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Recipes & Entertaining Ideas

Filtering by Tag: Orange

Cointreau Winter Cider

Marc J. Sievers

During the winter, when the temperatures are just freezing, is actually my favorite time of year to entertain at home.  People tend to stay a bit longer, the food is very comforting and hearty, and everyone can relax and have a really good time!  When my guests arrive, I offer them a hot cocktail to warm them up and make them feel right at home – and it gives me time to put the finishing touches on dinner.  My Cointreau Winter Cider is filled with aromatic spices, lime juice to cut the sweetness, and has an orange boozy kick from Cointreau (that is sure to warm you up!)!  Best of all it can be made in advance so there is no mixing or shaking individual drinks – which leaves more time for me to enjoy the soirée, too!


Cointreau Winter Cider

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • Apple Cider – 32 ounces

  • Fresh Lime Juice – 6 ounces, freshly squeezed

  • Cinnamon Sticks – 2, plus more for garnish if desired

  • Star Anises – 2, whole

  • Cloves – 2, whole

  • Oranges – 2, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish if desired

  • Granny Smith Apple – 1, cored, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish if desired

  • Cointreau (orange liqueur) – 12 ounces

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan set over medium heat, add all of the ingredients except for the Cointreau.

  2. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat, add the Cointreau, cover and steep for 20 minutes.

  3. Fill heat-proof glasses or mugs with hot cider, garnish with extra cinnamon sticks, and serve.

Tip: If you would like to make this in advance, after the cider is finished steeping, remove the fruit and spices, and store the finished cider in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  When you are ready to serve, gently re-heat the cider in a medium sauce pan over medium heat and serve hot.

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Cointreau Vinaigrette

Marc J. Sievers

Like so many of you, I like to have different vinaigrettes on-hand in the refrigerator.  A simple salad, when done really well, adds great texture and color to a meal, whether for lunch or dinner.  Salads have been know in my house (and clients, too!) to be an impromptu addition when I am having timing issues in the kitchen (or, when I drain the pasta into the sink without a colander - I blame it on the wine!).  My Cointreau Vinaigrette has a wonderful balance of sharp orange zing from Cointreau, and the freshly squeezed orange juice adds a bit of sweetness.  It is rounded out by the fruity olive oil, blending all of the flavors.   A perfect pairing, indeed!


Cointreau Vinaigrette

Ingredients (serves 6)

Cointreau Vinaigrette:

  • Orange Liqueur – 1½ tablespoons (Cointreau recommended)

  • Olive Oil – ⅓ cup

  • Honey – 2 tablespoons

  • Orange Juice – 3 tablespoons, freshly squeezed

  • Sea Salt – ¼ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ¼ teaspoon, freshly cracked

Salad Components:

  • Arugula – 5 ounces

  • Hazelnuts – 1 cup, lightly toasted

  • Goat Cheese – 3 ounces, crumbled

  • Parmesan Cheese – large shavings, for garnish (Parmigiano-Reggiano recommended)

  • Strawberries – 1½ cups, hulled, then thinly sliced

  • Parsley – ¼ cup, fresh, finely minced, Italian flat leaf variety recommended

  • Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Orange Juice – ¼ cup, freshly squeezed

Directions

Cointreau Vinaigrette:

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously for about 60 seconds.

  2. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before dressing a salad.

Assembly:

  1. On a large serving platter, arrange the arugula, hazelnuts, goat cheese, Parmesan cheese, strawberries, and parsley. Evenly sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  2. Next, evenly drizzle the salad with freshly squeezed orange juice.

  3. Add just enough Cointreau Vinaigrette to lightly coat the salad. Toss tableside just before serving.

Tip: I like to serve more vinaigrette in a small pitcher or gravy boat on the side and let guest add more vinaigrette to their salad if they prefer.

