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Crispy Stuffing Balls with Cranberry Sauce Dip

Crispy Stuffing Balls with Cranberry Sauce Dip

The deliciously crunchy stuffing edges on this appetizer are so good you’ll find yourself saving the Thanksgiving stuffing just to make them. Prepared stuffing is combined with cheese and egg, and cranberry relish is transformed into a sweet and tart dipping sauce when these Thanksgiving stars are used in this leftover makeover.

 

Stuffing Balls
INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup finely chopped onion
¼  cup finely chopped celery
1 carrot, grated
2 cups prepared stuffing
1 egg, whisked
½  cup shredded fontina cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

 

INSTRUCTIONS
Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the butter in a sauté pan on medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, and cook until crisp-tender, stirring frequently, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Add the remaining ingredients to a large bowl then add the vegetables. Mix until well combined and using a 1 ½“cookie scoop, form into 24-28 balls. Place on the parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 18 minutes or until browned and crispy. Remove to a plate and serve warm with the Cranberry Dipping Sauce. Makes 24-28 appetizers.

 

Cranberry Dipping Sauce 
INGREDIENTS
1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
1 ½ teaspoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons cranberry vinegar*
1 cup Cranberry Relish, preferably New England Style Apple-Orange
Dash ground cinnamon

 

INSTRUCTIONS
In a saucepan, combine the cornstarch and orange juice, whisking until smooth. Stir in the brown sugar, vinegar, cranberry sauce, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring until thickened. Add to a high-speed blender and purée until smooth. Strain into a bowl and serve warm with the Stuffing Balls.

 

* While Cranberry Vinegar is preferred,  Apple Cider Vinegar can be substituted.

Hasselback Butternut Squash with Birch Syrup, Sage, & Pecans

Hasselback Butternut Squash with Birch Syrup, Sage, & Pecans

Always a holiday favorite, Butternut Squash get a new look when being served “hasselback” style. A Swedish technique using thin slices, the squash is baked with birch syrup, butter, and garlic creating a tasty dish that’s as delicious as it is pretty. The finished squash is then topped with parsley, chopped pecans, and freshly ground pink peppercorns.

 

Birch syrup comes from White Birch Trees and has a delicious earthy flavor. It can be ordered online or substituted with maple syrup.

 

INGREDIENTS
Olive oil for the pan
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, finely grated
3 tablespoons birch syrup, or substitute preferably grade B maple syrup
Kosher salt
1 butternut squash
2 tablespoons fresh chopped Parsley
¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
Freshly ground pink peppercorns 

 

INSTRUCTIONS
Heat oven to 425°F . Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly brush the paper lightly with olive oil.

 

Melt the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat until it starts to turn golden. Add chopped sage and, allow the sage to “fry” slightly in the hot butter. Remove from the heat and whisk in the grated garlic, birch syrup, and a ¼ teaspoon kosher salt.

 

Meanwhile, peel butternut squash and halved it lengthwise; scoop out and discard the seeds. Place the squash flat side down. Place a wooden chopstick or thin handled wooden spoon, one on each side, of the squash half. Carefully cut slits ¼ inch apart down the rounded side of squash, using the chopsticks or wooden spoon as a guide so you avoid cutting all the way through squash. Place the 8 small bay leaves in some of the slits.

 

Season squash the with ½ teaspoon salt and place in the oven. After 20 minutes, remove and lightly brush with the butter/syrup mixture. Continue cooking, brushing with the butter/syrup mixture every 10 minutes, until the squash is tender about 20-30 minutes longer.

 

When the squash is tender, remove from the oven and carefully move to a serving platter. Arrange tightly together. Pour over the remaining butter mixture and top with fresh chopped parsley, chopped pecans and fresh ground pink peppercorns.

Banana Maple Cookies with Toasted Pecans and Brown Butter Maple Icing

Banana Maple Cookies with Toasted Pecans and Brown Butter Maple Icing

These oat-filled fall cookies taste like banana bread with a touch of maple. Iced with a delicious frosting made from nutty-flavored brown butter and more maple, the cookies are then topped with a whole toasted pecan. Perfect on a chilly afternoon with a warm cup of cider or tea.

INGREDENTS
24-28 whole pecan halves
12 tablespoons butter, softened
cup maple sugar
cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
½  teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large banana, very ripe, about ¾ cup
¾  cup oats
1 ¾  cups flour
½  teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Brown butter maple icing (below)

 

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

Place the whole pecans on a parchment lined sheet tray. Place in the oven and toast for 8-9 minutes until browned. Set aside to cool.

 

Using a stand mixer, Beat the butter, maple sugar and brown sugar together until smooth and fluffy. Add in the egg, vanilla extract, and banana and stir it into the sugar mixture. In a separate bowl combine together the oats, flour, salt, and baking powder. Slowly add to the wet ingredients, just mixing until combined. Cover tightly and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

 

Using a small 1 ½” scoop, place the dough scoops about 1½” apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Press gently to flatten. You should get about 24-28 cookies. Place in the oven and bake until light brown, about 15-18 minutes. Remove and cool completely.

 

Brown Butter Maple Icing
INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
¼ cup maple syrup
Pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the butter until it turns a deep golden brown and smells nutty. Remove from the heat and let it cool slightly. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup, and salt until smooth. The icing should be thick. If it’s too thin, add a bit more confectioners’ sugar. If it’s too thick, add a few drops of water. Spread on cookies and top with a toasted whole pecan half.

