Sharing a seriously fun love for food

Month: December 2018

Bubbly Cocktails! The Perfect Way to Ring in the New Year!

Bubbly Cocktails! The Perfect Way to Ring in the New Year!

New Year’s is the perfect time to pop a cork and break out the bubbly! But with a twist or two these cocktails turn up the fun on the traditional sparkling wine adding notes of citrus and just an extra touch of sweetness!

The first bubbly beverage is the Amsterdam 75 Cocktail. This delightful beverage blends a splash of gin with simple syrup, fresh lemon juice then it’s topped with champagne or prosecco. My favorite gin is Plymouth – it brings gorgeous tones of juniper, coriander and cardamom to the party making for a tasty bouquet of flavor in your glass.

A quick shake of ice to chill the drink then top it with the sparkling wine and a twist of lemon!

 The second is simply known as the Champagne Cocktail. A sparkling sugar cube is drenched with angostura bitters then dropped into the bottom of an elegant fluted glass.

Top with bubbly, garnish with an orange or lemon twist and you’re all set for the perfect toast!

I tend to lean towards a glass of prosecco but if your preference is champagne go with it – either will give you beautiful results. Here’s hoping 2019 brings you joy! Cheers!

Amsterdam 75

For each cocktail:

1-1/2 ounces of good gin, preferably Plymouth

¾ ounce simple syrup

¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 lemon twist

Prosecco, champagne or your favorite sparkling wine

Pour the gin along with the simple syrup and the lemon juice into a cocktail shaker.

Fill the shaker with ice and shake until very cold.

Strain the cocktail into a champagne flute. Top with a splash of Prosecco and garnish with a twist of lemon.

Champagne Cocktail

For each cocktail:

1 cube of sugar

2 dashes angostura bitters

Prosecco, champagne or your favorite sparkling wine

1 orange or lemon twist

Place the cube of sugar on a spoon. Shake the angostura bitters on the sugar and drop the sugar into the bottom of a champagne flute.

Pour in the sparkling wine.

Top with an orange or lemon twist.

If you can’t find cubes of sugar you can make your own.

Sugar Cubes

Mix ¼ cup water with ½ teaspoon water or orange blossom water.

Pack the sugar mixture into small molds or small liners. Let the sugar dry overnight.

Makes 8 molded cubes of sugar.

The Amsterdam 75, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 31, 2018
: One cocktail

A delightful beverage blends a splash of gin with simple syrup, fresh lemon juice then topped with champagne or prosecco.

By:

Ingredients
  • For each cocktail:
  • 1-1/2 ounces of good gin, preferably Plymouth
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 lemon twist
  • Prosecco, champagne or your favorite sparkling wine
Directions
  • Step 1 Pour the gin along with the simple syrup and the lemon juice into a cocktail shaker.
  • Step 2 Fill the shaker with ice and shake until very cold.
  • Step 3 Strain the cocktail into a champagne flute. Top with a splash of Prosecco and garnish with a twist of lemon.

Champagne Cocktail, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 31, 2018
: Makes one cocktail

A sparkly sugar cube drenched with angostura bitters then dropped into the bottom of an elegant fluted glass. Top with bubbly and a twist of citrus!

By:

Ingredients
  • For each cocktail:
  • 1 cube of sugar
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters
  • Prosecco, champagne or your favorite sparkling wine
  • 1 orange or lemon twist
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the cube of sugar on a spoon. Shake the angostura bitters on the sugar and drop the sugar into the bottom of a champagne flute.
  • Step 2 Pour in the sparkling wine.
  • Step 3 Top with an orange or lemon twist.

Sugar Cubes, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 31, 2018
: Makes 8 small molded sugar cubes.

Mix sugar with water or better yet, flavored water to create beautiful cubes of sugar!

By:

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon water or flavored water, such as orange blossom water
Directions
  • Step 1 Mix the sugar and the water together in a small bowl. The mixture will be crumbly.
  • Step 2 Pack the sugar mixture into small molds or small liners. Let the sugar air dry overnight.
  • Step 3 To remove from the molds turn them over and gently tap then squeeze to release in the palm of your hand. To remove from the liners, just pull the paper back away from the sugar cube.
Ginger Pear Pancakes

Ginger Pear Pancakes

Hot and fluffy pancakes with hints of sweet pear studded with tiny bits of fresh ginger!

