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    Thursday, 22 December 2011
     Adam Rapoport, Editor-in-Chief of Bon Appétit 
    Recipe by the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen 

    I know the holidays are supposed to be all about family and tradition, but the hedonist in me likes to think they're really all about a good party. 

    Of course, the question is, what's the formula for one? 

    When I would come home from college for winter break, it usually consisted of a few bags of Doritos, a keg of cheap beer, and a group of close friends and flirts from high school. I couldn't have asked for more. But nowadays, the bar's a bit higher. Here's my holiday rule: 

    Always start with a ham. It's the centerpiece of any great Christmas party, it'll last the entire night, and the leftovers make for excellent sandwiches and even better split-pea soup. I order a bone-in smoked ham from my butcher, make a simple glaze, and pop it in the oven for a few hours--done. Last year, a chef friend brought over a magnificent Red Wattle ham he'd baked and set it out on a cutting board next to a bag of Martin's sliced potato bread and bowls of mayo and Dijon. By 11:30, I'd lost count of how many sandwiches I'd eaten. 

    Related: 10 More Great Dinner Roast Recipes 

    Slice it and serve with our soft dinner rolls so guests can make mini sandwiches, then use the bone to make soup. Ask your butcher for a whole cured, smoked bone-in ham from the back leg of the pig, or order one from dartagnan.com. You can also buy a half ham and cut the recipe in half. Flavor the meat with Riesling from the same bottle you use to make the gelée for the chicken liver mousse. 

    Ingredients 
    1 14-16 lb. whole cured, smoked bone-in ham 
    2 cups sweet (Auslese) Riesling, divided 
    2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter 
    1/4 cup finely chopped shallots 
    3 sprigs thyme plus 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves 
    1/2 cup whole grain mustard 
    1 tablespoon honey 
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
    Small pinch of kosher salt 

    Preparation 
    Arrange rack in lowest level of oven; preheat to 300°. Leaving fat in tact, remove outer rind from most of ham, leaving a band around the end of the shank bone. Score fat crosswise (do not cut into meat) on top of ham with parallel cuts spaced 1/2" apart. Place ham in a large roasting pan. Boil 1 cup Riesling and 7 cups water in a saucepan for 5 minutes. Pour into bottom of roasting pan. Bake ham, basting with pan juices occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the ham registers 110°, 2 1/2-3 hours. 

    See Also: 31 All-Time Favorite Holiday Cookies 

    Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and thyme sprigs; cook, stirring often, until shallots are very soft, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat; stir in the remaining 1 cup Riesling. Return to stove. Increase heat to medium-high, bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 8 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs and transfer mixture to a food processor. Add thyme leaves, mustard, honey, pepper, and salt. Process until well blended. 

    Remove pan from oven and increase heat to 350°. Using a pastry brush, spread Riesling mixture over ham. Return pan to oven and bake ham, tenting with foil if browning too quickly, until internal temperature registers 135° and crust is golden brown, 15-30 minutes. 

    transfer ham to a large platter. Let rest for 30 minutes before carving. Skim fat from pan juices, reheat, and pour juices into a medium pitcher; serve alongside. 

    More from Bon Appétit: 

    Easy Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen 
    Our Best Holiday Desserts 
    25 One-Bite Winter Party Appetizers 
    Predictions for the Biggest Food Trends of 2012 
    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 04:20 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
    Monday, 19 December 2011

    Delicious holiday food gifts


    Making healthy taste great


    A homemade gift is the sweetest thing. Not fancy, just straight from the heart. We cooked up three base recipes, with variations-and sprinkled with decorating tips.

     

     

    Nothing brings tidings of cheer like fresh and delectable treats that the whole family can enjoy. This year, spend a little time in the kitchen and create gifts that everyone will love. Where to begin? We'll start you off with a basic recipe that you can then use to create two more variations. Then, add a sprinkle here, a ribbon tied there, and pretty soon you will have beautiful gifts for friends and family that are both fun to create and a delight to receive.

     

    See More: Holiday Desserts

     

     

    Iced Sugar Cookies

    Base Recipe: Iced Sugar Cookies

     

     

    Add water to icing a drop at a time for thinner spreading consistency. Decorate with dragée (sometimes called sugar pearls), gold or silver dust, and coarse or sparkling sugar, and tint the frosting with food color paste. All are available at coppergifts.com. Make the cookie dough up to a month in advance, wrap it tightly, and freeze. Thaw dough completely by placing it in the refrigerator overnight.

