Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce

This year I’m really into traditional Irish recipes when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day. I’m sure my kids think I’m terribly boring for not dying anything green and making  rainbow topped cupcakes and what not(Hey, it could still happen). But I’ve been very interested in what foods are truly eaten over in that magical green land and have been making a lot of them lately.
Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce

INGREDIENTS:
FOR THE CAKE:

  • 3 C. Flour
  • 6 oz. Butter, (cold is fine)
  • ¾ C. Sugar
  • 4 large Granny Smith apples(I used golden delicious to great effect)
  • 2 Eggs
  • ⅛ t. Salt
  • ¼ t. Cloves, ground
  • 2 t. Baking Powder
  • ¼ t. Nutmeg, ground
  • ¾ C. Milk
  • 2 T. Sugar(for sprinkling on top of cake)

FOR THE CUSTARD:

  • 6 large Egg Yolks
  • 1½ C. Whole Milk
  • 1½ t. Vanilla
  • 6 T. Sugar
Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce


INSTRUCTIONS:
FOR THE CAKE:

  1. Grease and flour an 8" or 9" round springform pan. Using an 8" pan will give you a taller cake.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cloves and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl. Make sure the bowl is very large to allow room for the apples to be folded in.
  4. Cut the butter into the flour using your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
  5. Add the ¾ C. sugar to the flour mixture and mix in.
  6. Peel the apples and slice them into uniform pieces. This cake works best and gets that 'chunky apple look' if the slices are about ¼" wide and then cut into 3 pieces.
  7. Toss the apples into the flour mixture and combine them thoroughly.
  8. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. Add to the apples and flour and mix in with a large spatula until just combined. Batter will be thick and dough-like.
  9. Transfer the dough into the prepared cake pan and flatten the top surface using the back of your spatula.
  10. Sprinkle the sugar over the top of the cake.
  11. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Test the center for doneness. The top of the cake should be golden brown. Serve slices with custard sauce.

FOR THE CUSTARD SAUCE:

  1. *note that this sauce is not a thick, pudding like sauce. It should have a pour-able, just thickened consistency when done.
  2. Place the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until pale yellow, 2-3 minutes. Place the milk in a medium saucepan and bring just to a boil. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the egg/sugar mixture. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and stir over medium heat until custard thickens, about 4 minutes. Custard should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Mix in the vanilla. Transfer to bowl or serving saucer.
  3. Serve warm or cold over apple cake.

Parmesan Cheddar Basil Bites

Looking for an addictive snack or appetizer?  These Parmesan cheddar basil bites are a real crowd pleaser and so easy to make!  I love that you can use cookie cutters to customize them for any even or party too.  They are even fun to put in kids lunches for a treat.
Parmesan Cheddar Basil Bites

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 5 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 2 ½ cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
Parmesan Cheddar Basil Bites


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Beat Cheddar cheese, butter, half-and-half, and salt at medium speed with a mixer until blended. Gradually add flour, Parmesan cheese, and basil – beating just until combined.
  3. Turn dough onto a well floured surface. Divide into 3 equal portions, and roll to flatten each to ⅛ inch thickness. Cut with star shaped cutter. Place 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
  4. Bake 11 to 14 minutes or until golden; cool on baking sheets on wire racks for 30 minutes.

Cheesy Ground Beef Empanadas

These cheesy ground beef empanadas are full of deliciously seasoned ground beef, loaded with two types of cheese and then baked to perfection. The flaky pie crust that surrounds the meat and cheese is so flaky and golden brown.
Cheesy Ground Beef Empanadas

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 boxes Pillsbury™ Refrigerated Pie Crust
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp Slap Ya Mama® seasoning
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red peppers
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp diced jalapeños
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Cheesy Ground Beef Empanadas


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. In a cast iron pan or large frying pan, add ground beef, chopped onions, minced garlic and cook over medium heat until ground beef is no longer pink. Drain grease and return to pan.
  3. Sprinkle with seasonings, stir. 
  4. Add tomato sauce and jalapeños, stir and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Unroll pie crust on a lightly flour surface. Using a 4 inch bowl, turn bowl upside down and press down to cut dough. Should be able to get 4 pieces per pie crust.
  6. Add a little water to the edges of the dough before filling to help seal.
  7. Add a small amount of shredded cheese and about a 1/4 cup of meat mixture.
  8. Fold dough over and using a fork, close up the edges by pressing to seal and place on a baking sheet.
  9. In a small bowl, whisk egg and one tablespoon of water together. Using a basting brush, brush egg wash over the top of each empanada. 
  10. Bake for 15 minutes or until empanada crust is golden brown.
  11. Carefully remove from oven and enjoy.