Pancakes are such a wonderful and classic breakfast bread – one that can easily be tweaked to showcase your favorite flavors. We’ve made them with chocolate chips, lemon, bananas, and blueberries – there’s really no limit to variations. Every holiday season I make Emily a batch or two of ginger pear jam. This particular jam happens to be one of our favorites so adding some to our buttermilk ricotta pancakes seemed like a fun idea!

The result was really perfection. The flavors of the pears added a subtle sweetness with that beautiful warmth only ginger brings. In a pinch you can use fresh ginger along with store bought pear jam or preserves. But if you have the time you won’t regret whipping up a batch of our ginger pear jam – it’s divine!

A couple of tips my Mom always shared with me – when you whisk the wet and dry ingredients, mix just until they are blended, being careful not to over do it. As with any quick bread, over mixing the batter will produce a tough bread.

The second tip she shared, let the batter rest for about 10 to 15 minutes. It will produce a lighter, fluffier pancake – and the perfect bite!

Quick and delicious – ginger pear pancakes with a pat of butter, a touch of ginger pear jam and warm maple syrup. It’s perfect for any lingering holiday guests – or maybe just for you!

Ginger Pear Pancakes

2 cups flour

2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons sugar

2 extra-large eggs

2 cups buttermilk

¼ cup ricotta cheese

¼ cup ginger pear preserves or ¼ cup pear preserves plus 1 tablespoon chopped crystalized ginger

¼ cup vegetable oil

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt and sugar.

In a separate bowl whisk together the buttermilk, ricotta cheese, pear preserves and vegetable oil until well mixed.

Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk just until blended. Don’t over mix the batter or the pancakes will be tough. Let the batter rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Heat an electric griddle to 350-degrees or a flat griddle over medium heat on your stovetop. Ladle the batter onto the hot griddle and cook until bubbles form and rise to the surface and the batter is somewhat set on top – about 3 to 5 minutes.

Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown, about another 3 to 4 minutes.

Serve hot with butter, additional pear preserves and warm maple syrup.

Makes about 10 to 12 pancakes depending on size.

Ginger Pear Pancakes, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 28, 2018
: Makes about 10 to 12 pancakes.

Hot and fluffy pancakes with hints of sweet pear studded with tiny bits of fresh ginger!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • ¼ cup ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup ginger pear preserves or ¼ cup pear preserves plus ½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
Directions
  • Step 1 In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt and sugar.
  • Step 2 In a separate bowl whisk together the buttermilk, ricotta cheese, pear preserves and vegetable oil until well mixed.
  • Step 3 Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk just until blended. Don’t over mix the batter or the pancakes will be tough. Let the batter rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Step 4 Heat an electric griddle to 350-degrees or a flat griddle over medium heat on your stovetop.
  • Step 5 Ladle the batter onto the hot griddle and cook until bubbles form and rise to the surface and the batter is somewhat set on top – about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Step 6 Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown, about another 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Step 7 Serve hot with butter, additional pear preserves and warm maple syrup.

 

 

Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine

Magical aromas are simmering on the stove. Spices and citrus fill the air while gently infusing a fruity Pinot Noir!

We’re on top of the magic of Christmas and there’s nothing better to wind down from the hustle and bustle than with a gorgeous mulled wine. Christmas always brings memories of my Mom and though she was raised a devout Baptist this was a beverage she loved.

Mom with my Grandmother, Tassie Mae – who to the best of my knowledge did not partake in mulled wine!

Mulling is such a simple process. Whole cloves and whole allspice simmer along with cinnamon sticks in a light simple syrup. Then thinly sliced lemons are tossed in to steep in the spiced liquid. A bottle of wine is gently warmed, infusing these subtle notes making for a spectacular drink.

A Pinot Noir is a great wine for mulling with its lighter body and fruity notes. But use your favorite red wine. Just remember – the secret to a good mulled wine is to warm the wine gently but never let it boil.

Serve mulled wine in mugs or wine glasses – it’s an elegant way to toast this Christmas Eve!

Mulled Wine

5 whole cloves

5 whole allspice

6 small cinnamon sticks

½ cup sugar

2 cups water

2 lemons, sliced thin

1 bottle Pinot Noir

Place the cloves and the allspice in a small mulling spice ball.

In a saucepan over medium heat, add the sugar and the water, along with the cinnamon sticks and the spices in the mulling ball.

Cook the liquid stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon slices. Cover and let the mixture steep for 20 minutes.

Stir in the wine and return the pan to a medium-low heat. Gently warm the wine but do not allow it to boil.

Ladle the mulled wine into wine glasses or mugs.

 

Mulled Wine, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 24, 2018
: Serves 4.

