Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies - Candy Coated Culinista

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies – Candy Coated Culinista

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and this is a recipe I have made many a time and for many different occasions and this is always a favourite.

Yield/Serving: 12 servings
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 30 – 35 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
Red Velvet Brownies

• ¾ cups unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing pan
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 tbsp red food coloring
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp white vinegar
• 3 eggs
• 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
Cheesecake Filling
• 340g container cream cheese, softened
• 3 tbsp sugar
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
• 1 large egg yolk

Assembly/Method
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
2. Spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray.
3. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter with the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, food coloring and salt, stirring to combine. Then stir in the white vinegar.
4. Whisk together the eggs in a small bowl, and then stir them into the brownie batter.
5. Fold in the flour until just combined, then pour the batter into the prepared pan, reserving 1/3 of the batter for the topping.
6. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a handheld electric mixer), blend together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk until well combined.
7. Spread the cream cheese mixture in an even layer over the brownie batter then top the cream cheese with dollops of the remaining brownie batter. Using a sharp knife, swirl the cream cheese together with the dollops of brownie batter.
8. Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes.
9. Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before lifting the parchment out of the pan then slicing and serving.

Tips
• Serve with a scoop of French Vanilla Ice cream.
• Add more food colouring if you want the brownies to be redder. I don’t like to add to much dye to my baking so I held back here.
• I made these twice in a couple of weeks and found that the ones I baked in a glass Pyrex 9” x 9” dish came out more fudgey and moist than the ones I baked in a steel pan made for brownies specifically. (The ones with the grid make, so each slice is the perfect size). I prefer the Pyrex and suggest saving your money unless you got them on clearance like I did. This pan seemed to work much better for my blondies than brownies. Unless you prefer your brownies to be more dense.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I not a fan of cheesecake, but this is the first cheesecake like recipe I could eat and say I enjoyed every bite. The mix of brownie and cream cheese lessened the “cheesecakey” taste. The brownie was dense and rich and decadent. All the taste testers loved it. I got told I’m running their diet; this is sooooo delicious; I’m taking one home for my BF; but he’ll be lucky if he actually get this and so one. Brownies to me is very subjective as to how you like to enjoy your brownie on the brownie spectrum.

Valentine’s Day Dinner à la Chuck

Chuck's Chicken Dinner - Candy Coated Culinista

Chuck’s Chicken Dinner – Candy Coated Culinista

It’s no mystery by me having this blog that I absolutely love to cook and some days I can be in the kitchen for hours on end on my feet. To past the time I bring in my IPad to watch some TV shows and while watching a few shows the commercial breaks were filled with ads for LG presents Chuck Hughes with little snippets of recipes. Well since Chuck’s in my top two favourite chefs of all time it was obvious I was going to try some dishes from these mini ads and since the timing was right Valentine’s Day would be a great day to make this simple and succulent dinner.

From Chuck Hughes

Yield/Serving: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 1 hour & 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Roasted Chicken
Ingredients

• 1 whole organic chicken
• Handful of oregano, thyme, rosemary and parsley, finely chopped
• ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1 lemon, zested and sliced
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• ½ head of garlic
• 1 small white onion
• 1 medium white onion, sliced
• 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
• 1 ½ chicken broth
• ¼ cup white wine (I skipped this)

Assembly
1. Pre heat oven to 425°F.
2. Rinse chicken on cool water and pat dry inside and out.
3. Finely chop the herbs and mix into softened butter and add lemon zest in a small bowl.
4. Rub herbed butter under the skin and on top of the chicken and inside.
5. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
6. Fill chicken cavity with lemon, garlic and onion.
7. Tie the legs with kitchen twine.
8. Place sliced onion in the centre of a cast iron skillet.
9. Rest chicken on top of onions breast side on top of the onions.
10. Roast for 30 minutes at 425°F and then reduce heat to 350°F and continue to cook for 1 hour.
11. Baste chicken every 15 minutes to brown the skin.

Gravy
Assembly

1. Soften the onions from the cast iron skillet skimming off any fat.
2. Place skillet on the stove over medium-high heat and using a wooden spoon scrape the flavour from the bottom on the skillet.
3. Stir in the flour to make a roux.
4. Slowly add in the chicken broth letting the flour dissolve.
5. Add wine if desired.
6. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes and season with salt & pepper if desired.

