Tag archive for "featured"

Butter Heart Cookies for Valentine’s Day

No Comments 11 February 2015

This week we welcome guest blogger, Christina Lane.  Christina is the founder of the popular blog DessertForTwo.com. Her food writing and photography have been featured on popular websites including The Kitchn, Tasty Kitchen, Babble, Fine Cooking, Serious Eats, and the Huffington Post. A Texan by birth, Lane’s desserts are a unique blend of Southern, Californian and Midwestern influences. She bakes and eats dessert daily.

I specifically bought a heart-shaped cookie cutter for Valentine’s Day this year. I actually bought it in July because I’m always thinking about Valentine’s Day. It truly is my favorite holiday. The heart cookie cutter did not sit in my drawer until February, though. I use it to cut out shapes in my bread for frying an egg inside almost every morning. I use it to garnish pie crusts during the holiday season. A little heart-shaped anything can cheer up your day in no time. But, I have to admit, these butter cookie hearts are by far the best use for it.

I used Kerrygold Unsalted Butter for these cookies. There are so few ingredients in these cookies, so the quality of your butter really shines here. The rich, creamy natural flavor of Kerrygold grass-fed butter is the star in these cookies. The cookies are great plain without chocolate, but I thought we could get a little fancy for Valentine’s Day and dip half of each heart in chocolate. I did half in dark chocolate and half in white chocolate. You can garnish the freshly-dipped cookies with sprinkles, sanding sugar, coconut, or even more chocolate chips. Use whatever you and your Valentine will love the most.

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Butter Heart Cookies
yield: 1 dozen

Cookies

  • 4 tablespoons Kerrygold Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 drops red food coloring (or more for a brighter color)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt

For the chocolate dips

  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoon neutral-flavored oil
  • Sprinkles, optional

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Preheat the oven to 350° F.

In a medium bowl, combine the butter, sugar, egg yolk, vanilla extract and red food coloring. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until creamy, at least 1 minute.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add this to the wet ingredients in two increments, beating in between each addition. Gather the dough into a ball before proceeding.

Lightly flour a surface, and roll out the dough to about 1/4” thick. Lightly flour a heart-shaped cookie cutter, and cut out as many hearts as possible. Move the hearts to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Gather the scraps, and re-roll and cut out more hearts until all of the dough is used up. You should get about 12 cookies. Move all of the hearts onto the baking sheet, leaving 1/4” space between each cookie.

Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes.

Bake the cookies for 10-11 minutes until lightly golden brown on the bottoms. Let cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute to firm up, and then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.

To make the chocolate dip, add the white chocolate chips to a small bowl along with 1 teaspoon of oil. Microwave on medium power for 20 seconds. Stir and microwave again in 20 second pulses until the chocolate is almost melted. Stir until it melts all the way.

Repeat the chocolate melting process with the dark chocolate chips.

Dip half of the heart cookies in white chocolate and half in dark chocolate serve. Let the chocolate set before serving the cookies.

Kerrygold Lobster Mac & Cheese from Hal’s Kitchen

No Comments 05 February 2015

The ultimate comfort food. Mac & Cheese is synonymous with fond memories, full bellies and family.  This version incorporates multiple members of our family of grass-fed cow’s milk cheeses into a gooey, bubbling crock of Irish flavor.  Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter adds a creaminess that pushes comfort food into the realm of culinary magic.  Lobster adds a luxurious twist to a classic pasta dish.

Kerrygold Lobster Mac & Cheese

Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 1 pound penne or ziti, cooked tender and cooled
  • 4 tablespoons Kerrygold Unsalted Butter
  • 3/4 onion, small dice
  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup Kerrygold Aged or Reserve Cheddar, grated
  • 1 cup Kerrygold Swiss, grated
  • 1/2 cup Kerrygold Dubliner, grated
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 pounds cooked lobster, cut into bite size

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to al dente, drain, then set aside to cool.
  2. In saucepan, melt Kerrygold Unsalted Butter over medium heat, add onion and lightly season with salt, cook onion until translucent.
  3. Add flour and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in milk and cream and incorporate totally. Bring mixture to a simmer; add bay leaf.
  4. Reduce burner to low heat. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and remove bay leaf.
  5. Whisk in 1 cup each of the Kerrygold Cheddar and Swiss Cheeses, until incorporated. Season with salt, pepper.
  6. Incorporate lobster into the pasta and cheese. Spoon into 2 1/2-quart casserole dish, cast iron skillet or individual dishes.
  7. Top with grated Dubliner, thyme, and a small handful of breadcrumbs.
  8. Bake at 375° F for 8 to 10 minutes until it is golden brown on top.

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Hal’s Kitchen inspires people and imaginations through the kitchen with their unique approach to corporate team building and private events. All experiences are hands-on and interactive to optimize learning, collaboration, creative thinking, and camaraderie.

Since 2010, cooking and entertaining expert, Cyndi Sterne, has been spearheading Hal’s Kitchen into it’s stellar reputation for exceptional culinary events in Atlanta, Georgia. Whether hosting A list clients or talented chefs like Virginia Willis, Judith McLoughlin, and Uri Navon, the goal is to always exceed expectations, and create cooking experiences worth craving.

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Get Good and Gooey for the Super Bowl – Cheese and Sausage Arancini with Spicy Marinara

No Comments 29 January 2015

The Super Bowl is here again, and win or lose, it’s always a rowdy blast. Whether you’re a serious fan or just in it for the fun, this rambunctious annual rite is as much about the goodies as it is the game. Now is not the time for delicacy — you’ll be eating with your hands and shouting at the ref with your mouth full. So bring on the messy, goes-great-with-beer food, the gooey, saucy fried things that wreck your New Year’s resolutions with glee.

While wings and ribs are the usual go-tos, there are other deliciously sloppy ways to get your snack on. Take these arancini — great little rice balls that are dotted with sausage and stuffed with cheese, then deep-fried and doused with a spicy tomato sauce. The perfect two-bite delight, they’re especially good for game day as most of the prep is done a day or more ahead. Once the gang is gathered, you’ll be ready to pop in the arancini, splash on the sauce, tuck a napkin in your jersey and yell “NO WAY!!!” with tomato sauce on your chin.

  • For the rice:
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil + extra for the baking sheet
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 cups arborio or Cal-Rose rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons Kerrygold Unsalted Butter
  • 1 cup finely grated Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese
  • Salt to taste

 

  1. Brush a rimmed baking sheet generously with olive oil and set aside.
  2. Heat broth and keep warm over low flame.
  3. In a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan heat olive oil over medium flame.  Add sausage, breaking into small bits, cooking until golden brown, about 6-8 minutes.  Remove sausage with slotted spoon, set aside, leaving the oil and sausage fat in the pan.  Add onion to pan and sweat until translucent, stirring occasionally.  Add rice and stir until the grains are well-coated, about 3 minutes.  Add wine, stirring over medium heat until liquid is almost completely absorbed.  Lower flame to medium low and carefully add the broth.  Stir briefly, and then let cook until rice is al dente (18-20 minutes), stirring once or twice during that time; the rice grains should tender but still firm.
  4. Remove rice from heat, add the sausage and the cheese, stirring to incorporate thoroughly.  Salt to taste
  5. Spread rice in ½” layer on baking sheet and let cool to room temperature.  Once cool, cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate from 2 to 24 hours

aranchini2

For the arancini:

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 4 oz Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese cut into ½” cubes
  • 2 cups fine, dry bread crumbs
  • 3 cups of your favorite marinara or other tomato sauce, homemade or store bought
  • Crushed chili flakes to taste, for the marinara
  • ½ cup (or more) coarsely grated Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese

 

To form arancini: This portion may be done up to one day ahead

  • Moisten your palms with cold water (keep a bowl of it next to you)
  • Roll a very heaping tablespoon of the rice mixture into a ball
  • Poke a hole in the center of the ball and push a cube of cheese into the hole
  • Close the hole with a bit more rice
  • Roll the ball until it is uniformly round, place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Continue until all the rice and cheese cubes are used
  • Roll the balls in the bread crumbs, tossing well to coat completely (If doing ahead, cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Bring to back to room temperature before frying)

Put oil in a Dutch oven or deep, heavy bottomed pan to heat to 375 degrees F (use candy thermometer). Put the marinara sauce on to warm.  Drain on paper towels, sprinkle with seasoning to taste with the chili flakes. Working in small batches, fry the arancini until golden brown, about 3 – 5 minutes.  Let arancini cool for a couple of minutes.  Serve arancini hot, in a pool warmed marinara (drizzle some over the top of the arancini as well).  Sprinkle with grated Dubliner, eat immediately with your fingers.

