Breakfast, Brunch, Quick-breads, Sweet

Cranberry Gingerbread

It is that time of the year when all can think about is baking and all I want to do is eat those baked goods by the light of a Christmas tree. Holiday baking to me means decadence, elegance, and comfort; sometimes those qualifications may not go hand-in-hand (elegant shoes are not always comfy!!!)—but this quick bread hits all those notes. When I first saw the recipe on NYtimes, I knew I had to make it, and I was not disappointed. It is warm and cozy from the ginger, gooey from the maple syrup and molasses, and the flecks of bright red cranberries add that particular holiday elegance. This bread is great for gifting or adding to the holiday dessert table.

Ingredients:

2 cups/ fresh frozen cranberries

1 cup granulated sugar

1 stick unsalted butter

⅔ cup dark brown sugar

½ cup whole milk

½ cup maple syrup

¼ cup molasses

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon  baking soda

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

PREPARATION

Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9-inch square or 4 mini loaf pans pan with baking spray.

In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together cranberries, granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Stir the cranberries over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and cranberries form a sauce that is syrupy and bubbling thickly, about 10 minutes. Aim to have about half the cranberries broken down, with the remainder more or less whole.

In a separate saucepan, stir together the butter, brown sugar, milk, maple syrup, and molasses over medium heat. Bring it to just barely a simmer and then remove it from the heat. Do not let it come to a boil, or the mixture may curdle.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, baking soda and black pepper. Beat in the butter-maple syrup mixture and then beat in the eggs.

Scrape the batter into the pan. Drop fat dollops of cranberry sauce onto the surface of the cake batter. Drag a long, slender knife through the batter in a swirly design, as if you are marbling a cake.

Transfer the cake to the oven and bake it until the top is firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

Transfer the pan to a wire baking rack and let the cake cool completely before eating it.

Cookies, Gluten-free

Raspberry-Hazelnut Macaroons (Haselnussmakronen)

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I will not take credit for this awesome recipe.  I read it in Food and Wine magazine and I knew I had to make it.  Granted this is more of a Christmas Cookie, I say yumminess is allowed all year round.  Also, it is snowing outside so I can pretend that it is the holidays !

Enjoy

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/haselnussmakronen

Appetizers

Tarragon Shrimp Appetizers

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Tis the holiday season ! People will come and go and all I can think about is delicious food and baked goods.  I was putting up my christmas decorations and made this treat for myself.  This one bite appetizer is super easy and quick to whip up.  Elegant enough to entertain a crowd or to treat your own tummy on a cold night.  Might I suggest a glass of Pinot Grigio to go with it !

Ingredients:

1 lb of cooked shrimp ( you can use the frozen cocktail shrimp, just take the tails off)

1/2 Tbsp of olive oil

1 cup of finely chopped onions (use the frozen kind if you are in a time crunch)

1/2 Tbsp of finely minced garlic

2 Tbsp of Tomato paste

2 Tbsp of dried Tarragon

salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and a light squeeze of lemon juice– to taste.

Crackers to top with

Method:

In a pan, heat olive oil and saute garlic and onions till soft and fragrant.

Add in the tomato paste and cook for a min till the onions and tomatoes come together.

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Add the shrimp and tarragon and season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and lemon juice.

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Cook for a few minutes till all the ingredients come together.

Take off the heat and cool.

Top crackers with the shrimp and serve warm.

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Should you choose to turn it into a meal, toss the shrimp mixture with freshly cooked pasta and a dash of heavy cream and you have an elegant dinner !

Enjoy !

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Cake

Pumpkin Gingerbread Bundt Cake

This was my contribution to the Thanksgiving table.  A super rich and moist cake, packed with all the lovable flavors of fall.  Bake this cake this holiday season and enjoy the smells in your kitchen–your tastebuds will have fun too!

2 cups (8.5oz) all-purpose flour

2 1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1 cup (8oz) boiling water

3/4 cup (6oz) unsulfured molasses

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1 cup (8oz) unsweetened pumpkin puree

6 TBSP (3oz) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup (5.6oz) dark brown sugar, packed

1 large egg, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350f. (176c.) – grease and flour a 9 inch pan.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Set aside

Add molasses and baking soda to the boiling water, stir to combine, then set
aside to cool.

Cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg,
and beat until lightened.


On low speed, add the pumpkin puree and the cooled molasses mixture. Once
combined, stir in the dry ingredients until just blended – do not over-mix.


Pour batter into your prepared pan and bake on the center rack for 35-40
minutes, or until the top of the cake is firm and springy to the touch and a
tooth pic inserted in the center comes out clean.