Butterbeer Jelly Shots


1 cup creme soda
2 envelopes plain gelatin
1/3 cup vanilla vodka
2/3 cup butterscotch schnapps
colored large crystal sugar, for garnish, if desired


1. Pour soda in a medium saucepan and sprinkle with gelatin. Allow to soak for a minute or two.

2. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin is dissolved (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat.

3. Stir in the vodka and schnapps.

4. Pour into standard loaf pan (non-reactive metal or glass, approx. 9″ x 5″). Refrigerate until fully set (about 3 hours).

5. To serve, cut into desired shapes.

6. Immediately before serving, dip in colored crystal sugar, for garnish, if desired.

Shrimp Enchiladas


3 tbsp. butter, divided
1 lb. medium-size shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 red bell pepper, diced
¾ cup onion, diced
¼ tsp. oregano
¼ tsp. salt
Dash garlic powder
Dash cayenne pepper
2 tsp. all-purpose flour
6 tbsp. heavy cream or half-and-half
¼ cup sour cream
8 oz. shredded cheese (such as Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, etc.), divided
1 cup tomatoes, seeded and diced
8-10 (8-inch) flour tortillas
Cooking spray


1. In a large sauté pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp to the pan in an even layer and let cook without moving, about 1 minute. Flip the shrimp over and continue to cook until just pink and opaque, 30-60 seconds longer. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon and set aside. When the shrimp is cool enough to handle, roughly chop into bite sized pieces, if desired.

2. Melt the remaining butter in the pan. Add the diced bell pepper and onion, and cook until just tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the oregano, salt, garlic powder, cayenne and flour to the pan; stir well and cook briefly until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the heavy cream to the pan, stirring to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook just until slightly thickened, 1-2 minutes.

3. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the sour cream, half of the shredded cheese, and the tomatoes. Return the shrimp to the pan as well, and mix everything together until the sauce is well blended and the cheese is melted.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Scoop 1/3 cup of the filling and sauce mixture down the center of a tortilla. Sprinkle lightly with some of the reserved cheese. Roll the tortilla tightly around the filling and place seam side-down in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining filling, tortillas and cheese. Spray the tops of the finished assembled tortillas lightly with cooking spray. Bake uncovered for about 30-35 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool at least 5-10 minutes before serving.

Cranberry Bliss Bars


For the Bars
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
1 large egg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries, loosely packed

For the Frosting and Topping
1 cup white chocolate chips, melted and divided
4 ounces cream cheese, softened (whipped or light may be used)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups+ confectioners’ sugar (I used about 2 3/4 cups)
1/4 cup dried cranberries, loosely packed (optionally, roughly dice them if the pieces are larger)


For the Bars
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.

2. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 90 seconds. To the melted butter (allow it to cool slightly so you don’t scramble the egg), add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and stir to combine. Add the flour, salt, and stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix or the bars will be tough. Fold in 3/4 cup white chocolate chips and 1/2 cup cranberries and stir to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula or offset knife if necessary.

3. Bake for 18 to 21 minutes, and center is set and golden or until edges begin to slightly pull away from sides of pan, or a toothpick comes out clean; do not overbake. Allow bars to cool before frosting them. While they cool, make the frosting.

For the Frosting and Topping
4. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the white chocolate on high power, about 1 minute, reheating in 10-second intervals, or until it can be stirred smooth. White chocolate is notorious for scorching so melt it very carefully, and slowly, heating in quick bursts, and keep a watchful eye; use a double boiler if that’s easier.

5. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine cream cheese, about three-quarters of the melted white chocolate (about 3/4 cup, just eyeball it), 2 cups confectioners’ sugar (I don’t sift it because any tiny lumps will be covered up by sprinkled cranberries and white chocolate drizzle), vanilla, and beat until smooth and fluffy. Start by mixing on low speed so sugar doesn’t spray, and then beat on medium-high for about 3 minutes. Mixture will seem stiff at first but will loosen and fluff up after 2 to 3 minutes of beating on medium-high; stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add additional confectioners’ sugar (I used about 2 3/4 cups, I like it on the thicker side) based on taste preference and desired frosting consistency. Frost the bars; if you have excess, it will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 1 month.

6. Evenly sprinkle 1/2 cup cranberries over the top of the frosted bars. Evenly drizzle bars with remaining melted white chocolate, reheating for a few seconds in the microwave if it has set up. Allow bars to set up for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Bars may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

7. To keep gluten-free, use your favorite gluten-free flour blend, taking care that all other ingredients used are acceptable for your dietary needs.

Christmas Trifle


16 pieces plain macarons
1 vanilla bean, scraped
300 ml low fat cream
2 tbsps powdered sugar
200 grams strawberries, halved

For the Jelly
3 1/2 teaspoons gelatine powder {original recipe uses 2 1/2}
750 ml cranberry juice
110 grams caster sugar
200 grams strawberries, quartered


1. To make the strawberry jelly, place the gelatine and ½ cup {125ml} cranberry juice in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes or until the gelatine is absorbed.

2. Place the remaining cranberry juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for 1 minute.

3. Remove from the heat, add the gelatine and stir to combine. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes.

Vanilla Cream
Whip cream, scraped vanilla bean and sugar to soft peaks.

To assemble
Arrange the strawberries in the base of the serving glasses/bowls and pour over the jelly mixture. Refrigerate for 2–3 hours until set. {Mine took almost overnight to set}.
Set a macaron each in the glass/bowl on the jelly. Layer the cream over the macarons. Top with strawberries to serve.

Cookie Dough Cocoa


4 tablespoons
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 pint cookie dough ice cream
5 cups water

Whipped cream
Mini chocolate chips
1 cup Cookie Crisp® cereal


1. In 3-quart saucepan or large pot, whisk together butter, brown sugar, and ice cream over medium-high heat until melted. Add the water; cook and stir mixture until steaming.

2. Serve in mugs, topped with whipped cream, mini chocolate chips, and cookie crisp cereal.

Pork Chops with Herb Stuffing


1 cup cubed (3/8 inch) rustic bread, without crusts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter and 1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion, and 3/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup plus one tablespoon mixed chopped parsley and thyme
2 1/4 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons chicken stock
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 bone-in pork chops (9 ounces each), cut horizontally to the bone
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry sherry


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast bread cubes on a baking sheet until golden, about 7 minutes. Heat butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add celery; cook 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl. Reserve skillet. Toss bread, herbs, 1/4 teaspoon coriander, and 3 tablespoons stock with onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Stuff chops. Using a fork, mix and mash garlic, 2 teaspoons coriander, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon oil; rub onto pork. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pork until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes; flip, and transfer skillet to oven. Cook until pork registers 155 degrees, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate; cover.

3. Add sherry and 1/2 cup stock to skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until reduced by half. Serve with pork.

The Best Blueberry Muffins


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Using a fork, mix all ingredients together until well combined. Set aside.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 to 1 cup blueberries


1. Preheat oven to 400°. For crisper edges, grease a standard muffin pan. For softer edges, use liners in each cup instead.

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Stir in buttermilk. Add both sugars and mix until combined. Stir in vanilla and lemon zest. Stir in melted butter. Add flour mixture in two to three portions. Mix until there are still streaks of flour remaining. Stir in blueberries, mixing just until combined.

4. Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter into each cup of prepared pan. This should fill each cup almost to the top. Sprinkle tops of each muffin with crumb mixture.

5. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool in pan on wire rack. Enjoy!

Low Carb Strawberry Cheesecake

Yield: Serves 12


16 oz cream cheese
1 C Splenda (NOT sugar blend but granular)
2 t vanilla
4 T lemon juice
3 T sour cream
2 eggs


1. Preheat oven at 325. Prepare 12 cup muffin pan.

2. With a mixer, beat the cream cheese until there are no more lumps. Slowly add the Splenda, incorporating both ingredients well.

