An image of Jesus is found in your Marmite. What do you do?

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Cornbread – by Isolde

Cornbread
Adapted from ATK Family Baking Book

This is a sweet and tender Northern cornbread – moist enough to eat plain, but even better with honey butter.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup yellow cornmeal (not stone-ground – the bread will be drier and less tender)
3/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed (not cooked)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
4 tbs butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 400F, with the rack in the middle position.  Grease an 8″ square baking pan (I used 3 small loaf pans – 6.5″ x 3.75″).

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.  In a food processor, blend buttermilk, cornmeal, thawed corn and sugar until combined, about 5 seconds.  Add eggs and process until well combined, about 5-10 more seconds.

Fold buttermilk mixture into flour mixture with a rubber spatula.  Fold in melted butter until just combined (don’t overmix).

Pour batter into pan and smooth the top.  Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  For an 8″ pan, it’s 25-35 minutes; for the small loaf pans, it’s 15-20 minutes.

Let the bread cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

cornbread

Holiday Drinks – by Isolde

Mulled Squink

This punch, reminiscent of the festive color of squid ink, will be appreciated by Squidmas revelers of all ages.

64 oz (2 quarts) 100% grape juice
64 oz (2 quarts) 100% blueberry juice
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbs lemon juice (to taste)
4 cinnamon sticks (4″ each)
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp whole cardamom seeds

Mix everything together in a big pot and let it simmer for a couple of hours.  Taste it, and if it’s a little flat, add more lemon juice.  And if you like it sweeter, you can add more sugar.  Strain out the spices, and serve hot.

Hot Buttered Apple Rum
from “Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes”

For the Pastafarians, ye be needin’ rum!

4 inches long stick of cinnamon, broken (to break it, put it in a heavy plastic bag and hit with a meat mallet)
1 tsp whole allspice
1 tsp whole cloves
7 cups apple juice
1 1/2 – 3 cups rum
1/3 – 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
butter

Cut a 6-inch square from a double thickness of 100% cotton cheesecloth.  Places the spices in the center, bring up the corners of the cheesecloth and tie the bag closed with clean kitchen string.

In a 3 1/2 to 6 quart slow cooker, combine the spice bag, juice, rum and sugar.  Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or on high heat for 3-4 hours. Remove and discard spice bag.  To serve, ladle hot punch into cups, and float about 1/2 tsp of butter on each serving.

squink

Self-Crust Pumpkin Pie – by Isolde

Self-Crust Pumpkin Pie
King Arthur Flour

If you’re looking for something a bit lighter for dessert, this is really tasty. And because you’re saving so many calories by leaving out the crust, you can make up for it by serving it with whipped cream or drizzling it with dulce la leche.

1/3 cup egg substitute (like Eggbeaters) or 2 large egg whites
15 ounces (1 can) pumpkin – not pumpkin pie filling!
1 cup nonfat dry milk
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour a 9″ pie pan.

Combine egg substitute (or whites) and pumpkin in a large bowl.  Add dry milk, sugars, spices and salt and stir until combined.  Stir in flour and water, then pour into prepared pan.  Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the center is almost set.  Let cool to lukewarm and serve, or chill overnight.

pie

Pizza Pull-Aparts – by Isolde

Pizza Pull-aparts
King Arthur Flour

Bread:

3 cups bread flour
2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
3 tbs olive oil
1/3 cup instant potato flakes
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water (more as needed)

Cheese:

1 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
1 cup grated provolone or mozzarella
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (or to taste)
3/4 cup water

For the bread, mix all together and knead  (by hand, mixer or bread machine) until you have a soft, smooth dough.  Cover and let rise for 1 hour (until it’s puffy, but not necessarily doubled).
While you’re waiting, Grease a 9″ springform pan.  You can also use a small bundt pan or a deep cake pan.  For the cheese, mix all ingredients together.  Don’t worry that it looks like a gloppy mess.

Cut the dough into golf-ball sized pieces and roll into balls.  Roll each piece in the cheese goop and place in the pan, layering when needed.  Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Get the oven preheating to 350F.

Bake for 30 minutes, then check on them.  If they’re browning too much, tent the top with foil.  Bake 10 more minutes.  Let them cool for five minutes, then remove them from the pan.

pizza-pull-aparts-2

Oatmeal Sweet Potato Bars – by Isolde

Oatmeal Sweet Potato Bars
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Crust and Topping:

2 1/2cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbs butter, softened

Filling:

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Beat in 1 cup of butter at low speed until it resembles wet sand, 1 – 1 1/2 minutes. Reserve 1 1/4 cups for topping. Sprinkle the rest in a foil lined 9×13 pan and press into an even layer. Bake until edges begin to brown, about 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking, mix reserved flour mixture, oats, brown sugar and 1 tbs butter.  For filling, mix all ingredients together.

Pour filling over hot crust. Bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle with topping. Bake an additional 15 – 20 minutes.

sweet-potato-bars

Candy Clay – by Isolde

Candy Clay
Wilton

14 oz candy coating
1/3 cup corn syrup

Melt the candy coating in microwave for 30 seconds at 40 percent power. Stir, and repeat until smooth and completely melted.  I know it’s a pain, but you don’t want to overheat the candy or it will change consistency.

Add the corn syrup and stir.  The mixture will seize up, but that’s fine. Dump it on to waxed paper, and let it cool for about half an hour. Knead it a bit, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap or a plastic zipper bag.  Stored at room temperature, it will keep for several weeks.

To use it, you need to warm it up. Break off small amount, and knead it until it’s soft. Don’t overwork it or it gets oily. If it start to separate, just let it cool a bit, then knead it back together.

You can shape it just like play dough.  If you want to roll it out and use cookie cutters, use cornstarch to prevent sticking.

For my cupcake creature, I used green candy melts and round cake sprinkles for the eyes.  The cupcake came from Costco.  I found it easier to just use green candy melts, but if you want to add color or flavor, it’s best to use the oil based kind (for frosting and candy).  Put the clay and color and/or flavor in a zipper bag, and knead it together.

You can also use semisweet chocolate, but cut the amount to 10 oz chocolate to 1/3 cup corn syrup, and store it in the fridge instead of at room temperature. See here for chocolate melting techniques:
http://www.ghirardelli.com/bake/chocolate_melting.aspx

candy-clay