I like cranberries. I love their tart pucker-up nature. I love their deep ruby hue. I love their cute little shape. On the other hand, I very much dislike dried cranberries. It seems like they've been so sugared-up that they have not only reduced in size--they have been reduced to a shadow of their natural flavor. What's the point?
So when I was assigned to make cookies with dried cranberries, I wondered...is it possible to make your own dried cranberries? And sweeten them only as much as you'd like? In the name of #whathappenswednesday, I decided to give it a try.
I went to the store and bought a bag of fresh cranberries, and while in line in the grocery store, I started to google "how to dry cranberries".
I liked the simplicity of this recipe best, which called for briefly boiling the cranberries, then draining them and chilling them briefly (apparently, this keeps them from getting mushy). You preheated the oven to 350, then added the cranberries and immediately turned off the heat, and let the cranberries slow cook in the residual heat. I decided to give it a try.
So I heated up some water, and once it boiled, I turned off the heat and added the cranberries.
Once the skins popped, I drained them and patted them dry.
Then, I scattered them on a baking sheet, and let them freeze for an hour or so.
Near the end of the chilling time, I heated the oven to 350 degrees.
I took out the berries from the freezer, and drizzled them with honey, and then for good measure, I drizzled them with olive oil and a pinch of salt, too. I added the berries to the now-heated oven, and immediately turned off the heat.
About five hours later, I checked on them. They were still rather plump, so I made an executive decision and turned the oven back on, to 180 degrees F (the lowest setting my oven has). I let them cook for 2-3 more hours, and at the end of it, they looked like this.
They were shriveled but still with a little plumpness to them. But best of all, they retained the tartness of what I think of as a cranberry's true character. The honey and olive oil softened the edges just enough so that they were perfect for baking.
The cookies turned out splendidly - you can check out the recipe here. I left the recipe open-ended because I figured most people would use dried cranberries, but you can use the DIY kind as I did!
I should mention that the fact that the cranberries weren't over-sweet made them versatile, too, and able to be incorporated into savory dishes without tasting like sugar cubes had been added. I actually used the rest of them to garnish roasted brussels sprouts for dinner, and it tasted perfect.
So yes, you can make your own dried cranberries, and if like me you get annoyed by the bland, over-sweet ones, then I very highly suggest you do it!
Here's how I did it.
DIY Dried Cranberries
Printable recipe here - Yield: a bit over a cup of dried cranberries
- 1 bag (12 ounces or so) fresh cranberries
- about 2 quarts water
- honey, olive oil, and salt, to taste
Pour the water in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil. Once it boils, turn off the heat, and add the berries to the still-hot water. Let them sit until the skins begin to pop.
Strain, and pat the berries dry. Scatter on a baking sheet, and place in the refrigerator for about an hour.
Near the end of your chilling period, preheat the oven to 350.
Once it is preheated, remove the berries from the fridge, and drizzle with honey (I did olive oil and salt, too) to taste. Place in the oven, and turn off the heat. Let the berries sit there for about 5 hours.
If you have an oven light, check them at the 5 hour mark. Chances are, they're a little shriveled but not crazy different looking. This is when I turned the heat back up, to 180 degrees F.
I let the berries bake for about 2-3 more hours on low heat. You can remove them whenever they have reached your desired texture.
Store these berries in an airtight container; they will keep for weeks.
Have you ever made your own dried fruit?
You guys...I freaking LOVE how this post came out. It's about the five stages of creating art.
Personally, I think it's an awfully clever little read that is well worth your time. But especially the illustrations for each step!
So check it out if you'd like, then let me know...does it ring true for you and your creative process? I think it carries over beyond just visual art!
This was a mistake. It was supposed to be scones. But as you can see, this is not scones. It is a cookie-pie topped with three types of chocolate.
Let me explain. I was working on the recipe for chocolate cranberry scones that I published a while back, but on my way, I had some recipes that didn't work out. Well, this recipe didn't work out as scones, but it came out as some non-scone thing that was highly delicious.
Working to try and transform a cookie mix into scones wasn't extremely easy, as it turned out. At first, I started with traditional scone-making methods: working cold butter into the dry mixture, making a well and adding cream, et cetera. Unfortunately, when using a cookie mix instead of flour as the base, these traditional scone-making methods left me with a batter that was too gooey to be shaped into a traditional circle for scones.
