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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Panettone Bread Pudding, Home Grown Traditions for #SundaySupper

 Panettone is an Italian sweet bread. Traditionally it is consumed over the Christmas and New Year Holidays in Italy. The bread has a flaky, buttery texture that is laden with dried fruits and nuts. Most often citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons are used but also can be combined with raisins. The baking process of this bread is a long one as I have found recipes that take a couple of days to proof the yeast and dough. I must admit, I love to bake bread, but not this bread. I buy this bread from our local specialty store when the Holiday season comes around and it is more easily found. 

A great way to use Panettone besides just enjoying a slice with a cup of coffee is to turn it into the base of a bread pudding. It is a rich bread, sweet and fruity that makes an equally delicious desert. Perfected when accompanied with a mascarpone whipped cream and drizzled with amaretto syrup. Christmas Eve's sweet bread turns into Christmas Desert at our house.

What you will need:                                                                          
For the Bread Pudding
                · Panettone Bread
                ·5 Eggs and 4 egg yolks
                · 1 cup of half and half
                · 2/3  cup of white sugar
                ·1/3 cup of brown sugar…Plus a tablespoon for sprinkling over the top before baking
                ·1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
                · ½ a stick of butter melted and ½ a stick for greasing your 
                   baking dish
                · ¼ teaspoon of salt

For the Cream:
                ·1 pint of heavy whipping
                · ½ cup of mascarpone cheese
                ·1/4 cup of white sugar

For the Syrup:
                ·1 and 1/2 cups of white sugar
                  1/3 cup of water
                ·2 tablespoons of Amaretto
 To begin, preheat your oven to 350F.  Grease up your baking dish with the additional butter. Then, cube up your bread and spread into that 9x13 baking dish.  In a separate bowl, combine the Half and Half with the eggs and yolks. Beat to incorporate. Then add in your vanilla extract, salt, sugars and the melted butter.  Once everything has been incorporated, pour the mixture over your bread. Let this stand for about 30 minutes or until the custard is absorbed by the bread. Then into the oven for 40 to 50 minutes. The bread will puff up as it bakes and the top should get a nice golden crust. 

While the bread pudding is baking, I then put together the syrup and the whipped cream.  On the stovetop, in a saucepan, I combine the sugar, water and Amaretto and let that boil into a simple syrup. Take care not to burn the sugars. For me, this means standing over it to keep a close eye on the pan. Once it has become the syrup like consistency, I let it cool in the pan before putting it into a mason jar. 

For the cream topping, into my Kitchen Aide Mixing bowl, I combine the heavy whipping cream and sugar. Whip with your whisk paddle. If doing with a hand mixer, whisk away.  Once the cream has solidified to soft peaks, I then carefully fold into it the mascarpone cheese. Take care not to over mix or you will lose the fluffiness of the whipped cream. The cheese really adds some dimension to the whipped cream and compliments the bread pudding. 

To serve, I scoop out the bread pudding and place in a bowl. Then drizzle the syrup over the top and place the whipped topping off to the side. I like to eat this warm so I do not want the heat of the dish to melt my topping. My father prefers to put the whipped cream topping right on top and let it melt. To each his own right? 

At this special time of the year the #SundaySupper mission of bringing families back together is as important as anytime. The holidays are a special time for tradition keeping and making. In my house, we have a blend of old and new, cultural traditions and just our own fun quirks.  The importance of the season is not lost on us. The spirit of the Holidays is all around us and it is truly better to give than to receive. 

From my family to yours, Happy Holidays.

 : )

The #SundaySupper crew has written up some fabulous dishes that I can not wait to try out.  They are a must read and try.

Appetizers & Snacks
Main Dishes
The posts are more than recipes. They are also wonderful stories of holidays and traditions. Please take the time to visit and read each heartwarming one.

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.

Check our our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Crostini with Voodoo Chicken Dip for #SundaySupper

The last couple of days have been haunting to me. What happened in Connecticut and the loss of all those innocent lives saddens me to my core. I work in an elementary school, I have elementary age children and to be honest sleeping the last few nights have been next to impossible for me. Today, I woke up and decided I have to put on my smile and make this Holiday season a good one for my family. I will not let that mad gunman ruin one more family's Holidays. With a painful reminder that we are not guaranteed tomorrow, I will be hugging my boys a little tighter and enjoying all these moments, big and small, for all they are worth. So in keeping with the Spirit of #SundaySupper and bringing families back to the dining table,  I am sharing the post that I typed up before this tragedy at Sandy Hook, an appetizer that can shared with family and friends this Holiday season. . .

Last weekend for #SundaySupper we covered fun, festive Holiday Cookies. I shared my grandmother’s recipe for Ricotta Cookies. While cookies are always fun and certainly a big part of my holiday menu, the #SundaySupper team presented a super fun and tasty Appetizer and Cocktail party.  From Martinis, Cosmos and Spritzers to Dips, Cheeseballs, Tarts and Pinwills, the team over at #SundaySupper has your appetizer recipes and cocktail creations covered. 

I decided to adapt a recipe that a friend had given me for Voodoo Chicken Pasta. It pairs an Alfredo like sauce with tomato paste and Cajun spices. What is not to love with that? The Voodoo Sauce has actually ruined me for regular Alfredo sauces; it’s the spicy part that gets me. Oh so good.  In order to change a sauce to a dip, I needed to bulk it up. Give it some substance, no longer is it for covering pasta but it needed to stand up on its own. This involved cheese…Lots of cheese. 

