mushrooms

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To assemble the mushrooms: Spread a light layer of melted chocolate on the underside of the mushroom cap and using a toothpick, drag 'gill' lines moving from the center to the edge. With the same tooth pick, gently poke a hole in the center of the meringue cap and move in a circular motion to enlarge the hole until it is about the size of the diameter of the stem. Dip the top of the stem in chocolate and press into the opening. Set the assembled mushrooms aside to allow the chocolate to cool and harden.

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For our cake roll, we made a thin sponge cake, piping faux wood grain darkened with cocoa onto a silpat mat before spreading the remaining lighter batter over the top. For the filling we simply mixed melted chocolate with a room temperature bin of CoolWhip to create a fudgy mousse. Once the cake has cooled, spread the filling evenly over the inside so that the pattern remains on the underside of the cake and shows on the surface when rolled.

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Any cracking on the edges or surface are forgiven by the fact that it's supposed to look like wood 😉

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Extra pieces of cake can be used as limbs and the mushrooms can be attached to the log with a light dip into melted chocolate.  Use the rest to decorate the plate and to serve to each guest with their slice.

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Yule logs are a festive and fun alternative to traditional chocolate cake and can be frosted as much or as little as you like. Adding a layer of chocolate frosting dragged with a bark-like pattern can simplify production even more and a light dusting of powdered sugar brings a  feel of freshly fallen snow to the table.

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However you choose to serve it, we hope your Yule Log with be shared with friends & family around the dinner table as you celebrate together. From our family to yours, wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

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These orange-filled chocolates will make you feel like a real chocolatier, even though they are really easy to make—especially when they are made in our festive Christmas chocolate molds! When prettily packaged, these chocolates make the perfect gift for friends, neighbors, coworkers, (or yourself).

For the filling:

One 15oz jar of marshmallow fluff

5-6 drops orange food coloring

1 tsp Mexican vanilla

½ tsp orange zest

¾ - 1 cup powdered sugar

Mix fluff, food coloring, vanilla, and orange zest together in the KitchenAid mixer fitted with the whip attachment.

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Add powdered sugar slowly until mixture reaches desired consistency for filling the chocolates.

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Using a double boiler, melt Callebaut semisweet callets. When they are fully melted, remove from heat and mix in about five solid chips until melted (this is an easy trick to temper the chocolate).

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Fill each well of the chocolate mold and turn it around to coat entire well.

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Turn upside down on Silpat mat and allow excess to drip out, and then use a bench scraper to scrape excess of the top of the mold.

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Place the mold in the fridge until solid.

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Using a disposable piping bag, fill each well, but not quite to the top of the mold.

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Pour more melted chocolate over the filling, and then use the bench scraper again to smooth the top and scrape off the excess onto the silpat. Once the extra melted chocolate has hardened, you can re-melt it!

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Put the chocolates back into the fridge for a few hours until solid. To remove, whack the mold upside down against the counter or a cutting board. If the chocolates don’t come out easily, try placing the mold into the freezer for a few minutes.

For some extra special decorating fun, use a small paintbrush to paint white chocolate into the molds before filling. This technique allows you to add extra details to your chocolate masterpieces!

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One of our favorite bon bon molds is the fat santa - he's so jolly!

 

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cheesecake

There's nothing wrong with pumpkin pie, but if you're looking for something new to serve on the dessert table, this cheesecake offers many of the flavors of fall with a sticky new twist. It's got pumpkin, spice, and just enough crunch to satisfy any after-turkey sweet tooth!

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For the Cheesecake:

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1 1/3 C graham cracker crumbs (about 12 crackers)

¼ C sugar

¼ C butter, melted

3 - 8oz packages cream cheese, softened

1 - 14oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 - 15oz can pumpkin

3 large eggs, at room temp

¼ C pure Grade B maple syrup

1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

1tsp fresh grated nutmeg

1 1/2tsp fine sea salt

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Maple Pecan Glaze:

1 C whipping cream

¾ C pure Grade B maple syrup

¾ C chopped pecans

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Finely crush the graham crackers in a food processor.

