Tag Archives: Holiday Desserts

meringues with sugared cranberries

Friends and family will love these elegant little holiday gems.

When piping, try and leave a small area or divet to cradle to the cranberries.
you can find our sugared cranberries recipe here.

meringues with sugared cranberries

  • Difficulty: simple and delicious
  • Print


  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • dash of salt


  1. Place egg whites in a medium bowl and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 250°.
  3. Add vanilla, cream of tartar and salt to egg whites and beat at medium speed until foamy.
  4. Gradually add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high after each addition until sugar is dissolved. Continue beating on high until stiff glossy peaks form, about 7 minutes.
  5. Pipe meringue (we use #32 star tip) about 1 1/4″ diameter, 2″ apart on parchment and bake for 40 – 45 minutes until firm to touch. Turn off the oven, leaving the meringues inside with the door closed for about an hour. Cool completely in oven to ensure crispness.
  6. Garnish with berries and greenery just before serving.

You can make meringues a day ahead and store in an airtight container.

guests for the holidays? simple recipes could elevate your hosting reputation

The holiday season has arrived, which means it’s that time of year when guests expect you to bring them some figgy pudding – or any type of pudding for that matter.

After all, those guests likely subscribe to the idea that grabbing an extra slice of ham or overindulging in that box of chocolate-covered cherries couldn’t hurt the waistline all that much.

“Luckily, it’s also oversized sweater and sweatpants season,” says Chef Blakely Trettenero, who knows a thing or two about holiday main courses and desserts, and writes about her culinary adventures on her blog, Everyday Gourmet with Blakely 

And if you’re just as inclined as your guests to sneak yourself an extra helping of whatever delicious dish you dream up – well, she can relate.

 “I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas cookies because physically I can’t stop eating them,” Trettenero says. “In my family we especially love gingersnap cookies. We used to buy tins and tins of them and just go to town until they were gone.”

But Trettenero also knows that hosting at the holidays comes with pressures. Relax, she says. You don’t need to be the chef extraordinaire at a five-star restaurant to please the palates of the average relative or business associate who made your guest list.

She offers a couple of simple recipes that can help make holiday-hosting duties less painful so you can spend more time sipping eggnog by the fireplace.

Braised Short Ribs


  • 4 pounds bone in beef short ribs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves


1. In a heavy bottomed pan (or Dutch oven) heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Completely pat dry all of the short ribs. Put them on a paper towel to soak up any moisture
3. Heavily season the short ribs with salt, pepper, and garlic powder
4. Working in batches, sear ribs until a beautiful brown on every side. Put the browned short ribs on a plate while you work on the next batch
5. Once all short ribs have been browned, add the onions, carrots, and garlic to the pan letting it cook for a few minutes
6. To the vegetables, add the tomato paste, stirring to coat everything, and let it cook another 5 minutes to cook out that raw tomato paste flavor.
7. Add the red wine and stir everything, scraping up all of the browned bits on the bottom for flavor.
8. Add back in the short ribs, add the beef broth, rosemary and thyme on the top, and the bay leaves
9. Put the lid on and put the pot into the oven. Let cook for 2 1/2 hours.

Homemade Gingersnap Cookies


  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-grated ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Extra sugar for coating


  1. In a bowl with an electric mixer, cream together the softened butter and sugars until smooth. To that add the grated fresh ginger, egg, and molasses. Give it another mix to incorporate everything.
  2. To the wet ingredients add the flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, allspice, and cinnamon. Mix until well blended.
  3. The dough will be loose, but don’t worry. Put the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator to let chill and set up for 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Once the dough has set up and chilled completely, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take the dough and form about 1 inch balls. Roll them in sugar, and put on a parchment-paper-lined sheet tray. Leave at least 1 inch between each ball. Bake for 10-15 minutes. For chewier gingersnaps, bake 10-13 minutes and for crisper gingersnaps, bake for 14-15 minutes. Let cool and set up on the counter for about 1-2 minutes before serving.

