Friday, December 24, 2010

Eggnog Tiramisu Trifle

It's what's for dessert for our Christmas eve.

Just a quick post. If you need a great Christmas dessert, look no farther!What says Christmas more than eggnog? Combine that with espresso dipped lady fingers and some chocolate...oh yeah!
I came across this recipe on  I halved the recipe because I didn't have a big enough bowl for the full recipe. The original recipe has gorgeous chocolate leaves on top, but I went the easy route and just used ground chocolate to top mine. Love the leaf idea, but I got to be realistic at this point...not gonna happen! Besides it will taste just as divine without the chocolate leaves.

Eggnog Tiramisu Trifle
Bon Appétit  | December 2003
1 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon dark rum
4 tablespoons brandy
12 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 8-ounce containers mascarpone cheese
2 cups chilled whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
7 tablespoons Kahlúa or other coffee liqueur
2 6.15-ounce or four 3.5-ounce boxes Champagne biscuits or Boudoirs (about 60 crisp ladyfinger cookies)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, finely ground in processor
Whisk 1 1/3 cups sugar, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup rum, 3 tablespoons brandy, yolks, and nutmeg in metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk constantly until mixture thickens and candy thermometer inserted into mixture registers 140°F for 3 minutes, about 5 minutes total. Remove bowl from over water. Whisk mascarpone, 1 container at a time, into warm custard until blended.
Using electric mixer, beat whipping cream, vanilla, 1 tablespoon brandy, and 1 teaspoon rum in large bowl until cream holds peaks. Fold in mascarpone mixture.
Bring 1 cup water to simmer in small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and espresso powder; stir to dissolve. Mix in liqueur. Submerge 1 biscuit in espresso mixture, turning to coat twice; shake excess liquid back into pan. Place dipped biscuit, sugared side facing out, around bottom side of 14-cup trifle dish, pressing against side of dish (biscuit may break). Repeat with enough biscuits to go around bottom sides of dish once. Dip more biscuits and arrange over bottom of dish to cover.
Spoon 2 cups mascarpone mixture over biscuits; spread to cover. Sprinkle 1/4 cup ground chocolate over, making chocolate visible at sides of dish. Repeat with more biscuits dipped into espresso mixture, mascarpone mixture, and ground chocolate in 2 more layers each. Cover with 1 more layer of dipped biscuits and enough mascarpone mixture to reach top of trifle dish. Sprinkle remaining ground chocolate over, covering completely. Cover and chill overnight.
Gently press stem end of largest chocolate leaves around edge of trifle. Fill center with smaller leaves. (Can be made 8 hours ahead; chill.

I can't wait to dig into this bowl tonight!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

We have a winner...and some really great dinner rolls

 And the cookbook giveaway winner is...(drum roll please...) Melly (Melissa) Congrats Melly!! I hope you enjoy A World of Cake as much as I did.

 And now on to the most delicious dinner rolls ever. They are soft, buttery, little pillows of bread. I feel a bit Homer Simpson like when I think about these rolls. "Mmmm rolls...mmmm... What can't they do?"
If you want a great roll to go along with your Christmas dinner, these are the ones. Don't let the yeast scare away from making these rolls they are quite easy to make. And really, is there anything better than freshly baked bread items? I think not!

Buttery Dinner Rolls
(printable recipe)

1 envelope active dry yeast
1/4 cup very warm water
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup scalding hot milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 1/4 cups of sifted all purpose flour
2 Tbs of melted butter for brushing rolls

Sprinkle the yeast over very warm water in a large bowl. (warm water should feel comfortably warm when dropped on wrist) Stir until yeast dissolves.
Bring the milk to a boil. Add sugar, the 1/4 cup butter, and salt to hot milk and stir until the sugar dissolves and butter is melted. Cool mixture to 105 to 115 degrees.
Add milk mixture to yeast, then mix in egg. Mix in 4 1/4 cups of flour, one cup at a time to form soft dough. (I put mine in my kitchen aid with the dough hook and mixed it together and let it knead for a couple of minutes.) If you make them without a Kitchen-aid mixer than flour your surface with about 1/4 of flour and knead the dough lightly for 5 minutes, working in the flour
Place dough in a warm buttered bowl; roll the dough around the bowl so it gets butter all over. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hrs.
Punch dough down and knead for a couple minutes on a lightly floured surface. Dough will be a little sticky, but use as little flour as possible otherwise the rolls will not be as feathery light as they should be.
Pinch off large golf ball sized pieces of dough and shape into round rolls. Place in neat rows, not quite touching, in a well-buttered 13x9x2 pan. Cover rolls and let rise in warm place until doubled, 30-45min.
Brush tops of rolls generously with melted butter, then bake in a 375′ oven for 18-20minutes or until nicely browned. Serve warm with plenty of butter.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Spinach and Sausage Frittata Bites