Magical aromas are simmering on the stove. Spices and citrus fill the air while gently infusing a fruity Pinot Noir!

By:

Ingredients
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 5 whole allspice
  • 6 small cinnamon sticks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 lemons, sliced thin
  • 1 bottle Pinot Noir
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the cloves and the allspice in a small mulling spice ball.
  • Step 2 In a saucepan over medium heat, add the sugar and the water, along with the cinnamon sticks and the spices in the mulling ball.
  • Step 3 Cook the liquid stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Step 4 Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon slices. Cover and let the mixture steep for 20 minutes.
  • Step 5 Stir in the wine and return the pan to a medium-low heat. Gently warm the wine but do not allow it to boil.
  • Step 6 Ladle the mulled wine into wine glasses or mugs.
Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

Savory notes from fresh leeks along with thyme and garlic provide the perfect accent to golden roasted butternut squash. A soul-satisfying soup perfect for a cold winter night.

With the holiday season in full swing your life is no doubt a bit hectic. This is a gorgeous soup, simple to make and full of flavor. Most butternut squash seem to have an almost cloyingly sweet taste. Instead, this version is rustic, almost hearty. Butternut squash are cooked with fresh leeks, thyme and garlic then simmered in a rich chicken stock.

Roasting butternut squash is easy enough to do – just a brush or two of olive oil and a dash of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. But butternut squash is now readily available in the freezer section of most food markets. If you’re in a pinch for time, using this option will cut one step off the recipe making it even quicker to get on the table.

The squash, leeks, garlic and thyme simmer for a short bit on the stovetop to meld the flavors.

Then the soup is pureed and a touch of half and half is added to create a creamy soup.

The stockings are hopefully hung and gifts are mostly wrapped. So take a minute or two, settle back and enjoy this warm soup on a cold winter’s night!

Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

2 butternut squash, about 4 to 5 pounds fresh or three 10-ounce packages, frozen. You want about 6 cups of squash for the soup.

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

¾ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided

3 tablespoons butter

3 leeks, root end and green portion trimmed, thoroughly cleaned* and chopped. See note below.

7 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

5 cups chicken stock

2 tablespoons concentrated chicken base, such as Better Than Bouillon

½ cup half and half

Shaved Parmesan and Fontina cheese for serving

For roasted butternut squash:

Split the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and brush the squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of the black pepper.

Place the squash with the cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with a cooking spray.

Roast the squash in a 400-degree oven for about 45 minutes or until the pieces of squash are cooked through and tender. When cool enough to handle scoop out the squash. You should have about 10 cups of squash.

For the soup:

Place a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat and melt the 3 tablespoons of butter with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chopped leeks and thyme and sauté until the leeks are tender, about 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the chopped garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

Stir in the squash plus the chicken stock, concentrated chicken base, the remaining ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper.

Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. Remove the sprigs of thyme and using an immersion blender puree the soup until it’s smooth.

Stir in the half and half and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes to heat through.

Serve with shaved Parmesan and Fontina cheese.

Serves 6 to 8.

*Cleaning leeks is an important step. As the leaves push up through the ground they capture a lot of dirt along the way. To clean, cut the dark green leaves down to the light green part of the leek. Then cut an “X” about 3” to 4” from the leaves down towards the bulb.

Place the leeks cut side down in a large measuring cup or bowl filled with cold water. Let them soak for about 20 minutes to let the leeks open up a bit. Chop and rinse the leeks under cold running water to make sure all the dirt is removed.

Butternut Squash Leek Soup, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 21, 2018
: Serves 6 to 8.

Savory notes of leeks along with thyme and garlic are the perfect accent to golden roasted butternut squash creating a soul-satisfying soup perfect for a cold winter night.

