Saturday, November 30, 2013

Southern Sweet Potato Casserole with Cinnamon Butter-Bourbon Sweet Potato Filling, Homemade Mini Bourbon-Brown Butter Marshmallows, Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crumble & Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel

Southern Sweet Potato Casserole with Cinnamon Butter-Bourbon Sweet Potato Filling, Homemade Mini Bourbon-Brown Butter Marshmallows, Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crumble & Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel 
In the South, casseroles are king. I personally am not a fan of cette casseroles, but during Thanksgiving, I will make a few exceptions. One being Peej's famous mashed potato casserole, the other being broccoli-rice casserole. However, another dish that everyone in the southern states love is Sweet Potato Casserole. We have never featured it at a Thanksgiving dinner before because our family tends to only like savory sweet potato dishes, but this year I wanted to try/make something new and that was what I was set on. The filling is pretty standard, but it is changed up slightly with the addition of pumpkin pecan butter (which you usually can purchase at Whole Foods, Fresh Market, or Williams Sonoma). Where this all gets really interesting is the topping... oh lordy, THOSE TOPPINGS. Let's start with the first component... the brown sugar-pecan streusel. This is the standard streusel that you will see on any good sweet potato casserole or even coffee cake. It's put on the casserole before all of the stuff, so it can bake and get nice and buttery and crunchy and all good, ya know? Well, after that has baked, you make strips of mini bourbon brown butter marshmallows and cinnamon toast crunch crumble. I toast the marshmallows with a kitchen torch until they are brown & melty. That's always a good sign when the ooey-gooey fluffy marshmallow drips off the side, always. As for the cinnamon toast crunch crumble, it is pre-baked (and pre-prepped before Thanksgiving, YAY), so it does not need to be put in the oven again. So after the torching is done, just pile on a heap of the crumble in between. My friends, you'll have a sugar coma waitin' on ya, that's confirmed. But it's okay, because you'll already be in a Thanksgiving coma anyway!! Enjoy :)
making homemade mini marshmallows
that are all light & fluffy
and flavored with BROWN BUTTER + BOURBON (boom).
some toasted, candied pecans make everything better
let the torching begin...
and continue... 
until it is melty & toasty marshmallow-y goodness
here's that yummy brown sugar-pecan streusel.
And the finished product. Sugar. Coma. Yes. 
For the Bourbon-Brown Butter Mini Marshmallows:
3 ½ Envelopes of Unflavored Gelatin
½C Cold Bourbon + ½C Cold Water
2C Granulated Sugar
½C Light Corn Syrup
¼t Salt
2 Large Egg Whites
1T Vanilla Extract
4oz Brown Butter, Melted & Room Temperature (plus more for drizzling on top) 

For the Homemade Cinnamon Butter:
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter Softened
3T Dark Brown Sugar
½t Vanilla
1T Cinnamon 

For the Cinnamon Butter-Bourbon Sweet Potato Filling:
3C Mashed Sweet Potatoes
11oz Pumpkin-Pecan Butter
¼C Sugar
½t Salt, Heaping
1 Vanilla Bean, Split & Scraped for Seeds
2T Bourbon
1t Vanilla
3 Eggs, Well Beaten
Prepared Cinnamon Butter, Softened to Room Temperature

For the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crumble:
2 ½C Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal
¼C Milk Powder
1T Sugar
½t Kosher Salt
4 ½T Unsalted Butter, Melted
For the Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel:
1C Dark Brown Sugar, Packed
½C AP Flour
1C Toasted Pecans, Finely Chopped
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter, Melted & Browned

For the Topping:
Prepared Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crumble
Prepared Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel
Homemade Mini Brown Butter-Bourbon Marshmallows (store-bought can be substituted)

