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Everyone Loves Leftovers: Christmas Cookies

28 Dec

We have some leftovers here, leftover holiday food and holiday food posts too.  My dear friend, A, of the Holiday Party, will be guest posting from time to time.  She has a great recipe for candy cane cookies that are very cute and would probably be a kid-friendly activity.  If you’re still in the holiday spirit you may enjoy making these, or just store this recipe away for next year.  They just might become your classic holiday cookie recipe.

CHRISTMAS Candy Cane COOKIES!

by A

Nothing says Christmas to me quite like Christmas cookies. I love to make them, decorate them, eat them, make them again, eat them again…I could go on forever. But there’s one particular cookie that has always stood out to me as THE symbol that Christmas is here – the Candy Cane Cookie. I remember when I was little and my mom would start making these about a week before Christmas. I was fascinated by them – how did she make these cookies that looked like candy canes, two dough colors all baked together into a candy cane shape? It seemed like magic to me, and I was sure they were Santa’s favorite (he always cleaned his plate when we left them out for him on Christmas Eve).

I now know the secret to these, and they’re actually pretty easy to make. The flavor is delicate, almond-y, almost shortbread-like. They’re not as flashy as the decorated sugar cookies or gingerbread men, no sprinkles or icing or colored sugar. But they’re still my favorite, and I can’t imagine Christmas without them.

Candy Cane Cookies

1/2 c. butter

1/2 c. shortening

1 c. confectioner’s sugar

1 egg

1 ½ tsp. almond extract

1 tsp. vanilla

2 ½ c. flour

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. red food coloring

Mix the butter, shortening, confectioner’s sugar, egg, and almond and vanilla extracts well. Mix the flour and salt in a separate bowl. Blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture. (This will create a very firm dough, so unless you have arms like Serena Williams, you may want to use a stand mixer if you have one. Or you could just incorporate this into your Christmas workout.) Divide the dough, and add red food coloring to one half.

To shape the cookies, grab a small handful of each color of dough and roll each handful between your hands until you have about a 4-inch rope of each color. Press the ropes together and twist, then form into a candy cane shape. Put the cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for 9 minutes. This recipe makes about 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on how big you make them. Enjoy!

Best Ever Almond Cookies

23 Dec

by Green Gourmet L

I am lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing cooks. And being home for the holidays always reminds me of that. Not only does my family enjoy being in the kitchen together, my parents’ friends are some of the best home cooks I know! And being from the South, there is ALWAYS food to share and more than enough to go around.

The hardest part about being a great home cook is sharing your recipe with your friends. I’ve been able to pry a few gems out of unwilling (or unknowing) hands, but I will always give credit where credit is due. With that said, if anyone (hint hint) would like to share their recipe for Brandy Chocolate Cake, Christmas Eve Lobster Bisque, or Sourdough Stuffing with Loads of Fresh Herbs with the Green Gourmets, we would gladly share it with the world!

Because it’s cookie swap season, everyone is looking for that best cookie recipe. Real Talk: You want to outdo your friends this Christmas. You want everyone to rave about your cookie as the best cookie at the party. Me too y’all, and this might just be it. Well, aside from the ginger snaps. This recipe is courtesy of Mrs. Capozzi’s Restaurant in Decatur, GA. It has been tweaked and modified for Green Gourmets.

Chocolate-Dipped Almond Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 lb almond paste
  • 4 egg whites at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 bag of dark chocolate chips
  • slivered almonds

Directions

Preheat oven to 325. Using a mixer, whip egg whites on high until dry (this takes about 5 minutes).  Turn mixer to low and slowly add sugar. Add almond paste to egg whites in small pieces until fully incorporated. Allow dough to chill overnight (or at least 2 hours). Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.

To make the chocolate

Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds and stir. Repeat this process until chocolate is completely melted. Using a spoon, pour chocolate over half of your cookie. Sprinkle slivered almonds over the chocolate and allow to cool completely on parchment paper.

