Sunday, December 13, 2009

Just Desserts - December 2009

Diva: Tamara

Drinks: Bonnie
Hot Apple Pies

Simmer apple cider with cinnamon sticks, cloves and cardamom pods for a few hours.
Mix in tuaca and top with cardamom and cinnamon flavored whipped cream.

Vegan Hot Chocolate

Lightly simmer 1 ½ large rice milk cartons with a couple bunches of basil, three 70% dark chocolate bars. Add 1 ½ canisters of rice mellow fluff in warm concoction and a dash of cayenne.

Appetizer: Aven
Best Toffee Ever

2 c butter
2 c white sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 c semisweet chocolate chips
1 c finely chopped almonds

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, and the temperature has reached 285 degrees F (137 degrees C). Stir occasionally.

While the toffee is cooking, cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it out onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the chocolate over the top, and let it set for a minute or two to soften. Spread the chocolate into a thin even layer once it is melted. Sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate, and press in slightly. Putting a plastic bag over your hand will minimize the mess.

Place the toffee in the refrigerator to chill until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.


Carribean Coconut Rum Balls

2 ½ c cookie crumbs (I used sugar cookies with a hint of nutmeg)

1 ⅔ c shredded coconut

1 c walnuts, finely chopped

14 oz sweetened condensed milk (1 can)

⅜ c coconut flavored rum

1 tsp rum extract

In a large bowl, toss together the crushed vanilla wafers, 1 1/3 cup coconut and walnuts. Stir in the sweetened condensed milk and rum; mix well. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and roll the balls in the remaining coconut. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.

(Altered from

Fudge Azteca

1 c butter

4 oz unsweetened chocolate

1 c cocoa powder

2 lbs powdered sugar

1 ½ c black beans mashed 

2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cayenne

1 ½ T coffee


butter and chocolate on stovetop or in microwave 

mix with remaining ingredients and stir until thoroughly mixed

spread in 9x13 pan, refrigerate until firm

Soup: Ashley
Champagne Peach Soup

serves 10

3 c frozen peaches

1 c fresh or canned peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced

1 c vanilla yogurt

1 T honey

 1T lemon juice

⅛ tsp ground cardamom

⅛ tsp ground cloves

¾ bottle dry champagne or sparkling apple juice

Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Garnish with chopped mint, diced peaches and a drizzle of honey. Drink the rest of the bottle of champagne.

Salad: Lovina
Who says cheese can't be dessert?

Mixed Greens with Goat Cheese Patty, Sweet Red Wine Vinegarette, Fresh Pomegranate, and Pastachio Brittle

2 lbs mixed salad greens
1 pomegranate, seeded
Pastachio Brittle (see recipe below)
12 oz goat cheese
1 ½ c panko bread crumbs
Olive oil
2 large eggs
fresh cracked pepper
ground sage
½ tsp orange infused olive oil
2 tsp orange zest
3 shallots minced
1 c red wine (I used a good drinking cab)
4 T brown sugar
2 T orange juice
2 T pomegrate vinegar
sprig fresh rosemary

For the dressing:
Heat saucepan over medium heat with 1 T olive oil. Add diced shallot and saute until soft (2 mins). Add red wine, orange juice, brown sugar, orange zest, 2 tsp sage, sprig rosemary. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes until reduced. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature, then whisk in 1/3 olive oil and pomegranate vinegar. Season to taste. Refridgerate dressing.

For the Goat Cheese Patties:
In a mixing bowl, combine goat cheese with 2 tsp ground sage, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper and orange infused olive oil. Form goat cheese into 1 in round balls and place on a plate. Flatten balls into 1/4 inch thick round patties, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to fry. Heat 2 Tbs olive oil in skillet over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk eggs with generous pinch of salt and pepper. In separate bowl, combine bread crumbs with 1 tsp sage, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper. Transfer chilled goat cheese patties into egg mixture then dip into bread crumb mixture, shaking off excess. Place patties in heated skillet. Fry until golden brown (approximately 4 minutes) then turn and repeat. Transfer browned patties to a plate lined with paper towel/bag. Serve immediately.

Serve warm goat cheese patties over a bed of greens tossed with moderate amount of dressing. Sprinkle with about a T of fresh pomegranate seeds and a few pieces of pastachio brittle.

