Jingle Bell Juice – Happy Holidays!

Jingle Bell Juice

Admit it.

At some time in your life (most likely those college days), you guzzled more than a few red SOLO cups filled with “Jungle Juice”.

Don’t hide it…you know what I’m talking about.

Jingle Bell Juice

That ubiquitous red party “punch” that was likely served from one of those huge 5 gallon-orange-water cooler-dispensers.

And by “punch”, it was more like a red Kool-Aid and terribly cheap booze that tasted like a mix of some serious rubbing alcohol and turpentine.

GAG….

Jingle Bell Juice
But we drank it along with the throngs of other collegiate party go-ers because it was ridiculously cheap to make and it did the trick.

We weren’t so smart back then….

But it was fun.

Jingle Bell Juice
For the holidays, I thought it would be a hoot to make a vat of the stuff. But since I’m a big girl now–how about we class it up a bit?

Nothing overboard…just a smidgen. So what does that mean? Quality fruit juices, fresh citruses and top shelf booze. Trust me, it’s worth it.

And in case you’re worried–it still packs one heck of a punch so sip cautiously.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FRIENDS!❤

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Jingle Bell Juice

Ingredients:

64 ounces cranberry juice
16 ounces pomegranate juice
12 ounces pineapple juice
8 ounces orange juice
4 ounces lemon juice
4 ounces lime juice
1 (750 milliliter) bottle top shelf vodka
16 ounces top shelf white rum
8 ounces Cointreau or other orange liqueur
2 large orange, sliced (more for garnish)
2 limes, sliced (more for garnish)
1 lemon, sliced (more for garnish)
1 cup mixed fresh berries (blackberries, cranberries, raspberries)
1 (750 milliliter) bottle chilled sparkling wine

In a very large vessel, combine everything but the sparkling wine. Stir well and refrigerate for 4-6 hours. Before serving, slowly stir in the sparkling wine. Garnish with extra slices of citrus. CHEERS!

Almond-Whiskey Chocolate Bites

Almond Whiskey Chocolates
Want to know the best way to win people over?

Almond Whiskey Chocolates

With Chocolates…..

And Booze……

But better yet– with Chocolate AND Booze!!!

Almond Whiskey Chocolates
When I saw Sprinkle Bakes’ post about 5-Minute Bourbon Balls, I knew they were in my future.

Almond Whiskey Chocolates
Heather’s
recipe contains just a few ingredients and can be whipped up in minutes. Melted chocolate, honey, vanilla wafers, walnuts, and bourbon…. YES PLEASE!

Almond Whiskey Chocolates

I followed her recipe fairly close but used almonds instead of walnuts (I’m not that much of a walnut fan) though I’m sure they would be SPLENDIFEROUS with hazelnuts or pistachios as well. I also added a few splashes of vanilla extract and used whiskey since I was out of bourbon.

Though…aren’t all bourbons whiskey? But not all whiskeys are bourbon?

I won’t mind if you use either….or both!

Almond Whiskey Chocolates

Since you do not add heavy cream or milk, these bites wouldn’t technically be a “truffle” but heck–they’re lovely nonetheless and require no baking at all. Which during the craziness of the season can be a much needed break.

Added bonus? They can be made well in advance!

Almond Whiskey Chocolates

I’ll be making a few more dozen of these little bites for my family’s Christmas shindig and think they’d be a great addition to your holiday celebrations!

For the original recipe, please click here.

M&M Chocolate Cookies…Happy Holidays!!

M&M Chocolate Cookies

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The M&M Chocolate Cookies were laid out with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Wishing you and your loved ones a joyous time filled with endless laughter and Foodventures!

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M&M Chocolate Cookies
Makes 2½ dozen cookies

Ingredients:

5 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate, chopped
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup cocoa powder
1¾ cups all purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
1½ cups M&M candies

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a small bowl, microwave the chocolate and butter together until melted and smooth. This should be done in 15-20 second intervals, stirring in between to avoid scorching the chocolate. Set aside to cool.

In a separate bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, flour, salt and baking soda.  Set aside.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the sugar and eggs until combined. Whisk in the chocolate mixture and then slowly add in the dry ingredients. Stir in 1 cup of the M&M candies.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop the cookie dough (about 1½ tablespoons each) and place on the sheet a few inches apart. Flatten the dough balls slightly. With the remaining M&Ms, add a few candies to the top/sides of each cookie dough, pressing them slightly in.

Bake for 12-14 minutes until the cookies begin to slightly crack. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Gingerbread-Pear Cupcakes + Nambé Winner!

Gingerbread-Pear Cupcakes

Is it just me or is time FLYING by?!

I feel like I was just wondering what my Halloween costume was going to be and within a blink of an eye, Thanksgiving has come and gone and now we’re barreling towards the Winter Holidays. YIKES!

But with the Winter Holidays comes all the flavors that I adore —- and gingerbread probably tops the lot.

These gingerbread cuppies are wonderfully spiced, deeply flavored with molasses & fresh ginger and are quite moist. I added in some pears for an additional level of flavor and texture and think they paired well with the spiced frosting. However, if you feel like cutting out some sweetness, simply serve the cupcakes inverted as the pears will act as a wonderful “topping”. Either way, your guests will adore you for them.

Gingerbread-Pear Cupcakes

And now for the winner of our Nambe platter! Drum Roll please………….

CONGRATS Ryan M. who said he would use this platter to feature local cheeses and jams he has made this year. MMMmmm!! Ryan, please check your email for instructions.

THANK YOU to everyone who participated! And a big THANKS to our friends at Nambe!!!!

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Gingerbread-Pear Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes approximately 24-28 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Batter
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons baking soda
¾ cup molasses
1¼ cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 cup chopped pears

Frosting
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon molasses
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5-6 cups confectioner sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line muffin tin with paper cups.

In a bowl, sift together the flour and dried spices. Set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk together the boiling water, baking soda, sugar and molasses until combined. Stir in the vegetable oil. Allow the liquids to cool slightly. Mix in the dried ingredients and then the eggs, vanilla extract and fresh ginger. Once the batter has been combined, carefully fold in the pears.

Fill the paper cups three-quarters full and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of them comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pans on a wire rack 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Whip in molasses, cinnamon, and cloves. Gradually whip in the confectioner sugar, ½ cup at a time. Continue adding sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Fill a piping bag with the frosting and pipe large swirls on top of the cooled cupcakes.

Pomegranate-Pear Tarts + Nambé GIVEAWAY

Pomegranate-Pear Tarts

If you are anything like me, you’re still finalizing what dishes you’ll be making for Thanksgiving tomorrow. I’ve got the desserts squared away but still need to commit to an appetizer or two……Baked Brie? Cheesy Mushroom Bread? Oh, the options…

But if you are in need of a dessert to wow your guests, you must try out these beautiful Pomegranate-Pear Tarts.

Pomegranate-Pear Tarts

You can use whatever types of pears you like but I find that either Bartletts or Anjous work out best. I also put a light honey-glaze to provide a little bit of sweetness and a sheen. As for the pomegranates, they added a great freshness and crunchy texture while giving a bit of tart flavor. Alternatively, you can sprinkle the tops with crushed pistachios.

Not only are these tarts eye-catching and delicious but they only take a few minutes to put together! Perfect for holiday entertaining when I always seem like I’m racing the clock.

And since this is a time for giving Thanks….our amazing friends at Nambe are giving us a chance to say THANK YOU to our readers with a giveaway!

One reader will have the chance to win this gorgeous Handled Tray !

How to Enter: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED…Thanks!

Leave a comment and tell us what the first thing you’ll serve using the Nambe Handled Tray

For extra chances to win, leave a separate comment for each indicating which of the below you did:

  1. Subscribe to The Culinary Chronicles & get automatic emails when new posts are published (If you already Subscribe, leave a comment indicating so);
  2. Like the Nambé Facebook Fan Page (If you already “Like Nambé, leave a comment and let us know); or
  3. Like our Facebook Fan Page (If you already “Like” us, leave a comment indicating so); or
  4. Follow @CulinaryChron on Twitter (If you already Follow us, leave a comment indicating so).

The deadline to enter is Monday, November 26th at 5pm (PST) and the winner will be announced the next day.

THANKS so much Nambé and HAPPY THANKSGIVING FRIENDS!

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Pomegranate-Pear Tarts
Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Bartlett or Bosc Pears, cored and sliced lengthwise to 1/8 inch width
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon warm water
¼ cup pomegranate arils
fresh whipped cream or ice cream, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

On a lightly floured surface, gently roll the puff pastry to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut the sheet into 4 equal squares.

Transfer the puff pastry to a parchment paper lined baking sheet, leaving ample space in between each square.

Leaving a ½ inch border of the puff pastry around each square, shingle the pear slices so that all 4 pieces have been covered. Gently fold over the dough on each side of the squares and pinch the corners to seal.

In a small bowl, mix the honey and water together until combined. Brush the tops of the pear slices with the honey glaze. Transfer the baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Rotate the sheet halfway through baking.

Remove the tarts from the oven and cool on the sheet for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the tarts with the pomegranate arils and serve immediately with fresh whipped cream or ice cream.