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Cointreau Chocolate Ganache

Marc J. Sievers

A really good chocolate ganache is a fabulous recipe to have in your arsenal of quick and easy desserts because once it is made it has so many uses.  It can be used to glaze shortbread cookies, rolled into truffles, served warm over ice cream, used for chocolate covered strawberries, glazing cakes and cupcakes, or even whipped in a stand mixer until light and fluffy to use as a ganache frosting!  My Cointreau Chocolate Ganache is flavored with orange liqueur and Cognac, adding sophisticated (and boozy!) flavor of sharp orange and the warmth of Cognac, both of which happen to pair perfectly with dark chocolate.  Best of all, it takes just a few minutes to make and instantly makes even the simplest garnishes feel special and soirée-ready!


Cointreau Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients (makes 2½ cups)

  • Dark Chocolate – 1 pound, finely chopped, 72% cocoa preferred

  • Heavy Cream – 1 cup

  • Honey – 4 tablespoons

  • Sea Salt – ¼ teaspoon

  • Vanilla – ¾ teaspoon, pure extract

  • Orange Zest – 1 ½ teaspoons, finely zested

  • Cognac – 2 tablespoons (Remy Martin 1738 recommended)

  • Orange Liqueur – 3 tablespoons (Cointreau recommended)

  • Shortbread Cookies – store-bought (Walkers brand recommended)

Directions

  1. In a heat-proof bowl set over barely simmering water, heat the dark chocolate, heavy cream, honey, and salt until just melted, stirring occasionally.

  2. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla, orange zest, Cognac, and Cointreau. Stir to combine.

  3. Drizzle ½ of each shortbread cookie with just enough chocolate to coat it. Set each coated cookie onto a paper baking cup that has been flattened. Garnish with more orange zest if desired. Allow the ganache to set at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.

Tip: Stirring the ganache as it cooks with help make it shiny when it is used as a glaze, making for a professional and dramatic presentation.  The ganache will stay fresh in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week.  

Idea: Once the shortbread cookies set, do not refrigerate.  Store them tightly wrapped at room temperature.  

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Homemade Flavored Oils

Marc J. Sievers

Much of my inspiration comes from specialty food and grocery stores in my neighborhood.  In just a seven block area there are a number of major brand grocery stores as well as a handful of smaller shops and markets, fine-foods stores, and the ultimate food haven:  Eataly

With all of these options right near to me I tend to use them directly for inspiration.  I pop in and out of stores, take photos of what inspires me, take notes in a small notebook I carry in my bag, and even taste-test things that really look delicious.  After my adventures of the day, I either head back to my kitchen and start recipe testing ideas that came to me as inspiration from earlier in the day, or catalog them with a printed photo and my notes to pick up another day.

I keep a pretty well-stocked pantry at home, a bit overflowing with “high and low” ingredients—they are from specialty foods stores (the “high”), and everyday ingredients from my regular grocery stores (the “low”).  This combination not only makes recipe testing easier as I have a plethora of ingredients at my fingertips, but also more creative as there are more flavors to combine and pair together.

A staple in my pantry are flavored oils—some are homemade and some are store-bought.  I love using a basil olive oil drizzled on tomatoes, or a truffle olive oil on roasted potatoes, and my Lemon & Thyme Oil on just about anything!  You can serve this oil with big chunks of crusty bread with drinks or during dinner.  Drizzle it on a bed or arugula with crushed Pistachios, or on pasta with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.

For fun, I have also included some “extras”—my Orange & Honey Oil and my Shallot & Black Pepper Oil.  All three flavored oils can be used in so many ways, so have fun experimenting!


