Tag Archives: holiday

The Gentleman’s Sour Cream Sugar Cookie – Pillowy Perfection for Decorating

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Does it seem I make a disproportionate amount of sweets? I think it’s my genetic legacy; my Granny never skips dessert. And when we have family gatherings there’s always a “sampler” – multiple choices. It’s a wonder we’re not all obese.

But holidays and occasions, like Wednesdays or laundry day, warrant special treats, and that’s what I am going to deliver.

I am sure you’re familiar with those plastic containers of sweet, sweet pillowy cookies in the bakery at the market. Well, why not take that idea and improve upon it? I am also going to offer you two icing options: one that will set up and harden, and one that will be smoother and creamier. The choice is yours.

The secret here is the sour cream. It established the light textural component that give this cookie its signature bite.

I had a little kitchen helper during my test run. This is my 2 year old nephew, Tyce. Making cookies with family always makes it more fun.

So let’s get going!

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup butter flavor Crisco
  • 2 cups white sugar (vanilla sugar would be especially nice*)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 5 1/2 cups flour

Turn your oven on to 375 and allow to preheat. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream butter, Crisco, and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. A teaspoon of almond extract would also be nice here if you like that flavor.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add a cup at a time to the bowl with the mixer on low. Mix ONLY until combined.

Working in batches, roll onto a floured surface, 1/4 to 1/3 inch thickness. Yes, that is on the thick side for a sugar cookie. Just trust me here.

Use your favorite cookie cutter and stamp out shapes. Now, given the consistency of this dough, intricate forms are going to really frustrate you. Stick with basics.

Put the cut dough on the parchment lined sheets, and slide them into the preheated oven.

Watch them like a hawk! You will want to pull them when they are still very pale and NOT browned. I pulled mine at only 6 minutes (using a convection oven) and they were perfect. Really, timing is crucial.

Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

And now the fun begins!

Royal icing dries hard, which is best for intricate decorating. Here’s how you make that:

What you need:

  • 3 cups 10x powdered sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • vanilla or almond extract
  • possibly a few drops of water

In a very clean electric mixer bowl, using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they get white-ish. Sift the powdered sugar and add it to the eggs. Add your favorite flavoring component.

Beat until everything is combined. Depending on your needs, determine whether you need a drop or two of water. Remember, you are one frosting these things, so get it to the consistency that you need. Add colors, etc, and use your creativity!

Option #2 is a stiff buttercream that actually tastes better than royal icing, but doesn’t set up super hard.

What you need:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine softened butter and sifted powdered sugar. Allow to combine, add flavorings. Eyeball the milk quantity; start with 2 tablespoons. If you want it a little looser add a third.

Frost to your heart’s content!

I hope this brings your taste buds and tummies holiday happiness.

xo,

The Gentleman Caller

Full downloadable PDF here: Sour Cream Sugar Cookie

*vanilla sugar: fill a jar with regular white sugar. Insert a vanilla bean and allow to sit for a few weeks. The sugar will take on the aroma.

TAMALE TAMALE TAMALE! The Gentleman’s Holiday Tamale-day

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

I used to live much further uptown than I presently do. I didn’t much care for it. If I can avoid the perils of humanity that one encounters on the New York City subway, I certainly do.

But there used to be (probably still is) a little Columbian or Dominican or Guatemalan or Salvadoran (you get the gist) lady at the subway exit. She had an igloo ice chest with her and she would yell, “TAMALE TAMALE TAMALE!” And people bought tamales.

In many Latin American cultures, making tamales at Christmastime is a beloved tradition. I love tamales. When I was a kid, after we’d slaughter a cow, we’d take the head to this old Mexican lady, and she would make us batches and batches of delicious, greasy tamales.

The Gentleman Caller is not in the practice of stewing cow heads. Not that I wouldn’t, it’s just not super accessible to me presently. However, we are definitely going to make some tamales.

In this recipe, I am repurposing leftover holiday turkey! Hooray, a very well cloaked use for holiday turkey. I also brought the fat content waaaay down. I am (unapologetically) using lard. You can use shortening. But lard is more traditional, and you aren’t using that much.

So don your sombrero and let’s cook.

What you need:

  • 1/2 pound spicy chorizo, uncased
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 large white onion, diced
  • 10 cloves roasted garlic*
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 4 teaspoons fajita seasoning
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic flakes
  • 2 teaspoons onion flakes
  • 1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilis
  • 1 1/2 pounds leftover turkey, white, dark or both**
  • 3/4 cup lard or shortening
  • 4 cups masa harina
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 quart plus 1/2 cup (approximate) chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • 30 dried corn husks

*Toss garlic cloves with oil. Put them in a foil pouch in the oven at 250 for an hour or so. 

