Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Yule Celebration ~ breakfast, drinks and desserts



~APPLE PIE BREAKFAST CAKES~
Makes 2 servings

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
...
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
1/3 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
a pinch each of nutmeg, ground ginger & ground cardamom
1 md apple, peeled and diced into cubes

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix until well combined. Add in vanilla and yogurt and stir. Mix dry ingredients together and add to batter, only mixing until just combined. Fold in apple chunks.

2) Spray 2 ramekins with non-stick spray and pour batter into them equally. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

3) For the brown sugar topping, I simply combined 1/2 tablespoon flour, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, a pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons of melted butter and then crumbled it over top before baking. For an optional glaze on top, combine 3-4 tablespoons of powdered sugar and a drop or two of milk (literally a drop) and whisk until a glaze forms.

*****



Cocoa snowballs

Like the Cocoa Snowballs Found at Elsangels.

3 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered cocoa
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 containers of white frosting
2 3/4 cups flaked coconut

Beat eggs, gradually beat 1/2 cup sugar into the eggs and set aside. Combine remaining sugar, cocoa, milk and butter in a pan and cook on low heat until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted. Remove from heat and add vanilla and salt. Pour egg mixture into that. In a bowl, put remaining dry ingredients and slowly add the cocoa mixture, beating all the while.... fill 30 , 2 1/2" muffin cups about 1/2 full and bake 20-25 minutes at 325 degrees. Cool completely and frost bottom, top and sides. Then roll them in the coconut. Let them stand at room temperature until the frosting is firm, then serve or store in a container.


******


Hot Cranberry Cider
Servings: 3 1/2 quarts, 18 servings

Ingredients:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
...
3 cinnamon sticks, plus additional to use as stirrers
1 tablespoon whole cloves
6 cups cranberry juice
8 cups apple juice
Light rum, brandy, or bourbon, optional

Directions:
Put the sugar, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in the basket of a coffee percolator. Put the juices in the bottom of the percolator. Let the mixture perk as if making coffee. Serve with cinnamon stick stirrers, if desired, and with a little rum, brandy, or bourbon as well.
 
*****
 
The traditional Yule log
 
This easy buche de noel recipe is a snap to make. Light, airy vanilla-orange Genoise cake is rolled and filled with classic French-style chocolate buttercream to make a traditional Yule log.

Genoise cake batter:
4 eggs (room temperature)
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (orange liqueur)
2 teaspoons orange zest
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cake flour
Chocolate buttercream:
7 egg whites
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups plus 3 tablespoons butter, softened

To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 10-inch by 15-inch baking pan with a 1-inch lip (jelly-roll pan) and line it with parchment paper. Butter the parchment or spray it with cooking spray. Set the pan aside.
Beat the eggs for 5 minutes, until they turn thick and foamy. Add the sugar, orange liqueur, orange zest, vanilla extract, and salt to the eggs and continue beating for 2 minutes. Fold the flour, a few tablespoons at a time, into the whipped egg mixture. Once the flour is incorporated into the batter, stop mixing. Do not overmix or the cake will bake up into a tough texture.
Gently spread the batter into the prepared pan. There will be peaks of batter; gently smooth over them, but do not press the batter down. Bake the cake for 10 minutes, until the cake is just set. Invert the baked cake onto a clean, dry kitchen towel and peel off the parchment paper. Wait 3 minutes and then gently roll the cake, still in the towel, starting at the 10-inch end. Allow it to cool completely.
To make the chocolate buttercream:
In a clean, completely dry bowl beat the egg whites on high until soft peaks form. Set them aside for a moment.
In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and 2/3 cup water to a boil. Allow it boil until it has reduced into a slightly thickened syrup. Begin beating the egg whites on high speed again, and pour the hot sugar syrup into the eggs in a slow, steady stream. Pour the melted chocolate, espresso powder, and vanilla extract into the egg whites and continue beating them until the meringue has cooled completely, about 5 minutes.
Add the softened butter to the meringue, 2 tablespoons at a time, while beating on high speed, until all of the butter is incorporated into the frosting. If the buttercream becomes runny at any time in this process, refrigerate the meringue until it has chilled through and continue the process of beating the butter into the meringue.
To assemble the buche de noel:
Unroll the cake and set aside the towel. Evenly spread 2 cups (or desired amount) of the chocolate buttercream on the inside of the cake and following its natural curve, gently form it into a cake roll. Cut off the ends of the cake roll on the diagonal and reattach them in the center of the cake with a bit of buttercream to fashion a “branch” coming off the main Yule log.
Spread the exterior of the buche de noel with enough chocolate buttercream to cover it and gently pull a butter knife or small, offset spatula through the frosting to give the appearance of rough tree bark. Add a Pere Noel figure and meringue mushrooms to complete the festive look.
Chill the cake before serving it, and refrigerate any leftovers.
This buche de Noel recipe makes 14 servings.
 
