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Cover: Founding Flavors

Recipes with Holidays

16Dec 12

A Delicious Stroll Through the Marienplatz Christmas Market in Munich

This year, I embarked on a holiday journey to Germany to experience the tradition of European Christmas markets.  My only expectation was that I’d encounter a healthy overdose of everything related to Christmas, trying all sorts of goodies along the way.  While I made various stops in markets throughout Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich, my favorite was a Christmas market in Munich.  Situated in the heart of Munich, the Christmas market in Marienplatz provided a magical experience with the gothic New Town Hall building serving as the backdrop for an illuminated Christmas tree towering over the market.  Walking through the various booths filled with Christmas trinkets and food stands selling mulled wine known as Glühwein, bratwurst, and a gloriously overwhelming selection of sweets, one easily comes to understand why so many people flock to Germany each year to partake in the holiday celebrations.

While most of my behavior was rather civilized, I had occasional moments when I was unsuccessful at resisting the urge to shove innocent bystanders, as I followed the scent of sugar and spices towards booths filled with sweets.  There were gingerbread cookies decorated with frosting dangling from colorful ribbons.  Then there were pastries filled with apples, plums, marzipan, and poppy seed, as well as Berliners – donuts filled with jelly.   Hidden behind the crowds, there were crepes and hot chocolate.  And, not to be forgotten were the rows of almonds covered in sugar, and Chocolate Kiss’ consisting of chocolate-covered domes filled with a soft, creamy meringue offered in flavors like amaretto and rum raisin.

Regardless of what time of year you visit Germany—and Munich in particular—you are quickly impressed and intimidated by this country’s appreciation for the art of scrumptious and elegantly presented pastries.  But, as you stroll through the streets and markets, looking into various booths and pastry shop window displays, you are left with the sense that the holidays are recognized as the perfect time to showcase all these sweet treasures.

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09Dec 12

Kick-off Your Holiday Party with Eggnog!

If you want a quick and simple way to add a personal touch to your holiday party this year, try making eggnog from scratch.  This recipe makes roughly 6-8 servings.

Enjoy!
Sonia
www.foundingflavors.com

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:
Sugar: ½ cup
Egg yolks: 4
Milk, skim: 1 cup
Milk, whole: 2 cups
Heavy cream: ½ cup
Nutmeg, ground: ¾ teaspoon
Anise star: 1
Cinnamon: ½ teaspoon
Ground cloves: 1/8 teaspoon
Vanilla extract: 1 tablespoon
Rum: ¼ to ½ cup

Instructions:

1.Whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl and then set aside.

2. Place skim milk, whole milk, heavy cream, anise, cinnamon, ground cloves, and ½ teaspoon of the nutmeg in a medium saucepan and turn the stove on to a medium range.  Stir occasionally, as you let the mixture start to simmer.

3. Now, pour a little bit of the heated mixture into the egg and sugar mix and stir for 10-20 seconds.  Then pour this mixture back into the medium saucepan and let the entire mixture simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally and lifting the saucepan from the heat if the mixture starts to froth.

4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and continue to stir for two minutes.

5. Strain the mixture and allow it to cool for 30 minutes.

6. Add the vanilla and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg to the mixture, stir, cover, and refrigerate for an hour.

7. Now add in the rum, stir, and refrigerate overnight.

8. Taste the eggnog before serving to determine if you’d like to stir in a little more alcohol or ground nutmeg.

9. Enjoy.

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02Dec 12

Canela-Apple Cookies

The holidays are my favorite time of year.  Not just because everyone seems to be a little friendlier or because of the endless decorations and music, but because it brings me back home.  Sometimes physically and other times mentally.  This past week it was the latter that brought back memories of my grandmother’s holiday baking.  Growing up, my grandparent’s house was always well stocked with all sorts of goodies but the most coveted treats were her perfectly pressed cinnamon and sugar cookies.  The second she’d place them out, one-by-one we’d suddenly appear in the kitchen, as if by coincidence.  As I started thinking about these cookies, I also remembered several of her other desserts, including apple filled empanadas.  And, that’s how I got inspired to combine a bit of the two and create the Canela-Apple Cookie.   It has an outer cookie layer that resembles the flavors in her cinnamon and sugar cookies, is lined with a touch of homemade caramel, and then filled with spiced baked apples.