Enjoy!

And The Award Goes To…. Charcuterie Platters!

No Comments 21 January 2015

Whether it’s the Golden Globes, Grammys or Academy Awards, we can’t get enough of awards season! While celebrities are staying warm in Hollywood, most of us are left freezing in the grim, January weather. For this reason, we need to take advantage of any reason to celebrate!

Award show parties have become an exceedingly popular excuse to get together with friends and have a little fun during this rough winter weather. So, we encourage you to throw a little viewing party of your own! First, you’ll need snacks. What better way to satisfy everyone’s different tastes than by setting out a beautiful charcuterie board?

Recently, we challenged a few of the members of our Food Blogger Network to let the creativity flow while curating their ideal charcuterie platter. The results were fantastic! We absolutely loved seeing people pair the classic flavors of our Kerrygold cheeses with everything from aged sausages, prosciutto and cold cuts to jams, chutneys and homemade crackers. There were so many different variations all styled and displayed beautifully. Think: gorgeous olivewood cheeseboards.

So, while we’re in the midst of award season, our golden globe for entertaining essential of the season goes to the charcuterie platter! This popular appetizer opens up a world of possibilities and can be customized to fit any gathering.

If you’re in need of some creative inspiration before the Academy Awards, we suggest you check out this round-up of mouthwatering charcuterie platters:

Ham and Cheese Croissants from Scratch From the Sur La Table Kitchen

No Comments 15 January 2015

Layer upon layer of butter and dough produce the ultimate French breakfast.  If you have ever eaten a croissant, you know it’s heaven.  This recipe of Ham and Kerrygold Cheese version from the Sur La Table Cooking School is a keeper.  Making croissants can be a big time commitment, but the end result is worth the time.

Croissant Dough

Be sure to give yourself the time and counter space you’ll need to enjoy the process of making the dough.

Yield: about 24 croissants

Dough Block (Détrempe):

  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) warm whole milk (110º F to 115º F)
  • 1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) sugar, divided
  • 4 teaspoons (3/8 ounce) active dry yeast or 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 4 cups (20 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 stick (2 ounces) cold Kerrygold Unsalted Butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) cold milk

Butter Block (Beurrage):

  • 3-1/2 sticks (14 ounces) cold Kerrygold Unsalted Butter
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk or cream

To prepare the dough block: Pour the warm milk into a small bowl and whisk in 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Whisk in the yeast and set aside for 10 minutes, or until the yeast is activated and the mixture is bubbling.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, the salt, and cold butter pieces. Blend on medium speed until the butter is cut into tiny pieces and the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the yeast mixture and the cold milk. Switch to a dough hook and mix on lowest speed for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and has formed a very rough mass. Dust a work surface lightly with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Knead the dough 3 to 5 times, just to finish bringing it together. The dough will not be smooth or elastic; it will become fully kneaded and smooth during the rolling and turning process ahead. Don’t overwork the dough now or you’ll have trouble rolling it later. Wrap the dough loosely in plastic wrap (to allow a little room for expansion) and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.

To prepare butter block: Cut the butter into 1/2-inch pieces, toss with the flour and refrigerate for 20 minutes. In the cleaned stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the floured butter on medium speed, scraping down the bowl once or twice with a bowl scraper, for 1 to 2 minutes, until the butter and flour form a smooth mass. You are not trying to beat air into the mixture, just make it pliable and smooth while keeping it cold. Scrape the butter onto a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap, wrap it up, and refrigerate while you roll out the dough.

