Mulled Wine for the Holidays

Mulled wine is one of our favorites during the winter holidays.  There are lots of different ways to make this hot winter drink.  All recipes start off with wine to which mulling spices  are added, and the mixture is slowly heated until the flavors blend.  Some recipes use a mixture of wine and cider (or other juice), while others “spike” their wine with brandy or rum.  Often fruits, such as orange slices or cranberries, are added and some people like to sweeten the mixture a bit.

One of our favorite recipes is the less alcoholic version of wine and juice:

  • 1 bottle of red wine (such as Sweet Mountain Mist)
  • 3 cups of apple cider or apple juice  (or 2 cups of apple juice and 1 cup of cranapple juice)
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick (about 3 inches)

Alternatively, you could substitute two bottles of our Winter Blend wine, which is a blend of Apple wine and Chambourcin wine, and omit the apple cider or juice.

Heat all ingredients in a crock pot – but never let it boil. Start off on the high heat setting until the liquid becomes hot, then turn it to the low or warm setting and let is simmer for about 2 hours.  The cinnamon stick should flatten out as the flavors blend together.  Serve hot and enjoy!

Posted by The Long Shot Farm

Vidal-Alfredo Food Pairing

It is the simple things in life that matter.

This is most certainly true when it comes to Alfredo.  I am not fooled by those jars in the grocery store that pretend to be Alfredo and are white and gooey and plop out of the jar with a sickening Gak sound.   I make my Alfredo as simply as possible with just a handful of ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 freshly grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper

Bring the first 3 ingredients to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and let thicken a few minutes.  Add salt and pepper.  Toss with pasta and parmesan.

I like to add in a few vegetables and chicken sometimes.  To pair with the Vidal wine I added asparagus and toasted pine nuts.  A satisfying Friday night meal after a full week.

Posted by Anja Weyant

Chocolate Swiss Roll

So Duff and I have been watching the Great British Bake Off.  For a while now.  I always look forward to the cake episodes though Duff is not impressed.  He would much rather make bread.  Anyway, I enjoy the episodes about the Swiss Rolls and the fancy Christmas Roulades. I decided that it was time to try my hand at them.  The judges are always fussing over the “perfect” swirl and make it seem like this incredibly difficult task.  They also like to stress that the sponge cake is fatless. Well, I prefer a much more forgiving cake with the added moisture from butter and I think the key to a nice swirl is not over baking your cake.

I settled on a chocolate Swiss roll with a whipped cream filling.  I long ago decided that chocolate and sour cream were a match made in heaven so I added a few spoonfuls of sour cream to the filling.  I then topped the roll with a chocolate ganache.  Straight forward and classic for my first attempt.  I gave this recipe below a go and we were all very happy!

Chocolate Sponge

  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 C melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 C cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Vanilla Whipped Cream filling

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tablespoons sour cream

Ganache Topping

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 12 X 17 inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper and butter paper.  I butter the underside too so the paper sticks to the pan.

Beat egg whites and sugar together on high for 2 to 3 minutes until stiff peaks form.  Set aside.  Blend egg yolks, brown sugar and vanilla for 2 minutes or so until pale. Mix in melted butter

Sift dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt) and add to mixture.

Fold in egg whites.  I use a little at first to help get things started and then fold in larger amounts.

Spread batter into the pan in a thin layer.  Bake 10 minutes or so (mine actually took 9).  The top will gently spring back when touched.

When the cake is finished, allow to cool for a few minutes and then invert it onto a clean dish towel.  I used a dishtowel and a piece of parchment paper on top. Roll from the narrow end and allow the cake to completely cool.

Several hours later, make the whipped cream by beating the cream on high for a few minutes with the sugar and vanilla.  Gently fold in sour cream.

Unroll the cake and spread the filling leaving a 1/2 inch edge. Re-roll the cake sans paper towel.

Make the ganache and pour over top! I usually heat up the cream until barely simmering and then pour over the chocolate.  After a minute or so, stir it up until the completely combined.

Refrigerate for 30 min before slicing in.

Peanut Butter Cookies

I’ve come to believe that every great recipe has its roots in Joy of Cooking.  A few tweaks here and there perhaps, but the bones of the recipe can usually be traced back to the hard work of Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker.  Peanut butter cookies are no exception.

These cookies are rich and crumbly, and are my favorite way to introduce peanut butter to infants (before 1 these days you know).

  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/c C granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C peanut butter (I use Jif)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Blend butter and sugars until creamy.  Mix in egg, peanut butter, salt, baking soda, and vanilla until well combined.  Add in flour.  Roll dough into small balls and place on cookie sheet.  Press dough flat on cookie sheet with a fork.  I usually dip the fork in sugar between cookies so it doesn’t stick.  You can also use the tip of a whisk and create a star pattern.  Bake 10 min.

Posted by Anja Weyant

Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake with Ganache Icing

This cake is one of our favorite chocolate cakes.  It contains sour cream, which typically results in a
moist cake that keeps well.  The dark chocolate ganache is a decadent icing, which further helps to keep the cake moist.  I usually store the cake under a glass cover.

Ingredients for the Cake:

1 cup butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s dark chocolate)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
2 cups all purpose flour (I use King Arthur)
1 and 3/4 cups sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions for the Cake:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F and thoroughly butter and flour a Bundt cake pan
2. Combine butter, cocoa, salt and water in a small pot, and heat on medium, stirring frequently until butter is melted (don’t overheat). Set aside to cool a bit
3. Sift the flour, baking soda and sugar into a large mixing bowl (I use a KitchenAid with whisk for this cake)
4. Add about half of the melted butter mixture to the flour mix and start whisking until combined, then slowly add the remaining butter mixture
5. Add the eggs, one at a time
6. Add the sour cream and vanilla
7. Whisk until the batter is smooth (may need to scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula to make sure it is all blended together)
8. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake in center of oven for about 40 – 45 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean. (my oven takes 44 minutes) Try not to over-bake it.
9. Place pan on cooling rack, and let cool down – about 15 minutes or so, before inverting onto cake plate.  Let cake cool some more.

Ganache Icing

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chocolate morsels  
  • scant 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Combine 1 cup chocolate morsels (I use Hershey’s dark morsel, can also break up high quality chocolate into small pieces) and scant 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream in a double boiler.  Heat on medium, stirring constantly.  Watch carefully, stir until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture gets shiny – pull of heat immediately (chocolate will temper quickly) and stir.  (if it seems too runny, add a few more morsels and stir them in)  While still very warm, spread ganache on the cake.