Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Modern Thanksgiving - Amber & Heather - November 2014

Gourmet Club has been ever so patient with us this season.  We have had a bit of a late start..but hey, better late than never right?!  And trust me, its ALWAYS worth the wait!  Amber and Heather started us off with a Modern Thanksgiving that was all that and a bag of leftovers.
Invites were darling and the gold foil punches were so fun.  The table was such a great mix of modern and thanksgiving.

 I loved the use of gold and the fun colors that were different from typical fall colors.

And glitter makes everything better.

I'll just put it out there right now that 90% of the stuff was purchased at Target as we all learned quickly from asking "where did you get…?" to which Amber replied, every time, "Target"!

The menus were so fun as they said "thankful for" and then had each girls name below.

We got right down to business with the appetizers.
LOVED the simple idea to write on a balloon.  They also said we could each write something we were thankful for on the balloons which was a fun idea to.
The different patterns, textures and shapes they had going on the table were so cute.
And again, the simple bold gold letters spelling EAT, perfect addition.
We sipped on Pomegranate & Cranberry Bellini's while we enjoyed
Sweet Potato Fires with a brown butter marshmallow sauce,
Sugared Cranberry Bites (these were a favorite and so pretty), Quince & Cheddar Bites (perfect modern presentation) and
Endive Cups with apples and blue cheese (another yummy one).
Everything was light, flavorful and perfect for fall.
Once seated we enjoyed the most refreshing Winter Fruit Salad.  Gorgeous and so flavorful.  The mint was a must!
Next was a "mini tasting" course.  First of all, the boxes with the little pour cup to dump the sauce on were the most adorable and brilliant thing ever!  Second of all they could have just fed us this all. night. long.  Amazing!  The Smoked Turkey was the most tender meat ever, the Sausage-Apple Stuffing was the winner of the night if I observed correctly and the drunken cranberry sauce poured on each was basically Thanksgiving heaven in your mouth.
As if that wasn't enough we still had the main event to enjoy!  Pecan, Bourbon & Cane Syrup Ham, Fall Corn Pudding with white cheddar and thyme and Cream Cheese & Parmesan Asparagus Cigars.  For real.  Pretty sure we consumed a few bottles of Bourbon in all the food that evening…no wonder it tasted so good! ;)
For the Sweet Stuff, Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Praline topping.  Such a unique take on a traditional holiday favorite and Mini Cranberry Meringue Pie.  We had just enjoyed Thanksgiving to the hills!
Of course with Amber and Heather a gourmet perfect meal wouldn't be enough, the take homes have to be ridiculous amazing to.  And they were.

Labeled: "Leftovers"

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup with homemade egg noodles, Bread, Sparkling juice and an Apple cider Caramel Cookie.  For real, some serious talent!
Soup was amazing and warmed our bellies for lunch the next day.  My cookie didn't make it to far past breakfast. ;-)

Seriously a wonderful night with plenty to chat about and lots of laughs!  Getting to know the 4 new gals was so fun and provided plenty of opportunities for chit chat.
Holly and Melissa we missed you and hope you are well!  Carolynn, we hope that babe makes her debut if she hasn't already!!!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Sweet Potato Fries with Brown-Butter Marshmallow Sauce
o   Nonstick cooking spray
o   3 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
o   1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup marshmallow creme
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. On sheet, toss sweet potatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer and bake until tender and golden brown, about 40 minutes, flipping once.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat butter over medium, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown and most of the foam has subsided, about 8 minutes. Immediately pour into a small bowl and let cool slightly. In a medium bowl, whisk together marshmallow creme and sour cream, then stir in brown butter and salt to taste. Serve sweet potato fries warm with sauce and sprinkle with pecans, if desired.
Note: To store, refrigerate sauce in an airtight container, up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving.  Courtesy of Martha Stewart
Endive Cups with Apples and Blue Cheese
o   1 Fuji or Gala apple
o   1/3 cups of almonds or walnuts
  • Fresh parsley
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 (4-ounce) heads endive
  1. Core and chop apple; toast nuts, then chop; chop 1 tablespoon of parsley. Toss apple, nuts, parsley, blue cheese, and oil together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Carefully remove leaves from endive and place cup side up on platter. Spoon about 1 tablespoon filling into each leaf. Serve.
Pomegranate & Cranberry Bellini
1 cup of ice
1 ½ cups simple syrup, recipe follows
1 ¼ cups unsweeted pomegranate juice, chilled
1 cup unsweeted cranberry juice, chilled
1 bottle sparkling water, chilled
2 limes, thinly sliced
1 bunch fresh mint, for garnish and pomegranate seeds (optional garnish)
Simple Syrup: 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar  In a saucepan, combine water and sugar over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved.  Take the pan off the heat and allow the syrup to cool.
Place the ice in a punch bowl.  Add the simple syrup, pomegranate juice, and cranberry juice.  Stir well.  Slowly pour in the sparkling water.  Garnish with lime slices, mint sprigs and pomegranate seeds, if using, and serve.
Cream Cheese & Parmesan Asparagus Cigars Recipe
  • 5 ounces puff pastry sheets
  • flour for dusting
  • 10 pieces asparagus
  • 1-2 ounces cream cheese
  • one egg, beaten
  • 2 TBS parmesan cheese

1.     Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.     Roll the puff pastry sheet out into a 10" x 6" rectangle.
3.     Cover with cream cheese.
4.     Cut the sheet into 10 thin strips.
5.     Roll each strip around one spear of asparagus.
6.     Brush with egg and top with parmesan cheese.
7.     Bake for 10-15 minutes.

Sugared Cranberry & Brie Bites
o   2 cups fresh cranberries 
o   1 cup good maple syrup
o   1 cup granulated sugar

Rinse cranberries and place in a medium bowl. Heat the syrup in a small sauce pan just until warm. Pour over cranberries when syrup is warm, not hot, or cranberries may pop. Cool, cover, and let soak in the refrigerator overnight. 

Drain cranberries in a colander. Place sugar in a large bowl or baking dish. Add cranberries in 2 batches and roll around until lightly coated in sugar. Place on a baking sheet until dry, about 1 hour. 

o   16 crackers
o   8 oz Brie cheese or cream cheese
o   cranberry chutney or cranberry relish, chutney or jam
o   fresh mint for garnish

Assemble crackers with one slice of brie, a light layer of cranberry chutney, and 4 or 5 sugared cranberries. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs.
Courtesy of Yummy Mummy Kitchen

Quince & Cheddar Squares

Cut quince paste (any flavor) and Irish Cheddar cheese into squares. Place on stone or croccontini crackers and serve.






Drunken Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 bottle of inexpensive American port
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 8 ounces dried cranberries
  • 1 shallot or small onion, minced
  • ½ tsp. ground thyme
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp white or black pepper
  • Zest of one orange
In a saucepan stir together the port, balsamic vinegar, cranberries, shallot or onion, and thyme.  Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about an hour.  Just before serving, stir in the butter until it melts, salt and pepper to taste, the orange zest and serve warm.
Courtesy of
Winter Fruit Salad
  • 3 pink grapefruits, peel and pith removed, cut into segments
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded
  • 2 Asian pears, quartered, cored, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 6 to 8 fresh mint leaves
  • Flaky sea salt
  1. In a medium bowl, toss grapefruit, pomegranate seeds, pears, and honey.
  2. Top with mint and salt.
Courtesy of Whole Living, December 2011














The Ultimate Smoked Turkey

  • One turkey (or turkey breast)
  • ¼ tsp table salt per pound of meat (only if turkey has not been presalted)
  • 4 ounces or so of hardwood or fruitwood
The gravy is made from the stock that is cooked under the turkey. This a rich concentrated smoky turkey stock will penetrate the meat.
Ingredients for the gravy
  • 3 quarts of water
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 2 onions, skin on, ends removed
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch lengths
  • 1 rib celery, leaves and all, cut into 2 inch lengths
  • 2 tbsp. dried sage leaves
  • 1 tbsp. dried thyme
  • 2 whole dried bay leaves
Ingredients for the wet rub
o   4 tbsp. of Simon & Garfunkel Rub
o   1 tbsp. dried crushed parsley
o   2 tbsp. dried crushed sage
o   1 tbsp. dried crushed rosemary
o   1 tbsp. dried crushed thyme
o   1 tbsp. dried crushed oregano
o   1 tbsp. dried crushed basil
o   1 tbsp. dried crushed bay leaf
o   1 tbsp. ground black pepper
o   1 tbsp. sugar

Plus 2 tbsp. Vegetable or olive oil

Grilling the Turkey: You will need a digital thermometer to check grill and turkey temperature. The grill thermostat could be inaccurate, so try to use a digital thermometer if possible.  The bird needs to be roasted at 325°F.  Do not wash the turkey.  Assemble the gravy ingredients in a roasting pan with a rack on top. Add wet rub to turkey and place on top of the rack.  Place the wood directly over the flame in the grill right before the pan is placed on the grill. Set the roasting pan right on the grill. Cook for 1 ½ - 2 ½ hours until the turkeys internal temperature reaches 162 – 165 F.  Serve immediately while hot. 
For the gravy: Take 4 tbsps of melted turkey fat and/or butter and put in a sauce pan over medium heat with 4 tbsps of flour.  Which the flour until the mixture is smooth, and keep whisking until it turns to a pale amber, about 3 minutes.  Slowly pour 1 cup of the smoked pan drippings until the roux, whisking over medium heat as you pour.  Add more cup if needed and salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe and detailed instructions available at

Sausage Apple Stuffing
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for tasting
  • 6 medium firm apples (macoun or braeburn), peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 12 slices white sandwich bread (I buy bakery bread and use a mixture of multigrain)
  • 1 pound spicy italian sausage, casings removed, broken into bite size pieces
  • 10 sage leaves, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 leek, (white and light green parts only), halved and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 6 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 lb parsnips, peeled, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • Kosher salt and white pepper
Preheat the oven to 450F.  Heat 1 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it melts and starts to brown; add the apples, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring until slightly tender, about 4 minutes.  Stir in the honey and vinegar, then transfer to a large bowl to cool.
Melt 2 tbsp butter in the same skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the bread cubes and toss to coat, then transfer to one side of a large rimmed baking sheet; add the sausage to the other side.  Bake until the sausage is cooked through and the bread is toasted, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the sausage and the bread to the bowl with the apples; add the sage, thyme and rosemary.
Heat another 1 tbsp butter in the skillet over medium heat.  Add half each of the leeks, celery and parsnips, and 2 tbsp water, season with salt and pepper.  Cook until vegetables are translucent, about 8 minutes, then transfer to the bowl with the sausage-apple mixture. Add the remaining leeks, celery and parsnips and 2 tbsp of water to the skillet. Transfer to the bowl and toss. Taste the stuffing while hot to get a sense of the flavor.  Add chicken stock to the bowl and toss to moisten all ingredients. 
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F.  Brush a 9x13 baking dish with 1 tbsp butter.  Transfer the stuffing mixture to the dish and dot with the remaining butter.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake 40 minutes, then uncover and bake until golden brown, about 40 more minutes. 
Recipe courtesy of Alex Guarnaschelli, Food Network

