Sunday, December 12, 2010

Spiced Pumpkin And Brown Sugar Granola

Courtesy of O Magazine

I love making my own home-made granola. Makes a nice gift as well.

3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp kosher salt
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup roughly chopped pecans
1 cup pistachios (optional)
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup dried cranberries (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugar, oil vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, cardamom, and salt. Add oats, pecans, and pistachios (if using), and toss to coat. Spread evenly on prepared baking sheet and bake 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Stir in raisins and cranberries (if using), and continue baking until oats are just crisp, about 15 minutes more. Stir one last time, then set aside to cool completely. When hard, break into chunks and store in a an airtight container.

Makes about 5 cups.
Total time: 45 minutes

Orange-Scented Scottish Shortbread With Dark Chocolate

Courtesy of O Magazine

12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
6 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest (from about 1 orange)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. fine salt
1 cup dark chocolate chunks
1 Tbsp. raw, granulated, or turbinado sugar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, and zest by hand or with an electric mixer. Mix in flour and salt, then add chocolate chunks and mix until combined. Dough will be somewhat loose. Using your hands or a pastry ring, shape into an 8-inch circle about 3/4 of an inch thick; transfer to prepared baking sheet. Decoratively crimp edges, if you like. Using a fork, prick dough to mark 8 or 10 even wedges, pressing the tines through to the bottom.

3. Sprinkle with raw sugar, pressing down gently to ensure it sticks. Bake until golden brown around the edges, about 30 minutes.

Cool completely on the sheet.

Serves 8.
Total time: 45 minutes

Butter Toffee Nuts with Sea Salt

Courtesy of O Magazine.

*Use raw, unsalted nuts in this recipe, since they get plenty of toasting in the skillet.
**You can substitute cashews for any nut.

2 cups sugar
6 Tbsp. Butter
1 1/2 cups pecans
1 1/2 cups walnuts
1 cup peanuts
1 cup pine nuts
1 tbsp. flaky sea salt, plus more to taste
2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1. Lightly grease a large sheet tray; set aside.

2. In a large, deep skillet, combine 2/3 cup water, sugar, and butter and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until butter is melted, 3-4 minutes. Add pecans, walnuts, peanuts, and pine nuts and cook, stirring gently and frequently, until sugar mixture dries out and begins to look powdery, 12-15 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until toffee coating is dark golden brown and glossy, about 10 minutes more.

3. Remove skillet from heat and quickly stir in salt and nutmeg. Carefully transfer mixture to prepared sheet tray, spreading evenly. (Be careful-the mixture is very hot!) Sprinkle with more salt and set aside to cool completely.

Makes about 8 cups
Total time: 35 minutes

Friday, December 3, 2010

Make Your Own Eggnog

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg, plus garnish
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, softly whipped liquor (such as brand, bourbon, whiskey, and rum) or liqueurs.

1. In a heavy saucepan, whisk together eggs and sugar until well blended; whisk in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture thickens and reaches 140 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 5 minutes.

2. Strain into a bowl; stir in nutmeg and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

3. When ready to serve, fold in whipped cream. Serve in a punch bowl, sprinkled with nutmeg, and with alcohol on the side; each 1/2 cup serving of eggnog gets about 1/2 ounce alcohol, as desired.

Makes 8 servings.