Sausage and Cheddar Waffles

On the weekends I have been known to sometimes whip up pancakes or waffles for the kids instead of our typical dry cereal and bananas.  My husband is a ritualistic cereal eater, but if I’ve gone to the trouble to make something special he’ll be a good sport and eat what I’ve made.

Cheddar and Sausage Waffles | Hottie Biscotti

When I saw this recipe for savory waffles I added what I needed to my grocery list almost immediately and planned to make them the coming weekend.  When I told Ben I was making waffles he was not expecting these to grace his plate.  He was a little bothered by them at first but came around and admitted that he’d gladly eat them again as long as he had a heads up that they would not be a plain waffle.

Cheddar and Sausage Waffles | Hottie Biscotti

I love the idea of a savory waffle topped with sweet syrup.  In fact, I welcome any chance to have maple syrup and bacon or sausage mingle on my breakfast plate.  If you are also someone who “accidentally” finds that your breakfast meat somehow becomes covered in syrup, then you are going to love these waffles.

The recipe comes from Fine Cooking.  The only changes I made were to use regular breakfast sausage instead of the chicken-apple sausage, and a full cup of buttermilk.  I also used fewer green onions.  It calls for 6, but I found 2 to be just fine.  I used a standard waffle iron with great results, but would love to see how these turn out in a Belgian waffle maker.  Maybe I will have to go get one…

Cheddar and Sausage Waffles | Hottie Biscotti

Be careful not to overfill your waffle iron!  This is good advice to heed when making any type of waffle, and I almost always screw up.  I under fill my first couple waffles and then overfill the next ones.  Cleaning that mess up is no fun.  One of these days I’ll learn my lesson, or measure my batter better.

I hope you make and enjoy these!  Also, if you have a Belgian waffle maker let me know your thoughts.  Is it worth having one?  And if so, what brand do you like?  Thanks!

Cheddar and Sausage Waffles | Hottie Biscotti

Sausage and Cheddar Waffles

From Fine Cooking

Makes 2 to 3 waffles

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 6 ounces cooked breakfast sausage, cooked and drained
  • 2 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Maple syrup and butter for serving

Directions

  1. Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl.
  2. In another bowl whisk the buttermilk, milk, and egg together well.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  4. Fold in the cheese, sausage, and scallions, then stir in the butter.
  5. Spray a waffle iron with cooking spray, and cook the waffles according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  6. Serve with butter and maple syrup.

Chocolate Peppermint Squares

There are a lot of foods that hold great memories for me.  I am sure I’ve talked about that before, and maybe that is the case for many of you.  Of course during this time of year, where food is so important, I have the desire to make and eat a lot of those foods.  These peppermint bars are one of my favorite Christmas sweets that my mom makes and I’m happy to share them with you!

Chocolate Peppermint Squares | Hottie Biscotti

These layered brownies pack a punch and are best enjoyed cut into small squares.  The bottom chocolate brownie layer is dense and decadent.  The peppermint layer is sweet and smooth.  The chocolate on top is bittersweet and a perfect contrast to the sweetness.

Chocolate Peppermint Squares | Hottie Biscotti Chocolate Peppermint Squares | Hottie Biscotti

I used to sneak these from the freezer, they are delicious after warming up just enough to be chew-able.  They are also quite good at room temperature, just a little messy.  But licking chocolate off of your fingers isn’t all bad.

There are a few tips that make baking and serving these easier.

  • Line the pan with foil and butter it well.
  • Use an offset spatula to spread the mint and the chocolate layers.
  • Chill the bars well after the mint and chocolate layers.
  • Remove from the freezer and let the bars warm up for about 30 minutes before cutting, if you cut them frozen the chocolate will crack.
  • Use the foil to lift the bars out of the pan and place on a cutting board.  Use a warm knife to cut into squares, wiping it clean after each cut.  At that point either serve or carefully repackage the squares and chill or freeze to serve later.

These are a perfect dessert buffet addition, and they would also make a great addition to a cookie plate along with other cookies.  I hope you try these and enjoy them as much as I do.

