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Recipes & Entertaining Ideas

Filtering by Tag: Winter

Warm Winter Glühwein

Marc J. Sievers

My Warm Winter Glühwein - Inspired by a recent trip to Berlin, Germany for a grand tour of the Christmas markets! Napkins: Britten Couture Home. Cup & Saucer: Cassandra's Kitchen.

In early December I had the pleasure of traveling to Berlin, Germany with my dear friend Jennifer to celebrate her milestone birthday!  Like me, she is a lover of all things Christmas, and the trip was on her bucket list of places to travel.  The plan was to stay in the center of Berlin and spend a week visiting museums, restaurants, and of course the Weihnachtsmarkts (Christmas markets) that are situated all throughout Berlin!

A favorite (and very stylish!) market was WeihnachtsZauber at the Gendarmenmarkt.  This is one of the most popular Christmas markets in Berlin during the festive Christmas season. Framed by the Französischer Dom, the Konzerthaus, and the Deutscher Dom, a small tent city with more than 1,000 strings of light appears like magic each year in this centrally-located square that house artisans selling handmade ornaments, candles, gifts, and casual food stalls.  Besides the many wintry delights at the market stalls, Michelin-starred chefs offer their haute cuisine in heated tents.  This market was so enchanting, we went twice! 

All of the markets, bars, and restaurants offer different variations of warm Glühwein—based on either red or white wines (I like to use a Cotes du Rhone or Chardonnay) infused with dried spices, honey, and orange peel, which is served warm and typically with a shot of liqueur like amaretto, brandy, or dark rum.   After being outside wandering the streets of Berlin this is a very much welcomed drink to help warm your hands and your tummy!

My Warm Winter Glühwein uses a white wine base and infused with aromatics that add incredible flavor and fabulous notes of the wintry holidays.  I love having a pot of this on the stove as company arrives—it is a fabulous drink to serve as a welcome, but also makes the house smell so wonderful!

From my kitchen to yours – Happy Holidays!


Warm Winter Glühwein

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • Orange – outer peel of 1 orange

  • Cloves – 15 whole cloves

  • White Wine – 1 bottle (750 ml), Chardonnay, dry variety recommended

  • Honey – 4 tablespoons

  • Star Anise – 4 whole pods

  • Ginger – 2 pieces, fresh, 1-inch each, peeled, thinly sliced

  • Cinnamon Sticks – 3

  • Sparkling Water – 1½ cups

  • Dark Rum – 4 tablespoons

  • Orange Liqueur – 2 tablespoons

Directions

  1. Start by inserting the whole cloves into the pieces of orange peels.

  2. Next, in a medium sauce pan set over medium heat, add the wine, honey, star anise, ginger, cinnamon sticks, and the orange peels dotted with cloves. Allow to come to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover and barely simmer for 30 minutes.

  3. Using a slotted spoon, remove all of the dried spices and orange peels. Set aside to use as garnishes.

  4. Lastly, stir in the sparkling water, dark rum, and orange liqueur. Gently reheat and serve warm.

Tip: I found that adding in sparkling water at the end gave this warm cocktail a slightly effervescent finish and lighter texture.

Idea: You can also make this in advance by following steps 1,2, and 3.  If you plan to serve it later that day, just leave it to cool on the stove top.  Before serving, gently reheat over medium heat, and add the sparkling water, rum, and orange liqueur.  If you want to make it and store it, allow it to cool completely, transfer it into a container, and refrigerate for up to 1 week.  Before serving, gently reheat over medium heat, and add the sparkling water, rum, and orange liqueur.

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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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Goodies for Santa - Winter Hot Chocolate & Brown Sugar Snickerdoodles

Marc J. Sievers

Christmas is my favorite time of year!  As a little boy I would count down the days until it was time to listen to Christmas music, decorate the tree, and of course Christmas Eve.  I would leave cookies and milk for Santa, chocolates for his elves, and baby carrots for Rudolph.  In the morning I would rush to the table to see if the goodies were gone, and sure enough each year there were crumbs left behind and a note from Santa thanking me for thinking of him!  To this day I still leave Santa and his little helpers goodies on Christmas Eve, the tradition and magic lives on!


Watch my webisode of From My Kitchen to Yours - Cookies for Santa (filmed in Williams-Sonoma Lincoln Park's grand gourmet kitchen!) for a complete tutorial:


Brown Sugar Snickerdoodles

Ingredients (makes 24 cookies)

  • Butter – 1 stick, unsalted, at room temperature

  • Light Brown Sugar – ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons, divided

  • Granulated Sugar – ¼ cup

  • Flour – 1⅓ cups, all-purpose

  • Eggs – 1 extra-large, at room temperature

  • Vanilla – 1½ teaspoons, pure extract

  • Honey – 2 tablespoons

  • Cream of Tartar – 1 teaspoon

  • Baking Soda – ½ teaspoon

  • Sea Salt – ¼ teaspoon

  • Cinnamon – 1½ teaspoons

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

  2. In a small bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Set aside.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and set to medium speed cream together the butter, honey, vanilla, granulated sugar, and ½ cup of light brown sugar, about 5 minutes.

  4. Add the egg and allow to mix until fully incorporated, about 2 minutes.

  5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl making sure everything is well mixed.

  6. In a shallow bowl or plate combine the cinnamon and remaining 3 tablespoons of light brown sugar.

  7. Using a 1¼-inch metal scoop, scoop the dough and release each ball directly into the cinnamon/sugar mixture and gently roll it around.

  8. Arrange the dough balls two-inches apart onto the prepared sheet pan. Lightly press down the tops of each ball.

  9. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.

  10. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Tip: When baking, the light brown sugar on the outside will caramelize slightly adding a depth of flavor to this fresh take on an iconic cookie.


Winter Hot Chocolate

Brown Sugar Snickerdoodles & Winter Hot Chocolate are two classics with a Marc Sievers twist!

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • Light Brown Sugar – ¾ cup

  • Half and Half – 3½ cups

  • Sea Salt – ⅛ teaspoon

  • Cinnamon – ¼ teaspoon

  • Honey – 1 tablespoon

  • Vanilla – ¾ teaspoon, pure extract

  • Vanilla Bean – seeds of 1 large pod

  • White Chocolate – 5 ounces, roughly chopped

  • Cocoa Powder – unsweetened, for garnish

Directions

  1. In a medium sauce pan set over medium-low heat add the half and half. Allow it to come to just below the simmering point.

  2. Remove the pan from the heat and add the sugar, salt, honey, cinnamon, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, and the white chocolate.

  3. In the pan, quickly whisk until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is completely melted.

  4. Gently reheat over low heat, and then carefully ladle into mugs.

  5. Garnish each mug with a dash of cocoa powder and a marshmallow (or two)!

Tip: Make a BOOZY version by adding in a shot (or, two!) of Butterscotch Schnapps,, Caramel Baileys, or your favorite spiced liquor! 

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

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