Potato Smash with Olive Oil

Yield/Serving: 4-6
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 4 yukon potatoes
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 4 sprigs of thyme, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, finley chopped
• Chopped dill, to taste
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste

Assembly
1. Boil potatoes in a large pot until tender and drain.
2. Crush potatoes with a wooden spoon just enough. Leave some potato pieces chunky.
3. Stir in the olive oil and the remaining ingredients.

Zucchini Wedges

Yield/Serving: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
• ½ cup parmesan cheese
• ½ tsp dried thyme
• ½ tsp dried oregano
• ¼ tsp garlic powder
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 2 tbsp fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Assembly
1. Pre heat oven to 400°F.
2. Coat baking sheet with non-stick spray.
3. On a plate combine all of the herbs, spices and cheese.
4. Coat zucchini with olive oil and then coat in mixture.
5. Bake for about 10 minutes and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This couldn’t have turned out any better; well if I had finely chopped my herbs. My idea of finely chop versus the recipe was different and I recognized that upon its completion but it didn’t deter from the recipe in any way. It was just a visual thing for me. The chicken was moist and scrumptious and perfectly coloured and for the first time I had a gravy from scratch that actually tasted and turned out excellent; even with my omission of the white wine. The review was great as I tested this out in advance and at work when I was eating it for lunch I got many compliments on the smell and a co-worker was trying to track down where that smell was coming from; which made me chuckle. The addition of dill to the mashed potatoes and the zucchini was a delicious. I decided to not serve the zucchini with the Spicy Aioli recommended though and I was already in the kitchen for a long time at this point. I can’t wait to make this again. This recipe is so simple you could make it the first time on a special day and not worry about something going awry.

Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuit Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie - Candy Coated Culiinista

Chicken Pot Pie – Candy Coated Culiinista

On a biscuit kick and craving comfort food I ventured into a biscuit chicken pot pie.

Yield/Serving: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: about 55 minutes overall
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
• 6 chicken thighs
• Salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• Oregano, to taste
• Basil, to taste
• 6 tbsp margarine
• 4 carrots, peeled and diced
• 4 celery ribs, diced
• 1 ear of corn, kernels
• 1 medium sized onion, diced
• 227 g of white button mushrooms, quartered
• 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
• 4 tbsp chicken stock
• 1/3 cup frozen peas

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Season chicken thighs with salt, pepper, oregano and basil and bake for 25 minutes.
3. In a large frying pan over medium heat add the margarine along with the carrots, celery, corn onion and mushrooms and sauté.
4. Stir frequently and add all-purpose flour and chicken stock and continue to stir until thick for 10 minutes.
5. Once chicken is baked, remove from the oven and allow to rest before shredding or cutting into pieces.
6. Pour chicken and frozen peas into the vegetable mixture and mix well.
7. Transfer the chicken vegetable mixture into a casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of the baking process and the biscuits and then serve immediately.

Tips
• Make biscuits the day before if desired or bake the biscuits prior to starting the chicken pot pie recipe.

Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuits

Yield/Serving: 8 biscuits
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 15 – 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 2 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 tbsp baking powder
• ½ tsp baking soda
• ½ tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp parsley
• 1 tsp oregano
• 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cubed
• ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
• ½ cup mozzarella, shredded
• 2 jalapeno thinly sliced and seeded
• ¾ cup 2% milk

Assembly
8. Preheat oven to 400°F.
9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
10. Using a large sized bowl mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt together with a whisk.
11. Using your hands add butter and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
12. Add cheese and jalapenos.
13. Slowly add milk incorporating until dough is formed.
14. Cut dough and form into a circle and place on parchment paper.
15. Bake for 15-20 min or until golden brown or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.

Tips
• Spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray to have muffin shaped biscuits.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is one of the heartier dishes I have made and is perfect for the Autumn & Winter season as its comfort food at its best. I had many great reviews for this recipe and the biscuits were mentioned for weeks after this dish had been consumed. I was pleasantly surprised at how this turned out and there were even some leftovers. The flaky buttery biscuit on top of a rich rustic meal was just superb.

Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon

Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon - Candy Coated Culinista

Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon – Candy Coated Culinista

I was given a bottle of red wine from a co-worker who had recently gotten marriage. The couple had given all the guests a bottle of red wine they bottled and corked at a winery in the Niagara region. Now since I don’t drink and don’t like wine I said I’d taste a small bit and would cook with the rest. I thought to do coq au vin again; but then thought I should try something else. This is when beef bourguigon came into my head. I also remember that scene from Julie & Julia where Julie says “don’t crowd the beef” and I said to myself this is a good recipe and I have never actually made a Julia Child’s recipe before. I started my prep and had everything ready to go and all that was left was to open the wine (queue the ominous music). Since it’s 2016 I made the assumption that this bottle of wine was going to be one of those twist top varieties and I was so wrong; and believe it or not I don’t even own a cork screw. So here’s where my 30 minute struggle to open a bottle of wine begins. I tried to use a knife and cut away at the cork on a slant, no luck. Then I went to my tool box; because I have a full tool box at the ready; but I don’t own a corkscrew. (I’ve never really been a conventional girl here; and have always been the work on my own car and build my own curio stand and solder this or that) hence I grabbed a screw and twisted it into the cork and then grabbed the hammer to pop it out. Still no luck and at this point I thought I was done, until I did the one thing I really didn’t want to do which was to push the cork in. I did this and strained away any cork pieces that may have broken and then pulled out the cork after the fact and retrieved my screw. Lesson learned here and I will be going to the dollar store to get myself a corkscrew as that was not a fun experience for me at all.

Yield/Serving: 8 – 10 servings
Prep Time: 1 hr.
Cook Time: 3 plus hours
Difficulty level is: Medium, very time-consuming and persnickety

From: Slightly altered from Julia Child

Ingredients
Bouquet Garni

• 1 stalk of celery, cut into three pieces
• A bunch of parsley, stems only
• 4 fresh thyme sprigs
• 5 garlic cloves, whole and peeled
Boeuf Bourguignon
• • 4 slices of bacon, fried and crumbled
• 3 pound of stewing beef
• Salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
• 1 bottle of dry red wine
• 1 stick unsalted butter, total use accordingly
• 3 cloves of garlic, whole
• 2 onions, finely chopped
• 4 carrots, cut into ¼ inch slices
• 3 celery, chopped
• 1 pound button mushrooms, quartered if large
• 1 tbsp herbs du provence
• 2 tbsp tomato paste
• Parsley, handful rough chop

Assembly
1. Using a frying pan, fry bacon, drain, crumble and set aside.
2. Pat dry all beef pieces and season with salt and pepper.
3. Divide flour and beef into four portions. Place batch one into a ziplock bag and coat beef.
4. Place two tablespoons of oil into a heavy bottomed pot and brown beef on all side. Don’t crowd the meat. Once the meats is browned transfer to a bowl and continue with the next batch of beef until all is browned.
5. Pour off any excess oil from the pot if necessary and then pour wine into pot to deglaze for about 1 minute. Ensure to stir and scrape up brown bits and then pour over the beef.
6. Make the bouquet garni and set aside for the moment.
7. In the pot put butter and oil over medium-high heat and put in the garlic, onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms along with the crumbled bacon and sauté until browned.
8. Add in the herbs du provence, tomato paste and parsley and continue to stir.
9. Pour in the wine and the beef along with the bouquet garni and gently simmer partially covered until the meat is tender; about 3 ½ to 4 hours and occasionally stir.
10. When beef bourguignon is ready remove bouquet garni and serve.

Tips
• Have kitchen string/twine on hand for bouquet garni
• Serve with baby potatoes or a baguette.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I didn’t add the pearl onions to this recipe as I didn’t really want all of those onions in the dish. I found this recipe to be so persnickety and yes I get the whole “don’t crowd the meat”; but this recipe had a lot going on and was so finicky and Mise en Place. Maybe it’s because I have always found myself to be a more instinctual cook who doesn’t like to follow a recipe in its entirety and yes I even slightly altered a Julia Child’s recipe as sacrilege as that probably is to most; but that’s just who I am. It was still an amazing recipe with its richness the smell the wine aroma and those perfectly chopped vegetables. I can see what all that fuss was about; but in the end this recipe is still way to fussy for me and this isn’t the way I like to cook. I didn’t even have kitchen twine for the bouquet garni and I had to use a cheesecloth that I use for my almond milk. It was really quite an experience to MacGyer my way through some aspects of this recipe. I have always loved MacGyer so in some ways I got to try my hand at working with what I have on hand; but next time I will try this is a slow cooker recipe.

Green Bean Maple Bacon Baskets

Green Bean Maple Bacon Bundles - Candy Coated Culinista

Green Bean Maple Bacon Bundles – Candy Coated Culinista

I believe maple and bacon go great with anything and I tested that theory with these green beans for Sunday dinner.

Yield/Serving: 5
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 20 – 25 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Slightly altered from Williams Sonoma

Ingredients
• 3 slices of bacon, cut into half
• 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
• ½ tsp garlic powder
• ½ tsp onion powder
• 1 pound green beans, trimmed
• 1 tbsp pure Canadian maple syrup

Assembly
1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Using a frying pan, fry bacon until it just begins to brown and place on a paper towel to drain.
3. On low heat melt butter and add garlic and onion powder.
4. Once butter had melted add maple syrup and set aside.
5. Made green bean bundles and wrap with bacon and then brush butter mixture on green beans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
These didn’t look like the picture at all as the green beans were shriveled versus firm in the picture. This is probably because I didn’t blanche the beans first. Either way this was such a great side and so flavorful. I will make this again blanched first or not.

Cider-Braised Chicken with Apples

Cider Braised Chicken - Dutch Oven Version - Candy Coated Culinista

Cider Braised Chicken – Dutch Oven Version – Candy Coated Culinista

I really love apple cider!. So much so that I could consume a 3 litre bottle of Fresh-Pressed Mulled Sweet Apple Cider in one day if I’m not careful and therein lies the problem. I’m not usually one for sweet things; but I can’t resist apple cider and when I came across a recipe including cider I’m all in. Apple juice has always been my preferred juice of choice and almost any combination of apples and I’m sold. So when I came across this I had no qualms about trying it alcoholic or not.

Slightly altered from Epicurious

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 30 min.
Cook Time: 45 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
• 8 chicken thighs
• 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
• ½ tsp black pepper
• ¼ cup Dijon mustard
• 3 tbsp canola oil
• 2 red delicious apple, cut into wedges
• ½ red onion, sliced
• 2 cups apple juice
• ½ cup apple cider vinegar

Assembly
1. Pre-heat oven to 450°F.
2. Season chicken with salt, pepper and rub mustard underneath the skin.
3. Using a heatproof skillet heat 2 tbsp oil over medium-high heat and sear chicken skin side down, until golden-brown, about 8 minutes.
4. Turn the chicken and then add apples and red onions around chicken.
5. Add liquid and transfer to oven to roast for about 20 minutes.

Tips
• If you want to make this with alcohol use 2 cup dry white win instead of apple juice. Also if apple cider is in season feel free to use fresh apple cider.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I made this recipe about one week to early. I thought two weeks into December would be late enough in the season to find apple cider; but it seemed this year apple cider only made an appearance purely for the Christmas dinner shopping schedule. So I had to improvise; which is what I seem to do best in a bind as this turned out great. The original recipe called for putting the chicken in a heatproof skillet and roasting the chicken; but I couldn’t really understand that part as I envision braising on a stovetop in a close container. This is when I split the recipe in half and did half in the oven per the directions and then I put the remaining in my Dutch oven. Personally I like the look of the Dutch oven version more as the sauce didn’t separate and it was creamier. Not to mention the chicken wasn’t as blackened. I’m glad I followed my instincts and split the batch.

Cider Braised Chicken - Skillet Version - Candy Coated Culinista

Cider Braised Chicken – Skillet Version – Candy Coated Culinista

Cranberry Coconut & Apricot Cardamon Banana Bread

Cranberry Coconut Banana Bread - Candy Coated Culinista

Cranberry Coconut Banana Bread – Candy Coated Culinista

As much as I try as sometimes my bananas spoil and I just hate wasting, so here we go again a couple more banana bread recipes for the New Year. This is what happens when it’s the Christmas season and you’re going out and enjoying time with friends and family. At the rate I’m going I will have enough banana bread recipes for a whole month.

Cranberry Coconut Banana Bread

Yield/Serving: 6
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 1 hour
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1/3 cup of butter, melted
• 1 egg
• 1 cup 2% milk
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
• 2 ripe bananas, mashed
• 1/3 cup fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
• 1/3 cup shredded coconut
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp baking soda
• ¼ cup granulated sugar
• Dried cranberries
• Coconut slices

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Grease pans.
3. Over low heat melt butter.
4. In a small bowl whisk together butter, eggs, milk and vanilla extract.
5. In a medium sized bowl mash the bananas and add the cranberries and shredded coconut and set aside.
6. Using a large bowl whisk flour, baking soda, sugar and add the bananas, cranberries and coconut.
7. Make a well in the center and add the wet ingredients and gently stir; but don’t overmix.
8. Spoon batter into pan.
9. Top with dried cranberries and coconut slices.
10. Bake for 1 hour or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.