To print this recipe: https://sites.google.com/site/greengourmetsprintablerecipes/almond-cookies. You’ll have the best cookie at that party, I promise- And don’t forget to tell them you read it on Green Gourmets!

Utter Decadence- Grand Marnier Truffles

21 Dec

by Green Gourmet L

I’ve never met a chocolate I didn’t like- milk, white, dark; whatever you have on hand, I will eat. It’s just hard to have alot of rich desserts, especially when you have a buffet or Christmas table full of them. Not to worry, Green Gourmets are here to help! You can have your cake (or chocolate) and eat it too with this decadent recipe. A few of these and your sweet tooth will be satisfied. And guess what, dark chocolate is healthy! Antioxidants are good for you, right?

Grand Marnier (which is an orange liqueur) can be found in single serving bottles at any liquor store.

Grand Marnier

There is another liqueur called Gioia Luisa Orangecello, which is cheaper than Grand Marnier and tastes just as good (especially when used for cooking). The price difference is $5 for small bottle ($38 for 750ml) of  “Grand Ma” vs. $1 for Orangecello ($20 for 750ml). That way, you can get a lot of flavor for a little money. You can even make your own (recipe to come)! Decadent chocolate treats on a budget? Who doesn’t love that?

Grand Marnier Truffles

Makes approximately 15 truffles

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound dark chocolate (I used 1/2 bag of Ghirardelli 60% percent chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 TB orange peel
  • 1 TB orange flavored liqueur (Grand Marnier or Orangecello)
  • 1/3 tp vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Directions

Place chocolate chips into heat-proof mixing bowl. Use a peeler to take the orange peel (but not the white pith) from the outside of an orange. Heat the cream and orange peel in a small pan until just scalded (but not boiling).

Grand Marnier

Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 seconds. Pour cream through sieve (to separate from orange peel) into bowl with chocolate. Whisk together until the chocolate is completely incorporated. If need be, place in microwave for 30 second intervals to melt completely. Whisk in orange liqueur and vanilla. Place in fridge for at least an hour.

Grand Marnier

Once chocolate mixture has cooled, use small ice cream scoop or tablespoon to scoop 1 inch balls. Roll ball in your hands to make it roughly round (this is a messy job, I won’t tell if you lick your fingers afterwards). Then roll in confectioners sugar and serve.

Grand Marnier

If not using immediately, keep in refrigerator until ready to serve, then bring to room temperature. These will keep for a few weeks in the fridge.

Grand Marnier

To print this recipe visit: https://sites.google.com/site/greengourmetsprintablerecipes/grand-marnier-truffles

Enjoy your decadent treat and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

Homemade Holiday Gifts

17 Dec

by Green Gourmet L

Agonizing over what to give your coworkers this year? What about your neighbor or your foodie friends? You can give the same old gift card (yawn) or you can make something quick, easy, and delicious! These homemade treats are nice because they are not too sweet and you can buy in bulk to make enough for all the deserving people on your holiday list.

Ginger Snaps

Crystalized Ginger

These aren’t the crunchy kind of ginger snaps that you buy at the store. These are chewy, moist, and tangy cookies that have become my absolute new favorite Christmas treat. Men LOVE these; trust me on this one ladies. To make a great gift, serve these little goodies with a box of black tea (like Tazo Chai) and your favorite mug.

Ingredients

  • 3/4c butter (12 TB), softened
  • 1c sugar
  • 1/4c molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tp baking soda
  • 2c flour
  • 1/2 tp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tp salt
  • 4 oz crystallized ginger
  • 1/2 cup Turbinado sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 375. Combine butter, sugar, molasses and egg and beat well. Chop up your crystallized ginger and stir it into the mixture. Mix dry ingredients together; add to wet and mix well. Chill for one hour. Form into 1 in balls, roll in turbinado sugar (also called raw sugar) and place onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. To print this recipe, visit: https://sites.google.com/site/greengourmetsprintablerecipes/green-gourmets