So I decided to transfer the mixture to a pie plate, and baked it up.
Ooh. Definitely not scones, but I was intrigued.
I decided to make it even better by adding some chocolate ganache on top.
Then I decided to drizzle it with some white chocolate cream.
And then (why not) I drizzled it with some semisweet chocolate.
It came out like some work of abstract pie art. Oooh, ooh, ooh.
And it tasted AWESOME. Like a wedge of soft chocolate chip cookie studded with cranberries, and saturated in chocolate. I mean, AWESOME.
Since I had made the chocolate sauce more on the liquid side, It really seeped into the cookie mixture, and when sliced, it looked like this.
It would be a great idea to make this recipe, which was a mistake that turned out to be quite serendipitous and delicious.
Cookie-Pie with Three Types of Chocolate
- 1 pouch (13.8 ounces) Phil-em up Cookie Mix by Among Friends Baking Mixes
- 1 stick cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cream
- 1 egg
- pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
To further top:
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
To yet further top:
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the cookie mix and butter. Use a pastry cutter to combine, until the butter is no larger than the size of small peas.
In a separate small bowl (I used my measuring cup), whisk together the cream, egg, salt, and vanilla.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry, and stir to combine.
Transfer the mixture into a pie plate, and bake for 18-25 minutes, or until golden to your liking.
Make the first chocolate topping. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the milk to simmer, then pour over the chocolate. Stir until combined. Pour over the cookie-pie. It will begin to seep into it after a minute. Pour gradually if it doesn't seem to be absorbing quickly.
Make the white chocolate topping, following the same steps as you just did for the dark chocolate. Pour right over the chocolate on the cookie-pie.
Let the pie set in the fridge for several hours. Finish by drizzling with the final topping, the melted chocolate.
Have you ever had a happy accident while baking?
I promise that you've never tasted anything quite like this. Chocolate is slowly infused with olive oil to make a memorable and unique dessert sauce. Use it to top ice cream, as a dip for cookies, or as a topping for a cake. Seriously. There's nothing it can't do.
OMG--customized CakeSpy mugs! An awesome holiday gift. (CakeSpy Etsy)
Can we all agree to have an affogato party this year? (A Beautiful Mess)
Chocolate peanut butter cup pumpkin milkshake. WHAT. (Floating Kitchen)
Ultimate mountain breakfast sandwich. You must see this thing. (Cake n Knife)
Cinnamon white Russian. You must drink this thing. (Feast + West)
Bittersweet chocolate pumpkin tart. Awesome. (Love and Olive Oil)
How to properly hold a knife. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)
Pie weights: what they are, how to use them. (The Kitchn)
Maple syrup marshmallows - no corn syrup! (Dessert for Two)
"Why I bake". I loved reading the comments on this post! (Dorie Greenspan)
Olive oil Boston Cream doughnuts. Yes. (Colavita)
Pecan-pumpkin pizza pie. WHAT. (Baking Steel)
Why buttermilk works in baking: an informative article. (Fine Cooking)
Pecan pie bars on an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie crust. OMG, people. (CakeSpy)
Book of the week: The Dollop Book of Frosting. I was very excited about this cookbook when it first came out, as you may remember from my guest post featuring an excerpt. For no particular reason it had been a while since I'd glanced through, but people, this book is worth your time. If you love frosting and consider cupcakes a vehicle for the sweet stuff, this book is FOR YOU. The author is even more avid a frosting-follower than me, and that is saying a lot!
Coconut haters, just leave now. JUST LEAVE. Likewise with people who don't like peanut butter (WHO ARE YOU).
This pie combines peanut butter and coconut--two flavors that don't come together in dessert often enough. It features a peanut butter coconut cream pie with homemade peanut butter chips. OMG!
Sensitive readers, avert your eyes. Because this #whathappenswednesday focuses on abuse. The abuse of Little Debbie Snack Cakes.
Longtime readers may remember this "Little Debbie Death Match", which poses the question "what happens when you torture Little Debbie cakes to see which one survives the longest?". These snack cakes are run over by cars, boiled in water, and put through other horrifying tests.
New readers, enjoy my twisted brain.
Everyone who tried them loved them. And I'm pretty sure you will, too.
The secret behind their deliciousness? Olive oil, in the dough, filling, glaze, and even used to fry the doughnuts! It makes a crazy delicious difference.
