Thursday, December 6, 2018

Gingerbread Cake, Grinch Bites and Rosemary-Bourbon Holiday Appetizer

Grinch Bites

Holiday Margarita Key Lime Pie with
Pretzel-Graham Crust
(with Grinch-y Hearts for the Holidays)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 cup finely crushed graham crackers- about  7 crackers
½ cup finely crushed salted pretzels
1 tsp coarse sea salt
2 TBS granulated sugar
6 TBS melted unsalted butter
In a food processor, finely chop the graham crackers and pretzels.  Add sugar and melted butter to combine. Mixture will resemble wet sand.  Makes 48 mini cupcakes.  Use mini cupcake liners in lime green or Grinch green.  Add 1-2 teaspoons of graham-pretzel mixture to each mini cupcake, Press the crust down using the back of a small spoon or the end of a wooden spoon.  Set aside.

(1) 8-ounce softened cream cheese
½ Cup sour cream
¾ Cup key lime juice (If using fresh key limes, consider using a clean garlic press to make quick work of the tiny key limes.  Cut in half and then squeeze with press over a bowl. I use Nellie and Joe’s Famous Key Lime Juice.
(1) 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1 drop of green food coloring (optional)

In a food processor, whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy with no lumps.  Add in sour cream, lime juice and sweetened condensed milk.  Continue to blend well until the mixture is smooth, silky and emulsified.
Pour 1 Tablespoon of the key lime mixture into prepared mini pretzel-graham cupcake holders.
Bake for 10 minutes on the middle rack of a preheated 350 degree oven.  The mini key lime pies will set and be less glossy after the 10 minutes.
Do not brown the top of the cupcakes.

Chill cupcakes well, for a least 4 hours up to overnight.
Top with fresh whipped cream and add a single large red heart candy sprinkle for Grinch-y bites during the holidays.  My large red heart sprinkles came from: Cincinnati Cake and Candy, they offer shipping if you are not local.

Whipped Cream
½ pint heavy whipping cream
3 TBS powdered sugar
(If you really want a margarita-esque pie, add a shot of triple sec to the cream before whipping -optional.)
On low speed of a mixer, whip cream sugar and optional alcohol if using.  After it thickens a bit, mix on medium high until thick if keeps shape.
Fill a piping bag fitted with a decorative tip and decorate each cupcake.

Gingerbread Cake
Karri Perry, Blue Ribbon Kitchen

Preheat oven, middle racks
350 degrees
3 8-inch cake rounds (2 cups of batter each)
2 medium loaf pans (3 cups of batter each)

3 large eggs room temperature
1 cup brown sugar packed
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter-room temperature
1/3 cup molasses
1 cup water

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tsp lemon zest
2 Tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger

4 Tablespoons melted butter
1-2 Tablespoons spiced dark rum—to taste
7-10 heaping Tablespoons confectioner’s sugar –added one at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

Butter Cream Frosting Recipe: for frosting a layer cake
4 sticks of softened unsalted butter
5-7 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt

Whip the butter on high speed with a mixer.  Once butter is light and airy, begin adding the sugar about ½ cup at a time on low speed.  Add the vanilla and the salt and continue to incorporate the sugar until you reach the desired consistency.  TIPS: The key to light frosting that spreads beautifully is to really whip the butter.  Use good butter for best flavor.  If you should happen to add too much confectioner’s sugar and the frosting becomes too thick, thin with a teaspoon or two of heavy cream.

Direction for cake:
Combine the softened butter and sugars and the lemon zest.  Blend well using mixer on medium speed for 1-2 minutes.  Add the oil and mix until smooth.  Add the molasses, and the eggs one at a time, mixing well. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the spices, gently mix together using a fork. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, making sure all the flour is incorporated. Batter will be thick, slowly add the one cup of water, adding about ¼ cup at a time until the batter is smooth and silky.  Stir in the diced crystallized ginger by hand, and scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl, do not over mix batter.