Thyme & Lemon Oil

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil – ½ cup

  • Thyme – 10 sprigs, fresh

  • Lemon – 1, thinly peeled

  • Garlic – 4 cloves, peeled, lightly smashed

Directions

  1. In a small sauce pan set over medium heat, add all of the ingredients.

  2. Allow the oil to come to a simmer, then lower the heat to low and cook for 3 minutes.

  3. Remove from the heat, transfer into a small glass bowl, and allow to cool completely at room temperature.

  4. Store in an air tight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Shallot & Black Pepper Oil

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil – ½ cup

  • Shallots – 1 tablespoon, finely minced

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Sea Salt – ¼ teaspoon

Directions

  1. In a small sauce pan set over medium heat, add all of the ingredients.

  2. Allow the oil to come to a simmer, then lower the heat to low and cook for 3 minutes.

  3. Remove from the heat, transfer into a small glass bowl, and allow to cool completely at room temperature.

  4. Store in an air tight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Orange & Honey Oil

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil – ½ cup

  • Orange – 1, thinly peeled

  • Honey – ½ teaspoon

Directions

  1. In a small sauce pan set over medium heat, add the olive oil and orange peel.

  2. Allow the oil to come to a simmer, then lower the heat to low and cook for 3 minutes.

  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey.

  4. Transfer into a small glass bowl, and allow to cool completely to room temperature.

  5. Store in an air tight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Tip:  I like to make flavored oils in small batches to ensure they stay as fresh and flavorful as possible.  These oils can be stored in an air tight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.  Gently reheat the oil in a small saucepan set oven low heat until the oil liquifies again.  You can either serve the oil warm or at room temperature.  You can easily expand this recipe by two or three times for larger quantities.

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Simmering Winter Potpourri on WGN

Marc J. Sievers

During the winter, I love to have a pot simmering on the stove filled with quintessential seasonal aromatics that make my home smell welcoming and festive.  Just before Christmas, I had the pleasure of showcasing some last-minute decor ideas on WGN News and this (along with a few others!) was a hit in the newsroom!  My Simmering Winter Potpourri does just the trick!  Things like cinnamon, orange, rosemary, and even Balsam branches gently release their fragrance in spiced apple cider and fill the air with the most wonderful scent.  The best part is all you need to do is add more apple cider or water as needed and your home will smell like a wintery wonderland!  

Happy Holidays - from me to you!   


Simmering Winter Potpourri

Components

  • Apple Cider – 2 cups

  • Water – 3 cups

  • Orange – 1 large, sliced ½-inch thick

  • Rosemary – 3 springs, fresh

  • Balsam Branches – 8 small springs

  • Cinnamon Sticks – 3

  • Cloves – 10, whole

Directions

  1. Add all of the components to a saucepan and bring to just under the boil. Then, reduce the heat to simmer. Allow the aromatics to simmer throughout the day or evening, adding more water and apple cider as necessary.

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Cheers! A Spooky Orange Creamsicle Martini

Marc J. Sievers

Don’t you just love Halloween:  Candy, costumes, and cocktails, OH MY!  In keeping with the spirit of All Hallows Eve my Spooky Orange Creamsicle Martini is festive with traditional orange and black colors and tastes like an old favorite childhood soda.

While I LOVE fun cocktails, I usually find that they are made with an overwhelming amount of specialty liquors and ingredients that I never seem to have on-hand in my bar.  This yummy cocktail has just 3 ingredients, all of which are easy to find.  In fact, you may even have them already.  So get mixin you little vixen!  Have a safe and spooktacular Halloween, BOO!


Spooky Orange Creamsicle Martini

Ingredients (makes 6  martini’s)

  • Whipped Cream Flavored Vodka – 1½ cups, chilled

  • Orange Soda – 3 cups, chilled

  • Heavy Cream – 6 tablespoons, cold, divided

  • Black Sanding Sugar – ¼ cup

Directions

  1. Lay a large piece of parchment paper down on the counter.

  2. Pour the sanding sugar onto a small plate. On another small plate pour just enough water to coat the bottom of the plate. Place the rim of a martini glass into the water then directly into the sanding sugar, gently rolling it to cover the rim.

  3. Place the coated rim onto the parchment paper and allow dry for 20 minutes.

  4. Do this with all the martini glasses.

  5. Pour the vodka and orange soda into a pitcher. Gently stir to combine.

  6. Fill each martini glass with enough liquid to come ¾ –inch below the sugared rim.

  7. Top each martini with 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream and gently stir to incorporate.

  8. Serve immediately.

Tip: Serve this martini all year long by changing out the black sugar for white or orange sugar!

