Christkindl Market’s Bavarian Style Pecans

Today was a fun day where I checked out the Chicago holiday happenings downtown. Every year the Christkindl Market sets up shop near the city center and brings in a taste of Germany to Chicago. There is so much to see, smell, taste, hear… it’s almost like walking around in a European city during the holidays.

Visitors from all over the world come to the Christkindlmarket Chicago annually and the numbers continue to grow every year. It is so popular and loved by all that any Chicagoan will tell you that they could not imagine the city without it. It is no longer just a German tradition – it has become a Chicago institution. ~ Christkindl website

One of the main smells of the market were of cinnamon glazed nuts. There were several kinds of nuts available and it seemed as though everyone around me had some to snack on as they walked through the market. Once I got home, I was inspired to make some. The recipe that inspired me was from here. I adapted it to give it some more flavor using Pumpkin Pie spice to make it as close to the Bavarian Style pecans and they came out just as good as the ones in the Market!

Bavarian Style Cinnamon Pecans
original Joelen recipe

2 egg whites
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or extract)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups pecans halves, divided
2 quart sized resealable bags

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine the egg whites, vanilla and water. Whisk until frothy and place in 1 resealable bag.

In the other resealable bag, combine the sugars, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Mix thoroughly to fully combine.

Place 1 cup of pecans in the egg white mixture. Seal bag and toss to coat. Remove only pecan halves and place in a medium bowl. Be sure to keep any remaining egg white in the bag.

Coat the remaining pecans with the egg white mixture in the sealable bag and set aside in the bowl.

Place 1 cup of the egg white coated pecans in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Seal bag and toss to coat. Remove pecan halves and place in a medium bowl. Be sure to keep any remaining sugar in the bag.

Coat the remaining pecans with the cinnamon sugar mixture in the resealable bag and set aside in the bowl.

Pour any remaining cinnamon sugar mixture from the resealable bag into the bowl of nuts.
Stir all the nuts once more in the bowl to thoroughly coat.

Place coated pecans on parchment lined baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour – stirring every 15 minutes. Store in an airtight container.


Here are some pictures from the Christkindl Market…

So many trinkets!

Here’s where you can get some authentic Beer Steins!

Gifts all made with honey…
Russian & Ukranian gifts & ornaments…
I don’t think I’ve seen so many ornaments in one booth!

Ahh… lots and lots of German sausages…

A very cold Russian vendor with his Babushka Dolls…
Any one need a Nutcracker?

Interesting candy treat… a Marzipan Pig complete with a candy man riding it?
Creepy Witch Castle (Hansel & Gretel scene)…

Mmm.. Chocolate Clogs!
Truffles are a weakness of mine…

Cobblers, Crumbles & Crisps Round Up!

Today friends came over for a cooking class where we focused on Cobblers, Crumbles & Crisps. We all made our own using either apples, pears, and peaches. But before we get into the recipes, do you know the difference between a Cobbler, Crumble & Crisp? If not, here’s some helpful info to figuring out the differences (which I found HERE) :

Cobblers – American cobblers are considered “fruit stews with dough dropped on top before baking” (ochef.com) They involve a bottom layer of fruit that is then topped with ingredients for a biscuit dough. The result is a dense, rich dessert. Not to be confused with British cobblers (made with meat), popular cobbler ingredients include: apples, peaches and cherries.

Crisps – Crisps also have a bottom layer of fruit, but their topping is much more crunchy than cobblers. Instead of a dough-like pastry that rises, the crisp is topped with a different proportion of butter, sugar and flour that is sort of crumbly, and only briefly browned in the oven. Crisps might include oats or granola in their topping as well.

Crumbles – The crumble also begins with fruit at the bottom, but is topped with a different butter-flour-sugar mixture called a ’streusel’. The three ingredients are mixed just until crumbly and then poured on top of the fruit. This dish is very similar to a crisp but the crumble originated in Britain whereas the crisp is seen as more American. Crisps are also more rich than crumbles with higher amounts of sugar, butter and flour.

Ingredients Used:


To create our Cobblers, Crumbles & Crisps, we started by slicing the fruit of our choice into slices and placing them in a greased baking dish. From there, we topped our fruit with one of the following adapted recipes to distinguish them from Cobblers, Crumbles & Crisps:

Cobbler Recipe

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1 egg, slightly beaten

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Place fruit in the bottom of a baking dish and sweeten, to taste, with a little sugar depending on ripeness. In medium mixing bowl, sift all dry ingredients. Cut in butter and add beaten egg. Mix until crumbly and sprinkle over fruit, covering all exposed fruit. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden.

