Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Best Of Bridge Holiday Classics: Final Food Gifts

Merry Christmas Eve Everyone! This is it, the very last day to squeeze in that last minute gift shopping as well as wrapping.I hope most of you have not come to that and are relaxing with a nice cup of hot cocoa.However for the ones that couldn't find the time and are stuck on a person they have no idea what to get for this year. I can suggest a great solution to your gift dilemma. How about the quickest food gift you could ever create, that is extremely thoughtful and will not eat a hole in your pocket. 

Now who could say no to that? I wouldn't. That is why the bridges ladies have you covered this holiday season by sharing their delicious recipe for Crazy Crunch in the Best of Bridge Holiday Classics.This popcorn treat can be created in a quick 35 minutes tops and is perfect for just about anyone.Its also highly adaptable if allergies are a concern or to bring your own creativity to the mix.This recipe is simple to follow,budget friendly and most of the ingredients could be found in most pantries during this season,especially to an avid baker.

This will be the most memorable gift you will make this year and will be highly appreciated.So be sure to fill a charming Christmas tin with this homemade crazy crunch along with a nice ribbon on top and let it speak for itself. The receiver will be surprised how much work you put towards such a special gift and we will know how simple it really was to make.However its all about the flavor and texture of this popcorn treat and if it's a hit or miss.If they love caramel then your golden because this is a very crunchy and sweet caramel popcorn mix with fresh almonds and pecans pieces.It definitely delivers in flavor and is highly addictive.I would give anyone far warning before eating this crazy crunch

 So, if you're in a bind this Christmas eve for a gift.Then I highly recommend you make this special popcorn mix.This is definitely a two thumbs up recipe with great flavor and simplicity. So head on down to the kitchen and get started? "I dare yeah" "I triple dog dare ya"! Enjoy!

Lastly,for this Christmas eve,I thought I wrap up the Best of Bridge Holiday Classic cookbook for you and mention I had an excellent time. I love that each recipe was great for any level of cook or baker.The recipes were simple and delivered exactly as promised.Overall, I give a two big thumbs up to the Best of Bridge Cookbook.These ladies knew exactly what good homemade food was all about. "Simple recipes with gourmet results".I also say thank you and a Merry Christmas to all at the Robert Rose Incorporated.Also,thank you to all my lovely viewers,friends and family.I hope you all have a great holiday

Crazy Crunch

Yields about 10 cups(2.5 L)

2 quarts (2L) ( 8+cups) popped popcorn
1 1/3 cup pecans,halved
2/3 cups whole almond
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup margarine or butter
1/2 cup corn syrup

I popped the popcorn and measured 10 cups.I mixed the popcorn,pecans and almonds on a cookie sheet.

Then in a large frying pan over low heat.I combined sugar,vanilla,margarine and syrup.Once melted down.I boiled it for 10-15 minutes or until a light caramel color.

Then I poured the mixture over the popcorn mixture and mixed well.This has to be done quickly before the syrup hardens and sticks the pan.Then spread to let dry on pan.

My Tip: To avoid this issue all together.Mix the popcorn,pecans and almonds in a large bowl and then add the caramel sauce to thoroughly mix.This is quicker to combine everything and to spread quickly on a cookie sheet to dry.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Best Of Bridge:Holiday Classics:Food Gifts

Do you need a special Christmas gift this year? Why not,a homemade gift? They are extremely thoughtful and great for the hard to get person.Homemade is the most generous gift you can give.Everyone appreciates the hard work you put towards creating something for them.So if you're on board, I can definitely help you out by suggesting some lovely food gifts that will certainly impress.

The Best Of Bridge Holiday Classic has a vast variety of food gifts such as nut mixes,brittles and even chutneys.The bridge ladies cover just about all the simple edible gifts that you can give at Christmas.The recipes also have a long shelf life,meaning you can definitely make them ahead to save time and the treats look lovely in just about any container.Now the gifts that I made were Cranberry pistachio bark and turtles.

The cranberry pistachio bark is a very quick as well as simple treat to create.The recipe is easy to understand and is adaptable if necessary.The recipe also includes ingredients that are expensive;however well worth the cost for the overall product.The bark is quick to make; however it does includes a one hour to overnight wait so It can be definitely made ahead of time if necessary.

 Now, it may be expensive to create this treat,but the person you give this to will definitely be surprised with how much work you put towards it.The cranberry pistachio bark is a beautiful and delicate treat with creamy white chocolate scattered with red cranberries along with lime green roasted pistachios.This combination is exceptional and the colors just pop through the white chocolate.However the flavor is what everyone is looking for and I will say now that it is delightful.The white chocolate has a smooth as well as creamy consistency with a slight sweetness.The pistachios have a soft, velvety crunch with a nutty flavor and lastly the cranberries are sweet and tart.Every ingredient balances one another out to create an excellent chocolate bark.It a beautiful,simple and effortless recipe and I give it two thumbs up.