To incorporate the butter into the dough: Dust the work surface with flour. Set the dough in the center and dust the top with flour. Roll the dough into a 15 by 12-inch rectangle with a short side parallel to the edge of your work surface. Gently pull or stretch the dough to form straight edges and sharp corners. Brush any flour from the surface. Visually divide the dough crosswise into 3 equal, 5-inch-wide sections (you can lightly mark the dough with a ruler or the back of a knife if you wish). Spread the cold but pliable butter evenly over the top two sections of dough, leaving the bottom third empty and leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges of the buttered sections. This is best done with your fingers, since the butter isn’t quite warm enough to spread easily with a spatula. Alternatively, you can place the butter between two sheets of plastic and roll it into a 9-1/2 by 11-inch rectangle. Peel off one sheet of plastic, invert the buttered rectangle over the dough rectangle, center it, and peel off the other sheet of plastic.

butter block

To encase the butter with a letter fold (First turn): Fold the empty bottom third up over the center third of the dough. Then fold the top third down over the center. Pinch together the seams along the bottom and sides of the dough. Roll your rolling pin across the top briefly and gently 3 or 4 times to help seal the seams. This completes both the incorporation of the butter and your first turn of the dough. If the butter has become warm and squishy, wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour before continuing with the second turn. If you have worked quickly and the butter is still cold yet pliable, continue with the next turn.

Book fold (Second turn): Position the dough with the short side parallel to your work surface and the long fold on your left. Dust the dough with flour and roll it into a 20 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush any flour from the surface of the dough. Fold the dough using the book-fold method: Fold the two short edges into the center of the dough, leaving a 1/4-inch crevice between them. Line up the edges precisely and square the corners as you fold. Now fold one side over the other, as though you were closing a book. Roll your pin across the top of the dough briefly and gently 3 or 4 times to seal the seams. This completes your second turn. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Letter fold (Third turn): Remove the dough from the refrigerator, dust with flour and roll again into a 20 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush any flour from the surface of the dough. Fold the dough using the letter-fold method: Visually divide the dough lengthwise into 3 equal, 5-inch-wide sections (you can lightly mark the dough with a ruler or the back of a knife if you wish). Fold the bottom third up over the center of the dough, and then fold the top third down over the center, making sure to square the corners and fold as neatly and precisely as possible. Roll your rolling pin across the top of the dough again briefly to help seal the seams. This completes your third turn. The croissant dough is finished. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours before cutting, shaping, and baking the dough.

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Classic Croissants

This classic French pastry relies on good butter for flavor and good technique to get flaky layers. Once the dough is made and shaped, pay attention to the proofing process. During this last rise, the many layers of butter in the dough should remain cool. If the room is too warm, the butter will melt, and instead of forming flaky layers in the oven, it will leak out of the dough, covering the baking sheet in a pool of liquid butter and “frying” the bottoms of the croissants in the process. To prevent this, pick a cool room temperature spot for proofing the croissants, preferably 65ºF to 75ºF. Once they have risen, chill in the freezer for 10 minutes or in the refrigerator for 15 minutes just prior to baking. This will firm the butter, ensuring beautifully flaky croissants.

Yield: 12 croissants

  • 1/2 quantity Croissant dough
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting

Lightly flour work surface and roll the dough into a 26- by 14- by 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise to form two pieces that each measure 26- by 7-inches. Position the rectangles so the long edges are parallel to the edge of your work surface. On each piece, use a ruler and paring knife or pizza cutter to make nicks along the top edge of the dough every 4-inches. Along the bottom edge, measure 2-inches in from the left side and make a nick; then add a nick every 4-inches after that.

To cut the dough into triangles: Line up your ruler with the top left corner and the first bottom nick (2-inches in from the left side of the dough). Cut along this line. This first skinny triangle is not a full croissant. You can use these “scrap” triangles to make baby croissants or simply sprinkle the surface with sugar and bake as a snack. Next, line up the ruler with the first nick on the top edge and the left corner bottom, and cut along that line, forming a full-size triangle. Then cut a line from the first nick on top to the first nick on the bottom to form the second triangle. Continue lining up the nicks and cutting until the whole sheet has been cut into 12 triangles. Mark and cut the second half of dough in the same way.