Gingerbread Cheesecake

A cheesecake version of a classic holiday cookie! The cinnamon whipped cream is optional---but it really adds a nice touch!
Gingerbread Cheesecake

INGREDIENTS:
Cheesecake:

  • aluminum foil
  • 2 cups gingerbread cookie crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Cinnamon Whipped Cream:

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, or to taste
  • 1 pinch salt
Gingerbread Cheesecake


INSTRUCTONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside of the springform pan 3 to 4 times with aluminum foil.
  2. Mix cookie crumbs and melted butter together until mixture resembles wet sand. Press into the prepared springform pan until bottom is evenly covered.
  3. Combine cream cheese and brown sugar in a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add molasses, lemon juice, vanilla extract, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and salt; mix until well combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating briefly after each addition until just combined. Pour batter over the crust in the pan. Tap the pan on the counter several times to remove any air bubbles.
  4. Place the springform pan into a larger baking pan, and fill the baking pan with 1 inch hot water, making sure no water gets into the cheesecake batter.
  5. Bake in the water bath in the preheated oven until the edges of the cheesecake are set and the middle jiggles slightly, about 1 hour. Turn off the oven without removing the cheesecake, leaving it inside until cooled, 1 to 2 hours.
  6. Remove from the oven and water bath. Run the tip of a table knife around the edges of the springform pan before removing to a serving platter. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours.
  7. Combine whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt for the cinnamon whipped cream in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form; do not overmix.
  8. Top cheesecake with whipped cream just before serving.

Gluten-free Macaroni and Cheese

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s based on ratios, so it’s incredibly easy to adapt based on the amount of people you want to serve. The recipe as printed below is enough for 3 to 4 people, depending on your appetites, but the basic ratio is below it for your math purposes.
Gluten-free Macaroni and Cheese

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 ounces gluten-free pasta (I like Ancient Harvest quinoa-corn blend), in elbows, shells, or other small, bendy shape
  • 1 1/3 cups milk, set out at room temperature for at least 10 minutes (I use 1%)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (your choice, though I usually use a blend)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 2 tbsp gluten-free flour blend
  • garlic powder
  • sriracha or other hot sauce
Gluten-free Macaroni and Cheese


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Set water to boil and prepare pasta as box instructs, cooking until al dente.
  2. Melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan big enough to hold your pasta. When butter is melted, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until it smells really good, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly pour in milk, stirring the whole time. Continue to stir, scraping the bottom of the pan, until bechamel sauce (this is what you just made, aren’t you fancy) has thickened, anywhere from 4 to 8 minutes. Add cheese and stir to melt. Add seasonings to your taste, keeping in mind that you want the sauce to taste a bit stronger than you think you’d like it, since the pasta will dilute it.
  3. Add drained pasta to sauce and stir to combine. Divide into bowls and serve.
  4. OPTIONAL FANCY ADDITION: Spread combined pasta and sauce in a baking dish. Combine gluten-free breadcrumbs and melted butter in a small dish until it resembles sand. Sprinkle this mixture on top of pasta, top with a bit more cheese, and stick under preheated broiler until breadcrumbs are golden and cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes.

LEFTOVER THANKSGIVING CASSEROLE

This easy Thanksgiving casserole is layer upon layer of all your best leftovers – turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, veggies and it’s topped off with mashed potatoes.  Inside the flavors all come together into this luscious leftover creation.
LEFTOVER THANKSGIVING CASSEROLE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise - divided
  • 1/4 cup cranberry sauce
  • 4 cups leftover prepared stuffing - divided
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped leftover cooked turkey - about 1 lb.
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
LEFTOVER THANKSGIVING CASSEROLE


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Spray 8-inch baking dish with no-stick cooking spray.
  2. Place half of the stuffing in the dish and top with all of the turkey.
  3. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup mayo and cranberry sauce; evenly spread over turkey.
  4. In another bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup of mayo, potatoes and cheese; evenly spread on top of cranberry sauce mixture.
  5. Top with remaining stuffing.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until heated through.


Pumpkin Mousse

This lightened up Pumpkin Mousse is gluten and dairy free, and full of pumpkin spices! Perfect for a healthier Thanksgiving or fall dessert!
Pumpkin Mousse

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 3 (13.5oz) cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 packets stevia or 2 tsp sugar
Pumpkin Mousse


