Christmas Morning~Cinnamon Pecan Wreath

Do you have your menu planned for Christmas morning? At our house, I always make something sweet and something savory.  We eat a big breakfast to tide us over to an early Christmas dinner.  Last year I shared my Cinnamon Bread Leaves with you and this year I have done a throwback to on oldie but goodie.  Cinnamon Pecan Wreath is so beautiful and tempting; your family will be delighted! Cinnamon Pecan Wreath happens to be one of the recipes I shared with The Art of Living Beautifully readers this month.  For my post, I want to take you through the steps to make this centerpiece delight.

Begin the day before you want to serve the Cinnamon Pecan Wreath by thawing frozen bread rolls in a greased bowl overnight in the refrigerator. Roll the dough into a rectangle; it does not have to be perfect!  Next pour on melted butter, then cinnamon sugar and last pecans.

Roll dough into a log; bring both ends of the log, together to form a ring.  Pinch the dough ends together, sealing it.

Using a pair of kitchen scissors; cut 2/3 of the way through the ring every 1-2 inches all the way around.  Take each slice and twist it to expose the layers.  Twist all of the slices.

Once your wreath is complete, cover it with a cloth and let it rise in a warm place for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.  Bake for 30-35 minutes in an oven set to 350 degrees before garnishing with glaze and pecans. 

Stay tuned for another Christmas Breakfast recipe later this week!!

Cinnamon Pecan Wreath

20 frozen bread rolls

1 stick of butter, melted

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup cinnamon

1 cup pecans chopped

12 whole pecan halves

Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

1 vanilla pod

1 small orange, zested and juiced

Pinch salt

Grease a medium mixing bowl and place frozen rolls in the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.  Roll the dough to a large rectangle about 13×22 inches.  Brush the rectangle with melted butter.  Mix sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the butter.  Next, sprinkle on chopped pecans.  Roll long end of rectangle into a log.  Bring the two ends of the log together to form a ring and pinch the dough to seal the ring.  Using kitchen scissors, cut into the ring every 1-2 inches, about 2/3 of the way through the ring forming slices.  Pull each slice firmly and twist it towards the right.  Continue twisting all the slices. Your cinnamon ring will resemble a wreath.   Cover the wreath with a cloth and let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about one hour.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake wreath for 30-35 minutes.  If wreath is getting too brown, tent it with foil.  Prepare glaze by combining powdered sugar, the seeds from the vanilla pod, salt, the zest and 2 tablespoons of juice in a bowl and mix well.    Drizzle glaze over bread ring and garnish the top with pecan halves.

Grand Marnier Truffles~Third Sweet Tradition

Dark chocolate truffles are a tradition!  Every year for the last 14, I’ve taught a class called Gifts from the Kitchen.  In this class we make recipes that are perfect for gift giving along with inventive ways to package the treats.  Since the beginning, a chocolate truffle recipe has been included, in part because they make fabulous gifts but also because Grand Marnier Truffles were the very first gift from MY kitchen, many many years ago!   

Making beautiful and taste tempting chocolate truffles is easier than you think.  Try my recipe for Grand Marnier Truffles TODAY, you will be glad you did!

Stay tuned next week for some of my favorite Christmas Morning breakfast ideas!

Grand Marnier Truffles

1 cup heavy cream

3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier

3 1 inch strips orange peel

½ cup powdered sugar

½ cup unsweetened cocoa

Heat the cream, Grand Marnier and orange peel in a medium saucepan or double boiler until it begins to steam.   Remove from heat and discard the orange peel.   Add chocolate chips to the warm cream and stir until chocolate is almost incorporated, add butter, continue to stir until completely smooth.  Refrigerate the mixture until chocolate has solidified about 3 hours.  Combine powdered sugar and cocoa on a plate.  Using a spoon and your hands, roll chocolate mixture into balls; roll the balls into the cocoa mixture.  Store the truffles in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Magic Cookie Bars~Second Traditional Sweet

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Magic Cookie Bars are a second sweet holiday tradition in our home.    These sensational chocolatey treats have really stood the test of time.  I think I was about 10 years old when my mother made these the first time and we have had them every year since! 