Chocolate Peppermint Squares | Hottie Biscotti

Chocolate Peppermint Squares

Ingredients

Brownie Layer

  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Peppermint Layer

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2-2 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Top Chocolate Layer

  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Directions

Brownie Layer

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare an 8-inch pan by lining it with foil and buttering the foil.
  2. Melt chocolate and butter over low heat, then set aside.
  3. Combine eggs and sugar in a large bowl and beat until light in color and fluffy.
  4. Stir in flour, chocolate mixture and nuts.
  5. Spread into the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool for room temperature.

Peppermint Layer

  1. Beat together powdered sugar, butter and milk until smooth.
  2. Mix in peppermint extract and a couple drops of food coloring to achieve the color and shade that you’d like.  My mom always did green or pink.
  3. Spread evenly over the cooled brownies and place in the freezer until set, at least 30 minutes.

Chocolate Layer

  1. Melt chocolate and butter together.  I do this in the microwave.  Chop the chocolate roughly and cut the butter into chunks.  Combine in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 15 second increments, stirring well in between until melted and smooth.
  2. Remove chilled bars and pour the chocolate on top and tilt the pan to spread the chocolate around.  Use an offset spatula to even out the chocolate if needed.
  3. Freeze for at least an hour.

 

Hazelnut, Panko and Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Recently I’ve been in a bit of a rut when it comes to dinner.  When that happens I fall back on old recipes that can feed us for the better half of the week so I can cook less often or I really push for eating dinner out or ordering in.  This chicken dish was just what I needed, a quick a delicious dinner.  It’s simple, doesn’t have a lot of ingredients and is a lot more exciting than your typical crusted, baked chicken.

pankochicken3

The hazelnuts are a really nice surprise here and pair well with the rosemary and parmesan.  Coating the chicken with the mayo and mustard keeps the chicken moist.  Pounding the chicken out thin helps it to bake evenly without getting dry, a problem I often have with baked chicken.

Skinning the hazelnuts is by far the most time consuming (and frustrating! and messy!) part of this meal.  After toasting them for a few minutes in a 375 degree oven, place them in a large, clean dish towel and rub them together, pound them on the counter, etc to get the skins off.  Don’t worry if you don’t get all the skin off of every nut, though.  Your store sells blanched hazelnuts?!  By all means use those!  And send me some!  I am not a fan of skinning hazelnuts, and would love a little shortcut there.

I served this with steamed green beans and mashed sweet potatoes.  It made for a lovely, colorful and tasty plate of food and a meal I’d definitely like to have again.

pankochicken4

Hazelnut, Panko and Parmesan Crusted Chicken

From Fine Cooking

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 3-4 chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 pounds), pounded thin
  • 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1.75 ounces (about 1/3 cup) toasted, skinned hazelnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • cooking spray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then place a wire rack on top and spray with cooking spray.  Set aside.
  2. Heat a small skillet over medium heat.  Melt butter, then add in panko.  Stir and toss until panko begins to toast and become golden.
  3. Combine toasted panko with hazelnuts, parmesan, rosemary, garlic powder, 3/4 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper.
  4. Combine mayo and mustard in a shallow dish.
  5. Coat each chicken breast on both sides with mayo mixture then with panko mixture.
  6. Place on the wire rack and spray lightly with cooking spray.  Cook for 12-15 minutes.

Rosemary and Brown Butter Pecan Blondies

Did anyone else have the post-Thanksgiving blues?  I got home after a week with family and had a rough time adjusting back to normal life.  I wanted to stay in my pajamas and in bed all day.  I scoured the freezer for meals, bought groceries to make pot pies but when it came time to make them I just didn’t want to do it so we ordered pizza, and one night I ate salad straight from the plastic container it came in instead of using a plate.  Keeping it classy, y’all.  I am back from my hiatus and have even cooked a couple of proper meals this week.  Hopefully my post-Christmas blues don’t find me in this same predicament…

Christmas is fast approaching and while my shopping is mostly completed and our tree and lights are up I feel like I have a lot of cooking still to do.  I’m excited to make some of the nostalgic cookies that bring me right back to my childhood, but I always like to try my hand at something new.  So along with some reliable and time-tested recipes, I’ll also share some new ones that would be perfect for the holiday season.