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. REFRIGERATE ALL 3 CANS OF COCONUT MILK OVERNIGHT.
  2. CHILL the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk attachment in the fridge (20+min) or freezer (10 min).
  3. Remove 1 can of coconut milk from the fridge, turn it upside down and open the can. Pour out the clear liquid into a container to store in the refrigerator for later (use in smoothies, soups, etc.). Scoop out the cream with a spoon and place in a medium saucepan.
  4. Add the pumpkin, honey, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and salt to the saucepan with the coconut cream. Cook on medium heat until the mixture simmers. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl that has been placed inside an ice-water bath (another bowl with ice and water). Stir the mixture to cool it faster. Let the bowl of pumpkin sit in the ice-water bath while you work on the next step. It's important to keep everything cold so the pumpkin mousse is stiff instead of soupy.
  5. Once the pumpkin mixture has cooled, prepare the coconut whipped cream. Remove the remaining 2 cans of coconut milk from the refrigerator, turn them upside down and open the cans. Pour out the clear liquid into a container to store in the refrigerator for later. Scoop out the cream with a spoon and place in the chilled mixing bowl. Attach the whisk to the stand mixer and whip until stiff peaks form, adding 2 stevia packets to sweeten the whipped coconut cream, if desired.
  6. Gently fold in ⅔ to ¾ of the whipped coconut cream into the pumpkin mixture, being careful not to over-mix.
  7. Fill a pastry bag that has been fitted with a star tip with the pumpkin mixture, and pipe it into 6 to 8 small dessert dishes. Do a little at a time, so you don't warm the mousse too much in the pastry bag with your hands. (You may scoop the mousse into dishes if you don't have a pastry bag.)
  8. Top with a little swirl or dollop of the remaining whipped coconut cream, and a sprinkle of cinnamon, if desired. Chill the pumpkin mousse in the refrigerator for an hour or two before serving. Store in the refrigerator up to 1 week in a container with a lid.

Blood Orange Champagne Mule

We had a lot of fun making and photographing this drink. I love having extra hands around to help get fun shots. It makes my work day a little more exciting. OK, and the newly turned 21-year-old brother Malachi was pretty excited about his 4 o’clock cocktail hour. It’s safe to say that he and Cait greatly enjoyed these. And with good reason, they are honestly so awesome. The blood orange juice is key, as it adds the color and flavor, but if you can’t find them in your grocery store simply use pomegranate juice or even just regular orange juice. After that the rest is simple as can be, just add lime juice, vodka, ginger beer and champagne. All in one glass and all so good. Bring on the New Years Eve fun!
Blood Orange Champagne Mule #happynewyear #nye

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 8 leaves mint
  • juice of 1/2 a medium blood orange
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 2 ounces chilled ginger beer
  • chilled champagne for topping
Blood Orange Champagne Mule #happynewyear #nye

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a glass, combine the blood orange juice, lime juice and vodka.
  2. Add the ginger beer and top with the champagne.
  3. Garnish with blood orange slices and fresh mint. Drink!

Bunny Cut-Up Cake

Have you ever made a cut-up cake? This was something we used to do all the time when I was little. The idea is simple – you start with normally shaped cakes (usually squares or circles), and then cut them up, reassemble them, and create fun designs.
The be-all end-all book we used when I was a kid was Baker’s Coconut Animal Cut-Up Cakes, published in the 1950s. Yeah, that long ago. We had a bunch of photocopied pages (because it was out of print even then) and we’d pick something, and then make it. We used candy and frosting to decorate. I’m sure they looked pretty sad, but we had so much fun. That’s where I learned my basic cake decorating skills.
All of that to say that cut up cakes are a great activity to do with kids. This bunny cut-up cake is made with two 9-inch round cakes. You only need one cake mix to make this guy, which makes him super cheap.
Bunny Cut-Up Cake

INGREDIENTS:
Cake:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 pkg cake mix
  • 1 pkg pudding

Frosting:

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-4 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup margarine or butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Food coloring (opt)
  • Candy, coconut, sprinkles, etc. for decorating (opt)
Bunny Cut-Up Cake


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix together all ingredients for cake. Split in half and place 1/2 in each of two greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  3. Remove cakes from pans. Leave one cake intact, and cut the other using the template below.
  4. Assemble bunny shape using template below. Set cake aside.
  5. In a mixing bowl, whip together shortening and butter. Add vanilla and mix well.
  6. Add powdered sugar in 1 cup amounts until frosting reaches desired consistency.
  7. Use frosting to decorate cake as desired.

Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

Every time I make these wonderful cookies, the spicy aroma takes me back to my childhood. I helped Mom make them and delivered them to neighbors.
Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies #cookies #appetizesrs #christmas

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 packages (3-1/2 ounces each) cook-and-serve butterscotch pudding mix
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies #cookies #appetizesrs #christmas


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Combine the flour, pudding mixes, ginger, baking powder and cinnamon; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with lightly floured cookie cutters. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake at 350° for 6-8 minutes or until firm. Remove to wire racks to cool. Decorate as desired.

Craisins White Cheddar Cheese Ball

Quick and easy gluten free party appetizer. Craisins White Cheddar Cheese Ball made with white cheddar, cream cheese, dried cranberries, parsley, garlic, green onion, rosemary and toasted pecans. Plus you’ll learn a quick trick to soften butter or cream cheese.
This white cheddar cheese ball is so simple and flavorful! Your guests and family will be amazed you made it. A generous amount of fresh parsley and green onions, paired with fresh rosemary and minced garlic is the ideal match for creamy sharp white cheddar cheese.
Craisins White Cheddar Cheese Ball #cheeseball #cheddar #christmas

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 cup Craisins, or dried cranberies
  • ¼ cup green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 ½ cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • ½ teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, optional
Craisins White Cheddar Cheese Ball #cheeseball #cheddar #christmas


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Prepare pecans ahead of time: cook in a pan over medium-high heat, stirring often until slightly browned and fragrant; about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on a plate.
  2. Place all remaining ingredients (except pecans) in a large bowl and stir well until completely mixed. You may need to mix by hand as it will be very thick.
  3. Shape mixture into an even ball, about 4-inches in diameter. Roll ball in chopped pecans to evenly coat outside.
  4. Serve immediately with crackers or bread. Or store covered in fridge 1-2 days until ready to serve.