Pour batter evenly into three greased, parchment lined 8 or 9 inch round cake pans, or two decorative loaf pans, generously sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.   Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until set, toothpick will come out with no batter.
If baking the loaf pans, bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out cleanly from the center.
Remove the cakes from the pans onto a wire cooling rack while the cakes are still very warm-(within 5 minutes of removing them from the oven…otherwise the cakes will stick to the pan)  Remove the parchment paper and let cool completely before frosting or glazing the cakes.
It may be helpful to frost between the layers and apply a crumb coat, refrigerate for 20 minutes to help cake firm up and then continue frosting.
Refrigerate cake when finished.  Cake flavor is best if allowed to chill overnight.  Remove from refrigerator 1-2 hours before serving.
For decorations consider using: Trader Joe’s Mini Gingerbread People, Mini gingerbread houses, or gingersnap cookies.

Saucy Rosemary & Bourbon Holiday Appetizer

1 ½ cups ketchup
¾ cup bourbon
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp grated onion
1 tsp rosemary
Pinch of salt

Mix all the ingredients together in a medium saucepan.
Cook slowly, at a low simmer on the stove top, for at least two hours.  Add mini cocktail sausages and meatballs; simmer for 30 minutes more and serve.  Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs.  

NordicWare Pans-Williams-Sonoma
Holiday Spatulas: Williams-Sonoma
Penzey's Spices, Hyde Park Location
Grinch Hearts- Sprinkles- Cincinnati Cake and Candy

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Cherry Cranberry Pie and A Family Tradition

Thanksgiving is one of my favorites holidays.

I was thinking about why that might be... 

(and truly, there are too many reasons 
to count)

Of course, I love having the family
 all in one place...cozy and making memories...

The smells...the house and all those warm, 
beautiful baking smells... Oh, to
walk into a home that is 
cooking a Thanksgiving's glorious.

and I love all the traditions our
 family has carved out over the years...

but most of all..
 ... it might be, 
because of ... 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Baking Classes and More!

Good afternoon friends,

October is almost half-way through!!
 How can this be??  
It won't be too much longer before we
 are celebrating all the great holidays
in November and December.  
If you're local...or plan to be in the 
greater Cincinnati area in the next 6 weeks...  
there are some fun classes to take...  Join the fun!!

I have some exciting events coming up that
 I wanted to share with you. I have a series of baking 
classes on deck.  
The first one is tomorrow... yes!!  
I can hardly believe it's already here...

The first class is 10/11/18 6-8PM and there are just a few seats left.  
The class: Pies...Apple and Pecan...yes, the award winning pies 
and all my best baking tips and tricks. 

 Everything you have every wanted to know...
and everything helpful I can think to tell you!!

This wonderful class is a hands-on class. Students will make
will take home miniature apple pies, 
baked in class, a pie shell made from the award winning
 dough and the ingredients to make your very 
own pecan pie at home.  
Samples of both the apple and pecan
 pies will be shared.

Next month... Pumpkin Cake and More.  We will learn about this two-time best-of-show cake...why its' a perfect dessert for decorating ideas.... including additional autumn treats.  Students will make pumpkin cake cupcakes, frosting and lean easy but high-impact piping techniques.  Additionally, students will create other festive garnishes, including molded candy pumpkins, chocolate turkey designs and creative ways to add a flourish to their holiday tables.  This event is 11/1, 6-8 PM.

For December  12/11, A Yule Log Workshop... Make and Take your very own Yule Log and all of the many amazing add-ons that make this magical dessert come to life: meringue toad stools, chocolate cherry mice, almond pine cones, snowflakes and sugared "berries and "pine". 5:30-8:30 PM.

All of the above classes can be booked via: 
Out of Thyme Kitchen Studio.Out of Thyme Kitchen Studio

What is Out of Thyme Kitchen Studio??  It's genius!!  Chef Jaime Carmody offers a full-service, commercial kitchen and event space located on Montgomery Rd. in Symmes Twp. The studio offers freshly made take-home meals, call-ahead ordering, baked goods, personal chef services, monthly cooking classes and private culinary events.  Special thanks to Chef Jaime and her team for offering my classes this holiday season.

