dedicated to discovering all that is authentically amarillo
current issuecurrent issue
What's Cooking? - Posted December 11, 2012 3:33 p.m.
photos by Shannon Richardson

Close to Home

more resources
Share This: Bookmark and Share

Evoke memories of Christmas past and preserve them for the future with heirloom recipes. Passed down through generations, homemade candies, cookies and holiday treats make thoughtful gifts that are always appreciated. Wrap them up in festive cellophane and ribbons or package them in pretty tins and bowls for a personal touch.

Sponsored by Little Brown House
Global views cake stand $268 (marshmallows); J. Barboglio large glass bowl $259 (popcorn); Bernardaud “Grenadiers” dinner plate $67 (sand tarts); Park Hull large cake stand $50 (toffee); Park Hull small cake stand $30 (Torrone); Botero cocktail glass $11 (spice rub); Annie Glass tray $69 (olives); J. Barboglio chalice martini $86 (spiced nuts); Abigail large martini glass $36 (cranberries); J. Barboglio pepita bowl $95 (granola); Global Views decanters $36 (drink mixers); Abigail decanter $45 (vodka); Garnier Thiebaut runner $76

Candy Cane Marshmallows
Non-stick cooking spray
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
4 packages (1/4 ounce each) unflavored gelatin
¾ teaspoon peppermint extract
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons red food coloring

Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray; line bottom with parchment paper. Coat the parchment with cooking spray and set pan aside. Put sugar, corn syrup and ¾ cup water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring; let mixture come to a boil. Raise heat to medium-high; cook until mixture registers 260 degrees on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over ¾ cup water in a heatproof bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Set the bowl with the gelatin mixture over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in extract; set aside. Beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Whisk gelatin mixture into sugar mixture; with mixer running, gradually add to egg whites. Mix on high speed until very thick, 12 to 15 minutes. Pour mixture into lined pan. Working quickly, drop dots of red food coloring across surface of marshmallow. Using a toothpick, swirl food coloring into marshmallow to create a marbleized effect. Let marshmallow stand, uncovered, at room temperature until firm at least three hours or overnight. Cut into squares.

Makes 16 2-inch squares

Vietri “Old Saint Nick” mug $36

All-purpose Spice Rub
1/3 cup coarse salt
¼ cup packed light-brown sugar
¼ cup paprika
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried thyme leaves
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (optional)

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients using your hands to break up the sugar.

Makes 1 ¼ cups (enough to season 5 to 10 pounds of meat)

Vagabond condiment jar with spoon $101

Caramel Almond Popcorn
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for baking sheets
¾ cup corn kernels
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups toasted whole almonds
2 cups packed light-brown sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
¾ teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Butter two rimmed baking sheets; set aside. Place corn kernels and oil in a large pot over medium-high heat; cover. Once kernels begin to pop, shake pot frequently. When popping slows to about three seconds between pops, remove from heat; uncover. Transfer to a large bowl. Add almonds and toss. Cook sugar, butter and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until mixture reaches 255 degrees. Remove from heat. Stir in extracts, salt and baking soda. Pour over popcorn mixture; toss to coat. Divide between prepared sheets. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool on wire racks.

Makes about 18 cups

Apricot-ginger Fizz Mixer
1 peeled, 1-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
½ cup sugar
2 ½ cups apricot nectar

Bring ginger, sugar and ½ cup water to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; stir until sugar has dissolved. Let cool. Put apricot nectar into a large container; stir in ginger mixture. Refrigerate 2 to 4 hours. Strain; pour into an airtight bottle. Mixer can be refrigerated up to 1 week. For each drink, pour three ounces of mixer into a glass; add three ounces of sparkling wine.

Makes enough for 6 drinks

Cranberry Cocktail Mixer
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
½ cup sugar
2 ½ cups cranberry juice

Bring zests, sugar and ½ cup water to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; stir until sugar has dissolved. Let cool. Put juice into a large container; stir in zest mixture. Refrigerate, covered, 1 hour or overnight. Strain; pour into an airtight bottle. Mixer can be refrigerated up to 1 week. For each drink, combine 4 ounces of mixer with 2 ounces of vodka in a cocktail shaker with ice; strain into a chilled martini glass.

Makes enough for 6 drinks

Pommeroy decanters $56/set

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1 cup sliced almonds
½ cup shredded coconut
¼ cup unsalted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) or shelled sunflower seeds
½ cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dried fruit (such as cherries, cranberries, raisins or currants)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the oats, almonds, coconut and pepitas with the maple syrup, oil and salt. Bake, tossing once, until golden and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Add the dried fruit and toss to combine. Let cool. Keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one month.

Makes 6 cups

TAG bowl $9

Nanny’s Sand Tarts
2 sticks butter, room temperature
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
½ teaspoon water
1 cup toasted chopped pecans
1 ½ cups powdered sugar (for coating)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix first five ingredients just until combined. Add pecans. Dough should hold together, but not be sticky. Add more flour if too wet, more water if too dry. Pinch off small portions (about ½ ounce); roll into log and shape into crescent; place about an inch apart on baking sheets. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating pans halfway, until barely light brown. While hot, roll in powdered sugar in large bowl. Let sit a few minutes and roll again in powdered sugar. Store in airtight container for up to one week or in freezer for a month.