Christmas Tree Salad

I had no intentions of making this raw chard ribbon salad a “Christmas Tree” Salad. It was just going to be a holiday salad. Until I piled it into my bowl and watched as it formed a peaked tower that resembled a decked out holiday tree.
Complete with shiny red pomegranate “lights” – glossy grape bulbs – twinkly satsuma ornaments – and then, of course, I needed a star on top.
Christmas Tree Salad #salad #christmas

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bunch swiss chard, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp dried cranberries , optional
  • 1 small apple, chopped
  • 3/4 cup red grapes, sliced
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 mandarin oranges, peeled and sliced in half, segments separated
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Dressing:

  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp coriander
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a few pinches of orange zest
  • pinch of cayenne
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Star Topper:

  • 1 slice toast, sliced into a star
Christmas Tree Salad #salad #christmas


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Simply prep all your ingredients and toss them with the dressing/spices in a large bowl. Toss and mix very well since this will help to distribute the flavors and infuse the chard with flavor.
  2. You can serve right away or chill in the fridge for up to 12 hours in advance before serving. Any longer and your chard will begin to get a bit soft. Serve raw and chilled. Top it! For the “star” tree topper, simply toast any slice of bread and using either your knife (free-hand) or a star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out a toast star to top the tree salad.

Christmas Margarita

A festive twist on the classic margarita with cranberry and pomegranate. A recipe for a Christmas Margarita.
This time of year my halls are decked and I am ready to have friends and family over for a Christmas party. Each year we get together and have a yankee swap along with some great apps and desserts but most importantly cocktails! I always try to make a signature cocktail for the evening. Last year I made spiked Wassail. This year I thought why not try to make a Christmas margarita.
I picked up these vintage glasses 2 years ago still in their original packaging. I have no idea why I have never used them before but the Christmas bear is just too cute not to bring out for my Christmas party. Can you believe I got these at a yard sale all 4 for $1. Using vintage cups always is a unique element and a conversation starter at a party. I actually found the same set of four on etsy here.
Christmas Margarita #drinks #cocktail #christmas

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 oz. Lime Juice
  • 1/2 oz triple sec or orange liqueur
  • 2 oz Tequila (I prefer clear)
  • 3 oz. Cranberry Juice
  • 1 oz. Pomegranate Juice
  • Top with frozen cranberries, ice and a sprig of rosemary
Christmas Margarita #drinks #cocktail #christmas


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Add all ingredients to your martini shaker. Tip if you don't have a shaker a mason jar works just fine if you strain the ice. Make sure the covers on tight and shake it! Up, down and all around.
  2. Now pour into a glass over ice and top with frozen cranberries and a sprig of rosemary.

Caramel Gingerbread Cheesecake Dip

It’s hard to believe the holidays are upon us, but here we are!  It is a known fact that I LOVE the holidays and I love creating food revolved around them the most of all.  I may have been shopping for mini gingerbread men for this Caramel Gingerbread Cheesecake Dip in the beginning of October.  So, I had to ask for help finding them in the store and may have received a few strange looks from the employees. While it felt so wrong, it felt so right. I am excited for the holidays and all of the food that goes along with it!
Discovering Finlandia™ Creamy Gourmet Cheese has been a game changer for the holidays.  Once I had my first taste of their Vanilla Bean flavor (made with pure milk and pure vanilla) I was completely sold.  I had to immediately figure out a way to incorporate it into something I could whip up as a holiday treat. Since devouring my Tiramisu Dip in record time a few months back, I knew I had to come up with a dessert dip that incorporates all of the holiday flavors. Caramel Gingerbread Cheesecake Dip is a MUST make for your upcoming gatherings and parties. I might be addicted to it now. Send help. And bigger pants.
Make your holiday parties even sweeter with this easy Caramel Gingerbread Cheesecake Dip recipe that tastes like a creamy cheesecake in dip form with the special touch of gingerbread flavor! The caramel drizzle puts it over the top.
Caramel Gingerbread Cheesecake Dip

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup Finlandia Vanilla Bean Creamy Gourmet Cheese (or just use extra cream cheese)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon caramel sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup heavy cream, very cold
  • Extra caramel sauce for drizzling on top
  • Graham crackers, Nilla wafers, or gingerbread cookies for serving
Caramel Gingerbread Cheesecake Dip

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use hand mixer) beat/whip the cold heavy cream on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Place the whipped cream in a smaller bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put in the freezer.
  3. Return to the bowl of the stand mixer and beat the cream cheese and creamy gourmet cheese until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat to combine.
  4. Mix in the molasses, caramel sauce, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg and beat until completely smooth and no grainy texture remains, 1-2 minutes.
  5. Gently fold in the whipped cream until combined.
  6. Refrigerate dip until ready to serve, transfer to your serving bowl, drizzle with extra caramel sauce, and serve with graham crackers, Nilla wafers, apples or gingerbread cookies. Enjoy!