3. Add vanilla, lemon juice and sour cream. Blend but make sure not to over mix.

4. Add eggs one at a time, gently mixing after each one.

5. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups. I used an ice cream scooper to divide them equally.

6. Bake at 325 for 12 to 15 minutes depending on your oven. Check at 12 minutes and the tops should be set but not hard. I actually like to underbake this because the center has that ooey gooey cream cheesy filling that I love.

7. Let cool for at least 30 minutes. Put in the fridge for at least 2 hours. This is best eaten cold.

Ham and Cheese Potato Skins


3 whole Russet potatoes
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of cracked black pepper
1 cup of thick cut ham, cut into bite sized cubes
2 cups of Colby jack cheese, shredded


1. Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Poke the top of each potato with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Cook in the oven for 1 hour. Once cooked, remove from the baking sheet, and place on a plate to let cool for about 15 minutes.

2. Once your potatoes are cooled, use a sharp bread knife and you will cut lengthwise, into three segments of one potato, long slices. So each potato will yield two skins, right? Discard the middle slice and reuse for breakfast the following morning, or heck for that matter, add some butter, salt, and cream, and make some rustic mashed potatoes.

3. Continue this cutting process with the rest of the potatoes. You should then have 10 skins. With a small spoon, being careful, scoop out about 70 percent of the potato, as you still want some potato in your boat.

4. Next, melt your butter in the microwave. Get your broiler heated to high.

5. Brush the butter on the inside and outside of each potato skin and place them back onto the baking sheet. Season the inside of each skin with salt and pepper.

6. Place them under the broiler for 8-10 minutes until the insides get a bit crispy from the melted butter.

Cookies and Cream Popcorn

Yield: Makes about 12 cups or 12 servings.


10 cookies and cream cookies, crushed fine
3 T. cocoa- I used Penzeys Dutch processed Cocoa
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1/3 cup organic popcorn kernels
1/4 cup oil- I used organic ghee, or you can use coconut oil (I can’t)
1/4 cup sugar- I have yet to try a sub for this
5 more cookies and cream cookies, broken


1. You will need a Whirley Pop Popcorn Maker for this recipe. (If not, simply make 2 bags of microwave Kettle Corn Popcorn and while hot, toss with cocoa, salt, and crushed cookies. Once mixed top with broken cookies.)

2. In a very large bowl mix broken cookies, cocoa, and salt. Set aside. To your Whirley Popper, add popcorn, Ghee or oil, and sugar. Over medium high heat, with the lid closed- duh, and turning continually, cook popcorn until the kernels begin to pop, stir a bit faster and continue until the popping subsides. Remove from heat immediately, it likes to burn, and toss with the cocoa mixture. Once mixed well top with broken cookies.

Sweet Potato Casserole

YIELD: 8 servings


3 ½ pounds fresh sweet potatoes (about 5 medium)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Wash the sweet potatoes, prick them with a fork and place on baking sheet. Bake potatoes in preheated oven for 75-90 minutes or until they are cooked through. Allow potatoes to cool slightly until they are comfortable to touch.

2. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 9 inch casserole dish, set aside.

3. Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop the insides into a large mixing bowl, discard skins.

4. Add sugar, eggs, salt, cinnamon, butter, milk, and vanilla to the sweet potatoes. Use an electric mixer and combine until the mixture is thoroughly incorporated and smooth.

5. Scoop mixture into prepared casserole dish, smoothing the top into an even layer.

6. In medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven 30-40 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Bars


30 peppermint creme-filled chocolate cookies (I used Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon fine salt

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
16 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup low fat sour cream
4 large eggs, room temperature

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tbs non hydrogenated shortening (I use Earth Balance)
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup low fat sour cream, room temperature
crushed candy canes (about 3, large)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. In a food processor – add cookies and process until they form crumbs. With the processor running, pour in the melted butter and salt – process just until combined. Press the mixture into a 9″ x 13″ pan lined with foil – evenly pressing to cover the bottom completely.