Now we cannot leave out our special little turtles, now can we?.Everyone knows about these little guys and what they taste like.But what if I said that these homemade ones are much better,would you believe me? Well your gonna have to find out and make this simple turtle recipe.But try one out if you are giving them away as a gift because they are too good to just give all away.

These turtles are simple as can be to make and are cheaper in the long run then the store bought.You can make 50 chocolates or more with this recipe.It does include expensive ingredients however you end up with alot more and better quality.The recipe is also easy to follow as per usual with the bridge ladies and include excellent tips.Its also a treat that you must work quickly with in assembling and to constantly be at watch. But besides that it's actually a very fun treat to create and be able to test out the end product.

 Now of course the best part is the taste testing and I would say its much better then the store bought.The turtles melt in your mouth instantly with a very smooth and rich quality milk chocolate.The pecans are fresh with a soft crunch and the caramel is gooey, creamy and sweet.Its just the best combination ever and anyone would be super lucky to receive these as a gift.I know I would be. It gets another two thumbs up from me.  

So take your pick and see how good they really are.


Cranberry Pistachio Bark

1 lb good quality White Chocolate (Lindt)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup shelled pistachios

I melted the chocolate in the top of a double boiler.Then I let it cool to room temperature.

Using already roasted unsalted pistachio,I shelled 1 cup.If roasting raw, shell 1 cup of pistachios and place on a cookie sheet to bake at 350F for 5 to 7 minutes.Then set aside to cool.
Then I stirred in the cranberries and pistachios into the melted chocolate.Then I pour the mixture onto a large 15 by 10 inch rimmed baking sheet.Then I let it set for 1 hour to overnight in the refrigerator and then broke into pieces.

Yield 50+ turtles

50 caramels,unwrapped
2 tbsp half and half cream
1 1/2 lb good quality milk chocolate (Used 2 Bars Water bridge Belgian Milk Chocolate)
150  whole pecans or halves

Placed wrapped caramels in the freezer for 30 minutes to help the wrapper come off more easily.I placed the caramels in a small pot over low heat and added cream.

In a double boiler,I melted the milk chocolate to a smooth consistency.

I lined two large cookies sheet with waxed paper,greasing the bottoms to help the paper stay in place.I made the turtles by placing 3 pecans on the cookie sheet in a Y shape and if the pieces were to big I placed two on the bottom and one on top. They all should be about 1 to 2 inches apart.

Then once the caramels were melted, I spooned about 1 tsp each over the top of the pecans.Then I placed them in the freezer for 15 minutes.

After I pick each turtle with a fork and submerge it in the melted chocolate.I held each turtle above the pan to let excess chocolate fall into bowl and then placed it back on to the waxed paper cookie sheet.Then I let the turtles set in the refrigerator and once done I store them in an airtight container and kept in a cool place.

Tip:Leftover chocolate and caramel.Make more turtles if you have more pecan on hands.If not use towards another recipe or make caramel chocolates with candy molds.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Best Of Bridge:Holiday Classics: Desserts And Other Sweet Treats

This holiday season,I have the perfect after dinner dessert that is unique as well as elegant.A raspberry pecan tart with sour cream glaze is wonderful for special occasions and will amaze your family and friends,as along as everyone loves pecans that is?

The Raspberry pecan tart is an excellent choice for something different from the usual pie or cake served during the season.Its a dessert that is surprisingly simple to make and overall becomes a very decadent tart.Now the recipe itself is very easy and direct for everybody to understand,including plenty of tips and even room for adapting.However I've learned that its very important to always use a spring form pan for tarts as well as having plenty of time for prep along with baking.Beside those important tid bits it was a breeze to create such an exquisite dessert. Plus everyone will speculate you slaved around the kitchen all day for them, but we will know better.

Now with such an accomplished tart you must want to know what it tastes like? Right? Yes of  course, you do!.Well I will say right off the bat that this was a brand new flavor and texture experience for me.This tart had a delightful, buttery, flaky crust along with a slight lemon flavor. The fillings were of a sweet,smooth raspberry jam mixed with fresh chopped pecan while the top was layered with a lemony,buttery pecan mixture.Followed last with a delicious and rich sour cream glaze drizzled over top.So overall,this tart is full of unique flavors and textures,along with a beautiful presentation.This is one of my favorite tarts that I have made so for and I highly recommend everyone try it as well.

So to rate this Raspberry Pecan tart with a sour cream glaze.I will give it two big thumbs up for flavor,texture,appearance and simplicity.Also, just to let you know, there is still time to change your dessert line up for Christmas this year. So be sure to give this tart a chance to surprise you and come back soon to see a chapter all on treats that you can give as gifts this year.

Raspberry Pecan Tart With Sour Cream Glaze

Flaky Lemon Pastry Crust

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 large egg
1 tbsp grated lemon zest (replacement option 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice concentrated)


1 cup raspberry jam
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp grated lemon zest (replacement option 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice concentrated)
1 cup finely chopped pecans


1 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup confectioners (icing sugar)


I mixed together the flour,baking powder and sugar.Then I cut in the butter, until mixture resembled coarse meal.

