An ideal Kentucky appetizer for Derby Day, or any spring party, this tasty combination will disappear quickly from your dinner table or buffet. Sweet potato and buttermilk biscuits are filled with country ham, fontina cheese, and spicy sweet raspberry and jalapeño sauce.
The biscuits are best on the day they are baked but you can make the dough ahead of time, cut and freeze, then thaw right before baking.
Pickled Grape Tomatoes
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 ½ cups distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
6-7 whole allspice berries
2 large bay leaves
3 cloves of garlic sliced thin
One week prior to serving: Wash, dry, and remove any stems from the tomatoes. Using a toothpick, poke a small hole through each tomato, end to end. In a one quart saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt with 3/4 cup of water. Bring to a simmer, stirring until all sugar and salt is dissolved. Fill a clean glass container with the tomatoes. Add the peppercorns, coriander, allspice, bay leaves, and garlic to the container. Pour the hot brine over to cover completely, discard any leftover brine. Let cool completely, then refrigerate for 1 week prior to serving. Can be stored refrigerated for up to 1 month.
Mini Sweet Potato Biscuits
12-ounces sweet potato
¾ cup buttermilk, chilled
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cold, and cut into small cubes
The day prior, preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake until tender, or a fork passes easily through the potatoes, about 45 minutes. Let the potatoes cool slightly, then peel and puree in a food processor. Refrigerate overnight. The next day, measure out one cup for the biscuits.
Preheat oven to 450˚ F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the chilled sweet potato and the buttermilk. Place back in the refrigerator to keep cold. In a large wide bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour until the butter is the size of peas. Add the sweet potato/buttermilk mixture and mix until just combined and a soft dough forms; try to avoid over mixing. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Flour your hands and pat the dough carefully into a round shape then flatten the dough to 1-inch thickness. Cut as many biscuits as possible with a floured 1½” metal biscuit cutter. Place the biscuits on a parchment lined sheet tray. Pat the remaining dough together and cut out the remaining biscuits. Bake 13-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 30 mini biscuits.
Fresh Jalapeño and Raspberry Sauce
1 whole jalapeño pepper
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
¼ cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoons molasses
⅛ teaspoon salt
Cut 6 slits down the length of the jalapeño almost to the bottom; cutting through just the skin and membrane but not completely cutting open the pepper. Be careful when preparing the pepper, the idea is to just cook out the flavor so you don’t want to cut it completely open. In a small saucepan, add the jam, sugar, vinegar, molasses, salt and jalapeño. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat; remove and discard the jalapeño. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer; set aside.
15 slices of country ham, sliced paper-thin, at room temperature
30 Sweet potato biscuits
15 slices Italian Fontina cheese, sliced very thin
30 novelty sandwich picks
Preheat the oven broiler. Cut the biscuits in half and spread on the halves ¼ teaspoon per side with fresh jalapeno & raspberry sauce. Top with ½ piece of country ham, folded or torn to fit, and ½ piece of cheese. Place under the broiler to just melt the cheese. Remove from the oven and top with the other biscuit half and a sandwich pick fitted with a pickled cherry tomato. Makes 30 mini biscuit sandwiches.
Greet spring in a cheerful manner at any holiday celebration with these cute birds’ nest lemon cheesecake trifles. Using a no-bake recipe, the lemon cheesecake is a yummy whipped mixture of lemon curd and mascarpone. The “nest” is made with thinly slice phyllo dough, topped with cinnamon/sugar and the base is shortbread crumbles. If you need to cut some time, you can always use high-quality store-purchased shortbread cookies.
Phyllo Dough Nest
6 sheets of phyllo dough
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet tray. Cut 6 sheets of phyllo dough in half to make 12 shorter sheets. Roll together tightly and very thinly slice into long thin pieces then transfer to a baking sheet carefully separating the layers. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle with butter, then with cinnamon sugar. Bake until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and cool completely.
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for the pan
½ cup plus two tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
6 glass serving cups
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter an 8×8” pan. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes. Fold in flour and vanilla and blend until a soft dough forms. Press into the 8” x 8” pan and bake until light brown, about 40 minutes; remove and cool completely. Crumble then divide equally among the cups and press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the cups.
Lemon Cream Cheese Layers
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
¾ cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
2½ cups cold heavy cream
1 cup homemade or store-bought lemon curd
Candy bird eggs
Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat mascarpone, powdered sugar, and lemon zest in a large bowl until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the cream. When combined, increase the speed to medium and beat until medium peaks form. Transfer half of mascarpone mixture to another bowl. Add the lemon curd to the remaining half and beat in until combined.
