Holiday Pannacotta

Holiday Pannacotta – Candy Coated Culinista

Here is another one of those recipes on my must make list from time that I am all of a sudden feeling the need to tackle. With it still being the holiday season; I say having a few pannacotta’s in the fridge ready to serve any visitors would be a splendid treat.

Yield/Serving: 10
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 25 min
Difficulty level is: Easy

From Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook


• 2 cups whole milk
• 2 cups heavy cream
• 2/3 cups granulated sugar
• 2 vanilla beans
• 5 sheets of gelatin
Sweet poached rhubarb
• 14oz sliced rhubarb, poached with one ball of stem ginger, ¾ cup + 5 tsp of Proseco, 1 tbsp of superfine sugar, and a fine grating of orange zest, serve with baby mint leaves and crushed nuts or almond biscotti.
C.C.’s South American Sauce (my sauce idea)
• 1 passionfruit, 1 tamarillo and granadilla to the South American inspired sauce, boiled in a little water and sugar to thicken.

1. In a saucepan over low heat pour milk, cream and sugar.
2. Halve the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out and place in saucepan followed by the vanilla bean halves.
3. Heat over low heat for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
4. Soak gelatin sheets in cold water for a few minutes.
5. Remove saucepan from the heat, drain the gelatin and squeeze out any excess water.
6. Stir in the cream until gelatin is dissolved.
7. Whisk again to evenly distribute the vanilla seeds and then divide amongst pudding molds or ramekins.
8. Place on a pan, cover and let set in the fridge for at least 3 hours. (They can stay in the fridge for up to 2 days)
9. When ready to serve, dip half of each mold into a bowl of hot water for 5 seconds and give the mold a little shake to ease the pannacotta out.
10. Place on a plate and serve.

• Use gelatin powder and follow instructions accordingly.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I saw this strange fruit the other day at the grocery store and it was tamarillo and since the label said it was from South America I went and picked up some passionfruit and granadilla to go along with it as they all seems to be seedy fruits. My pannacotta came out splendidly and since I was afraid it wouldn’t set I left them in overnight just to be extra sure. It was creamy with the specks of vanilla beans and the rich sauce. I quite enjoyed it and the rhubarb was tart and a touch sweet a great combination and the South American sauce was divine.

Holiday Pannacotta – Candy Coated Culinista

Christmas Dinner: Showstopper Dessert – Buche de Noel (Yule log)

Christmas Dinner: Showstopper Dessert – Buche de Noel (Yule log) – Candy Coated Culinista

Wow your Christmas dinner guests with this showstopper of a dessert.

Yield/Serving: 12-14
Prep Time: 30 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium, time consuming when decorating if this is your first time decorating


• 4 large free–range eggs
• ½ cup confectioners’ sugar , plus extra for dusting
• ½ cup self-raising flour
• 2 tablespoons quality unsweetened cocoa powder
• 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 8oz tin of sweetened chestnut purée
• 1 pinch ground cinnamon
• ¾ cup + 5 tsp heavy cream
• 1 tbsp liquid honey
• 1 Crunchie bar, or 1 ½ oz honey comb
• 5 oz quality dark chocolate (70%)
• 11 tbsp unsalted butter , (at room temperature)
• 1 heaping cup icing sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. For the sponge, line a 12” x 10” baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Separate the eggs.
4. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks with a pinch of sea salt.
5. Gradually whisk in the icing sugar, then, one-by-one, whisk in the egg yolks until really pale and light.
6. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder, add the vanilla bean paste, then fold everything together with a large metal spoon so you keep in as much air as possible.
7. Spoon the mixture into the lined baking sheet, gently and evenly spread it out, then bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until just cooked through and springy to the touch.
8. Place a large sheet of parchment paper (18” x 12”) on a flat surface and evenly sprinkle over the sugar from a height.
9. While it’s still hot and flexible, turn the sponge out on to the paper.
10. Peel off and discard the baked piece of parchment paper
11. With one of the longest sides in front of you, fold up the excess paper, then roll up the sponge with the paper inside (as it cools, this will set the shape but prevent the sponge from cracking).
12. Leave to cool.
13. For the filling, mix the chestnut purée and cinnamon together.
14. In a separate bowl, whisk the cream to soft peaks, then fold in the honey.
15. To assemble, unroll the sponge so it’s flat, removing the paper.
16. Spread all over with the chestnut purée, followed by the cream, then smash and sprinkle over the Crunchie bar or honeycomb.
17. Re-roll and pop into the fridge.
18. Meanwhile, make your buttercream.
19. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, then remove and leave to cool.
20. Beat the butter in an electric mixer until pale, then, with the mixer still running, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and cooled melted chocolate.
21. Take the log out of the fridge, chop off a quarter at an angle – that’s the branch – and position it on your serving board like in the picture, using a splodge of buttercream to keep it in place.
22. Evenly cover the whole log with buttercream, then use a fork to decorate it.
23. Dust with extra confectioners’ sugar and a pinch of sea salt, shaved chocolate, sprinkles, plastic Bambi figures, whatever you like – go to town!