It is hard to beat the flavor that is packed into these pretty bars.  I hope you will make a batch to eat and share this holiday season and stay tuned for one more sweet tradition this week!

Magic Cookie Bars

1 stick butter, melted

8 whole graham crackers

1 ½ cup chopped walnuts

2 cups shredded sweetened coconut

1 12 ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour melted butter into the bottom of a greased 9×13 glass baking dish.  Crush graham crackers into a fine powder.  Sprinkle crumbs evenly over butter.  Sprinkle first a layer of walnuts, then chocolate and last coconut.  Drizzle milk evenly over coconut.  Bake for 18-22 minutes until coconut is lightly browned.  Let cool before slicing to serve.

Christmas Tree Cookies~A Fangio Tradition

Christmas Tree Cookies

Christmas Tree Cookies are a tradition in the Fangio home!  Ever since my children we scooting around the house in footed PJ’s we’ve been making these delicious cookies.  Buttery, soft, and melt in your mouth goodness is only the beginning.  I simply adore the fact that they look so homespun.  Sure, these days we could break out the royal frosting and fancy tips and go for a instagram able moment but it would just not be the same.

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One year we even turned our Christmas Tree Cookies into a cookie garland and hung it around the door.

Cookie Garland Brandon

When guests left the house we cut the cookies apart for a little to-go treat.  The kids’ and little Brandon LOVED it!

Make a batch of Christmas Tree Cookies with someone you adore TODAY! You will be so glad you did and stay tuned all week!  I will be sending some of our favorite sweet recipes perfect for taking, sharing or just plain munching!

Christmas Tree Cookies

2 cups butter

3 cups powdered sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon almond extract

5 cups flour

2 teaspoons soda

Using an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar together, add eggs one at a time until both are incorporated. Add vanilla and almond extract and mix well.  Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and add slowly mixing to incorporate.  To make rolling faster and easier, separate dough into 2 large zip lock bags.  Press dough flat into the bags.  Chill dough for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut bags off of chilled dough.  Roll and cut on floured surface.  Bake cookies on greased cookie sheets 7-11 minutes.

Buttercream Frosting

1½ sticks butter at room temperature

6 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon of vanilla

1 teaspoon almond extract

Milk or heavy cream

Green and yellow food coloring

Using an electric mixer, combine butter, sugar, extracts and several teaspoons of milk on low speed; continue to add milk as needed to get the proper consistency for spreading.  Beat on high speed for 5-7 minutes to create a fluffy frosting.  Do not leave the mixer unattended.  Color ½ cup frosting bright yellow and color the remainder bright green.  Spread the green frosting onto the Christmas trees.  Using a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, pipe a star at the top of each cookie.

 

 

 

Brie with Buttered Pecan Cherry Compote- Appetizer 3

 

Cherry pecan compote over brie

When it’s appetizer time, nothing satisfies like brie served with a decadent topping.  My Brie with Buttered Pecans and Cherries is hard to beat.  The tart fruit and warm pecans complement the creamy texture of brie perfectly.

Serve this tasty bite with apple, French bread or crackers for a happy crowd!

Stay tuned next week when I will be sharing some of my favorite sweet bites to enjoy with your friends and families.

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Brie with Buttered Pecan Cherry Compote 

1 brie wedge

2 tablespoons butter

¾ cup chopped pecans

¾ cup dried cherries

Juice and zest of 1 orange

¼ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

Pinch salt

In a small saucepan, melt butter.  Brown the pecans in the butter for about 3 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients to saucepan and simmer slowly until mixture is thick.  Pour warm compote over room temperature cheese and serve.

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Tomato Basil Tartlet- Appetizer 2

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Tomato, basil and cheese is without a doubt my favorite flavor profile.  I have developed many recipes over the years using this trio of ingredients and these Tomato Basil Tartlets are among the best.

This precious 3 bite appetizer is simple to make and always a crowd pleaser.   Enjoy and stay tuned for one more sensational appetizer this week!

