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Oct 21, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Just Five: Gougères

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

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Gougères (otherwise known as fancy French cheese puffs) are about the most retro, classic hors d’oeuvres you can name. Think Mad Men season three. Because this recipe involve making a pâte à choux, the intimidation factor is high. Trust me, it’s no biggie. The trick is to have all of your ingredients and tools assembled and ready to go; no scrambling around for a wooden spoon or getting out the mixer after the water starts boiling.

These are not “pretty,” but they are airy, eggy, cheesy bites of wonder. This recipe can easily be doubled, and if you are serving more than six people you should definitely double it. Mix me a martini and pass the olives: It’s Christmas Eve!

 

Gougères
30 puffs

½ cup water
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
½ tsp. chile powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ cup flour
2 large eggs
2 tsp. minced fresh chives
¾ cup grated dry, aged cheese like a sharp cheddar or Parmesan

• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, butter, chile powder and salt and heat until the butter is melted. Add the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and into a smooth ball. Remove from heat and let rest 1 minute.
• Scrape the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time on medium speed until the batter is smooth. Add the chives and all but 2 tablespoons cheese and mix until combined.
• Scrape the mixture into a pastry bag with a wide plain tip (or a freezer bag with a corner cut off) and pipe the dough onto the baking sheet into mounds just bit smaller than a golf ball, leaving a bit of space between each. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons cheese on top of the dough balls
• Bake 8 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 degrees and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden-brown. Serve warm.

The Weekend Project: Figgy Pudding

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

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“Oh, bring us some figgy pudding/Oh, bring us some figgy pudding/Oh, bring us some figgy pudding/And a cup of good cheer!” Most everyone knows that verse from the classic carol “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” but few of us have actually eaten the heralded figgy pudding.

This dish started as a savory first-course pudding in medieval times, but by the Victorian era, it had evolved into the fruit-centered, brandy-driven dessert that was commonly brought to the table en flambé, decked with holly berries and served with whipped cream or a boozy hard sauce.

 

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This basic steamed pudding consists of breadcrumbs, flour, butter, sugar and eggs. It is then left to the cook to spike the dessert with alcohol, spices and dried or candied fruits like dried figs, raisins or currants. While cooking times can range from two to six hours, less time will produce a moister, less cakey pudding.

 

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Figgy pudding can be served immediately, but it shines best when the fruit has had a chance to soak up all the booze for at least a week or two. In fact, Anglican families in Britain know the last Sunday of Advent as Stir-it Up Sunday, when the traditional Christmas pudding was prepared for the holiday in a week’s time. Each family member gets a chance to stir the pudding from East to West in honor of the Three Wise Men and make a wish before it is steamed and left to rest for Christmas Eve.

This is a great weekend project because with a little preparation, this dish can simmer away on your stove all afternoon while you decorate or wrap presents. It also produces a lovely spiced holiday aroma while you enjoy a nip of brandy and a carol or two. Best of all, dessert is done and ready to enjoy all 12 days of Christmas.

 

The Shopping List*
12 dried figs
½ cup raisins or currants
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup dried dates
1 cup cream
1½ cups brandy, divided
2 cups bread crumbs
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ginger
½ tsp. grated nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1½ tsp. cinnamon
4 eggs
1½ cup brown sugar
12 Tbsp. (1½ sticks) butter
½ cup dark rum or spiced whiskey
Whipped cream for serving
4 Tbsp. brandy

*This list assumes you have all-purpose flour and salt at hand in your kitchen. If not, you will need to purchase those, too.

The Gameplan**
Active Day 1:
Prepare the Figgy Pudding.
Active Day 2: Resteam the Figgy Pudding. Prepare the Brandy Hard Sauce.

**This recipe is best after at least 1 week in the refrigerator, but it requires just two active cooking days.

 

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Figgy Pudding
12 servings

12 dried figs, roughly chopped
1 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
1 cup dried dates, pitted, roughly chopped
½ cup raisins or currants
½ cup cream
1½ cups brandy, divided
2 cups bread crumbs
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
½ tsp. grated nutmeg
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) butter, melted
½ cup dark rum or spiced whiskey
Whipped cream for serving
Brandy Hard Sauce for serving (Recipe follows.)