Buttery Pistachio Brittle

Cooks Note - this recipe yields FAR more than you will use for the salad recipe, so give a few treats wrapped in some fun gift receptacles to your friends!! ;)
Brittle candy studded with pistachios is a twist on the traditional peanut brittle candy recipe.

2 c sugar
1 c light corn syrup
½ c water
1 c butter
2 c salted pistachio nuts
1 tsp baking soda

Combine sugar, corn syrup and water in 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a full boil (10 to 15 minutes). Add butter. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until candy thermometer reaches 280°F. or small amount of mixture dropped into ice water forms a pliable strand (35 to 40 minutes).

Stir in pistachios. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until candy thermometer reaches 305°F. or small amount of mixture dropped into ice water forms a brittle strand (15 to 20 minutes).

Remove from heat; stir in baking soda. Pour mixture onto 2 buttered baking sheets; spread about 1/4 inch thick. Cool completely; break into pieces.

Cook's note to self....don't try to start shelling pastachio's at the same time you start heating the sugar or the mixture on the stove will get to temperature before you get the nuts in and your brittle will have a slightly burnt flavor which will require you to give your friends a disclaimer about the burnt brittle before they put pieces on their salad (LOL!!!!).


Side Dish: Colleen (absent)

Entree: Stacey
Berries and Buttermilk Puddings

1 tsp agar agar
1 c whole milk, divided
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 T sugar
1 c well-shaken buttermilk
¼ c dry red wine
¼ c water
3 T sugar
1 (3-inch) strip lemon zest
1 (3-inch) strip orange zest
1 Turkish or ½ California bay leaf
1 c quartered strawberries
2 c mixed berries

Sprinkle agar agar over ¼ c milk in a small bowl and let soften 1 minute.

Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into a small heavy saucepan and add pod. Add remaining ¾ c milk and sugar and bring just to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Add agar agar mixture to hot milk mixture, stirring until dissolved. Quick-chill in an ice bath, stirring occasionally until cold but not thickened about 5 minutes.

Bring wine, water, sugar, zests and bay leaf to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then boil until reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 10 minutes.

Add strawberries and simmer 5 minutes. Discard zests and bay leaf.
Chill sauce, stirring occasionally until cold, about 1 hour.
Spoon sauce over puddings and top with remaining berries.

(From Gourmet, September 2009)

Dessert: Erin
Pumpkin Dump Cake

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 (12 fluid ounce) can nonfat evaporated milk
4 eggs
1 c white sugar
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
½ c butter, melted
1 c chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, salt, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. Stir in the milk, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Pour pumpkin mixture into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle the yellow cake mix over the pumpkin mixture, then sprinkle on the pecans. Drizzle melted butter over all. Bake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool.


Wild Card: Sara
Apple-Cranberry Phyllo Tart

½ c (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for baking sheet
4 sheets phyllo dough (each 12x17 in), thawed if frozen
2 tsp ground cinnamon
5 T pure maple syrup, plus more for serving
4-5 apples, such as Gala, Fuji or Pink Lad, cored, halved and cut into ¼-inch-thick wedges
1 ½ c fresh cranberries (5 oz)
2 T sugar
Unsweetened whipped cream for serving

Preheat oven to 400. Brush a baking sheet with butter. Lay 1 phyllo sheet on prepared baking sheet; brush with about 1 T butter and sprinkle with some cinnamon. Repeat layering with remaining phyllo sheet and more butter and remaining cinnamon. Bake until crisp and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, core and halve apples; cut into ¼-inch-thick wedges.

Remove phyllo from oven; brush top gently with 2 T maple syrup. Place a row of apple wedges along one short side with rounded edges facing out. Make a second row of apples next to the first row, overlapping the rows slightly and staggering the wedges so that the rounded edges of the second row fall between the rounded edges of the first row. Cut wedges as needed to fill gaps at ends of each row. Scatter cranberries over top. Drizzle with remaining butter and 3T maple syrup; sprinkle with sugar.

Bake until apples are just tender (they should offer a little resistance when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife) and cranberries have softened, about 25 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack to cool slightly.

Cut tart into squares. Drizzle with maple syrup and serve warm with whipped cream on the side.

(From Martha Stewart holiday sweets 2009)

Plus toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss for all!

Lottery: Mariah

1 comment:

Connie said...

I was almost afraid to read this - I feel the sugar high from here.But I have to make that salad!