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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hannukah Delights AND DIY Gifts

Happy Tuesday all! I've got delightful pictures to share from another deliciously successful (and oily) Hannukah dinner. PLUS, I've got some DIY holiday gifts you might want to try for your friends and family! First, some pictures! (I'm a visual learner, I like to see what's going on!)
Hors d'oeuvres anyone? Garlicky sausage wrapped in puff dough
and topped with a chutney-mustard blend.

Yummy chicken marinated overnight in
an apricot preserve blend with herbs and spices.
The main event! A New York Times latke recipe (gotta mix it up!)
AND a sweet potato latke recipe, continually perfected year after year.

Did someone say dessert? Hannukah isn't complete
without donuts! These are glazed in chocolate ganache
and sprinkled with silver sugar crystals.

Gingerbread cake! I couldn't resist.

Now for some DIY! If you love being in the kitchen and money is tight this weekend, check these out for friends, family, and (living around here, you know what I'm talking about!) doormen! Yum, yum.

For the gourmet chef...
Triple-Tart Cranberry Butter

Makes 3 8oz jars

  • 1 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1 lb. sweet apples, such as Fuji or Braeburn, peeled, cored and cut into ½" cubes
  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 1½ cups pomegranate seeds
  • 1⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. Kosher salt
  1. Place cherries in a medium bowl and cover with 3 cups of boiling water; soak until tender, about 10 minutes. 
  2. Drain, reserving 1 cup of liquid and transfer to a 4-qt. saucepan with apples, cranberries, and pomegranate seeds. 
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries begin to burst, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until fruit is very tender, about 30 minutes. 
  4. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a 2-qt. saucepan and press on solids to extract as much pulp as possible; discard solids. Add sugar and salt, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to bubble, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until slightly reduced and thick, about 8 minutes more. 
  5. If you like, divide between three sanitized 8-oz. glass jars with resealable lids and follow the procedure for Canning with a Boiling Water Bath (process filled jars for 10 minutes).

For the caramel queen...
Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla Caramels
Grace Parisi


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • Coarse sea salt, crumbled
  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, melted (optional)
  1. Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with foil; spray it with vegetable oil. In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter. Add the sugar, corn syrup and cream and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the vanilla seeds. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until a golden caramel forms and the temperature reaches 245° on a candy thermometer, 1 hour. Stir in 1 tablespoon of salt and scrape the caramel into the prepared pan. Let cool and set completely overnight.
  2. Lightly oil a sheet of parchment paper and line 2 baking sheets with wax paper. Invert the caramel onto the parchment and peel off the foil. Using a sharp knife, cut the caramel into 1-inch-wide strips and then into 1-inch squares. Dip the squares into the chocolate, tap off the excess and transfer to the wax paper on the baking sheets. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Alternatively, wrap the plain caramel squares in wax paper and tie with thread.

For the chocolate know them...
Brazilian Pecan-Cinnamon Truffles
Food & Wine, Dec 2012

  • One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 ounce white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salted butter, plus more for rubbing
  • 1 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. In a medium nonstick saucepan, combine the condensed milk with the white chocolate and 1 teaspoon of butter. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until shiny and very thick, 15 to 18 minutes. Spread the mixture in a shallow dish and let cool for 15 minutes.
  2. Arrange 30 paper candy cups on a baking sheet. In a shallow bowl, mix the pecans with the cinnamon. Rub your hands with butter. Scoop up rounded teaspoons of the candy mixture and roll them into balls. Roll the candy in the pecan mixture and set them in a paper cup. Repeat to form the remaining candies. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.
MAKE AHEAD The candies can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 
NOTES Variations: The candies can also be rolled in shredded coconut, sliced almonds, chopped pistachios or rainbow sprinkles.

 Happy baking!

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