Crumble Recipe

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Place fruit in the bottom of a baking dish and sweeten, to taste, with a little sugar depending on ripeness. In medium mixing bowl, sift all dry ingredients and cut in butter. Mix until crumbly and sprinkle over fruit, covering all exposed fruit. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden.

Crisp Recipe
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup instant oatmeal or rolled oatmeal

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Place fruit in the bottom of a baking dish and sweeten, to taste, with a little sugar depending on ripeness. In medium mixing bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Blend the butter into the mixture until it forms pea size lumps. Stir in pecans & oatmeal and sprinkle over filling. Bake crisps for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Some of the finished ones while others were baking:

To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted their favorite Cobbler, Crumbles & Crisps recipes! As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event’s winner is Shayne of One Bite At a Time! Shayne has won a Stoneware Mini Baker to continue baking throughout the fall, compliments of Pampered Chef. Congratulations Shayne and thanks to all that participated in the blogging event! Read on to check out the recipes submitted by my fellow bloggers…

Karen of Loves To Eat Weblog
from Florida
PB&J Crumble Bars
Everyone is familiar with the classic peanut butter and jelly combo… but Karen puts a twist on it by incorporating the flavors into PB&J Crumble Bars! Check out her blog for the recipe and where she found it!
Shayne of One Bite At a Time
from New Jersey
Quick Apple Crumble for Two
Shayne makes these wonderful individual Apple Crumbles for her and her husband to enjoy. I love that these are perfectly portioned and each person gets just enough crispy, crumbling topping all to themself! To find out what inspired Shayne to make these, check out her blog and get the recipe too!
Becke of Columbus Foodie
from Ohio
Caramel Apple & Pear Crisp
How often do you try recipes from brand names? Well Becke did and she submitted this Caramel Apple & Pear Crisp recipe from Pillsbury. Doesn’t it look amazing? You know you want the recipe… so check out Becke’s blog for it!
Kristina of About a Bit of Everything
from Illinois
Apple Crisp
When you’re invited to dinner, one of the best things to bring is a dessert… and Kristina did just that with her Apple Crisp. It’s a great dessert for fall that involves using some common pantry ingredients so you have no excuse not to make this! Check out Kristina’s blog for the recipe!
Kayla of Central Cooking
from Illinois
Apple Cinnamon Cobbler
Kayla
Therese of In the Kitchen
from Illinois
Blueberry Crumb Bars
Therese created these fabulous bar treats which are a cross between a blueberry crisp and lemon bar. They look delicious and were inspired by her favorite cooking blog. To find out what that blog is and to also snag the recipe, check out her blog!
Therese
Kelly of Kelly Cooks… and Other Amazing Feats
from Pennsylvania
Southern Peach Cobbler
With quite a few peaches to work with, Kelly creates this delicious Southern Peach Cobbler. It was definitely the best she ever had and suggests that the recipe can be made with other fruits as well. Even better is that the top crust maintains its texture for several days without becoming soggy! Check out Kelly’s blog for the recipe!

Cranberry Pumpkin Praline Muffins

The following recipe was featured in my Muffin Swap event. You can read about it and view other muffin recipes HERE.

Joelen’s Cranberry Pumpkin Praline Muffins

Recipe adapted from HERE

3 T. brown sugar
1 T. sour cream
1/3 cup broken pecans
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground clove
1 beaten egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 canned pumpkin
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup margarine, melted
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Grease twelve 2 ½ inch muffin cups or line them with paper bake cups. Set muffin cups aside. In a small bowl stir together 3 tablespoons brown sugar and sour cream. Stir in pecans. Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves.

Make a well in the center of the dry mixture. In another medium mixing bowl, stir together egg, buttermilk, pumpkin, 2/3 cup brown sugar and melted margarine. Add the pumpkin mixture and dried cranberries all at once to the dry mixture. Stir just until moistened. Spoon batter into the muffin cups, filling each ¾ cup full. Drop 1 tsp. of pecan mixture on top of each muffin. Bake in a 400 degree oven about 20 minutes or until done. Cool slightly, and serve warm.

Pumpkin Butterscotch Muffins

The following recipe was featured in my Muffin Swap event. You can read about it and view other muffin recipes HERE.

Stacey’s Pumpkin Butterscotch Muffins

Recipe adapted from HERE (?)