3. Meanwhile, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water (don’t allow the bowl to touch the water) – stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove and set aside to cool a bit.

4. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add sour cream and mix well, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix just until incorporated. Pour in the cooled melted chocolate and mix until smooth.

5. Pour the filling evenly over the crust and smooth the top. Bake until filling puffs slightly around the edges, but is still a bit wobbly in the center, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to begin cooling.

6. Add chocolate, butter and corn syrup to a small sauce pan on the stove over medium-low heat. Stir the chocolate mixture until melted and smooth, remove from heat and stir in the sour cream. Spread glaze evenly over the warm cheesecake. When the glaze has almost set sprinkle the crushed candy canes evenly over the top. Let cool completely and then refrigerate at least 8 hours.

Note: I’m always looking for ways to cut out a few calories when I can and found that using lower fat cream cheeses and sour cream does not alter the quality of the dessert for me. With these lower fat ingredients we still produced rich, decadent and delicious desserts!

Chicken Piccata


2 – 4 chicken breasts, split in half
2 cups bread crumbs
2 eggs
salt and pepper
1 stick butter
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup capers
1/4 cup parsley


1. Take the chicken breast and hold your hand on top of it. Slice it in half. Lay the chicken pieces between two sheets of wax paper. And then beat the crap out of it until it is very thin.

2. Pour the breadcrumbs into a bowl and beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Season the eggs and breadcrumbs with salt and pepper. Dip the chicken into the egg mixture, then completely coat in the breadcrumbs.
I like to line a baking sheet with foil and lay the chicken breasts out. You can keep these in the fridge for a few hours until you are ready to cook them.

3. Heat a saute pan over medium high heat, and melt a few tablespoons of butter and a few tablespoons of olive oil. Let this get hot, test by dropping some breadcrumbs into the pan, when it sizzles, it is ready. Cook each side for about 3 minutes. The crust should be golden brown. Keep these in a very low oven, 300 degrees, while you work on the sauce.

4. Add the lemon juice, chicken stock, and capers. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add a pat of butter to mellow out the sauce. Check for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if needed.

5. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Serve with rice or pasta and some green vegetables.

Thin Mint Truffles

Yield: makes 24


1 9oz box Girl Scout Thin Mints {Or Keebler’s Grasshopper Cookies!}
4 oz fat free cream cheese, slightly softened
8 oz Guittard’s green mint chips *
8 oz white chocolate chips or white chocolate bark


1. In a food processor, pulse the Thin Mints a few times, and them blend them down until they are just crumbs. It might be easier to do this in two batches. Next, mix in the cream cheese and crumbs together in a bowl until well incorporated. Roll the mixture into 1 inch size balls, and place them on a wax paper covered baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for about 30 minutes, so the balls are easier to dip in the chocolate and do not fall apart.

2. Once the truffles have been in the fridge for a while, melt the green mint chips in a double broiler or a microwave safe bowl.

White Chocolate & Raspberry Brioche French Toast


4 slices brioche, preferably day-old, sliced 1 inch thick (I bought mine this time, but you could make your own too)
3 large eggs
3/4 cups milk
Juice of 1/2 an orange (about 2-3 tbsp)
Zest of 1/2 a lemon (about 2 tsp)
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
Butter for frying
100g good quality white chocolate, melted (either zapped in the microwave 30 secs a til melted or over a double boiler) – can replace with milk or dark chocolate
About 1/2 punnet raspberries (about 60g, fresh or frozen) – can replace with other berries
Icing sugar to dust


1. (If making a bigger batch, preheat oven to about 95°C (200°F) and keep toast warm in oven on a wire rack while making the rest of the batch) Whisk together eggs, milk, juice, vanilla, sugar, zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a shallow baking dish. Place skillet or non-stick frying pan over medium heat and melt about 1 tbsp (15g) of butter in the pan.

2. Dip one slice of bread in mixture and allow to soak for 20 seconds. Place slice dipped side down in the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. While frying, spread a layer of melted white chocolate on the top side of the bread and place a small handful of raspberries over the top.

