Make it Marvelous

Easy signature recipe pairings for all of your holiday entertaining

The holiday season is here, and you know what that means… parties and gatherings and get-togethers and other festive occasions. It also means food and drink. If you are searching for a signature libation or appetizer to share at your next event, check out some of our favorite (and easy!) pairings.

Apple Cardamom Cider & Baked Brie

Hard Apple Cider with Cinnamon, Cardamom, and Star Anise

6 cups honeycrisp cider (or any apple cider of your choice)
1 lemon peel (pith removed)
10 whole cloves
5 cardamom pods
3 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1 teaspoon light brown sugar (optional)
2 cups bourbon
For garnish: 2 honeycrisp apples (or sweet apples of your choice), sliced crosswise about ¼” thick
1. Place cider, lemon peel, cloves, star anise, cinnamon sticks, ginger, and sugar into a medium pot and bring to a simmer.
2. Simmer for 10 minutes, cover, remove from heat, and steep for 1 hour. Place mixture over stove again and heat through until warmed.
3. Strain mixture and stir in bourbon.
4. To serve: Using a 1 ½ -2 inch circle cutter, cut star centers out from the thin slices of apple and remove any remaining seeds. Pour cider into individual mugs and top with apple star cut-outs and serve.
Adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon 

Baked Brie with Fig Spread

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 round brie cheese (about 12 ounces)
8.5 ounces (more or less to taste) fig spread
1 egg, beaten
2-3 teaspoons cold water
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Lay the puff pastry onto the prepared baking sheet. Place brie wheel on center of the pastry.
3. Add fig spread evenly over the top of the cheese wheel. 
4. Fold the puff pastry over the top of the brie, sealing all openings. 
5. Mix egg and water in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush egg wash on puff pastry.
6. Bake in preheated oven until the pastry is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Allow brie to rest 15 minutes or so before cutting and serving.


Spiced Cranberry Old Fashioned & Bacon-Wrapped Figs

Spiced Cranberry Old-Fashioned 

For the spiced cranberry syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 star anise pods
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon whole cloves
For the sugared cranberries
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
12 ounces fresh cranberries (1 bag)
For the old fashioned
1 ounce spiced cranberry syrup
2 dashes cocktail bitters
2 ounces bourbon
splash of club soda
orange peel
maraschino cherries
sugared cranberries
cinnamon sticks for garnish, optional
To make cranberry syrup:
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water, sugar, cranberries, star anise, cinnamon sticks, allspice, and cloves to a boil. 
2. Boil for 4-5 minutes, or until cranberries start to burst and the syrup is a rich red color. 
3. Set aside to cool. 
4. Once cooled, strain syrup through a fine mesh strainer and discard cranberries, star anise, cinnamon sticks, allspice, and clove. (Store extra syrup in fridge)
To make sugared cranberries:
1. Bring water and ½ cup of the sugar to a boil. Once boiling, stir for thirty seconds until dissolved. 
2. Remove from heat and stir in the cranberries. Stir until completely coated, then transfer to a wire rack to dry. 
3. Let dry for an hour, then roll in the remaining sugar, working in batches.
4. Transfer back to the rack, and let dry for an additional hour. (Store in a cool, dry place.)
To make the old fashioned:
1. Add ice cube or two to highball glass. 
2. Add cranberry syrup, cocktail bitters, bourbon, and splash of club soda.
3. Stir and garnish with an orange twist, a maraschino cherry, a handful of sugared cranberries, and a cinnamon stick, if desired.
NOTE: recipe makes enough cranberries and syrup for several batches. Store extra cranberries in cool, dry place. Keep syrup refrigerated for up to two weeks in airtight container.

Adapted from Spices in My DNA 

Bacon-wrapped stuffed figs

4 to 6 slices of pre-cooked/ready-to-eat bacon
8-12 small, fresh ripe figs (try white or Calimyrna) 
About 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) crumbled mild herbed goat cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Cut figs (you can halve them lengthwide, or make an X cut in the top and scoop out a bit of the insides), and brush cut side with balsamic.
3. Stuff opening with cheese.
4. Cut bacon into halves or thirds (depending on size of figs) and wrap a piece around each fig. Secure with toothpick.
5. Place figs on baking sheet and cook until figs are warmed, and cheese is browned/bubbly—around 8 minutes.


Pumpkin Ale & Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms

Pumpkin Ale

The easiest “recipe” of all! Not a mixologist? Then just stock up on a pumpkin ale. Check out some of these top rated ones from Beer Advocate.

Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms

16 large white or baby bella mushrooms
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons Marsala wine (can substitute medium sherry)
3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from the casings
6 scallions, white and green parts, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup bread crumbs (we used panko)
5 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
Salt and black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Remove the stems from the mushrooms; set caps aside. Chop stems finely. 
3. Place the mushroom caps in bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and wine. Set aside.
4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. 
5. Add the sausage, crumbling it with spoon or spatula. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until it's completely browned. 
6. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook for 3 more minutes. 
7. Stir in the scallions and garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
8. Add the panko crumbs, stirring to combine evenly with all the other ingredients, then mix in the mascarpone.
9. Continue cooking until the cheese has melted and mixture is creamy. 
10. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.
11. Cool slightly.
12. Fill each mushroom cap with sausage and cheese mixture. Arrange the mushrooms in a baking dish. Fit the mushrooms in a single layer, snugly enough they do not tip over. 
13. Bake until the stuffing is browned and crusty, approximately 50 minutes.
Adapted from Food Network


Sassy Pumpkintini & Prosciutto Pinwheels

Pumpkintini with Black Salt Rim

1/2 ounce cream liqueur
2 ounces vanilla vodka
1/2 ounce pumpkin liqueur or pumpkin spice syrup
Garnish: cinnamon stick, whipped cream, black salt, maple syrup
1. Dip rim of chilled martini glass in maple syrup and rim with black salt; set aside.
2. Pour the cream liqueur and vodka into a cocktail shaker filled with ice; shake well.
3. Add the pumpkin liqueur or syrup and shake again.
4. Strain into martini glass.
5. Top with whipped cream and garnish with a cinnamon stick, if desired.
Adapted from The Spruce Eats 

Sage and Prosciutto Pinwheels

1 package (17.3 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/4 cup honey mustard
1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
8 thin slices prosciutto or deli ham, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1. Preheat oven to 400° F. 
2. Unfold one pastry sheet and spread 2 tablespoons mustard to within 1/2” of edges. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese; top with half each of the chopped prosciutto and sage. 
3. Roll pastry up, jelly-roll style, and then use a serrated knife to cut roll crosswise into 18 slices.
4. Place slices cut side down on a greased baking sheet. 
5. Repeat process with remaining ingredients. 
6. Bake until golden brown approximately 12-15 minutes. Serve warm. 
NOTE: Unbaked, uncut rolls can be prepared ahead of time and frozen. To store: cover and freeze unbaked rolls on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet until firm. Transfer to resealable plastic freezer bags or other freeze-safe container; return to freezer. 
When you are ready to use, remove from freezer and let rolls stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Cut and bake pinwheels as directed, increasing time as necessary.
Adapted from Taste of Home


Warm Spiced Sangria & Spanish Charcuterie Platter

Warm Orange-Cranberry Spiced Sangria 

6 cups cranberry juice
2 cups orange juice
2 cups dry red wine
1⁄3 cup brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks 
1⁄2-1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 pinch nutmeg
2 oranges, cut in wedges
1 lemon, cut in wedges
1 cup cranberries
1. Heat all ingredients in a saucepan on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved.
2. When liquid is hot (do not allow to boil), remove from heat and let stand five minutes.
3. Strain through a fine sieve, reserving fruit.
4. Pour liquid into mugs or heat resistant glasses, adding reserved fruit for garnish.
NOTE: This drink can also be made non-alcoholic, using juice in place of wine.

Spanish Charcuterie and Cheese Platter

Let your creativity (and taste buds) be your guide! But here are a few suggestions for your board:
2 or more chunks of Spanish cheeses—try manchego cabrales or mahon
a few slices of jamon serrano or jamon iberico
a few slices of chorizo
a few slices other cured meats/salami
marcona almonds
a few slices pan con tomate (or other bread such as French loaf)
olives (manzanilla is a good choice)
a few slices membrillo quince jelly or paste
1. Thinly slice the cheese and meats, if not already sliced.
2. Arrange the slices around a plate, with the almonds, bread, olives and membrillo on the side.
3. Adjust quantities to the number of people/course you are serving.


Chocolate Eggnog & Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake

Hot-Cocoa Eggnog with Toasted Marshmallows

Homemade Eggnog Ingredients
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch kosher salt
4 pasteurized egg yolk(s)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
Hot Chocolate Eggnog Ingredients
3 cups homemade eggnog
1 cup whole milk
1 cup finely chopped dark chocolate
3 tablespoons sugar
pinch kosher salt
Homemade Eggnog Instructions
1. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream, nutmeg, and a pinch of kosher salt until you see small bubbles rising to the surface, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
2. Meanwhile, use mixer to beat egg yolks and sugar together until the yolks lighten in color and sugar is completely dissolved.
3. Remove milk mixture from heat and very slowly pour it into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to avoid eggs from cooking. 
4. Return mixture to pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160°F. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. 
5. Pour into mixing bowl and let cool completely. If serving later, set in refrigerator to chill, up to a few days.
Hot Chocolate Eggnog Instructions
1. Place homemade eggnog, whole milk, dark chocolate, sugar, and a pinch of kosher salt in a medium pot over medium heat. Warm mixture, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is fully melted. 
2. Divide among four glasses and top with marshmallows toasted in broiler or with kitchen torch and sprinkle of nutmeg. You may also substitute whipped cream.
Adapted from 

Pumpkin-Ginger Gingerbread Cake

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup molasses
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup chopped candied ginger (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
2. In a medium size bowl combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. 
3. In a large bowl whisk together the oil, eggs, pumpkin, molasses, and sugar until smooth.
4. Combine the dry ingredients with pumpkin mixture. Whisk to combine. 
5. Pour in the boiling water; whisk until smooth. 
6. If using candied ginger, whisk in now. Whisk in the chopped candied ginger, if using.
7. Pour batter into greased pan and bake for approximately 30 minutes (baking times may vary). Test for doneness by inserting a wooden skewer or toothpick into the center—if it comes out clean, the gingerbread is done.
8. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve.
Adapted from The Mom 100 


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