Then I beat in the egg and lemon zest, until just combined.Did not Overmix! Then I pat down the dough onto the bottom of a well greased 10 inch springform pan and bake it at 350 F for 25 minutes,until the top was lightly browned.Allowed crust to cool.


I chopped 1/2 cup pecan, finely.In a small bowl,I stirred together the raspberry jam and the pecans.Then spread the mixture evenly over the cooled baked crust.

I chopped 1 cup pecans, finely.I creamed the butter and sugar together,adding the eggs one at a time,beating throughly after each.Then I stirred in the vanilla,lemon zest or juice, and the 1 cup of the chopped pecans,until blended.

I poured the nut mixture over the jam.Baked the tart at 350F for 40 minutes,until the filling was set and top was golden brown.Cool.


Stirred together the sour cream,vanilla and icing sugar.Then drizzled it over top the tart.Then its ready to serve.

Best Of Bridge Holiday Classics:Squares

It's only six more days till Christmas and now we really need to cram in our to do lists.We all have that last minute shopping as well as decorating to finish;however if you are like me the most important part is squeezing in sometime for baking to share with family and friends.

So if you need some special treats to dazzle your guests this Christmas.I can definitely help you out in that department with highly recommending some delicious holiday squares.These squares are quick to fit in every ones schedule and are worry free.Just think about how impressed your guests will be when you serve them sweet and tart cranberry squares along with dark chocolate raspberry truffle squares. I think I might of convinced you already?

If I haven't ? Then you will be, when I mention that each of these recipes are great for any level of baker and are very budget friendly.Who can say no to that? The recipes are also straight to the point along with giving tips when necessary.They deliver exactly as promised and not to mention the bridge ladies have never steered me wrong, .They are all about creating delicious gourmet recipes that are simple for all of us to master.

Though the best part of all about these recipes are there splendid balance of flavor,appearance and texture.The cranberry squares are a delightful combination of sweet and tart, along with a caramelized topping and a wonderfully buttery crust.The overall image is vibrant and classic. While the truffle squares are as decadent as you can get with rich dark chocolate paired with sweet raspberry jam.They are pure bliss with a brownie base that is being compared to fudge, along with a creamy, chocolate topping sprinkled with fresh raspberries. This has become my favorite among the recipes because it is so simple to make and overall is the fanciest dessert.These delicious squares acquire a big two thumbs from me.Also,I highly recommend you serve these treats this Christmas or even as a gift.They are definitely to die for. So hurry, hurry! And create your treats. 

Cranberry Squares


1/2 cup cold unsalted or salted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all purpose flour


1 1/2 cups frozen cranberries
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt


I cut the butter into the sugar and flour in a medium sized bowl using a pastry blender,until it resembled bread crumbs. Tip: Can use a food processor.

Then I patted the crumbs into an 8 inch square pan evenly and baked it for 15-20 minutes,until golden brown.


In a saucepan, I cooked the frozen cranberries and 1/4 cup brown sugar together over medium-high heat until the berries were softened and the skin began to pop,about 10 minutes.Then I let it cool off the heat.Don't bother thawing the cranberries.

In a large bowl,I beat the eggs with a whisk and gradually added the brown sugar.Beating until thickened.Then I added the vanilla,beating in.

In a small bowl, I combined the flour,baking powder and salt.I added the dry mixture to the egg mixture,beating in.

Then I stirred in the cooled cranberry mixture and spread the batter over the cooked crust.

I then bake it at 350 F for 35- 40 minutes,until golden brown on top and toothpick came out clean.Do Not Overbake!

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Squares


3 1-oz squares unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup raspberry jam
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour


2 tbsp heavy or whipping cream
2 tbsp raspberry jam
2 tbsp butter
4 1-oz squares semisweet chocolate,chopped
1 cup fresh raspberries 


I preheated the oven to 350F and lined a 8 inch glass square pan with foil,greased it thoroughly and set it aside.

I combined chocolate,butter and jam in a small saucepan.On low heat,stirring until melted and smooth.Then removed it from the heat.

Then in a medium bowl, I beat the eggs with a whisk,until foamy.Then I mixed in the sugar,vanilla and chocolate mixture.I also stirred in the flour,just until blended.

Then lastly I spread the batter evenly on the pan and baked for 35 minutes,until set.Cooled completely on a rack.


I chopped up the semisweet chocolate,setting aside.I then combined the cream,jam and butter in a saucepan,Heated until simmer,stirred until melted.Then I removed it from the heat and added the chocolate,stirring until smooth.I let it stand for about 30 minutes, until cool and soft.

Then I quickly spread the topping over the brownie base evenly and sprinkled the fresh raspberry on top.Then I chilled the brownies until cold and cut them into small squares.