Tag Archives: rum

Twenty-Five Days of Cookies: Nutmeg Bites

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Christmas is twenty-one days (gulp) away and what better way is there to countdown to the big event than to feature a cookie recipe each day? Think of it as a cookie recipe advent calendar. And to fill that advent calendar I’m featuring twenty five of my favorite holiday cookie recipes that are sure to fill your holidays with cheer. Bake them to fill your cookie trays, bring them to a cookie swap or eat them yourself; they are guaranteed to bring about holiday joy. And if you love baking as much as I do, making them is a fun filled gift unto itself. Enjoy!

I love these little cookies from King Arthur Flour because they are a bit different than your usual holiday spiced cookies. Whereas most cookies are rich with brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger, the only spice these cookies contain is nutmeg. The nutmeg makes them spicy yet light but the rum icing provides the punch that makes these cookies exciting. If possible, use freshly ground nutmeg. You will notice a difference. And as an added bonus you can make the dough ahead of time and chill it until you are ready to bake them.

NUTMEG BITES

For the cookie dough:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla

For the rum icing:

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons rum

  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients. Using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat  until a soft, smooth dough forms.
  • Wrap and chill the dough for 1 hour. Towards the end of the chill time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Drop tablespoon-sized dough balls onto your baking sheet.
  • Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes. The edges will be slightly browned and the cookies will be round and domed.
  • Cool the cookies completely.
  • Prepare the icing by blending the softened butter and confectioners’ sugar.
  • Add rum one tablespoon at a time until you have a spreadable icing.
  • Top each cookie with a dollop of icing and a dash of nutmeg.

Yield: Approximately 3 to 4 dozen cookies.

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Gingerbread Bundt Cake

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The warm and spicy flavors of gingerbread are one of my favorite flavors and smells of this time of year. The combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and of course ginger immediately take me back to my childhood when a warm slice of cake topped with real whipped cream made a regular appearance on our dessert table.

This recipe, from King Arthur Flour, puts one of my favorite cakes in a new shape and tops it with a very adult icing. I personally love the flavor of rum in the icing. However, if rum isn’t your thing, feel free to substitute water or even a mixture of rum and water when making the icing. Or you could skip the icing and serve the cake topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

For the cake:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs

1/2 cup molasses

1 cup water

For the glaze:

1/3 cup rum or water

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 10- to 12-cup bundt-style pan and set aside.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition. Stir in the molasses.
  • Add the flour mixture in three additions alternately with the water, starting and ending with the flour. Mix just until smooth. 
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
  • Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  • While the cake is baking, make the glaze by stirring together the water, spices and sugar in a small sauce pan set over low heat.
  • Stir occasionally until the sugar as completely dissolved. Set aside.
  • Remove the cake from the oven, cool it in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack. 
  • Brush the cake with the glaze, and allow it to cool completely before serving.

Yields: 12-16 slices

Limey Mojito Spritzer

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Here’s a twist on good old fashioned lemonade. Just add a lime instead! While I find limes considerably more difficult to juice than lemons, the results are so worth it so be sure to use fresh limes. The combination of lime juice, mint, and sparkling water is reminiscent of mojitos, which are my favorite adult summer beverage. Sometimes I’ll add the rum and other times I’ll leave it other. Whichever version you choose, pour yourself a tall drink, sit back, relax, and enjoy these hot lazy summer days.

LIMEY MOJITO SPRITZER

1 cup water

1 cup superfine sugar

1 1/2 liters Pellagrino or other sparkling water

1 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup light rum (optional)

In a small saucepan, bring the water and superfine sugar to a boil. Boil 3 minutes then remove from the heat. Allow to cool.
Using a wooden spoon, muddle the mint leaves in the bottom of a glass pitcher. Add the simple syrup and lime juice and stir to combine.
Pour in the sparkling water and rum, if using.
Serve in chilled glasses over ice.

Blueberry Tea Cake

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I’m a huge fan of summer berries and going back to my Maine roots, blueberries are by far my favorite of all the berries. And because I am a native Mainer, when it comes to blueberries, in my opinion wild ones are far superior to cultivated ones. Smaller in size and darker in color, wild blueberries are sweeter and yield more of a “summer taste”. Unfortunately, fresh wild blueberries aren’t easy to find in many parts of the world so fresh cultivated ones will do in a pinch–because after all, fresh blueberries are better than no blueberries at all.

When you’ve had your fill of blueberry pies, pancakes and muffins and you’ve canned more jam than you can possibly eat and/or gift (can you tell what I do will all my fresh berries?), it is time to look for alternative uses for these sweet little berries.  And when that time comes, look no further than this easy and flavorful tea cake from Williams Sonoma. The cake comes together quickly and with just a hint of spicy cardamom and a generous amount of fresh blueberries, it is the perfect snack or lunchbox treat. Of course, fresh wild blueberries are best but lacking them, feel free to substitute cultivated ones or even frozen berries. If you do use the frozen version, be sure to lightly dust them in flour before adding them to the batter. This will prevent them from “bleeding”.

 

BLUEBERRY TEA CAKE

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons dark rum

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 cup plain yogurt

2 cups fresh wild blueberries

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)

  • Preheat an oven to 350°F. Coat an 8 inch square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar until thick and fluffy.
  • Using a wooden spoon, stir in the melted butter, rum and lemon zest.
  • Add the flour mixture in two additions, alternating with the yogurt, and stir until just smooth.
  • Using a rubber spatula, fold in the blueberries.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top with the spatula.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.
  • Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool completely in the pan.
  • Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar.