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Cheers! The Tuscan

Marc J. Sievers

On of my favorite movies is Under the Tuscan Sun!  I love watching  it and imagining myself cooking, eating, and drinking luscious food and wine on a blanket under a big tree. In this blissful Italian daydream I would need a cocktail.  And what better way to capture the essence of the countryside than with oranges, lemons, rosemary, and Amaretto, my creation The Tuscan!  This total crowd pleaser can be mixed in advance, stored in the refrigerator, and poured over ice to get the party started.  Cheers!


The Tuscan

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Amaretto – ¾ cup

  • Vodka – ¾ cup

  • Grand Marnier® – Splash to taste

  • Rosemary – 3 sprigs

  • Lemonade – 2¼ cups

  • Orange – 3 large slices

Directions

  1. First, fill 6 double old fashioned glasses with ice. Zest 6 large peels of orange.

  2. In a large cocktail shaker, muddle the leaves of 3 sprigs of rosemary and all the orange slices to a rough pulp. Add ice to the cocktail shaker.

  3. Pour in the Amaretto, vodka, Grand Marnier®, and lemonade. Top the shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Remove the top and pour through a fine strainer evenly into each glass.

  4. Garnish each glass with ½ of a fresh rosemary sprig and one large orange peel. Serve immediately.

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Fig & Stilton Salad

Marc J. Sievers

Whenever fresh figs are in season and available at farmers markets, I always get so excited for the endless possibilities for cheese plates, salads, and desserts!  My Fig & Stilton Salad combines a unique flavor combination of Black Mission Figs, Stilton, and dark chocolate all dressed with an orange vinaigrette.  This is the perfect salad with a glass of champagne or Sauvignon Blanc while dining al fresco during the last few weeks of summer.  Just add a fresh baguette and some honey butter and voila, you have a chic and delicious salad for your guests.


Ingredients (serves 4)

  • Orange Zest – 1 tablespoon

  • Orange Juice – 1/3 cup, freshly squeezed

  • Honey – 1 tablespoon

  • Sea Salt – 3/4 teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – 3/4 teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Olive Oil – 3/4 cup

  • Arugula – 5 ounces, washed & drained well

  • Black Mission Figs – 8, quartered

  • Pecans – 1 cup, halved

  • Stilton – 3/4 cup, crumbled

  • Dark Chocolate – 4 tables, freshly grated

  • Fleur de Sel – for garnish

Directions

For the Orange Vinaigrette:

  1. Combine the juice, zest, honey, sea salt, and black pepper into a glass bowl. Mix until well incorporated.

  2. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.

  3. Set aside.

For the salad:

  1. Toss the arugula with the vinaigrette and arrange on a large serving platter or bowl.

  2. Evenly distribute the figs, pecans, Stilton and dark chocolate over the dressed arugula.

  3. Garnish with Fleur de Sel.

  4. Serve immediately.

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Goat Cheese French Toast Soufflé

Marc J. Sievers

Having people over for brunch is about to get even more delicious!  My Goat Cheese French Toast Soufflé is the perfect dish to make when you want to sip champagne with friends and do the least amount of cooking possible.  It’s packed with sweet (honey), savory (goat cheese), & citrus (orange) flavors and has the most airy-light texture.

You can also pair this with freshly sliced strawberries topped with julienned basil leaves.  After making this, you may never want to make traditional French toast again.  Happy brunch-ing!


Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Challah bread – 8 slices ¾-inch thick

  • Eggs – 4, extra-large, PLUS 1 extra-large yolk

  • Half-n-half – 3 cups

  • Honey – 3 tablespoon, divided

  • Light Brown Sugar – 2 tablespoon

  • Orange Zest – 3 tablespoon

  • Orange Juice – 1 tablespoon

  • Vanilla – 1 tablespoon, pure extract

  • Cinnamon – 1 ½ teaspoon

  • Nutmeg – ¾ teaspoon

  • Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Goat Cheese – 5-ounces, crumbled

  • Butter – 3 tablespoons, unsalted

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Start by arranging the first layer of bread in a 9-inch square by 2-inch deep baking dish. Make sure to fill in any gaps with small pieces of bread.