• Just have fun and don’t worry about the time.
• Make honey comb from scratch or use a crunchie bar. Jamie has a honeycomb recipe also which I haven’t included in this post.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I used Jamie’s recipe for the Yule log portion; but then I felt like I wanted to add a Christmas winter scene and went my own way on the topping (White chocolate hand-decorated bark) and adding the snow laden houses and tree cakes. I have been running ideas and concepts for this yule log through my head for a couple weeks now and I wanted to at least have a non-chocolate top, so I could have some if I wanted. I have officially made the best thing visually baking wise and I’m smiling ear to ear as I type this. I could almost cry at how happy I am with how this turned out; however weird that sounds. I feel like all of a sudden I have hit a next gear in my baking. I got to practice some techniques and enjoy my most favourite holiday. This is going to my God-Kids and their family for Christmas Eve tomorrow when I see them at church. I hope this makes up for the Elf on the Shelf sugar cookies they didn’t get; but saw on my blog and further questioned me as to “where are ours” and “can you make us some too”. I was pleasantly surprised with the flavor of the Buche de Noel. I had the most terrible time finding chestnuts, and I had to go the route of water chestnuts and puree them myself. I’m not entirely sure if that’s the exact same taste; but I enjoyed it and I absolutely hate water chestnuts or so I thought. It will be very interesting to see if the God-kids like that or next time I need to put jam in instead. The water chestnuts added a crunch as the honeycomb melted into the whipping cream. I found the instructions a little hard to grasp when it came to the assembly of the log; but I had an idea and it worked out well as I made that failure cake roll a few months back. The amount of batter in the recipe I think wouldn’t have filled the pan size listed, as it didn’t for me. Other than that this is a wonderful end to a Christmas dinner with the family or with friends and it can be put in the fridge, so you don’t have to be baking this on Christmas day. I showed a few friends and they were thoroughly impressed as was I.

***Update. this was a smash with the God-Kids and the parents. I didn’t have to worry about the chestnuts and the flavour at all. The kids loved the crunch and ate away. They even ate the decorative fondant holly’s and poinsettias. A total winner all around and I was told if this is my Christmas present every year I will be more than happy. Will do. I think “Auntie” will be providing Christmas dinner dessert going forward.

Merry Chistmas

Christmas Dinner: Showstopper Dessert – Buche de Noel (Yule log) – Candy Coated Culinista

Christmas Dinner: Showstopper Dessert – Buche de Noel (Yule log) – Candy Coated Culinista

Christmas Dinner- Salad: Spinach & Bacon Salad

Christmas Dinner: Spinach & Bacon Salad – Candy Coated Culinista

A simple salad course to keep the Christmas dinner festivities running smoothly.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

From: Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook

• 6 thick cut slices of bacon
• Olive oil
• 2 heaping tablespoons pine nuts
• 12 x ½ ” thick slices of French baguette
• 6 medium pickled onions, and 2 tbsp liquor from the jar
• 2 tsp Dijon mustard
• Quality extra virgin olive oil
• 4 large handfuls of baby spinach
• 1 handful of seasonal salad leaves

1. Slice bacon into lardons and put into a large frying pan over medium-high heat and fry.
2. Add pine nuts for a minute and scoop out with a slotted spoon leaving the bacon fat behind.
3. Toast the bread in the bacon fat until golden on both sides.
4. Finely slice pickled onions.
5. Using a large bowl mix the pickled onion liquor with the Dijon mustard, ¼ cup olive oil and a pinch of black pepper.
6. Wash and dry the spinach and add to bowl.
7. Add bacon, pine nuts and pickled onions and then toss.
8. Place the croutons (sliced baguette) in and serve.

• Add crumbled blue cheese or feta or matchstick apples or pears would work well.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Such a tasty simple salad and with preparing a full Christmas dinner this salad packs a punch without that much effort.

Christmas Dinner: Pea Soup

Pea Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

This Christmas I want to make a complete and composed dinner from beginning to end and who better than to use Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook. I am practicing these recipes early so Christmas dinner has no hiccups and I am always one to eat Christmas dinner any time of the year; to a few of my friends chagrin. They just don’t understand Christmas in July of Turkey in late spring. I have been adverse to pea soup for as long as I can remember and the only reason was the colour of the soup. I don’t mind peas in any other fashion, so what is my problem right?

