Chef Jamie Gwen whips up six sweet holiday recipes to dazzle your guests.
A FOOLPROOF CROQUEMBOUCHE
- For the cream puffs:
- 2 cups water
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 6 eggs
- For the filling:
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- For the caramel:
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
- 2/3 cup water
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Preheat the oven to 425˚F. In a large pot, bring the water, butter, salt, and sugar to a boil over high heat. Once the water begins to boil, remove the pot from heat and immediately add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the liquid is absorbed and the mixture begins to form a ball. Return the pot to the heat and cook for another 30 seconds to remove excess moisture. Working quickly, add the eggs, one at a time, stirring until fully incorporated. Continue stirring until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the pot and is thick and glossy.
Place 1-inch dollops of the dough on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spaced 1-inch apart. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375˚F and bake for 15 minutes more. Let the puffs cool completely.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream with the sugar until stiff peaks form. Fill a piping bag fitting with a small round tip with the whipped cream. Gently fill the puff shells from the underside with the whipped cream.
Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil and put the lid on, cooking for 5 minutes without moving. Remove the lid and cook for an additional 7-10 minutes, until the caramel is a deep amber color and reaches 300˚F. Remove the pan from the heat and add the heavy cream.
Dip the cream puffs into the caramel and arrange on a serving platter in a circular pattern. Continue to stack caramel-dipped cream puffs in a tower shape. Once your tower is complete, dip a fork into the caramel sauce and drizzle it around the tower.
APPLE SLAB PIE
- 2 large apples, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Coarse sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sliced apples and cook, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally until apples are soft and caramelized.
Lightly dust a sheet of parchment paper with flour. Place your thawed puff pastry dough over it and roll it out slightly to flatten the seams. Cut the puff pastry dough in half down the center to make two pieces.
Arrange apples in a tight row lengthwise down the middle of one puff pastry sheet leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Pour the remaining syrup from the apples over the top of the apples. Brush your beaten egg around the edges of your pastry. Top with the second pastry sheet and press down on the edges to seal.
Cut six 1-inch wide slits down the center of your pastry to create vents. Brush the pastry with egg wash and sprinkle the top generously with coarse sugar. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
CANDY CANE HEARTS
- 24 mini candy canes
- 8 ounces white chocolate chips
- Holiday-themed sprinkles
Preheat the oven to 225ºF and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place 3 lollipop sticks on one of the baking sheets. Lay 2 candy canes in a heart shape around each stick. Bake until the candy canes are slightly soft and malleable and very warm about 3 to 4 minutes. With your fingers, press the candy canes together, adhering them to the stick at the top and bottom. Let cool completely on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining candy canes.
Melt the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at 50% power in 30-second intervals until melted.
Spoon or pipe the melted chocolate into the center of the hearts, spreading it to the edges. Sprinkle with holiday sprinkles. Let the pops harden completely at room temperature.
HOT CHOCOLATE COOKIES
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 60%)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 12 large marshmallows
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Using an electric mixer, beat together the brown sugar, granulated sugar and eggs. Combine the bittersweet chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 50% power in 30-second intervals until melted.
Mix the chocolate/butter into the egg and sugar mixture. Add all of the dry ingredients, and mix thoroughly. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Spoon out 12 cookies onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 13 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven. Top each one with a large marshmallow. Broil for 30 seconds, until the marshmallows are toasted.
SLOW COOKER SALTED CARAMEL EGGNOG
- 1 quart eggnog
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup wrapped caramel candies
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- Whipped cream
- Caramel Sauce
- Flake sea salt
Combine the eggnog, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, caramel candies and sea salt in a slow cooker. Cook on high for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Ladle the eggnog into mugs and top with whipped cream, a caramel drizzle and flake salt.
GILDED CHURRO CHIPS
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 4 large flour tortillas
- Edible gold dust
Preheat your oven to 350ºF. In a small mixing bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon and mix well.
Use a pastry brush to coat both sides of one tortilla with a thin layer of melted butter. Liberally sprinkle the tortilla with the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Turn the tortilla over and repeat. Cut the tortilla into 8 wedges and repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Place the tortillas wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake the chips for about 15 minutes, until they are crisp and golden browned.
Remove the chips from the oven and allow them to cool undisturbed for 15 minutes to set. Dust with edible gold powder!
This segment aired on KTLA 5 Weekend Morning News on Dec. 11, 2021.