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
1/2 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, salt 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

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