  3. Next, evenly distribute the goat cheese onto the first layer. Then, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of honey.

  4. Arrange the remaining slices of bread on top of the goat cheese and honey. Make sure to fill in any gaps with small pieces of bread. Set aside.

  5. In a large glass bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-n-half, vanilla, sugar, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, orange juice, orange zest, and remaining 2 tablespoons of honey.

  6. Pour the custard over the bread, gently pressing the bread down. You may need to move the bread from the around the edges slightly in order for the custard to seep down. Allow the mixture to set for 10 minutes.

  7. Dot the top of the bread with butter.

  8. Place the baking dish in a larger pan and add enough hot tap water to the larger pan to come halfway up the side of the baking dish. This is called a water bath (or bain marie) and is used when baking a custard to slow down the cooking process so the milk will not boil and curdle the eggs.

  9. Cover the larger pan tightly with aluminum foil, tenting it so the foil doesn’t touch the bread. Make two slits in the foil to allow steam to escape.

  10. Lastly, bake for 45 minutes. Then remove the aluminum foil, and bake for another 35 to 40 minutes. The bread with be puffed up and golden brown.

  11. Serve immediately.

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Orange Petits Fours

Marc J. Sievers

I was so excited to have my fabulous friend Holly over the other day to finalize testing my recipe for Orange Petits Fours!  She loves food, wine, and life as much as I do.  We both agree, these are little cakes filled with the perfect amount of sweetness and decadence.  The cakes are beaming with citrus flavor, while the ganache has just the right amount of edge from the Grand Marnier.  After we baked and decorated almost 100 of these little cakes, Holly took over and shot this amazing photo!  I opened a bottle of Côtes du Rhone, poured two rather-full glasses, and we toasted to a job well done!  Thank you Holly for all the fun in the kitchen!

These are the perfect little sweet-treats for any soirée!


Ingredients

Batter Ingredients (makes 55 individual cakes)

  • Butter – 1 stick, unsalted, at room temperature

  • Sugar – 1 cup, granulated

  • Eggs – 2 extra-large, at room temperature

  • Orange Zest – ¼ cup, freshly grated, plus more for garnish

  • Orange Juice – ¼ cup, freshly squeezed

  • Flour – 1 ½ cups, all-purpose flour

  • Baking Powder – ¼ teaspoon

  • Baking Soda – ¼ teaspoon

  • Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Buttermilk – ¼ cup PLUS 2 tablespoons, at room temperature

  • Vanilla – 1 teaspoon, pure extract

  • Honey – 2 tablespoons

Orange Syrup Ingredients

  • Sugar – ¾ cup, granulated

  • Orange Juice – ¾ cup, freshly squeezed

Dark Chocolate Ganache Ingredients

  • Dark Chocolate – 1 pound, finely chopped

  • Heavy Cream – 1 ½ cups

  • Grand Marnier – 4 tablespoons

  • Honey – 4 tablespoons

  • Sea Salt – ¼ teaspoon

Directions

Batter

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 24 count mini cupcake pan.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add the eggs, 1 at a time allowing each to fully incorporate. Then add the orange zest.

  4. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

  5. In another bowl, combine the orange juice, buttermilk, honey, and vanilla.

  6. With the mixer set to low speed, add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined.

  7. Using a 1 ¼ inch metal scoop, fill the wells with a level scoop of the batter.

  8. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pan.

Orange Syrup  

  1. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the sugar and orange juice until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.

  2. After 10 minutes remove the cakes from the pan, place them on a wire rack set over a sheet pan lined with plastic wrap, and spoon 1 teaspoon of orange syrup over each little cake. Allow the cakes to cool completely. TIP: Spooning the warm syrup over warm cakes will allow it to be absorbed better.