About Blakely Trettenero

Blakely Trettenero, host of the  Everyday Gourmet with Blakely ~ GourmetwithBlakely.com and Hungry for Travels ~ Hungryfortravels.com websites, is a graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando, Fla. She is a world traveler, having visited more than 30 countries, and is becoming a frequent guest on TV.

Francois Payard’s Apple Honey Cake

Now that we’ve set our clocks back an hour for daylight savings time, the holiday season begins. Grocer coolers are filled to the top with turkeys and foil roasting pans have found their way to the end of every aisle. Candy canes and Christmas themed M&M’s have been artfully placed at check-out counters and sweet-themed dessert posts have taken over Instagram.

As 2020 thankfully nears the end of it’s life-cycle, planning for fall and winter holidays is in full swing. Family dinners, office cocktail parties, elegant soiree’s and casual gatherings all require a stunning dessert. Set this little beauty next to the  traditional pumpkin pie and watch it disappear. 

We are delighted to kick off our holiday recipe segments with chef Francois Payard’s ambrosial Apple Honey Cake recipe.

Chef Payard's Apple Honey Cake

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

(6 servings) 

Chef Payard's Apple Honey CakeBatter

  • 3 tablespoons (43 grams) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (60 grams) slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons (50 grams) confectioners¹ sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (54 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons (15 grams) cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons (42 grams honey)
  • ¼ cup (58 grams) heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split 

Apple Filling

  • 10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) (142 grams) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 3 medium (510 grams) Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1Ž4-inch dice
  • ½  cup (168 grams) honey
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) Calvados or apple jack 


  • One premade 91Ž2-inch tart shell 


  • ¼ cup (84 grams) honey


  1. Make the batter: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the butter until it begins to brown and has a nutty fragrance, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Put the slivered almonds in a food processor and process until finely ground, about 45 seconds. Transfer the ground almonds to a medium bowl. Sift the confectioners¹ sugar over the almonds. Add the flour, cornstarch, and salt and gently whisk to combine.
  4. Combine the egg whites, honey, cooled browned butter, and cream in another medium bowl. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean (reserve the pod for another use) into the bowl and whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined. Set aside.
  5. Make the apple filling: Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and cook until it is golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the diced apples and honey and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, or until the apples are slightly softened. Add the Calvados to the skillet, carefully light it with a match, and cook until the flame dies. Drain the apples in a strainer set over a bowl, reserving 1Ž/4 cup of the liquid. Stir the reserved liquid back into the diced apples.
  6. Pour the apple mixture into the tart shell and spread it into an even layer. Scrape the financier batter over the apples, covering them completely.
  7. Bake the tart for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place the tart on a wire rack.
  8. Glaze the tart: Put the honey in a heatproof glass measure and microwave on high for 10 to 15 seconds, until hot. (Or, heat in a small saucepan.) Brush the honey over the top of the hot tart. Cool the tart completely before serving.

Francois Payard

A gracious thank you to chef Payard for the above recipe.

Follow Payard’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest 

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Feta and Olive Oil Cakes

Each Easter Sunday the dinner table is filled with delicious foods and sweet treats. While the younger crew might want cake and fluffy coconut frosting, a few others will love nibbling on something of a different flavor. These delicious little Feta and Olive Oil Cakes are sure to please.


Feta and Olive Oil Cakes

  • Difficulty: Medium & Delicious
  • Print

Feta and EVOO CakeIngredients

  • 5.30 ounces (or a little less than ¾ cup) feta cheese
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 1/4 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3.50 ounces (or a little less than ½ cup) ground almonds
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Brown sugar for garnishing


Preheat oven to 350F. Process the cheese with the sugar and honey in a mixer until smooth. Add olive oil. Combine flour with the ground almonds and baking powder and add to bowl while mixing. Divide batter among 6 greased one-use individual cake molds and top each with half an olive. Sprinkle top of batter with brown sugar and bake for about 25 minutes.