Yield/Serving: 6
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 40 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

From Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook


• 1 onion
• 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
• 1 leek, rough chopped
• 2 celery stalks, rough chopped
• Olive oil
• 6 cups of frozen peas
• 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
• 6 sprigs of fresh mint
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Plain yoghurt or crème fraiche, optional
• 6 slices of whole-grain bread with seeds
• 5 ½ oz leftover cooked ham
• 1 crunchy eating apple
• 1 ¾ oz Stilton cheese
• ¾ oz mature Cheddar cheese
• 1 tbsp liquid honey
• 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Using a Dutch oven add in the garlic, onions and leek and celery over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until softened; but not coloured, stirring occasionally.
3. Add in the frozen peas and stock and let boil.
4. Add on a pinch of salt and pepper.
5. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes.
1. Lay bread in a large baking sheet and shred ham, apple and crumble chees atop of the bread.
2. Finely grate cheddar cheese over top and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil and honey.
3. Cook for 10 minutes and then place in soup bowls.
6. Pick out the mint leave and using the immersion blender; blend until smooth.
7. Ladle soup into bowls, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, add a dollop of yoghurt or crème fraiche, and serve.

• Make ahead and reheat when needed and you can also gather the toast topping and have ready to go.
• Top with pomegranates, crumbled bacon if your not making the toast depending on your guest.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Now that I enjoy a daily green smoothie I have no quams about the colour of this soup and I’m very happy I finally decided to try it. The pea soup was so flavourful and my only issue was getting the soup to be silky smooth. Other that that I’m sold. I would suggest using vegetable or mushroom stock instead of chicken and serve the toast, yoghurt or cream fraiche on the side so those vegetarians and vegans can partake.

Elf on the Shelf Sugar Cookies

Elf on the Shelf Giant Cookie – Candy Coated Culinista

I have been on a real decorating kick since the summer and I have seemingly craving to amp up my decorating skills. I don’t know why the sudden push has come upon me, maybe it’s just time and I’m excited to see how I improve and grow. This cookie has been an unused pan in my cupboard for about three years now and this Christmas I’m feeling extra inspired to expand my decorating skills.

Yield/Serving: 3 elves &amp & 6 assorted sugar cookies
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 15 min. per cookie
Difficulty level is: Easy to bake, Medium-Hard for decorating & very time consuming

• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
• ½ tsp almond extract
• 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 2 tsp red, green & white nonpareils
• 1 tbsp Dutch processed cocoa
• ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
• 2 tsp milk
• Food colouring, to desired colour

Sugar Cookies

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Spray pan with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together using the paddle attachment at medium speed until light and fluffy.
4. Beat egg, vanilla extract and almond extract into mixture.
5. In a separate bowl whisk flour and salt together and combine with butter mixture.
6. Beat until well incorporated.
7. Separate mixture out into 3 equal portions.
8. Press the plain sugar cookie mixture (1/3 of the dough) into the pan filled ¼” deep and bake for 15 minutes or until edges are light brown.
9. Meanwhile add nonpareils to the second portion of sugar cookies and incorporate and then set aside.
10. Finally add the cocoa powder to the finally portion of dough, incorporate and set aside.
11. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
12. Spray non-stick cooking spray over the cookie pan again and add one portion of the dough, cook for 15 minutes and let cool for 10 minutes.
13. Repeat step 12 again with the cocoa powder portion of the dough.
14. Let all the cookies cool completely and then decorate.
15. Prepare the icing and first outline the cookies and let that icing dry before flooding the interior with icing and then let that dry. (Ensure the icing isn’t too runny as it will run off the cookie. There is a subtle balance regarding the consistency of the border icing and flooding icing. You may want to add a touch more milk after doing the borders to get the icing to flood across the cookie easier.)

• Add more or less milk depending on how your dough is coming together.
• Don’t add vanilla extract to white icing as then the icing will lose its white colour.
• You can make the cookies ahead of time and decorate the next day.
• Remember you will need to set aside a nice chunk of time to decorate.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This was a very time consuming task. It was zen like and yet stressful all at the same time as I decorated it. Mind you this was my second attempt at properly decorating a cookie; so in that regard I am very pleased with my outcome. I’m a little mad that I didn’t realize I don’t have Caucasian coloured food colouring or brown food colouring in the house as the other day I grabbed a whole bunch of gel colourings. I had to opt for a pale yellow skin and black hair and I’m ok with that but not really as it’s the perfectionist in me saying do better. I realized my cheeks were a touch too rosey; but again it’s my second try and I need to give myself a break. This isn’t a skill I’m going to acquire in two attempts late at night after putting in ten plus hours at work. On a plus at the last minutes I thought to split the dough three ways and I’m glad I did as I can experiment in one shot and see the outcomes. The nonpareils cookie turned out the best as it was very festive and the sugar cookie as well. The cocoa sugar cookie was a drier mixture as another dry ingredient was added after the fact. I would suggest adding a little milk or water to just slightly moisten it up. As you can see the cocoa cookie didn’t stay together the best. I was still able to decorate it; but it definitely needed a touch more moisture. These will be given to a co-worker the plain cookies for her and her hubby to split and the nonpareils for the kids. I was worried this recipe had too much sugar; but I was told this was the right amount of sugar and I need to just stop worrying about so much sugar as this is a sugar cookie.