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 butternut squash, about 4 to 5 pounds fresh or three 10-ounce packages, frozen. You want about 6 cups of squash for the soup.
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 leeks, root end and green portion trimmed, thoroughly cleaned* and chopped
  • 7 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons concentrated chicken base, such as Better Than Bouillon
  • ½ cup half and half
  • Shaved Parmesan and Fontina cheese for serving
Directions
  • Step 1 For roasted butternut squash:
  • Step 2 Split the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and brush the squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of the black pepper.
  • Step 3 Place the squash with the cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with a cooking spray. Roast the squash in a 400-degree oven for about 45 minutes or until the pieces of squash are cooked through and tender. When cool enough to handle scoop out the squash. You should have about 10 cups of squash.
  • Step 4 For the soup:
  • Step 5 Place a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat and melt the 3 tablespoons of butter with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chopped leeks and thyme and sauté until the leeks are tender, about 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  • Step 6 Stir in the squash plus the chicken stock, concentrated chicken base, the remaining ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper. Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes.
  • Step 7 Remove the sprigs of thyme and using an immersion blender puree the soup until it’s smooth.
  • Step 8 Stir in the half and half and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes to heat through.
  • Step 9 Serve with shaved Parmesan and Fontina cheese.
  • Step 10 *Cleaning leeks is an important step. As the leaves push up through the ground they capture a lot of dirt along the way. To clean, cut the dark green leaves down to the light green part of the leek. Then cut an “X” about 3” to 4” from the leaves down towards the bulb. Place the leeks cut side down in a large measuring cup or bowl filled with cold water. Let them soak for about 20 minutes to let the leeks open up a bit. Rinse the leeks under cold running water to make sure all the dirt is removed.
Spiced Marmalade with Cognac

Spiced Marmalade with Cognac

Tart yet sweet, full of spice and bold flavors plus a beautiful tone of Cognac. This is not your ordinary marmalade!

Every year I make my family’s favorite jams and preserves but occasionally I will add something new to the mix. I stumbled across a version of this recipe in one of my many Bon Appétit books and a personal favorite titled The Christmas Season. The beauty of this recipe lies not only in the flavor but also in its simplicity. Store bought marmalade is spiced and spiked with a unique blend of spices and a subtle layer of sweetness comes from the addition of silky honey. Then a big splash of fine Cognac brings a warm, earthy undertone.

Since the base is marmalade use the best. I make a lot of our jams and jellies but I also pick up favorite flavors at the market. Bonne Maman is my go to – they make some of the finest available. And I seem to always have those sweet little tangelos in my refrigerator this time of year. You can use the peel from these little gems or your favorite orange.

Though this spiced marmalade is wonderful as a spread on your morning crumpet, this delicious twist elevates the flavors making it the perfect condiment for a savory roast turkey sandwich…

Or as a luscious dessert topping for a golden pound cake…

If you’re looking for that last minute Christmas gift – this one is easy and sure to please!

Spiced Marmalade with Cognac

Peel from 1 tangelo or orange

16 whole cloves

4 small cinnamon sticks

4 whole star anise

1 vanilla bean, split open and cut into 4 pieces

½ cup honey

½ cup good Cognac

2 jars quality orange marmalade, 13-ounces each

Before you start you’ll want to have on hand three 8-ounce sterilized jars and lids. A funnel and ladle are also helpful.

Cut the peel from the tangelo, slicing top to bottom into 4 sections. If you’re using an orange, cut the peel into smaller pieces so they will fit into your jars.

With the tip of a sharp knife cut 4 very small holes, spaced evenly along the peel. Insert a whole clove into each hole. Don’t cut the holes too large or the cloves will come out while the marmalade is cooking. You want an opening just large enough to push the clove through.

Combine the cinnamon sticks along with the star anise, the vanilla bean pieces plus the tangelo peel and cloves in a medium saucepan.

Add the honey and the Cognac. Cook over medium heat until the honey and Cognac have cooked down to about ½ cup of liquid, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the marmalade and cook for another 5 minutes to warm through. Stir occasionally while the marmalade cooks.

Place 1 clove-studded tangelo peel along with one cinnamon stick, a star anise and 1 piece of the vanilla bean into each jar.

Ladle the marmalade into the jars, wipe the rims clean and seal with the lids.

Keep the marmalade refrigerated or process the jars in a water bath following the jar manufacturer’s directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and they have great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.

Makes three 8-ounce jars.

Spiced Marmalade with Cognac, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 19, 2018
: Makes three 8-ounce jars

Tart yet sweet, full of spice and bold flavors plus a beautiful tone of Cognac. This is not your ordinary marmalade!