I am pretty proud of this pie, friends. I mean, just look at the thing.
So, let me tell you the story of this pie. Yes?
It actually goes back about 4 years ago, when I was prone to saying "I don't like yogurt", as frequently as someone seemed to be listening. It was a texture thing. It was like...snotty-texture. But then someone introduced me to Greek yogurt. Thick and creamy, I knew that I had found my yogurt match. This was not snotty in texture, and it wasn't wimpy in flavor. I still don't like regular yogurt, but I love Greek yogurt.
More recently, Greek Gods (actually, theirs was the aforementioned first Greek yogurt I ever tasted!) contacted me and asked me if I'd like to come up with a pie recipe for their holiday promotion. I was all like, where do I sign "YES"?
My one condition with being part of this project, though, was that it had to be an indulgent pie. Because while I love Greek yogurt, all on its own, I do not consider it dessert. So I had to add enough other good stuff that it could definitely fall into dessert territory.
Because of the season, I wanted to make a pumpkin pie; because I enjoy sweetness and deliciousness, I decided to make it a pumpkin cream pie, with that earthy gourd augmented with Greek yogurt and sweetened condensed milk. Some spices for flavor, and some eggs for structure, and the filling was set.
But it kind of felt like it still needed something.
The answer was a white chocolate ganache "sauce"--made with a little more cream than usual, and a little less chocolate. This made for an oozy texture which drips slightly when each slice is cut into.
And seriously, what is pumpkin pie without some whipped cream? I finished mine with freshly whipped cream and some toasted pecans. Yes, that works. That works just fine.
People, this pie was an absolute, 100 percent winner. You definitely taste the pumpkin and spice, but there is so much dreamy creaminess that you're like "whoa, this is definitely dessert." The ganache sauce gives it a little special sweet hint, and the whipped cream and toasted pecans offer a pleasing texture and flavor contrast.
I love this pie, so did Olive the pug (see below)and I think you will, too. Thanks, Greek Gods, for sponsoring this post!
Greek gods pumpkin cream pie
For the pie
- 1 unbaked, 9-inch pie crust
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 8 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup Greek Gods Honey Greek Yogurt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
For the white chocolate ganache sauce
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup freshly whipped cream
- ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 45 minutes, plus cooling
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. You can keep your ready to go pie crust in the fridge for the moment.
Make the filling. In a large bowl, combine all of the filling ingredients. Yup, all of them at once. Mix until it has become smooth and lump-free. You can use a stand mixer for this, or stir by hand.
Go ahead and fetch that pie shell. Pour the mixture into your pie shell.
Bake for 15 minutes in the 425 degree oven, then reduce heat to 350, and bake for 40 minutes or until set. If there is some light cracking on top when the pie comes out, this is OK.
Let the pie cool completely to room temperature. Once it is room temperature, you can refrigerate for about an hour. You want the top to be cool when you pour the ganache sauce on top.
Make the ganache sauce. Place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour over the white chocolate. Mix until completely combined. Let the mixture set for about 30 minutes. It will thicken, but it won’t become thick like a ganache. This was purposefully left thinner so that it will ooze a little bit when served. Pour the sauce on top of the finished pie. Refrigerate again until it sets a bit.
Make the whipped cream, and spread gently on top of the pie. Sprinkle the toasted pecans on top.
Keep this pie in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The white chocolate will slightly drip down the sides once served.
Have you ever baked with Greek yogurt?
Momofuku's double birthday cake. WHAT. (Sun Diego Eats)
What happens when you make pie crust with melted butter? (CakeSpy)
A beautiful article about the quest for Dunkin' Donuts crullers. (Boston Globe)
These scones have a secret. (CakeSpy)
Candied orange peel. Perfect. (Glorious Treats)
How to sell on Etsy. Art related. :-) (CakeSpy for Craftsy)
Ever heard of "Happy Marriage Cake" from Iceland? (Laura's Culinary Adventures)
Graham streusel key lime bars. OMG! (Mariah's Pleasing Plates)
Homemade rye bread, anyone? (CakeSpy for Craftsy)
Samoas truffles. (Reasons to Skip the Housework)
Treacle tart. I love saying it, I want to eat it. (The Spiffy Cookie)
Pumpkin pie Pop-Tarts. Yes. (Sugar and Cloth)
Chocolate olive oil. Believe it. (Colavita)
Book of the week: Betty Crocker's Cookbook. My mom had this vintage cookbook and we baked SO much from it growing up. It's got food, yes, but the star is the desserts, including classic, non-fussy cakes, cookies, and pies. I love the cute language in the book, which harkens to a simpler time. It's fairly easy to find a copy of this book on Amazon, etc - I highly suggest you check it out.