I have a thing for rosemary.  An herb that is lovely in savory dishes but really gets along well with sweet flavors, rosemary is also incredibly easy to grow.  In fact, the rosemary plant I thought was dead and moved to the side yard to die a slow death is doing better than the one I have been caring for on the back porch.  That should give you an idea of my gardening skills.  The blog is already full of sweets that feature rosemary, but that isn’t stopping me from sharing another one with you!

rosemaryblondies

These blondies were a big hit with my husband, who prefers his sweets more on the savory side.  My 4-year-old was not a fan.  My 2-year old ate them up happily, a girl after my own heart.  It has butter and sugar in it?  We are in.

Brown butter and dark brown sugar make these blondies quite rich.  Add pecans and rosemary to the mix and the flavors are all warm and rich.  The cranberries are a welcomed sweet-tart addition that make these blondies more balanced and super delicious.

I went heavy on the salt and rosemary, but realize that not everyone has my taste buds.  Opt for less salt and less rosemary if you’re skeptical.  Then if you think it needs more you can adjust the next time.  I usually say it’s better to have too much than not enough, but that’s not the case with those ingredients.

rosemaryblondies2

 Rosemary and Brown Butter Pecan Blondies

Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons chopped, fresh rosemary
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Directions

  1. Brown butter: Place butter in a small saucepan and heat over low-medium heat until butter begins to sizzle and spit.  Reduce heat to low, watch closely and swirl the pan occasionally just until butter smells nutty.  Pour into a bowl and let cool slightly.
  2. Preheat oven to 325°F and butter a 9×13 pan.
  3. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and rosemary together in a small bowl.
  4. Beat cooled butter and brown sugar together.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
  5. Mix in flour mixture and then the pecans and cranberries.
  6. Spread batter into the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Cool before cutting and serving.

Daring Bakers: Paris-Brest

I was thrilled when I saw this was the challenge for November!  I was less thrilled at my results, but still enjoyed this challenge and can’t wait to try my hand at Paris-Brest another time.

parisbrest1

The November Daring Baker’s challenge took us for a ride! Luisa from Rise of the Sourdough Preacher challenged us to make Paris-Brest, a beautiful pastry celebrating the Paris-Brest bicycle race.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Since things have been pretty crazy for us, as I am sure they have been you any of you celebrating Thanksgiving today, I am keeping this post short.

My most favorite part about this was making the incredible praline and creme mousseline.  I could’ve eaten the caramelized hazelnut and almond butter on just about anything.  A spoon is perfect.  That goes into a pastry cream and then you mix that with butter.  Few things could be better, in my opinion.  But then you pipe that amazing goodness onto pâte à choux rounds and things get super delicious.

parisbrest10 parisbrest9 parisbrest11 parisbrest5 parisbrest4

The pâte à choux didn’t seem to rise very well.  Not sure what I did wrong there.  I also didn’t have enough dough to make the 6 in the size called for in the recipe.  I would make mine smaller next time, and try piping with a larger tip.

parisbrest12

Even though my pâte à choux weren’t great, this was a delicious dessert that would be quite impressive to serve.  I’ll definitely be trying this one again!  Thanks, Luisa!

parisbrest2

Paris-Brest

Pâte à Choux

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons whole milk
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup cold butter
  • ¾ cup plus 4 teaspoons cake flour
  • 3 medium eggs, beaten
  • two handfuls of slivered almonds
  • egg, beaten, for the brushing