1. To Make the Brown Butter-Bourbon Mini Marshmallows: Oil bottom and sides of a 13x9 rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar. In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over ½C cold bourbon, and let stand to soften. In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, cold water, salt, and brown butter over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 10-12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved. With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until fluffy, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer. In separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters beat egg whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla (or your choice of flavoring) into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan and don’t fret if you don’t get it all out (learning from my mess of a first round). If you want swirl in some extra brown butter on top, and then sift ¼C confectioners sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours. Once chilled, cut into mini marshmallow cubes and toss them in powdered sugar until coated.
2. To Make the Cinnamon Butter: beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth, then slowly add in the cinnamon and beat until combined. Chill until ready to serve.
3. For the Mashed Sweet Potatoes: Bake the sweet potatoes at 400 degrees for about an hour. Once cooked & soft, mash them with a fork until as smooth as possible.
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a medium-sized baking dish with Pam. Set it aside.
5. For the Sweet Potato Filling: Combine the sweet potatoes, pumpkin butter, sugar, salt, vanilla bean seeds, bourbon, eggs, and softened cinnamon butter. Beat the ingredients thoroughly with a hand mixer for about 3-4 minutes to increase the fluffiness of the sweet potato filling. Pour this mixture into the prepared baking dish.
6. For the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Crumble: Heat the oven to 275 degrees and line a baking sheet with a Silpat. Pour the cinnamon toast crunch cereal into a mixing bowl and crush them with your hands to about a fourth of their original size. Add the milk powder, sugar, and salt and toss to mix. Add the butter and toss to coat. As you toss it, the butter will act as a binder, bringing the dry ingredients to the cereal and creating small clusters. Spread the clusters onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake it for 15-20 minutes, at which point they should look toasted, smell buttery, and crunch gently when cooled. Cool the crumble completely before sprinkling them on top of the casserole.
7. For the Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel: Combine the brown sugar, flour, nuts, and butter in a mixing bowl. Toss until it is completely incorporated. Set it aside.
8. Bake the casserole for 25-30 minutes, and then remove it from the oven and spread a thick layer of the Pumpkin-Pecan Butter on top of the sweet potatoes and brown-sugar pecan streusel. Return to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Allow the dish to set for at least 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with mini marshmallows and cinnamon toast crunch crumble. Using a kitchen torch, toast the marshmallows until brown and melty.
9. Enjoy it while it is still warm!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mama Jones' Famous Cranberry Relish Mold

Mama Jones' Famous Cranberry Relish Mold
I've been itchin' in anticipation because turkey day is getting so close. I posted my favorite recipes to put on the table a couple days ago, and y'all should totally make some of those... err or all of them. Either one works for me really. Well today, Peej & I got crackin' on potentially our family's favorite dish... Mama Jones' Cranberry Relish Mold. Now normally any time I hear the word, "mold", I do NOT want it. But, this my friends, is very different. It's so popular that we often have to make two of them because one almost always gets eaten before the important day. This relish might not look like anything special, but it truly is an important part of our family tradition. Fresh cranberries, oranges, apples, and toasted pecans are finely chopped up, and then stirred together with some flavored jello to hold the mold in place. I'm not quite sure where the original recipe came from, and neither do my parents, but I know it tracks back to my grandmother, MiMi, and my great grandmother, Mama Jones. These were the first women in my family to truly love cooking and make it a part of their daily life, so we always have to make this dish in honor of them. And if we don't, then I'm pretty sure my dad would slap us blind. Sometimes we add some fresh jalapeno in when we're feelin' extra spicy, but that decision is purely up to y'all!! Enjoy :)
fresh cranberries, orange peel, + cara cara oranges
Adding in the toasted pecans...

For the Cranberry Relish Mold:
1lb Fresh Cranberries
3 Large Oranges, Zested (using a peeler) & Cut into Quarters
2 Granny Smith Apples
2C Sugar
1C Toasted Pecans, Finely Chopped
2 Packs of Flavored Jello (we like raspberry, black cherry, or cranberry flavored)
1 Packet of Unflavored Gelatin
2C Strained Juice + Water
1 Medium Jalapeno, Finely Minced (optional, if you want it spicy)

1. Toast the pecans in a pan, and then finely chop them by hand. Set them aside.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, grind the cranberries, apples, orange zest peels, and quartered oranges (remove the bitter white pith with a sharp knife) until it is coarse and finely chopped (if you want to add in the fresh jalapeno, mince it up with the other fruit). Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl and stir in the sugar. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes to extract as much juice as possible.
3. Strain the juice from the chopped fruit into a large measuring cup, and then fill it up with water in order to reach a total of 2C of liquid (orange juice or cranberry juice can be substituted for water instead).
4. Bring the 2C liquid to a boil and add in 3 packs of gelatin, stirring to dissolve. Let it cool slightly to set and thicken before adding it to the fruit. Pour the gelatin liquid over the chopped fruit and stir to coat and combine. Pour into a mold of your choosing.
5. Refrigerate overnight or until it has completely set and chilled.