3. Dip another slice of bread in mixture and allow to soak for 20 seconds again. Sandwich this slice over the raspberries, dipped side facing up and press down to seal sandwich together slightly. Carefully flip over and fry the other side of the sandwich for the same amount of time, until golden brown. Repeat with remaining slices of bread, adding another tbsp of butter to the pan for each sandwich.

4. Serve immediately, dusted with a light coat of icing (confectioner’s) sugar. You can add maple syrup if you really want to, but it probably doesn’t need it.

Salmon with Balsamic Glaze


4 salmon steaks, at room temp.
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
3/4 cup (180 ml) good balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped


1. Heat a griddle to 375 F. Baste with oil.

2. In a smaller pan, heat vinegar, syrup, mustard and garlic. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for about 12 minutes. Set aside for a few minutes.

3. Sprinkle salmon steaks with olive oil and season with pepper and salt.

4. Cook salmon on heated griddle for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Let rest for 6-10 minutes.

5. Plate salmon and drizzle with glaze.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings


15 chicken wings – rinse in cold water and pat dry

1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic – minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 tsp cayenne pepper or crushed chili peppers
2 tbsp honey

Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Drizzles of honey for glaze


1. In a large bowl, mix together the marinade ingredients. Season the chicken wings with salt before coating well in the marinade. Cover, refrigerate for at least an hour (overnight is best).

2. Preheat oven to 425F (220C).

3. Line a baking pan or broiler pan with parchment paper, and place the chicken wings on top (keep the leftover marinade still in the bowl for later). Drizzle a bit more honey over each wing for a nice light glaze. Then sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.

4. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip the chicken wings over and brush them with the remaining marinade. Bake for another 10 minutes. Then set the oven on broil and bake the chicken for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until the chicken is crispy brown. Serve warm – with or without napkins:)

Holiday Coquito Cocktail

Yield: 1 serving


1.5 ounces Cîroc Coconut
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 ounce coconut cream
1 ounce milk
1 egg white
1 dash cinnamon
1 dash nutmeg
1 dash all spice


1. Add all ingredients and fill with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

2. Sprinkle with coconut shavings.

Gingerbread Hot Chocolate

Yield: Makes 4 cups


1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
10 whole cloves
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
4 cups whole milk
1/3 cup firmly packed dark
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Garnish: mini marshmallows


1. Combine first 3 ingredients in an 8- x 10-inch piece of cheesecloth; pull edges together, and tie to secure.

2. Heat milk and spice bundle in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring just to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and steep 30 minutes.

3. Remove spice bundle from milk. Heat milk mixture over medium-low heat until hot. Add brown sugar; cook, stirring constantly, until sugar melts. Add chocolate, stirring until chocolate melts. Stir in vanilla. Serve warm; garnish, if desired.

Go Back To See Recipe 4: Gingerbread Cupcakes

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Yield: Makes 10


2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup unsulphered molasses
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 recipe Butter Glaze
1 recipe Chocolate Glaze
1 recipe Meringue Buttercream

Butter Glaze
Yield: Makes 1 1/2 cups, or enough for 10 large cupcakes

2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons milk

Chocolate Glaze
Yield: Makes 1 3/4 cups, or enough for 10 large cupcakes

6 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream

Meringue Buttercream
Yield: Makes 3 cups, enough for one 2- or 3-layer cake or about 2 dozen cupcakes

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
5 large egg whites
Pinch cream of tartar
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 10 jumbo muffin tins with paper baking cups, and set aside. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. In a bowl, combine boiling water and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, ground spices, salt, and baking powder; set aside.

2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light. Beat in the brown sugar until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses, baking-soda mixture, and flour mixture. Beat in the eggs.

3. Fill the cupcake papers three-quarters full, making sure that the batter is divided evenly. Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center of them comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cupcakes cool a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

Butter Glaze
1. Place 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Remove the pan from heat; immediately pour the melted butter into the bowl with the sugar. Add 4 teaspoons milk; whisk until mixture is smooth. Working quickly, dip the top of each cupcake into the glaze, and place cupcake right-side up on a wire rack.