Rosemary Roasted Cashews

This is a great savory option to all the sweets that get passed around during the holidays. Even though nuts have a fair amount of fat, this is the good fat which makes them great for snacking. To make it into a gift, bring these in a beautiful serving bowl and leave the bowl. Or for a special man in your life, pair these with a 6-pack of his favorite dark beer. These also work well at a cocktail party, but make extra because they don’t last long.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 pounds cashew nuts
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the nuts on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes until they are warmed through. Meanwhile, sprinkle the chopped rosemary over the butter and melt in the microwave (about 15 seconds) in a large bowl. Combine the cayenne pepper, sugar, and salt in a separate bowl. Toss the warm nuts with the rosemary butter until the nuts are completely coated. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the nuts and stir to coat. Serve warm or let cool and package for gifts. To print this recipe, visit: https://sites.google.com/site/greengourmetsprintablerecipes/green-gourmets-rosemary-cashews

Whole Grain Roasted Garlic Mustard

photograzing.seriouseats.com

Homemade mustard is an unexpected gift, yet one that would get rave reviews. Make sure to include a recipe card with your favorite ideas for how to use it (dip with pretzels, glaze for ham, etc). It is most cost effective to buy your mustard seeds in bulk, you’ll want to make some to save for yourself! Credit is given to Eating Well magazine for this homemade treat.

Makes 8 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups whole yellow mustard seeds
  • 3/4 cup whole brown mustard seeds
  • 2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups water (more if needed)
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 tp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 TB salt

Directions

Combine mustard seeds, vinegar, and water in a large bowl; cover and let stand for at least 6 hours (up to 24 hours). Preheat the oven to 400. Leave the garlic head whole (cloves intact) and slice off the top of the garlic, exposing the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil, and roast until garlic is softened about 45-55 minutes. When garlic has cooled, squeeze half of the cloves into a food processor. Add half of the seed mixture and pulse, scraping the sides as necessary. Add water, one TB at a time, until the mixture resembles grainy mustard. Repeat with the remaining roasted garlic and mustard seed mixture. Transfer to a bowl and add the maple syrup and salt. Package your mustard in airtight containers and refrigerate for a month. To print this recipe, visit: https://sites.google.com/site/greengourmetsprintablerecipes/green-gourmets-homemade-mustard

Tempt your friends and family with these delicious homemade gifts and don’t forget to tell them you read it on Green Gourmets!

Green Gourmet Dip – A Little Holiday Balance

16 Dec

by Green Gourmet K

This time of year you can barely go anywhere without someone offering you a holiday treat.  As much as I love all of the seasonal treats I need a little balance in order to truly enjoy the decadence.   When it came time to plan what to bring to A’s holiday party I knew I wanted to bring vegetables and dip.   I have been on the lookout for a dip recipe that was easy, quick and involved real ingredients (in other words not tearing open a packet of dry powder and adding to sour cream).  I think I finally found it, a great homemade dip recipe.   I altered this recipe from my favorite food magazine, you guessed it, Bon Appetit.  The December issue had a recipe for Green Goddess dip that I adapted to my own tastes and I hope you all like it.  Serve it with a large platter of veggies at your next holiday event and people will be eating their carrot sticks right along with their buche de Noel.

Green Gourmet Dip

1 cup of vegenaise (this is an egg-free mayo and I happen to like the taste of it much better than mayo but you can use real mayonnaise)

1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt

1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon

2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled

salt and pepper, to taste

Blend the vegenaise and the next 6 ingredients in a food processor. A blender will work but it will take a little stopping and stirring in between blending.  Add the avocado and blend.  Taste and determine if you want to add a smidge (technical term) more garlic or vinegar and then season with salt and pepper.  Place in a bowl and serve with a variety of fresh vegetables.

Holiday Cocktails II, Green Gourmets Style

15 Dec

by Green Gourmet L

Happy Holidays everyone! Time for family and parties and presents. And LIQUOR! Sometimes you need a little something to get you through that office party. Or that neighborhood holiday cookie swap. Or just because you said so. The Green Gourmets agree and we are stirring up some delicious holiday cocktails: Puerto Rican Eggnog (Coquito) and Pomegranate Sparklers.