Last...but not least... Eat Drink and Be Merry!!
A Holiday Crafting Party:   12/4/2018 6:30-8:30 PM

Please join us for some HOLIDAY CHEER!  A festive evening is planned for you and your friends.  I will share some of my favorite holiday entertaining ideas, a craft and edible creations.  Enjoy an easy-to-follow chocolate dipping demo, followed by a ‘Make and Take Pretzel Dipping Bar’ complete with cheerful wrappings and ribbons to create delicious ‘homemade’ edible treats.  Create a sweetly-sentimental holiday ornament, “Home for the Holidays” as featured on Hometalk.  Sip a festive adult holiday beverage: the “Santa-Claus-Mopolitan and sample one of my favorite crowd-pleasing appetizers!!  Finally, enjoy an award-winning sample of one of the most requested dessert recipes…Don’t miss this fun night out!  Guests will receive: Make and Take Dipped Pretzels, Crafted Ornament, Recipes, Samples and Bonus Holiday Ideas.  This event is sponsored by the Village of Fairfax Craft Connection.  Ticket Information can be found by visiting: 

Happy Wednesday!!    xo

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Harvest Party...for grown-ups...

I've graduated...

I'm no longer a room-parent...
I've turned in my visitor sticker...
but somehow...this time of the year,
I'm drawn to super-cute treats and snacks!

I'm ready for another school-party... but...

My kids have moved on...

they've passed through
 the grade-school hallways
and have happily
entered into jr. high and high school...

The timing was just right...the kids were ready to move on,
... even if I wasn't.

I still have an outlet for all this super-cute fun!! 
 I have you!! 

--Today on Fox19... it's like a harvest party for grown-ups!!

Pretzel Rods
White Candy Melts
Candy Eyes
Disposable Piping Bag

Pretzel Rods
1/2 of and Oreo or round cookie
6 candy corn pieces
1-pumpkin spiced chocolate chip or yellow candy for beak
Dark Chocolate, and Red Candy Melts
Candy Eyes
Disposable Piping Bag

Round Cookie Mold-Wilton- available-JoAnn's, Michael's
Orange, green and brown candy melts
Oreo Thins

Witch Fingers:-photo coming soon.
Pretzel; Rods
Wilton Finger Mold-JoAnn's
Light and Dark Green Candy Melts
Wilton Pretzel Bags
Spider Ring- Target

Recipe For Harvest Snack Mix:
Harvest Snack Mix:
2 Cups Chex Corn Cereal
2 Cups Rice Chex
2 Cups Chex Honey Nut Cheerios
2 Cups Chex Cinnamon Cereal
2 Cups Bite-Size Pretzel Sticks or Waffle Shapes
2 Cups Bugles
1 Cup Cheeze-It Crackers
1-2 Cups Nuts (I used peanuts, but pecans or mixed nuts would be great too)
***add the next ingredients after snack mix has cooled.
1-2 Cups Dried Cranberries
2 Cups Prepared Caramel Corn
1 Cup Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Candy Corn, Candy Pumpkins

Mix the cereals and snacks together in a very large baking dish.  set aside. (Reserve the dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, candy corn/pumpkins, and caramel corn until after mix has cooled)

On the stove top, heat:
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
Once melted add 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice,  1/4 teaspoon allspice stir.
Let come to a boil.  Stir frequently.

Pour the hot, brown sugar/butter mixture over the cereal/nut/snack mix that is waiting in the baking dish.  Gently coat all the cereal, nuts, pretzels, bugles, and cheese crackers with the sauce.

Bake in a 250 degree oven.  Stirring every 15 minutes for 30-45 minutes.  Let cool.  

Once cool, add the candy corn, candy pumpkins, dried cranberries, caramel corn and pumpkin seeds. Serve.

This is a fun way to display your snack mix at a party...
print the graphic and attach to a clear container.

I'm thirsty from all this party planning!!

Bourbon-Cinnamon Apple Cider Cocktails: 
1/2 gallon of apple cider (8 cups)
2 cups bourbon
2 cups apple schnapps
2 cinnamon sticks
Add together and let chill for 2 hours to overnight.
Just before guests arrive, add 1 two-liter of Ginger Ale (8 cups)
Add apple slices and garnishes
Rim glasses with cinnamon/sugar 
Add ice to a glass and pour.  

1 part apple cider (3 oz)
1 part ginger ale (3 oz)
1 shot bourbon
1 shot apple schnapps
If you care for a stronger cocktail, add additional bourbon to taste.
Pour over ice, garnish and enjoy.

For garnish, slice apples across the middle to get beautiful full circles.  Use a small star cookie cutter to remove apple center/seeds. Place apple slice in glass or on rim.