Makes about 44 cookies

TAG saucer $7

Olives with Fennel Seeds and Orange
2 cups assorted brined olives, such as Gaeta, Kalamata and Nicoise, rinsed
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for filling jars
¼ teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
Zest of one orange
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer to jars. Fill jars with remaining oil. Refrigerate immediately for at least eight hours and up to two weeks.

Makes about 2 cups

Pistachio-cranberry Torrone
1 cup sugar
½ cup honey
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups shelled salted pistachios, (about 7 ounces)
1 1/3 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut, (about 4 ounces)
½ cup dried cranberries

Lightly grease two sheets of parchment paper (about 12” x 18”). Set aside. Put sugar, honey, corn syrup and ½ cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture just begins to simmer and sugar has dissolved, about six minutes. Continue to cook, without stirring, until mixture reaches 300 degrees on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, put egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Raise speed to high. Pour hot honey mixture into egg-white mixture in a slow, steady stream, and beat until mixture has cooled and thickened and begins to stick to whisk, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low; beat in vanilla, pistachios, coconut and cranberries. Working quickly, spread mixture onto one sheet of prepared paper. Place another sheet of prepared paper on top; press down to flatten and spread evenly. The torrone should be about 12” x 8” and about ½ - ¾ inch thick. Let cool at least three hours or overnight. Remove top sheet of paper; rub liberally with powdered sugar to reduce tackiness, flip over onto cutting board and coat the other side. Trim edges to straighten. Using a long, sharp knife, cut crosswise into1-inch slices.

Makes about 24 6-inch by 1-inch pieces

TAG saucer $7

Salted Chocolate-pecan Toffee
2 cups pecan halves
3 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted, about eight minutes. When cool enough to handle, chop roughly. Divide into two batches; chop one batch finely. Set both batches aside. Put sugar, butter, salt and ¾ cup water in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. When butter and sugar are melted, increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is a deep, golden brown and measures 310 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully stir in vanilla (mixture will bubble up) and finely chopped pecans. Pour into a 10-by 15-inch rimmed baking sheet. Let toffee cool until set, at least 30 minutes. Put chocolate in a medium metal bowl. Fill an 8-or 10-inch frying pan with ½ inch of water and bring to a boil. Take off heat and put bowl of chocolate in the water. Let sit about five minutes. Stir chocolate until melted. Pour over toffee. With a knife or offset spatula, spread evenly. Sprinkle chocolate with roughly chopped pecans. Let sit 20 minutes or until chocolate is cool but still a bit soft. Sprinkle with salt. Chill until set, about one hour. To remove, gently twist pan to release toffee, then chop or break into chunks. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 40 pieces

TAG bowl $9

Spiced Nuts
1 large egg white
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 ¾ teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 ½ cups assorted nuts, such as cashews, pecans or almonds

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Beat egg white until soft and foamy. Combine all remaining ingredients except nuts; whisk into egg white. Stir in nuts until well coated; spread mixture in single layer onto an ungreased baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven. Using a metal spatula toss, stir and separate nuts. Reduce oven to 250 degrees and return nuts to bake until medium brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven; toss and stir again. Place baking pan on wire rack to cool (they will crisp as they cool). Break up any that stick together.

Makes 2 1/2 cups

TAG bowl $9

Sugared Cranberries
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
3 cups fresh cranberries
¾ cup superfine sugar (see note)

Combine granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring mixture until sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer; remove from heat. (Do not boil or the cranberries may pop when added.) Stir in cranberries; pour mixture into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate eight hours or overnight. Drain cranberries in a colander over a bowl, reserving steeping liquid, if desired. Place superfine sugar in a shallow dish. Add the cranberries, rolling to coat with sugar. Spread sugared cranberries in a single layer on a baking sheet; let stand at room temperature one hour or until dry.

Note: The steeping liquid clings to the berries and helps the sugar adhere. Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to a week. If you can’t find superfine sugar, make your own by processing granulated sugar in a food processor for one minute.

Makes about 3 cups

Spode “Christmas Tree” bowl $30

Vanilla Infused Vodka
1 liter vodka
6-8 vanilla beans, split

Divide the vodka and vanilla beans among gift bottles. Refrigerate until the vodka reaches the desired level of infusion, at least three days and up to one week. Keep refrigerated for up to two months.

Makes 1 liter

Abigail decanter $45 and Juliska “Graham” double old-fashioned glass $52

Recipes provided by T and Andy Price, Real Food Café
Find Real Food Company on Facebook.

-- the AM Team

blog comments powered by Disqus
recent stories

20 Questions with … Kelley Shaw, Development Customer Service Coordinator, City of Amarillo
Kelley Shawt shares his business advice.

The beard – the male equivalent of pregnancy
Who am I to prevent a woman’s happiness by selfishly shaving – at least for ...

Bunny Flakes & Crepes
Bunny Flakes & Crepes has been busy cooking up fresh savory and sweet crepes.

Panhandle Lumber Company
Panhandle Lumber was one of Amarillo’s early businesses, opening at Sixth Avenue and Tyler Street ...