White Christmas Truffle Cake

This White Christmas Truffle Cake is a beautiful holiday dessert that consists of a fluffy sponge layer and white chocolate truffle. Stunning in its simplicity!
The sponge layer only has three ingredients. Eggs, sugar and flour. It’s a simple sponge that compliments a rich truffle layer very well.
The truffle layer also consists of three ingredients. White chocolate, whipping cream or double cream and mascarpone.
The fat content in both cream and mascarpone is responsible for the ability of this white chocolate truffle layer to set. Using lower fat dairy and chocolate chips will result in the truffle not setting.
White Christmas Truffle Cake #cake #christmas

INGREDIENTS:
For the cake layer:

  • 1/3 cup/65 g sugar
  • 1/3 cup/45 g flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the truffle topping:

  • 12 oz/350 g white chocolate chopped, not chocolate chips (measured by weight)
  • 1 1/4 cups/ 300 g double cream/heavy cream I used 48% fat double cream
  • 9 oz/250 g mascarpone or cream cheese full fat only
White Christmas Truffle Cake #cake #christmas


INSTRUCTIONS:
For the cake layer:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Butter and dust with flour an 8"/20 cm round springform pan.
  2. Beat room temperature eggs, vanilla and sugar in a medium bowl for about 3-5 minutes with an electric mixer until white, foamy and triple in volume.
  3. Fold sifted flour in 3 additions with a spatula, be careful not to deflate the cake batter. If after the addition of the flour the volume goes down significantly, the cake will not rise properly.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-17 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. The baked sponge should have risen to at least double the height of the unbaked batter. Cool on a wire rack.

For the truffle topping:

  1. Bring the heavy cream in a saucepan to a boil. Pour the hot cream over chopped white chocolate and stir with a whisk until the chocolate in melted and completely incorporated into the cream. Let the mixture come to a room temperature. (I chill mine outside for 20-30 minutes.)
  2. Add mascarpone and whip with a hand mixer until smooth. If using cream cheese instead of mascarpone, whip the cheese until light and fluffy before adding cream and chocolate mixture and blending the ingredients together. Do not pre-whip mascarpone or it might separate from over-beating. Mix mascarpone and the cream/chocolate mixture together with a hand blender until combined, approximately 2 minutes. (The consistency of the truffle layer should be similar to thick sour cream.)
  3. Line the sides of a springform pan with parchment paper. Put the sponge layer back in the springform pan.
  4. Pour the truffle mixture on top of the cake in the springform pan and level it with an offset spatula. Chill in the refrigerator for at least for 2 hours or better overnight.
  5. Run a knife along the sides of the cake to release it from the pan, then carefully unmold it and move to a cake stand. Decorate with sugar pearls and greenery.

CRANBERRY PECAN CHEESE BALL

I don’t know about you…but it wouldn’t be a party in my family without a cheese ball.
We are cheese ball people.
I love making cheese balls because they’re kind of like blank canvases…take some cream cheese and combine it with your favorite cheese (white cheddar, blue cheese, Gorgonzola, Gruyere, Swiss) and then add in something a tad sweet (dried cranberries, dried pineapple pieces, dried cherries, flaked coconut) and then something crunchy (toasted pecans, walnuts, pistachios) and you’re done.
Make this in advance and then pop it in the fridge.  When friends and family start to drop by, pull it out and serve it alongside your favorite crackers.
It’s party time when a cheese ball is involved :).
CRANBERRY PECAN CHEESE BALL

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 (8 oz) block white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup toasted pecan pieces
  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
CRANBERRY PECAN CHEESE BALL


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and grated cheddar cheese with an electric mixer until incorporated.
  2. Stir in the garlic powder, cranberries and pecans.
  3. Using your hands, shape the mixture into a ball.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours (up to two days!) before removing and serving alongside crackers.