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F and sift the flour.
  2.  In a nonstick saucepan pour in the milk, water, sugar and salt. Add the butter in small pieces and put on medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon and bring to a boil. Add the flour in one shot to the boiling liquid. Stir vigorously with a wooden spatula. Cook on the stove on a very low heat for a few minutes, until the dough becomes firm, smooth and homogeneous. The dough must be dry and detach from the bottom of the pan easily.
  3. If you have a stand mixer pour the mixture into its bowl. With the K beater stir the mixture on low speed for a few minutes, until it cools down a little. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well on medium speed. Before adding the next egg make sure that everything is well blended. This way, the air will be incorporated into the dough and when baking it will make puff the Paris Brest which won’t deflate out of the oven.
  4. If you don’t have a stand mixer proceed mixing the eggs directly in the pan where you cooked the dough, after allowing it to cool down. Work the egg with the wooden spatula until all the egg is incorporated before adding the next one. The dough should be smooth, like a thick cream.
  5. Cover the baking sheets with baking paper or a silpat mat. If you use baking paper you can trace some circles of 4¾ -inches (12 cm) to help you out piping the circles. I use a silpat mat that already is specially designed to help out piping, that could be helpful too. To pipe the Paris-Brest use a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch (10 mm) plain nozzle and pipe two circles, the outer one of the diameter of the circle you drew. Pipe a third circle on top, using the star-shaped nozzle. If you don’t have one use a fork to trace some lines on its surface, this will help the choux pastry to rise properly. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with slivered almonds.
  6. Bake in a moderate oven 350°F for about 23-25 minutes, in a static oven. To get rid of any moisture in the oven you can keep the door slightly open. This way the dough will dry out completely during baking. The Paris-Brest should be golden brown, with a uniform color. Let cool completely.

Praline

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup (2 ounces) whole almonds
  • 1/3 cup (2 ounces) whole hazelnuts
  • 6 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water

Directions

  1. Put the sugar into a non-stick pan, over medium heat. Add water and bring to a boil.
  2. When the sugar reaches 250°F/121° C (without thermometer you will need to reach the stage at which the sugar begins to boil and the syrup starts to become more and more dense), add the nuts all at once. Mix well with a wooden spoon to coat all the nuts in the sugar. At this point, the sugar will start to sand, i.e. crystallize again. Continue to stir. The sugar will melt a second time, this time caramelizing.
  3. Once all the nuts caramelize, remove the pan from the heat.
    Pour the entire contents of the pan on a heat-resistant silicone mat or a piece of parchment.
  4. Let cool completely. Break into smaller pieces and grind in a food processor until a thick paste forms.
  5. Set aside or put in an airtight container and store in the fridge.

Creme Mousseline

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoon (45 ml) (2/3 oz) (20 gm) cake flour, sieved
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 3 oz praliné
  • 1 vanilla pod, sliced open length wise

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan bring the milk to a boil with the vanilla pod. Put aside and let cool for about 10 minutes. In a bowl whisk the eggs yolks and sugar until they become white.
  2. Add the flour and whisk until all mixed through.
  3. Mix half of the milk in the egg, until all uniform. Pout into a small pan and put on medium heat. Add the remaining milk.  Cook until the cream thickens, stirring the cream continuously. When thick transfer into a bowl and cover with cling film touching the cream. Chill until cool, an hour or two.
  4. In a bowl mix the softened butter with the praliné. Add to the cooled cream until homogeneous.

Assembly

  1. Fill a piping bag with creme mousseline.
  2. Halve pate a choux and pipe creme mousseline around the bottom layer then cover with the top.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

 

 

Rosemary and Maple Bacon Green Bean Bundles

I offered to bring a few things to Thanksgiving with my in-laws this year, including these rolls, a pie (still undecided on what I’m going to do) and a green bean dish.  I thought about doing these green bean salads, but my sister-in-law is bringing a green salad and I didn’t want to double up.  So I went in search of a green bean dish that wasn’t a rich heavy casserole, even though I love the stuff, but was still special.  These green bean bundles are the perfect compromise.

Rosemary and Maple Bacon Green Bean Bundles | Hottie Biscotti

I wanted something that wasn’t going to occupy too much stove or oven space and wouldn’t take too long.  You can blanch the beans in advance, and partially cook the bacon beforehand, which means a quick 15-20 minutes in the oven is all you need to finish these off.

The original recipe I found here on Williams-Sonoma’s site.  I changed a few things and was amazed at the results.  The bacon becomes almost candied in the butter and maple syrup sauce, so these are a bit decadent but since you’re eating vegetables you’re going to be fine.  It’s Thanksgiving after all.  Nothing wrong with candied bacon on Thanksgiving.

