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…
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Cranberry Praline Pecan Spinach Salad

Cranberry Praline Pecan Spinach Salad
inspired by friend, Megan

baby spinach
grape tomatoes
dried cranberries
praline pecans
log of goat cheese

In a salad bowl, place spinach.
Top with grape tomatoes, dried cranberries and pecans
Run a fork over the log of goat cheese to crumbe the cheese & top the salad.
Serve with your choice of dressing. (I recommend lemon poppyseed & raspberry pomegranate vinaigrette!)

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.

Feasting on Fall Flavors

Tonight called for a dinner that would warm us from the crisp and cool temps in the air. I figured now was a good time as any to prepare a fall dinner to highlight the season’s flavors. With apples, thyme, maple syrup, and sweet potatoes on hand, we thoroughly enjoyed the bounty that graced our table. I didn’t use any particular recipe but rather, used the ingredients in my pantry to come up with a meal. Bare with me as I share what I did to create our dinner…

Roasted Maple Sugar Pork Tenderloin

This past Sunday I visited my favorite spice shop, The Spice House, and picked up a new seasoning to try. Their “Gateway to the North Maple Sugar Seasoning” was perfect with pork with hints a sweet and savory flavor. To prepare my pork tenderloin, I generously coated them with this seasoning… and roasted them on top of a bed of chopped apples, onions, a few garlic cloves and added a couple bay leaves and springs of thyme. After baking covered in a 350 degree oven for an hour, remove the pork from the apple/onion mixture and pace on a separate baking sheet.

Savory Applesauce

With a roasting pan of apples, onions, garlic, bay leaves and thyme left to play with, I thought a savory spin on the traditional applesauce would serve as a nice accompaniment with the pork. With this in mind, I removed the bay leaves and thyme from the pan and used a potato masher to get a finer texture on the apples, onions & garlic. What’s wonderful about this mixture is that it doesn’t need to be seasoned since the juices and maple sugar seasoning that coated the pork have filtered down into them. Once you’ve mashed it to your preferred texture for applesauce, you’re set! Place the savory applesauce in a serving dish or individual ramekin and garnish with a fresh thyme stem.

Maple Pecan Sweet Potatoes

We love sweet potatoes at our house, even more than the russet, white or Yukon gold variety. While we’re on a fall flavor kick, I roasted some sweet potatoes and scooped out the soft flesh into a casserole dish. To add some additional sweetness, I stirred in about 1/4 cup of real maple syrup and salt to taste. Top it with chopped pecans and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.

To round out our meal, I added some steamed broccoli for color and to add to our daily veggies for the day.

Chicken Salad… eh.

With the roasted chicken I made yesterday, I made a chicken salad. I usually do the usual salad with chopped apples, grapes, walnuts, etc… but wanted to try something different. I found this recipe at Allrecipes.com. It was okay – nothing that wowed me. It did make for a nice light meal though… Here’s the recipe for Holiday Chicken Salad from Allrecipes.com:

4 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup chopped celery
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup minced green bell pepper
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
ground black pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise with paprika and seasoned salt. Blend in dried cranberries, celery, bell pepper, onion, and nuts. Add chopped chicken, and mix well. Season with black pepper to taste. Chill 1 hour.

*Update: Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions to use curry in the recipe for a bit more flavor. I reached for it and second guessed using it because I didn’t think it would work with cranberries. I should have used it!! Oh well… we live and learn. 🙂 *

Bursting With Blueberries!

In addition to the wonderful Wolfgang Puck recipes we feasted on for tonight’s dinner, I also created a non-Wolfgang Puck salad – Blueberry Spinach Salad. This salad is not only delicious, but takes on a different twist of the classic Strawberry Spinach Salad.
Here’s the my adaption of recipe for Blueberry Spinach Salad, orginally from AllRecipes.com:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons raspberry puree
2 teaspoons honey mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (10 ounce) package fresh spinach, torn
1 (4 ounce) package blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

In a bowl, whisk the first five ingredients and shake well. In a large salad bowl, toss the spinach, blue cheese, blueberries and pecans. Add dressing and toss gently; serve immediately.

*I’m also submitting this recipe to the Tried Tested & True blogging event, hosted by Equal Opportunity Kitchen. If you have any health-promoting tried, tested and true recipes, submit them to the event!*