2. Repeat step 1; glaze remaining cupcakes. Allow glaze to set, about 20 minutes, before decorating.

Chocolate Glaze
1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces, and place in a medium bowl. Scald the cream, and pour it over the chocolate. Let the mixture stand 5 minutes, then stir until smooth.

2. Let the glaze stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

3. For the smoothest possible surface, carefully dip the cupcakes into the prepared chocolate glaze. Let cupcakes drip, dripped-side down, for several seconds, and then turn right-side up. Allow glaze to set before decorating.

Meringue Buttercream
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a boil. Clip a candy thermometer onto the saucepan. Boil the syrup, brushing down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent crystallization, until the syrup registers 240 degrees (soft-ball stage).

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat on medium high until stiff but not dry peaks form.

3. With the mixer running, pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl (to prevent splattering) into the egg whites in a steady stream, and beat on high speed until the steam is no longer visible, about 3 minutes. Beat in butter, piece by piece. Add vanilla; beat until smooth and spreadable, 3 to 5 minutes. If it looks curdled at any point during the beating process, continue beating until smooth.

Go Next To See Recipe 5: Gingerbread Hot Chocolate

Go Next To See Recipe 3: Gingerbread Roulade

Gingerbread Roulade With Maple Whipped Cream and Candied Pecans

Makes 8 to 10 servings.


For cake:
4 eggs, separated, at room temperature
½ tsp. cream of tartar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. butter, melted
2 tbsp. molasses, preferably dark
Powdered sugar
Maple Whipped Cream (see recipe)
Make Candied Pecans (see recipe).

Maple Whipped Cream
Yield: Makes about 3 cups

Note: To flavor the cream, you can use maple syrup or extract, or maple oil. Oil is a good option if you want to buy just enough flavoring for a particular recipe. The small bottles hold only a teaspoon or so.

1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup maple syrup, 1 tsp. maple extract, or ¼ tsp. maple oil (see Note)
¼ cup powdered sugar

Candied Pecans
Yield: Makes 1 cup

1 cup chopped pecans
2 tbsp. maple syrup
¼ tsp. salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and move rack to center.

2. Cut a piece of parchment paper or wax paper to fit the bottom of a 10- by 15-inch rimmed jellyroll pan and spray with cooking spray.

3. Beat together egg whites and cream of tartar, slowly at first, then gradually increasing the speed to high until whites hold stiff peaks when the beater is lifted. Set aside.

4. In small bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking powder and salt.

5. Beat together egg yolks and brown sugar until thick and light in color, about 3 minutes. Stir in butter and molasses, then flour mixture.

6. Stir one-third of the beaten egg whites into egg yolk mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining egg whites, using a gentle stroke that brings batter up from the bottom of the bowl and folds it over the surface. Repeat, turning the bowl, until no streaks remain. Gently spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until cake springs back lightly when touched.

7. While the cake is baking, sprinkle powdered sugar over a tea towel. When the cake is done, run a knife around the edge to make sure it’s loose, then quickly invert it onto the towel. Peel off the paper. Then, starting from the short side, roll cake and towel. Place seam side down on a wire rack until cool.

8. Meanwhile, make whipped cream (see recipe).

Maple Whipped Cream
9. Beat the heavy cream with maple syrup and powdered sugar until it holds stiff peaks. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.

Candied Pecans
10. In saucepan, stir together pecans and syrup over medium heat. Sprinkle with salt and continue stirring for about 2 minutes.

11. Coat a plate with cooking spray and spread pecans on it to cool.

Go Next To See Recipe 4: Gingerbread Cupcakes

Go Back To See Recipe 2: Sparkling Ginger Stars

Sparkling Ginger Stars

Yield: 2 dozen


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 (3.25-oz.) jar coarse sparkling sugar (see note)


1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir until blended.

2. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add brown sugar, beating well. Beat in molasses, egg yolk, lemon rind, grated ginger, and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture; beat just until blended.

3. Shape dough into a ball, and divide in half. Flatten each half into a round disk; wrap each in plastic wrap, and chill 2 1/2 hours until firm.

4. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out dough, 1 section at a time, to 1/4″ thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut into star shapes, using a 4″ cookie cutter. Place 1/2″ apart on prepared baking sheets.

5. Whisk together 1 egg and whipping cream; brush egg wash lightly over cookies. Sprinkle heavily with sparkling sugar.

6. Bake at 325° for 17 minutes or until cookies are puffed and slightly darker around edges. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheets; remove with parchment paper to wire racks to cool completely.


Go Next To See Recipe 3: Gingerbread Roulade

Click Back To See Recipe 1: Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies


6 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup butter
1 cup molasses
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. In a large bowl, gently stir together flour, baking powder, and all spices. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or other large bowl), beat butter until smooth. Add brown sugar, molasses, eggs and vanilla.

3. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until they are fully incorporated.

4. Divide the dough into 3 pieces, and flatten into rounded disk (about 1 1/2 inches thick). Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

5. When dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350*F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to desired thickness (1/4- 1/2 inch thick). (The dough can be rolled out and handled just as I described in my post HERE). Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies at least 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat type liner. If the dough is too sticky or soft to work with, put it in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes to firm up.

6. Bake for 9-12 minutes (depending on the size of cookies). Cool slightly on cookie sheet, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.

7. Frost with royal icing, if desire. HERE is the royal icing recipe I use, as well as some decorating tips to get you started.


Go Next To See Recipe 2: Sparkling Ginger Stars

5 Gingerbread Recipes for Christmas

Gingerbread, one of the most well-known pastry in Christmas. It is usually used to translate pain d’épices from French which means “spiced bread” or the German term Lebkuchen meaning “bread/cake of life”. The main ingredients of gingerbread is honey, spice, nuts, and almonds. There are a lot of different shapes of gingerbread nowadays. However, when it comes to gingerbread, I always picture it as a gingerbread man or a gingerbread house.

Here are 5 gingerbread recipes. Make a fascinating Christmas with gingerbread this year~!

Click Here To See Recipe 1: Gingerbread Cookies

Red Velvet-Peppermint Swirl Brownies


1 (4-oz.) bittersweet chocolate baking bar, chopped
3/4 cup butter
2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
4 large eggs
1 (1-oz.) bottle red liquid food coloring
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottom and sides of a 13- x 9-inch pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides; lightly grease foil.

2. Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals. Whisk in 2 cups sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Add food coloring, peppermint extract, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Gently stir in 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/8 tsp. salt. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3. Beat cream cheese and remaining 1/4 cup sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg whites and remaining 1 tsp. vanilla, and beat until blended. Stir in 2 Tbsp. flour until smooth. Drop cream cheese mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls over batter in pan; gently swirl with a knife.

4. Bake at 350° for 30 to 32 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Lift brownies from pan, using foil sides as handles. Gently remove foil; cut brownies into squares.

Honey-Lime Chicken Skewers


3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
juice of one lime
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 teaspoon Siracha
red pepper flakes, to taste
2 tablespoon cilantro
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts


1. In a small bowl, combine your ingredients, through the cilantro. Mix thoroughly.

2. Pour marinade over chicken breasts and turn to coat. Cover and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour.

3. Grill on medium high heat for 6 to 8 minutes per side, until juices run clear.

Peppermint Oreo Krispie Treats

Yield: 24 squares (aproximately 2″ square)


6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
20 Candy Cane Joe Joe’s, or oreos, crushed/chopped (about 2 1/2 cups crushed)
6 cups mini marshmallows
4 Tablespoons butter

2 or 3 regular sized peppermint candy canes
2 oz. white chocolate
2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup mini M&M’s


1. In a large bowl, add cereal and crushed cookies. Mix to combine.

2. In another large, microwave safe bowl, add marshmallows and butter.
Microwave 2 1/2-3 minutes, or until the marshmallows are super fluffy, and melt together when stirred.
Stir together, until the marshmallows and butter are fully combined.

