Thanksgiving Recipe: From Emeril, Poached Pears with Port Syrup & Blue Cheese

Thanksgiving Recipe: From Emeril, Poached Pears with Port Syrup & Blue Cheese

A few years ago, back in 2011, I was a guest on Emeril's Table.  I must be getting old, because I forgot all about this great recipe for poached pears with port syrup and blue cheese.  Just saying it makes me swoon, and  I'm sure your Thanksgiving guests will too.  


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Coconut Florentines

Sadly, holiday cookies often fall into one of two camps: they either look great and taste awful or look awful and taste great.  Very rarely will you find one that does both.

Given the choice, I'll always default to taste over looks and take the yummy cookie over the cute cookie, but here are two recipes that do both. Firstly, the elegantly ornamental Spiced Gingerbread Cookies and secondly, the decadently dressed Coconut Florentines.
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Spiced Gingerbread Cookies

When it comes to looks, the spiced gingerbread cookie is decorative enough to double up as a tree decoration, but best of all, cooking this recipe will fill your kitchen with a festive aroma. The source of this great smell is also the source of their great taste - golden syrup or molasses. Mmmmmm....

Depending on how brave you're feeling, you can get the kids to decorate them although I completely understand why you wouldn't. Just remember – it's all sugar and washes off easily!
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Retro Holiday Cookies: Pignoli Cookies

Pignoli Cookies aren't technically holiday cookies. But I'm including the recipe in the Retro Holiday Cookie Series simply because they're one of the most delicious cookies ever created!

Pignoli (pine nuts) are expensive; a two ounce jar can cost about $7.99. Almond paste isn't cheap either.  But  these soft, almond-licious cookies transform the ordinary cookie tray to an extraordinary holiday treat!

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Retro Holiday Cookies: Potato Chip Cookies Recipe

Sweet and savory! The potato chip cookie!

Potato Chip Cookies

1 lb. butter

3/4 cup sugar

3 tbsp. vanilla

3 1/2 cups flour

6 oz. potato chips

Cream butter and 3/4 cup sugar until fluffy.  Add vanilla, flour and potato chips andbeat well.  Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until edges brown.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Put on cooling rack and dust with confectioner's sugar.

White Chocolate Pots de Creme


6 ounces good-quality white chocolate, finely chopped

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

Pinch of fine salt

6 large egg yolks

1/3 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Fresh raspberries, for serving

Whipped cream, for serving

Fresh mint leaves, for serving

Preheat oven to 300° F and place oven rack in the middle position.

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a medium sauce pan, over medium high heat, bring cream, milk and a pinch of salt to a boil. Pour the scalded milk over the chocolate and let stand for 3 to 5 minutes and then whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and grated nutmeg. Slowly and carefully pour the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the custard through a fine mesh sieve into a large glass measure with a pour spout. Let the custard cool slightly.

Line the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch casserole dish with a folded kitchen towel and arrange six (6-ounce) ramekins on top of the towel.  Divide the custard evenly among the ramekins, then pour enough hot water into the casserole dish to reach half way up the ramekins. Tightly cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the custards are set but still slightly wobbly in the very center.

Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack to cool completely, uncovered, for about 1 hour. Then chill the ramekins, covered for at least 2 hours before serving.

The pots de crème can be kept in the refrigerator, covered for up to days before serving.  When ready to serve, garnish with raspberries, whipped cream, and mint leaves.

German Apple Cake

"Enough" apples peeled, cored, and quartered*

1/2 lb. butter

4 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 Egg

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla




Combine all ingredients except apples and tapioca. Work together to create chunky crumbs. Spread and pack crumbs on bottom and sides of "tube" pan.  Reserve 1/3 of crumbs for top of cake. Sprinkle with tapioca. Place sliced apples over crumbs. Dot with 1/4 lb butter.  Sprinklw with sugar and cinnamon.  Vocer with the remainder of crumbs.

Bake at 325 degress for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

*Grandma is not really sure about the quantity of apples, she simply said, "use enough." Okay . . .

Pignoli Cookies v. 1

4 Egg Whites

1 lb. Almond Paste

1 1/2 C Sugar

1 lb. Portuguese Pignoli Nuts

Beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside.

Break up almond paste into small pieces and beat in sugar.

Fold the sugar and almond paste mixture into egg whites. Refrigerate a few hours or overnight.  Roll into balls and roll balls into pignoli nuts.  Flatten slightly. Put on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees 12 - 15 minutes.  When cool, sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

Grandma's Recipe Box: #7 Maple Iced Pound Cake


This is one of my favorites from Grandma's box - Maple Iced Pound Cake. 

The recipe begins with a "Box of Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix," but does not follow the indications on the box.  The tweaking yields a much denser, more flavorful, and very moist variation of the typical yellow cake, in other words, a "pound cake." 

The frosting is my favorite part of this dessert.    Make sure to lay the frosting on real thick, at least 1/2 inch. 

Then, top the frosting with chopped walnuts, and refrigerate to allow the frosting to firm up a bit. 

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Fudgy Sweetheart Brownie Bites

Recipe courtesy of Laura Himmelein, owner Party Cake Party Cake

Makes 36 heart-shape brownie bites

1 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups sugar
1 stick salted butter, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

White Chocolate Coating

14 oz. bag pink candy melts, 2 ¾ cups
14 oz. bag orange candy melts, 2 ¾ cups

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Pumpkin Ice Cream &/Or Pumpkin Crème Brulee

Recipe Courtesy of Chef Michael Couso at Richie Cecere's Restaurant & Bar

Yield: 1 Gallon Ice Cream 

4 Crème Brulee


1 Qt. 40% heavy cream

1 Qt. whole milk

1 whole vanilla bean (split)

12 medium eggs

6 egg yolks  (only for crème brulee)

3 C. granulated sugar

3 C. pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)

 ¼ tsp. nutmeg

¼ tsp. ground ginger

¼ tsp. allspice

¼ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. ground cloves

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