I love making bread. I love the tactile nature of kneading. I love the way it makes your house smell while it bakes. I love the way a pat of butter melts right on top of a slice just out of the oven.
Bread is a wholesome, communal food, and I personally think it's very important to have homemade bread at Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, it's often overlooked in favor of homemade stuffing, turkey, and side dishes--people forget about the bread and just buy store bought.
I think this should be changed! You're already spending time in the kitchen making stuff for Thanksgiving - why not spend just a little more time and have some awesome bread?
I knew this was the perfect entry for Blogsgiving Dinner, a fun little online party hosted by Meghan from Cake ‘n Knife and Susannah from Feast + West. There are more than 60 blogs sharing recipes this week! And I'm one of them.
Now, regarding this recipe. I like bread that is on the more moist side, which is difficult, because I also like really whole grain-rich breads, which tend to run on the drier side. But guess what? I've had an epiphany. Add Greek Yogurt to your bread, and it will instantly be more moist.
I had a bunch of Greek yogurt in the house because I was working on a pie recipe that I will post very soon. I over-bought Greek yogurt. . Like, more than I could eat, more than my sweetheart could eat. So I had to get creative. I started putting Greek yogurt in EVERYTHING. In chocolate sauce? In oatmeal? In a bowl of fruit? Yes, yes, yes. And, in my bread.
This is an adaptation of one of my favorite bread recipes ever. It's easy, it's accessible, and you don't even get your hands too dirty.
The Greek yogurt addition was, I'll just say it, brilliant. Not only does it impart a nice level of moisture to the bread, but it also gives it a pleasant tanginess. Like, if I were to taste this bread and you wanted to know what it was, I might guess it was some sourdough variant.
The blue corn and whole wheat flour mixture is my favorite, giving the bread a sort of earthy, wholesome taste that goes perfectly with all of your Thanksgiving fixings. Promise me you'll try this one, ok?
Blue corn honey wheat bread with Greek yogurt
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Yield: 1 large loaf
1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (1 packet)
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup blue corn flour
1/4 cup Greek yogurt (I used Greek Gods honey yogurt)
- Combine the water and yeast. Once the yeast begins to bubble lightly, proceed.
- Mix all of the remaining ingredients with the yeast mixture in the order listed.
- Knead, either by hand with a dough scraper or with a stand mixer, until it has progressed past a shaggy texture to a solid, slightly sticky mass. This can take up to 5 minutes by hand; less when using a mixer. It will never quite take on a smooth elasticity as if you were using all-purpose flour, but it will become smoother. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and let it rise at room temperature until it’s quite puffy and doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
- Gently deflate the dough with your hand (a gentle pressing, not a knockout punch), and shape it into a fat 9″ log (it may still be slightly sticky; I used lightly oiled hands). Place it in a lightly greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. If you'd like, press seeds, nuts, etc, on the top of the loaf.
- Cover the pan, and let the dough rise for 2 hours or even overnight, or until it has formed a crown which extends 1 inch or slightly more over the rim of the pan. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Bake the bread uncovered for 20 minutes. Tent it lightly with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until it is golden brown on top, and when knocked lightly, yields a slightly hollow sound.
- Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out onto a rack to cool. Go ahead, give it a taste if you can’t resist (who can resist warm bread?). When completely cool, wrap in plastic, and store at room temperature.
ABOUT BLOGSGIVING DINNER: The idea is based on an old-fashioned potluck dinner party. Each blogger is bringing one or more dishes to the party, so be sure to stop by each one and get some ideas for your own Thanksgiving meal. We’ll be posting to social media with the hashtag #blogsgivingdinner, but you can see all the whole menu in Part 1 and Part 2 of the recipe round-up.
What kind of bread do you serve at Thanksgiving?
Friends, this #whathappenswednesday is close to my heart, because it was a project that had me overcoming adversity in a romantic comedy, everything-but-the-montage, sort of way.
So, I was assigned to come up with some recipes for Colavita a while back, and I thought "hey, wouldn't an olive oil buttercream be badass?". So I pitched it and they said yes, do it!