Here are some pictures of our early Thanksgiving prep...

Southern Braised Collard Greens + Roasted Garlic-Boursin Mashed Potatoes
these... are my jam.
whippin' them up!!
Roasted Garlic-Boursin Mashed Potatoes that will turn into mashed potato casserole, yum :)
Chunky Biscoff Cookie Crust for Cheesecake
The always popular, Pumpkin-Pecan Pie Cheesecake
Homemade Mulled Five Spice Simple Syrup for Autumn Moscow Mules

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Best Recipes For Your Thanksgiving Dinner 2013

What are you thankful for??
Thanksgiving is inching closer + closer to us, y'all
I might get around to posting one or two more recipes before the big day (cough cough: meal)
But, until then, I decided to make a list of the recipes that will make our final cut
Ya know... The Good Shit... Err "Stuff"
Aww heck, who even cares!!
Enjoy 'em, ya'hear :)

Candied Bacon Wrapped Sausages... one of the most popular recipes EVER.
How about a darling cheese plate fit with lots of yummy charcuterie?? 
These pistachio crusted, honeycomb filled cheese truffles are the perfect one bit appetizer
Prosciutto topped deviled eggs with olive oil + chives
This fancy-schmany Roasted Garlic Goat Cheese Beehive with Drizzled Truffle
Honey is a show stopper!!
This is gobbled up in minutes... Whipped Garlic Goat Cheese with Candied Jalapenos
+ Red Onion Marmalade 
Another cheese plate option: roasted figs, grilled brie, honey drizzle, shaved prosciutto,
and crispy fried bread.
Marinated Cheese Dip... a. crowd. pleaser. 
"Not Your Granny's" Loaded Pimento Cheese Drip with Bacon Jam (DUH)
Pickled Deviled Eggs with Shaved Country Ham + Sriracha Powder
My most requested "newest" recipe... slow roasted tomato bruschetta with whipped
goat cheese, roasted garlic, and freshly grated parmesan cheese

BACON FAT FRIED triple corn hoecakes. Bacon, that is all. 
The best brussels sprouts that I make. 
Okay, besides this brussels sprouts slaw... it's so refreshing!!
Southern Corn Pudding... a must at our dinner table.
Instead of creamy green bean casserole, give these Creamed Collards with
Crispy Shallots a try :)
Every year I have to give this recipe to someone... Cracked Pepper + Gruyere
Popovers are the best thing to put in your bread basket :)
The additions of dried cherries really sweetens up this tart cranberry sauce!
Pickled Cranberries with Champagne + Vanilla Bean... just so festive. 
Who doesn't want dessert as a side dish? Try this dark chocolate-brown butter-salted popovers... NOW

Bourbon-Brown Butter-Brown Sugar Bread Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce,
Hard Sauce, + a scoop of Brown Butter Ice Cream
Pumpkin-Buttermilk Pie with Gingebread Crust
Salty Winter White Honey Pie might be a new classic,
Sweet Potato-Pecan Pie with Chunky 'Nilla Wafer Crust
A NECESSITY: homemade vanilla bean pastry crust
A PLC Classic: This Buttermilk Pie is on our table ever year. No lie.
So is this Bourbon-Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie
Brown Butter Baklava wouldn't disappoint guests either, haha :)
This will be a NEW addition to our Buttermilk Pie... adding the creme brulee topping!!
Salted Caramel Apple Pie just "screams" Thanksgiving to me.
The unforgettable "Forrest Gump Tart"... layers of salty pretzel cookie crust, salted caramel,
bittersweet ganache, and gourmet truffles on top
Goo Goo Cluster Pie... yes, it is candy... in a pie.
The hands-down favorite dessert: Pumpkin-Pecan Pie Cheesecake with Biscoff
Cookie Crust, Salted Caramel, + Maple-Bourbon Whoop
This is the silkiest pumpkin pie ever and the torched marshmallow topping is ever better!
Red Velvet Crack Pie (you'll literally feel like you're on crack)
Tuscaloosa Tollhouse Pie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
XOXO, Juliana