Holiday dinner party hosts know: you can’t control everything. Sometimes the oven goes on strike just as your guests arrive; sometimes your soufflé has all the promise and none of the poof. Come kitchen calamities as they may, as long as you’ve got good friends and great spirits, your party will be a success. To help you with the spirits side, we’re sharing a step-by-step guide to three Champagne-based cocktails: the classic Champagne Cocktail, a French 75 and a Rosemary-Infused Pomegranate Sparkler. Watch below to learn from ICE’s Director of Beverage Studies Anthony Caporale how to prepare each one — then put a few bottles of bub on ice and watch your party go from festive to fantastic.

*Bubbly tips from ICE Beverage Director Anthony Caporale

  • Never shake a drink that contains Champagne or any carbonated beverage, as the mixing glass may explode out of the cocktail shaker.
  • Pour Champagne down the side of the glass to decrease the amount of head; pour it into the center of the glass to increase the amount of head.
  • Liquids lose carbonation as they warm up, so keep your Champagne bottle on ice after opening to help maintain the bubbles.

The Champagne Cocktail
Servings: Makes 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

1 sugar cube
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Champagne
Strawberry or lemon

Preparation:

  1. Place a sugar cube into a Champagne coupe.
  2. Add 2 dashes of Angostura bitters to the sugar cube.
  3. Fill glass with Champagne.
  4. Garnish with a sliced strawberry or lemon twist.

French 75
Servings: Makes 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

Ice
1 ounce gin
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce lemon juice (or, juice of 1 lemon)
Champagne
Lemon twist

Preparation:

  1. Fill cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add gin, simple syrup and lemon juice, and shake.
  3. Pour mixture into a champagne flute.
  4. Top with Champagne.
  5. Garnish with a twist of lemon.

Rosemary-Infused Pomegranate Sparkler

Servings: Makes 1 cocktail

Ingredients:

2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups boiling hot water
1 bunch fresh rosemary
1 ounce pomegranate juice
Champagne
Pomegranate seeds

Preparation:

  1. Add sugar and water together in a pitcher.
  2. Add rosemary and stir; allow to infuse for one hour.
  3. To a glass, add pomegranate juice and 1 ounce of the rosemary-infused simple syrup.
  4. Top with Champagne.
  5. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

 Want to learn to mix cocktails like a pro? Check out ICE’s wine and beverage programs.

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By Lauren Jessen — ICE Graduate + Blogger, A Dash of Cinema

When the weather outside is frightful, there’s nothing better than curling up next to the fire with a cup of hot tea. What’s the perfect treat to go with? Chocolate biscuits. These chocolate biscuits, which are essentially a British take on cookies, are inspired by the classic Christmas romantic comedy film Love Actually.

Chocolate Biscuits

Love Actually explores more than a dozen intertwined stories during the month before Christmas in London. While several characters overlap, each of their stories are unique. One of the characters is the newly-elected Prime Minster, played by Hugh Grant. The Prime Minister enjoys his daily tea and chocolate biscuits, an unbeatable pairing.

I initially became more curious about food from different cultures during culinary school at ICE, where many of our culinary lessons were region-focused. From France to Japan to Mexico, each week in Module Three consisted of learning new techniques and working with various ingredients. Working with new types of foods and learning how to prepare international recipes in class gave me more confidence to try it out on my own at home.

I’m a big fan of American biscuits, but I was intrigued to explore making this English version. The key is to make thin disc slices so that they crisp up when baking. Also, be careful to keep a close eye on the biscuits when they’re in the oven — they only need about 10-12 minutes of bake time since they’re so thin. Drizzle the chocolate biscuits with white chocolate to add a bit of extra sweetness.

Chocolate Biscuits

If you plan on enjoying any type of hot beverage this season, consider pairing it with these crisp chocolate biscuits. They’re easy to make, won’t require too much time and are a sure crowd pleaser.