I think these are adorable in their little individual bundles.  It does require more work, but nothing too intense.  With all the other sides you really only need one bundle per person, but make some extra just in case.

Rosemary and Maple Bacon Green Bean Bundles | Hottie Biscotti

With Thanksgiving just a week away I wish you happy and stress free meal planning, traveling, prepping, baking and cooking.  But most of all I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and hope you thoroughly enjoy the day with family and friends!

Rosemary and Maple Bacon Green Bean Bundles

Makes about 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans (6-8 green beans per bundle)
  • 8 strips of thick-cut bacon cut in half crosswise, 16 pieces total
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Directions

  1. Trim and blanch the green beans: Trim the end off of the beans.  Boil a large pot of water and prepare a big bowl of ice water.  Cook the beans for 3-4 minutes until crisp-tender.  Drain, then plunge into the ice water.  Remove from the water and pat dry with towels.  Proceed with the recipe or store beans in the fridge for up to 1 day.
  2. Cook the bacon: Heat a skillet over medium heat and fry the bacon partially, about 1 1/2 minutes per side.  Do not let it get crispy or you won’t be able to wrap the bacon around the beans.  Proceed with the recipe or store the bacon in an airtight container for up to 1 day.
  3. Melt the butter and whisk in the syrup, salt and rosemary.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
  5. Wrap 6-8 green beans in one piece of bacon and lay on the parchment seam side down.  Repeat with all the beans.
  6. Drizzle each bundle lightly with the butter mixture.  You may have some leftover, which you can either drizzle on the beans or toss depending on how much sauce you want.
  7. Bake the bundles for about 15 minutes, until bacon is crisp.  Move to a platter and serve.

Butterscotch Pie with Marshmallow Thyme Meringue and Pretzel Crust

I broke down and bought Joy the Baker’s newest cookbook.  I kept seeing it everywhere and couldn’t resist that pretzel cake on the cover.  That pretzel cake must have still been on my mind while I leafed through the pages because I stopped dead in my tracks at this pie with pretzel crust.  I needed to do some pie research for Thanksgiving, so I gave this a shot.  Strictly for research purposes…

Butterscotch Pie with Thyme Meringue and Pretzel Crust | Hottie Biscotti

The crust is pretty basic, but uses cold buttermilk instead of water.  I had to add a bit more buttermilk than called for in the recipe to get it to stick together easily, but that is the only issue I ran in to with the crust.  It rolls out nicely and bakes up well.  I love the way the pretzels look lining the crust.  It’s really too bad you can’t see it after filling and baking.

Pretzel Crust | Hottie Biscotti

Into the crust goes a butterscotch filling that is rich and creamy and amazing.  When the first step in any recipe is browning butter you can’t be on the wrong track.  After cooking it has to chill for 2 hours, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Butterscotch Filling | Hottie Biscotti

The meringue is surprisingly good.  I was hesitant to add in the thyme, but was very glad I did.  It’s just noticeable enough.  Not overpowering but you still know it’s there, a slight savory note to balance the sweetness.  And the marshmallow does make it very sweet, which I happen to like.  I think it would be especially good on a sweet potato pie.  As we all know, sweet potatoes and marshmallows are meant for each other.

Marshmallow Thyme Meringue | Hottie Biscotti Butterscotch Pie with Thyme Meringue and Pretzel Crust | Hottie Biscotti

After filling and topping, the meringue gets a nice toast in the oven.  I think I under-baked mine just a bit.  I only let it go for about 4 minutes.  It could’ve used just a couple more for color and for the meringue to get a little sturdier.  When sliced the meringue got a little oozy, which makes no difference in taste but makes for a messy presentation.

Butterscotch Pie with Thyme Meringue and Pretzel Crust | Hottie Biscotti

You can serve this immediately after cooking the meringue, or chill it in the fridge.  I had better luck slicing and serving after the pie had time to chill, and my meringue was more cooperative.

Butterscotch Pie with Thyme Meringue and Pretzel Crust | Hottie Biscotti

The pretzels get a little soggy but still have enough crunch to add some nice texture to the pie.  I love the idea and the look of the pretzels, but this would still be a delicious pie without them.

