Carrie's Kitchen: Recipes for some gourmet goodies

Carrie's Kitchen: Recipes for some gourmet goodies
This one’s not for everyone, but personally I love hot pepper jelly with goat cheese or even cream cheese and a cracker. (Baltimore Sun Media Group file)

We’re just under a week to Christmas, making this my last column before the big day. All month I’ve been thinking about foods that we can make to show our love, and this week I have four more recipes.

The previous weeks I’ve had a theme, but this week’s choices are loosely pulled together as “gourmet foods.” Why order a basket from Harry & David when you can make little gourmet goodies on your own?


First up, rose wine hot pepper jelly. This one’s not for everyone, but personally I love hot pepper jelly with goat cheese or even cream cheese and a cracker. I love it when someone brings a jar to a party and I get to keep it. Well now I’m happy to have a recipe where I can make my own, and the fact that the base is a bottle of rose wine is even more exciting and luxurious. This recipe also has less sugar than a typical jelly, so be sure to use the proper pectin listed in this recipe. And if you’re giving this as a gift, consider including a cheese, cracker and spreading knife to go with it.

Second, a fig and olive tapenade that only takes a couple of minutes in the food processor. I’m not an olive fan myself, but if you have a friend who is, this got rave reviews online at Food 52, which has a pretty critical readership. They suggest serving it with crostini or crackers, but I’m betting those little melba toasts would be pretty perfect with it.

Next, because we definitely need some sweet options, I chose this homemade bourbon cherry pie filling. I know, it’s not the time of year for cherries so you will have to use frozen ones, but they get boiled down anyway so it isn’t going to make much of a difference. But the difference in taste between homemade cherry pie filling and that totally unnatural red stuff that comes in a can couldn’t be bigger, so this is a treat that should be greatly appreciated. I also like the idea of giving pie filling in a jar rather than baking a pie so they can enjoy it when they want and in the manner that they want — perhaps as a topping to cheesecake, over pancakes, or even just by the spoon.

And finally, a beautiful cookie from Martha Stewart that takes a lot of work but looks beautiful and is not something you’re going to find anywhere else: chewy chocolate coconut pinwheels.

Merry Christmas, and take time to appreciate this holiday season without too much rushing. It’s your holiday too! Enjoy!

Rose wine hot pepper jelly

1 bottle rose wine (750 ml)

2 cups sugar

1 (1.75 ounce) package Sure-Jell for Less or No Sugar Needed Recipes

2 jalapeno peppers, stems trimmed, and minced (seeds and all)

Whisk the wine and sugar together in a large heavy pot until the sugar is dissolved. Heat to a boil over medium high heat, whisking often.

Combine the pectin with ¾ cup water and mix well until the pectin is dissolved.

Once the wine has come to a boil, whisk in the pectin and continue to cook for 2 minutes (set the timer) stirring or whisking constantly.

Remove from the heat and stir in the jalapenos. Let cool for about 30-40 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the jelly starts to thicken enough so that the peppers remain suspended when you stir. Pour the mixture into clean jars and let cool completely before capping and refrigerating. The jelly will firm up completely as it chills.

Jelly will keep up to two months in the refrigerator. Makes just over 3 cups.

Fig and olive tapenade

4 ounces dried figs

½ cup Kalamata olives

½ cup pimiento-stuffed green olives

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Mince figs and olives finely (or, if you prefer a finer texture, pulse a few times in the food processor). Add rosemary, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil and mix (or process). You may need to add a little more olive oil to get to the texture and consistency you want. Serve as a dip or spread with crostini and crackers.

Homemade Cherry Pie Filling

4 cups of cherries

2 tablespoons water

¼ cup bourbon

⅔ cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Dash of salt

Pit and halve your cherries. Place them, the water and the bourbon in a pot and over medium heat bring them to a simmer and allow the mixture to simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until the cherries release their juices.

Meanwhile in a small bowl whisk your sugar, cornstarch and seasonings vigorously until fully combined.

Add your sugar mixture into your cherries, stir well and return to the heat for an additional 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture thickens. Taste and adjust flavor to your preference. Allow mixture to cool then spoon into a large mason jar (or two) and keep in the fridge until using. Keeps for a week in the fridge.

Note: To omit the bourbon, substitute 3 tablespoons water and 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice.

Chewy coconut chocolate pinwheels

2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1½ cups desiccated unsweetened coconut (6 ounces)

9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (1¾ cups)

½ cup sweetened condensed milk

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together 8 tablespoons butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla.

Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture, beating until almost combined. Add coconut and beat until incorporated.

Place dough between two sheets of parchment and roll out to a 10½-by-12½-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. Using a sharp knife, trim ½ inch from edges to create a 10-by-12-inch rectangle. Transfer to a baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, at least one hour and up to overnight.

Place chocolate and remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water; stir until melted and smooth, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in condensed milk. Let cool 5 minutes. Mixture will be thick and pasty.

Remove dough from refrigerator and peel off top sheet of parchment. Using an offset spatula, spread chocolate mixture evenly over surface of dough. Using the bottom sheet of parchment for support, roll dough into a tight log. Wrap log in plastic; refrigerate at least two hours and up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove plastic from log and cut log into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced 1 inch apart.

Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until firm and beginning to brown around edges, 15 to 18 minutes.


Let cool on sheets 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to wire racks and let cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to a week.