Sweet & Savory Food Gifts with Craftsy

I never pass up a chance to learn new things related to cooking! That’s why I love Craftsy, a website that offers on-line, step-by-step instructional classes taught by world renowned instructors you can watch at your leisure from the comfort of your own home.

The classes aren’t just limited to food & cooking, they also offer cake decorating, jewelry making, photography, sewing, painting, knitting, paper crafts and lots more. There’s something for everyone, no matter what your interests are!

Once you take an on-line Craftsy class it’s yours forever to watch anytime and as often as you like, unlike other classes that you have to actually show up for at a set time and once it’s over there’s no going back. With Craftsy you can wear your comfiest yoga pants with sparkly, furry slippers and bedhead. . . you don’t even have to get out of bed! I love that.

I also love how convenient it is to watch the step-by-step instructional videos. I followed along during my class “Sweet & Savory Food Gifts” and made chocolate bark with my instructor, pausing the video when I needed time to catch up and even bookmarking key spots in the video I needed to easily return to.

Each class is more than just a video, you have access to supporting materials including recipes and tips & tricks. You can ask questions, upload pictures of your finished product, receive personalized feedback from your instructor and have discussions with your classmates.

The “Sweet & Savory Food Gifts” class is actually like 6 classes in one because, in separate videos you will learn how to make two different types of chocolate bark, french onion soup, cranberry chutney, three types of spice rubs, Limoncello and holiday pecans. The instructor doesn’t leave you hanging, she follows through to the end showing you how to package the gifts with different options included. There are also holiday tags available to print out for free.

I learned there’s more to chocolate bark than melting chocolate and sprinkling it with nuts and dried fruit. There’s a technique, a method behind it. Now I know all the little tips and tricks for making the best chocolate bark ever. I had so much fun taking this class! I want to melt every single piece of chocolate in my house and just go crazy inventing all kind of unique variations.

This version has brazil nuts, dried cranberries, shredded coconut and rice krispie treats. It’s absolutely delicious and so addictive. . . I can’t stop eating it.

Take your holiday traditions to a whole new level with Craftsy’s holiday gifting and cooking courses. Craftsy is also offering my readers up to 25% off a full-length Craftsy course! Whether you’re a pie perfectionist or gift-giving guru, Craftsy has something for you. Learn more about Craftsy and how to turn your ideas into reality!

Click here to get your special discount on this course!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Craftsy. The opinions and text are all mine.

Vanilla Pecan Pie

This is a sponsored post for McCormick. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Vanilla Pecan Pie

Pecan pie gets an exciting new twist! This double-decker pie features a layer of cream cheese topped with sticky pecans. It’s like two desserts in one. Pie meets cheesecake. The best of both worlds.

It may look complicated to make but in reality it’s ridiculously simple to put together. You can use a premade crust to save time – I’ve included a pie crust recipe if you prefer homemade or if you have a favorite you can use that.

The cheesecake layer comes together easily by beating cream cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla together then spreading it over the bottom of the crust. It’s baked for 15 minutes giving you time to make the pecan topping. The sticky sweet glue that holds the nuts together comes together just as easily as the first layer by combining eggs, sugar, corn syrup, butter and more of that lovely vanilla extract. The flavor of the day.

The pecans are piled on top of the cream cheese and the buttery syrup is poured over it. Another, longer trip to the oven and out comes one of the most delicious pies of the season.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Pecan Pie

It’s the perfect holiday pie with vanilla infusing both layers and that nutty, crunchy topping balanced by the rich creaminess of the cheesecake. Vanilla is one of the most sought after flavors of the season along with pumpkin spice, ginger, peppermint, sage, cinnamon and nutmeg. Here are some of my favorite McCormick recipes for bringing more of those flavors into your life:

Vanilla Cheesecake Pecan Pie

Vanilla Pecan Pie

Rating: 51

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 1 (9-inch) pie

Vanilla Pecan Pie

Pecan pie gets an exciting new twist! This double-decker pie features a layer of cream cheese topped with sticky pecans. It's like two desserts in one. Pie meets cheesecake. The best of both worlds.