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In a large bowl, combine the crumbs, sugar and melted butter and firmly press into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan.

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Using your stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually mix in the sweetened condensed milk until smooth. With the mixer on medium, add the pumpkin, eggs, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

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Mix well and pour into the spring form pan.

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Bake until the center appears nearly set, but jiggles a little when shaken - about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

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Cool for at least 1 hour. Cover and chill overnight or for minimum of 4 hours.

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For the glaze: In a medium saucepan, combine the whipping cream and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Boil until slightly thickened - 15 to 20 minutes - stirring occasionally.

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Stir in the chopped pecans Cover and chill until time to serve. Spoon maple pecan glaze over the cheese cake and slice to serve.

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by Beth Brown, Kitchen Store Specialist

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One of my favorite holiday memories from my childhood is baking pies the night before Thanksgiving. I would “help” my mom in the kitchen, staying up later than normal to finish baking the delicious pies for the feast the next day.

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There was always a bit of pie dough leftover, and my mom would cut it up into triangles, shake cinnamon sugar over the top, and bake them up for delicious treat before bed. Piecrust cookies became my favorite part of the pie-baking ritual.

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For this dessert shop recipe, we took piecrust cookies a few steps further to make them even more special and delicious, elevating them into much more than a leftover treat - these are tasty enough to take center stage! Especially when served with a pumpkin cream cheese frosting dip.

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When baking up these tasty leaf-shaped goodies, the KitchenAid food processor was an essential tool, and made the process quick and easy. (Nothing is better for holiday cooking than recipes that look complicated but are actually really simple!)

Beth's No Fail Pie Crust

3 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour

1 1/2 tsp Salt

1 1/2 tsp Sugar

1 1/2 Cups (3 sticks) Unsalted Butter

1/2-3/4 Cup Ice Cold Water

In a food processor, measure the flour, salt and sugar. Cut the butter into cubes and add to flour.

Pulse only enough to create a crumb mixture.

img_8807Slowly add cold water until the mixture begins to stick together when pressed between your fingers.

img_8810Separate into four blocks, refrigerate extra as you work with one. Turn dough out onto a floured Silpat and roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Onto this, sprinkle a portion of the following:

¼ Cup pecans, finely chopped and toasted

¼ cup dried cranberries, finely chopped

1-2 Tbs fresh orange zest

2 tsp sugar (optional)

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You can either cover half the rolled out dough and fold the remaining half over, or apply a second sheet of rolled dough to cover the first.

img_8818Roll a second time to press the two sheets together to reveal the ingredients inside and reach desired thickness.

img_8822Use festive cutters to cut cookie shapes from the dough, or shape for hand pies or to fit your pie plate, depending on desired use for crust.

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Take it to a whole new level by leaving out the optional sugar, adding fresh herbs and using this crust for left-over Turkey & Stuffing hand pies with gravy dip - or as the crust for a next-day turkey pot pie!

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Cookie Press Butter Cookies are a classic at Holiday time, and now with OXO's Fall Disc Collection, they can be made and shared as early as Halloween! Because this dough holds its shape so well through the baking process, Miss Beth suggests adding decorations before baking so that sprinkles and sparkle sugars stick even when packaged. Also, remember to use just a baking sheet without any spray, grease or silicone baking mat so that the pressed cookies will stick slightly to the surface and release from the plate of the press with clean lines and distinct pattern. This chart from OXO shows the finished product created by each disc in the collection.

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Butter Cookies *
Yield: About 12 dozen cookies
Ingredients
• 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
at room temperature • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 cup sugar • 4 cups all-purpose flour
• ½ teaspoon salt
Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar and salt. Beat until light and
fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, continuously beating.
3. Gradually add flour, beating until well incorporated.
4. Place dough in cookie press with desired disk. Press dough out onto an ungreased baking sheet.
5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown on the edges.
Rotate baking sheet halfway through baking time.

*Recipe provided by longtime OXO friend, Fraya Berg

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Ever since our friend sent us this picture...