Holly Jolly Jello Shots

These Holly Jolly Jelly Shots are festive finger food spiked with vodka for a playful holiday party treat.
Holly Jolly Jello Shots #dessert #christmas

INGREDIENTS:

  • 72 small red candies (or 36 if using just one for garnish)
  • 3 packets unflavored gelatin
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 box (3 oz) Jell-O™ cherry
  • 1 box (3 oz) Jell-O™ lime
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla vodka
  • 36 dollops whipped cream (for garnish)
  • 36 mint leaves (for garnish)
Holly Jolly Jello Shots #dessert #christmas


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Lightly coat an 8- or 9-inch square dish with cooking spray, and then using a paper towel, wipe out the dish. It will leave a light residue to help unmold your shots, but it won't affect the taste.
  2. For red layer, sprinkle half of a packet of gelatin over 1/4 cup of water. Allow it to soak in a minute or two. Add one box of the cherry gelatin, along with 1 cup boiling water. Stir until everything has dissolved. Add 3/4 cup of vodka. Repeat the same process to make the green layer.
  3. To make the white layer, sprinkle two packets of gelatin over 1/2 cup of water. Allow it to soak in a minute or two. Pour in 1 cup of boiling water and one 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk. Stir until everything is thoroughly mixed and gelatin is dissolved. You'll have approximately 3 cups of liquid. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. Pour half of the red mixture into the prepared pan. Place pan in refrigerator to set, about 20 minutes or so. Once set, add 1/3 of the white mixture to the top of the red mixture. Pop any air bubbles and return to fridge to set for about 20 minutes. Repeat with half of the green mixture. Then white, then red, then white again, then green. Allow finished pan to set another 2-3 hours, or overnight.
  5. When you're ready to serve, gently pull the edges away from the pan, and invert onto a cutting board. Slice into even squares. (Alternately, you can just cut in the pan itself, but it might be harder to remove the first few squares).
  6. Place on serving platter and top with whipped cream, using a piping bag or can. Top with a small mint leaf and a red candy (or two) to simulate a holly leaf.

White Chocolate Raspberry Loaf Cake

A Simple and Delicious White Chocolate Raspberry Loaf Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting and Fresh Raspberries!
This beauty is a marriage of various different ideas. I always think loaf tin cakes are similar to bundt tins in a way, as they take an age to bake, but are so easy to decorate! This beauty takes an hour to bake in the oven, and it’s not even that big in size!
I used the Tala 2lb loaf tin for this, as I just love it. It’s the perfect tin for loaf cakes, for bread, and even for ice creams! I utterly love it. It’s heavenly. And.. bonus.. it can go in the dishwasher which is always good in my eyes!
White Chocolate Raspberry Loaf Cake

INGREDIENTS:
Cake:

  • 200 g Caster Sugar
  • 200 g Self Raising Flour
  • 200 g Unsalted Butter/Stork
  • 4 Medium Eggs
  • 200 g Raspberries
  • 150 g White Chocolate Chips/Chunks

Decoration:

  • 125 g White Chocolate
  • Raspberries
  • Freeze Dried Raspberries
  • 125 g Unsalted Butter (room temp)
  • 250 g Icing Sugar
  • White Chocolate Chips

White Chocolate Raspberry Loaf Cake

INSTRUCTION:
For the Cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan, and line your 2lb Loaf Tin with parchment paper!
  2. Beat together your Butter and Sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add in your Self Raising Flour and Eggs and beat again till smooth and lovely!
  4. Fold through your Raspberries and White Chocolate!
  5. Pour the mix into the tin, and bake the cake in the oven for 55-65 minutes!
  6. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, and then turn onto a wire rack to cool fully!

For the Decoration:

  1. Melt your White Chocolate until smooth, and leave to cool.
  2. Beat your Butter in a mixer for a few minutes so it's really smooth.
  3. Add in your Icing Sugar and beat again till smooth!
  4. Add in the White Chocolate and beat again.
  5. Ready your piping bag and nozzle, and pipe your Buttercream onto your cake however you fancy!
  6. Add some fresh Raspberries, Freeze Dried Raspberries and White Chocolate Chips and enjoy!

CHRISTMAS DESSERT DIP PLATTER WITH CHOCOLATE WAVY LAY’S

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.#SweetnSaltyHoliday #CollectiveBias
‘Tis the season for parties…. and dips… and desserts… and platters of food!
I flippin’ love it!
I was planning on making a Christmas dessert dip platter for an ugly sweater party I am going to. When thinking of what to dip in them, I remembered about these Chocolate Wavy Lay’s Chips. They would be the perfect tasty vehicle for my dips. Talk about taking it to the next level!
CHRISTMAS DESSERT DIP PLATTER WITH CHOCOLATE WAVY LAY’S #dessert #christmas

INGREDIENTS:
CHRISTMAS COOKIE DOUGH DIP INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 Cups Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • Sprinkles, for garnish

CREAM CHEESE GINGERBREAD DIP INGREDIENTS:

  • ¼ cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • dash nutmeg
  • Sprinkles, for garnish
  • 3 Tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

PEPPERMINT FLUFF DIP INGREDIENTS:

  • 8oz Cream Cheese
  • 1tsp Peppermint Extract
  • 8oz Marshmallow Fluff
  • 1/4 Cup Crushed Candy Canes

FOR DIPPING:

  • Milk Chocolate Wavy Lays
  • Milk Chocolate Wavy Lays Covered with Almond Bits
  • Dark Chocolate Wavy Lays
CHRISTMAS DESSERT DIP PLATTER WITH CHOCOLATE WAVY LAY’S #dessert #christmas


INSTRUCTIONS:
CHRISTMAS COOKIE DOUGH DIP RECIPE:

  1. Add the butter, cream cheese, and sugars to a medium bowl. Cream for 2-3 minutes with a hand mixer.
  2. Add vanilla and salt. Mix another minute.
  3. Add chocolate chips and mix until just combined.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with sprinkles.

