Vanilla Crepes with Winter Spiced Cider Syrup

The inspiration for this dish came from a family tradition we have of making wassail, a traditional warm spiced cider punch from England. While hot chocolate is probably the most common winter drink, this cider is a whole new kind of cozy. It’s made with apple cider, three other fruit juices, and lots of cinnamon sticks. As it cooks, the flavors blend and the whole kitchen begins to smell of warm spice.

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Pistachio Meringues

I’ve been loving the combo of dark chocolate and nuts, so I wanted to create something that incorporates them both. There’s just something about creamy, smooth chocolate with a little nutty crunch. Instead of making a traditional cookie, I’m keeping it on the light side. Meringue basically consists of egg whites that are beaten until thick. There’s so much you can do with meringue, but I like to just dollop little mounds onto a baking sheet and bake them until crisp. A perfect, somewhat lighter treat if you are craving something sweet.

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Pecan Crescents with Hot Chocolate & Spiced Whipped Cream

Cookies and hot chocolate are essentials around the holidays. Even people who don’t cook often can still be found in the kitchen at Christmastime making their favorite assortment of cookies. And hot chocolate? Well, that’s just a given. Nothing’s better than warming up with a tall mug of steamy, homemade hot chocolate. I’ve even found that cookies taste better dunked in hot chocolate than regular milk…at least these cookies do.

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Pumpkin Cornbread Pudding with Cinnamon Caramel & Popcorn

With autumn in full swing, it’s finally time for some pumpkin! I went on a splurge and incorporated all of my favorite flavors of fall into one dessert. Never a huge fan of traditional pumpkin pie, I love finding other ways of incorporating pumpkin into my meals – roasted pumpkin soup, pumpkin cheesecake, or maybe using the seeds in a pesto. This pumpkin cornbread pudding I’ve created is definitely up there on the list.

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Nutella Cheesecake with Sweet Cherry Jam

Over a summer vacation to the Bahamas, I ate at Chef Todd English’s Olives. The menu offers rustic Mediterranean cuisine: flatbreads, fresh pasta, a raw seafood bar, etc. While the entire meal was delicious, the highlight for me was dessert. I can never pass up anything with Nutella in it, so when the first item on the dessert list was a Nutella cheesecake, I put down the menu and was ready to order. It was so good that I came back for seconds at the end of the trip.

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