These little frittata bites are the perfect addition to your party menu. They are easy to make, can be made in advance, and best of all there's no bread or cracker involved! I don't know about you but when I'm planning to have a party where only hors d oeuvres are served, it seems like almost everything is on a roll or served with a cracker or a chip. That's why I loved this recipe. It's a tasty little morsel and no chip/cracker/bread needed. The other thing I love about this recipe is its so versatile. You can add just about anything you want. The original recipe called for swiss chard in place of the spinach but when I went shopping there was no chard available so I substituted spinach. You could change the type of cheese or meat as well. It makes a great addition to your party menu but would also be great for your Christmas breakfast or brunch. Simply cut the frittata into larger pieces and it can be your a main course.

Spinach and Sausage Frittata Bites
Bon Appétit  | June 2010
by Tori Ritchie (slightly adapted)

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 12-ounce bag baby spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
8 ounces mild Italian sausages, casings removed, sausage broken into 1-inch pieces
8 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 1/2 ounces)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray 8 x 8 x 2-inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add spinach and cook just until wilted. Drain the spinach and chop, then place in kitchen towel and squeeze dry. Set aside.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to skillet and sauté until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add sausage and sauté until brown and cooked through, breaking up with fork, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Whisk eggs, cream, salt, and pepper in large bowl to blend. Add the spinach and cooled sausage mixture, then feta; stir to blend. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish.

Bake frittata until set in center, 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer baking dish to rack and cool frittata 15 to 20 minutes. Place platter atop dish with frittata. Using oven mitts, hold baking dish and platter firmly together and invert frittata onto platter; place another platter atop frittata and invert again so that frittata is right side up. Cut frittata into 20 pieces. 
Can be made 1 day ahead. Place frittata pieces on rimmed baking sheet. Cover and chill. Rewarm in 325°F oven until heated through, about 10 minutes.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rum Cake and a giveaway!

I recently made these mini rum cakes. The recipe came from "A World of Cake" written by Krystina Castella. This is one of the best rum cakes I've every eaten. It's moist and buttery with just the right rummy punch. I was given a copy of A World of Cake to review and GIVEAWAY!
Have I got you attention now??
Read on...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rosemary Spiced Nuts.

 These are the best spiced nuts I've ever made. I've made them for parties for a couple of years now and they are always devoured. I served them for a gathering I had at my house earlier this week, and one of my guests dubbed them crack nuts She swore she was addicted after one hit. Okay maybe they aren't quite that addictive but I dare you to stop with just one handful. These nuts are great for parties or to put them in cello bags tied with ribbons and give them as hostess gifts, either way your recipients will think you're amazing. (just reaffirming what you already know! ha ha) 

I had a hard time finding unsalted nuts the first time I made these so I used salted mixed nuts and left out the salt and they worked just fine. Any nuts will work in this recipe except Brazil nuts, they contain a lot of oil and the spice mixture can't stick to them. I just pick them out and use the regular mixed nuts.

Rosemary Spiced Mixed Nuts 
(printable recipe)
source: Fine Cooking
1 lb. (4 cups) mixed unsalted nuts (if using salted nuts omit adding salt in recipe)
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 Tbs. dark brown sugar
2 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt (omit if using salted nuts)
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Scatter the nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, shaking the sheet a couple of times during baking, until the nuts are nicely toasted, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, set a small heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in the coriander and cumin and toast until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter, brown sugar, rosemary, and cayenne. Return the skillet to low heat and stir until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves, 2 to 2-1/2 minutes. Keep warm.
Put the nuts into a large bowl, pour the warm spiced butter over the nuts, and add the salt (omit salt if using salted nuts. Stir until the nuts are well coated. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Let the nuts cool completely.