Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you are spending quality time eating incredible food with loved ones! May you spend very little time hiding from your family in the bathroom;) Here’s a quick little recipe for peppermint bark that is every bit as good as the pricey William-Sonoma version. Time for a sugar buzz!!!

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2013

  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2- 1/3 cups white chocolate
  • 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup crushed candy canes or peppermint candies
~ Melt semi-sweet chocolate in a large glass bowl in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between. It usually takes between 1:30 and 2:00 to completely melt. Add peppermint extract and whisk smooth.
~ In a foil lined 9×13 pan, spread the melted dark chocolate. Let cool to room temperature (this is the best way to prevent the layers from separating).
~ Melt the white chocolate the same way in the microwave at 30 second intervals. Whisk smooth.
~ Once the dark chocolate is firm, spread the white chocolate evenly on top of the dark.
~ Sprinkle the crushed candy on top and press it gently into the chocolate.
~ Let cool to harden then cut or flip the entire thing upside down and gently tap it from underneath to break the bark into pieces.
Give as gifts or stuff your face!

I sort of have a thing for brown butter. I’m not a “Butterton” but I do believe in the magic culinary powers of butter and you won’t find me demonizing it, ever. Good grass fed butter has an ideal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio and nutrients that its grain fed counterparts lack. Not to mention the flavor, dear God the flavor!!! Don’t misunderstand me though, I am by no means classifying this particular delicious, indulgent recipe as healthy. Make it to eat with friends so you don’t end up chowing down on the whole casserole dish! Spread the love, and the calories!!

Anyway, I made this and brought it to a Thanksgiving feast and people loved it. The smokey mild heat and savory brown butter flavor of this recipe is surprising for a sweet potato dish, which are traditionally sweet. I hope you dig it too!

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2013

  • 2 Tablespoons browned butter
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8-1/4″ thick (food processor does a great job!)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2-1/2 Tablespoons chipotle puree (adjust to your personal taste)
  • salt and pepper
~ Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
~ Heat butter in a large frying pan over medium high heat, swirling occasionally and keeping an eye on the color. Once the foam changes to a toasty brown and the aroma becomes nutty the butter is browned and you can add the sweet potato slices. Sauté briefly just to brown edges. This may need to be down in batches.
~ Stack sweet potato slices in large casserole dish.
~ Whisk chipotle puree into the heavy whipping cream.
~ Season the cream mixture with salt and pepper and put evenly over the sweet potatoes.
~ Press sweet potatoes down so that the cream rises to the surface and coats all of the potatoes.
~ Bake covered for 30 minutes then uncovered for another 45 minutes to an hour until the potatoes have absorbed the cream and the top is golden brown and bubbly.
Look at all that brown butter goodness;)

all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2013

It’s been chilly and even rainy here (whose climate am I in ?!?!?!?). Living in a sunny warm climate means that you start to covet dreary days as a time to hibernate a bit and eat indulgent winter foods. There’s something about perpetual sunshine that creates pressure to be effective, if I’m not doing something I feel guilty for wasting a beautiful day. So those few rainy days become a special time to revel in laziness! This dish is a celebration of the rainy day. It’s sort of  bread and pudding hybrid that is a bit dense but also fluffy, sweet yet still savory, and a great recipe to make and bring to a dinner party. I brought it to Thanksgiving and it got rave reviews. Oh and did I mentioned it’s so simple and easy it’s almost stupid. I mean, dump, blend and bake…stupid easy.


all rights reserved Crystal Cartier copyright 2013

  • 2 pounds frozen corn kernels (about 6 cups) with 2 cups reserved whole, thawed
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk (though I think 2% would still work well)
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh ricotta
  • 5 tablespoons sugar (depending on sweetness of corn you may need less or none at all)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt

~ Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

~ Throw all but 2 cups of kernels into a food processor and blitz until smooth.

~ Stir in reserved corn kernels, pour into large casserole dish or individual ramekins.

~ Bake at 350 for about 1 hour for a casserole and 45 minutes – 1 hour for ramekins. Pudding is done when center is just set and toothpick comes out clean.

~ Let sit for 10 minutes after removing from oven.

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