 What you will need:

1 16oz soften cream cheese

 ½  of a cup of half and half… maybe more to thin the dip to a desired consistency

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

1 tablespoon of Cajun Spices… I used Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

1 to 2 cups of shredded chicken… I bought a rotisserie chicken to save on time

Awesome Seasoning
¼ cup of Mozzerella and some extra for topping dip

¼ of extra sharp white cheddar cheese

½ cup of grated Parmesan

1 Baguette for toasting to make the crostini

In a sauce pan, over a medium low heat, combine the cream cheese and tomato paste. Mix well and then add in the Cajun spices. Once that is combined, I then add in the half and half. Stir until smooth. Next add in the cheese. Once everything is incorporated the shredded chicken can be added. I like to add this mix into a baking dish or ramekin to melt extra mozzarella cheese under the broiler. There is just something extra appealing about bubbling melted cheese.

 But, what is a Dip without something to dip in it? This lead me to think Crostinis. Crostini are toasted slices of bread. I used a Baguette. I sliced the bread and then toasted them in the oven on a cookie sheet. These little toasts are perfect for topping with the Voodoo Chicken Dip. They hold up to the weight of the chicken and cheese. Plus, the crunch with the creamy dip is an irresistible combination. If you prefer to spoon the dip onto each piece of crostini, you can do that too and set them out on a platter. The little toasts hold up to the sauce well. This will be a hit at any party. I tend to pair up crostini with wine. Call me old fashion lol. I make a Red Wine Sangria and have posted that recipe before, but really any cocktail to ice water is good with this appetizer. 

I hope you all Enjoy. 

: )

I couldn't resist the Chicken cheese spreader


Holiday Cocktails

Holiday Appetizers or Hors d’oeuvres

In honor of the Sandy Hook victims and their families, we have cancelled our regularly scheduled #SundaySupper Chat this week. Let this be a time when we renew our faith in the power of love and realize the importance of time with our families.

 Family Foodie , has linked ways to reach out and help those in Connecticut on her site. I copied these links to share here:

An official fund for victims’ families, and the community as a whole, has now been established: The Sandy Hook School Support Fund, set up by the United Way of Western Connecticut will provide support services to families and the community. All donations to this fund will go directly to those affected.

The Red Cross has also been on the ground, offering food and water to first responders, and providing more than 50 units of blood to Danbury hospital where some of the victims were transported. They have set up a center for emergency grief counseling.

You can send words of support and messages for families affected in an evergram here. They will be collated and given to the families in the future.

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ricotta Cookies with White Chocolate Glaze for #SundaySupper

At long last, the Holiday Cookie season is upon us. I love this time of year. The memories that I share with family of my childhood holidays to the memories that I am creating with my own little family are things to be treasured. Holiday cookies and other baked goodies represent to me, a gift to give to family, friends and to neighbors made with love and given with well wishes for Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. They can be simple or intricately decorated and designed.  The decorating can be done alone or with the kids. Who doesn’t like to receive cookies? What is not to love about festive Holiday Cookies or just cookies in general? There are some great recipes to be found on Twitter's #SundaySupper.

Mixing the batter
This weekend, for #SundaySupper , I am sharing my late Grandmother’s recipe. These cookies are like an Italian version of a sugar cookie. The dough is a bit gooey, cake batter like, and not easily rolled out so it would not work well with cookie cutters. Don’t let that stop you from trying them though. They are fluffy pillows of goodness.  Traditionally they are iced with lemon icing, however, I am not a huge lemon icing fan so I top mine with white chocolate. Not too sweet, but a nice compliment to the fluffy buttery cookie. 

What you need:
1 1/2 sticks of butter
2 eggs
15oz of Ricotta cheese, I prefer whole milk ricotta
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract. I use my own extract made with bourbon and vanilla       beans
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of baking soda
¼ tsp of salt
1 cup of white sugar
½ cup of light brown sugar
4 cups of flour…I use cake flour but you can use all purpose

1 pound of White Chocolate Chips for melting
1 tablespoon of powder sugar
1 teaspoon of coconut oil… you can add more if your chocolate is too thick

Preheat your oven to 350F.  Then in your mixer, cream the butter, sugar, brown sugar. Once that is incorporated add in the eggs and extract. In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix them together. I then add the dry to the wet 1 cup at a time.  This will be a thick but sticky batter. On a cookie sheet, scoop out dough. I use an ice-cream scooper, so the balls look roughly golf ball size. These do not spread much as they bake. The cookies bake for 10 to 13 minutes.  When the edges start to brown, they are done. The cookie has a light all around  color so it should not brown all over.  Then it is the hard part, waiting for them to cool so you can frost them.  
Waiting for them to cool
To make the white chocolate glaze, I melt white chocolate chips then, mix in powder sugar and coconut oil. Mix that well and drizzle over the top of the cookies or dunk them in it. Sprinkle with almonds or maybe colorful sprinkles for the happy little kid in all of us.
These cookies are pretty versatile and can be adapted as your own. Don't be afraid to try different combinations with toppings. I also like to add in orange zest to the batter and then top with dark chocolate drizzle. Ricotta cheese in a cookie…who knew it would be so good?

: )

Don't forget to check out the Cookies that the #SundaySupper team has put together. They are wonderful! I have no idea how I am going to bake them all in the next few weeks. This is seriously hurting my future New Year’s Resolution to work out more and eat healthy  ; )

The Sunday Supper Favorite Cookie Exchange Cookies:

Check out Cookielicious by Food Editor Janet K. Keeler from The Tampa Bay Times now while there is a special… Buy One Cookielicious Cookbook and get one for a friend!

Do you have a favorite cookie to take to a Cookie Exchange?  Please join on us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper on December 9th.  In the evening we will meet at 7pm EST for our #SundaySupper Ultimate Cookie Exchange live chat.
All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat.
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