Dazzling Holiday Desserts: Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Sauce

slow-cookr-sticky-toffee-pumpkin-cakeFinish your holiday feast with the grand finale of all desserts – a moist, pumpkin cake base, studded with chocolate chips and topped with a sticky caramel sauce. It all comes together in your slow cooker, saving time, effort and oven space. Scoop baked cake into individual ramekins and top with whipped cream for a fancy, single-serving of indulgence.

This week, McCormick Kitchens sent a few recipes our way to share with our readers. They understand that planning a perfectly timed Thanksgiving feast brimming with the nostalgic flavors and aromas of the season can be challenging. This year, the McCormick Kitchens have developed wow-worthy recipes that put the slow cooker to work, making everything from homemade cranberry sauce to sausage sage stuffing and mouth-watering apple cobbler. Our Thanksgiving menu has just been expanded.

“Many classic Thanksgiving dishes are even better when prepared in a slow cooker – it gives desserts an ooey gooey texture and allows flavors to fully develop in sides and sauces,” said McCormick Executive Chef Kevan Vetter. “Instead of using canned cranberry sauce, let fresh cranberries, cinnamon, bay leaves and an orange slowly simmer in the slow cooker. Four hours later you’ll have an impressive, sweet-tart sauce to serve with the turkey and spread on leftover sandwiches.”

Stay tuned this holiday season as we share McCormick Kitchen’s delicious slow cooker recipes.

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cake with Caramel Sauce

Serves: 16
slow-cooker-sticky-toffee-pumpkin-cake-with-caramel-saucePumpkin Cake
  • 1 package (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick® Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pumpkin Pie Spice


  1. Spray inside of 6-quart slow cooker with no stick cooking spray. For the Cake, mix all ingredients in large bowl. Pour into greased slow cooker. Place clean, dry hand towel over slow cooker and cover with lid.
  2. Cook 3 1/2 hours on LOW or until cake is almost set.
  3. Meanwhile, for the Caramel Sauce, cook and stir all ingredients in small saucepan on medium-high heat 5 minutes or until sauce is smooth.
  4. Carefully remove slow cooker insert and place on wire rack. Pour 1/2 of the Caramel Sauce over the cake. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes to cool slightly. Serve cake with remaining sauce, and ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

This delicious recipe was sent to Your Home with Karie Engels to share with our readers, by McCormick. For more Thanksgiving tips and recipes, visit McCormick.com. Also, check them out on Pinterest and Facebook.

Photo Credit:  Julie Gransee / Lovely Little Kitchen.

Delectable Gluten-Free Brownie Recipes for the Holiday Dessert Table

Whether you choose to avoid gluten due to allergies, or want to bake a batch of everyone’s favorite treat for the holiday season, Blends by Orly has you covered. They have sent us these two delectable brownie recipes – one for Chocolate Chip Blondies and one for Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies – that are rich, delectable and gluten-free, to share with our readers.

Irene's Delectable Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Blondies


  • 2 bars margarine or butter (softened)
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Blends by Orly London Blend
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips


Heat: Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper or spray with non stick oil.

Mix: In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium-high speed for 3 minutes until lightened in color. Add eggs + vanilla and mix for 2 minutes or until fully incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix together Blends by Orly London Blend, salt, and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix all ingredients together on med-high speed for 3 minutes, or until fully incorporated. Add chocolate chips for 30 seconds or until dispersed within the dough.

Bake: Spoon batter into the baking pan and smooth out to an even layer with a pallet knife, spatula or the back of your spoon. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the outer edges are brown. Let blondies cool and slice into small squares. These blondies can be refrigerated for 10 days or frozen for up to 9 months.

Orly's Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Makes 9 large brownies or 16 small brownies



  • 1 cup (250g) butter
  • 1 cup (300g) tightly packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup (250g) dark chocolate, melted
  • ½ cup (80g) Sydney Blend
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup (65g) cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ heaping cup (100g) peanuts chopped (optional)

Peanut Butter Frosting:

  • ¼ (57g) cup butter
  • ½ (125g) cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup (115g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Heat: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line a 9″ square tin with baking paper.