Tomato Basil Tartlets

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

1 cup Gruyere cheese

¼ cup fresh basil cut in a chiffonade

2-3 Roma tomatoes cut in slices

½ teaspoon fresh thyme

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut tomatoes into thin slices, about 1/8 of an inch thick.  Lay tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.  Roll out puff pastry to eliminate creases.  Using a biscuit cutter cut 12 rounds from the sheet.   Place rounds on greased baking sheet.  Mix the cheese, basil and thyme together in a small bowl.  Put a pinch on each pastry round.  Top with tomato, salt and pepper and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Bake for 12-14 minutes until tarts are puffed and beginning to brown.

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Apple Crostini- Appetizer 1

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It is appetizer season!  Chances are you have been asked to bring an appetizer to at least one holiday party this year.  I would like to share 3 of my favorites with you this week, today, Apple Crostini.

Apple Crostini is my current appetizer crush, when I make theses I cannot stop eating them!  NO need to feel guilty since the cracker is an apple slice!

This is a recipe I developed for Dinner Party 2018 hosted by Lauren Palmer at TAOLB and Marcie and Tracy of Unique Unique Designs and myself. These beautiful photos were taken by Jet Pack Creative, thank you!!

Enjoy and stay tuned for more yummy appetizers later this week!

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Apples Crostini

2-3 large red, sweet apples such as Ambrosia or Fuji

½ lemon

4 ounces goat cheese

½ cup pistachios, roasted and chopped

½ cup dried cranberries

¼ teaspoon cinnamon plus more for garnish

1 tablespoon good quality maple syrup plus more for drizzling

Slice apples crosswise, very thin creating apple crackers.  Ambrosia and Fuji apples will not turn brown after they are cut but just to insure, rub each apple slice with lemon half.  In a small bowl combine goat cheese, cranberries, pistachios, reserve 1 teaspoon for garnish, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon syrup and mix well.  Place a scant teaspoon of the mixture on each apple cracker and spread slightly.  Sprinkle with a dusting of cinnamon, pistachios and a few drops of syrup.

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Thanksgiving Favorites for my Crew!

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Thanksgiving is finally here and the holiday season has officially begun!  I thought I would share my family’s favorite side dishes that I will be preparing this year for our Thanksgiving table.

The turkey is always the star of the show; for information on roasting the perfect turkey see my instructions at The Art of Living Beautifully, and thanks Lauren Palmer for this beautiful photo!

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Brandon wants Fontina Mac and Cheese~

1 pound Cavatappi pasta

1 ½ cups heavy cream

3 cups whole milk

1 tablespoons flour

2 cups grated Fontina cheese

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

¾ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Butter a 9×13 glass baking dish.  Cook pasta in salted water to just al dente.  Whisk seasoning and flour into cream and milk.  Add half of the cheese to the milk mixture.  Place cooked pasta into the prepared baking dish and pour milk mixture over pasta, stir to combine well.  Sprinkle top of dish with remaining cheese.  Bake 25 minutes, if top is getting too brown tent lightly with foil.  Allow dish to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Brooke wants Homemade Green Bean Casserole~

1 pound of fresh or frozen green beans thawed

1 can fried onions

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup finely minced mushrooms

1 clove garlic

1 cup milk

1 cup chicken stock

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large saucepan, melt butter, add the mushrooms and cook for about 6 minutes.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.  Add flour and cook for 2 minutes.  Warm the milk and stock together in the microwave for 2 minutes, add salt, pepper and liquid and whisk well.  Cook sauce until it thickens, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes.  Add ½ of the fried onions and all of the green beans.  Toss well.  Pour mixture into a casserole dish, top with remaining onions and cook for 20-25 minutes until casserole is bubbling.

Mark wants Browned Butter Sweet Potatoes with Caramel and Pecans~

4 pounds sweet potatoes

½ stick butter

½ cup cream

½ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Salt to taste

Bake sweet potatoes in the oven set to 400 degrees until they are fork tender.  Let potatoes cool completely before removing them from their jackets.  In small chefs pan heat butter until melted, continue to cook over medium heat until it begins to brown.  Once brown, pour butter into a dish, if it stays too warm the butter can blacken and get bitter.  Meanwhile, mash potatoes with cream, sugar and cinnamon.  Add butter and mix well.  Salt the potatoes to taste before topping with Bourbon Caramel Sauce.