3. Pour melted marshmallows on top of the cereal and cookie mixture. Use a spatula that has been sprayed with cooking spray to quickly mix the marshmallow cream and cereal together. Stir until combined.

4. Quickly, pour/scoop the sticky mixture into a prepared 9″x13″ pan. Spread the mixture around, and press down with spatula.

5. While the cereal treats cool, crush 2 or 3 candy canes in a small ziplock bag. Sprinkle crushed candy on top of krispie treats.

6. Melt the white chocolate by placing chocolate in a piping bag or heavy ziplock type bag, and microwave at 50% power until nearly melted. Kneed the bag a little in your hands (careful- it will be hot!) Snip off the end of bag and drizzle chocolate on krispie treats

7. Repeat as above with semi-sweet chocolate.

8. Top krispie treats with mini M&M’s or festive sprinkles.

9. Allow chocolate to set before cutting into squares.

Christmas Glow Punch

Yield: About 2 quarts; about 14 servings.


4-1/2 cups tropical punch
1 cup cranberry juice
1 can (6 ounces) pineapple juice
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 to 3 cups chilled ginger ale
1 pint raspberry sherbet


1. In a 2-qt. container, combine the punch and juices.

2. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Just before serving, transfer to a small punch bowl.

3. Stir in ginger ale; top with scoops of sherbet.

Christmas Spiced Chocolate Cake


4 eggs
200g sugar
200g butter (room temperature)
pinch of salt
200g self-raising flour
100g cocoa powder
3 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp all spice
pinch of cinnamon
4 tbsp rum
4 tbsp milk
4 packs of Maltesers
edible gold powder

For the butter cream:
200g butter
100g icing sugar
300g chocolate custard/pudding (follow packet instructions)
pinch of cinnamon


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and butter your baking tin. Separate the eggs and whisk the whites with a pinch of salt until it forms stiff peaks. In another bowl mix the egg yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy (with a hand-held mixer for about 5 min) and add the butter.

2. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder and add to the mixture. When the dough gets too thick add the rum and milk. Now gently fold in the stiff egg whites. Bake for around 30-40 minutes in a 20cm/8 inch baking tin.

3. Rotate the tin after half the baking time so it will bake evenly. If it gets too dark on the top cover it up with baking paper for the last 15 minutes.

4. Let cool and cut into 3 layers. Place the sponge layers in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes before you assemble the cake. Cook the custard/pudding according to packet instructions and leave to cool.

5. Cream the butter until pale and fluffy, add the sifted icing sugar, mix some more, then add the cold custard/pudding and cinnamon powder.

6. Spread an even amount of the icing between the layers, stack the cake and apply a thin layer on the the outside. Place in the fridge to chill before you apply the rest of the icing layer. Brush the malt balls with the gold dust and place on the the top and sides of the cake.

Italian Layer Bake


1 (8-ounce) container refrigerated crescent rolls
8 slices deli turkey (about 1/2 pound)
8 slices deli ham (about 1/2 pound)
12 slices deli hard salami (about 1/2 pound)
8 slices Swiss cheese (about 1/2 pound)
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted peppers, drained
4 eggs, beaten


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Unroll crescent roll dough without separating triangles. Separate dough into 2 squares along center cut line.

2. Place 1 square of dough into an 8-inch square baking dish; using your fingertips, press dough to fit bottom of dish.

3. Layer with half the turkey, ham, salami, Swiss cheese, and roasted peppers. Pour half of beaten eggs over peppers and repeat with remaining meats, cheese, and peppers.

4. Place remaining square of dough over peppers. Pour remaining beaten eggs over dough and cover lightly with foil.

5. Bake 20 minutes, remove foil, and bake an additional 20 to 22 minutes, or until golden and heated through. Let cool 15 to 20 minutes then cut and serve.