CREAM CHEESE GINGERBREAD DIP RECIPE:

  1. Beat the cream cheese 1-2 minutes, until smooth.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until well combined.
  3. Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with sprinkles.

PEPPERMINT FLUFF DIP RECIPE:

  1. Add cream cheese, marshmallow cream, and peppermint extract to a medium bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until well combined.
  2. Add crushed candy canes & red food coloring. Mix until incorporated.
  3. Transfer to serving bowl and top with additional crushed candy canes.

PLATTER ASSEMBLY:

  1. Place all serving bowls on a platter. Place Chocolate Wavy Lay’s in empty space around serving bowls.
  2. Serve immediately. Store leftovers in airtight containers in the fridge.

Hot Chocolate Cheesecake Dip

This easy Hot Chocolate Cheesecake Dip is the perfect no bake dessert to share at holiday parties.  It is full of hot chocolate flavor, is easy to make, and is delicious with cookies and fruit.
With the cooler weather here to stay for a while, we have been drinking lots of this Nutella Hot Chocolate trying to stay warm.  Ok, maybe not to stay warm, but when it’s chilly outside a hot steamy cup just feels right.
Lately I have been mixing up a few cups of hot chocolate for the kids and a cup of Salted Caramel Mocha Latte for me as we sit and enjoy these quiet moments together.  I just love this time of year.
Hot Chocolate Cheesecake Dip #chocolate #cheesecake #dessert #christmas

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup Cool Whip, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon mini marshmallows, for garnish
  • 1 Tablespoon crushed candy cane, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup marshmallow cream
  • 1 - 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup powdered Swiss Miss Dark Sensation hot chocolate mix

Hot Chocolate Cheesecake Dip #chocolate #cheesecake #dessert #christmas

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Beat the cream cheese until creamy.
  2. Add the yogurt, marshmallow cream, and hot chocolate mix and beat again until light and fluffy.
  3. Fold in 1/2 cup Cool Whip gently until completely mixed in.
  4. Top with remaining Cool Whip, mini marshmallows, and crushed candy canes.
  5. Serve with cookies, pretzels, or fruit. Keep refrigerated in a covered container.

Gingerbread Slow Cooker Oatmeal

A thick, creamy, and perfectly-spiced hot breakfast could not be easier than this Gingerbread Slow Cooker Oatmeal! Whether you serve it for Christmas brunch or make a big batch to reheat for busy weekday mornings, Crock Pot oatmeal is a healthy and delicious way to start your day!
This gingerbread oatmeal is full of seasonal spices, but it’s not very sweet. I use a little bit of molasses for color and flavor, but if you like your oatmeal on the sweeter side (who doesn’t, really?!), you should definitely plan to have some warm maple syrup or brown sugar on hand for drizzling.
Gingerbread Slow Cooker Oatmeal #christmas #slowcooker

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups uncooked steel cut oats don’t use quick-cooking or old-fashioned rolled oats because they will get too mushy
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 8 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt or more, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ cup molasses can substitute with maple syrup, but it won’t have that true “gingerbread” taste, plus more for serving
  • Optional toppings: whipped cream chopped toasted pecans, dried cranberries, raisins, Greek yogurt
Gingerbread Slow Cooker Oatmeal #christmas #slowcooker


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Spray the inside of a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and stir well. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 8 hours, stirring occasionally.

Waldorf Salad

You will find this Waldorf Salad loaded with apples, grapes, celery, dried cranberries, walnuts, and vanilla yogurt. It will make for a perfect side dish for your Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
I was never a fan of mayonnaise. So I just never loaded the salad on my plate during the holidays. I LOVED all the other ingredients she tossed in that bowl but the mayo just killed it for me.
I am making some new side dish recipes for the holidays this year. This week, I shared The Best Sweet Potato Casserole with you. Yesterday, I posted our Cheesy Green Bean Casserole. I know both those dishes are going to be great for Thanksgiving dinner.
Waldorf Salad

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup Red Grapes halved
  • 1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
  • 3/4 cup Walnuts
  • 12 oz Vanilla Yogurt
  • 4 Apples cored and diced (I used 2 Granny Smith, 2 Gala)
  • 3 stalks Celery chopped
  • 1 cup Green Grapes halved
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
Waldorf Salad


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Add fresh fruits and celery to large bowl.
  2. Add lemon juice and stir to coat.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  4. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Holly Jolly Christmas Citrus Cocktail