Bourbon Caramel Sauce with Pecans

1 cup sugar

6 tablespoons butter

½ cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon bourbon

1½ cups chopped pecans

In a heavy bottom saucepan, heat sugar over medium heat until it is amber in color and sugar is melted.  Do not stir pan, tip and swirl to help the sugar melt.  Whisk in butter and stir until combined.  Remove from heat wait 5-10 second before adding bourbon and cream.  Mixture will foam up but just keep stirring.  If mixture has lumps in it, continue to stir over low heat until they melt. Once smooth add pecans.

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours, I hope it is wonderful!

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Wine~Another GIVEAWAY

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I love telling you about the treasures in our town of McKinney and Andy Doyle of McKinney Wine Merchant is definitely one of these.

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His vast knowledge of wine, winemakers and wine pairing will astound you!

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Andy brought the wine to the table for the recent Dinner Party 2018, Flavors from a Provencal Market, hosted by Lauren Palmer at The Art of Living Beautifully and Styled by Marcie Henehan and Traci Miller of Unique Unique Designs, with me as the chef!

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I was so enamored with the wine Andy chose for the main course; I wanted to share it with YOU and giveaway a bottle to one lucky subscriber.

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Silver Ghost is a $35.00 bottle, a California Cab that drinks like a $60.00 bottle.  It’s smooth and rich and for red wine lovers it pairs nicely with white meat. The name Silver Ghost pays homage to the wine producing families association with the Rolls Royce Company.

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Swing by McKinney Wine Merchant for all of wine requirements this busy holiday season; you can even call ahead for curbside pickup!

120 W Virginia St, McKinney, TX 75069 (972) 542-4636

GIVEAWAY

I am very excited to tell you that I am giving away 1 bottle of Silver Ghost! To enter, head over to Instagram @atasteofparis for all of the details and I hope YOU win!

To double your odds, write your friends name in the comment section of this post, share the post with them, if they subscribe to A Taste of Paris, you will both be entered TWICE!

GOOD LUCK!

Photos of the Dinner Party were taken and shared by Jettpack Creative
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Hand Poured Candles from France at Sharla’s!

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I love it when something really special comes to our sweet town of McKinney.  We can always count on Sharla Bush of Sharla’s Boutique to do just that and to be very generous, hint; stay tuned there might be a giveaway!

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Sharla and I share of love of France and the fabulous luxuries that are produced there. At Sharla’s, you can find many treasures from around the world but today I want to tell you about one that was over 2 years in the making.

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Several years ago, Sharla was encouraged to create her own line of candles.  After a series of serendipitous events, she was led to Paris and the oldest manufacturer of scented candles.  Rigaud in Paris produces customized scents for customers all over the world including the very best French designers.

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At this magnificent place, Sharla began the journey to create a line of exquisite candles reflecting her interpretation of how to live beautifully.

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The candles are hand poured using the finest oils into a mirrored glass container.  The containers have an etched front door and window allowing the light to shine through when the candle burns.

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Each candle is outfitted in a darling “house” box.  The boxes and fragrances are numbered 1-5; each number represents a different fragrance.

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  Sharla wanted to give the candles numbers instead of names.  “I want my clients to interpret each fragrance,” she said, “scents evoke memories and I want choosing one to be an individual experience for each guest.”

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This a silver tray full of Sharla’s candles, a gift I recently gave to my party guests.  I attached and antique key from a flea market find in Paris.

Sharla’s scent, is number 1, she describes it as encompassing her life and the olfactory senses from her past.  My favorite of the collection is number 5, what will yours be?  Please tell me!!

GIVEAWAY

I am very excited to tell you that Sharla has graciously given me 2 of her signature candles in scent number 1 for an instagram giveaway.  Head over to @atasteofparis for all of the details and I hope YOU win!

To double your odds, write your friends name in the comment section of this post, share the post and if they subscribe to A Taste of Paris, you will both be entered TWICE!

GOOD LUCK!
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