicious that I decided to share it. It was great for Lunch but I would also serve it for Breakfast or Dinner. It can certainly be customized for personal taste by adding or eliminating ingredients. I added a NOTE with a variety of Options.
Even though I make it with a Vegetarian, Meatless Sausage, you can certainly use your own choice of Sausage.

I also use this to make Breakfast Sausage Patties.

Vegetarian Stuffed Bread Roll

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
A Sheet Pan lined with Parchment Paper.

1 - (1 Pound Loaf) of Frozen Bread Dough, thawed.
2 TBS Olive Oil (Omit if using real Sausage)
1 Package of Gimme Lean Vegetarian Sausage
1/2 C Chopped Onion
1 - Box of Frozen Spinach, thawed and squeezed dry. (Separate into Pieces)
6 oz. of Shredded Swiss or Cheddar Cheese
1/4 C Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 TBS Chopped Fresh Parsley
2 Eggs, (1 separated)

1/4 C Diced Red Bell Pepper, or a combination of Red and Green. (Added to the Skillet to Sauté)
1 - Can of Sliced Mushrooms, drained and diced. (Added to the Skillet to Sauté)
I could also see the addition of Scrambled Eggs Sprinkled over the top of the Sausage Mix
just prior to Rolling the Dough.
And, as a Texan, I serve it accompanied with a Side of Salsa. (Homemade or Pace Chunky Salsa)

In a Large Skillet on Medium High Heat:
Oil, until hot.

Sauté for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Set aside to Cool completely.

In a Large Mixing Bowl:
Sausage Mixture
Shredded Cheese
Parmesan Cheese
One Whole Egg and the Yolk from the Second Egg
Stir to Mix well.

On a Flat, lightly Floured Surface:
Roll out the Dough into an 11" X 17" Rectangle.
Spread the Filling over the Dough, leaving a 1/2" Border on all 4 side.

Roll the Dough tightly to form a Log. (Tuck in the Dough at each end.

Beat the remaining Egg White with 1 TBS of Water.
Brush the Dough.
Transfer the Roll to the Sheet Pan.
Bake for 45 minutes, until Golden Brown.

Transfer to a Cutting Board.
Slice and Serve Hot.

Peace in the Kitchen.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The World's Greatest Cheese Dip.......... comes from Arkansas!

I was quite surprised to discover this bit of Food History:

Cheese Dip, as we know it today, was introduced to the world and restaurant menus in 1935 by
Blackie Donnelly, a Central Arkansas restaurateur and owner of Mexico Chiquito. In 2009, a local attorney and filmmaker Nick Rogers researched the history of Cheese Dip in Arkansas and why it's so beloved, and it all led back to Donnelly.

The World's Greatest Cheese Dip

Here's what you'll need:
A Saucepan
A Large Double Boiler
Tortilla Chips to serve.

I did not list the ingredients separately at the beginning of this recipe. They're added as needed.
Read the entire recipe carefully to have all ingredients available.

In a Saucepan on Medium High Heat:
8 TBS Butter
Heat until Melted.

4 TBS Flour
Whisk well to create a Roux or Paste.

In a Small Mixing Bowl:
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Tabasco  Sauce
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Ground Mustard
1 Fresh Jalapeño, Diced.
1 Clove of Garlic, Minced.
1 TBS Ketchup
1 Pinch of Salt
Whisk well.
Add this mixture to the Saucepan.
Whisk well.
Reduce Heat to Low.

Continue cooking for 2 minutes.

2 C Whole Milk
Whisk well.
Transfer to a Large Double Boiler.
Continue cooking but don't allow to Boil.

1/2 Pound of American Cheese Slices, 1 - 2 slices at a time until each addition
melts completely.
Whisking constantly.

Serve with Tortilla Chips.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Muffin Tin Mince Meat Pies .......... "easy as pie"!

I recently saw this recipe from BBC Good Food.
I love Mincemeat!
I'm making these for Christmas.

This recipe is incredible easy.
I buy Vegetarian Mincemeat from a local shop, The British Emporium.
I'll include my recipe for Homemade Vegetarian Mincemeat at the end of the recipe.

I'm posting a series of photographs to show the process.

We bought this Confectioner's Sugar Shaker at
The Café du Monde in New Orleans, Louisiana.
It's the perfect way to Dust the Tops of the Pies.

Here's what you need:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
1 - 12 C Muffin Tin
Butter for greasing the Pan.
Homemade Pie Crust.
Vegetarian Mincemeat.
Confectioner's Sugar for Dusting.

They Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until the tops are Golden Brown.

It doesn't get much easier than this.
I love the process of placing the dough over the top of the Muffin Tin and then trimming it so you don't have to cut out circles and transfer them to the Pan. It also makes it easy to fold in the corners to create the top crust.

Roll the Dough the size of the Muffin Pan, on a Sheet of
Parchment Paper.

Place the Pan on top of the Dough and trim it to the size of the Muffin Tin.

The Pan is flipped over and the Sheet of Dough is on the top.
Peel back the Paper.

The Dough is trimmed following the divisions on the top
of the Muffin Tin.

We tucked the dough using a Muddler.

This is our favorite Vegetarian Mincemeat from
our British Emporium in town.

Ready for the Oven.

Out of the oven and ready to cool completely before
they're dusted with Confectioner's Sugar.
Cooled on a wooden rack.

Dusted and ready for a Serving Platter.

Terry's Homemade Vegetarian Mincemeat:

I know it's not for everyone but I happen to love Mincemeat and because I'm Vegetarian, I love this recipe. It's such an iconic recipe for Christmas. I serve it as a compote and I also use it to fill cookies.
If you love the idea of Vegetarian Mincemeat, without the Suet, this recipe is perfect. It makes the perfect Christmas Gift to share with Friends and Family.
Simply fill Canning Jars and tie some decorative Christmas Fabric over the lid, with Twine or Raffia.

Vegetarian Mincemeat:

4 TBS Butter
1 C Unsweetened Apple Juice
2 Large Apples, peeled, cored and grated. (I use Jonagold).
1.2 C Dark Raisins
1/2 C Golden Raisins
1/2 C Dried Currents
1/2 C Dried Cranberries
1/2 C chopped Dried Figs
3/4 C Candied Mixed Peel
1/2 C chopped Candied Red Cherries
Zest and Juice of 1 Orange
2/3 C packed Brown Sugar
1/3 C Dark Rum + an additional 4 TBS to add at the end of cooking.
1/3 C Brandy + an additional 4 TBS to add at the end of cooking.
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground Ginger
1/4 tsp ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Salt

Place all ingredients in a large Dutch Oven and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer , stirring often for 30 minutes. Some of the liquid should begin to evaporate.
Remove from heat and fold in an additional Rum and Brandy.
Allow to cool completely in the Dutch Oven off the heat.
Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate overnight.
It will keep, refrigerated, for months.

Mincemeat Pies for Christmas!

Peppermint Cheesecake

I have never been fond of Peppermint. I really don't eat anything that tastes like Peppermint.
I know that many do.
However, when I saw this recipe, it looked very tempting and I knew I had to post it on my Blog.
It looks delicious and I'm sure it is.
So........ whether you love Peppermint, or not, I think you should try this!
I will!

Rather that re write the recipe, I'm simply posting the link.
Since I'm posting the link, I can post a photograph of it.
It looks amazing.


Peppermint for Christmas!