By:

Ingredients
  • Peel from 1 tangelo or orange
  • 16 whole cloves
  • 4 small cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 1 vanilla bean, split open and cut into 4 pieces
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup good Cognac
  • 2 jars quality orange marmalade, 13-ounces each
Directions
  • Step 1 Before you start you’ll want to have on hand three 8-ounce sterilized jars and lids. A funnel and ladle are also helpful.
  • Step 2 Cut the peel from the tangelo, slicing top to bottom into 4 sections. If you’re using an orange, cut the peel into smaller pieces so they will fit into your jars.
  • Step 3 With the tip of a sharp knife cut 4 very small holes, spaced evenly along the peel. Insert a whole clove into each hole. Don’t cut the holes too large or the cloves will come out while the marmalade is cooking. You want an opening just large enough to push the clove through.
  • Step 4 Combine the cinnamon sticks along with the star anise, the vanilla bean pieces plus the tangelo peel and cloves in a medium saucepan.
  • Step 5 Add the honey and the Cognac. Cook over medium heat until the honey and Cognac have cooked down to about ½ cup of liquid, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Step 6 Add the marmalade and cook for another 5 minutes to warm through. Stir occasionally while the marmalade cooks.
  • Step 7 Place 1 clove-studded tangelo peel along with one cinnamon stick, a star anise and 1 piece of the vanilla bean into each jar.
  • Step 8 Ladle the marmalade into the jars, wipe the rims clean and seal with the lids.
  • Step 9 Keep the marmalade refrigerated or process the jars in a water bath following the jar manufacturer’s directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and they have great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.
Candied Orange Peel

Candied Orange Peel

Glistening like the holiday lights with bright, sweet notes of citrus.

Candied citrus peel is a centuries old method of preserving every piece of the orange. Much like the art of making jam or marmalade was and still is used to preserve fresh fruit, processing the peel of citrus meant nothing went to waste.

The process of making the candied peel includes simply the orange peel and sugar, which has long been used as a natural preservative for fruits.

Thin slices of orange peel are blanched then cooked in a simple syrup solution, soaking up all that sweetness.

The tender peels are tossed in sugar then slowing baked to aid in drying the peels and set the candy. The candied peels air dry until the sugar coating is completely set.

Candied orange peels are wonderful as a candy but can also be used as a gorgeous topping for desserts. Beautiful sweet treats for any holiday get together!

Candied Orange Peel

2 large oranges, such as navel or Cara Cara

1-3/4 cups sugar, divided

½ cup water plus extra for boiling

Cut the orange peel from the orange, cutting it into fourths from top to bottom. Carefully remove the peel from the orange.

Cut each section of peel lengthwise into thin strips, about ¼” each.

Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the orange peels and boil for 3 minutes.

Leave the water boiling and using a spider or slotted spoon transfer the peels to a colander and rinse with cold water. Return the orange peels to the boiling water and boil for an additional 3 minutes. Drain the pan with the peels into a colander.

Return the saucepan to the stove and add ½ cup water and ¾ cup of the sugar. Stir to combine then add the orange peels. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.

Cook for 30 minutes until the orange peels have soaked up most of the sugar syrup, stirring frequently.

Place the remaining 1 cup of sugar in a large shallow bowl or pan. Using tongs drop the orange peels in small batches into the sugar. Toss the peels in the sugar to coat all sides.

Set the sugar coated orange peels in a single layer on a wire rack placed over a baking sheet. Bake the peels in a 250-degree oven for 20 minutes. Allow them to dry overnight or until the sugar coating is set.

Store in a sealed container. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.

Candied Orange Peel

December 17, 2018
: Makes about 1-1/2 cups of candied peels.

Candied Orange Peel - glistening like the holiday lights with bright, sweet notes of citrus.

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 large oranges, such as navel or Cara Cara
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • ½ cup water plus extra for boiling
Directions
  • Step 1 Cut the orange peel from the orange, cutting it into fourths from top to bottom. Carefully remove the peel from the orange.
  • Step 2 Cut each section of peel lengthwise into thin strips, about ¼” each.
  • Step 3 Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the orange peels and boil for 3 minutes.
  • Step 4 Leave the water boiling and using a spider or slotted spoon transfer the peels to a colander and rinse with cold water. Return the orange peels to the boiling water and boil for an additional 3 minutes. Drain the pan with the peels into a colander.
  • Step 5 Return the saucepan to the stove and add ½ cup water and ¾ cup of the sugar. Stir to combine then add the orange peels. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
  • Step 6 Cook for 30 minutes until the orange peels have soaked up most of the sugar syrup, stirring frequently.
  • Step 7 Place the remaining 1 cup of sugar in a large shallow bowl or pan. Using tongs drop the orange peels in small batches into the sugar. Toss the peels in the sugar to coat all sides.
  • Step 8 Set the sugar coated orange peels in a single layer on a wire rack placed over a baking sheet.
  • Step 9 Bake the peels in a 250-degree oven for 20 minutes. Allow them to dry overnight or until the sugar coating is set.
  • Step 10 Store in a sealed container.
Rum Balls

Rum Balls

Deep luscious tones of chocolate highlighted by the spirit of dark rum. Rich flavors that melt in your mouth!