Then I started testing recipes, and immediately began to regret my pitch.
Turns out, making olive oil buttercream isn't so easy.
If you just try to make buttercream but with olive oil instead of butter, you get a very pleasant result, but it will never ever become as fluffy as buttercream. It remains a glaze, no matter how much sugar you add.
But I was not willing to abandon my idea for making a fluffy, cake-worthy buttercream with olive oil. So my mind went in a meringue buttercream direction. What about if I made seven minute frosting, but with olive oil added to the sugar and water mixture that is boiled?
It started out promising, but when I added the olive oil the fluffy frosting collapsed. I think it was because the oil retained its heat differently than the water. Bummer!
I tried a second batch of seven minute frosting style buttercream, but this time I froze the olive oil. I figured I could add it in to the hot sugar-water mixture so that it wouldn't make it too hot.
However, once it hit the mixer, it catapulted right back out, and hit me in the eye. Or it would have, if I hadn't been wearing glasses. It was actually kind of hilarious.
But it didn't have the desired effect. The frosting once again turned to goo. Tasty goo, but still.
Finally, I thought to myself, how about keeping it mega simple, and just making a simple, no-cook meringue buttercream?
So I pasteurized my eggs, then separated the whites and yolks (egg whites only for this recipe). I whipped up the egg whites until they held soft peaks, then I added some sugar and vanilla. I whipped until it had firm peaks. It was looking good.
Then, I took the bowl off of the mixer and folded in olive oil. GENTLY. I experimented, and found that 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) was the max that could be added before the buttercream began to fizzle. But that was certainly enough to give the buttercream a rich, delectable flavor!
The only catch is that the buttercream does need to be used immediately. It will fall after a while. However, if you use it right away to frost a cake or cupcakes, it will retain its shape fairly well (as opposed to having to stir it, which will deflate it, and then spread it). But we can work around that, right?
So finally, it was a success!
So what happens when you make buttercream with olive oil? You are in for a wild ride.
OH, and PS. I went through a ton of egg whites making this recipe, so I wrote this post about how to use up four egg yolks. Just in case you want to give this recipe a try--you'll be able to use the whole eggs!
I think you'll enjoy it!
Have you ever made buttercream with olive oil?
Whoa! That post title was a mouthful. So is this recipe. In the best way possible. These bars have all of the joy of pecan pie, oatmeal cookies, and chocolate chip cookies, all rolled into one. Oh, and they just so happen to be gluten-free, and corn syrup-free, too.
Your holiday season is about to get more magical, and here's how: pecan pie bars with an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie crust.
These bars have some good stuff going on. Let me detail some of their selling points?
1. An oatmeal chocolate chip cookie crust, courtesy Among Friends Baking Mixes
(Among Friends = the sponsor of this post). Their "Suzie Q's" is probably my new favorite cookie mix. For one thing, they have no weird ingredients in their mixes, so when I read the side of the box, I was all like "whoa, this is regular baking stuff!". I suppose their tagline, which is "Free of the bad stuff", is spot on in that regard. I also need to tell you that I love this mix because it includes NO RAISINS.
FACT: the world would be a better place if everyone put chocolate chips instead of raisins in oatmeal cookies.
I should note: I am famous for loving gluten, and I am not 100% sure what wizardry removed gluten from this cookie mix, but I did not miss it one moment, and I don't think you will, either.
2. A pecan pie topping that contains NO corn syrup.
Friends, I have done it. I've devised a simple pecan pie-like filling that has all of the gooey, all of the delicious, but none of the corn syrup. It's composed of a mixture of honey, water, and sugar. It comes together in mere minutes, and quite honestly, I don't know if I'll ever go back the corn syrup way, because this just tasted better.
So, we've established that the two key elements of these bars are great, yes? But when the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie crust and pecan pie topping come together in baked matrimony, you've got something extremely special on your hands.
Pecan pie bars with an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie crust
Makes 16 bars - printable version here
For the crust
- 1 package (14.6 ounces) Among Friends "Suzie Q's" cookie mix (oatmeal chocolate chip cookies)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- pinch salt
For the topping
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups chopped toasted pecans
Place a rack in the middle position of your oven, and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Generously grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square pan. Place a sheet of parchment on the bottom of the pan, and grease that too. This will ensure easy release later.