  3. Next, Wash, dry, butter and flour the mini muffin pan and repeat the same steps above until all the batter and orange syrup is used.

Chocolate Ganache

  1. In a heat-proof bowl set over barely simmering water, heat the heavy cream, honey, dark chocolate, and salt until just melted, stirring occasionally.

  2. Remove from the heat and add the Grand Marnier. Stir to combine.

  3. With the little cakes still set on a wire rack over a sheet pan lined with new plastic wrap, drizzle the top and sides of all the cakes with the warm ganache. Garnish with more freshly grated orange zest and insert a party pick into each cupcake for easy serving. Allow the ganache to set completely. Do not refrigerate.

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Fancy Schmancy Butter!

Marc J. Sievers

OK!  So let me start by giving you the true definition of what I call “Fancy Schmancy Butter”:

Compound butters (French: “Beurre composé”, pl. “Beurres composés”) are mixtures of butter and supplementary ingredients. Primarily, they are used to enhance flavor in various dishes, in a fashion similar to a sauce. [Wikipedia]

Now that we have all the formalities out of the way, doesn’t that just sound delicious?!  I have been making (and eating!) fancy schmancy butters for years.  They are all the rage is fabulous bistros and high-end eateries all of the world.  They can be made in a wide variety of flavors, textures and even colors and are as simple as chopping, dash-ing, and mixing!  Whether you are serving something savory or something sweet, my fancy schmancy butters are guaranteed to add a burst of flavor and a creaminess to anything you can dream up!

Three distinct flavors; endless serving possibilities!


Herbed Butter

Ingredients

  • Butter – 1 stick, unsalted, at room temperature

  • Lemon Zest – 2 teaspoons

  • Dill - 2 teaspoons, finely minced, fresh

  • Parsley - 2 teaspoons, finely minced, Italian flat leaf variety

  • Chives - 2 teaspoons, finely minced

  • Honey – 1 teaspoon

  • Sea Salt – 1/4 teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – 1/2 teaspoon, freshly cracked

Directions

  1. Place all the ingredients into a small bowl and mix until combined.

  2. Cut a strip of parchment paper 4½ -inches wide and place the mixture on the short end of the paper. Roll into a log about 1 inch in diameter, rolling the parchment paper around the butter mixture. Twist ends to close. Chill overnight.

  3. Serve by cutting into 1/2 inch thick slices.


Tip: Pairs perfectly with roasted and steamed vegetables, grilled chicken and fish, pasta and toasted baguette.


Countryside Butter

Ingredients

  • Butter – 1 stick, unsalted, at room temperature

  • Orange Zest – 1 tablespoon

  • Strawberry Preserves – 2 tablespoons

  • Sea Salt – 1/4 teaspoon

Directions

  1. Place all the ingredients into a small bowl and mix until combined.

  2. Cut a strip of parchment paper 4 1/2 inches wide and place the mixture on the short end of the paper. Roll into a log about 1 inch in diameter, rolling the parchment paper around the butter mixture. Twist ends to close. Chill overnight.

  3. Serve by cutting into 1/2 inch thick slices.


Tip: Pairs perfectly with biscuits, french toast and pancakes.


Sweet Butter

Ingredients

  • Butter – 1 stick, unsalted, at room temperature

  • Brown Sugar – 2 teaspoons

  • Milk Chocolate – 2 tablespoons, rough chopped

  • Sea Salt – 1/4 teaspoon

Directions

  1. Place all the ingredients into a small bowl and mix until combined.

  2. Cut a strip of parchment paper 4 1/2 inches wide and place the mixture on the short end of the paper. Roll into a log about 1 inch in diameter, rolling the parchment paper around the butter mixture. Twist ends to close. Chill overnight.

  3. Serve by cutting into 1/2 inch thick slices.

Tip: Pairs perfectly with pancakes, croissants and warm baguette for an unexpected twist for dessert.

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