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of her cast iron pizza on the grill made with the seemingly magical 2 ingredient crust, we knew we had to try it. And what better way to top said crust than with the bounty of an Alaska summer - smoked salmon and fresh greens!  Whether you grill it in cast iron from Lodge or Staub, or bake it on an Emil Henry pizza stone in your oven - it's a sure crowd pleaser!

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Once you have your fish reeled in, prepare the fresh fillets - making sure you have a flexible and SHARP fillet knife for the job!

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Remove any pin bones that may have remained - Chef Lisa loves the Messermeister fish tweezer tool for this fine work.

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Now you're ready to add a touch of smokey flavor to your fish. There are just about as many brines, rubs and techniques out there as there are fish in the sea, but we used Cameron's Stove Top Smoker (also known as "The easiest way to Smoke Salmon").

Using 1 1/2 Tablespoons of alder wood chips in a pile in the middle of the base of the smoker, line the bottom of the drip tray with aluminum foil (for easy cleanup) and set the rack in the drip tray. Lay the salmon fillet, about 3/4 to 1 inch thick, skin side down on the rack. Close the lid and place smoker on preheated burner or open grill (medium heat) for 10 minutes. We're cutting the time short so that the fish gets a smokey flavor without cooking through since we will be finishing the job on the pizza. 25 minutes in the smoker would give you flake-able fillets. Remove from heat and open lid. (original instructions from Camerons Stovetop Smoker Cooking Guide)

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Remove salmon and cut into thin slices with a fillet knife.

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2 INGREDIENT PIZZA DOUGH

1 C Greek yogurt

1 – 1 ½ C self rising flour

(or substitute 1½ C all purpose flour, 1½ tsp of baking powder, and ¾ tsp of salt)

Combine yogurt and flour in a bowl until it comes together in a ball. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 8-10 minutes. If the dough feels too sticky at any point, add flour, a tsp at a time until it becomes smooth without sticking to your hands. Roll dough into an oblong circle and brush with olive oil. Crust is ready to top.

For this recipe we're using a log of chevre, sliced and spread evenly over the crust. Lay Salmon slices over the cheese and sprinkle with your choice of dried herbs. You can also add a drizzle of your favorite flavored oil, whether to add spice with a pepper infused oil, or a lovely citrus hint with just a touch of lemon oil.

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Bake at 450°F in the oven for 10-12 minutes or on a hot grill until crust is browned on the edges. Remove from heat source, sprinkle with fresh greens - like tender arugula, spinach or mixed baby greens from your garden. For even more smokey flavor, add a pinch of Alder Smoked Alaska Sea Salt with some fresh ground pepper. Enjoy!

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With summertime flavors like Passion Fruit, Cucumber, Rock Melon Cantaloupe, Exotic Citrus, and even Tiki Blend - Monin Syrups are ready to liven any beverage. One of our favorites is Chef Lisa's creation, the Water Berry Punch which combines the quintessential tastes of summer into one delightfully sparkling glass - see the recipe below. Any of these syrups can easily be added to a simple club soda over ice, or dolled up with herbed sugar rims, infused cream layers and zesty blended berry stir-ins! Plain old strawberry lemonade is so last summer - but with just a splash of Guava syrup, a few berries and a sprig of basil, you can give a tropical hint to a refreshing classic! So mix it up, and try an exciting - dare we say exotic - blend of your own!

Water Berry Punch

Ingredients:

Ice

1 oz. Monin watermelon syrup

1 oz. Monin huckleberry syrup

12 oz. sparkling gingerale

2 oz. cranberry juice

1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice

Place all ingredients in a 16 oz glass and stir. Garnish with a twist of lime or wedge of watermelon.

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Strawberry yogurt ice cream popsicles with mint over steel tray background. Top view

Making yogurt at home is an exciting process and allows you to use only the ingredients you want. And now that the Cuisipro yogurt maker is collapsible for easy storage, the excuse of bulky equipment is out the kitchen window! Once you realize how simple it can be to make your own yogurt, especially the part about using the batch you've made to start another, you can virtually be making it everyday! With all that delicious dairy around, here's a simple recipe that makes a cool, refreshing dessert of your creation, and once again, you get to decide what goes in, so you can make them as sweet or tart as you like, with whatever berries you find in season. Imagine a Hatcher's Pass Blueberry version, or one full of your bumper crop of backyard raspberries - either way they'll make a special, healthy treat to share on the porch in the Midnight Sun!