******

 
Mushrooms for the yule log

 
 
1 cup sugar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
  • 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

    1. Heat oven to 225 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
    2. In a small saucepan, heat sugar and 1/2 cup water over low heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid reaches 248 degrees.(hard-ball stage) on a candy thermometer.
    3. Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric beater fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites on low speed until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high, and add hot syrup in a steady stream, beating constantly. Continue beating until cool and stiff, about 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Fold in cocoa powder.
    4. Spoon meringue into a large pastry bag fitted with a coupler and large plain tip. Pipe meringue onto prepared baking sheet to form 2-inch domes. Pipe a separate stem shape for each dome.
    5. Sprinkle cocoa powder lightly over meringues. Bake until dry, about 2 hours. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
    6. To assemble mushrooms, melt chocolate in a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Trim off points from tops of stems. With a small offset spatula, spread chocolate on underside of a cap and place trimmed end of stem into center of cap. Place mushroom, stem side up, in an egg carton to harden. Repeat with remaining mushrooms; refrigerate until set.

    *****
     
    Pine Cones from chocolate peanut butter play clay

    - 1 (16 oz) container ready-to-spread chocolate frosting
    - 1 c creamy peanut butter
    - 1 1/2 c confectioners' sugar
    1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients; mix well. This is ready for use or can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Stored as directed, it should keep for a few weeks
    2 make long petals with the top about the size of your baby fingers nain but as long as to your second nuckle. keep covered when not working with the clay or pedals. Once you have enough melt 1/4 cup white chocolate in a microwave with a 1/2 tsp butter, and dip the pinecones edges in the white chocolate leaving one without and tip. Roll  that one length wise, that is the center. Then keep adding each layer in assending order 3, 5, 7, 9, 11. pinching together as you go. Either end with the 9 or the 11 in a row.  Trim off the excess bottom and use as pinecones on the Yule log
     


    *****

    Spiced Fruit Nog

    12 eggs, separated
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    2 cups apricot nectar
    2 cups half-and half
    1 (12-ounce) can evaporate
    2 teaspoon rum flavoring
    Grated orange rind (optional)

    Combine egg yolks, sugar, and spices in top of a double broiler. Place over simmering water and cook, stirring constantly with a wire whisk, until mixture reaches 165. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

    Combine yolk mixture, egg whites, apricot nectar, half-and half, evaporated milk, and rum flavoring: beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Pour chilled nog into serving cups and sprinkle with orange rind, if desired.

    *****

    Chocolate Mint Cookies

    3/4 cup butter
    1 1/2 cups brown sugar
    2 tablespoons water
    2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
    2 eggs
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3 (4.5 ounce) packages chocolate covered thin mints

    1.In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the sugar, butter and water, stirring occasionally until melted. Remove from heat, stir in the chocolate chips until melted and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
    2.Pour the chocolate mixture into a large bowl, and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, stir into the chocolate mixture. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.
    3.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Roll cookie dough into walnut sized balls and place 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.
    4.Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, be careful not to overbake. When cookies come out of the oven, Press one mint wafer into the top of each cookie and let sit for 1 minute. When the mint is softened, swirl with the back of a spoon or toothpick to make a pattern with the green filling of the mint wafer. For smaller cookies, break mints in half.


    ****

      Holiday Chocolate Mint Pie

    This gorgeous pie is a snap to prepare when you bake a frozen pie crust,
    fill it and chill it.(If you like chocolate and mint, I swear this is so
    good, it should be illegal)



    1 Pillsbury® Pet-Ritz® frozen deep dish pie crust
    1 1/4 cups milk
    1 box (4-serving size) chocolate pudding and pie filling mix (not instant)
    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    1/2 cup milk
    20 large marshmallows
    1 cup whipping cream
    1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
    6 tablespoons crushed red, green and white hard peppermint candies

    1. Heat oven to 400F. Bake pie crust as directed on package for One-Crust
    Baked Pie Shell. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, stir together 1 1/4 cups milk and pudding
    mix; cook over medium heat as directed on box. Reduce heat to low; continue
    cooking while adding chocolate chips, stirring until melted. Set aside.
    3. In 3-quart saucepan, heat 1/2 cup milk and marshmallows over low heat,
    stirring constantly, just until marshmallows are melted. Refrigerate about
    30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture mounds slightly when
    dropped from a spoon.
    4. In chilled medium bowl, beat whipping cream and peppermint extract on
    high speed until stiff. Gently stir in marshmallow mixture. Gently stir in
    1/4 cup of the crushed candies.
    5. Spread chocolate mixture in cooled shell; top with whipped cream mixture.
    Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. Just before serving, sprinkle
    remaining 2 tablespoons crushed candies on top. Store covered in
    refrigerator.

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