Mini Apricot Cardamon Banana Loaves

Mini Apricot Cardamon Banana Loaves - Candy Coated Culinista

Mini Apricot Cardamon Banana Loaves – Candy Coated Culinista

Yield/Serving: 8
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: about 1 hour
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1/3 cup of butter, melted
• 1 egg
• 1 cup 2% milk
• ½ tsp coconut extract
• 2 ripe bananas, mashed
• 1/3 cup shredded coconut
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp cardamon
• ¼ cup granulated sugar
• Whole dried apricot

Assembly
11. Preheat oven to 375°F.
12. Grease pan.
13. Over low heat melt butter.
14. In a small bowl whisk together butter, eggs, milk and coconut extract.
15. In a medium sized bowl mash the bananas and add the shredded coconut and set aside.
16. Using a large bowl whisk flour, baking soda, cardamom, sugar and add the bananas and coconut.
17. Make a well in the center and add the wet ingredients and gently stir; but don’t overmix.
18. Spoon batter into pan.
19. Top with dried apricots.
20. Bake for 1 hour or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I just can’t get enough of banana bread no matter the combination and it’s such a great way to use those over ripe bananas. Both these recipes were lovely and I’m now becoming a fan of decorating the tops of my banana breads with dried fruits as it adds a nice classy touch.

Caribbean Christmas Sorrel

Caribbean Christmas Sorrel - Candy Coated Culinista

Caribbean Christmas Sorrel – Candy Coated Culinista

This is my absolute favourite Christmas drink. Once the Christmas season is upon us I know I’m getting Sorrel and I’m elated. Sorrel is made from sorrel leaves; which are from the hibiscus family and with its deep, rich red colour it just screams Christmas to me. Not to mention all of those other Christmas spices.

Yield/Serving: 9 cups
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 20 to 25 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 cup sorrel leaves
• 9 cups water
• 1 hand of peeled ginger, cut into pieces
• 1 cinnamon stick
• A few cloves
• 2 star anise
• 1 cup cane sugar, to taste
• Lemon to taste

Assembly
1. Place all the ingredients except the sugar and lemon into a large pot and bring to a boil covered.
2. Reduce to low heat and let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Remove from heat to allow to steep for a few hours.
4. Strain away the solids and add sugar and lemon to taste.
5. Chill and serve with ice.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I have tasted two types of Sorrel: the Bajan (Barbados) way; which I am accustomed to and more recently the Jamaican way which a lot of the time has Rum added to it; but I have only enjoyed the rum-free version to date. Both islands ways taste great in their own right; the Bajan having more of that Christmas smell and so dark and dense when the drink is put up to the light, no light is getting through. On the other hand the Jamaican way has a lot more ginger and the addition of orange peel and the drink is not as dense. So when I made my first attempt at this I did a combination of both recipes. This tasted alright to me I was really hoping for it to taste like the originals; but it tasted like a Caribbean Canadian version if you will. I think I watered it down too much. I did get my Bajan & Jamaican recipe originators to taste it and they said it tasted good. I will say it tasted better over the next few days as the ingredients blended more and I will definitely add less water next time.

Savoury Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole

Savoury Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole - Candy Coated Culinista

Savoury Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole – Candy Coated Culinista

Is there such a thing as too savoury…I sure think so. I made this recipe well before Thanksgiving thinking this sounds like an amazing unique dish too bad you can really only stomach it around the holidays or at least only I can.

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

Ingredients
• 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
• 6 slices bacon
• ½ cup golden brown sugar
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 cup walnuts, chopped
• ½ cup butter, melted
• ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
• 1/8 tsp black pepper
• 1/8 tsp nutmeg
• 1/8 tsp cloves
• 1/8 tsp ginger
• 1/8 tsp cinnamon
• 2 tsp sea salt
• 1 spring rosemary, diced
• 1 stem of basil, diced
• ¼ cup 2% milk
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten
• Pecans, to decorate
• Bacon, to decorate
• Rosemary, to decorate