**You may substitute rotisserie chicken or any other leftover poultry. 

Put your corn husks in a large bowl with warm water covering them. Allow to sit at least an hour.

In a dutch oven, bring olive oil to near smoking. Add chorizo and onion, stirring and breaking up the chorizo. Add the roasted garlic and get it smashed into the mixture. When the sausage is cooked, add paprika, fajita seasoning, chili powder, garlic flakes and onion flakes. Let the spices open up on the heat. This is probably starting to stick a little, so throw in the Rotel. The liquid will deglaze a bit. Add the 1/2 cup stock. Add the leftover turkey. Turn the heat to low. Allow to cook on low till the meat is shred-able. Allow it to cool.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the lard at high speed until it’s creamy and whippy (yes, I just invented that word). Stir masa, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and white pepper together in another bowl. Add to the lard one cup at a time. After the third cup of dry ingredients, you may start incorporating the stock as well. Alternate dry mixture and stock. Mix just until everything is smooth.

Set up your work station.

Take a couple of corn husks and tear them into 1/3 inch strips. These are your ties. You may also use cooking twine.

Assemble your bowls in an order that makes sense to assemble these suckers. Leave the husks in water; you’ll need to continue to wet your hands as you mash the masa.

Lay a corn husk down on the work surface. Take approximately 1/3 cup masa mixture and mash it into a rectangle. Please refer to the video; it is helpful. Add about 1 1/2 tablespoons filling to the center of the masa. Roll the two edges together, smoosh from the bottom up like a tube of toothpaste, and tie a simple knot across the middle with your corn husk ties.

Repeat. And repeat.

Find a tall pot. Put a steamer basket in the bottom. Line the bottom with corn husks. Put enough water in the bottom to just reach the husks.

Stand the tamales upright in the pot. Leaning them into the sides of the pot helps. Put a lid on the top. Crank up the gas so the water simmers.

About every 15 minutes, check the water level. You will need to add water.

Steam for about an hour. You’ll be able to see when the dough is done. An hour, an hour and fifteen should do it.

Allow them to cool in the pot.

You can eat these plain as they are right now, or you can top them. I am going to make a chili sauce for topping. Here’s the link: http://thegentlemancaller.net/the-gentleman-callers-all-purpose-chili-sauce-1/

These freeze really well. Just leave them in the husk, wrap with foil and place in a zip top bag in the freezer. To reheat, allow to thaw, cover with a clean, wet kitchen towel and microwave.

Holy frijoles, these are deliciouso. Olé for now.

xo – The Gentleman Caller

TAMALE TAMALE TAMALE! THE GENTLEMAN’S HOLIDAY TAMALE-DAY

 

 

 

The Gentleman’s Egg Nog Ice Cream – your children will sleep past 6am Christmas morning…

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

When I was a fat little kid down in Texas, I couldn’t get enough eggnog. And even though I was 8 or 9, dad would still spike it a little for me. Probably because he realized it would make me sleep.

Christmas Eve was the most overstimulating day of the entire year. Family, church, singing, Mawmaw time, presents, driving around looking at lights in Hillcrest Village, more church, more singing, cousins, cousins, cousins, eating, more eating, more presents, baby and toddler meltdowns, envelopes of money, TV specials, more eating, and EGGNOG.

We never made eggnog from scratch, nor did we make eggnog ice cream. I didn’t even know making eggnog was a “thing” until I was well into adulthood. So, here I will offer you two versions: version 1 being the overachiever method and version 2 being the “I still have 30 presents to wrap, I am not making homemade eggnog” method, and then the freezing process.

VERSION 1

What you need (approximate 1 pint yield):

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar (superfine works best) + an additional tablespoon
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon whiskey or bourbon**
  • 1 tablespoon spiced rum**
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, or the caviar of 1/4 of a vanilla bean
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 3 egg whites

**may be doubled or eliminated. 

This is very easy. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks for about 2 minutes. Add the 1/3 cup sugar gradually. Beat until the sugar dissolves. Add milk, cream, booze, nutmeg, and vanilla.

In another bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually add the 1 tablespoon sugar and beat to stiff peaks.