Mix: In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar for about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time. Add the melted chocolate and mix until fully incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix together Sydney Blend, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix on medium-high speed until combined into a thick batter. Add peanuts (or chocolate chips) and incorporate through the mixture. Pour the batter into the pan and use a spatula to spread it evenly.

Frosting: Cream the butter and peanut butter together until combined. Gradually add the powdered sugar and starting on slow speed, whip together until the sugar is completely mixed in. Add 1 Tbsp of cream and 1 tsp of vanilla extract and continue to whip together on high-speed until you have a soft and smooth consistency. Spread this mixture on top of the brownie batter or swirl within the batter with a spatula.

Bake: Bake brownies on center rack for 30-35 minutes or until set. For gooey brownies, bake 5 minutes less.

Recipes and photographs provided by Blends by Orly

Blends by Orly are made with the highest quality wholesome gluten-free ingredients, and are also OU Kosher certified, nut free, vegan and corn free. Blends by Orly provides a simple way to prepare baked goods that are so delicious that people would have no idea they are eating something that is gluten-free. Blends by Orly allows you to make your exact favorite recipes by just replacing the wheat flour with one of the Blends by Orly. Blends by Orly are sold in stores throughout the USA on Amazon and online.


Chef Jeff Anderson’s Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Pumpkin Spice Whipped Cream

The day before Thanksgiving is hands down, the busiest day in the kitchen. Anything that be made ahead of time is created in 36 hours before family and friends and sit down to dine together. Pies, cookies, desserts, croutons for stuffing are made and before I go to bed Wednesday evening, potatoes are peeled and chilled overnight.

Here is a simple list from Albertsons and Safeway Executive Chef Jeff Anderson, with a few holiday recipes as well as some tips and tricks to make life easier during the happiest (and busiest!) time of the year.

  • Take inventory: Before diving into cooking and baking this holiday season, check your pantry, refrigerator and freezer to make sure you have all the essentials.
  • PRO TIP: Put extra flour and sugar in the pantry, stock up on an 18 count of Lucerne® Eggs, and store Lucerne® Butter in the freezer so you have it on hand for those last-minute parties you’ll be attending or hosting!
  • Gather, Measure, Ready: (Or in fancier terms, “Mise en Place”) Before you begin baking your scrumptious treats, organize all of your ingredients, utensils, and baking materials. Keeping these simple steps to help you prepare and not waste any time in the kitchen:
  • Gather: Pull together all of your ingredients.
  • Measure:Before you get your hands dirty, pre-measure your dry ingredients such as flour, salt, dairy, spices, etc.
  • Ready: Get your oven pre-heated before you start, so there is no waiting around
  • Get ahead of the game: Have an early morning start? Prepare items that can be made ahead of time and freeze until it’s go time! As an example, freeze your Pumpkin Chocolate Rolls made with Lucerne® Pumpkin Flavored Cream Cheese and then pop into the oven before guests arrive and smell the aroma when they walk through the door!
  • PRO TIP: Take the extra step, and prepare whipped cream to top off your desserts! Try the recipe below using just four ingredients including Lucerne® Heavy Whipping Cream. This is great for coffee drinks, kids’ treats, adult beverages and more!

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Pumpkin Spice Whipped Cream

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Suggested Cooking Method: Bake


  • 2 Loaves Baguette or French Loaf, sliced 3.4 inch thick
  • 6 Lucerne® Whole Eggs
  • 1 cup Lucerne® milk
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tablespoons Lucerne® unsalted butter
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

For Whipping Cream

  • 1 cup Lucerne® whipping cream
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tablespoon vanilla extract

Steps (Directions): 

1.    Butter an angel food cake pan or muffin tins.  Combine the egg, milk, sugar, spice, salt and pumpkin puree in large mixing bowl.

2.    Add sliced baguette to custard.  Mix well.  Layer in Bundt pan with bread, saving nice perfect pieces for decorative top.

3.    Bake in 350′ oven; in water bath, begin covered and then remove foil to allow browning.  Cook for approx. 45-60 minutes.

