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Video: Giada’s treats for Santa

updated 12/21/2009 9:25:15 AM ET 2009-12-21T14:25:15

Recipe: Apple zeppole with cinnamon whipped cream

Ingredients
  • 1 large apple, peeled and grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Olive oil for frying
Preparation

In a medium saucepan combine the butter, salt, sugar, and water over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Take pan off the heat and stir in the flour. Return the pan to medium heat and stir continuously until mixture forms a ball, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the flour mixture to a medium bowl. Using an electric hand mixer on low speed, add eggs, one at a time, incorporating each egg completely before adding the next. Beat until smooth. Add the grated apple and stir to combine. If not frying immediately, cover with plastic wrap and reserve in the refrigerator.

Combine the whipping cream, 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whip until medium soft peaks form. Transfer the whipping cream to a serving dish.

Meanwhile, pour enough oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325 degrees F.

Using a small ice-cream scooper or 2 small spoons, carefully drop about a rounded tablespoon of the dough into the hot olive oil. Turn the zeppole once or twice, and cook until golden and puffed up, about 4 minutes. Fry the zeppole in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. Drain on paper towels.

Serving

Transfer the zeppole to a serving dish and sprinkle with powdered sugar using a small sieve. Serve with the cinnamon whipped cream alongside for dipping.

Serving Size

Makes 4 servings; Prep time: 20 minutes; Cook time: 20 minutes

Recipe: Pecorino crackers

Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cups grated pecorino Romano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
Preparation

There’s a lot of flavor in these little crackers, which are the perfect blend of flaky and cheesy. I add these to a bread basket, crumble them over salads and float them in soup. They keep well in a sealable plastic bag so make a double batch; you’ll find lots of ways to use them.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the cheese, salt, pepper and cayenne in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Add the butter. Using a hand mixer, beat the cheese mixture and butter until combined. Add the flour 1/4 cup at a time, mixing only until incorporated and the mixture holds together.

Place tablespoon-sized balls of the dough on the paper-lined baking sheets, tapping the dough down gently with your fingertips. Bake until just beginning to brown at the edges, about 15 minutes. Let the crackers cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer them to a serving plate.

Serving Size

Makes 24 crackers

Recipe: Grilled and stuffed portobello mushrooms with Gorgonzola

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
  • 12 ounces turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano leaves
  • 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) Gorgonzola
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 6 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed
Preparation

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the turkey sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

Stir in the mascarpone cheese. Add the thyme, oregano, bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of Gorgonzola, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir until all ingredients are combined.

Brush the mushrooms on both sides with the remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the mushrooms, stem side down, for 3 minutes. Turn the mushrooms over and grill for 2 minutes until tender. Fill each mushroom with the sausage mixture and top with the remaining Gorgonzola. Return the mushrooms to the grill and cook until the stuffing is warmed through and the Gorgonzola starts to melt, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Tips

Cook’s note: The assembled mushrooms can also be placed on a baking sheet and cooked under a preheated broiler until warmed through.

Serving Size

Makes 6 servings; Prep time: 20 minutes; Cook time: 20 minutes

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