What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Delicious Holiday Foods: Jelly Roll Cake! Sweetness never tasted so good. The best part about this classic cake recipe is the filling can be whatever flavor you wish it to be. I used all-natural Red-Cherry Swiss Preserves for a fruit flavor resulting in a gourmet experience. It created an international glimpse of Switzerland without setting foot on an airplane.
JELLY ROLL CAKE
3 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup almonds, sliced
2/3 cup jelly or jam, any flavor
Preheat oven to 375°. Grease and line a 10″x15″ jelly roll pan. Beat eggs until thick and lemon-colored, about 5 minutes. Gradually add sugar, water, and almond extract. Mix thoroughly. Add flour, baking powder, and salt until well blended and no lumps remain. Pour into pan and sprinkle with almonds. Bake 12-15 minutes. Loosen cake from pan and invert onto a tea towel generously sprinkled with powdered sugar. While cake is hot, roll up. Refrigerate one hour. Unroll cake and top with jelly or jam, spreading to edges. Roll up cake again, sprinkle with powdered sugar, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate two more hours before serving.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Delicious Holiday Foods: Smoked Salmon Dill Spread with Crudités! For those who appreciate a healthy choice while socializing, this one is for the books! Munch on crisp vegetable crudités. Add an assortment of baked bagel chips for a salty crunchy finish. Party On!
SMOKED SALMON DILL SPREAD
8 ounces of Neufchâtel cheese
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons fresh Dill, chopped
Dash of White Pepper
1/4 pound Smoked Salmon, chopped
Mix all ingredients together, form into a log, and refrigerate at least one hour. Serve with your favorite raw vegetables cut into bite-size pieces to create a crudité platter.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Delicious Holiday Foods: Hasselback Honey-Roasted Carrots! Get cooking with a vegetable side dish that will bring on the cheers. It not only has eye appeal when served, it is bursting of natural flavor combined with exotic spices. This is everyday cooking. Who wants to give it a try? These beautifully sliced carrots are incredibly simple to make.
HASSELBACK HONEY-ROASTED CARROTS
1 pound fresh carrots, peeled and tops trimmed
1/4 cup natural honey
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon thyme
Fresh Chives for garnish
Pomegranate arils for garnish
Preheat oven to 400°. Beginning at one end of the carrot, slice in vertical strips, being careful to stop before slicing through the bottom. Repeat with remaining carrots. Transfer carrots to a shallow dish. Combine natural honey, olive oil, seasoned salt, black pepper, ground ginger, paprika, ground cumin, and thyme. Stir well. Brush glaze onto the carrots, turning to coat. Place carrots on a nonstick baking pan in a single layer without touching. Bake 40-45 minutes. Garnish with fresh chives and pomegranate arils.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen: Delicious Holiday Foods: Pretzel M&M Almond Bark! If you have a microwave, you can make this sweet and salty confection in mere minutes. Have all the ingredients measured out ahead of time for best results. Make it fun! Let the kids and grandkids be involved. By the time you are finished, everyone will be singing “Jingle Bells”.
PRETZEL M&M ALMOND BARK
2 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup almonds, sliced
3/4 cup pretzels, crushed
1/3 cup mini M&M candies
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Crush pretzel sticks into broken pieces and crumbs, reserving one tablespoon for topping. Place white chocolate chips in a glass microwave-safe bowl. Heat on 50% power for one minute. Remove, add vegetable oil, stir, and return to the microwave. Continue heating on 50% power for one minute longer. Stir until smooth. Repeat process, if necessary. Hint: The chips will not appear melted until you stir them. Do not over cook. When the white chocolate is melted and smooth, fold in the almonds, mini M&M candies, and pretzel pieces. Quickly spread the mixture onto the lined baking sheet. Spread in an even layer. Dust the warm white chocolate with crushed pretzel crumbs. Chill one hour or until set. Break into bite-size pieces.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Delicious Holiday Foods: Frozen Whipped Cream! Now here’s an indulgence anyone can afford. Frozen whipped cream. Simply spread the prepared mixture into a loaf pan, freeze overnight, and cut into chunks. Store in ready-to-use ziplock freezer bags. Then let the fun begin. Replace the creamer in your morning cuppa joe with a block or two, swirl, and watch the magic happen. You can also substitute those stale hardened marshmallows with whipped cream cubes in your favorite hot cocoa beverage. What about fruit smoothies? Throw a few chunks of frozen whipped cream into the blender with fresh fruit for a satisfying snack. Mmmm. Whipped cream isn’t just for dessert any more.
FROZEN WHIPPED CREAM
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chill the mixer bowl and whisk attachment 15 minutes before using. Pour the heavy whipping cream into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Set speed to medium for 5 minutes. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat 3-4 minutes longer or until the cream takes on volume and forms stiff peaks. The cream will have doubled in size. Do not over-beat or the cream will turn buttery. Spread whipped cream into a parchment paper-lined loaf pan and freeze overnight. When mixture is frozen, remove from pan and cut into chunks or cubes. Store in a freezer bag and keep frozen until ready to use.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Delicious Holiday Foods: French Silk Pie! If you’re a chocolate lover…and I suspect that you are, join me on this decadent chocolate trail of passion. The charismatic power of chocolate may be a mystery to every man out there, but serve up a taste of this incredible creamy silk and others will follow! French Silk Pie has become my Signature Dessert; it’s that legendary!