I am really looking forward to trying more recipes from this cookbook!  Go grab a copy, it’s so much fun to look through and drool over.

Butterscotch Pie with Thyme Meringue and Pretzel Crust

From Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson

Pretzel Crust

Makes 2 crusts

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold buttermilk
  • small twisted pretzels (20-34 depending on size)

Directions

  1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl and whisk together.
  2. Add in butter and work in using either clean hands or a pastry blender.  When butter is broken down into pieces roughly the size of oat flakes with some large pieces make a well in the center and add in the buttermilk.  Mix together using a wooden spoon until dough kind of holds together, but is still loose.
  3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, knead into a disc, cut the disc in half and form each into a round.  Wrap each in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour.  (You only use one of these rounds for this pie, so use or freeze the other.)
  4. Flour a work surface and roll one of the rounds into a circle about 12 inches in diameter.  Move to a 9-inch pie plate, press gently into the plate and trim the edges and fold or crimp the edges.
  5. Arrange the pretzels on the bottom and up the sides of the pie crust, pressing them slightly into the dough.  Chill for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Spray a piece of foil with cooking spray and press gently into the pie plate.  Fill the foil with beans, rice or pie weights.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Bake crust for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and weights and bake for another 5-7 minutes, until it begins to brown.  Cool completely before filling.

Butterscotch Filling

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 egg yolks (whites reserved for meringue)
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions

  1. Brown the butter in a small saucepan by heating it over medium heat.  Cook, watching it carefully and swirling the pan frequently until butter begins to brown and smell nutty. Remove from the heat immediately so it doesn’t burn.  Let cool.
  2. In a medium saucepan combine egg yolks, molasses, brown sugar, cornstarch and salt and whisk.  Heat over medium and whisk in the milk.  Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking constantly until mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency.  Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl.  Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the custard and chill for at least 2 hours.

Thyme Meringue

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 jar marshmallow cream (7 ounces)
  • 4 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

  1. Combine the sugar and thyme in a small bowl and use your fingers to rub the thyme into the sugar.
  2. Scrape marshmallow into a large bowl and whisk (at least try to, this stuff is sticky!)
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment whisk egg whites on medium speed until they begin to froth.  Add the salt, then add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time while increasing the speed of the mixer gradually to medium high.  Beat until stiff peaks form and the meringue is glossy.
  4. Fold half of the egg whites into the marshmallow to lighten it, then fold in the rest of the egg whites in 3 batches.

Assemble and Bake

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and move oven rack to the middle or top third depending on your oven size.  You want the pie near the top to brown the meringue.
  2. Spoon custard into pie crust and smooth the top.
  3. Top with the meringue and spread just to the edges without covering the crust.
  4. Bake for 4-7 minutes, until meringue has browned to your liking.
  5. Serve immediately or chill for an hour.

Haricots Vert Salad with Blue Cheese, Pecans and Cranberries

There is a special place in my heart for creamy green bean casserole.  The kind with the canned crunchy fried onions, and the canned cream of mushroom soup.  You know what I’m talking about, and if you don’t you should try it at least once.  But sometimes that Thanksgiving meal can be a little heavy on the creamy casseroles and you want (and likely need) something light and refreshing in the mix to balance things out.  This salad is a delicious way to provide some balance in your meal while still keeping is special.

Haricots Verts Salad with Blue Cheese, Pecans and Cranberries | Hottie Biscotti

Something about the combination of warm toasted pecans, tangy sweet cranberries and robust blue cheese just sings of the season we’re entering.  The weather is cooler and richer flavors are in order.  Although, I’d eat this salad in the summertime with no problem.

Haricots Verts Salad with Blue Cheese, Pecans and Cranberries | Hottie Biscotti

You can serve these as lovely first course salads on individual salad plates, or arrange them on a large platter and allow guests to serve themselves.  The bibb lettuce leaves hold up well, so there’s little need to worry about them tearing, unless they’ve been sitting too long so don’t prepare them all the way too far in advance.  If you’re really needing this to be a quick and painless salad you can tear up a bunch of bibb lettuce, toss in the dressed beans, cranberries, blue cheese and pecans and serve this as a large serve-yourself salad.  You might want to double the dressing if you plan to serve it that way, though.

