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Warm Up The Holdays With A Winter Yule Log

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The holidays are nothing without a beautiful marble yule log to showcase this Christmas. Therefore to celebrate with family and friends,how about creating your very own yule log? Using Nordic wares exceptional cake pans.All you require is a simple and delectable yellow cake recipe as well as your own imagination.

So how about it? Well you're probably questioning yourself. How can I create this unique marble appearance? Well it's actually quite easy! It's simply dying half of the cake batter with a cocoa mixture. Followed by forming a pattern of each color of batter in the pan along with alternating with each layer. Lastly you have, the best part of swirling the colors to reveal a exquisite pattern. Once  completed,  you can decorate anyway you wish such as a simple dusting of icing sugar for a winter wonderland effect.Its really as simple as any other cake;however this one becomes a very decadent dessert.


 

So be certain to serve this lovely swirled cake this Christmas dinner and see how astonished your guests will be with the first slice. A mouthful will reveal a deliciously sweet,fluffy and moist yellow cake.Overall, a top notch cake that is easily adaptable and created with inexpensive ingredients along with  an impressive appearance.




So, get your apron on and get that last minute baking in , Have a very Merry Christmas and enjoy those goodies.




Marble Yule Log


3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
6 tbsp hot water

I preheated the oven to 350F.Then thoroughly greased and floured the yule log pan



Then I sifted the flour,baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl,setting aside.


Then with my Kitcheaid stand mixer, I creamed the butter and sugar together,until light and fluffy.Added the eggs and vanilla,until thoroughly mixed.




Then lastly added the flour mixture alternating with the milk.Beating well after each addition.Always beginning and ending with flour.Then I continued to beat the cake batter for one minute to fully combine.


Then I took half of the yellow batter and placed it in a medium bowl.Then using a mug I mixed 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa with 6 tbsp of hot water,mixing until completely dissolved. Once dissolved ,I added this mixture to half of the batter and mixed thoroughly until it became a dark chocolate.


Then with the prepared yule log pan,I began dropping dollops of batter in a pattern such as yellow,chocolate yellow and used a toothpick to create swirls within each layer of the cake.Then with each layer I alternated the pattern such as chocolate, yellow,chocolate.Alternating each layer  will allow different layers of color.



Then I let the cake bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick came out clean.It took about 40 minutes for my cake.Then I let it cool for 10-20 minutes and then gently released it from the pan on a long white plate.


Once completely cool I decorated the cake with icing sugar for snow and outlined the holly berrys with butter icing and gel icing along with silver ball sprinkles.However you can keep it as is since the design is so detailed.

Create A Winter Wonderland!!

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 Do you aspire to design your very own Winter Wonderland this Christmas? Well, your certainly in the correct place because I have here, three very authentic recipes that would be a great addition to anyone's holiday display.


 So,how about a collection of 3D Christmas Tree Cookies that are prepared with a simple sugar cookie dough that would be lovely with a gingerbread house,a village and even a winter forest .Now if you desire something a little different there is also snowflake spiced cupcakes that can be easily constructed into tiny igloos for a north pole display.However,if these concepts are not your cup of tea.Then I know you definitely cannot resist a 3D Christmas Tree Cake,can you? This exceptional Christmas tree is made with a simple moist spice cake recipe along with using a special 3D Christmas tree cake pan.Even writing about it gets me energized! 
 
 
Now I know these recipes may sound taunting;however trust me on this that they are simple to prepare as well as clearly worth the time and effort to create them.Also, just think? Most of the effort is usually put into decorating the display with all your favorite candies,sprinkles as well as icing,which in the end is of course the best part of any Christmas display.Beside the eating part! So get those hands dirty in icing and create your very own unique holiday display this year.Also,be sure to get your children involved in the process because they will always have artistic ideas to share.
 

So overall I give these recipes two thumbs up.They all worked perfectly and helped in creating an elegant Christmas tree forest. So, if you want something unique this year then be sure to try one of these recipes for yourself, you will be delightfully surprised.

3D Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter,softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 tsp lemon extract 
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 oz ( 80 mls) cream cheese

Butter Icing 
(Adapted from Company's Coming:Cakes By Jean Pare)

  • 3 cups icing (confectioner's) sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter,softened
  • 3-4 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla



Beat all the ingredients in my kitchenaid stand mixer with the whisk attachment,until smooth.Can add more liquid or icing sugar as need.For decorating: icing spatula,piping bag,tips,couplers and food coloring.

Cookies

1.Whisked together flour,baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl,setting aside. 


2.With my kitchenaid stand mixer, I creamed the sugar and butter, until light and fluffy.


 3.Then I beat in the extracts,egg and cream cheese.Gradually adding the flour mixture, until combined.




