Welcome to the Nutcracker

The Nutcracker has become a staple piece in the American culture and a beloved Christmas tradition. The ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is one of my all-time favorite productions. It is enjoyable for the whole family and let’s be real, who doesn’t love sweets? Different countries are represented through dance by delicious food selections like Spanish chocolate, Arabian coffee, Danish marzipan, Chinese tea and finally the Sugar Plum Fairy. Today I’ve decided to make recipes that represent each country in celebration of the holiday season!

Spanish Chocolate

For this I’ve decided to make dipped chocolate. My family is a fan of decorating sweets and this is an easy fun idea for all families! You can buy simple sugar cookies, pretzels, fruits (strawberries, bananas, etc.) or even pound cake!

Ingredients Needed:

8 ounces of heavy cream

½ pound of gourmet chocolate

1 ounce of Kelapo Ghee (solid)

First, you’ll want to add the heavy cream and Kelapo Ghee into a sauce pan and bring that to a boil. I recommend to put the chocolate in a heat resistant bowl, preferably metal. Once the heavy cream has boiled, pour it on the chocolate while lightly stirring until thick. Once the chocolate has thickened you are good to dip!

Arabian Coffee

Trying out this recipe was a bit hard because the main idea of Arabian coffee is to use the Arabic coffee beans which are not all that easy to find.  You will definitely need an Arabic style coffee pot also known as dallah.

Ingredients Needed:

3 cups of water

3 tablespoons of ground Arabic coffee beans

1 tablespoon of ground or crushed cardamom

A pinch of ground cloves

A pinch of ground ginger

A pinch of saffron

Though it might contain multiple ingredients, the recipe itself is very simple. Begin by bringing the water to a boiling point in the coffee pot. Once the water is boiling, add the coffee beans and let it boil on low heat. Turn the heat off for 5 minutes and leave the coffee to clear. Pour the coffee into a kettle, leaving the coffee to settle in the pot. Add the cardamom, ground cloves, ginger and saffron to the kettle. You’ll need to boil once more before serving.

Danish Marzipan

Instead of making a Danish marzipan, I have gotten a delicious recipe for Dairy-Free Danish Puffs as a substitute. For this recipe we’ll be using Kelapo Coconut Oil on the puff, crust and frosting. Yum!

Ingredients Needed:

For the crust:

1 cup of all-purpose flour

½ cup of salt

½ cup of Kelapo Coconut Oil (room temperature)

2-4 tablespoons of cold water

For the puff:

½ cup of coconut oil

1 cup of water

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon almond extract

3 eggs

For the frosting:

1 tablespoon of coconut oil (melted)

1 ½ cups of powdered sugar

2 tablespoons of coconut milk

1 teaspoon of almond extract

To make the crust you’ll want to combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in coconut oil using a pastry blender and add 2 tablespoons of cold water. Stir the mixture with a fork until the dough forms a ball. Use more water if necessary. Let the dough chill for about 1 hour. Next, you’ll want to divide the dough in half and press each half into a 12” X 3” rectangle on an ungreased cookie sheet.

To make the puff you’ll need a 2-quart sauce pan where you’ll combine the Kelapo Coconut Oil and 1 cup of water. Bring this to a boil and then remove from heat. Quickly stir in the flour and almond extract. Next, you’ll want to stir in the eggs and beat them with a wooden spoon until smooth and glossy. Spread half of the topping over each rectangle of dough and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, once you see they are golden brown.

To make the frosting combine the melted coconut oil, powdered sugar, coconut milk and almond extract in a small bowl. Stir to combine all ingredients. You can add more coconut milk if you find it necessary. Make sure to spread the frosting over slightly warm and sprinkle with chopped nuts if you like!

Chinese Tea

Tea is one of my favorite drinks. I love the aromas, the taste and the cleansed feeling you get after drinking it. The traditional way of making Chinese tea has many rituals but since I do not have any of the proper equipment, I’m going to make regular tea (feel free to watch this video on instructions of how to brew traditional Chinese Tea). There are flowering teas and tea leaves, but I enjoy the flowering teas the most for their amazing aromas. Depending on the leaves you use will be how long you will steep your tea. For black tea you’ll want to use nearly boiling water but for green tea you’ll need to let the water cool a bit before. Green tea you’ll want to steep for about 1 to 2 minutes while black tea you can steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Herbal teas, like chamomile, can steep for much longer. After brewing I always add a tablespoon of honey for taste but other prefer milk! Happy brewing everyone!

Sugar Plum Fairy

Personally I am not a fan of sugar plums so I have decided to make Plum Upside-Down Cake instead! I guarantee you this recipe will be delicious!

Ingredients Needed:

For the Plums:

¾ cup of sugar

1/3 cup of water

2 tablespoons of Kelapo Ghee

1 ½ pounds of medium plums (pitted and cut into ½-inch-thick wedges)

For the cake:

½ cup of crème fraîche

2 tablespoons of whole milk

2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract

1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

2/3 cups of sugar

1 teaspoon of baking powder

½ teaspoon of baking soda

½ teaspoon of salt

¾ cup of Kelapo Ghee

2 large eggs (beaten)

Whipped cream (for serving)

You’ll want to start by preparing the plums first. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and in a small sauce pan, combine the sugar and water. Let them boil without stirring. Cook over high heat, washing down the side of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush, until an amber-colored caramel forms. This will take about 5 to 7 minutes. Then remove the saucepan from the high and whisk in the Kelapo Ghee. Immediately pour the caramel into a 9-inch metal cake pan. Make sure to carefully arrange the plum wedges in the caramel in concentric circles.

Next, you’ll want to prepare the cake. In a small bowl, whisk the crème fraîche with the milk and vanilla. Then in a large bowl, using a hand mixer, mix the flour sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. At a low speed, beat the Kelapo Ghee until the mixture resembles moist crumbs which will take about 30 seconds. Beat in the eggs at a low speed until incorporated and then beat the batter at a medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Next, a a medium speed, beat in the crème fraîche mixture until smooth. You’ll want to get the cake pan and scrape the batter over the plums and gently spread in an even layer. Bake the cake for 55 minutes to 1 hour until golden and springy. Make sure to let it cool for about 30 minutes before inverting the cake into a serving plate. If you’d like, add whipped cream on the top!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this holiday special as much as I have! Make sure to comment below!

Happy Holidays

-Gabriella

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