Make the crust. Pour the cookie mix into a large, heatproof bowl. Set to the side for the moment.
In a saucepan, melt the butter. Once melted, pour on top of the cookie mix in the bowl. Add the vanilla and a pinch of salt, too (before mixing).
Mix until the dough comes together into a crumbly mixture which can easily be clumped together, with no dry traces of flour evident. Who would blame you if you took a little taste? These mixes have no egg, and there's none added here, and you know what that means: won't kill you.
Press what's left of your mixture (tee hee) evenly into the bottom of your prepared pan. Place the pan in the preheated oven, and bake for 10 minutes. The goal is not to cook it through, but to par-bake it so it has a superior texture when you bake again with the topping. Leave the oven on.
While the crust cools, prepare the topping. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, honey, sugar, and water. Place over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until the mixture comes to a low boil. Reduce the heat, and allow the mixture to simmer and bubble, continuing to stir frequently, until it begins to thicken. For me, this took about five to seven minutes. What you're looking for is if you lift the spoon, the mixture seems reluctant to drip off. It's not as thick as honey, but it's close to the thickness of a syrup.
Remove the mixture from heat. It may still be bubbling. That's ok. Wait til it stops bubbling, and stir in the vanilla. Right after that, stir in the eggs, whisking constantly as you add them to discourage scrambled eggs from forming in your mixture.
Once combined, add in the pecans. Stir until evenly coated.
Spread the mixture on top of your prepared and cooled crust. Be sure to spread it evenly, so that the pecans are evenly scattered across the surface.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is set (the slightest jiggle in the middle is OK if the sides look totally done and toasty).
Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. These bars are super sticky if you try to cut right away, so do leave them time to cool before serving. To serve, use a very sharp knife to slice, and be sure to clean the knife between slices (once again: sticky!).
If you are what you eat, these babies are rich and sweet...so who could blame you for going one step further and serving with a little ice cream?
Happy holidays and holi-baking!
With the holidays fast approaching, it’s time to start planning for the big day. There are plenty of Christmas guides on how to decorate the house, find the right Christmas lights or find the perfect gift, but there’s very little advice on the best, festive desserts. For some inspiration, here’s a selection of some of the best (and cutest!) cakes inspired by Christmas.
Jamaican port and rum fruitcake
A holiday staple on the Caribbean island of Jamaica, this fruitcake is easy to bake, totally boozy and super moist. Soak the fruits in port and rum for at least 24 hours or as long as two weeks before you add them to the cake mixture. You don’t need any icing. The rich taste is best enjoyed on its own or with a glass of festive rum punch.
Photo licensed via Flickr member Aaron Jacobs
It wouldn’t be Christmas without one of the all-time favorites — a chocolate yule log. This European classic that originates from France was never going to be a secret for long. Rolled-up sponge cake holds a decadent layer of butter-cream filling and is lathered with chocolate frosting. You can lay the finishing festive touch to it with a sprinkling of icing sugar for a snowy effect.
Make this traditional fruit cake using chopped mixed nuts, dried fruits and a touch of ground cinnamon. Always make well in advance, as the cake’s flavor matures over time. Pierce holes all over the cake using a cocktail stick and pour a couple of tablespoons of brandy each week. Keep in a cool, dry place and it should stay fresh for up to four months. It’s so tasty, the chances are it won’t last that long!
A quintessentially English dessert, figgy pudding dates all the way back to the 16thcentury. Still just as popular 400 years later, this pudding will always remain a crowd pleaser. Combine figs, raising and nuts with flower, sugar and lots of butter. The mixture can either be boiled, steamed or fried. Once cooled, top with some hard frosting or sprinkle some brandy with powdered sugar.
Whiskey soaked cake
The ultimate fruit cake usually involves a generous helping of whiskey. Infuse a selection of your favorite dried fruits from apricots to figs and raisins. Glace cherries also work well and be sure to treat the batter with a generous dollop of orange marmalade. Finish the boozy masterpiece by layering over marzipan. You now have a white canvas to decorate as you wish.
Red velvet roulade
This show stopping centerpiece is the ideal alternative to the traditional Christmas dessert. Red velvet cake is wrapped around a cream cheese frosting for a melt in your mouth texture. Finish with white chocolate curls and a sprinkling of edible gold glitter.
Bake some of these sweet treats and you’re guaranteed to impress family and friends this Christmas.