Rum balls have long been a favorite of mine and I frequently make them for holiday gifts. This version creates a bite that is soft and a bit gooey – rolled in toppings and served chilled. Though you often see these tiny confections made with bourbon I tend to prefer rum. Much like the classic dessert tiramisu, the combination of chocolate and rum is magical.

This is a no bake candy with a short list of ingredients– vanilla wafers, toasted pecans, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, some corn syrup and a big splash of deep, dark rum. It’s a quick mix and then off to chill. Rum balls make a great dessert for guests and are the right size for an entertaining nibble on a holiday buffet.

As always, whenever using pecans in a recipe give them a quick toast in the oven. About 10 minutes at 350-degrees or just until you smell that nutty aroma and you’re good to go. Toasting pecans or any nut is a step that shouldn’t be skipped.

And to make quick work in scooping up this delightful candy, use a small ice cream scoop. Spring-action ice cream scoops come in several sizes and are great tools to have on hand for baking.

The mixture for the rum balls is a bit sticky making it perfect for rolling in delectable toppings!

Easy to make, these luscious little candies make a delicious holiday gift!

Rum Balls

3-1/2 cups vanilla wafers

1 cup toasted finely chopped pecans

½ cup good dark rum

1 cup powdered sugar

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

Toppings for rolling: Additional powdered sugar, chopped nuts or toasted coconut for rolling – one cup of each if you use all three options

Toss the vanilla wafers in a food processor and process until the wafers are finely ground.

Pour the vanilla wafer crumbs into a large bowl along with the chopped pecans and stir to blend together.

In a small bowl whisk together the cocoa powder and the powdered sugar.

Pour in the rum and the corn syrup and stir to blend together.

Add the rum and chocolate mixture to the vanilla wafers and pecans. Stir to mix the ingredients until well combined.

Chill at least 3 hours to let the mixture firm up. Using a teaspoon or a small ice cream scoop, gather up small rounds and shape into balls. You want them to be “bite size”.

Place the toppings for rolling into small bowls. Roll each rum ball into one of the toppings. Place on a rimmed baking lined with parchment paper. Chill thoroughly before serving.

Keep chilled and stored wrapped or in a sealed container. Makes about 3-1/2 to 4 dozen Rum Balls.

Rum Balls, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 14, 2018
: Makes about 3-1/2 to 4 dozen.

Deep tones of chocolate highlighted by the spirit of dark rum. These rich flavors melt in your mouth!

By:

Ingredients
  • 3-1/2 cups vanilla wafers
  • 1 cup toasted finely chopped pecans
  • ½ cup good dark rum
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • Toppings for rolling: Additional powdered sugar, chopped nuts or toasted coconut for rolling – one cup of each if you use all three options
Directions
  • Step 1 Toss the vanilla wafers in a food processor and process until the wafers are finely ground.
  • Step 2 Pour the vanilla wafer crumbs into a large bowl along with the chopped pecans and stir to blend together.
  • Step 3 In a small bowl whisk together the cocoa powder and the powdered sugar. Pour in the rum and the corn syrup and stir to blend together.
  • Step 4 Add the rum and chocolate mixture to the vanilla wafers and pecans. Stir to mix the ingredients until well combined.
  • Step 5 Chill at least 3 hours to let the mixture firm up.
  • Step 6 Using a teaspoon or a small ice cream scoop, gather up small rounds and shape into balls. You want them to be “bite size”.
  • Step 7 Place the toppings for rolling into small bowls. Roll each rum ball into one of the toppings. Place on a rimmed baking lined with parchment paper. Chill thoroughly before serving.
  • Step 8 Keep chilled and stored wrapped or in a sealed container.
Gingerbread Crinkles

Gingerbread Crinkles

Think gingerbread in crinkle cookie form rolled in tiny crystals of sugar. Crisp on the outside with a delicious chewy bite on the inside with all the flavors of the holidays dancing in your mouth!

We’ve made holiday cookies for years – many years out of necessity working with a tight budget as a single Mom. But the tradition continued in a fun way to share our love of food. Chocolate Crinkles are always on the holiday list and some years we had cutout gingerbread cookies. This year I pulled out a twist on these two classics.

Start with the basics in a cookie dough similar to the one we use for gingerbread – molasses, pure vanilla and the richness of butter.

Then beautiful spices including ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.

