A L L  T H E  L O C A L  N E W S,  G O S S I P,  R E C I P E S  &  L O R E  T H A T' S  F I T  T O   P R I N T

W I N T E R   2 0 0 5

  
In Wickwood's Kitchen ...

CHRISTMAS MORNING FRENCH TOAST
Buttery Croissants, toasted almonds and Grand Marnier – to me the perfect way to greet Christmas morn! Best of all, it’s mostly prepared the day before!

6 croissants
¾ cup heavy cream
¾ cup milk
6 eggs slightly beaten
¼ cup Grand Marnier
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon minced orange zest
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
¼ cup dried tart cherries (optional)

1. Spray butter in 9x12 rectangular baking dish. Place croissants in pan two per row, side by side lengthwise.

2. Place cream, milk, eggs, Grand Marnier and orange zest in bowl. Combine thoroughly. Pour egg mixture over croissants. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

3. Before baking – sprinkle top of croissants lightly with 1 teaspoon sugar, cinnamon, toasted almonds and then very lightly 1 teaspoon sugar again. Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes on middle shelf of oven. Serve with the best warmed pure maple syrup around.

CRANBERRY CAKE
This upside down cake becomes the brilliant star of a Holiday menu. While it’s a delightful dessert (a dollop of whipped cream wouldn’t hurt) – we serve it at Wickwood for breakfast. It’s sweet, yet tart with special flavors that titillate the palate first thing in the morning! It’s such a hit that we freeze loads of cranberries as soon as they become available and make this well into the New Year!!

Serves 8-10

1½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups fresh or frozen
    (thawed) cranberries
2 cups tart dried cherries
1½ cups cake flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened unsalted
    butter
1 stick unsalted butter
½ cup each of white & brown sugar
2 large eggs
¾ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla



 

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 10” springform pan generously and wrap the bottom and sides with foil. Set aside.

2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar, lemon juice and zest, cinnamon and cloves. Cook briefly, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Add cranberries and coat evenly with the sauce. Pour into springform pan. Spread evenly, and set aside.

3. Sift flour, baking soda and salt onto waxed paper, and set aside.

4. In a medium mixing bowl with a mixer, cream butter, sugar and brown sugar until smooth and fluffy (about 1 minute). Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. On low speed add half of flour mixture, mixing until combined. Add sour cream and vanilla, mix until combined. Add remaining flour mixture; mix until smooth. Transfer to springform pan, spreading evenly over top of cranberries.

5. Bake approximately 1 hour in middle of oven, test with a toothpick inserted in center, cake is done when it comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully remove foil lining and run knife around edge of pan to loosen cake. Invert onto a serving plate. Remove pan sides and bottom, and serve immediately or at room temperature.

BUTTERBALLS
While there are many versions of this cookie, this one has long been a Rosso Christmas tradition, it’s the best!! We think the magic is the sweet ingredient of honey – and a little longer baking time. Tart dried cherries add an interesting and festive note.
 

8 tablespoons (1 stick) sweet butter, softened
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup shelled pecans, chopped moderately fine
½ cup tart dried cherries
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar

1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Grease one or two cookie sheets.

2. Cream butter. Beat in honey; gradually mix flour and salt, then vanilla. Add pecans and cherries. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

3. Form balls by hand, the size of quarters. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a dark golden.

4. Remove from oven; as soon as cool enough to touch, roll in confectioners’ sugar. Allow to cool fully and roll again in sugar. Pack in a tin and they’ll keep for two weeks!

About 36 cookies

THE CRISPIEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES EVER
When I was young and my grandmother was the chocolate chip cookie maker. I loved her crispy cookies best of all. Finally, we’ve solved her never revealed secret! Warning! They’re hard to stop eating once you start.

Makes approximately 6 dozen mini cookies

1½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1¾ sticks (14 tablespoons)
    unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate
    chips

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together onto waxed paper and set aside.

3. In a medium sized bowl, using an electric mixer on medium, cream together the butter, brown and white sugar, and vanilla, until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl down as needed. Add the egg, combining well. Add the flour mixture, mixing will and then the chocolate chips.