FRENCH SILK PIE
Ingredients for Crust:
1/4 cup butter, melted
25 vanilla wafers, crushed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Instructions for Crust:
Preheat oven to 300°. Combine butter, wafers, and pecans until crumbly. Reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish. Press remaining crumb mixture into an 8-9″ pie plate. Bake 15 minutes. Let cool.
Ingredients for Filling:
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions for Filling:
For best results, use a food processor to get the luscious results. Cream together butter and sugar. Add cocoa powder and oil. Blend well. THIS NEXT STEP IS CRITICAL. Add one egg and beat for 4 minutes. Add the second egg and beat for 4 minutes. Add the third egg and beat for 4 minutes. Finally add the teaspoon of vanilla extract. Beat 30 seconds. Pour the filling into the crust. Garnish with reserve crumb mixture. Chill before serving.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Delicious Holiday Foods: Unicorn Holiday Bark! Everyone remembers a childhood of mythical creatures, especially the unicorn which resembled a horse with a pointed horn spiraling out of its forehead. Some believed it had magical powers in addition to being a symbol of purity and grace. Only a virgin had the power to tame the unicorn, according to art from the Middle Ages now hanging on museum walls. Today the thought of unicorns make us happy. Perhaps they represent childhood dreams, or wishes, filled with hope for a future. It should be no surprise that pink swirls of white chocolate and candy glitter in sparkly hues appear in food to further those good feelings. Think of Unicorn Holiday Bark for your next festive occasion. Kid-friendly, husband-approved.
UNICORN HOLIDAY BARK
2 pounds white chocolate chips
Food coloring of choice
1 tablespoon rainbow sprinkles
1 tablespoon glitter sprinkles
1 tablespoon candy pearls
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Depending on how many colors you choose (I used 3), place 1/3 cup white chocolate chips per color in separate microwave-safe bowls. Warm on Low setting for 15 second intervals in microwave, stirring often. Continue until chips are melted. Add food coloring to desired tint. Hint: One drop of red will produce a pastel pink. Prepare tinted chocolate first before finishing with the remaining plain white chocolate. Once the white chocolate is melted, spread it onto the baking sheet. Smooth into an even layer, approximately 1/4” thick. Working quickly, dot tinted colors over the white chocolate in a random pattern. Take a wooden skewer, or toothpick, and drag it through the colors creating swirls. Next, scatter the rainbow sprinkles, glitter sprinkles, and candy pearls on top. Refrigerate baking sheet for 30 minutes, or until firm. Once set, break the bark into pieces, reserving a curved edge for the unicorn’s horn. Let the magic begin!
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Delicious Holiday Foods: Nori Sesame Popcorn! If you’ve never tasted dried edible seaweed, you’re really missing out. It wasn’t until recently that I gave it a whirl and I have to tell you, I kinda like it. Besides, it’s a great source of vitamins and minerals. Asian cultures have known this all along, so it’s like preaching to the choir when I rave about the natural health benefits. When nori is added to a batch of popcorn, seasoned with roasted sesame seeds and Oriental rice crackers, it transforms a typical snack into a sensational wholesome one. Prepare to grab a handful and nibble away.
NORI SESAME POPCORN
1 packet microwave popcorn, any variety
8-ounces rice cracker blend, bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons roasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
.21 ounces dried seaweed sheets, cut into small strips
Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare the microwave popcorn according to package directions. Transfer to a large bowl. Discard any unpopped kernels. Add the rice cracker pieces. Toss with sesame oil, sesame seeds, seasoned salt, and nori strips. Transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally to prevent burning. Cool five minutes before serving. Store in an airtight container.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Delicious Holiday Foods: Quick-Set Party Cheesecakes! You’re stopping by a friend’s house later on and were asked to bring something delish. These miniature cheesecakes are super-easy and can be whipped up in a few minutes first thing in the morning. They refrigerate while you’re at work or the gym, so no worries there. Top with fresh fruit, seedless jam, chocolate bits, or candied ginger. Dust with powdered sugar for a professional finish. Another one-bite wonderful dessert can be found in the Fruit Tart recipe at the following link.
QUICK-SET PARTY CHEESECAKES
24 mini cupcake liners
24 Nilla wafers
2 8-ounce packages Neufchâtel cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
Fresh Fruit, Chocolate Chips, or Candied Ginger
Preheat oven to 350°. Beat Neufchâtel cheese and sugar. Add eggs, beating well. Fold in lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat until light and fluffy. Place cupcake liners in muffin tin. Put 1 Nilla wafer in each. Fill with 1 heaping tablespoon of cheese mixture. Bake 15 minutes. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours. Garnish with assorted toppings.