TIDINGS OF JOY

Baby it’s cold outside, but the warmth of a sweet holiday cookie, brie appetizer  and your own signature craft cocktails will take the chill off, according to our cuisine expert on the scene Josie Rees.

MAPLE PECAN BAKED BRIE

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 ounce) round brie cheese
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • sliced baguette, graham crackers, apple slices (for serving)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Place brie on a small baking sheet. Bake about 15 minutes or until softened. Remove and let cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. While the brie cools, heat maple syrup, brown sugar, and cinnamon over low heat in a small saucepan. Stir until the sugar has dissolved; stir in pecans.
  4. Pour over the brie and serve immediately.

CRANBERRY POMEGRANATE GIN SMASH

This drink may look like a summer, tropical treat but it’s flavors beckon the holidays. Using deep reds like cranberries and pomegranates, this winter drink is fruity yet robust.

Ingredients:

  • Crushed ice
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate juice
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 2-3 ounces favorite gin
  • Pomegranate seeds for garnish
  • Mint leaves for garnish
  • Orange peels for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Fill your glass halfway with ice.
  2. Add the pomegranate juice, cranberry juice, lime juice and gin.
  3. Stir to combine and then top with mint, pomegranate seeds and orange peels. Enjoy responsibly.

PLUM, THYME AND PROSECCO COCKTAIL

Ingredients:

  • 2 Plums
  • 6 Thyme sprigs
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 4 Tbsp. thyme simple syrup (1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of water, bring to a boil, remove from heat, add thyme sprigs, stir, and let cool. Chill until ready to use.)
  • 1 bottle of Prosecco

Instructions:

  1. Peel and chop 2 plums.
  2. Muddle the plums with the thyme simple syrup and lemon juice until all of the plum juices have been released. (You can also muddle right in the glass if you prefer to have bits of fruit in your cocktail.)
  3. Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker.
  4. Pour over crushed ice evenly between two glasses.
  5. Top off with prosecco and garnish with extra plum slices and thyme sprigs.

Serve immediately and enjoy responsibly.

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT CHUNK COOKIES 

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs, large
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed light
  • 8 oz chocolate, semisweet
  • 1 package chocolate chunks, semisweet
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract, pure
  • 4 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 package of white chocolate melting chunks
  • Peppermint crumbs

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 20-second increments, stirring between each, until almost melted; do not overheat. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; beat in melted chocolate. Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks.
  3. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in centers, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 10 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Melt white chocolate melting chunks in the microwave at 30 second intervals. Stirring in between.
  5. Dip half the cookie into the melt chocolate to coat.
  6. Sprinkle peppermint candy crumbs on top. Place on wire rack to set.