To shape the dough: Line the baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Line up all the triangles so that their bottom (4-inch) sides are parallel with the edge of your work surface. Make a 2-inch vertical slit in the center of the bottom edge of each triangle. To shape, grasp a triangle and, with the wide end in one hand and the point in the other, very gently stretch the dough until it is a couple inches longer. Set it back on the table (notice how it resembles the Eiffel Tower). Pull the slit in the bottom apart slightly and roll the corners, upward and outward, widening the slit. Roll the entire triangle toward the tip, pulling gently on the tip to stretch the dough slightly. Tuck the tip under the roll (so it doesn’t pull out during baking) and place the roll on one of the prepared baking sheets. Curve the ends in toward each other to form a crescent shape. Continue stretching and rolling the dough triangles until you have shaped all the croissants and placed them 2-inches apart on the baking sheets.

To wash with egg and proof: Lightly beat the eggs and milk in a small bowl. Brush each croissant evenly with the egg wash. Cover the remaining egg wash and refrigerate to use later. Allow the croissants to rise in a cool room-temperature spot until they are nearly doubled in size and look like they have taken a deep breath, 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of the room. If you squeeze one gently, it should feel soft and marshmallow-like. Don’t try to rush the rise by warming the croissants—you don’t want the butter to melt.

To bake the croissants: Preheat the oven to 400ºF and place a rack in the center. Chill the croissants in the freezer for 10 minutes or in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. This will firm the butter, creating a flakier texture. Brush the croissants once more with the egg wash. Bake one baking sheet at a time, rotating it halfway through, for 17 to 22 minutes, until the croissants are a deep golden brown. Transfer the croissants to a rack to cool.

Additional Tips:
Getting Ahead: You can spread the process of making croissants over 2 days. On the first day, finish making the dough. Wrap the dough loosely in plastic (it will expand slightly) and refrigerate overnight. The next day, roll, cut, shape, proof, and bake the croissants. You can also freeze the croissants already shaped. Place the croissants on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, then transfer them to resealable plastic freezer bags. They will keep for 4 to 6 weeks. To bake, transfer the frozen croissants directly to prepared baking sheets and let them defrost and proof at room temperature. Apply the egg wash after a couple of hours. The croissants should be ready for baking after about 3 hours.

Storing: Baked croissants keep, unwrapped at room temperature, for 1 day. For longer storage, wrap each croissant in plastic wrap and slip into a resealable plastic freezer bag. Freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes, then reheat in a 350º F oven for 7 to 8 minutes, until the crust is crisped and the center is warmed through.

ham & cheese croissant

Ham and Cheese-Filled Croissants

The savory twist on the classic croissant combines salty ham with sharp cheese wrapped into warm, buttery dough. Serve for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Yield: Makes 12 croissants

  • 1/2 quantity croissant dough
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk or cream
  • 6 thin slices smoked ham, halved
  • 1-1/2 cups grated Kerrygold Swiss or Dubliner Cheese

Lightly flour work surface and roll the dough on a floured surface into a 26 by 14 by 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise to form two pieces that each measure 26 by 7 inches. Position the rectangles so the long edges are parallel to the edge of your work surface. On each piece, use a ruler and paring knife or pizza cutter to make nicks along the top edge of the dough every 4 inches. Along the bottom edge, measure 2 inches in from the left side and make a nick; then add a nick every 4 inches after that.

To cut the dough into triangles: Line up your ruler with the top left corner and the first bottom nick (2 inches in from the left side of the dough). Cut along this line. This first skinny triangle is not a full croissant. You can use these “scrap” triangles to make baby croissants or simply sprinkle the surface with sugar and bake as a snack. Next, line up the ruler with the first nick on the top edge and the left corner bottom, and cut along that line, forming a full-size triangle. Then cut a line from the first nick on top to the first nick on the bottom to form the second triangle. Continue lining up the nicks and cutting until the whole sheet has been cut into 12 triangles. Mark and cut the second half of dough in the same way.

To shape the dough: Line the baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Line up all the triangles so that their bottom (4-inch) sides are parallel with the edge of your work surface.
For each triangle, roll or fold a piece of ham so that it is slightly smaller than the width of the croissant base. Place the ham about 1/2-inch from the bottom of the triangle. Sprinkle 1 scant tablespoon of grated cheese on the top.