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Ingredients:

1 C homemade yogurt

2 T Alaska Wildflower Honey

3 C strawberries

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With a strawberry huller, remove stems and wash berries. Reserve one cup of the largest berries to cut into thick slices, tip to base. With the small bowl in place, puree the other 2 cups of berries in a food processor with one tablespoon of honey until smooth.

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Stir up yogurt and remaining tablespoon honey to get a smooth, pourable thickness (if your yogurt is more set, you may need to add a bit of milk to reach a good texture). Place one or two slices of strawberry in each popsicle basin, pressing to edge. Fill basins 3/4 full with yogurt mixture and top off with pureed berries, or alternate for varied pops - even layers for stripes! Cover and insert sticks. Freeze until solid, at least  6 hours or overnight.

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Their name says it all; nothing but fresh, colorful veggies pack these Fresh Rolls, making them the perfect summer fare for any outdoor gathering, or everyday snacking. Mix it up with whatever is growing in your garden, or is available at your local Farmers' Market. Plus, the verdant blending of Avocado and Edamame in the dip makes for a cool, creamy base that carries a kick with warming ginger and just enough wasabi to remind you what summer heat really feels like!

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Rolls:
1 red pepper
1 C purple cabbage
4 large carrots
3 leaves greens (Romain or butter leaf lettuce or handful of spinach)
1/2 C corn kernels, cooked and cut from cob
1 package fresh roll rice wrappers

Batonnet (Not sure what that cut is? Ask the Obsessive Chef Cutting Board or take an Essential Knife Skills class from Chef Lisa! ;)) red peppers, cabbage & carrots.

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Boil corn and cut from cob, chill. Fill a shallow pan or deep plate with luke warm water. Pass wrappers through the water bath on each side to hydrate, allowing excess water to drip off. Fill each wrapper with small bundles of each veggie, including a folded leaf of greens and sprinkling of corn. Roll according to package directions, folding in sides and rolling up to seal ends. Serve immediately or wrap and chill. Cut in half to serve.

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Dip:

1 C edamame, shelled, steamed & chilled
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbl olive oil
2 Tbl lime juice
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp hydrated wasabi paste
1 ripe avocado
Salt to taste
Several sprigs of chopped cilantro to garnish
In a food processor, puree edamame, garlic, lime juice, ginger and wasabi to a smooth texture. With the motor running, drizzle in olive oil. Add avocado and pulse to incorporate. Add salt to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with cilantro to serve.

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by Sydnie McKinley, Kitchen Store Specialist

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The KitchenAid spiralizer is a really awesome attachment. Today was my first time using it and it was so much fun. The attachment is extremely easy to use. You just attach the spiralizer to the mixer at the attachment hub.

IMAG0414Then you choose what type of spiral you would like from the plates included: fine spiral, medium spiral, two different types of slicing, and you can also peel with it which is quite handy. After you have chosen which size you would like and set up the corresponding plate, you go ahead and put your veggie or fruit on to the skewer. We used zucchini and carrots, cut into about 4 inch segments. Pull the lever and tighten the plate snugly in front of the item being spiralized. Next, turn on your KitchenAid to about speed 4 and let it do its thing, which is to make quick, lovely spiraled 'noodles' or slices. Once it reaches the end of the cut veggie, you pull of the end nub and do it again!

IMAG0422A simple process with a very special result. Veggie noodles can be used in so many ways.

IMAG0425Steam or boil them and top with sauce, cut into bite-sized segments and serve with a fresh dressing, even roll up in wraps and fresh rolls.

IMAG0427Chef Cheryl added sliced avocado, some feta and a tortilla for a fresh salad wrap that will satisfy your summer cravings for a quick and healthy meal.

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