Sunday, October 09, 2011

Handcrafted Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen

Is it just me or did 2011 zip by in a blinding flash? One morning, I woke up, rubbed my eyes, and realized it was high time to start thinking about a holiday class menu. This high time being sometime in July, that is. I'll be the first to admit that I never get off to a flying start. Rather, it takes quite a while warming know, to thinking creatively about Christmas in the most swelteringly hot period of the year and all that jazz. A failsafe kickstart is to crank up the AC to near freezing temperatures, put on Nat King Cole's festive tunes, huddle under a cashmere throw, and sip a teacupful of Mariage Frères' Esprit de Noel blend. Beautifully perfumed with Christmas spices, vanilla bean and orange zest, the merest whiff of the aromatic plumes escaping from a freshly brewed pot of this magical tea is just what I need to put the December in July. And yes, while I'm cosying up to my fauxmas, Brando and Gracie, my two long-haired miniature dachshunds - not to mention W - always look at me dotingly like I'm thisclose to dotty.
Once I do get into the groove, however, I must say I thoroughly enjoy the early immersion and realize what a privilege it is to call it work. The result? The new demo class I'm teaching at Shermay's Cooking School on 29 October 2011 (Saturday) and 30 October 2011 (Sunday). For all inquiries, please call the school at +65 6479 8442 or 6479 8414, or email
The menu is filled with handcrafted holiday gifts from the kitchen which I hope you'll enjoy making as much as your recipients will enjoy indulging in:
Pretty Party Cake Pops These cute mini treats are a huge sensation thanks to their irresistibility. Up the ante by using a fabulous homebaked chocolate cake and complementary chocolate cream cheese frosting, and you’re ready to create your very own bouquet of chic cake pops 
Chocolate Peppermint Whoopie Pies A pair of richly chocolatey, tender and cake-like cookies coddle a lush peppermint filling for a holiday spin on a beloved retro treat
Luxury Fruitcake Cupcakes Packed with an extravagant mix of dried figs, dates, apricots and hazelnuts – no generic pre-mixed dried fruit here! – these gems are every bit as scrumptious to savour as a traditional fruitcake, but much less fussy to put together  
Eggnog Sandwich Cookies Buttery nutmeg-perfumed shortbread squares sandwich a plush creamy filling spiked with dark rum and Madagascar Bourbon vanilla bean
(Demo will include a comprehensive selection – depending on time – from the material covered in Bonus Section I.)
Holiday Decorating Ideas for Chic Cake Pops:
• Marie-Antoinette à la Rose 
• Sparkling Snowflakes
• O Christmas Tree
Tipsheet I: Creating Perfect Cake Pops 
Tipsheet II: Gifting, Packaging and Display Ideas for Cake Pops
Holiday Decorating Ideas for Chic Cupcakes:
• “Springerle”
• Snowflakes in Blue
Good Old Fashioned Eggnog One sip of this divine concoction, and you’ll never deign to pick up another carton of the pre-made stuff again
Pâte à Tartiner au Chocolat et Noisettes In short, a handcrafted take on Nutella, also known as everybody’s favourite breakfast spread…Be warned that lucky recipients will feel compelled to ask for the recipe, if not a second jar! Enough said