Dividing the mixtures evenly, layer the lemon curd mixture over the shortbread crumbs in each cup followed by the plain mascarpone /cream mixture. Smooth the top, cover, and refrigerate for at least two hours and up until 24.
When ready to serve, form a nest in the top of each cup using the shorter pieces of cinnamon phyllo in the center and longer on the outside. Add the candy eggs into the center of the nest and serve immediately.
A plate of pretty ornaments, our Orange Cardamom Butter Cookies are decorated with fresh-squeezed orange juice icing and pastel dragées. Full of the taste of the season, these are a favorite on our holiday cookie plates.2 ½ cups, All purpose flour we prefer White Lily flour
1-1/4 tsp of ground cardamom
½ tsp salt
3 sticks of unsalted butter
1 cup plus 2 tbs sugar
1-1/2 tsp finely grated fresh orange peel
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 extra large egg – room temperature
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 to 1 ½ tsp fresh orange juice
Whisk the flour, cardamom, and salt together. Using an electric mixer beat the butter until creamy about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat to blend together. Reduce the mixture to low and work in all the flour slowly. Separate the dough into two balls, place in a zip top bag and shape each one into a disk. Refrigerate for 24-36 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Working with one disk of dough at a time, remove from the refrigerator and let the dough stand for 15 minutes. Roll the dough out into a 1/8’ thickness and cut out shapes. Gather dough scrapes together into a ball and refrigerate for several minutes until cold. Re-roll and re-cut shapes. Repeat with the other disk of dough. As you cut them, place the cut cookies in the refrigerator to keep the shapes cold until time to bake.
Place on a parchment lined baking sheets 3 inches apart and bake for 14-16 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for a few minutes on the sheet and remove to racks to cool completely.
When the cookies have completely cooled mix the powdered sugar with the orange juice to form a thick glaze. Drizzle on the cookies and decorate with French Dragees. Makes 52 cookies.
Bright and cheerful, these holiday Strawberry Jam Thumbprint cookies are topped with a tangy lemon icing. Easy to make – simply roll, press, fill, and bake. They make a perfect addition to any cookies plate.
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup strawberry jam
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and blend the mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in the egg yolk and combine the mixture until it forms a soft dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Let the dough soften slightly, then roll level tablespoons into balls and arrange them about 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each ball, being careful not to crack the dough. Fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of strawberry jam and bake the cookies in batches in the middle of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 2 minutes, transfer them to racks, and let them cool completely.
Combine the confections sugar with the lemon juice to make a thick icing. Use a small piping bag to ice the cookie or drizzle with a fork. Makes 36 cookies.
No snickering here, just some real cookie love with these Snickerdoodles. A perfect holiday cookie, they will ignite your home with the smell of the holidays. We added some easy-to-make homemade cinnamon chips to kick the flavor up a notch.
To make the cinnamon chips:
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 200˚F. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, shortening, light corn syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a dough. Spread on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and flatten into a rough square about 1/4 inch or so thick. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely, blot off any excess oil with paper towels, and then cut into small pieces. Makes approximately 2 cups.
To make the cookies:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2¾ cups plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup of Cinnamon Chips
½ cup granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars at high speed until light and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of the bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add egg and vanilla, beating until well combined
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating just until combined. Stir in 1 cup cinnamon chips until evenly distributed
Add the remaining granulated sugar to a bowl. Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, scoop the dough, and roll into balls. Roll balls in the sugar. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Place on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown and puffed up, 14 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pans then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.
These cookie bars are as delicious as they are festive! A quick and easy recipe, these make a great addition to your holiday cookie plate. Our simple, sweet base is topped with strawberry jam then a crunchy streusel topping that browns lightly in the oven. The recipe makes 16-servings but you can cut them small for 2-bite servings.
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten, room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
8-ounce container mascarpone cheese, room temperature
zest of one lemon
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of kosher salt
1 cup flour
1 cup strawberry jam, homemade or high quality
For the streusel topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup butter, room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350°F Lightly butter and flour an 8 x8” pan. Whisk together the melted butter and sugar in a bowl. Add the egg and vanilla extract, mascarpone cheese, lemon zest, and mix thoroughly until smooth batter forms. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. Add the flour mixture in three amounts to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Pour into the pan and spread evenly. Then top with the strawberry jam, spreading evenly over the batter.
Make the streusel:
In the bowl, use your hands to combine the butter, flour, sugar, and vanilla until your crumbs have a coarse and clumpy texture – about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Using your hands sprinkle the streusel evenly on top of the jam.
Place in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the center is set and the streusel is lightly brown. Allow cooling on a wire rack. Cut into 16 squares.