Wrap It up People!

Wrap It up People!

We all have gifts to wrap. You could wrap yours alone while watching Bing Crosby in White Christmas in the middle of the night (personally, I don’t know who does that). That sounds fine as long as hot chocolate is involved. This year, I don’t want to stay up all night, sneaking around, wrapping presents like a little elf. I plan to have a few friends over to wrap with me and share some holiday cheer. Why not take this chore and turn it into a party?

Set aside one afternoon with your friends to share some warm holiday treats while wrapping those carefully selected gifts. You and your guests will feel more relaxed by the time those short, busy days just before Christmas get here.

Read the December issue at www.citysocial.com, or pick  up a copy around town this week! Share ideas and what you’ve been “stirring up” with us on Facebook, just search “City Social Food.” Happy holidays!

Chutney1Pear Chutney with Brie
3 ripe Bosc pears, peeled and sliced into strips
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons dry vermouth
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2  teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
8-ounce brie or camembert cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the pears with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon sugar. Lightly grease a sheet pan. Place the pears in an even layer on the pan. Roast until tender, about 20 minutes, depending on the degree of ripeness. Remove from the oven and let cool. Cut into small cubes.

In a saucepan, bring the vermouth, vinegar and spices to a boil. Reduce the heat, add cherries and syrup, then simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Gently stir in the roasted pears, coating them with the spice mixture completely. Cover and refrigerate for at least one day. Before serving, unwrap the brie or Camembert and heat on a cookie sheet for 5 to 7 minutes in at 375-degree oven.

pumpkin3Pumpkin Cupcakes
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sift before measuring
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten until frothy
1 cup mashed, cooked pumpkin
3/4 cup milk

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a bowl. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs. Blend in mashed pumpkin. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk, blending until batter is smooth after each addition; stir in chopped walnuts or pecans. Spoon batter into well-greased and floured or paper-lined muffin pan cups. Fill about 2/3 full. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Frost with cream cheese frosting, whipped cream, or leave plain. Makes about 24 cup cakes

Icing:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

In a mixing bowl, blend together the cream cheese, butter and maple syrup. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth. Ice cooled cupcakes with a butter knife or piping bag and tip.

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