4.    Remove from oven and cool.

5.    For whipping cream, hand whip to soft peak, fold in spice, sugar and extract.  Continue to whip to firm peak.

6.    To serve, remove from Bundt pan and slice.  Garnish with Pumpkin Spice Whipped Cream.


Note: if using muffin tin, bake for 25 minutes in water bath, cover for first 15 then remove foil and allow to brown.

Maple Vanilla Whipped Cream


  • 2 cups cold Lucerne® Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 4 Tbs pure maple syrup
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure maple extract


1. In a bowl, add all ingredients. Beat on a medium speed until soft peaks form, scraping down the sides. Do not over beat.

2. Refrigerate until ready to use. Delicious on apple or pumpkin pie!

Gaea’s Olive Oil Cake

Shake up your holiday dessert table this year with zesty, fresh flavors.

Christmas dessert tables are filled with a various assortment of sweet delicious pastries. Holiday decorated cookies take center stage while heavily frosted cakes and cinnamon spiced pies wait to be cut. This year we are adding a bit of a zesty twist to our collection.

Friends and family will love this decadent fresh, citrusy addition and will be begging you for the recipe.

Gaea's Olive Oil Cake

Olive Oil CakeIngredients

  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 12 ounces of Gaea Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 10 ounces milk
  • 2 ounces orange liqueur
  • 2 ounces fresh orange juice
  • 3 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounces blanched almonds, finely chopped
  • Powdered sugar, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 10-inch cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, Gaea olive oil, milk, liqueur, orange juice, and lemon zest. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix the dry mixture into the wet mixture.
  3. Whisk until well blended. Fold in the almonds.
  4. Pour the mixture into the buttered cake pan. Bake for 1 hour. Place on a rack to cool. Run a knife around the edges and place it on a plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

What makes Gaea Premium Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil so delicious?

This superb ORGANIC, extra virgin olive oil is a must-have in any kitchen. The “Koroneiki” variety organic olives are hand-picked and “cold-pressed” within hours of harvesting, producing an exceptional quality organic olive oil with unique flavor characteristics and fresh aroma. This oil has a characteristic aroma of fresh green olives and a fruity taste. A classic mix of ripe and green olives make this medium fruity oil especially versatile in the kitchen.

Francois Payard’s Chocolate Pecan Tart

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is traditionally the day I bake for the holiday dessert table. The aroma wafting through the kitchen is intoxicating and keeping all foods intact for guests arriving Thursday, is a bit of a chore with two teenagers in the house.

Pies, small decorative cookies and cakes are dessert menu staples, and this year Pecan Pie with a twist is new on the list. The addition of chocolate gives it a rich, decadent flavor and our guests will love it. I know yours will too.

Chocolate Pecan Tart

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Yield: 10 servings

Chocolate Pecan Tart Chef PayardSpecial Equipment: 9 inch flat tart tin, mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, piping bag, sauce pot

For the Tart:

Take some sugar dough (See Base Recipes) and roll it to ¼ inch thick. Take the tart ring and line the bottom and the sides. Trim the sides to make it even and clean and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to rest.  Store in fridge till ready to use.


  • 25 g     flour (1/4 cup )
  • 220 g   eggs (8 oz) 4 eggs
  • 340 g   corn syrup (1 cup plus 3 tablespoons)
  • 150 g   brown sugar (5 ½ oz) ¾ c.
  • Pinch of salt
  • 180 g   melted butter (6 ½ oz) 1 stick + 5Tbs.

Place the flour, eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar and salt in a mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat the mixture on medium speed until well combined. Melt the butter and add it to the mixture.

* Filling can be made up to 2 days in advance, just be sure to whisk well to combine.

Candied Pecans:

  •             60 g     water (1/4 cup)
  •             60 g     sugar (1/3c)
  •             125 g   whole pecan halves (1½ cup)

Boil the water and the sugar together to make a simple syrup (See Base Recipes). Place the pecans in a bowl and toss with the syrup. Place on a sheet pan and bake for five minute segments in an oven set at 350F or until the pecans are candied and golden brown.