Pecan, Bourbon and Cane Syrup Ham Recipe

o   1 (10-11 pound) fresh bone-in ham (butt portion)
o   1 tablespoon rubbed sage
o   3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
o   5 cloves garlic, minced
o   1 teaspoon salt
o   1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
o   1/2 cup cane syrup
o   1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
o   1/4 cup bourbon
o   1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
o   3/4 cup chopped pecans
o   Satsuma orange wedges, for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Score ham skin and fat, making shallow (1/8-inch-deep) cuts about 1 1/2 inches apart in a diamond pattern.
  2. Combine sage and next 4 ingredients. Rub mixture over ham. Place ham, fat side up, on a lightly greased rack in an aluminum foil-lined roasting pan.
  3. Bake at 325° for 3 hours. Meanwhile, bring cane syrup and next 3 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer 3 minutes. Add pecans, and simmer, stirring frequently, 3 minutes or until thick and syrupy.
  4. Remove ham from oven. Spread glaze over top of ham. Bake 30 minutes, basting with pan juices every 10 minutes. Shield with foil to prevent excessive browning, and bake 30 more minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into center of ham registers 145°. Let stand 30 minutes before slicing. Garnish, if desired.
Courtesy of Rebecca Lang
Fall Corn Pudding with White Cheddar and Thyme
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced thyme
  • 4 cups frozen corn kernels (about 20 ounces), thawed
  • 1/2 cup stone-ground cornmeal
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
1.     Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9-by-13-inch shallow ceramic baking dish. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion and thyme and cook over moderate heat until the onion is softened, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the corn and cornmeal and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and let cool.
2.     In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the half-and-half. In a blender or food processor, combine 1 cup of the custard with 1 cup of the corn mixture and puree until smooth. Whisk the puree into the custard. Then stir in the corn mixture, cheese, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper until well blended.
3.     Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish and bake for about 40 minutes, until the pudding is slightly puffed and just starting to brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Make Ahead: The pudding can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.
Courtesy of Justin Chapple
Filling Ingredients
  • Use your favorite Crust
  • 2 cups of canned pumpkin or pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, cold
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Pecan Praline Topping Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup very coarsely chopped pecans
  • ½ cup cups fresh cranberries (optional)
1.     On a lightly floured work surface dump out dough mixture.  Gently knead in to a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 hour.
2.     On a well-floured surface roll crust ½ inch thick and about 12 inched in diameter. Transfer to a pie pan. Trim edge almost even with edge of pan. Fold edges under; crimp with your fingers or a fork. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 30 minutes and maximum of 3 hours.
3.     Place rack in center of oven; preheat to 400°F.
4.     For filling, in a medium saucepan cook pumpkin, sugars, spice, and salt over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently.
5.     Remove from heat; transfer to a medium bowl. Sit in heavy cream. Stir in eggs and vanilla; whisk until thoroughly combined. Transfer mixture to prepared crust; bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 350°F; bake 40 to 50 minutes more or until pie no longer jiggles in the center.
6.     Meanwhile, for Pecan Praline Topping, in a medium saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, cream, and salt over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer; cook 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, pecans, and cranberries. Let rest until pie comes out of the oven.
7.     Remove pie; cool 30 minutes for the pie to settle.
8.     Check if the praline topping is still pourable.  If hardened, heat over low heat until just pourable. Pour mixture over warm pie.  Cool completely before serving.

Pumpkin Puree
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Slice a small piece of skin off the one side of the pumpkin so when laid on its side, the pumpkin will lay flat without rolling. Remove the stem and split the pumpkin in half from top to bottom, using a large cleaver and a mallet. Scoop out the seeds and fiber with a large metal spoon or ice cream scoop. Cut the fibers with kitchen shears if necessary. Reserve seeds for another use.
Sprinkle the flesh with kosher salt and lay the halves, flesh side down, on a parchment paper-lined half sheet pan. Roast until a paring knife can be easily inserted and removed from the pumpkin, 30 to 45 minutes. Test in several places to ensure doneness.
Remove the half sheet pan to a cooling rack and cool the pumpkin for 1 hour. Using a large spoon, remove the roasted flesh of the pumpkin from the skin to the bowl of a food processor. Process until the flesh is smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.
Pate Sucree
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed
Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter; process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Add yolk; pulse. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube; process until dough just holds together (no longer than 30 seconds). Shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour (up to 2 days)
Citrus Variation: Make recipe as directed; add 1 teaspoon grated orange zest and 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest with the dry ingredients.
Courtesy of Martha Stewart

