Christmas is around the corner. I know I’m counting down…yes…4 days of work left until break. Co-workers are coming in with their trays of Christmas cookies to share and we all poke around to see if our favorites are there and leave the lame ones to go stale. We spend hours upon hours creating tons of cookies to share with our friends and loved ones and there are always rejects left behind. What if tradition was thrown out the window and you could make any kind of Christmas cookies you wanted? Leave the plain butter cookies and the raisins and fruit filled cookies behind this year and try out our top ten Christmas cookies. Enjoy…
10. Peanut Butter Oreo Truffles
These are so easy and so tasty. You can through them in your Christmas tin and all of the sudden, these will be all your friends are talking about. You can make them in dark, milk, or white chocolate and can even add coloring to suit your season of choice.
RECIPE: Endless Simmer
9. Coconut Macaroons
My fiance makes bakery-quality macaroons. Seriously – best I ever had. But these take a very close second. Macaroons are not often thought of as a Christmas cookie, but they are too damn good not take a spot on the dessert table after Christmas dinner!
RECIPE: Barefeet in the Kitchen
8. Red Velvet Cookies
Red Velvet is not necessarily a “Christmas Seasonal,” but I think these will easily earn a place in the cookie tin. Especially with that cream cheese filling…
RECIPE: Amy Bites
7. Salted Caramel Clusters
Okay…they are not technically cookies. But they look so easy to make and even easier to eat.
RECIPE: The Small Things Blog
In one of those epic which-ice-cream-to-buy battle of the minds, a friend recently called me an “old man” for wanting to choose pistachio. Is this warranted? I mean, I know it’s not chocolate chip cookie dough, but it’s not rum raisin either. So maybe pistachio isn’t the most cutting-edge of all dessert flavors, but it’s freaking delicious. I was stoked to discover this new recipe from Heather Goldberg and Jenny Engel of Spork Foods, who combine the nuttiest of nuts with lots of wintry spices, yes, a little bit of rum, but yay, no raisins, for what they call Pistachio Chewy Bites. Yes, please.
Mini Pistachio Chewy Bite Rum Bundt Cakes
Yields 12 personal bundt cakes
3/4 cup un-sweetened almond milk plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 3/4 cups organic un-bleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup evaporated cane sugar
1 tablespoon organic black strap molasses
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup rum
1/4 cup neutral tasting oil (Safflower)
1/3 cup finely ground pistachios
3 Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites
1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
2 teaspoons un-sweetened almond milk
This cocktail hails from Mettle, one of my favorite spots here in Austin. I just love a Vesper in the wintertime (and champagne literally any time), so Mettle’s twist on this is something special. They were kind enough to share their recipe with me so I could share it with all of you.
A few words on the drink from bartender and creator, Mike McMillan: ”It’s an ode to the classic Vesper. Also known as the Eversong, which is the sixth of the seven canonical hours, this reminded me of the hour before midnight drawing near.”
.5 oz. NOLET’S Silver Dry Gin
.5 oz. Ketel One Vodka
.25 oz. Kina L’Avion d’Or
Top with Moet Imperial Reserve Cuvee
Shake all ingredients (excluding the Champagne) together in a cocktail shaker, strain into a martini glass. Top up with Cuvee. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Ah yes, Christmastime is here. Christmas music is playing at every department store in the nation, fathers and husbands are crankily rushing around to strings of lights, Christmas trees, and other gadgets that are used for one month out of the year, and yes- – we are all searching for gifts to please those special people in our lives. There are so many things to choose from. But what about for those of us who love food the most? What are you going to get them? A fruit of the month club? Another cookbook that will sit on the shelve to collect dust? NO! How about something that is different/unique but also enjoyable? Well, we’re here to help. Here are our 2014 suggestions:
10. Raaka Chocolate Subscription
Raaka now offers a subscription service that offers two limited edition bars and one of their “classics” sent directly to your doorstep. The limited edition bars are only available through subscription. We were in Bryant Park and got a chance to sample their Pinot Noir Salt and Pink Peppercorn bar which was very tasty. A neat idea for any chocolate lovers out there who also appreciate a twist on some original flavors.
9. The Original Bacon Kit
If you don’t like bacon, you most likely hate America as well. This kit would be fun for ANYONE to try out themselves and pride themselves on serving their own bacon on Sunday morning.
8. Handpresso Auto
You already know how I feel about this product. If you have an espresso lover in your life, I guarantee they will enjoy this. Fresh espresso in your car – what else is there to say? I mean, other than the fact that it also ensures your car will always be smelling like Starbucks!
7. Spiegelau Craft Beer Tasting Kit
Spiegelau is known for their high quality glass and practical designs, enhancing the flavors of the beverage poured into the glass. We’ve already tried the IPA, Stein, and Stout glass, but this kit gives the beer lover a glass to drink each beer they have in their fridge. I’ve been doing some in depth testing of the kit that Spiegelau sent us and I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by the way each glass enhances the aroma, flavor, and sometimes carbonation of the beer. If you know someone who loves beer, invest in two of these kits as a gift – they need to have enough glasses to share with you!
Sierra Nevada concludes their 2014 Harvest series with the Wild Hop IPA. Sierra Nevada went on a journey for the best wild hops around and crafted brews around what they found for these suds. The Neomexicanus “is the literal wild card” of the five bottle package with the hops’ unusual flavors. “Unusual” does not get the cravings going, but that’s why it is the wild card, right? Sierra Nevada introduces the brew with a teaser of melon, apricot, and citrus aromas in the beer coming from the hops. Here’s what we thought:
Appearance: Hazy dark orange
Aroma: Heavy hops and subtle citrus and apricot.
Taste: Hop-forward flavor provide a pleasant bitterness for hopheads. Slight malty sweetness comes through complementing some citrus.
Mouthfeel: Dry finish with light aftertaste that does not linger.
Overall: This is a definite hophead pleaser. The hops begin and finish the beer nicely. First, the aroma hits hard with scents of being in a sweet hop garden. Then, we get some quick sweetness from the malts that are quickly cut by the pleasant hop bitterness of these WILD unusual hops.
ES Rating: 3.75/4 Suds!
I’ve never wanted to take a bath in mashed potatoes more than now.
Still have t-day pumpkin to use up? Check out reluctant entertainer for the recipe.
More food porn champions on Pinterest.
Has anyone else noticed that ginger shows up as an ingredient on every single cocktail list lately? Not that I’m complaining. It adds just the right mixture of sweetness and bite to any drink.
Here’s a perfect fall that I can’t believe I haven’t thought of before — mixing ginger beer up with apple for a spicy-sweet autumn mix (and of course adding a l’il rum).
Apple Ginger Brew