Enjoy!
Sonia
www.foundingflavors.com

Ingredients:
Cinnamon and sugar cookies
All-purpose flour: 2 cups
Baking soda: ¼ teaspoon
Butter, unsalted: 6 ounces or 12 tablespoons
Cinnamon: 1 teaspoon
Egg, whisked: 1
Vanilla extract: 1 teaspoon

Homemade caramel
Alcohol of your choice: 1 teaspoon (I used Curacao triple sec but other excellent options include brandy and bourbon.)
Butter, unsalted: 1 ounce or 2 tablespoons
Cream of tartar: 1/8 teaspoon
Heavy cream: 2 tablespoons
Sugar: 1 cup

Spiced apple filling
Alcohol of your choice: 2 tablespoons (I used Curacao triple sec but other excellent options include brandy and bourbon.)
Apples, gala: 2
Cinnamon: 1 teaspoon
Nutmeg: ½ teaspoon
Sugar: ¼ cup

Instructions:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.

2. Combine all of the cookie ingredients in a bowl and mix.

3. Flour your baking surface and roll out the dough into a thin layer.  If the dough starts to stick to the rolling pin, simply place a bit of flour on the surface of the dough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Create your desired shape using a cookie cutter.  Since it is the holidays, I opted for a snowman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Gently lift the cutout using an icing spatula or knife.

6. Place the cookies on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes.

7. Once out of the oven, let the cookies cool.

8. Then, mix sugar and cinnamon on a plate and gently dip the front side of the snowman in the mixture until it is fully coated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Line up the snowmen in pairs because each Canela-Apple Cookie will require two cutouts.

10. Now, you’ll prepare the caramel by placing one cup of sugar in a saucepan over low heat.  Stir occasionally as you allow the sugar to melt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Once the sugar has melted and has a light amber color, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients.  The caramel mixture will bubble up a bit so keep stirring until your left with a caramel that has a smooth consistency.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12.  The caramel will start to harden so you’ll need to work cautiously and quickly as you use a spoon to drizzle caramel onto one snowman for each pair of cookies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. Now, it’s time for the apple filling.  Chop two gala apples into small squares and then combine the spiced apple filling ingredients into a saucepan and cook over medium heat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14. Once apples are tender, use a potato masher to gently break the cooked apples apart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15. Remove the saucepan from the heat.

16.  Use a spoon to place the apple filling over each caramel lined snowman and then gently press the remaining snowmen on top to create a cookie sandwich.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17. At this point, the caramel has hardened, which is why you’ll need to let the cookies sit for at least three hours so that the caramel melts into the apple filling mixture.  If you don’t have time to wait this long, you can skip the homemade caramel altogether and purchase a pre-made caramel spread.

18. Use a decorative platter to serve your cookies and enjoy!

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11Nov 12

Indulge in Pomegranates this Holiday Season!

As the holiday season takes off in full swing, so starts the procession of sweets that inevitably follow us from home to work to various social gatherings.  It is the time of year when a little bite here and a little munch there is permissible because, after all, we do have our New Year’s detox resolutions in place.  I for one will most certainly not skip out on warm cinnamon cookies and peppermint mochas this year.  But, while I’m at it, might I tempt you to indulge in another seasonal flavor that will leave you feeling festive and healthy?

The pomegranate! It is not only equally delicious and nutritious but its deep ruby color makes it the perfect companion to a table centerpiece or garnish for a winter cocktail hour.  And, while you’ll find several pomegranate-related recipes, this year I’m encouraging 100% homemade pomegranate juice.  Not only will you find the combination of sweet and tart refreshing, you’ll also feel the benefits of the additional vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants as you hop from one party to the next.

Here is a step-by-step guide to make pomegranate juice in a relaxing and mess-free environment.  And, the best part is that you only need one ingredient. Pomegranates!

STEP 1:  Purchase 4 large pomegranates.  This will produce roughly 4 cups of pomegranate juice.

STEP 2:  Then, put your favorite music on because what follows will be a 30 to 40 minute exercise in removing the arils or seeds from the pomegranate.  It is a wonderful opportunity to take a break from all the craziness or a perfect activity to do while your catching up with family and friends.

STEP 3:  Once the roughly ten cups of arils have been collected in a bowl, place five cups of the arils in a blender.  (TIP:  While it might be easier to cut the pomegranate in half and use a juicer, this process will create a bitter taste in the juice that comes from the white pulp also being compressed when using a juicer.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP 4:  Press the food processor option on the blender for ten seconds and then repeat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP 5:  Now, strain the liquid in the blender to collect the juice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP 6:  Repeat steps 3-5 with the remaining arils.

STEP 7:  At this point, you can place the juice in a pitcher, refrigerate, and enjoy.

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