Mini Cranberry Meringue Pie
  • All-purpose flour, for work surface
  • Pate Sucree
  • 3 1/4 cups fresh cranberries (12 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped blood orange zest, plus 1/4 cup blood orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 large egg whites
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out 4 1/8-inch fluted rounds, and fit into cups of a standard 12-cup muffin tin (not nonstick). Pierce bottoms with tines of a fork. Freeze 15 minutes.
Line each shell with parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 15 minutes. Remove weights and parchment. Return to oven; bake until bottoms are just turning golden, 5 minutes more. Transfer to wire racks; let cool 5 minutes. Remove shells from tin; let cool completely.
Bring 2 cups cranberries, 1 cup sugar, and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, and simmer mixture, stirring occasionally, until cranberries have burst, about 5 minutes. Pour through a coarse sieve, then a fine sieve; discard solids. (You should have about 1 3/4 cups; if you have less, add water).
Bring strained cranberry juice, 1/4 cup sugar, the zests, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and remaining 1 1/4 cups cranberries to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until cranberries are soft but have not burst, about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir cornstarch, blood orange juice, and 1/4 cup water in a bowl; whisk into cranberry mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring, until translucent, about 1 minute. Divide among prepared shells. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour (up to overnight).
Preheat broiler. Put egg whites and remaining 1/4 cup sugar into the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water; whisk until sugar has dissolved and mixture is hot to the touch. Attach to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on medium speed until foamy. Raise speed to high. Add cream of tartar; beat until medium, glossy peaks form. Divide the meringue evenly among pies.
Set pies under broiler until tops are browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Courtesy of Martha Stewart

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Egg Noodles

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley or about 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 2 to 3 cups diced chicken
  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 scant teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 4 ounces medium noodles, cooked and drained
  • Salt, to taste

In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and celery and sauté until onion is tender. Add the parsley, chicken, chicken broth, soups, poultry seasoning, thyme, and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the frozen peas and carrots, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes longer. Stir in the cream or half-and-half, along with the cooked noodles; add salt to taste. Heat through.
Serves 8.
Recipe courtesy of Elise Frazier
Easy Homemade Egg Noodles

  • 1 cup flour plus more for rolling out
o   1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs

  1. Combine flour and salt in a large shallow bowl. Make a well in the center and crack the eggs into it.
  2. Use a fork to beat the eggs and then gradually start incorporating the flour into the eggs. Keep stirring and pulling in more flour until a solid dough forms. The dough will be sticky.
  3. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface. With well-floured hands, knead dough, incorporating more flour as necessary, until it is smooth and no longer sticky.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
  5. Divide dough in two and work with half the dough at a time. On a well-floured surface roll out dough to desired thickness (anywhere from 1/4 inch to paper thin). Be sure to rotate or otherwise move the dough between each pass of the rolling pin to keep dough from sticking. Sprinkle with flour as necessary to keep from sticking.
  6. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutting wheel to cut noodles. You can make then as narrow or wide as you like, but cut them as evenly as possible to ensure uniform cooking time.
  7. Lay noodles on a cooling or drying rack and let sit until ready to cook. Repeat rolling and cutting of remaining half of dough.
  8. Boil noodles in well salted water until tender to the bite. Serve with butter or cheese, with stews, or in soups.

Apple Cider Caramel Cookies
o   1 cup unsalted butter, nearly melted
o   1 cup granulated sugar
o   1/2 teaspoon salt
o   1 (7.4 ounce) box Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink Mix *Not sugar free*
o   2 eggs
o   1 teaspoon vanilla extract
o   1 teaspoon baking soda
o   1/2 teaspoon baking powder
o   3 cups all-purpose flour
o   1 (14 ounce) bag Kraft Caramels
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. It has to be parchment this time.
2. In a stand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, salt, and all 10 packets of apple cider mix until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract, and then mix in the baking soda and baking powder. Add the flour and mix until just combined.
3. With a standard (size 50) cookie scoop, scoop the dough scrapping off the excess as you go up the bowl. Flatten the dough slightly in your hand and place a caramel in the center. Work the dough around the caramel sealing well. Place the cookies two inches apart on the sheets.
4. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. After baking, carefully slide the parchment with the cookies onto the counter. Let cool until they are no longer soft but still slightly warm. Twist gently to remove, and cool the rest of the way upside down on the parchment or on a cooling rack.

Notes: If cookies get too cool before you twist them off, freeze the whole sheet for a few minutes and they’ll come right off.

Courtesy of The Cooking Photographer