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Holiday treats for Eagle Valley residents with a sweet tooth

Charlie Owen
Vail, CO, Colorado
cowen@vaildaily.com
Special to the Daily
ALL |

It doesn’t take a culinary degree to be a good cook ” Patty Ross is proof. The self-proclaimed foodie wrote and recently published a cookbook full of holiday treats.

There’s a little bit of something for everyone in “The Rocky Mountain Sweet Shoppe Cookbook,” which is divided into chapters like Fudges and Truffles, Just Nuts, Sweet ‘n’ Salty and Christmas Classics. It contains more than 200 recipes and also has tips on how to melt chocolate and make candy. A full-color photo accompanies each recipe and there are plenty of low-sugar or no-sugar recipes for the health-conscious.



“We kind of live in a world today where people have stopped cooking and cooking is one of the neatest ways to bless people and create friendships and connect with people in a way that other things just don’t do,” the 53-year-old Littleton resident said.



Thirty percent of the recipes in her book can be prepared in 30 minutes or less, Ross said. Perhaps best of all, the cookbook was designed for cooking at high altitude, though there are adjustments for low altitude.

“Anybody who lives high altitude, they will love this cookbook because it’s really hard to make candy at high altitude,” Ross said.

Ross isn’t the only fan of holiday sweets. Adam Roustom, the chef/owner of Blue Plate Bistro in Avon, likes them for another reason ” baking is a great way for family members to spend quality time together, which is why he offered a pastry recipe that everyone will enjoy making.



“Young and old children can help prepare this great snack and it can even be prepared ahead of time in order to simplify a quite busy time of year,” Roustom said. “The best part of this recipe is that you will have most of the ingredients already at home.”

Here are a few recipes to entice your sweet tooth during the holidays.

Recipe from “The Rocky Mountain Sweet Shoppe Cookbook”

6 ounces chocolate flavored candy coating

6 ounces milk chocolate

6 ounces vanilla flavored almond bark coating

6 ounces white chocolate

1/4 cup crushed peppermint candy

Line a 9-by-13 inch pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Grease with butter and set aside.

Break chocolate candy coating and milk chocolate into pieces and place together in a medium-sized microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 60 percent power for two-and-a-half minutes, stirring every 60 seconds. Stir until smooth and spread evenly in prepared pan. Let stand for five minutes.

Break almond bark and white chocolate into pieces and place in a medium-sized microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 60 percent power for two-and-a-half minutes stirring every 60 seconds. Drizzle white chocolate mixture evenly over chocolate mixture. Use a small rubber spatula to quickly swirl white mixture into chocolate mixture. Immediately sprinkle with peppermint crunch candy.

Chill 30 minutes or until set. Remove candy from pan using foil edges to lift. Transfer to a flat surface. Remove foil and use a cleaver or heavy duty knife to cut into 72 pieces (9 rows by 8 rows). Do not cover candy until it has dried completely.

Store between sheets of wax paper in an airtight tin or foil-covered container in a cool, dry, dark place (i.e. closed kitchen cabinet) for up to 4 weeks. Do not refrigerate or freeze.

Makes 72 mint candies.

Recipe from “The Rocky Mountain Sweet Shoppe Cookbook”

1 cup soft butter

1 cup butter flavored shortening

1 cup sugar

1 cup powdered sugar

3 eggs

2 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoon vanilla

4 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries

Filling:

1/2 cup soft butter

4 ounces soft cream cheese

5 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup half and half

2 teaspoon lemon juice

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, shortening and sugars until light and creamy, scraping sides of bowl often (about every 2 minutes). Add eggs, lemon juice and vanilla and beat until light and creamy. Combine flour, cream of tartar and salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture on low speed until well mixed. Stir in cranberries. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 90 minutes or until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a small cookie scoop drop batter by flat scoopfuls (no overflow batter), two inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Flatten dough to 1/4 inch thickness with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wax paper lined wire racks to cool completely.

Filling: Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl and beat on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add more milk if necessary for a smoother spreading consistency.

For each sandwich cookie, spread about 1 tablespoon filling onto bottom of one cookie then top with a second cookie. Squeeze together gently, until filling spreads out to edges of cookies. Let set (about 1 hour).

Store between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to eight days. Do not store cookies at room temperature. Unfilled cookies keep four months in you freezer. Thaw at room temperature, make filling, assemble, and serve immediately.

Makes 48 sandwich cookies.

Recipe courtesy of Adam Roustom

1/4 pound butter, melted

1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed (found at most markets in the freezer section)

cinnamon

granulated sugar

nutmeg

1/2 cup egg whites, lightly whipped

2 tablespoons fresh berries (any kind you like)

almond slivers, or chopped pistachios

1 orange

1 lemon

1 small can of sweetened condensed milk (about 10 or 11 ounces)

1/3 cup half and half or milk

1 to 2 drops vanilla syrup or extract

small pinch salt

Make sure your puff pastry is completely thawed, but still cold enough so it’s firm. If the pastry gets too warm, put it in the fridge or freezer so it can firm up. Cut puff pastry sheet in two pieces and brush each side with melted butter. Sprinkle both sides very liberally with sugar and nuts, add as much cinnamon and nutmeg as you like. Lightly roll over each piece of puff pastry with a rolling pin with just enough pressure to embed the ingredients in the pastry.

If the puff pastry is too soft to pick up easily and fold the two pieces on top of each other, place it in the fridge for 10 minutes. Once the two halves are folded on top of each other with the sugar and nuts on the inside, lightly roll witha rolling pin with just enough pressure to bring the pieces together. Refrigerate puff pastry for 20 minutes; make sure it is covered so it does not dry out. While waiting on the puff pastry, make the dipping sauce.

Dipping sauce: Place berries in a small mixing bowl. Any jam can be substituted for the berries, but add a little fresh lemon juice. Add a small pinch of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of orange zest, 1/4 teaspoon of lemon zest and vanilla extract. Smash everything with the back of a spoon on the sides of the bowl to break it all down. Add the sweetened condensed milk and then whisk in the half and half or milk slowly until everything is incorporated. Place sauce into serving bowl and refrigerate. The colder the sauce, the thicker it is, so try to pull is out before serving so it’s not too thick.

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet pan with nonstick pan coating. Remove puff pastry and place on cutting board. Cut the sheet in half length wise and the then cut 3/4 inch strips. Once all strips are cut, you can start twisting. Start by holding each strip from the top and turn the pastry while working your way down. Before you place the puff pastry twist onto the sheet pan, brush with the lightly whipped egg whites. Once all sides have egg whites on them gently roll the pastry puffs in sugar then place on the sheet pan. It is important that the puff pastry is cold when it goes into the oven or it will not puff properly, so refrigerate it for 10 minutes before baking. Bake puff pastry in oven for 10 to15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with dipping sauce.

One of the great things about this recipe is you can also freeze the raw twists (before the egg white and sugar coating) to keep on hand as a quick treat if you have unexpected guests. Remove twists from freezer and let thaw, 10 to 20 minutes. Once thawed, brush with egg whites, coat with sugar and bake.

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or cowen@vaildaily.com.

Author: Patty Ross and Amy Larson.

Pages: 256.

Cost: $24.95.

Available at: http://www.rockymountaincookbooks.com.


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