Assembly
1. Fill a large pot with water and boil sweet potatoes until tender.
2. Using a large frying pan, fry bacon slices and place on a paper towel and let absorb.
3. Chop bacon (leave some bacon behind to decorate if desired) and place in a large bowl along with brown sugar, flour, walnuts, butter, cayenne pepper, black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, sea salt, rosemary, basil and combine with a whisk.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F.
5. Mash the sweet potatoes and add in the milk, eggs and sugar and spice mixture and stir until well incorporated.
6. Pour sweet potato into a casserole dish and decorate with pecans along the sides and add bacon bits along with more rosemary in the centre.
7. Bake for 30 minutes and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Like eating a very savoury sweet potato pie; the crunch from the nuts and the touch of saltiness from the bacon had me wanting more, the spices though probably a tad too much had me running away and I have altered the recipe accordingly for next time. I’m more of a hint of spices not an overwhelming amount. For awhile I didn’t even remember there was cayenne pepper in it until the slow burn crept up and then that was it I’m was done. This recipe smelt amazing from beginning to end, yet after 5 or so bites I just thought I think this is too savoury. Much like Pumpkin Spice Lattes in autumn and fruit cake or eggnog at Christmas some things are better only eaten at certain times of the year; because you well just don’t enjoy it as much any other time of the year. There is this novelty factor in a way and this is why I’ll be making this for either one of these holidays for dinner and no other time in the year ever.

Christmas Pavlova Wreath

Christmas Pavlova Wreath - Candy Coated Culinista

Christmas Pavlova Wreath – Candy Coated Culinista

A festive spin on my favourite dessert; with the flavours of Christmas in a perfectly light and airy dessert that will put anyone in the Christmas spirit.

Yield/Serving: 4 – 6
Prep Time: 20 min.
Bake Time: 1 hour 30 min
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium, time consuming

Inspired by Epicurious

Ingredients
For Pavlova
• 3 egg whites
• 9 tsp granulated sugar
• 1 tsp raspberry balsamic vinegar
• 1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Sugared Cranberries
• ½ cup cranberries
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• ½ cup water
Cranberry Pomegranate Maple Syrup
• ½ cup cranberries
• ½ cup pomegranate seeds
• 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• Remaining sugar syrup
Whipped Cream
• 1 cup whipping cream
Garnish
• Sugared cranberries
• Pomegranate seeds
• Kiwi, cut into thin pieces

Assembly
For Pavlova
1. Preheat oven to 250°F.
2. Using a piece of parchment paper trace one large plate and one small plate inside the large plate into a ring shape and place on a baking sheet.
3. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form.
4. Gradually add sugar 1 tsp at a time until the meringue forms into stiff shiny peaks. (bowl can be held upside down and nothing falls out)
5. Add balsamic vinegar, vanilla extract and lemon juice until incorporated.
6. Spread meringue within the ring shape and then bake for one and a half hours. When it is ready it will be crisp around the sides and dry on top. Let cool with the oven door slightly open and let remain in the oven overnight.
Sugared Cranberries
7. While the meringue is cooking; using a small saucepan boil water and sugar together until sugar is dissolved.
8. Let the sugar mixture cool down until lukewarm.
9. Put cranberries in a jar and pour the sugar mixture over top and cover.
10. Let the cranberries soak for 2 hours and drain and reserve the syrup for later for the cranberry pomegranate syrup.
11. Using a small bowl pour the cranberries in and mix the sugar until covered and let dry for 30 minutes and set aside.
Cranberry Pomegranate Maple Syrup
12. Combine cranberries, pomegranate seeds, maple syrup, vanilla extract and the remaining sugar syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce temperature down to low and continue to stir until mixture thickens up a bit and then turn off once most of the cranberries have burst.
13. Using a sieve pour the syrup into a bowl and press out any remaining juices from the cranberries and pomegranates through the sieve.
14. Let cool down completely.
Whipped Cream
15. Using an electric mixer, whisk the whipping cream until cream thickens.
Garnish
16. Place meringue on a cake pedestal.
17. Top with whipped cream and then start placing sugared cranberries, pomegranate seeds and kiwi.
18. Drizzle with syrup and serve.

Tips
• You can prepare the meringue the night before, like I did.
• If you need to get the syrup mixture to cool faster, place in the freezer for a few minutes.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Pavlova is probably my most favourite dessert to make, even though I don’t make it much because it is time-consuming. The meringue was light and crisp on the outside and chewy and soft on the inside. The sugared cranberries added a tartness and sweetness along with the pomegranate seeds and fresh kiwi all topped on the light and creamy whipped cream. This is a festive and beautiful dessert to look at. I was elated at how this turned out exactly how I envisioned it and once again my dessert was a pre-dessert as my taste testers couldn’t wait to try it including myself. I even had a piece for lunch yesterday.

Christmas Pavlova Wreath - Candy Coated Culinista

Christmas Pavlova Wreath – Candy Coated Culinista

Christmas Pavlova Wreath - Candy Coated Culinista

Christmas Pavlova Wreath – Candy Coated Culinista

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