Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas...and some recipes.

Christmas Eve....a day to prepare for Jesus's birthday!

I started off today trying to get the kids to help me reorganise the house. We needed to tidy. And the kids rose to the challenge and we got the house tidy, ready for tomorrow. They were treated to a lovely reward - a candy cane from the Christmas tree.

After the necessary chores, came the cooking!!! First on my list for breakfast was Stuffed croissant french was yummy! But unfortunately I can't remember where I found it online. But here is the recipe to follow....

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
¼ C. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. Granulated sugar
1 C. chopped, fresh strawberries
8 large or 16 mini croissants
3 eggs
1 C. half & half or light cream
1 Tbsp. Packed brown sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, syrup, and sugar on medium speed until well combined.

Stir in chopped strawberries.

With a serrated knife, cut croissants in half horizontally, cutting to, but not through, other side.

Spoon cream cheese filling into each croissant.

In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half & half, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Using your hands, dip each side of filled croissant in egg mixture, being careful not to squeeze out filling. Cook filled croissants on a lightly greased griddle over medium heat about 1-2 mins. on each side. Some filling may leak out; be sure to wipe off griddle and grease again. Serve warm sprinkled with fresh strawberries, and drizzled with maple syrup. Serves 8.

Our next recipe comes from America - Egg Nog! I had never tried this drink but had heard about it a lot, so I decided that this year was the year to try it. I wasn't sure if it would be something we would like or hate. And to my surprise everyone liked it. I poured it into our Christmas cups, dressed with a strawberry and straw. The kids thought this was very special!

9 large eggs
1 cup real maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups milk, divided
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup heavy cream
For serving:
3/4 cup whipped cream
Freshly grated nutmeg
1. In a heavy 4 or 6-quart pan, briskly whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, and salt, until well-mixed. Whisk in 3 cups of the milk.
2. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture reaches 160-165 degrees F (use a candy or meat thermometer to monitor temperature).* It takes me about 10-15 minutes, and I do whisk near-constantly for this step! You will see a little steam rising from the pan, just as the egg nog reaches 160-165 degrees.
3. Remove from heat. Whisk in the vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Whisk in the remaining 3 cups of milk.
4. Cover pan and chill well (a few hours) before serving. Don't put a hot pan in your refrigerator though! If the weather is cold, I set the covered pan outside to cool, and then refrigerate. Otherwise, let cool to room temperature and refrigerate.
5. Whip the 1 cup of heavy cream until foamy, about half-way to "whipped cream". Stir into the chilled egg nog mixture (it will want to float, so stir as much as needed to mix most of it in).
6. To serve, ladle chilled egg nog into glasses, top with a tablespoon of whipped cream, and sprinkle with freshly-grated nutmeg. Enjoy!
This egg nog can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

We next made Chocolate. caramel apples!!! And they were delicious!!! Avril really enjoyed helping me with this one. Especially when opening the caramels was so hard that she had to use her teeth!! And then she just had to eat it! :)

Here's what you'll need:

5 medium apples, washed and completely dry
One bag of caramels or caramel bits
2 T. water
1 C. chocolate chips
1 - 1 1/2 T. shortening
Any candy, chopped (opt.)

When I saw these at the store, I knew I had to try them. I LOVED that I didn't have to unwrap tons of caramels. So easy!!

Place the caramel and water into a medium pan.

Heat on Medium-Low until the caramel is melted and smooth.

You can push sticks into the apples before dipping them, but I didn't have any. So I just made sure the apples I used had stems to hang on to.

Dip the apples into the warm caramel. Set them on a parchment lined tray (you can spray the parchment paper with non-stick spray if desired).

You should have some caramel left over in your pan. Scoop it out and drizzle it over the apples. It may look funny at first, but don't worry. The caramel will slowly ooze down and cover the apple more smoothly after a while.

Place the caramel covered apples into the fridge and refrigerate for 1 hour.

While you're waiting, you can chop whatever candy you would like to cover the apples in. I went with Snickers. I used a whole bag of the fun-sized candy bars. Chop them small. Mine are a little bigger. I'd probably go smaller next time.

After the caramel has set on the apples, you'll notice that there's some at the bottom of each apple. No worries. Just mold the caramel back up onto the apple. Or if you'd rather, you can just cut it off and eat it.

Once you've got the caramel pressed back up, you're ready for dipping. I melted milk chocolate chips with the shortening in the microwave for 30 seconds on High, stirred it well, then microwaved it for another 15 seconds until the chocolate was smooth and the shortening was incorporated.

Holding on to the apples by the stick or the stem, dip the caramel apples into the chocolate, turning to cover it all. Or pour some chocolate over the top and let it run down the apple.

On Christmas Day I plan to make Egg Nog Christmas Tree French Toast. I love with this recipe that you get to have chocolate for breakfast. And with a sausage too!!! We are going to use MMM's as decorations on our snow covered (icing sugar) tree. The sausage is the trunk.

I am going to use the Egg Nog that I have already made, dipping my bread (cut in triangles) into this. I will fry this bread in a pan. When ready will assemble the triangles like a tree. I will let the kids decorate the tree with MMM's. I will cut a stump of sausage for the trunk of the tree. And then we will let it snow!!! with a little icing sugar :)

For lunch I plan on serving Maple Syrup Ham.

A ham glazed with a combination of maple syrup and apple juice, along with a little mustard and brown sugar.
• 1 fully cooked ham, about 6 to 8 pounds
• 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup apple juice
• 1 heaping tablespoon brown or Dijon mustard
• dash cinnamon and ginger or allspice, optional
Place ham, fat side up, on rack in a foil-lined roasting pan; score fat and stud with cloves, if desired. Cook at 325° for about 18 minutes per pound, until meat thermometer or instant read thermometer registers 148°. Combine glaze ingredients in saucepan; bring to a boil and boil for about 2 minutes (be careful not to let it boil over). About 20 minutes before the ham is done, spoon about half of the glaze over top of ham, then about 10 minutes before done, spread remaining glaze over ham.
Serves 8 to 10.

Accompanying our ham will be crispy roast potatoes, sausages wrapped in bacon, a selection of vegetables, parsnip, sweet potato and Yorkshire Puddings with gravy.

Yorkshire Puddings:

4oz plain flour

2-3 eggs

1/2 pint milk

Place all in a bowl and electric whisk really well - bubbly!!

Heat oil in an oven dish or muffin trays, in a really hot oven for 10 mins. Spoon batter into hot oil, cook until golden, crispy and risen.

We will follow our main meal with a Rich Christmas Roll and berries.

6 eggs, separated
1 cup caster sugar
200g dark or milk chocolate
1 tbsp caster sugar, extra
300ml thickened cream
2 tbsp Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur
Cocoa powder for dusting, sifted
400g mixed berries to serve

Preheat oven to 160C. Grease a 25cm X 30cm swiss roll pan; line with baking paper.

Beat egg yolks and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer about 8 minutes or until thick and creamy. Transfer to a large bowl and fold in chocolate.

In another bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold this into the chocolate mixture. Spread this mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 20 mins or until firm.

Meanwhile, spread a sheet of baking paper with sugar. turn the cake onto this sugar. Carefully remove lining paper. Cover cake loosely with a tea towel. Cool to room temperature.

Beat cream and liqueur in small bowl with electric whisk until firm peaks form. Spread cake evenly with cream; roll up firmly from short side; using paper to lift and guide. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Dust with cocoa and serve with berries.

Please have a safe and wonderful time celebrating the birth of our Saviour. MERRY CHRISTMAS from our Family to yours.... May God Bless You :)

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