To shape, grasp a triangle and, with the wide end in one hand and the point in the other, very gently stretch the dough until it is a couple inches longer. Set it back on the table (notice how it resembles the Eiffel Tower). Roll the entire triangle toward the tip, pulling gently on the tip to stretch the dough slightly. Tuck the tip under the roll (so it doesn’t pull out during baking) and place the roll on one of the prepared baking sheets. Curve the ends in toward each other to form a crescent shape. Continue stretching and rolling the dough triangles until you have shaped all the croissants and placed them 2-inches apart on the baking sheets.

ham & cheese preview

To wash with egg and proof: Lightly beat the eggs and milk in a small bowl. Brush each croissant evenly with the egg wash. Cover the remaining egg wash and refrigerate to use later. Sprinkle with a little grated cheese over the top of each croissant. Allow the croissants to rise in a cool room-temperature spot until they are nearly doubled in size and look like they have taken a deep breath, 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of the room. If you squeeze one gently, it should feel soft and marshmallow-like. Don’t try to rush the rise by warming the croissants—you don’t want the butter to melt.

To bake the croissants: Preheat the oven to 400º F and place a rack in the center. Chill the croissants in the freezer for 10 minutes or in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. This will firm the butter, creating a flakier texture. Brush the croissants once more with the egg wash. Bake one baking sheet at a time, rotating it halfway through, for 17 to 22 minutes, until the croissants are a deep golden brown. Transfer the croissants to a rack to cool or serve warm.

Recipe adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking by Sur La Table and Cindy Mushet

Start With A Little Indulgence – Cashel Blue Mini-Cheesecakes with a Pecan-Pepper Crust

No Comments 07 January 2015

Here we go: it’s the first blush of the new year, our resolutions are in place, poised to start afresh. Back to yoga, early to bed, less Real Housewives/more Charlie Rose, eat your greens (does it have to be kale?), whittle off those annoying ten pounds. Full of conviction, we turn a blind eye to cupcakes and pulled pork sandwiches, and reach for the lentils and more servings of fish. All goes well until about week three, when the sight of another green smoothie starts to make us sad. How to keep on the straight and narrow? We’ve done well, so how about a little reward? A tiny indulgence, a dollop of something rich makes it easier to keep a good thing going.

Take these mini blue cheese cheesecakes – they’re the perfect encouragement. Here two divine bites of a familiar treat turn sophisticated with the help of Cashel Blue. A gorgeous cheese at once buttery and bold, Cashel Blue makes an ideal partner for the toasty pecan crust. Make them savory or sweet – a small amount of sugar turns these from luscious appetizer to a uniquely delicious dessert. Want the perfect light lunch? Toss a big spinach salad with dried cranberries and pecans, with a pair of savory cheesecakes on the side. As dessert, the sweet ones speak for themselves, and are better still alongside a serving of sliced fresh pears sautéed in a dab of brown butter. Whether savory or sweet, make these treats your tasty high-five for starting the year off right.

Cashel Blue Mini-Cheesecakes with a Pecan-Pepper Crust

Preheat oven to 325 ° Fahrenheit

Ingredients for crust

  • ¾ cup dry breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup pecan pieces
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Kerrygold Unsalted Butter, melted
  • Large pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Place breadcrumbs, pecans, pepper and salt in food processor
  2.  Pulse until pecans are finely ground
  3. Add butter and pulse a few times until mix begins to come together
  4. Line mini cupcake tins with paper liners
  5. Fill each cup with a teaspoon of crust mix
  6. Press down hard with fingertips or water bottle cap to make a firm, flat layer
  7. Chill tins and make the filling

Filling Ingredients

  • 12 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Kerrygold Cashel Blue Cheese, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Using a stand or a hand mixture, beat cream cheese and cream together until smooth  Note: Cream cheese must be room temperature or mixture will be lumpy
  2. Add egg, beat until fully incorporated, add second egg, beating until fully incorporated
  3. Once mixture is smooth, fold in crumbled Cashel Blue Cheese
  4. Fill cups evenly with cheesecake batter, to about three-fourths full
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes

Flaws to Cherish: Savory Glorious Stuffed Holiday Bread

No Comments 30 December 2014

This glorious stuffed bread is like the supermodel with a big gap between her two front teeth. That gap, which should be unsightly, makes her stand out from all the other pretty girls—and look even more beautiful.