Roll the balls of dough in crystals of sugar sweetness.

Pop them in the oven and these little cookies will fill your kitchen with all the smells of the season and the flavors are every bit as wonderful.

‘Tis the season!

Gingerbread Crinkles

6 tablespoons butter

¼ cup molasses

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 extra-large egg

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar, plus ½ cup extra for rolling

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.

Whisk in the molasses and the vanilla extract.

Allow the mixture to cool slightly then whisk in the egg.

In a large bowl combine the flour with 1 cup sugar along with the baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and kosher salt.

Pour the molasses mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Then work the dough gently with your hands to make sure the flour and spices are mixed well with the molasses mixture.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. When you’re ready to bake, place the remaining ½ cup sugar in a small bowl. Using a small ice cream scoop measure out 1” balls of dough.

Roll the cookie dough in the sugar, covering all sides. Place the cookies on baking sheets lined with a Silpat liner or parchment paper, leaving about 2″ between each cookie.

Bake in a 375-oven for 10 minutes.

Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the baking sheets then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 3-1/2 dozens cookies.

Gingerbread Crinkles, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 12, 2018
: Makes about 3-1/2 dozen cookies.

Think gingerbread in crinkle cookie form rolled in tiny crystals of sugar. Crisp on the outside with a delicious chewy bite on the inside and all the flavors of the holidays dancing in your mouth!

By:

Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar, plus ½ cup extra for rolling
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Directions
  • Step 1 Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the molasses and the vanilla extract.
  • Step 2 Allow the mixture to cool slightly then whisk in the egg.
  • Step 3 In a large bowl combine the flour with 1 cup sugar along with the baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and kosher salt.
  • Step 4 Pour the molasses mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Then work the dough gently with your hands to make sure the flour and spices are mixed well with the molasses mixture.
  • Step 5 Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  • Step 6 When you’re ready to bake, place the remaining ½ cup sugar in a small bowl.
  • Step 7 Using a small ice cream scoop measure out 1” balls of dough. Roll the cookie dough in the sugar, covering all sides.
  • Step 8 Place the cookies on baking sheets lined with a Silpat liner or parchment paper, leaving about 2″ between each cookie.
  • Step 9 Bake in a 375-oven for 10 minutes.
  • Step 10 Allow the cookies to cool slightly on the baking sheets then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Step 11 Store cookies in a sealed container.

 

Sweet and Saucy Pickles

Sweet and Saucy Pickles

Crisp and sweet with a delightful note of garlic plus a saucy kick of heat in every bite!

This is a classic remake on store-bought dill pickles. There are numerous versions of these pickles but this one is exceptional. When Emily was a baby I received this recipe along with a jar of the pickles from a sweet neighbor. I have long made holiday food gifts and for years these pickles were on the list of goodies. They are really simple to make and the transformation with a small list of added ingredients is quite wonderful.

Start with whole dill pickles, not pre-sliced. Then you can cut the pickles into thick slices.

Use a whole bulb of garlic – not clove – bulb! You can also use the equivalent pre-chopped if you shortcut, about 4 tablespoons. Toss in the whole bottle of Tabasco – more if you want extra heat – followed by 5 pounds of sugar.

That’s it. As the sugar dissolves the pickles will darken in color and turn extra crunchy.

These pickles make a perfect gift or a delicious addition to your holiday relish tray. The Christmas pickle is said to bring extra fortune for the New Year to the lucky one that finds it. Make a batch and spread luck and fortune to your friends and family!

Sweet and Saucy Pickles

1 gallon dill pickles cut into thick slices, about ¼” thick

2 cups of pickle juice

1 whole bulb garlic, finely chopped, about 4 tablespoons

1 small bottle Tabasco, 2 fluid ounces

5 pounds of granulated sugar, 10 cups

Place the sliced pickles in a large container or mixing bowl. Add the full bottle of Tabasco and the chopped garlic.

Pour in the sugar and the reserved pickle juice.

Stir to mix well. Let the pickles sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved, about 4 to 6 hours.

Using a slotted spoon place the pickle slices into clean, sterilized jars, reserving the liquid. Wide mouth jars are easiest to fill.

Pour in enough of the reserved liquid to fill the jars leaving about ¼” room at the top.

Keep the pickles refrigerated or process the jars in a water bath following the jar manufacturer’s directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and has great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website. Serve well chilled.

Makes enough to fill  7 pint size jars.

Sweet and Saucy Pickles, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 10, 2018
: Makes enough to fill 7 pint size jars.