     

    View Recipe: Iced Sugar Cookies

     

    Ingredients

     

    Cookies: 
    9 ounces all-purpose flour (2 cups) 
    1/2 teaspoon salt 
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
    3/4 cup butter 
    2/3 cup granulated sugar 
    1 large egg 
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
    Icing: 
    1 1/2 cups powdered sugar 
    4 teaspoons egg white powder 
    1/8 teaspoon salt 
    2 tablespoons water 
    Additional ingredient: 
    Sparkling sugar (optional) 

     

    Preparation

     

    1. Preheat oven to 350°. 
    2. To prepare cookies, weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and baking powder, stirring with a whisk. Place butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at high speed until light and fluffy. Add egg, and beat until well blended. Beat in vanilla extract. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture to butter mixture; beat just until combined. 
    3. Shape dough into a 4-inch round, and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out 40 (2 x 3-inch) cookies, rerolling scraps as necessary. Place cookies 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 9 minutes or until lightly browned on bottoms. Cool on a wire rack. 
    4. To prepare icing, combine powdered sugar, egg white powder, and 1/8 teaspoon salt, stirring well. Gradually add 2 tablespoons water, stirring constantly with a whisk until smooth. Decorate cookies as desired. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Let the cookies stand on a cooling rack until icing is completely dry (about 1 hour).

     

    View Recipe: Iced Sugar Cookies

     

     

    Gingerbread Cookies

    Variation 1: Gingerbread Cookies

     

     

    These cookies can easily be made into snowmen if you prefer. First, "flood" snowman-shaped cookies by spreading thin frosting with a small offset spatula to coat, if desired. Pipe thicker frosting from a zip-top bag to outline. Use a toothpick to make small dots of icing that act as glue for decorative details like sugar pearls.

     

    View Recipe: Gingerbread Cookies

     

    See More: Healthy Holiday Kids' Treats

     

     

    Pecan Cookies

    Variation 2: Pecan Cookies

     

     

    Dust cookies with a bit of powdered sugar for a finishing touch that's not too sweet. Place sugar in a fine sieve, and shake it over cooled cookies.

     

    View Recipe: Pecan Cookies

     

     

    Vanilla Cupcakes

    Base Recipe: Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting

     

     

    A touch of butter adds rich, luxurious flavor to the meringue, but admittedly, it also deflates it a bit. For a fluffy, snow-white cap, omit the butter as we did for the photo on left.

     

    View Recipe: Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting

     

    See More: Holiday Baking Fundamentals

     

     

    Chocolate Cupcakes

    Variation 1: Chocolate Cupcakes

     

     

    Use a block or bar of good chocolate for your garnish of chocolate curls. If you rub your thumb over the surface two or three times and then shave, the curls will be less brittle and less likely to crack and break.

     

    View Recipe: Chocolate Cupcakes

     

     

    Red Velvet Cupcakes

    Variation 2: Red Velvet Cupcakes

     

     

    Dot the thick frosting with a few drops of red food color paste, and stir gently to give it a swirled appearance. Carefully spoon into a zip-top bag, and pipe out.

     

    View Recipe: Red Velvet Cupcakes

     

    See More: Recipe Makeover Holiday Classics

     

     

    Buttermilk Bundt Cakes

    Base Recipe: Buttermilk Bundt Cakes

     

     

    Here we offer three garnishing options for these adorable, delicious cakes: Simply dust with powdered sugar, pipe a bit of glaze over the top, or completely dunk the cakes for a heavier coating. Make the cakes up to two weeks ahead. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and freeze, omitting any garnish. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and then dust or glaze. Look for mini Bundt pans at kitchen emporiums or big box stores. Be sure to coat the cups of the mini Bundt pan well with baking spray with flour added. Cakes will stick if you use regular cooking spray. Although the mini cakes are really cute, you can bake one large cake, if you prefer. It'll just need to bake longer, about 45 minutes total.

     

    View Recipe: Buttermilk Bundt Cakes

     

     

    Cranberry-Orange Bundt Cakes

    Variation 1: Cranberry-Orange Bundt Cakes

     

     

    For a glaze that completely covers the cakes, dip the tops into glaze and swirl them around a bit to make sure the glaze coats and sticks.

     

    View Recipe: Cranberry-Orange Bundt Cakes

     

    See More: 25 Fruit Crumbles, Crisps, and Cobblers

     

     

    Cranberry-Orange Bundt Cakes

    Variation 2: Hummingbird Bundt Cakes with Bourbon Glaze

     

     

    You'll only need a touch of the bourbon glaze, but for sugar hounds, you can double the glaze and garnish with more.

     

    View Recipe: Hummingbird Bundt Cakes with Bourbon Glaze

     

    Read the Rest: Delicious Holiday Food Gifts 
    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 10:18 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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