Chocolate Biscuits with White Chocolate Drizzle

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons unsalted, softened butter
¾ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup caster sugar
egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup white chocolate

Preparation:

  • In the bowl of a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, mix the butter, light brown sugar and caster sugar until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the egg white and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  • In a different bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking soda.
  • Add the flour mixture to the sugar and butter mixture, and mix until combined and a soft dough forms.
  • Roll the dough into a log (once chilled, you will cut this into slices which will be the shape and size of biscuits, so make this as big or small as you prefer your biscuits). Wrap the dough log in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  • While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F. Once chilled, slice the log into slices 2-3 centimeters thick. If you prefer perfect circles, use a round cookie cutter once you’ve cut the slices off the log. Transfer the discs to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the discs for 10-12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  • While the biscuits are cooling, microwave the white chocolate chips for 45 seconds and mix together until smooth.
  • Using a piping bag and a #2 round decorating tip, drizzle white chocolate over the cookies. Allow the white chocolate to harden, then enjoy!

Master biscuits and much more in ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts career program — learn more today.

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By Jeff Yoskowitz—Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts

Every year since I can remember, my extended family has journeyed to my cousin’s house in Irvington, New York for a Chanukah celebration. My father, when he was alive, would enter their home, immediately tie on an apron, grab a bowl of latke mix and start frying potato latkes by the hundreds. It would take him hours, but he loved every minute of it.

jelly doughnutsIt was a special time for me, and I always ate too much of the iconic fried foods prepared for the celebration. When desserts were served, there were always fried doughnuts — usually jelly-filled — that I ate, regardless of how full I was. Over the years, it came as no surprise that I took charge of dessert, making jelly-filled doughnuts of all kinds. One of my favorite variations to make is this recipe, where the doughnuts are filled with the jelly before you fry them. There really is no comparison to eating a fresh, warm doughnut infused with a warm fruit preserve.

Sufganiyot (Israeli Jelly Doughnuts)

 

Ingredients:

64g sugar
7g active dry yeast
170g milk (warmed to 100°F)
385g all purpose flour
58g butter (melted and cooled)
7g salt
150g whole eggs
fruit preserves, as needed
confectioner’s sugar, as needed

Preparation:

  • Mix sugar, yeast and milk the bowl of a KitchenAid mixer and whisk to combine. With the paddle attachment, add remaining ingredients (except fruit preserves and confectioner’s sugar) and mix for 5-8 minutes on medium speed to achieve smooth dough.
  • Cover dough and let rise at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
  • Roll dough out to about 1/2″ thick and cut out circles with a 2” or 3” dough cutter.
  • Place about a teaspoonful of preserves in the center of each circle. Brush the preserves with water to moisten.
  • Bring the ends of the dough over the preserves and pinch the dough together to seal it completely.
  • Place the doughnuts, seam side down, on a floured surface. Cover with a floured towel, and let rest for about 20 minutes.
  • Deep fry at 350°F (about 90 seconds on each side, until golden brown). Test one doughnut first to ensure proper frying time and oil temperature.
  • Set doughnuts on a rack to dry and cool slightly, then sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

Want to study with Chef Jeff? Learn more about ICE’s School of Pastry & Baking Arts.

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It’s hard to believe that it’s already time to start planning events for 2018. If your New Year’s resolution is to be a better cook, baker or cocktail maker, you and your guests will love learning new skills at ICE. ICE’s Special Events department hosts over 400 culinary events every year, and we turn each event or celebration into a fun, gourmet experience.

figs in a blanket

To give you a taste of what’s in store when you host an event at ICE, Philipp Hering, ICE’s Special Events lead chef, is sharing one of our most popular, vegetarian-friendly bites: figs in a blanket with whipped goat cheese mousse – all of the tender, flaky, buttery goodness, with a feel-good substitution of juicy figs. Who says a healthy 2018 can’t be tasty, too?!
 

figs in a blanketFigs in a Blanket with Whipped Goat Cheese Mousse
Yield: 25 pieces

Figs in a Blanket

Ingredients:

1 sheet puff pastry, cut into 3-inch triangles
7 large figs, cut into quarters
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten with 2 tablespoons water (egg wash)
Goat cheese mousse, recipe below

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • On a sheet pan, lay the figs skin side down. Sprinkle liberally with the sugar and bake for 5 minutes, or until caramelized. Let cool. Lower the oven to 350°F.
  • Lay one piece of puff pastry on a clean surface and place a cooled fig onto the wide end of the triangle. Roll pastry and seal the end with the egg wash.
  • Place the rolled figs on a sheet tray and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

