I often take a look back at the holiday baking I did from Thanksgiving through Epiphany; this year, I thought it would be fun to look back at all of the holiday meals and treats we’ve enjoyed, starting with Thanksgiving dinner:
We had our pick out dinner on Christmas Day this time:
And our fancy Christmas dinner on the Sunday after Christmas:
Of course we had our traditional New Year’s Eve hot chocolate bar:
And a special New Year’s Day dinner to start the new year right:
And finally, our Ryan’s Birthday/Epiphany feast:
On to the baking. There were pies for Thanksgiving:
And several cakes throughout the season, for St. Nicholas Day, Santa Lucia Day, Jesus’ Birthday, the fancy Christmas dinner, and New Year’s Day:
We baked so many Christmas cookies!
And an obligatory “other” section, for things like lussekattes, coffee cake, and even some special holiday beverages:
I put in a little extra effort this year, to make up for the fact that we couldn’t go anywhere or do most of our normal Christmas activities. In the end, I think we’ll have a lot of delicious memories from this holiday season!
Ladybug and I have been planning to go to dinner at Texas de Brazil in the St. Louis Galleria for almost a year…Saturday was finally the day!
As soon as we walked in, we were impressed…there were color-changing lights behind the bar, which looked really cool through the various bottles!
The table was super fancy, and Ladybug was shocked by the napkin service, which is something she had never encountered. Not only did they place our napkins in our laps when we sat down, they refolded them every time we got up from the table!
If you’ve never been to Texas de Brazil, here’s how it works. After you’re seated, you can visit the salad bar. There were so many delicious options! (But watch out for that plant…it attacked me several times!)
In addition to the cold offerings, there are also some heated options, including their famous lobster bisque, Brazilian black beans, rice, and moqueca (fish stew):
At your table, you’re given a “coin.” One side indicates that you would like the waiters to stop by with whatever carved meat they’re carrying, and the other that you are content with what you have (at least for the time being!):
There are so many meat options, from all of the main meat groups…beef, chicken, pork, and lamb (plus the fish family at the salad bar…I tried all five kinds of meats!). Some are wrapped in bacon, some are seasoned with parmesan cheese, and all are delicious. In general, the meats are prepared medium-rare, but you can request more or less done options. And watching the waiters carve the meat table side is quite a treat!
In addition to the salad bar offerings (both cold and hot), a few side dishes are brought to your table, including garlic mashed potatoes, sweet fried bananas, and Brazilian cheese bread (Pao de Queijo), which I’ve actually made before!
We enjoyed everything we tried, from the drinks (Ladybug had a Brazilian soda, and I had their signature drink, the Caipirinha), to the salad bar (the pineapple carpaccio, couscous salad, and giant capers were some of our favorites!), to the meat (I was so happy to see so many rare options, including filet mignon and plain old steak):
And then the desserts. There was a tray with some of their offerings, including Brazilian cheesecake, carrot cake, and key lime pie), but they also have other choices including Brazilian flan, Crème Brûlée, and Brazilian Papaya Cream.
Ladybug and I both chose the chocolate mousse cake, and we were definitely not disappointed…it was AMAZING!
This was a very fun and special evening. I wish it was a place we could all visit someday, but it’s not practical for a large family. I do hope that I’ll get the chance to go back with somebody someday, though, because I had a great time, and really enjoyed my meal!
Even though I wasn’t planning on making a dessert for New Year’s Day, once I stumbled across this recipe, I knew I had to try it. I did have to make a few changes, based on what was available to me at the store, so you’re getting the recipe I actually used, not the one I found. I also used Kahlúa in place of the coffee required in the original recipe, because I wanted to add more mint flavor, plus, I’m always looking for a new booze-soaked dessert recipe!
4 large whole eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup peppermint hot chocolate mix
1/4 cup peppermint mocha Kahlúa
3 1/2 cups milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
16 ounces stale challah bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
2 cups mini marshmallows, divided
Place the eggs in a blender and blend on the lowest speed for 30 seconds. Slowly add the sugar and then add the hot chocolate mix and blend until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the Kahlúa, milk, and vanilla and blend until well combined.