4.Divided the dough in half and wrapped lightly in saran wrap.Refrigerating for atleast 1 hour.

  
5.Preheated the oven to 350F. Lined a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
 

6.Rolled the chill dough to 1/4 inch thickness on a floured or icing sugar dusted work surface.Then began cutting cookie shapes using the 3D christmas tree cookie cutter and place each shape on a baking sheet. Very Fragile!!
  


7.Then I baked the cookies for 12 minutes until edges were golden.Then removed them from the oven and cooled for 1-2 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfered to the wire rack.Cookies are very fragile and some can break.

8.Then I decorated each cookie with green icing using a piping bag and used sprinkles such as hollyberry,silver balls,confetti and green crystals.Then I let the icing harden slightly and began attaching tree's together very gently.Then I let them harden in the refrigerator overnight before creating the display.




Tips: Any extras that don't fit on the display is for eating.These melt in your mouth sugar cookies with sweet butter icing cannot be resisted by anyone!


3D Spice Christmas Tree Cake
(Adapted From Chefs Catalog: Nordicware Butter Rum Chirstmas Tree Cake)


  • 1 cup butter,softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup sour milk (1 cup milk and 1 tsp lemon juice)
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
  •  4 eggs

Butter Icing 
(Adapted from Company's Coming:Cakes By Jean Pare)
  • 3 cups icing (confectioner's) sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter,softened
  • 3-4 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Beat all ingredients in my kitchenaid stand mixer with the whisk attachment,until smooth.Can add more liquid or icing sugar as need.For decorating: icing spatula,piping bag,tips,couplers and food coloring.


Decorations

  • Star Candies
  • Red,Green And White Candies
  • Hollyberry sprinkles
  • Silver ball sprinkles
  • Confetti sprinkles
  • Green Sprinkles

 1.Preheated the oven to 325F. First,I buttered the christmas tree cake pan as well as lightly floured.Putting together the cake pan with pins and setting aside.
2.In a glass measuring cup,I measured 1 cup of 2% milk and 1 tsp of lemon juice,letting it sit for 10 minutes or until little lumps occur. 


3.With my kitchenaid stand mixer,I creamed the softened butter with the granulated sugar,until light and fluffy. 


4.Then I mixed the flour,baking powder, salt,nutmeg and cinnamon together in a medium bowl.Setting aside. 


5.Then began adding the sour milk,vanilla and eggs to the butter mixture,beating on low speed.Then I gradually added the flour mixture on low speed.After,I began beating the mixture for 3 minutes on medium speed,until fully combined. 


6.Then I proceeded to pour the cake batter into the cake pan,almost full leaving 4 cm or 1.5 inches from the rim to allow rising. Then tapped the cake pan lightly to elimate any bubbles and then placed the cake pan upright full of batter on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.The batter will slightly leak from the edges and top when baking.Any extra batter left?,I baked in my snowflake muffin tins (idea : igloos) 


7.Then I baked the cake for 50-60 minutes,until a toothpick came out clean. Baked the muffin until toothpick came out clean as well.Then I allowed the cake and muffins to cool overnight or can be cooled for 10 minutes.(Tip: Any cake scraps leftover from cutting are for eating! This moist,spiced,rich cake cannot be resisted.It smells like Christmas time!

 Decorating

1.Once ready to decorate.I released the cake from the pan and used a serrated knife to remove the uneven stump from the top and removed any uneven pieces on the tree. 


2.Then I used a little icing to stick the tree in the middle of my silver display board. Then began decorating the tree with red and green candies for lights as well as silver balls with red decorating gel.For an added touch I placed hollyberry spinkles on the tree and placed a sour star candy for a tree topper.




3.For the muffins, using a little bit of white icing I stuck them on each corner of the display board,showing the snowflake stencil.I then began cutting a small door to each muffin to create an  igloos and piped the top with white icing along the stencil of the snowflake.I also,iced the sides of the igloo muffins decorating them with silver ball sprinkles and sifting icing over top of each.

4.Around the edge of the silver display board using a star tip with white icing piped along the side I added red,green and white candies to create a border.

5.Then around the 3D Christmas tree cake. I began placing my fully decorated 3D christmas tree cookies as well as my christmas figures of a santa,reindeer and snowman. Once fully decorated I began sifting icing sugar overtop to create a winter wonderland forest.Then its time to show it off!


Celebrate Flavor Infusion!!

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Flavor infusion is all about creating your very own flavored oils and vinegars to enjoy in your home.They are simple as well as versatile, serving them as marinades, dressings,pesto's and even dipping sauces. The flavored vinegar's create a marvelous Christmas gift for friends and family, since they have a long shelf life.While the favored infused oils are best used once prepared such as a meat marinade or drizzled on salad at your next meal. These infusions are certainly worth a try since they are effortless to produce while including only two ingredients.They can be used with just about anything you can think of?