            ½ cup Chocolate Chips

Place candied pecans and the chocolate chips into the tart shell. Pour the pecan mix onto the nut mixture, about ¾ full. Pour the pecan mix in the tart to fill and bake for about 30 min in an oven set at 350 F. The tart shell should have a golden color and the filling should be still soft in the middle. Remove the tart from the oven and set it aside to cool. Serve warm with ice cream.

Francois PayardA gracious thank you to chef Payard for the above recipe.

Follow Payard’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest 

Holiday Traditions: Swedish Almond Wreath by Darra Goldstein

Goldstein, Darra©Stefan WettainenTHANKFULLY, THE ART of baking is alive and well in Scandinavia, where coffee breaks are a cherished part of the day. I’m especially fond of the sweetened yeast breads made in all sorts of intricate shapes. The truth is, anything with almond paste makes me swoon, and this beautiful wreath is a particular favorite. During our penurious year in Stockholm we had two weekly indulgences: a visit to Tommy, our friend the fishmonger, and a pastry at Vete-Katten, a warren of small rooms where coffee was served in Royal Copenhagen china and most of the patrons (it seemed to us) were ladies of a certain age, all perfectly dressed and coiffed. This konditori is now less formal and the plates more pedestrian, but the pastries and breads remain spectacular. It’s hard to decide which I like best: kanelbullar (soft cinnamon buns), semlor (tender cardamom buns filled with marzipan and whipped cream), the lavish prinsesstårta (sponge cake layered with pastry cream, raspberry jam, and whipped cream mounded into a dome and draped with pale green marzipan), or this delightful almond wreath. Mandelkrans tastes best when very fresh, but you can reheat it gently to serve the next day.

Swedish Almond Wreath

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

by Darra Goldstein


Swedish Almond WreathMakes 1 Large Loaf, Serving 8 to 10 

  • 1 package (21⁄4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup lukewarm water
  • 3⁄4 cup whole milk, lukewarm
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature and cut into pieces
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 31⁄2 cups flour


  • 1⁄2 cup blanched almonds
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon natural almond extract

In a large bowl, stir the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar into the lukewarm water and let proof until bubbles appear, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons of the sugar, the lukewarm milk, egg, butter, and salt. Add 3 cups of the flour, mixing well until a soft dough forms.

To knead the dough by hand, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until it springs back to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes, adding up to 1⁄2 cup more flour if necessary. To knead the dough with a mixer, attach the dough hook and knead the dough at slow speed until it springs back to the touch, about 5 minutes.

Shape the dough into a ball, transfer to a greased bowl, and turn it to coat the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in bulk, about 11⁄2 hours. Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a floured surface. Set aside while you prepare the filling.

To make the filling, in a food processor grind together the almonds and sugar until the nuts are very finely ground. Transfer to a bowl, add the butter, and stir until a mass forms. Stir in the almond extract.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to a 12 by 18-inch rectangle. With a small spatula, spread the filling evenly over the entire rectangle. Starting at the long end, roll the dough up into a log. Transfer it to the baking sheet, seam side down. Bring the ends together to form a circle, pinching them tightly to seal.

With scissors, snip the dough two-thirds of the way through the circular log at 1-inch intervals. Gently turn each cut section on its side. Let the loaf rise in a warm place, uncovered, until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the bread until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze by mixing together the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice.

While the loaf is still warm, spoon the glaze over the loaf. Sprinkle with pearl sugar. Transfer carefully to a rack to cool.


  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Pearl sugar, for sprinkling

Gold Fire and IceDarra Goldstein
Fire and Ice: Classic Nordic Cooking Purchase here

Seattle Events

On November 10th Darra Goldstein will be giving a talk about her new book Fire and Ice: Classic Nordic Cooking. The event will take place at Book Larder, 4252 Fremont Ave N.
Click here for more information about the event.

On November 11th Darra will be hosting a Classic Nordic Cooking Class at the Tom Douglas Cooking School, 2000 4th Ave. Click here for more information about the event.

Reprinted with permission from Fire + Ice: Classic Nordic Cooking, by Darra Goldstein, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Photographs copyright © 2015 by Stefan Wettainen