Haricots Verts Salad with Blue Cheese, Pecans and Cranberries | Hottie Biscotti

You can cook the beans up to 2 days ahead and keep them in the fridge.  The beans also hold up well in the fridge after being dressed, so you can prepare them up to that point hours ahead of time, but not longer than a day.  Mix in the cranberries, but not the blue cheese or pecans, they’ll get soggy if they sit too long.  Sprinkle on the blue cheese and pecans right before serving.

I tend to under-dress salads when serving them to a group.  I hesitated to add all the dressing to the beans, but it was the perfect amount.  There’s just enough that drips off onto the lettuce.

Haricots Verts Salad with Blue Cheese, Pecans and Cranberries | Hottie Biscotti

Haricots Verts Salad with Blue Cheese, Pecans and Cranberries

From Fine Cooking

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound haricots verts (french green beans) cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 6 large bibb lettuce leaves, washed and dried

Directions

  1. Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil and prepare a large bowl of ice water.  Add the beans and cook until crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes.  Drain the beans, then plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking.  Drain again, pat dry and move to a bowl.  If making ahead, place beans in an airtight container and put them in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  2. Prepare the dressing by whisking together the vinegar, mustard and olive oil.  Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Toss beans and cranberries in the dressing to coat evenly.  You can refrigerate the beans at this point for up to 1 day.
  4. To serve: divide beans evenly among the lettuce leaves and sprinkle each with pecans and blue cheese.

Carrots in Pistachio Herb Butter

I whipped this butter up a month ago and after making a batch of these carrots I stashed it in the freezer.  Today I made another batch to serve 2 people, and next week I could use what remains of the butter to serve at least 8.  After making the butter all you have to do it cook the carrots, in small or large batches.  This is a terrific semi-make-ahead side dish.

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The herb butter can be made well in advance which, if you’re a good planner, makes this a super simple side dish to serve at a holiday meal or on a busy weeknight.  I stored mine in the freezer for over a month and it was still great.

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In addition to making the butter ahead you can prep the carrots up to two days in advance and store them in the fridge.  That makes finishing these a breeze, taking no more than 15 minutes.

I personally loved the flavors, but my husband wasn’t crazy about the combination of herbs and pistachio.  I’m still going to recommend this dish, though.  I found the flavors to be a nice change from the typical flavors in cooked carrots.  There is a slight bit of heat thanks to the hot sauce.  The crunch of the chopped pistachios on top is really nice and adds great texture contrast.  The herbs brighten things up, instead of weighing them down like brown sugar and butter do.

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After cooking the carrots you drain the water, reserving some of it, and return the carrots to the pot.  Then you add in your desired amount of butter and some of the water to make a sauce.  The original recipe uses all of the butter for 3 pounds of carrots, but I used less and it was fine.  Add less than you think you need, stir with a little water (less is more here as well) taste and add more butter if you desire.  You may also want to season with salt.  Once in their serving dish sprinkle with the reserved pistachios.

Carrots in Pistachio Herb Butter

From Fine Cooking

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup salted, roasted, shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 ounce finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 4 to 6 drops Sriracha
  • Kosher salt
  • Carrots, peeled and cut into pieces about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide (1 pound serves 2-4. 3 pounds serves 6-10)

Directions

Make the Butter

  1. Coarsely chop the pistachios in a food processor. Set aside half of the nuts. Pulse the remaining nuts until they are very fine but not pasty.
  2. Add the parsley and mint, and pulse again until the herbs are finely chopped.
  3. Add the butter, cheese, zest, hot sauce, and 1 tsp. salt; pulse until well blended.
  4. If working ahead, scrape the butter onto plastic wrap, shape into a log, wrap, wrap in foil or parchment and freeze.  Seal the reserved pistachios in a small zip-top freezer bag or other airtight container and freeze.

