Tag Archives: Christmas

Happy Christmas! Christmas Dinner

26 Dec

My contributions for this year’s Christmas dinner were a potato gratin and a chocolate cheesecake!

Here’s my Potato Gratin with Rosemary Crust–the crust has two layers, with cheese, pepper, and rosemary sandwiched between them, and it’s filled with Yukon Gold potatoes and sweet potatoes layered with cheese (Gruyere and Baby Swiss) and kosher salt, topped with heavy cream, minced garlic, and more cheese, all baked in a springform pan.

It was delicious. Absolutely, amazingly, completely delicious.  It was time consuming to put together (guys, sweet potatoes are hard. Slicing up two of them? Took forever) but so worth it.  And look at how pretty it is!

Find the recipe at Southern Living here.

After dinner we all took a long break before coffee and dessert (I snuck off to take a nap!) but dessert was worth waiting for:

The Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake is another recipe from Southern Living–find the recipe for it, and the template for the white chocolate snowflake, on the Southern Living website here.

I made the cheesecake a week ago–I took it out of the springform to let it cool completely in the refrigerator overnight, then put it back in the springform, wrapped it in plastic and hid it in the freezer (you can’t be too careful with chocolate in this house).  I took it out and put it back in the refrigerator to defrost overnight.  The recipe includes a chocolate ganache, but I knew I wouldn’t want to mess with that today, so I used a storebought glaze (Duncan Heinz) instead.

The snowflake is Almond Bark, melted in a disposable piping bag.  I just chopped the bark up, put it in the bag, microwaved it for thirty seconds, squished the bag, and microwaved it for another thirty seconds.  The instructions in Southern Living say to print out the template, lay it under a piece of parchment paper, trace it, then turn the parchment paper over and pipe the chocolate over the traced lines.  That sounds like a lot of unnecessary work to me–I just taped the template to the bottom of a piece of parchment paper.

I put the chocolate in the refrigerator to harden for about ten minutes, then used an offset spatula to slide it off of the parchment paper and set it right on top of my chocolate cheesecake extravaganza.  I went over the design several times to make it thick, because I’d already melted the chocolate and because I was worried about breaking it when I picked it up!

It was delicious, but So Rich. I had to drink a mug of milk in between every bite.  AMAZING but now I must go and die of a sugar overdose.

Happy Christmas!

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Happy Christmas!

25 Dec

Here’s a hastily photographed sneak peak of my centerpiece for tomorrow–er, today’s Christmas dinner!

I think it might need more peppermints, don’t you?

Of course, my favorite place for these soft peppermints to be is in my hot chocolate, dissolving slowly and deliciously:

The fire is a definite bonus, of course.

And no Christmas Eve is complete without the greatest of all Christmas movies–no, not A Christmas Story.  No, no, not Elf.  No, not It’s A Wonderful Life, either.  No, not Die Hard!

I mean The Muppet Christmas Carol, of course!

Stay tuned for an update on whether my cooking experiments tomorrow pan out–I’m pretty sure the cheesecake will be edible! the potato gratin, though, will be anyone’s guess–and to find out if I cave and put more peppermints on my centerpiece!

Last Minute Pizazz: A True Story

23 Dec

Here’s a true story, boys and girls: 99.9% of my creative impulses take place in the middle of the night, at the last minute, when I should be doing something else.

I was wrapping my gift for my office Secret Santa and thought ‘hm…this package really needs something.’  I mean, look at it!  Something is definitely lacking here:

But what to do?  Hmmmm…Well, maybe some ribbon. And a hot glue gun.  Yes, a hot glue gun at 1:30am is an excellent idea!

Anyone who says otherwise is clearly sane, and therefore an unreliable opinion.

I formed loops with my ribbon, adding a dab of glue to the center each time to hold the ribbon in place:

Then when I had four ‘petals’ I put a dollop of glue in the center and added a shiny red button

(there may have been a daring post-midnight raid on a button jar first. No idea whose jar–my mother’s? my sister’s? Either way, the jar was left unguarded and vulnerable, and the two buttons that were the slowest and least agile and which also happened to be red were culled from the herd)

A little rolled-up tape, and voila!  So much better!

And What was in the packages? Candy, a chocolate orange, a book of the hardest Sudoku puzzles that I could find, and a knitted snowflake: