Christmas Recipes

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Peppermint Bark Candy Recipe Recipe

Peppermint Bark Candy Recipe

12.07.10 by Jackie

Peppermint bark is my husband Lulu's favorite Christmas candies. We usually get it from the store, but this year I thought it would be a nice touch to make it at home. It’s an incredibly simple recipe and makes a great gift. I made a large batch and hid the most of it from Lulu so that I can distribute it to friends and family.

To prepare peppermint bark, all you need to do is melt two kinds of chocolate and add a sprinkle of crushed candy canes. I made this with the traditional candies, but you could be more creative and replace the peppermint candy canes with chopped nuts, crushed pretzels, crushed cookies (such as ginger snap cookies) or other candies such as M&Ms or even chopped peanut butter cups. The possibilities are endless.

Peppermint Bark Recipe with Picture


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Potato Blini with Quinoa and Smoked Salmon Recipe

Potato blini appetizers would make an attractive addition on any Thanksgiving table. The true beauty of this dish, though, is its flavor. Atop each potato blin I placed a generous portion of quinoa, a caviar look-alike, which I mixed with homemade tapenade for added flavor. I topped the mixture with a dollop of crème fraîche, a piece of smoked salmon (optional) and garnished the little bites with dill.

Unlike cutlets (Indian version of the potato bite), potato blini contain eggs and flour (no bread), so the appetizers don't fall apart when your guests pick them up. The result is an edible piece of art that is almost too pretty for your guests to eat. 


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Stuffed Mushroom Recipe Recipe

Stuffed Mushroom Recipe

11.03.10 by Jackie

Making stuffed mushrooms is a great way to put stale bread to use. I served soup the other night and we had 2 leftover rolls, so I decided to make a plate of these savory treats. To start, I sautéed a few vegetables, including zucchini, bell peppers, celery and carrots. You can use whatever you want, but it's a good idea to choose colorful ingredients. Once the vegetables were cooked, I added the bread, a little vegetable broth and fromage blanc. In case you were wondering, the fromage blanc helps keep the top moist even after the stuffed mushrooms are baked. To complete the dish, I topped the mushrooms with sharp Cheddar cheese. 

I didn't add any additional spices, because the bread was already studded with chiles. Otherwise, a little heat is a nice touch to balance the flavor. One final bit of advice: make a bunch of these. They go fast!


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Speculoos Spread Cookie Tartlet Recipe Recipe

I recently received a jar of speculoos spread from a company called Tamarin. I first saw these new speculoos "pâte a tartiner" jars during my last trip to Paris. Our family loves Nutella and peanut butter, so I couldn't wait to develop a new dessert around this product. The thick spread is based on speculoos, which are specialty shortcrust cookies that originally were baked traditionally for consumption on St. Nicholas' Eve. They originated from the North of France and Belgium (also known as "speculaas" in Dutch) and often are shaped with an image stamp depicting the story of St. Nicholas. The main spices for the thin, crunchy, slightly brown cookie are cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and white pepper. The cookies are so delicious that they're available year 'round in France.

I made a cookie dough using the same spices as for speculoos cookies but instead of making shortcrust, I used it as a base and created a cookie tartlet. As soon as the shells come out from the oven, I pressed the center of the cookie to create a cavity so I could insert a creamy spread of speculoos inside. The result was fantastic. I’ll play around with the product more and post additional recipes, so stay tuned. Thanks, Tamarin!

Speculoos Spread


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Green Tea Cake Roll Recipe  Recipe

Green Tea Cake Roll Recipe

09.10.10 by Jackie

Cake rolls, as the name implies, are cakes that are spread with jelly or buttercream and then rolled into logs. The French name is roulade. For this recipe, I decided to use matcha green tea because of its very delicate flavor. It also gives the cake (called génoise in French) a beautiful jade green color. I filled and covered the cake with vanilla butter-cream and kept the flavors appropriately Zen in their simplicity.

Matcha green tea is fairly expensive and has a very short shelf life, so once the box is unsealed, consume it fast. Enjoy it as is with hot water or flavor your favorite desserts with the green tea powder. I had a little less than one tablespoon left in the tin. I think I had made pretty good use of it with desserts such as Vietnamese agar agar desserts, tea lattés, crème brulées and ice cream.

Green Tea Cake Recipe with Picture


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