Crisp and sweet with a delightful note of garlic plus a saucy kick of heat in every bite!

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 gallon dill pickles cut into thick slices, about ¼” thick,
  • 2 cups of pickle juice
  • 1 whole bulb garlic, finely chopped, about 4 tablespoons
  • 1 small bottle Tabasco, 2 fluid ounces
  • 5 pounds of granulated sugar, 10 cups
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the sliced pickles in a large container or mixing bowl. Add the full bottle of Tabasco and the chopped garlic.
  • Step 2 Pour in the sugar and the reserved pickle juice.
  • Step 3 Stir to mix well. Let the pickles sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved, about 4 to 6 hours.
  • Step 4 Using a slotted spoon place the pickle slices into clean, sterilized jars. Reserve the liquid. Wide mouth jars are easiest to fill.
  • Step 5 Pour in enough  of the reserved liquid to fill the jars leaving about ¼” room at the top.
  • Step 6 Keep the pickles refrigerated or process the jars in a water bath following the jar manufacturer’s directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and has great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.
  • Step 7 Serve well chilled.

Dave’s Sugared Pecans

Dave’s Sugared Pecans

Crisp pecans with a delicate glaze of sweet coating – looking like they’ve been frosted by the spirit of the holidays!

I have numerous recipes for sugared and candied pecans, as any good Southern kitchen should. But without question this recipe is my favorite for two reasons. One, they are absolutely delectable; and two, the recipe comes from dear, dear friends and one of my favorite couples. For years ever Christmas I’ve celebrated the holidays with two special women in my life, Pat and Diane.

We exchange small homemade gifts of food and Pat always brings bags of these sugared pecans. Pat’s husband Dave whips these tasty bites up every holiday season and has done so for as long as I can recall. Pat delivers them in a clear cello bag to showcase the decadent nuts, cheerfully tied with a holiday ribbon all the while providing easy access to the goodness inside.

The list of ingredients is surprisingly short. Start with beautifully toasted pecan halves. Then sugar, pure vanilla extract and one interesting addition, sour cream is added to create the glorious coating.

I almost always toast nuts before tossing them into anything I’m making. (Pecan pie would be the exception!) Toasting nuts brings out a crispness and depth of flavor unique to each variety.

Toasting pecans deepens the color and the flavor profile plus adds a crispness to the nut.

And you’re using a hefty dose of pure vanilla extract in the coating so you want the best. My favorite extracts and flavorings are produced by Nielsen-Massey and available at fine food and kitchen stores.

These sugared pecans are divine so if you’re looking for a special holiday treat then look no further! Thank you Dave for sharing!

Dave’s Sugared Pecans

2 pounds pecan halves

½ cup sour cream

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups sugar

Spread the pecan halves into single layers on two large rimmed baking sheets. Toast the pecans in a 350-degree oven for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the nuts are lightly golden and fragrant. Transfer the pecans to a large mixing bowl and set the baking sheets aside.

In a small saucepan combine the sour cream with the vanilla extract.

Stir in the sugar, mixing well.

Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Raise the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.

Turn off the heat and let the coating rest for 3 minutes. Pour the sugar coating over the toasted pecans and stir to cover all the pecans completely.

Pour the pecans onto the two rimmed baking sheets, spreading into a single layer. Do not spray or coat the pans with a cooking spray!

Allow the nuts to dry completely, preferably overnight. Store in a sealed container.

Makes 2 pounds of sugared pecans.

Dave's Sugared Pecans, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 7, 2018
: Makes 2 pounds of sugared pecans.

Crisp pecans with a delicate glaze of sweet coating – looking like they’ve been frosted by the spirit of the holidays!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds pecan halves
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
Directions
  • Step 1 Spread the pecan halves into single layers on two large rimmed baking sheets. Toast the pecans in a 350-degree oven for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the nuts are lightly golden and fragrant. Transfer the pecans to a large mixing bowl and set the baking sheets aside.
  • Step 2 In a small saucepan combine the sour cream with the vanilla extract. Stir in the sugar, mixing well.
  • Step 3 Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Step 4 Raise the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then turn off the heat and let the coating rest for 3 minutes.
  • Step 5 Pour the sugar coating over the toasted pecans and stir to cover all the pecans completely.
  • Step 6 Pour the pecans onto the two rimmed baking sheets, spreading into a single layer. Do not spray or coat the pans with a cooking spray!
  • Step 7 Allow the nuts to dry completely, preferably overnight. Store in a sealed container.