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 3/4 cups pumpkin
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
2 cups nuts, optional
2 cups butterscotch chips/morsels

1. Combine all dry ingredients. Add pumpkin, eggs, and oil. Mix until smooth. Add nuts if desired and the butterscotch chips.

2. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until done.

Peach Berry Cobbler

The following recipe was shared during my Chef Spotlight Dinner highlighting recipes of Chef Wolfgang Puck. You can view other recipes and pictures of the event HERE.

Peach Berry Cobbler
shared at the event by Mary
Original recipe found here

1 1/3 cups (330 ml) cake flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
1/2 cup (125 ml) heavy cream, plus extra for brushing

Filling:
2 pounds (4-5 large) peaches
6 cups mixed berries, such as raspberries, blueberries and blackberries
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Peach brandy, Kirsch or Grand Marnier
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
2 tablespoons quick cooking oats
Pinch each cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamon
2 tablespoons heavy cream for glazing shortcakes
2 tablespoons sugar for glazing shortcakes

Make shortcake: In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and pulse just until the mixture forms small gravel-like pieces. With the motor running, pour the cream through the feed tube, stopping just before the dough forms a ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead just until it forms a smooth ball, being careful not to overwork it. On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough to a 1/2-inch (12-mm) thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch (6-cm) cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out 6 circles, gathering and re-rolling the scraps if necessary. Place them on a baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to assemble the cobbler.

Prepare filling: In large pot of boiling water blanch peaches for about 1 minute. Plunge into an ice-bath. Remove skins, cut in half and remove pits. Cut each half into 4 or 5 slices and place in large bowl. Add mixed berries, brown sugar, lemon juice, Peach brandy and cinnamon. Stir to mix thoroughly. Spoon fruit mixture into a lightly buttered 13x9x2½-inch baking dish.

Prepare streusel: In a medium bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a fork, cut in butter until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in remaining streusel ingredients.

Assemble cobbler: Preheat the oven to 375. Sprinkle prepared streusel mixture over fruit filling in dish. Place prepared shortcake circles on top. Lightly brush shortcakes with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until shortcakes are golden brown and fruit filling is bubbling and thickened. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Presentation: Warm the cobbler, if made earlier in the day. Serve with your favorite ice cream or softly whipped cream or just as is with a sprinkling of sifted powdered sugar.

French toast rounds

For breakfast, we started with some french toast rounds, a plain omelette and some maple bacon. Here’s my recipe for french toast rounds:
I came up with these on the fly because we have so many dinner rolls leftover from my burger event last Sunday. So in an attempt to use them up creatively, we had french toast!

4 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla paste/extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup half & half
pinch of salt
4 thick sliced bread (Texas Toast) or 3-4 halved dinner/hamburger rolls

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients to the egg batter.
Dip both sides of your bread into the batter and place on a platter to rest for 2-3 minutes.
Heat up your skillet on medium high and lightly grease with butter.
Fry up the slices until lightly browned (or to your preference).
Serve with butter and real maple syrup.

Now with breakfast done, onto some fun treats to enjoy later!

Sixteen Spice Chicken w/Cilantro Cream Sauce

So what’s for dinner? Well, we couldn’t decide on whether to have burgers or BBQ. I figured chicken would be our best bet and decided on Bobby Flay’s recipe for 16 Spice Chicken. This was the entree I ordered when I visited his restaurant, Mesa Grill, in Vegas this past January. It was so wonderfully seasoned, I definitely wanted to try recreating it at home. Why not today?
Here’s Bobby Flay’s recipe for Sixteen Spice Chicken:

3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
3 tablespoons pasilla chile powder
3 tablespoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons ground coriander
3 tablespoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon allspice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground fennel seed
1 teaspoon chile de arbol
3 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Boneless skinless chicken breasts
Canola oil

Combine spices in a bowl. Rub chicken breasts on both sides with rub. Marinate at least an hour or overnight. Oil up the grill until well coated (so it won’t stick) and grill for 10-12 minutes.

With the chicken entree I ordered, I recall having a cilantro cream sauce. So with that, I also made this great Cilantro Cream Sauce.

My husband is a big fan of cilantro and it worked out perfectly with the chicken! Eek, blurry pic, but trust me with how well it tastes! It would work as a great dip with chips and salsa too.
Here’s my slightly adapted recipe for Cilantro Cream sauce, using some of the great Florida food gifts I received:

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 cup prepared salsa verde
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon bottled or fresh key lime juice

Combine cream cheese, sour cream, salsa, pepper, celery salt, cumin, garlic powder, cilantro and lime juice in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Place in a serving bowl.