Active Day 1: Coat a large bundt pan, pudding mold or bowl with nonstick spray and set aside. Fold 2 paper towels into a thick rectangular pad about 4-by-6-inches and place it in the bottom of a large stockpot. Pour 1 quart water into the pan.
● In a saucepan, combine the figs, apricots, dates and figs with the cream and ½ cup brandy over medium heat. Let the fruit absorb most of liquid, stirring occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
● Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, thoroughly mix the bread crumbs, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and cloves. Set aside.
● In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and eggs until a thick, creamy froth forms, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the butter and rum until combined. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until a stiff batter forms. Pour the batter into the bundt pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
● Gently place the bundt pan in the stockpot, making sure the paper towel stays between the bottom of the pot and the pan to prevent burning. Add more water until it reaches two-thirds up the side of the pan.
● Place the stockpot over medium-high heat until reaches a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and steam 2 to 2½ hours, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pudding comes out clean. Add more water as needed.
● Carefully remove the pudding from the pot and let cool. Refrigerate 1 to 4 weeks.
Active Day 2: To serve the pudding, place the pudding back in a stockpot lined with paper towels. Fill the stockpot with enough water to reach two-thirds up the side of the pan. Place the pot over medium heat and steam 1 hour, until warmed through. Invert the mold onto a wide serving platter with a lip.
● Optional: To serve en flambé, warm the remaining 1 cup brandy in a saucepot over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully use a long-handled match to light the brandy, then remove from heat. Carefully pour the flaming liquid over the pudding in view of your guests, then wait for the flames to die before slicing.
● Serve with whipped cream and brandy hard sauce.

 

Brandy Hard Sauce
1 cup

½ cup brown sugar
½ cup cream
¼ cup butter
4 Tbsp. brandy
1 egg

Active Day 2: In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the brown sugar, cream and butter until melted and combined. Add the brandy and stir about 1 minute. Remove the pan from heat.
• In a small bowl, whisk the egg until frothy, then add it to the saucepan and stir until combined.
• Return the saucepan to the stove over medium-low heat and continue stirring until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon and starts to set, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with Figgy Pudding.

 

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Just Five: One-Week Allspice Dram

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

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A bottle of this delicious allspice dram is the perfect host gift for the cocktail connoisseur. I was introduced to this at the home of a friend with a killer liquor cabinet. One should cultivate and sustain these friendships – there is much to learn! Adding just ¼ to ½ ounce of this DIY liqueur elevates the flavor of Manhattans, warm apple or cranberry cider and eggnog. It’s truly an ideal accessory to the bar this winter. While not difficult to make, it does take a week to infuse, so start now and you’ll have plenty just in time for a Christmas Eve get together.
One-Week All Spice Dram
2½ cups

1½ oz. whole allspice (about ¼ cup)
1 cup light rum such as Bacardi
1 cinnamon stick
1 2-inch piece lime peel
1½ water
⅔ cup brown sugar

● Coarsely crush the allspice, but do not grind to a powder. Place it in a pint-sized mason jar and add the rum. Screw on the lid and shake well. Let sit 2 days, swirling the jar once a day.
● Remove the lid. Break the cinnamon stick into a few pieces and add the lime peel to the jar. Seal again and shake daily 4 more days.
● Use a fine-mesh sieve to strain the mixture into a small bowl. Discard the solids, then strain again through a coffee filter and set aside.
● In a small pot over medium-high heat, combine the water and brown sugar and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool completely.
● Combine the sugar syrup and the allspice-infused rum, then pour in a clean bottles or jars. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

 

The Scoop: Ices Plain & Fancy to take nitro ice on the road

Monday, February 9th, 2015

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Fans of Ices Plain & Fancy’s made-to-order ice creams will soon see that telltale cloud of liquid nitrogen rising from a bright pink and blue truck. Troika Brodsky confirmed that he and fellow co-owners Matt Deutschmann, Max Crask and Darla Crask have purchased a 1964 Divco milk truck, affectionately dubbed “Agnes.” Brodsky said they will retrieve the truck from its Texas home in the next few weeks and begin rehabbing it to accommodate liquid nitrogen tanks, used to flash-chill cream to make the shop’s signature Nitro Ice dessert.

“It will be a food truck, but it won’t function in the same exact traditional way,” Brodsky said, explaining that the truck will primarily be used for private parties and events. However, he added that the public can expect occasional appearances on the street.

