Slow-Cooker Brisket with Carrots and Sweet Potatoes

Merry Christmas to all! Although I am cooking and writing this about a week prior, the entry will post on Christmas Day. This year our celebrations will look very different just like everything else has this year…wishing you all good health and to be able to find joy today.

This recipe was tricky from the beginning…would you believe I had trouble finding brisket haha….and then the one I found was only a pound and half so I made half the recipe. I went ahead and followed Dorie’s suggestion to sear the meat, potatoes and carrots ahead of time. I wanted to skip this step because it kind of defeats the purpose of using a slow cooker in my mind, but I figured it might give more flavor…so I followed the optional instructions.

Everything was easy to do…the extra carrots and potatoes added half way though and dinner was ready 8 hours later. I should add that I omitted the prunes…I usually go by the recipe as stated the first time but I just couldn’t do it haha. Maybe that was the secret ingredient…I don’t know.

So, my family all enjoyed this saying it reminded them of a pot roast dinner and it was super tender. I had trouble getting nice slices as the meat just fell a part. It all got eaten but I have to confess, my husband had seconds but liked his with bbq sauce 😳 so I am thinking that defeats the whole purpose of such a gourmet recipe but hey, they were all happy and dinner got eaten so yay.

Not sure I would repeat this one but as always fun to try.

Molasses Coffee Cake

This coffee cake would be good all fall and winter long, but it sure screams Christmas to me. 🎅🏻🌲. It is likened to a gingerbread, but lighter and more complex…I feel like it was a more grown-up version.

The cake is made up of the usuals…the cinnamon, molasses and ginger but this version also adds pepper and Chinese five-spice powder which brings a depth of flavor that actually zings on your tongue. The batter also has another surprise…coffee, which you would think would take over the flavor but in reality all of them blend together and create a mystery that is hard to pinpoint…but easy to say it is delicious.

The cake has an optional glaze which I made, and can be dusted with espresso powder. My glaze came out a little darker and thinner than I would have liked and didn’t really allow for the espresso powder to show. I was disappointed in the look, but it didn’t seem to make a difference in the overall taste of the cake. The glaze is made up of cream, white chocolate, butter, and an espresso extract made with the powder. Personally, I am not a coffee drinker and was thinking coffee in the cake and espresso in the glaze might be a bit much…but you know what…it works and was really delicious. I tried a bite without the glaze, and although less coffee flavored, I preferred having the glaze on top. It almost added a caramel consistency topping after it had chilled. If anything, maybe next time I would back down a bit of the extract, but that is just me.

This was surprising. Molasses can be a tricky flavor to work with and can easily be too much in a recipe. This one blended just perfectly and really keep you guessing as to what you were actually tasting. It was delicious.

Everyone was surprised by this one and loved it. It’s a keeper!

Mint Chocolate Sablés

What is not to love about a mint and chocolate combo right?! They seem to be a perfect match and these cookies confirm that thought…and the mint was just the perfect amount, a hint…not over powering.

These have full chocolate flavor with cocoa and coarsely chopped dark chocolate…along with a full two sticks of butter…they are Sablés after all.

I did change one thing. We are told to cut these cookies out and then place them in a muffin tin to cook…I was guessing to keep their shape. I tried it in my mini pan thinking it would make bite size cookies which would be a good thing. I had assumed the cookies would melt down and fill the tin, but that didn’t really happen so on the next few batches I just cut them into circles and baked. Worked just fine and much less hassel.

Everyone loved these.

Raisin Bars

I think there are two types of people…those who like raisins in their oatmeal cookies and those who prefer chocolate chips…I happen to be the latter, so I wasn’t too sure about this one. I have learned something through all this baking though…to have an open mind!

These bars consist of two parts…the raisin filling made with raisins, sugar, and cornstarch and the oatmeal/almond cookie dough (made with a lot of butter 😂 ) that is used for the base and topping. Other than requiring some time to chill, these were very easy to make and get out to my tasters.

Many of us are in the chocolate camp, so I wasn’t sure how these would go over. I did make sure to let them know it wasn’t a layer of chocolate filling they were seeing haha and my son did thank me for the heads up 😂.

Surprisingly my son and I did like these, even with no chocolate and the rest of my tasters loved these…some loved them a lot!! I think they are a lot tastier than your average oatmeal raisin cookie and I really like the raisin jam…it worked!