Just consider a simple Roasted Garlic Olive Oil that is purely made with garlic cloves as well as olive oil.I know you can think of many ways to add just that into your next meal!



Roasted Garlic Olive Oil


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 large garlic cloves,peeled and sliced in half lengthwise


I preheated my oven to 350F.Then placed the extra virgin olive oil in my small ramkin.Then proceeded to peel and cut the garlic lengthwise.Then I placed the cloves into the olive oil bath.


Then to help infused the flavor, I covered the ramkin with aluminium foil and cooked the mixture for 30-45 minute in the oven.I did this till the garlic was soft when pierced with a fork.


Then I removed the garlic from the mixture.These cloves can be easily used towards another recipe such as a meat rub,or in a sauce or soup.


Then I transferred the olive oil to a sterilized glass bottle.This oil can be used immediately or refrigerated for up to 3 days.It will slightly harden similar to gelatin,but will become a liquid at room temperature.


Once created,I included this flavored olive oil in my meal plan. I created a simple delicious spaghetti and meatball dish with a side of toasted garlic bread.This roasted garlic olive oil was wonderfully aromatic with a mild garlic flavor.It was delicious drizzled on fresh french bread and served along side a tomato based sauce.Its was also great as a rub for chicken along with a bread crumb crust.YumYum! So can you think what you might used this olive oil for? Overall, its a two thumbs for me in flavor,versatility and simplicity.

Homemade Condiments:Mustards And Mayonnaise

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Homemade condiments has done it again with creating an inexpensive as well as delicious homemade recipe.This time it's the ever so popular mayonnaise that continues to be regarded as a stable in many households.This specific homemade version actually overshadows the commercial brand in its flavor,but still doesn't hit the mark 100% in thickness as well as appearance.However Jessica Harlan has offered us recipe enthusiasts something more beneficial.Just consider, not only mayo?,but variations such as Dijon,Dilly Horseradish,Tarragon and even Bacon mayonnaise.Those new flavours make you forget all about the differences in store brand and makes you want to make these yourself. These recipes are all super easy to make and if you have a food processor or even a mini chopper at your disposable it will get the job done quick.If not? A whisk is the good old fashion way! So how about  a BLT with homemade bacon mayonnaise,sounds mouth-watering doesn't it.


Bacon Mayonnaise!!


Basic Mayo
  • 2 pasterized egg yolks (Dont Have? Branbrae liquid whole egg-measure 2 eggs)
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar (Try Balsamic vinegar for a variation)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 cup vegetable or corn oil (Dont have? Replace with olive oil)
  • 1 tsp salt or kosher salt,to taste
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice,to taste (Dont have? Replace with lemon juice concentrated)

Bacon Version
  • 3 strips of  finely chopped cooked bacon
  • 1 tsp of bacon fat/oil

For this recipe I used my wonderful Kitchenaid Mini Chopper to help quicken the process.However a whisk can get the job done just as well.


In the bowl of the mini chopper. I added the
equivalent of two eggs (Branbrae liquid whole egg), vinegar,water,dry mustard and bacon oil.Turning on my chopper to (chop) it began combining the mixture,till smooth and foamy. 


While holding down the button of the chopper,I began slowly adding the olive oil through the lids funnel,which also slowly drips in the liquid. During the process, the mixture began thickening and becoming creamier the more I added the oil. I used less then a cup of olive oil,which was around 200mls.

 
This mayonnaise will not be as thick as commerical brands, but thick enough to be used as a spread.Just remember were eliminating a lot of additives and extras by making our own. So it won't be exactly the same as store bought.It also will not have a very long shelf life and must be either used immediately upon making or stored and covered for up to three days in a refrigerator.Although with that little hiccup its definitely worth making and trying out the delicious variations.Its way better then the store bought.


Now for the flavor, I took off the lid and began adding the salt,lemon juice and finely cooked chopped bacon.Processing on low, till the bacon was immersed evenly throughout the mixture.Making sure to taste test, if I wished to add more salt or lemon juice,Although it was perfect as is. 


So once combined, I had extra bacon leftover and made a Toasted B.L.T. sandwich with the bacon mayo.The mayo itself was immersed in strong flavors. The saltiness of the bacon along with the dry mustard and of  course the signature tanginess from the vinegar as well as the lemon juice. It was deliciously thick and creamy while soaking though the toasted bread and melding the bacon,lettuce and tomato.A BLT is nothing without this essential condiment.

Overall,I give this bacon mayo recipe a two thumbs up.Its easy to make,full of flavor and inexpensive. 

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