Butter a 9 by 13-inch dish and place 1/2 of the cubed bread in the pan. Sprinkle half of the chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of the mini marshmallows on top. Add the rest of the bread and pack tightly. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips and another 1/4 cup marshmallows.
Slowly pour in the custard. Press down on the mixture with a spatula or the back of a spoon to thoroughly saturate. Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
Bake at 325, uncovered, for 45-55 minutes or until the bread cubes are crisp and browned and the center is firm.
Remove the dish from the oven and top with the remaining mini marshmallows.
Switch your oven settings to broil and broil for about two minutes, or until the marshmallows are toasted to your liking. Watch it closely, the broiler will burn the marshmallows easily.
If you’re looking for a unique Thanksgiving dessert that still falls into the mandatory “pumpkin” category, you’ve come to the right place! Plus, you can make this pumpkin tiramisu as early as today, and refrigerate it until the big event…always a bonus when you can work ahead!
I tried this recipe out last week, and was amazed by both how easy it was to make (I’ve previously been afraid of trying to make a real tiramisu ), and how delicious it was. The crystalized ginger is what really takes it the holiday level, but I imagine even without that, it would still be amazing!
1 can pumpkin
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup granulated sugar
12 oz. mascarpone cheese
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 cups coffee, cooled
2 7 oz. packages Italian ladyfingers
With whisk attachment of stand mixer, whisk pumpkin, brown sugar, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Add mascarpone and 1 1/2 cups cream; beat at medium speed until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat.
Dissolve 2 Tbsp. sugar in coffee. Dip both sides of approximately 8 ladyfingers in coffee and arrange them in a single layer in a 4-quart trifle dish. Spread one cup of pumpkin mixture on top. Repeat layers five more times, ending with pumpkin mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Beat remaining cream and 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar until soft peaks form. Dollop over tiramisu and garnish with crystalized ginger.
It’s been a good 20 years since I first made this popular-with-children dessert, but I never even thought of renaming it for the Diet of Worms until CPH made the suggestion this fall. So, here’s my familiar recipe, with a new name, just in time for Reformation Day!
1 family-size package Oreo cookies
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
4 cups milk
8 oz. Cool Whip (can use chocolate)
2 3.9 oz. packages instant chocolate pudding
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Crush Oreos in a bag with a rolling pin, or pulse in food processor until fine crumbs. Put 1/3 of the crushed Oreos into a glass trifle bowl. Add a few “worms” to the “dirt.” Set aside.
Mix butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and well blended. Set aside.
Combine milk and pudding mix as directed on pudding box. Let stand about five minutes, then fold Cool Whip into the pudding.
Fold together pudding mixture and butter-cream cheese mixture.
Layer half of the pudding mixture on top of the cookie crumbs in trifle bowl. Add another 1/3 of the Oreos with “worms,” then remaining pudding mixture. Top with remaining Oreos and “worms.”
Chill for 3 to 4 hours before serving.
Since Reformation Day is this week, here’s a nice German-ish dessert to add to your menu!
1 sheet puff pastry
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons raisins
powdered sugar (optional)
Thaw the pastry sheet at room temperature for 40 minutes or until it’s easy to handle. Heat the oven to 375. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Stir the egg and water in a small bowl. Mix the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the apples and raisins and toss to coat.
Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the sheet into a 16×12-inch rectangle. With the short side facing you, spoon the apple mixture onto the bottom half of the pastry to within 1 inch of the edges. Starting at the short side closest to you, roll up like a jelly roll. Place seam-side down on the baking sheet. Tuck ends under to seal. Brush with the egg mixture. Cut several 2-inch long slits 2 inches apart on the top.
Bake for 35 minutes or until golden. Cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Slice and serve warm. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.
1 prepared graham cracker crumb crust (I use the Keebler “2 extra servings crust”)
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
3 cups miniature marshmallows, divided
1/3 cup milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Heat chocolate chips, 1 1/2 cups marshmallows and milk in a medium, heavy-duty saucepan over low heat, stirring until marshmallows are melted (do not overheat). Pour into large bowl. Cool to room temperature.
Whip cream in small mixer bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream and remaining marshmallows into chocolate mixture. Spoon into crust; swirl top. Garnish with additional whipped cream and chocolate shavings, if desired. Refrigerate over night for best taste.