Holiday Appetizer: Baked Brie

thanksgiving-appetizer-brie

One of my favorite things to prepare (and eat) during the holidays anytime is brie. You can’t go wrong with a little cheese, wine and chocolate so that’s exactly what I did to start the Thanksgiving festivities at my house this year.  This recipe is so versatile, easy and delicious, it should be at every gathering. Plus you can prepare this ahead of time and just pop in the oven 30 minutes before serving.

What you need:

  • 1 round French brie
  • 1 container of crescent rolls
  • jelly/jam(s) of your choice – I used a cinnamon butter jelly and a hot jalapeno pepper jelly – the pepper jelly was a bigger hit!
  • nuts of your choice
  • apples/crackers to eat the brie with

crescent-wrapped-brieLay out the crescent rolls into a star shape with no openings on the bottom.  Place the brie round in the center.  I shaved off a little of the brie coating but kept most of it in tact.  If you cut it all off and leave holes in the rolls, you could end up with a melted cheese disaster on your pan which tastes great, but looks terrible.

Top the brie with jams/jellies of your choice.  I highly recommend a jalapeno pepper jelly. the sweetness of the crescent rolls (and apples) complements very will with the kick of the jelly.

Top that which chopped nuts of your choice.

Fold the star of the crescent rolls to cover the entire brie, make sure not to leave any openings.  I used the 90 calorie ones so I sprayed a little butter on the top for a golden crescent finish. I doubt the only 90 calories helped any bit this Thanksgiving, but it’s the thought that counts, right?! 🙂

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Serve warm.

For the apples, a quick trick to keep them from turning brown – Soak the apples in a bowl of cool salted water for just a minute or two.  Then put in a Ziploc bag until ready to use.  They won’t turn brown – I ate tasty apples for 3 days!

Serve with wine (I had a bottle of Decadence from Cooper’s Hawk) and mint chocolate no-bake cookies.

brie-and-chocolate

Happy Holidays!

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Sweet Repeats: holiday desserts

thanksgiving-table-setting

December 1st. What happened to January – November?! As I start on the last month of 2015, I’m shocked at how quickly this year has gone by. With a second thought, I reflect on how big of year it has been for me and how much I’ve accomplished. (Sounds like a good topic for another post!)  From getting my CPA licence, to moving (twice), getting a puppy, a promotion, kicking off Lactation Cookies and buying my first home, this year has been nothing short of exciting, scary, exhausting and educational!

These days I find myself going back to old recipes, reflecting on those memories of trying something for the first time and then comparing it to what they taste like today with slight modifications. For Thanksgiving, I brought back two old favorites: pumpkin cheesecake cupcakes and mint chocolate no-bake cookies.

Both are so delicious and fairly easy to make! Having a new home with a new-to-me (but oh so old) oven, I was extremely excited to make no-bake cookies. The thought of not having to figure out if the light on the oven means it is or isn’t preheated and figuring out what temperature is the right dial turn, made this recipe even more enjoyable.  <– first world problems are rough!  Here’s a link to mint chocolate no-bake cookies and no-bake mint fudge. Below is a summary of how to make them.

no-bake-mint-chocolateIngredients

  • 18oz chocolate – I love using dark, but any will work!
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10 oz Oreos (about half a family size bag)
  • 2 cups Rice Krispies
  1. Crush oreos and mix in with Rice Krispies. Set aside
  2. Microwave chocolate on low heat stirring occasionally until melted
  3. Add in extracts and quickly mix in to Oreo mixture
  4. Drop by tablespoon on wax paper
  5. Top with powder sugar, let cool then enjoy!

The second sweet repeat recipe I made for the first time in my new home was pumpkin cheesecake cupcake <– why I started with a cheesecake is a mystery to me! This one was equally as delicious and the cook time was only 20 minutes in the oven  Read the full recipe here and also for tips on the perfect cheesecake!

pumpkin-cheesecake-cupcake

What are your sweet repeats you bring back for the holidays?

 

 

 

Chocolate Lovers: Mint Edition

Well hello, again!  With the new year in full swing, there are so many new possibilities that lay ahead!  Fortunately, some things will never change and my love for chocolate is definitely one of them.  During the holidays, my work had a cookie exchange and two of the recipes are definitely worth sharing!  Now there are a few criteria that a dessert must have in order to be worth sharing…

#1 – It has to be delicious. (defined by the taster)

#2 – The recipe has to be easy.  The easier the better.  A bonus if you can just use the microwave.  No-bakes are so fun! You know the saying “good things come in small packages”  ( <— so true, but that’s another story) well for recipes, “good things come in small grocery lists”

#3 – More than one opinion matters.  If other people like it, you’re probably on to something good.

These two are yummy, super easy and tested by many!  Both chocolate mint flavored and perfect for sharing and crowd pleasing.

Mint-chocolate-clusters-fudge

Dark Chocolate Mint Fudge

  • 1 cup mint chocolate chips  (coarsely chop 1/4 cup and set aside)
  • 10 oz dark chocolate morsels
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Andes-Nestlé-fudge-ingredientsLine an 8-inch square baking pan with foil. Combine the dark chocolate and sweetened condensed milk in a microwave safe bowl.  Set the heat to a low or melt setting and microwave, stirring every 20-30 seconds until melted.  Add vanilla.  Stir in whole mint chocolate chips and then spread mixture in pan.  Sprinkle with chopped mint morsels and press gently.  Refrigerate until firm.  Wa-lah!  Done!

Mint-fudge-panYup, that easy.  One bowl wonder, plus the pan and you’re good to go!  Besides waiting a few hours for this to firm, the fudge is super duper quick to make, no fuss and really tastes pretty amazing if you like mint chocolate… and I love mint chocolate!  ❤

 

Andes-mint-fudge

When you thought fudge was the cat’s meow, let me introduce Oreos to the mix!!

Mint Chocolate Cookie Crunch

  • 1.5 – 12 oz packages of semisweet chocolate chips (18 oz total)Mint-cookie-crunch-ingredients
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Package of Oreos (about 10 oz)
  • 2 cups rice crispies

Lay out wax paper on a table.  This is a no-bake recipe so these will harden on the table. Coarsely chip the Oreos until they are pretty well crushed.  They can be a little clumpy but the more crushed the better.  Combine cereal and Oreos in a bowl. Set aside.

Mint-cookie-chocolate-ingredients

Melt chocolate chips on a low microwave heat setting, stirring every 20-30 seconds until melted.  Stir in vanilla and peppermint.  Pour chocolate over cereal/Oreo mixture and stir until combined.

drop by tablespoonful on the wax paper and cool.

Mint-chocolate-Oreo-clusters

I thought it would be fun sprinkle a little powdered sugar on these gems and it definitely made the baking a little messy <– messy in the kitchen can be fun in itself! Easy as that, these things are sure to please.  If you’ve ever had a chocolate covered Oreo, it’s like that… but minty and homemade!

Dark-chocolate-mint-clusters

I have to share another picture of what happens when I go to Sam’s Club…

4-pound- chocolate-nestle

Yup, that’s a 4 pound bag of chocolate.  In preparation for Holiday cooking, I bought this bag… Well it’s January 17th, and the bag is now 0 pounds.  #missionaccomplished #ineedveggiesnow #butitwassogood #andishared

{For now} I’ll put the desserts aside and get started on some healthy eating for the new year and training for the Gate River Run!