Puerto Rican Eggnog (Coquito)

OK eggnog is gross. Thick. Egg-y. Who decided to mix raw eggs with liquor? I’ve tried many different versions and I never liked it…until now! Many, many years ago, when I was in grad school, a Puerto Rican friend of mine shared a recipe for Coquito. It’s made with cream of coconut, rum, and lots of cinnamon. It will put you in a festive mood without turning your stomach. Trust me, you’ll never go back to your old eggnog again!

Makes 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 egg yolks, beaten (if raw eggs worry you, you can use egg substitute)
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (14 ounce) can cream of coconut
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup white rum
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In the top of a double boiler, combine egg yolks and evaporated milk. Stirring constantly, cook over lightly simmering water until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  2. Transfer mixture to a blender, and add cream of coconut, sweetened condensed milk, rum, water, cloves, cinnamon, and vanilla. Blend for about 30 seconds. Chill at least 2 hours (preferably overnight). Serve in small glasses or mugs.

Pomegranate Sparklers

This light cocktail is the perfect drink for those watching their waistlines this holiday season (or anytime). It has just a bit of pomegranate juice for a festive color and flavor.

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 2 oz vodka (I like to use orange flavored vodka)
  • 2 oz soda
  • splash of Pomegranate juice
  • squeeze of lemon or lime

Fill your glass with ice, mix all ingredients together and enjoy! Happy sipping and don’t forget to tell them you read it on Green Gourmets!

Holiday Party Cocktails, Green Gourmets Style

14 Dec

by Green Gourmet K

Are you in the holiday spirit yet?  How about a holiday cocktail to get you in the mood to celebrate?

There are two things, among many others, that my dear friend A and I have in common; we both love sparkling wines (at any time, for any occasion) and we share an irrational fondness for Bon Appetit magazine (food nerd alert!).  So when we needed some inspiration for what to serve at her holiday party this past weekend we turned to the December Bon Appetit.  One thing that immediately stood out was the recipe for Cranberry Champagne Cocktails.  As usual we changed the recipe a little so I have the original for you and my tweaked version.  A and I also thought  a warm beverage option would be very festive so we went with hot apple cider and spiced rum.  This was an “add your own rum” situation so that made it friendly for those not wanting to imbibe.  I hope you enjoy these recipes.  What are your favorite holiday cocktail recipes?

Cranberry Champagne Cocktail

(original recipe from the December 2010 Bon Appetit)

Makes 8 drinks.

8 tablespoons of Cointreau, chilled

12 teaspoons frozen cranberry juice concentrate, thawed

1 750 ml bottle of Champagne, chilled

8 fresh or frozen cranberries

Place 1 tablespoon Cointreau and 1.5 teaspoons cranberry juice concentrate in each of the 8 Champagne flutes. Top with champagne. Drop 1 cranberry into each cocktail and serve.

Green Gourmet Cranberry Champagne Cocktail

We found the Cointreau a little strong so we lightened up a little on that. We also could not find cranberry juice concentrate and wanted to use some real cranberry juice instead.  We used Cava and a couple other dry sparkling wines instead of Champagne in this recipe.  Real Champagne would be nice, but a perfectly delicious, and far more affordable, sparkling wine will do.

For each drink:

Put 2 teaspoons of Cointreau into your champagne flute, add 3 teaspoons of cranberry juice, top with sparkling wine and a fresh cranberry.

Hot Apple Cider with Spiced Rum

1 gallon apple cider

1 organic orange

12-15 whole cloves

spiced rum

Pierce the orange with the cloves in the pattern of your choosing.  Put the whole orange in your crockpot with the cider.  Turn your crockpot on high and once the cider is piping hot, turn it down to warm.  Place your spiced rum next to the crockpot so that your guests can add their own spirits, or not.