And so it is with the oozing filling of this cheese, spinach and roasted pepper- stuffed bread. I have made it (and variations) perhaps a hundred times, and every time, no matter what I do, the filling finds a break in the wall and makes an escape from the bread. That ooze should be the ruination of this lovely bread, but it is not: it makes it all the more irresistible.

For one thing, most of the filling can be pushed right back in. (And the bits that can’t turn into crispy sheets of melted cheese that are the cook’s– and cook’s helpers’—special nibbles). For another, when the bread is completely baked, instead of looking like an ordinary loaf of bread, the hint of cheese and color along the edges gives you hints of what awaits you inside. It’s a little tease with a big payoff.

Savory Stuffed Holiday Bread

The red and green filling make this a perfect fit for your holiday table.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1-pound loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
  • 7 ounces Kerrygold Aged Cheddar, shredded
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

christmas bread 2

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, 30-60 seconds until no longer raw looking. Add the spinach and nutmeg and cook, stirring often, until the spinach is dry, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 10 x 14-inch rectangle. Leaving a 2-inch surface clear around the edges, place the red peppers so that they lie flat in an even layer on the dough. Top the peppers with the cheese; finish with a layer of the spinach.
  4. Fold both short ends of the dough up over the filling. Start on one long end and fold the dough over the filling to begin the roll. Continue rolling the filled dough, taking care to keep the filling in place as you go. Before you get to the end, brush the edge of exposed dough with some of the egg; finish rolling and squeeze the edge closed.
  5. Transfer the log, seam side down, to the prepared pan. Brush it with egg and bake in the center of the oven 15 minutes. Check the bread, gently tucking any oozing filling back into the dough if possible. Bake until the bread is browned and sounds hollow when tapped, about another 17- 20 minutes.
  6. Allow the bread to cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Kate McDermott’s Cranberry Pie

No Comments 18 December 2014

You may be surprised to learn that Cranberry Pie is another way to enjoy this seasonal fruit other than traditional sauce or relish we find on many holiday tables. If you enjoy a fresh sour cherry pie in the summer, you will love this pie made with cranberries. I use them fresh in season, and also freeze them so I can use them year round. Add a handful of chopped walnut meats to these bright red orbs of delightful tartness, and a bit of orange liqueur to the filling or in a small glass to pair with the pie when it is served.

INGREDIENTS
For one 9” pie
Serves 6-8

  • 1 qt (4 cups) cranberries, chopped (add some whole berries, too)
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch (there’s a lot of pectin in cranberries so very little thickener is needed)
  • A small pinch of nutmeg
  • A small pinch of salt
  • 1 oz orange (liqueur optional)
  • 1/2-1 cup chopped walnut meats (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon Kerrygold Irish Butter
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Art of the Pie double crust recipe or your crust recipe of choice.

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DIRECTIONS

  1. Put cranberries, sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, salt, and optional walnuts and orange liqueur in a large bowl. Mix well with a spoon and set aside.
  2. Roll out bottom crust and place in pie plate and spoon cranberry filling into it. Dot top of filling with 1 tablespoon of Kerrygold Irish Butter broken into small pieces.
  3. Roll out remaining dough disk and carefully lay top crust over filling. Trim excess dough, crimp edges of pie and cut some vents in top crust.
  4. Separate egg white into a small bowl and fork beat with 1 tablespoon water. Brush crust with egg mixture and sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons of sugar.
  5. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until crust is just golden, about 40 minutes at 375 degrees F. Depending on your oven, it may take a little more time!

Note: Use a food processor to chop the cranberries quickly. I chop 3 cups of the cranberries and add 1 cup whole for a filling with varied texture.