Make the Carrots

  1. Put the carrots in a pot, add enough water to just cover them, and add a pinch of salt.
  2. Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 4-5 minutes until desired tenderness.
  3. Drain carrots, reserving 1/4 cup of the water.  Return to the pot and add butter (a chunk at a time adding a little water as you stir) until carrots are coated to your liking. Taste and season with salt if needed.
  4. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with reserved pistachios.

 

Fleur de Sel Caramel and Cream Cheese Apple Galette

We are well into November, which means it’s time to start thinking about your Thanksgiving meal.  Not Christmas yet though, despite the fact that almost every retail store I’ve been to has their trees up already.  Straight from Halloween to Christmas!  It’s crazy.  But Thanksgiving is just a little over 2 weeks away so let’s talk food.  I’ll share a few recipes over the next couple of weeks.

FLEUR DE SEL CARAMEL AND CREAM CHEESE APPLE GALETTE | Hottie Biscotti

The more I cook the more recipes I have stored up either here on the blog or in a ridiculous collection of books and binders that I can turn to.  I come from a family of 4 girls, all of whom enjoy cooking.  So when it comes to holiday meals we all start searching for things we’d like to make.  We almost never make the same thing twice, except for my Grandma June’s dressing which is always on the table, as is her apple pie.  But we like to branch out and try other ways to prepare vegetables, desserts and sides.

This simple apple galette would be a lovely Thanksgiving dessert, but could easily make its way to your table on a weeknight.  It’s simple to prepare and doesn’t require many ingredients or much time.  You can use a scratch pie crust or a store bought one to make it even simpler.

applegalette11 applegalette14 applegalette13 FLEUR DE SEL CARAMEL AND CREAM CHEESE APPLE GALETTE | Hottie Biscotti

This caramel sauce takes this simple dessert to a special place and I am so thankful to my good friend who introduced me to it!  Go grab yourself a few jars.  It’s also terrific as a dip for raw apples slices, so whatever you have leftover from this galette you can use as an afternoon snack.  You’re welcome.

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This is different enough from a pie that you could get away with having a traditional apple pie and this galette on the same dessert table.  The thin-ness of this galette makes me feel a little better about eating dessert, even though it’s probably not too much better for me.  The cream cheese is subtle and pairs well with the apples and caramel, but you could easily leave it out if you don’t have any around or if you just don’t care for it.

FLEUR DE SEL CARAMEL AND CREAM CHEESE APPLE GALETTE | Hottie Biscotti FLEUR DE SEL CARAMEL AND CREAM CHEESE APPLE GALETTE | Hottie Biscotti FLEUR DE SEL CARAMEL AND CREAM CHEESE APPLE GALETTE | Hottie Biscotti FLEUR DE SEL CARAMEL AND CREAM CHEESE APPLE GALETTE | Hottie Biscotti

I’m really looking forward to Thanksgiving.  I really enjoy this holiday and this year we get to spend it at the lake with my husband’s family, which will be lovely as always.  What are you planning to make for Thanksgiving?  Do you have any recipes you make every year?

Fleur de Sel Caramel and Cream Cheese Apple Galette

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 round pie dough
  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3-4 tablespoons Fleur de sel Caramel Sauce
  • 1 egg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Peel and core apples, then slice thinly.
  3. Mix apples with 2 tablespoons of sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt.  Set aside.
  4. Beat cream cheese with 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar until smooth.  Set aside.
  5. Roll dough out on a large piece of parchment paper into a 12 inch circle.
  6. Spread cream cheese onto dough leaving a 1 1/2 inch border.
  7. Arrange apples in 2 concentric circles, overlapping as needed, on top of the cream cheese.
  8. Warm up 4 tablespoons of the caramel sauce in a small bowl in the microwave.  Drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons of the caramel sauce evenly over the apples.
  9. Fold the dough over the edges of the apples.
  10. Whisk egg in a small bowl with 1 teaspoon of water, then brush onto the dough.
  11. Transfer parchment to a large baking sheet and bake for 25-35 minutes, until crust is golden and apples are tender.
  12. Remove from the oven and drizzle with the rest of the caramel sauce.
  13. Serve warm or room temperature with ice cream or whipped cream and more caramel sauce.