Mushroom & Sausage Skull Calzones

Mushroom & Sausage Skull Calzones

Perfect for a Halloween dinner – not-so-scary meat, veggies, and cheese stuffed inside skull calzones floating in a pool of delicious marinara tomato sauce. These sausage, mushrooms, onion, red pepper, mozzarella, and ricotta Halloween twisted calzones will make a delicious and fun start to your evening festivities.

Calzones
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the pan
One pound pizza dough, home-made or high-quality store purchased
4 spicy Italian sausages, pork or chicken, casings removed
½  large red bell pepper
1 cup of onion, sliced thin
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cups coarsely grated mozzarella cheese
8 ounces ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons parmesan
Special Equipment – Nordic Ware Halloween Mini Skull Cakelet Pan

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Lightly brush the skull pan with olive oil. Cut the pizza dough into 6 equal pieces. Stretch or roll into 4”x 8” pieces. In a sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the sausage. Cook until slightly brown then add the bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms and cook 10 minutes longer or until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and add the mozzarella, ricotta cheese, and parmesan. Working one at a time, lay dough into a skull cavity. Add one sixth of the mixture. Gently stretch and fold the dough over the fillings and pinch together to seal. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Place in the oven and bake 30- 35 minutes. Rest for 5-10 minutes, remove from molds and place in a shallow bowl of the marinara sauce.

Quick Marinara
16 ounce can chopped Italian tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Combine tomato sauce, olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper in a blender and process to a slightly chunky consistency. Transfer the sauce to a saucepan and heat on the stovetop or in a bowl and microwave until warm. Pour a small amount to just cover the bottom of warmed serving bowls and serve with a skull placed in the center of each bowl.

Black Chocolate Brownies with Marshmallow Spider Webs

Black Chocolate Brownies with Marshmallow Spider Webs

Black cocoa powder, a super-dark Dutch-process cocoa, will make these the darkest chocolate brownies you’ve ever seen. Perfect for Halloween and covering with stretchy melted marshmallows to make tasty, but scary, spider-filled webs.

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup unsalted butter, cubed, plus more for the pan
6 ounces semi-sweet Guittard chocolate baking bars, broken into small pieces
1½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup black cocoa powder
1 ½  teaspoons kosher salt
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

 

INSTRUCTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9” baking pan with parchment, letting excess extend over sides of pan and lightly grease with butter. In the top of a double boiler, place the chocolate pieces and the butter. Cook over simmering water, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Turn off heat, and whisk in sugars. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly. 

 

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, black cocoa, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, lightly whisk eggs. Add half of beaten eggs to chocolate mixture, whisking until combined. Add remaining beaten eggs, and whisk until combined. Whisk in vanilla. Fold in flour mixture until just combined. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake until a pick inserted in center comes out with only a few crumbs, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan and remove the parchment.

 

Marshmallow Spider Webs
INGREDIENTS:
8-10 full size marshmallows
White sanding sugar
Plastic Spiders, cleaned & washed

 

INSTRUCTIONS:
Melt the marshmallows in the microwave for 30 seconds. Whisk until smooth. Using your fingertips, grab small pieces of the marshmallows and stretch it over the brownies, attaching on the edges of the brownies. Sprinkle with sanding sugar and top with the plastic spiders.

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Brown Butter Maple Icing and Caramelized Walnuts and Pepitos

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Brown Butter Maple Icing and Caramelized Walnuts and Pepitos

It’s Pumpkin Spice time and we have it all wrapped up in a tasty Bundt Cake. Filled with a tunnel of vanilla cream cheese and topped with brown butter icing and caramelized nuts, the cake is spiced with a blend of allspice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. It’s the American quintessential flavor of fall.

Cream cheese filling
8 oz. cream cheese
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
Bundt cake
12 Tbsp. softened butter, plus more for the pan
2¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. ginger
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. salt
1 can pumpkin purée, 15 ounces
¾ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
3 large eggs

Using a hand held or stand mixer, in a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla bean paste until smooth. Add to a large plastic disposal piping bag, being careful to keep the cream cheese 2-1/2 inches away from the pointed end, and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush a Bundt pan with butter, then lightly flour and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt; set aside.

In another mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, buttermilk, and vanilla; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand-held mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, about

5 minutes scraping down the sides as needed so all is beaten well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well incorporated after each addition. Add in about ⅓ of the dry flour mixture, followed by ½ of the wet pumpkin mixture, and repeat ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix until just combined, being careful to not overbeat.

Pour ¾ of the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Tap the pan on the counter several time to release any air bubbles. Snip off 2-1/2” off pointed end of the piping bag. Insert the ending down into the center of the batter and pipe the cream cheese into the batter to make a tunnel in the center. Spoon the remaining batter over the top and smooth to even it out.

Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan, then invert onto cooling rack. Cool completely.

Caramelized Walnuts and Pepitos
1 cups raw walnut halves
½ cup pepitos
½ cup sugar
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lay the walnuts and pepitos out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 5-8 minutes, until just slightly darker in color and fragrant. Set aside to cool. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper.

Add the sugar into a medium saucepan and place over medium high heat. When the sugar begins to melt, stir with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until all the sugar has melted and the color is a medium

amber. Add the nuts and stir quickly to coat all. Pour the nuts out on to the lined sheet tray and, working quickly, spread them out by using two forks to separate the nuts into small cluster. Sprinkle with the salt and cool completely.

Brown Butter Maple Icing
4 Tablespoons butter
⅔ cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoons milk

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, watching the butter carefully, and swirling the pan until the butter begins to turn amber in color.

Remove butter from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar and maple syrup until smooth. Add the milk, a few drops at a time, and only if the icing needs to be thinned. Spoon the icing over top of the cake and immediately top with the candied walnuts