Elf on the Shelf Giant Cookie – Candy Coated Culinista

Elf on the Shelf Giant Cookie – Candy Coated Culinista

Elf on the Shelf Giant Cookie – Candy Coated Culinista

Christmas Dinner – Potato: Potato Al Forno

Potato Al Forno – Candy Coated Culinista

It’s not Christmas without a side of silky smooth mashed potatoes right? Well how about this year you go a little more rustic and complex.

Yield/Serving: 8-10
Prep Time: 30 min.
Cook Time: 1 hr & 50 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

From Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook

• 2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
• 2 onions
• 2 bulbs of fennel, with herby fronds attached
• 2 ½ cups whole milk
• 1 2/3 cups heavy cream
• 6 anchovy fillets in oil
• 8 cloves garlic
• ½ bunch of fresh rosemary
• 6 fresh bay leaves
• 1 whole nutmeg, for grinding
• 1 ¾ oz Parmesan cheese

1. Peel onions. Potatoes and trim the fennel, reserving the fronds .
2. Finely slice the potatoes, onion and fennel just under ¼” thick, using a mandolin with the guard.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
4. In a medium sized saucepan pour milk and cream in and tear anchovies, crush in the unpeel garlic and add rosemary & bay leaves and finely grate in half the nutmeg.
5. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat and let infuse for a few minutes.
6. Remove out the rosemary and bay leaves and grate in some Parmesan cheese and season if desired.
7. In a baking dish layer the potatoes, onion and fennel.
8. Pour the cream mixture over and finely grate the remaining Parmesan cheese.
9. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes and the remove foil and continue to bake for another 45 minutes, or until tender and golden.
10. Garnish with reserved fennel tops and serve.

• Swap out fennel for any other seasonal vegetable such as celery root or celery heart.
• I would also recommend rutabaga as that is easy to find in Canada in the Autumn & winter months.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is a recipe you could prep the night before and cover in the fridge and cook the morning before your Turkey goes in. This recipe was surprisingly savoury and luscious with all the dairy added. I didn’t notice the anchovies; which I actually love; but some of my guests swear they hate. (When they come to my place it’s in lots of things unbeknownst to them and the eat away) This is a amazing and sophisticated side dish that is also great as leftovers. Add some dill to the top also if you have some in the house.

Potato Al Forno – Candy Coated Culinista

Ginger Molasses Cookies

Gingerbread Molasses Cookies – Candy Coated Culinista

Another year another gingerbread recipe and this year I think I have a decent recipe. Last year I tried a recipe from a cookbook that shall remain a secret; but it was a terrible recipe. I followed the instructions perfectly twice and the cookies looked like a dog’s breakfast and I had so many to make matters worse. I’m so much more pleased with this recipe that I can actually make a post.

Yield/Serving: about 30 cookies
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: approx. 24 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1/3 cup demerara sugar
• 1/3 cup golden brown sugar
• 1/3 cup granulated sugar
• 2 cups all purpose flour
• 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
• 1 tsp nutmeg
• ½ tcp cinnamon
• ½ tsp ground cloves
• 1 tsp baking soda
• Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Using parchment paper, line two baking sheets.
3. Using an electric mixer on low speed with the paddle attachment; beat butter and sugar until it is fluffy.
4. Then add egg and molasses and continue to beat until just combined.
5. In a medium-sized separate bowl wisk flour, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and salt.
6. Pour flour in the mixer on low speed and mix until just combined.
7. Roll 1 tbsp of the gingerbread mixture into a ball and place on the baking sheets, two inches apart.
8. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes one pan at a time and until edges are just firm.
9. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
10. Enjoy.

• Store in an air tight container between a layer of wax paper in the fridge for up tp five days or freeze for up to two weeks if you want to make ahead.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts

Now I noticed the shelf life of these cookies was super short; two days maximum in an air-tight container. I do realize the texture of gingerbread cookie is different from the normal cookie; but I enjoy those Starbucks ginger molasses cookies so much. Maybe those are just a touch under baked as they tend to be so soft in the centre. These cookies smelled of Christmas and as my house smells of balsam fir & now gingerbread with the Christmas tree lit and presents under the tree I am officially in the Christmas mood. Nott to mention I got the desired crack in my cookies so that made me happy. Next year I will attempt to make gingerbread men decorated and everything – fingers crossed

%d bloggers like this: