Cocktails for New Years Eve and the Morning After…

Champagne Cocktails- French 75 & James Bond

Two years ago on New Years Eve my husband and I had only been dating for a few months.  We went out to a local bar with his brother to celebrate, but it was a bit bitter sweet.  I would be leaving in a few days to move to Austin, TX for my music therapy internship.

As midnight hit this song came on… Go ahead and listen.  It will get you in the New Years Eve mood!

Cheesy, I know.  And we both just looked at each other, started laughing, and joined in with the crowd in the singing and dancing cheesiness to ring in the new year.  It was a blast.  Two years later, we are now getting ready to celebrate the new year as husband and wife and I can’t hear this song without thinking about that night and where we are now.

However you are celebrating tonight, I wish you all a safe evening filled with love, laughter, and excitement for what 2012 has in store for you!

Bloody Mary with Beef Jerky

Here are a few cocktail recipes for you that would be perfect for the evening and one to get you through the morning after.

Champagne Cocktails- Bloody Mary with Beef Jerky

The James Bond Champagne Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1 white sugar cube
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 1 oz vodka
  • champagne, to top off

Instructions

  1. Put the sugar cube in a champagne flute and moisten with Angostura bitters.
  2. Add the vodka and top with champagne.
http://bakerbettie.com/cocktails-for-new-years-eve-and-the-morning-after/

Champagne Cocktails- French 75 & James Bond

French 75 Champagne Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1 oz gin
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  • champagne, to top off
  • lemon zest, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Shake the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup with ice and strain into a champagne flute.
  2. Top with champagne and garnish with a long strip of lemon zest.
http://bakerbettie.com/cocktails-for-new-years-eve-and-the-morning-after/

Champagne Cocktails- French 75 & James Bond

Bloody Mary with Beef Jerky: Morning After Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary with Beef Jerky: Morning After Bloody Mary

Ingredients

  • 3 Lemons
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 3 inches white horseradish, freshly grated, or 1 tbsp bottled horseradish
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 3 cups tomato juice, well chilled
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • for garnish, celery stalks and beef jerky or bacon

Instructions

  1. Cut 1 lemon into slices for garnish and squeeze the juice from the others into the pitcher.
  2. Add all of the other ingredients except the celery and beef jerky into the pitcher and mix well.
  3. Pour into 4 glasses with ice.
  4. Serve with celery stock and a large slice of beef jerky or bacon.
http://bakerbettie.com/cocktails-for-new-years-eve-and-the-morning-after/

Bloody Mary with Beef Jerky

Old Fashioned Waffles with Maple Butterscotch Syrup

Old Fashioned Waffles with Maple Butterscotch Syrup

Well, it’s that time of year again.  The time when we reflect on the past year and our accomplishments… or lack there of.  It’s also the time of year when we get to start with a clean slate.  Break out those resolutions and give it a better shot this year.

I am no different than most.  My resolutions include the standard: eat better, exercise more, try to be a nicer person… But I have a few that relate to this blog specifically that I want to share because I feel if I talk about them I am more likely to keep them.

Baker Bettie 2012 Resolutions! 

#1: To simply keep blogging.  This is probably my 4th attempt at blogging and I am determined to keep this one up.  I am going to commit to at least 1 post a week in 2012.  That’s 52 posts.  Very doable.

#2: Try new recipes out of my new (well, new to me) cookbook.  I love old cookbooks and my mother got me this one for Christmas.  I have been reading many of the thousands (literally thousands) of recipes this week.  There is something fascinating to me about old fashioned recipes and the way they are written.  Like the person reading it already knows exactly how to make it and the recipe just there for support if needed.  I am committing to 20 recipes out of this book.

Old Fashioned Waffles with Maple Butterscotch Syrup

#3: Get really comfortable with this camera.  Pretty sweet huh?!  It was a Christmas gift from the sweetest husband in the world.  I love how he see’s me get passionate about something and then fully supports it.  No doubts, even when I have them.  Even though I already knew he is supporting my new found excitement in blogging, this was his way of saying loud and clear, “Here you go darling. I totally believe in you and support your new passion!”

Old Fashioned Waffles with Maple Butterscotch Syrup

Since I’m sure most of you have the same better eating resolutions as I do, why not go out with a bang on New Years Eve with this totally decadent breakfast or late night treat.  Because I’m sure we will all be having egg white omelets and fruit on Sunday, right?

Old Fashioned Waffles with Maple Butterscotch Syrup

Old Fashioned Waffles with Maple Butterscotch Syrup

Have a safe and happy New Year everyone!

Old Fashioned Waffles with Maple Butterscotch Syrup

Old Fashioned Waffles with Maple Butterscotch Syrup

Ingredients

    For the Waffles
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 eggs, seperated
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 5 tbsp melted butter
  • For the Maple Butterscotch Syrup
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp maple flavoring
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

    For the Waffles
  1. Sift the cake flour with the baking powder into a large bowl. Add the salt and mix.
  2. Beat the egg yolks until they are light and lemon-colored and combine them with the milk and melted butter. Blend thoroughly and add to the dry ingredients, beating briskly.
  3. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks, but not dry, and gently fold them into the mixture.
  4. Pour the batter from a pitcher or a ladle onto a heated and greased waffle iron, filling the iron only 2/3 full, and let it spread until the whole iron is covered.
  5. Cook until the waffle is puffed and golden-brown. Lift the waffle from the iron with a fork.
  6. For the Maple Butterscotch Syrup
  7. In a saucepan over medium high heat, mix dark brown sugar, butter, cream, and maple flavoring.
  8. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes without stirring.
  9. Remove the sauce from the heat and add the water, beating for 30 seconds.
  10. Serve warm.
http://bakerbettie.com/old-fashioned-waffles-with-maple-butterscotch-syrup/

Dark Chocolate and Peppermint Whoopie Pies

French Macarons… They are a baking hurdle that I have not yet accomplished. I have tried them 3 times, and failed miserably each time. I will master them someday, but until then I will stick to Whoopie Pies.

I think of whoopie pies as the poor man’s french macaron. They taste nothing alike, but they have a similar look. The french macaron is sophisticated and classy, while the whoopie pie is sloppy and fun. Both delicious, both adorable.

Whoopie!

 

Dark Chocolate and Peppermint Whoopie Pies adapted from Joy of Baking

Dark Chocolate Whoopie Pies

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups dark chocolate cocoa powder
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  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
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  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
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  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup strong coffee

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (can also use a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg beating well. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  4. In a small measuring cup mix the buttermilk and coffee. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk/coffee mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
  5. Drop heaping tablespoons (preferably using a small ice cream scoop) of the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Smooth the tops of the cookies with moistened fingers.
  6. Bake for 9 -10 minutes or until the tops of the cookies spring back when pressed.
  7. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
http://bakerbettie.com/410/

Peppermint Filling

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • peppermint candies, crushed

Instructions

  1. Beat the shortening and butter until soft and creamy. With the mixer on its lowest speed, gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar. Increase the speed to high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Then, with the mixer on low speed, beat in the vanilla and peppermint extracts and slowly drizzle in the corn syrup. Continue to beat until the filling looks soft and fluffy.
  3. To Assemble:Take one cookie and spread a heaping tablespoon of the filling on the flat side of the cookie. Top with another cookie. Sprinkle crushed peppermints around the filling.
  4. The assembled cookies can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for several days. Serve cold or at room temperature.
  5. Makes about 15 sandwich cookies.
http://bakerbettie.com/410/

No Bake Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

No Bake Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

Today I made a super easy and super adorable party dessert.  I made a double batch of these mini no bake cherry cheesecakes over my lunch hour today.  Half of them went to a party at work and the other half is being frozen for the party this weekend.

No Bake Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

Look at how cute they are!  And delicious I might add.  People always go crazy over anything that is a mini size of it’s original.  That also makes people feel less guilty about eating 2… or 10.

Enjoy!

No Bake Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

No Bake Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

No Bake Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

No Bake Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

No-Bake Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

Yield: Makes approximately 4 1/2 to 5 dozen.

No-Bake Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

Ingredients

  • mini cupcake foils (1 1/4 inch wide)
  • mini vanilla wafers
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 package unflavored gelatin
  • 16 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream (room temperature)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Cherry pie filling

Instructions

  1. Line up the cupcake foils on a half sheet pan.
  2. Put a mini vanilla wafer (flat side down) in each foil.
  3. Pour the gelatin over the lemon juice and let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until incorporated.
  5. Microwave the gelatin/lemon juice mixture for 30 seconds until the gelatin dissolves.
  6. Pour this gelatin/lemon juice mixture over the sour cream along with the vanilla and mix.
  7. Add the sour cream mixture into the large bowl of cream cheese and mix until well incorporated into the cream cheese.
  8. If serving that day: Fill each foil with approximately 1tbsp of the mixture. Refrigerate for 3 hours until set. Top with 1 tsp of cherry pie filling.
    If serving at a later date: Fill each foil with approximately 1tbsp of the mixture. Store in an airtight container and freeze. Move the refrigerator 4 hours before serving. Top with cherries right before serving.
http://bakerbettie.com/holiday-party-made-easy-part-3-no-bake-mini-cherry-cheesecakes/

Holiday Party Made Easy Part 2: Sparkling Wassail

Family holiday traditions.  They come in many different forms.  And there is something fascinating to me about hearing what traditions are important to other people.  But I didn’t always care about that.  I think when we are young it is hard to appreciate these traditions the way you do when you grow up.  I guess our perspective is skewed when we are young.  Our life just is, and it isn’t until we are older that we reflect on those meaningful things.

Sparkling Champagne Wassail

With my recent marriage, these things have been in my thoughts a lot lately.  There is something beautiful, but at times difficult, about blending two family’s traditions.  And with this, new traditions are born.  You have to come to terms with the reality that some traditions just won’t be the same anymore.  And as sad as this can seem, it is just life.  Families grow and change, and so will traditions.

Sparkling Champagne Wassail

But the memories are always there.  One of my favorite holiday traditions has happened ever since I can remember: our holiday parties.  Every year before Christmas our family would open up our house and have all of our family and friends over for food and drinks.  My mom always had our house looking amazing, so cozy and warm with all the lights and a fire in the fireplace.  And it wasn’t a Smith Christmas party without wassail.  It would simmer on the stove all evening filling the house with smells cinnamon and clove.  I get a little teary eyed thinking about this, but I also get excited to think that my husband and I will make memories like these together and someday with our kids.

Sparkling Champagne Wassail

In planning for our upcoming party I couldn’t plan the menu without thinking about wassail. So, I decided on a wassail with a kick.  The wassail part can be made up to a week ahead of time and stay chilled in the refrigerator until the day of the party.

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Sparkling Champagne Wassail

Sparkling Wassail- Sparkling Apple Cider

Sparkling Wassail- Sparkling Apple Cider

Ingredients

  • 1/2 gallon apple cider
  • 3 cups pineapple juice
  • 1 orange
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup clove honey
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tbsp whole cloves
  • 1 tbsp allspice berries
  • 3 cups bourbon
  • champaign

Instructions

  1. In a large pot combine apple cider, pineapple juice, the zest of the orange and the lemons removed in strips with a peeler, the juice of the orange and the lemons, honey, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and allspice berries.
  2. Let simmer for 2 hours stirring occasionally.
  3. Let cool before refrigerating.
  4. On the day of the party mix the wassail with the bourbon.
  5. Serve 3oz wassail mixed with 2 oz champaign.
http://bakerbettie.com/holiday-party-made-easy-part-2-sparkling-wassail/

Pepper Nuts/ Pfeffernüsse

I am co-hosting a holiday party next weekend.  Well really, it is a birthday party for my best friend who is coming home to Kansas from Rhode Island.  But it’s the holiday season so it seems fitting to make it holiday themed.

I LOVE to entertain.  And I am always trying to find ways to make entertaining stress free.  My solution: come up with a menu of simple appetizers where most components can easily be made before the day of the party.  That way you can focus on hosting, having a good time, and leave the stress behind.

I decided that Pepper Nuts would be perfect as one of the offerings.  They are very popular in this area and they are a great choice if you want to make things ahead of time.  In fact, it is suggested to make these at least a week and up to a month before they will be eaten.  This way the flavors can mellow and develop a bit.  But don’t get me wrong, they are delicious the same day too!

If you aren’t familiar with this nut sized spicy little cookie you should give it a try.  They are kind of addicting.  It’s also easy to make tons of these and split them up into smaller portions for gifts.

Pepper Nuts/ Pfeffernüsse

Yield: About 600 tiny cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup almonds, finely ground
  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp freshly ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar using an electric mixer. Add the egg and ground nuts.
  2. In another bowl, mix the 2 1/2 cups of the flour with the baking powder, soda, cardamom, cinnamon, white pepper, cloves, allspice and nutmeg.
  3. Blend the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture until a stiff dough forms. If the dough is too wet, add 1 tbsp of flour at a time until it forms a stiff dough that is easy to roll.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball. (I think it’s easier to roll out the dough if it is chilled. Put in the refrigerator for 1 hour or in the freezer for 15 minutes)
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. Cut off a portion of the dough at a time and roll between your hands and a lightly floured work surface to make slim, ropes about 1/2-inch thick. Place 4 or 5 ropes on an ungreased cookie sheet. Cut ropes into 1/2-inch pieces using a sharp, small knife. Separate the pieces.
  7. Bake for 8 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned and dry. Remove from the oven; cool on the baking sheet.
  8. Store in an airtight container for up to a month.
http://bakerbettie.com/holiday-party-made-easy-part-1-pepper-nuts/

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