Goat Cheese Mousse
Yield: 1 cup

Ingredients:

½ cup heavy cream
4 ounces goat cheese, brought to room temperature
1 bunch chives, finely sliced

Preparation:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip the heavy cream until very stiff. Set aside.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, use a wooden spoon and beat the goat cheese until very soft and smooth.
  • Slowly fold in the whipped cream, a third at a time until well incorporated.
  • Fold in the chives, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Pour mixture into a pastry bag (or alternatively put in a bowl) until ready for use. Either pipe or spoon the mixture on top of the ‘figs in a blanket’.

Learn more about hosting your next event at ICE.

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By Lauren Jessen — ICE Graduate + Blogger, A Dash of Cinema

I’ve never been a big pie person. I can appreciate a good homemade pie with a thick crust and multiple scoops of ice cream, but it’s not the Thanksgiving dessert that I look forward to most. If you fall into the same anti-pie category as me, try making these hazelnut and cardamom sticky buns instead. The cardamom and hazelnut form a delicious flavor duo, especially when paired with this soft, tender dough.

sticky buns

I remember the first time I made sticky buns in culinary school during module 4 of my culinary arts program at ICE. The entire class was excited —because how often do you get to make sticky buns, let alone eat them? We lined muffin pans with pecans and caramel and placed the bun dough on top. Those 30 minutes spent waiting for the buns to bake felt like an eternity.

Now that I’ve learned the proper way to make them, sticky buns are way less intimidating. Essentially, all you’re doing is making a cinnamon roll, but adding the “topping” to the bottom before baking. Then, when they’re finished baking, you flip the buns onto parchment paper. The end result is a gooey, sweet topping and filling with a delicious yeast dough that everyone at the dinner table will be thinking about well past Thanksgiving.

As if sweet, delicious gooiness wasn’t enough, sticky buns are also amazing because you can switch up the flavors with the seasons — you can substitute pecans, pistachios and walnuts for the hazelnuts, and cinnamon, lemon and pumpkin for cardamom. There’s a lot you can do with sticky buns, which makes it a great go-to dessert for any occasion.

 

sticky bunsHazelnut and Cardamom Sticky Buns

Dough

Ingredients:

2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ¾ teaspoons yeast
2 eggs
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
A pinch of cinnamon
3 ½ tablespoons sugar
½ cup butter, unsalted, room temperature

Preparation:

  • In a small saucepan, heat the milk until it reaches 110-115°F.
  • Add the sugar and yeast to the milk, and let the mixture sit for five minutes until the yeast becomes frothy.
  • Add the eggs to the milk mixture and whisk until smooth.
  • In the bowl of a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, mix the flour, salt, cinnamon, sugar and butter together using a dough hook.
  • Pour in the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix until combined.
  • Transfer the dough to a buttered bowl and allow to rise for one hour. After one hour of rising in a warm spot, transfer the dough to the fridge for one hour.
  • Roll out the dough to form a rectangle, about 10-12 inches wide.

Filling

Ingredients:

1 egg, whisked for egg wash
½ cup hazelnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Preparation:

  • Combine the hazelnuts, cardamom, cinnamon and light brown sugar to create the filling mixture.
  • Cover the dough with egg wash, and then spread the filling mixture on top.
  • Roll the dough along the long side. Cut the log evenly into 12 equal pieces. These pieces will be placed on the topping in the prepared pans (see below).

Topping

Ingredients:

½ cup hazelnuts, chopped
1 ⅓ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup corn syrup
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cardamom

Preparation:

  • In a saucepan, over medium heat combine all the ingredients until just melted to create a caramel topping. Be careful not to overcook this mixture.

Making the sticky buns

  • Heat the oven to 350°F.
  • Prepare the sheet pans by spreading the chopped hazelnuts on the bottom and covering them with the caramel topping.
  • Place the buns in the baking pan on top of the caramel and hazelnuts, making sure to give space between each one, as they will double in size when baking.
  • Bake buns for 30 minutes until golden. Allow to cool for 30 minutes, and then flip the sticky buns onto a parchment-lined sheet tray.

Master sticky buns and much more in ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts career program — learn more today.

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