Until he and the other owners assess how much work must be done on the truck, Brodsky could not say when Agnes would make her debut, even conceding the possibility that the Ices crew might need to seek out a different vehicle if Agnes doesn’t prove road-worthy. Yet he affirmed that a mobile Ices is not far on the horizon. “We have been looking for a vehicle since we opened,” he said.

-ice cream photo by Michelle Volansky

Baked: Peppermint Red Velvet Cake Roll

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

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Red velvet is hands-down my favorite cake. As much as I love a classic, fudgy chocolate cake, there’s no denying that a tangy cream cheese frosting is the perfect complement to a velvety, lighter chocolate cake.

But as much as I love red velvet, I’m sick to death of standard layer cakes and cupcakes, so I opted to roll this one up instead. While some of the cake fell apart, any mishaps were smothered under a layer of peppermint-tinged frosting. This recipe is also a great way to use up any leftover candy canes still lingering after the holidays. Crush them up and store them in a jar for recipes like these. The result is a delicious and stunning cake with a lovely minty aftertaste that would make for a lovely Valentine’s treat.

 

Peppermint Red Velvet Cake Roll
Adapted from a recipe on The Kitchn
6 to 8 servings

1 cup cake flour
⅓ cup cocoa powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
⅔ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp. red food coloring
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. vinegar
2 cups powdered sugar, plus more for dusting, divided
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. peppermint extract
2 Tbsp. milk
Crushed peppermint candy for garnish

● Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-by-15-inch jellyroll pan or a sheet pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper.
● In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cake flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside. and salt in a bowl.
● In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the vegetable oil and sugar on medium speed until well blended, then beat in the egg. With machine on low speed, slowly add red food coloring and vanilla until mixed.
● Add half the flour mixture, then half the buttermilk until mixed thoroughly. Add the remaining flour mixture and buttermilk, scraping down the bowl until combined. Turn off machine.
● Place the baking soda in a small dish and stir in the vinegar. Add the mixture to the batter with the machine running on low until combined.
● Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed. The cake should bounce back when you lightly press the top.
● Spread a clean kitchen towel on the counter and dust with powdered sugar. Flip the hot pan over to turn the cake out onto the towel. Remove the parchment paper. Dust the cake with more powdered sugar, then use the towel to carefully roll the hot cake into a spiral starting from the short side. Let cool wrapped in the towel, about 1 hour.
● Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together the butter, cream cheese, remaining 2 cups powdered sugar, milk and peppermint extract until combined. Set frosting aside.
● Carefully unroll the cake and spread with a ½-inch thick layer of frosting. Carefully roll the cake up again and gently move to a serving plate. Spread the remainder of the frosting all over the top of the cake, covering any cracks that may appear. Garnish with crushed peppermint candy.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Holiday Flip

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

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Instead of ladling spiked box nog from a punch bowl, wow your guests with customized holiday flips. Traditionally made with liquor, sugar and eggs, a flip is a single-serve cocktail shaken until frothy and is the precursor to modern eggnog. In fact, flips were one of the first cocktails defined by Jerry Thomas’ A Bon Vivant’s Companion, the first bar guide published in 1862.

For this version, I used bourbon and Spirits of St. Louis’ Vermont Night, a whiskey-based spirit infused with winter spices, vanilla, citrus and maple syrup. This liqueur adds sweetness and spice, but if you don’t have a bottle handy, feel free to swap in whatever is available at your home bar. Flips required very fresh eggs for the richest, creamiest texture. If you’re worried about contamination, you can substitute in-shell pasteurized eggs with minimal loss of texture.

 

Holiday Flip
1 serving

1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup water
1.5 oz. Knob Creek or other quality bourbon
1 oz. Vermont Night liqueur
1 oz. half and half
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
1 whole egg
Cinnamon or fresh grated nutmeg, for garnish

• In a small saucepot, bring the brown sugar and water to a simmer over medium-high until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool and refrigerate until ready to use.
• Stack 1 ounce of the brown sugar syrup, bourbon, Vermont Night, half and half, vanilla extract and egg in a cocktail shaker and shake dry (without ice) 20 seconds to mix the egg and create a small froth. Add ice and shake wet 20 to 30 seconds to chill and add more froth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a martini glass, Old-Fashioned glass or goblet. Garnish with a pinch of cinnamon or grated nutmeg.