INGREDIENTS:

Crust: (or use 1 refrigerated pie crust)
1 + 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
4 tablespoons shortening
3 - 5 tablespoons ice water
Filling:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
3 eggs, divided
3/4 cup sugar, divided
4 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract, divided
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups pecan pieces, toasted
For serving:
whip cream

INSTRUCTIONS:

    If using premade crust skip steps 1 and 2.
  1. In a large mixing bowl whisk the flour and salt together. Use a pastry blender or two forks used scissor fashion to cut the butter into the flour until you get coarse crumbs. Repeat with the shortening. Drizzle with ice water 1 tablespoon at a time (you may not need it all) and toss to combine with a fork, once it starts sticking together use your hands to form it into a ball. Press it into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1/2 hour.
  2. Dust a flat surface with flour and roll the dough out to an 11-inch circle. Press it into the pan and flute the edges or use a fork to make a design.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Skip this next step if you made your own crust - Prepare crust as directed on package for one-crust pie using 9-inch deep dish pie plate.
  4. Beat cream cheese, 1 of the eggs, 1/4 cup of the sugar and 2 teaspoons of the vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended and smooth.
  5. Spread evenly on bottom of crust. Bake 15 minutes.
  6. Beat remaining 2 eggs and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl with wire whisk until smooth. Add corn syrup, butter, remaining 2 teaspoons vanilla and salt; stir until well blended.
  7. Sprinkle pecans evenly over baked cream cheese layer. Slowly pour corn syrup mixture over nuts.
  8. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until just set in center. Cool completely on wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers.

Notes:

Adapted from McCormick

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/vanilla-pecan-pie/

This is a sponsored post for McCormick. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Connect with McCormick on Facebook and Pinterest for more recipes.

Slice and Bake Pepperoni Pizza Puff Pastry Roll-Ups

Puff Pastry Pizza Roll-ups

Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry rolled up with pizza sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni and Parmesan inside. All the flavors of your favorite pizza surround by flaky, melt-in-your-mouth puff pastry. Pizza reinvented.

They’re the perfect make ahead appetizers for all your December entertaining! You can assemble them ahead of time, freeze them and pop them out as needed. Just slice and bake! No need to be stuck in the kitchen all day slaving over a hot stove…. 

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Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders

Turkey, bacon and tomato piled high on King’s Hawaiian® dinner rolls with a decadent cheddar cheese sauce. My version of the leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwich.

When I think of Thanksgiving leftovers my mind goes right to the turkey sandwich and when I think of turkey sandwiches I think of the most famous of them all the Kentucky Hot Brown.

The original Kentucky Hot Brown is a broiled, open face sandwich made with Texas toast, turkey, bacon, a Pecorino Romano cheese sauce and tomatoes. It’s heated under the broiler until hot and bubbly and requires a knife and fork.

No knife and fork required for my slider version! The hot cheese sauce is the key to turning an everyday turkey sandwich into a turkey sandwich that is impossible to resist. Not to mention the delicious King’s Hawaiian® dinner rolls that are soft and fluffy yet sturdy enough to make a sandwich with.

To kick these up a notch further and simultaneously put those holiday leftovers to good use you can also add a spoon of cranberry sauce and a layer of stuffing.

Beginning Nov. 4 until Dec. 2 vote for your favorite King’s Hawaiian® recipe – including this one – and be entered to win one of three 500 dollar gift cards.

Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders

Cheese Sauce:

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 + 1/2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

coarse salt and fresh black pepper

!Sliders:

1 (12 pack) King’s Hawaiian® Dinner Rolls, sliced in half

1 pound sliced deli turkey or roasted turkey, sliced thin

12 slices fresh tomato

6 slices bacon, cooked crispy

  1. In a medium-sized heavy bottomed saucepan melt the butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook 2 minutes stirring often. Whisk in the milk and Dijon. Turn heat up and bring to a simmer, stirring often, 3 minutes.
  2. Turn heat down to low and add the cheddar and Parmesan, stir until completely smooth and melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn heat down to warm and put a lid on the pan.
  3. Preheat the broiler and lay the buns out on a baking sheet cut side up. Place under the broiler to toast 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  4. Layer 1 + 1/2 ounces of turkey on the bottom of each bun. Ladle cheese sauce over it then top with a tomato and a piece of bacon. Serve immediately.