Yields: 1- 8 inch square cake

 

Eggnog

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Egg nog, like the ubiquitous fruitcake, is so closely associated with Christmas that it is hard to imagine one without the other. Like the famous cake, people seem to either love or hate egg nog. Personally I was never a fan but then again I had only drank the thick and cloying sweet stuff that comes out of the carton. Then I had my first taste of the real stuff and I was a convert.

Egg nog is easy to make and chances are you already have all of the ingredients on hand. This recipe is adapted from the Yankee Kitchen Ninja blog. The Ninj’s version used skim milk but since I was feeling decadent, and I had some hard to find heavy cream on hand, I splurged and used a combination of milk and cream. My results were rich and thick but you can use all milk of any fat content if you prefer. The rum is also optional but I think it adds a nice kick to the drink. If you are serving the egg nog to a mixed crowd you can add a shot of rum to each glass instead of mixing it into the pitcher. However you drink it, egg nog means Christmas so Joy Noel!

EGGNOG

4 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 cups milk

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup dark rum (optional)

  • Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a large saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Whisk in the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, milk, and cream until blended.
  • Set the pan over medium heat and heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees then let it simmer for 1 minute.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Pour into a pitcher and refrigerate until cold.
  • Before serving mix in the rum if using and top with a dollop of whipped cream.

Serves 4

Limey Mojito Spritzer

DSC_0177

Here’s a twist on good old fashioned lemonade.  Just add a lime instead!  While I find limes considerably more difficult to juice than lemons, the results are so worth it so be sure to use fresh limes.  The combination of lime juice, mint, and sparkling water is reminiscent of mojitos, which are my favorite adult summer beverage.  Sometimes I’ll add the rum and other times I’ll leave it other.  Whichever version you choose, pour yourself a tall drink, sit back, relax, and enjoy these hot lazy summer days.

LIMEY MOJITO SPRITZER

1 cup water

1 cup superfine sugar

1 1/2 liters Pellagrino or other sparkling water

1 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup light rum (optional)

  • In a small saucepan, bring the water and superfine sugar to a boil.  Boil 3 minutes then remove from the heat.  Allow to cool.
  • Using a wooden spoon, muddle the mint leaves in the bottom of a glass pitcher.  Add the simple syrup and lime juice and stir to combine.
  • Pour in the sparkling water and rum, if using.
  • Serve in chilled glasses over ice.

Tiramisu

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Tiramisu is the all time favorite dessert in our house.  Glenn and I discovered our mutual love of this Italian dessert early in our relationship over a late night dinner at Filomena Ristorante in Georgetown, Washington D.C.  Since that snowy January night, if tiramisu is on the menu, we order it.  Tiramisu was the dessert at our rehearsal dinner the night before our wedding (it would have been our wedding cake if I could have figured out how it could have been made in a tiered form), it is the cake I make for Glenn’s birthday every year, and it is becoming a favorite dessert for our formal dinners.

I’ve discovered that not all tiramisu is created equal. Cake that is too dry or filling that is too sweet yields  disappointing results.  This recipe comes from Williams Sonoma and in my opinion is the perfect combination of moist, yet not too wet, lady fingers and rich and delicately sweet filling.  Always make it a  day ahead of time. This lets the flavors meld together.  Of course, if there are leftovers, it is even better the following day.

TIRAMISU

1/2 cup sugar 

1/2 cup water

2 cups freshly brewed espresso 

1/4 cup dark rum 

45 ladyfingers

1/3 cup sugar 

6 egg yolks 

1/2 cup heavy cream 

1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese 

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 

Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting 

  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the espresso and let cool to room temperature. Stir the rum into the cooled espresso mixture. 
  • Pour the espresso mixture into a wide, shallow bowl. Working in batches, briefly immerse the ladyfingers in the liquid, then transfer them to a plate. Set aside. 
  • To make the filling, select a heatproof bowl that fits snugly in the rim of a saucepan. Pour water to a depth of about 2 inches into the saucepan and bring to a very gentle simmer.
  • Meanwhile, in the heatproof bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is pale yellow and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  • Place the bowl over, but not touching, the simmering water in the pan. Using a handheld mixer on medium speed, beat the yolk mixture until very thick and tripled in volume, about 6 minutes.
  • Remove the bowl from the heat and set the yolk mixture aside to cool completely, stirring frequently. 
  • Meanwhile, in a bowl, using the mixer on medium-high speed, beat the cream until stiff peaks form.
  • Add the mascarpone and vanilla to the cooled yolk mixture. Beat with the mixer on medium speed just until smooth and well blended.
  • Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold in the whipped cream just until combined. 
  • To assemble, carefully transfer 15 soaked ladyfingers to a 9-inch square cake pan. Arrange them in a single layer in the bottom of the pan.
  • Using the rubber spatula, evenly spread one-third of the filling over the ladyfingers. Place another layer of 15 ladyfingers over the filling in the pan and evenly spread with half of the remaining filling.
  • Top with the remaining ladyfingers and filling, again spreading evenly. Gently tap the pan against the counter to settle the ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. 
  • Run a small knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the sides. Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the top with the cocoa powder. Cut into slices and serve directly from the pan.
  • Serves 8. 

 

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