BIO INFO
Kate McDermott is the creator and founder of Art of the Pie. Since 2006 she has taught the time-honored craft of pie making to thousands. One of the most highly sought after culinary instructors nationally, Kate is widely acknowledged as one of the best makers of pie ever. Named a “Food Rock Star” Kate has given her Art of the Pie workshop to food luminaries as well as receiving high praise from Ruth Reichl, former editor of “Gourmet”, Dorie Greenspan, Elise Bauer of SimplyRecipes.com and many others. She has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today and countless other publications. Always friendly, fun, and down-to-earth, Kate, a practitioner of kindness, aspires to pass on the craft of pie making to as many as she can. More information about her classes and pie camps can be found at www.artofthepie.com.

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Sticky Toffee Puddings from the Sur La Table Kitchen

No Comments 10 December 2014

Make this decadent Sur La Table recipe with Kerrygold butter – a sneak peak into the Sur La Table kitchen.  Kerrygold butter is the official butter of Sur La Table Cooking Classes.

These little hot pudding-cakes are sweetened with a date purée flavored with coffee and the sauce is a creamy caramel. The combination is amazing. The same weight of fresh Medjool dates can be substituted when in season. Any extra sauce can be stored in a screw-top jar and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Use on crêpes, with apple pie or over ice-cream.

Yield: 6 (6-ounce) cakes

Cakes

  • 6 ounces dried Medjool dates, pitted
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) hot water
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) Kerrygold Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (5-1/4 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Toffee sauce

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) Kerrygold Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Whipped cream, to serve

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Heat the oven to 350º F. Butter 6 (6 ounce) custard cups and arrange on baking sheet.

To make cakes: In a medium bowl, combine dates and hot water and let steep just to soften the dates, about 10 minutes. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, add dates with the hot water, espresso powder and vanilla bean paste and purée, about 30 seconds.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, a tablespoon at a time, beating well between each addition and scraping down the sides as needed. Add date purée and mix lightly. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. The mixture will be quite sloppy.

Divide evenly between the 6 prepared custard cups, about 4 ounces in each cup. Each cup should be just over half full. Using the back of a spoon, make a hollow in the center using the back of a spoon to allow for even baking without a dome. Bake at 350º F for 35 minutes or until risen and golden.

Delicious Gifts – Cheddar-Black Pepper Shortbread Coins & Buttery Rosemary Pecans

No Comments 05 December 2014

As the annual cookie exchange beckons and your queue of holiday parties quickly fills, it’s natural to think of sugar plums, dancing or edible. But if the swirl of sweets just makes your head spin, try adding a few saltier delights to this year’s sugar plum rotation. Here, a sharp cheddar-black pepper shortbread and classic butter-roasted rosemary pecans offer deliciously savory ways to nibble. Whether you make them for your own festivities or offer them as gifts, these quick, easy recipes could not be more hostess pleasing or wine friendly.  Right with red, white or bubbly, they cozy up nicely to a cocktail as well. To tipple, to nibble,’tis the season!

Cheddar-Black Pepper Shortbread Coins

Ingredients

  • 4 oz (8 tablespoons) Kerrygold Unsalted Butter
  • ½  tsp coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 7 oz Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar, grated
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Instructions

  • Using electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter, salt and black pepper together at medium speed, until just blended
  • Turn speed to low, add cheese and flour, mixing just until smooth – be careful not to overmix
  • Divide dough in half, form into logs, 1½” in diameter
  • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, chill for at least one hour (can be made up to a day ahead)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • On a lightly floured board, cut logs into ⅛” thick rounds
  • Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, one inch apart
  • Bake approximately 10-13 minutes, or until rounds are very lightly golden and the edges just begin to brown
  • Let cool briefly on baking sheet
  • Serve slightly warm, or let cool completely
  • Delicious with red wine, bubbly or cocktails
  • If not serving immediately, store in airtight container. Freeze dough for up to a month.

Buttery Rosemary Pecans

Directions

  • 4 tablespoons Kerrygold Unsalted Butter
  • 4 cups pecans
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Spread pecans on large baking sheet in single layer and toast for 10-14 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant
  • Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat
  • Add rosemary, salt, sugar, stir briefly. Add pecans, stirring until butter is golden brown and nuts are thoroughly coated, 3-5 minutes
  • Spread nuts on parchment-lined baking sheets and let cool completely, stirring occasionally

Enjoy!

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