Great holiday recipes start with KING’S HAWAIIAN® Dinner Rolls! Vote for your favorite KING’S HAWAIIAN recipe here for a chance to win one of three $500 gift cards! Sweepstakes Rules.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of King’s Hawaiian®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Chocolate Whoopie Pies

This is a sponsored post for McCormick. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Chocolate Whoopie Pies

Chocolate whoopie pies sandwiched with a sweet marshmallow filling. They’re like little hand-held cakes. Soft and moist, they have just the right amount of chocolate flavor with fluffy, sticky-sweet centers holding them together.

With a little help from McCormick food colors these everyday treats are all gussied up for Halloween…. 

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Caramel Apple Crumb Cake

Caramel Apple Crumb Cake

This is a sponsored post for Krusteaz. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Krusteaz challenged me to “Seize the What If” and create a dessert with one of their baking mixes to inspire home cooks to think outside the box. Using Krusteaz cinnamon crumb cake and muffin mix I created a caramel apple crumb cake.

I baked mostly as directed on the box but snuck in a layer of apples between the cake and the crumb topping and finished with a generous drizzle of the easiest caramel sauce you will ever make. I may have added some vanilla extract to the cake too because I’m secretly in love it. Lately I’ve been adding it to everything.

The apples are briefly sauteed with brown sugar and cinnamon to soften them up first. The caramel sauce is made of caramel candies melted in the microwave with a little milk to form a pourable sauce that won’t harden up as it cools.

You end up with a sticky, cinnamon crunch apple topping with a moist, dense cake underneath that is absolutely delectable.

Top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a special dessert and call it two sides of heaven.

Caramel Apple Cake

Caramel Apple Crumb Cake

Rating: 51

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 1 (8x8-inch) cake

Caramel Apple Crumb Cake

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon butter, plus more for greasing pan
3 cups peeled diced apples {I used Fuji}
1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 box Krusteaz Cinnamon Crumb Cake and Muffin Mix
2/3 cup water
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
20 Kraft Caramels, unwrapped
2 tablespoons milk

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat a medium skillet over medium - low heat and melt the butter. Add the apple cubes, lemon juice, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook 10 minutes stirring often. Remove from heat.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease an 8x8-inch baking pan.
  3. To a large bowl add the cake mix pouch, egg, water and vanilla extract. Mix just until combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread out evenly.
  4. Spoon the apples evenly over top. Pour the pouch of cinnamon topping into a small bowl and sprinkle over top of the apples.
  5. Bake 45 - 50 minutes until a toothpick comes out from center without any wet batter clinging to it - a few crumbs are ok. Cool in pan.
  6. Add the caramels and milk to a microwave safe bowl and microwave on 20 second increments until the caramels are melted. Whisk well until a creamy sauce forms. Spoon and drizzle over top of cake.
  7. Cut into squares and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Refrigerate leftovers.

Notes:

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/caramel-apple-crumb-cake/

This is a sponsored post for Krusteaz. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

How would you “Seize the What If” using this cinnamon crumb cake mix?

Chocolate Chip Mint Cookie Brownies (Do you call them Crownies or Brookies?)

This is a sponsored post for McCormick. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies (Crownies)

A double decker dessert that is both a cookie and a brownie! McCormick calls them Crownies but you might know them as Brookies. Or maybe you don’t know them at all. Let me introduce you. . .

Chocolate chip cookie dough is baked on top of brownie batter. Cookie + Brownie = Crownie. Two bake sale favorites combined into one irresistible treat. I adapted this unique concept from McCormick and used they’re peppermint extract in the brownies for a subtle hint of mint. … 

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