Welcoming in Christmas with this Holly Jolly Christmas Citrus Cocktail. A delicious mix of vodka, St. Germain (elderflower liquor), and fresh squeezed winter citrus juice. All mixed together and topped with bubbly ginger beer and extra festive pomegranates. It’s so simple, refreshing, cheerful, and beyond good. Serve this festive cocktail pitcher style for friends and family this Christmas.
Welcome to the very last Christmas cocktail of the season. It’s crazy to look back at all the cocktails I’ve shared since October (a new one every single Saturday!). But I think my favorites have been the December cocktails. You guys know I love setting the scene and making my recipes look just as good as they taste. But with drinks I love going above and beyond.
I’ve had so much fun being creative and thinking up different cocktails this year. Let’s do a l little recap of some of my favorites…
Holly Jolly Christmas Citrus Cocktail #ghristmas #cocktail

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed clementine or blood orange juice
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1/2 ounce St. Germain (elderflower liquor)
  • pomegranate arils, for topping
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme or mint
  • ginger beer, for topping
Holly Jolly Christmas Citrus Cocktail #ghristmas #cocktail


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Fill a cocktail glass with ice. Add the vodka, elderflower liquor (if using), and clementine juice.
  2. Top with ginger beer.
  3. Add the pomegranates and thyme or mint. Enjoy!

AMAZING FORGOTTEN CHICKEN

I personally, love one dish meals. Anytime I can make a recipe that is both a main course and side dish, it is a winner in my book. A few weeks ago, as I was scrolling through Pinterest, I saw this recipe. All the reviews were great, the recipe was simple to make, and I knew I just had to try it. Since I didn’t have some of the ingredients on hand, I changed it up a bit so I didn’t have to go to the store that day. The end result was amazing and my family devoured it quite quickly! My hubby took the leftovers to work the next day for lunch, so it must have been a winner huh?? This is one of those meals that is perfect at the end of a long day, perfect after church, or to make for a friend/family member!
AMAZING FORGOTTEN CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
  • 2 cups Minute rice (I used brown rice)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 can of water (use one of the soup cans)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
AMAZING FORGOTTEN CHICKEN


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Using the 1 tbsp. butter, butter a 9 x 13 baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, 1 can of water, and Minute rice.
  3. Pour mixture into buttered pan.
  4. Place chicken breasts on top of mixture.
  5. Sprinkle Lipton onion soup evenly on top of chicken breasts.
  6. Cover pan with foil and place in a preheated oven, 350.
  7. Cook for about 1- 1 1/2 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Ginger Molasses Sandwich Cookies with Eggnog Frostings

These ginger molasses sandwich cookies feature two soft and chewy ginger cookies sandwiched together with creamy eggnog buttercream. Filled with holiday cheer and so perfect for your Christmas cookie exchange!
The eggnog frosting is a simple buttercream, only we’re using eggnog instead of milk or cream. The eggnog flavor isn’t over powering, but it cuts the sweetness and adds a delicious nutmeg flavor perfect for Christmas.
Honestly, the combo of soft and chewy ginger cookies with creamy eggnog buttercream makes for the most delicious holiday cookie. If you’re looking for something a little different for your cookie exchange or holiday party, these ginger molasses sandwich cookies are perfect.
Ginger Molasses Sandwich Cookies with Eggnog Frostings

INGREDIENTS:
For the Ginger Molasses Cookies:

  • 2 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour , spooned and leveled
  • 1 large egg yolk , room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 1/3 cup turbinado or granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar , packed
  • 1 large egg , room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter , softened to room temperature

For the Eggnog Buttercream:

  • 2-3 cups icing sugar , sifted
  • 3-4 tablespoons eggnog
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon rum extract ,optional

Ginger Molasses Sandwich Cookies with Eggnog Frostings

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda and salt. Set aside. 
  2. In a separate large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until no lumps remain. Add in the egg, egg yolk, vanilla and molasses and continue beating until well combined. Turn the mixer down to low and slowly beat in the flour mixture until everything is combined. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  3. When ready to bake, take the dough out of the fridge. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  If the dough has been chilling for over 2 hours, allow it to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Form the dough into cookie balls about 1.5 tablespoons in size. I recommend using a cookie scoop for this. Roll in granulated/turbinado sugar. Place the dough balls 2 inches apart on the lined cookie sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes until the tops are just set. Allow to cool on the tray for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to continue cooling. 
  4. While the cookies are cooling, make the eggnog frosting. In a medium bowl beat the butter on medium speed until well softened. Beat in the icing sugar about 1/2 cup at a time until 2 cups have been beaten in. Add in the eggnog 1 tablespoon at a time and optional rum extract. Add in a little extra powdered sugar or eggnog as necessary until the desired sweetness and consistency is reached. The frosting should be smooth enough to spread. 
  5. Then get to work sandwiching the cookies. Frost the bottom of one cookie with about 1 tablespoon frosting, then place a second cookie on top.  You'll end up with about 16-18 sandwiches total. 

TEXAS STYLE LASAGNA

Texas Style Lasagna is a dish you’ll be making repeatedly for family dinners, potlucks, parties…the list goes on and on. This is a filling ...