 

Justin Cardwell is a member of USBG St. Louis and general manager at BC’s Kitchen.

Extra Sauce: 4 Whole-Fruit Desserts

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

Stuff the candy canes in the stockings, not your mouth. Instead, finish your holiday meal with a show-stopping and deceptively simple dessert of whole fruit. Guests each receive a dish with their own apple, pear or plum, ending the meal on an elegant (and easy) note.

 

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1. Simple and elegant, these Spiced Poached Pears get some added holiday magic when you sprinkled them with a surprise ingredient: black pepper.

2. Poached Plums are a perfect make-ahead dessert. Poach the pretty stone fruit in sherry and apple juice the night before, then served chilled and garnished with sugared almonds and a twist of lemon.

 

 

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3. You know what goes perfectly with apples? More apples. Hollow them out and fill with cinnamon-scented crisp in this recipe for Apple Crisp-Stuffed Apples. Want to really take it over the top? Serve with cinnamon ice cream.

4. You could spend two hours peeling, coring and slicing pears to assemble and bake a holiday crisp. Or you could just slice in half, top with nuts and oats, bake and be done in 30 minutes with this recipe for Baked Pears with Pistachios and Cardamom.

-pear photo by Carmen Troesser

Extra Sauce: 4 Holiday Cookies for Chocoholics

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Sugar cookies make spirits bright, and gingerbread sings of the holidays, but deep down, our hearts will always belong to chocolate.

 

 

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1. Double-stuffed childhood favorites have nothing on these monster Chocolate Sandwich Cookies.

2. Nothing is as comforting as a chocolate chip cookie – except maybe the dual punch of these Chocolate Cookies.

 

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3. Chocolate chip cookies grow up with the addition of chocolate bitters to Triple Chocolate Cookies. Add cocoa powder and chocolate chips the holy trinity of cocoa goodness.

4. Macarons come in a rainbow of colors, but the luscious dark brown sheen of these Chocolate Macarons puts those pastel-hued babies to shame.

 

-photos by Carmen Troesser

Extra Sauce: 7 holiday cookie recipes like Grandma made

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Whether she’s your Grandma, Nana, Nonna, Oma or Gram, she probably has a holiday cookie recipe you look forward to every December. This year, grab your apron and treat her to a one of these traditional – or not so traditional – treats. Here, 7 of our favorite holiday cookie recipes:

 

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1. These traditional Italian cookies flavored with almond and citrus are coated in snowy powdered sugar. Ricciarelli will melt away winter blues as they melts in your mouth.

2. For a cookie worth the wait, gather ingredients for Florentine Lace Cookies. Let the dough rest overnight, then drizzle this delicate almond treat with chocolate.

3. Opa! Hailing from the Greece, Kourambiedes are a decadent butter cookie that should find a place in your oven this holiday.

4. Holiday Shortbread is a beautiful canvas for seasonal ingredients like pumpkin, white chocolate and cranberries.

 

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5. Old World Springerles are an anise-flavored, pillow-shaped cookie that, after baking in a special mold, is almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

6. Bigger is better this holiday with these Cranberry Crunch Cookies that can be make regular sized (yawn) or super-sized for extra fun.

7. Black-White Christmas Cookies cover a simply spiced soft cookie with both chocolate and vanilla frosting – perfect for the indecisive sweet tooth.

 

-photos by Carmen Troesser

Join Us on Pinterest and Win a Krups Espresso Machine

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

In this month’s Guide to the Holidays, we give you everything you need to entertain with ease this holiday season. Now, we want to see how you plan to spend the most wonderful time of the year. What’s your dream table setting for Christmas? What cocktail are you shaking up for your holiday party? Do you mash your potatoes or do you bake them into a creamy gratin? No matter what, we want to see what your ideal holiday party looks like. How? On Pinterest! Just pin at least 10 images showing us what your dream holiday party would look like and you could win a Krups XP 1020 Steam Espresso Machine. This easy-to-operate machine doesn’t take up much counter space, and it keeps espresso warm while the steam nozzle quickly froths milk.

Here’s how it works:

• Follow us on Pinterest
• Create a Pinterest board called “My Saucy Holiday Party”
• Pin at least 10 images, 4 of them from Sauce. Each image must have a description and should include #saucemagazine
• Make sure you finish your Pinterest board by December 20.

What are you waiting for? Get pinning!

 

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