Fold the egg whites into the mixture, chill.**

**Yes, this recipe contains uncooked eggs. Yes, the FDA says eggs should get to 160 degrees for “food safety.” However, you eat steak medium and raw oysters and over easy eggs, don’t you? And most dietitians/nutritionists agree that raw organic eggs are the cleanest, safest form of protein available. So screw the FDA.

If you don’t want to make ice cream, you can serve this as is right now! It’s delicious!

VERSION 2

What you need:

  • 1 pint commercially produced eggnog, your favorite variety*
  • 1 tablespoon whiskey or bourbon**
  • 1 tablespoon dark spiced rum**
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, or the caviar of 1/4 of a vanilla bean
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

*Not the kind from the liquor store. It won’t freeze. The kind from the dairy case.

**may be doubled or eliminated. 

Mix all the ingredients together and chill to very cold.

MAKING THE ICE CREAM

I use this with my Kitchenaid Mixer:

http://www1.bloomingdales.com/shop/product/kitchenaid-kica-ice-cream-attachment-kica0wh?ID=481896&pla_country=US&cm_mmc=Bing-PLA-_-Home-HomeCoop-_-Kitchenaid-_-50946960197USA&CAWELAID=120156070003174529&catargetid=120156070003728566&CADEVICE=c

I think it’s a great tool. Super easy, no fuss. You use what works for you.

Pour the well-chilled liquid into the SUPER FROZEN bowl of the mixer attachment. Process on slow/stir for about 25 minutes.

Remove the dasher and put the ice cream (should be about soft serve consistency) into a bowl or container, and quickly get it into the freezer.

It will continue to harden. Allow it to sit for a few hours before you serve it so it’s nice and firm.

Shown here with The Gentleman Caller’s Spiced Up Holiday Apple Pie http://thegentlemancaller.net/spiced-up-holiday-apple-pie/

Do your best not to eat it all before your guests arrive!

That’s all for now, little fatty.

xo,

The Gentleman Caller

THE GENTLEMAN’S EGG NOG ICE CREAM

The Gentleman Caller’s Non-Tacky Christmas Stocking

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

One thing about Christmastime has always baffled me. A good many people lose all sense of taste when it comes to decorating and what is acceptable to put out around their homes. Perhaps, rather, Christmas exposes people I didn’t know had bad taste as People Who Have Bad Taste. The vulgar plastic atrocities lining the shelves of the local K-mart continue to bring us to new visual lows as a society.

The two particular items I find most loathsome are 1) Santa hats, and 2) STOCKINGS.

Now, a stocking is a must. It’s half of the Santa shakedown. I would have run around as a child with nary a pair of underwear were it not for the Christmas stocking. But let’s class it up a little, can we?

The Gentleman Caller has taken the matter into his own hands. We are making our own. Go out and find some lovely material that incorporates your home’s decor with your Christmas tree, and then watch my video. It’s a VERY easy sew. And don’t forget: the bigger the stocking, the more loot Santa leaves.

Good luck and happy holidays!

xoxo,

The Gentleman Caller

The Gentleman’s Momma’s Holiday Hot Chocolate

 

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Wow, it’s coming fast, kids. We’re just ripping those doors off our advent calendars at breakneck pace!

Today I got a great big package from Alvin, Texas and I was perplexed as to what it might contain. So I FaceTimed with Momma so she could walk me through it in case I wasn’t supposed to open something from “Santa Claus.”

To my delight and surprise, it was filled with homemade cookies, fudge, citrus from mom’s backyard trees (standby for The Gentleman’s Winter Marmalade Recipe…), and this enduring classic: The Gentleman’s Momma’s Holiday Hot Chocolate.

Every year in December mom would make this beverage powder, and divvy it up into decorative containers, mugs, and jars. Then she would gift it to friends and relatives. This tastes like my childhood.

Here’s what you need:

Don’t you love when the recipe is in the hand of the person from whom you receive it? 

  • 1-8 quart box powdered milk
  • 1-1 pound box of Nestle Quick (it’s now branded as Nesquik and has a big rabbit on the front)
  • 1-1 pound box powdered sugar
  • 6 ounces powdered creamer

Combine all the ingredients in a big mixing bowl.

In a kettle or the microwave heat water or milk. Add 1 cup of liquid to 1/4-1/2 cup dry ingredients. Add marshmallows. Add a peppermint. Add Baileys and look at the tree.

Make all your friends happy by sharing your concoction. Or drink the whole damn batch yourself!

More later.

The Gentleman Caller (+ Momma)

THE GENTLEMAN’S MOMMA’S HOLIDAY HOT CHOCOLATE