4. Drop scant teaspoons of dough two inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake seven to nine minutes until they are golden. Watch the first sheets carefully to get your oven’s timing down correctly. Allow to cool one minute on the baking sheets before removing with a spatula to a plate to cool completely. They will become more crispy as they cool.

5. Store cookies in an airtight container to retain the crispiness, if they last anytime at all.

     

 

ROSY RED PEPPER CREAM
This has become a real hit when served with hot and crispy tortilla triangles. The pink color is perfect on a Holiday Buffet.

Preheat oven to 350°

24 oz. cream cheese
½ cup mayonnaise
1
½ cups grated Parmesan
    (the “cheap stuff”)
1
½ cups Asiago cheese, grated
½ t smoky paprika
t cayenne pepper
½ cup roasted red peppers

1. Let cream cheese soften, then thoroughly mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Spread mixture into a 9x13 baking dish.
2. Bake 40-45 minutes until bubbly. Transfer to serving dish and surround with tortilla triangles or crustini.

DRIED CHERRY CHUTNEY
In my mind – this is the perfect Thanksgiving Dinner condiment!! If you miss traditional cranberries, just use one cup each – dried cherries and cranberries and you’ll win raves!

2 cups tart dried cherries
1¼ cups sugar
¾ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup finely chopped celery
¼ cup minced fresh ginger
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice ½ teaspoon crushed dried red pepper flakes

1. Combine all the ingredients in a microwave-safe two quart casserole, and stir well.
2. Cook, uncovered, at full power (650 to 700 watts) for 6 minutes. Stir, making sure the sugar has dissolved, and return to the microwave. Cook another 8 minutes.
3. Allow the chutney to cool to room temperature; then serve or cover tightly and refrigerate. It will keep for 2 weeks in a refrigerator.
 


"Exercise is the most awful illusion. The secret is a lot of aspirin and marrons glac
és."
- Noel Coward

 

CHESTNUTS ROASTING….
Marrons glaceé have become all the rage – but there’s something very special about roasting chestnuts over an open fire.

Buy or gather chestnuts and with a sharp knife cut an X on the round side of the chestnut (This keeps them from exploding.) A special chestnut roasting pan works well – but if you don’t happen to have a chestnut pan you can still roast chestnuts.

To roast chestnuts in the fireplace, put them in a chestnut skillet (a long handled skillet with holes in the bottom, available at kitchenware shops) and put the skillet over hot coals, shaking it occasionally, for one hour.

While a chestnut roasting pan works well – if you don’t happen to have one you can still roast chestnuts. Place them in the oven, cut side up in a baking pan and roast, covered, in a preheated 425° oven. Sprinkle them with three to four tablespoons of water every fifteen minutes, and roast them for an hour.

FENNEL
Learn to love fennel and you’ll have another winter vegetable. Crunchy – bulbed and frilly fronded – fennel is often misunderstood. It’s a member of the parsley family with a very subtle licorice flavor – it’s not anise, that’s another plant entirely. Most Americans use the seeds for sausages – the Europeans use it with baking – we love it ultra thin in salads, especially when paired with proscuitto, braised, or halved and roasted, laced with olive oil, black pepper, and sea salt. Don’t forget to use a sprinkle of the minced fronds as a garnish as you would dill. It’s delightful!

CHRISTMAS KISSES

Prep time: 12 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Makes 4 dozen

1 cup sweetened condensed milk 3 cups shredded coconut
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups semisweet chocolate
    chips

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, mix the      sweetened condensed milk and coconut.

3. Sprinkle the baking powder    over the mixture and blend well. Add the chocolate chips and salt. Combine

4. Using a teaspoon, drop the mixture onto the prepared cookie sheets in small mounds about 2 inches apart. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until light brown on the edges. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the pans. Cool completely before serving or storing in tins.


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Wickwood Inn   |    510 Butler Street P.O. Box 1019   |   Saugatuck, MI 49453
Tel (800) 385-1174   |   
www.wickwoodinn.com    |    Bill and Julee Rosso Miller, Proprietors