Recipes for the Season of Gatherings

The holiday season is upon us. Over the next few weeks, we will be providing you with recipes for your upcoming gatherings.

Let us know if there is something you would like us to put in our column, or if you have a recipe to share, please submit to

Peppermint White Russian Mocktail


Prep Time: 3 min

Total Time: 3 min

 Yield: 1 mocktail


2 oz. strong brewed coffee

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1/8 tsp. peppermint extract

2 oz. heavy cream or a little more to fill the glass

1 peppermint stick opt. garnish


Fill the glass with ice. Pour the brewed cold coffee over the ice. Add vanilla and peppermint extracts. “Float” Cream over the coffee. Stir very gently, add a peppermint stick as a garnish. Enjoy!


Glazed Spiral-Cut Ham


Level: Easy

Total: 1 hr 45 min

Active: 15 min

Yield: 8-10 servings


1 (4 to 5 lb.) spiral-cut ham

1 lg. onion, quartered, root end intact

3/4 c. apricot preserves

3 T. yellow mustard

2 tsp. molasses

1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

Pinch of ground cloves

8 sprigs fresh thyme, stripped

4 T. cider vinegar

1-1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1 T. unsalted butter, at room temp.

1 T. all-purpose flour

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper  


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or large roasting pan with foil.

Put the ham cut-side down on the foil and scatter the onion pieces around it. Cover the ham loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the apricot preserves, mustard, molasses, Worcestershire, allspice, cloves, thyme leaves, 3 tablespoons of the vinegar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Cook, whisking, over medium heat until the preserves dissolve and the glaze is smooth, about 4 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the foil from the ham and continue to bake, brushing the ham with the glaze every 15 minutes until nicely glazed and heated through, about 1 hour more. Transfer the ham to a serving platter, tent with foil and set aside while making the sauce.

Pour the pan juices into a medium skillet. Add the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Mix the butter and flour together in a small bowl until you form a paste. Whisk the paste into the pan juices and let the sauce simmer until thickened like gravy. Finish with the remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Serve the ham with the sauce.


Caramelized Vidalia Onion and Potato Gratin with Fresh Sage


Level: Intermediate

Total: 2 hr 10 min

Prep: 30 min

Inactive: 10 min

Cook: 1 hr 30 min

Yield: 4 servings


2 T. olive oil

1 T. unsalted butter

3 Vidalia (or other sweet variety) onion, peeled, halved & thinly sliced on a mandolin

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

3 T. finely chopped fresh sage leaves

6 lg. Idaho potatoes, peeled & sliced thinly on a mandolin

2 c. heavy cream


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat oil and butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook until caramelized, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sage. Let cool slightly.

Make a layer of potato slices in a 10 by 10 by 2-inch casserole, season to taste with salt and pepper, spread 1/12 of the onion mixture over the potatoes and coat with 2 tablespoons of the cream. Repeat each step to yield 12 layers. Press down gently on the layers, place the dish on a sheet pan and bake, covered for 25 minutes. Remove cover and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and golden brown on top. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.


Creamy Broccoli with Cashews


Prep/Total Time: 20 min.

Yield: 6 servings


9 c. fresh broccoli florets

1/4 c. chopped onion

2 T. butter

1 c. sour cream

2 tsp. honey

1 tsp. cider vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 c. coarsely chopped cashews


Place broccoli in a steamer basket; place in a large saucepan over 1 in. of water. Bring to a boil; cover and steam for 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, sauté onion in butter until tender. Remove from the heat; stir in the sour cream, honey, vinegar, salt and paprika.

Transfer broccoli to a serving bowl. Add sour cream mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle with cashews. 


Honey-Mustard Brussels Sprouts Salad


Prep/Total Time: 25 min.

Yield: 10 servings


1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed & shredded

2 med. tart apples, chopped

1 med. red onion, chopped

1 sm. sweet orange pepper, chopped

1/2 c. chopped walnuts

1/2 c. green grapes, sliced

1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

3 bacon strips, cooked & crumbled

1/4 c. olive oil

2 T. red wine vinegar

2 T. honey mustard

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper 


In a large bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk remaining ingredients; pour over salad. Toss to coat.


Orange and Maple Roasted Butternut Squash


Level: Easy

Total: 1 hr 30 min

Active: 20 min

Yield: 6 servings


1 butternut squash (about 2-1/2 lbs.), peeled, halved, seeded & thinly sliced

2 T. olive oil

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

2 T. pure maple syrup

Zest & juice of 1 orange

2 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley  


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the squash with the oil and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Tile the squash slices in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, overlapping the pieces. Stir the maple syrup, orange zest and juice together in a small bowl and pour over the squash.

Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until the squash is tender and the top begins to brown, 30 to 40 minutes more. Scatter the parsley over the top.


Vegetable Tarte Tatin


Level: Intermediate

Total: 1 hr 50 min

Prep: 40 min

Cook: 1 hr 10 min

Yield: 8 servings


2 med. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled & cut into 1/2” thick rounds

2 med. sweet potatoes, peeled &cut into 1/2” thick rounds

2 med. parsnips, peeled & cut into 1/2” thick rounds

1 sm. onion, cut into 1/2” thick rounds

4 cloves garlic, halved

3 T. extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper

3/4 c. sugar

1 T. white wine vinegar

1 T. sm. fresh sage leaves

1 T. fresh oregano leaves

6 oz. mozzarella, grated (about 1 c.)

1 (8.5 oz.) sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

All-purpose flour, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss both kinds of potatoes, the parsnips, onion, garlic, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet; bake until tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, mix 2 tablespoons water and the sugar in a skillet and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan, until amber, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Pour the caramel into a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish and spread with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the sage and oregano on top.

Arrange the roasted potatoes and parsnips in a single snug layer on top of the caramel. Scatter the onion and garlic over the roasted vegetables; sprinkle evenly with the mozzarella.

Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 9-by-13-inch rectangle. Pierce the pastry all over with a fork, then lay it on top of the mozzarella, folding the edges under to fit, if necessary. Bake 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking until the dough is cooked through, 15 to 20 more minutes.

Let the tart cool 10 minutes in the baking dish, then carefully invert it onto a cutting board. Replace any vegetables that stick to the dish, if necessary.



Gnome Cookie Cups


Prep Time: 5 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

Additional Time: 20 mins

Total Time: 45 mins

Yield: 24 cookie cups

Submitted by Karie Bruder – Drummer Test Kitchen


1 pkg. refrigerated sugar cookie dough (I used the break apart kind)

24 oz white frosting, about 2-3 tubes of prepared frosting

24 strawberries

24 Skittles® (I used the pink ones from the Skittles Smoothie mix)


Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a mini muffin pan with cooking oil spray. You can also use mini cupcake liners if you have them.

Place one cookie into each muffin cup. You don’t need to flatten or roll them.

Bake cookies for 20 minutes and place pan on a wire rack to cool.

While the cookies are still warm, take a small scoop to gently press the cookies into a cup shape.

Cool completely before removing from the pan.

Wash strawberries and cut out the crowns in a v shape.

Take a fully cooled cookie cup and pipe frosting into the cup. You want to be a little generous here. Then push a strawberry on top of the icing and add a pink candy nose just under the strawberry.

Take a toothpick to spread some of the icing to create the white beard.  Enjoy! 


White Chocolate Holiday Bark


Level: Intermediate

Total: 1 hr 35 min

Prep: 30 min

Inactive: 1 hr

Cook: 5 min

Yield: About 1-1/2 lbs.


1 lb. finely chopped white chocolate

1-1/2 tsp. nut or plain oil

1/2 c. dried cranberries

1-1/4 c. shelled pistachio nuts, toasted & papery coating peeled 


Special equipment: Chocolate thermometer

Tempering the chocolate for the bark requires a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, improvise one by using a saucepan and a stainless steel bowl: Nestle the bowl into the saucepan, allowing a few inches of space to remain between the bottom of the bowl and the bottom of the saucepan. Keep an extra bowl of a similar size on hand to transfer the chocolate for cooling. Rest the chocolate thermometer on a towel. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Pour a couple inches of water into the bottom half of the double boiler and heat over medium-low to just below a simmer. Put the chocolate in the top half of the double boiler and set over the hot water. Slowly melt the chocolate, stirring with a heat-resistant rubber spatula. As the chocolate melts, check the temperature periodically to make sure it stays between 82 and 86 degrees F. If it starts to rise above this temperature, quickly transfer the chocolate to the bowl on reserve and stir briskly to reduce heat. Return bowl to double boiler to maintain heat between 82 and 86 degrees F.

Remove bowl from over the hot water just before all the chocolate melts. Stir vigorously until the chocolate melts completely. Check temperature again. Stir in the oil until evenly blended. Chocolate is now tempered and ready to use. Keep within the 82 to 86 degree F range, returning bowl briefly to the double boiler if necessary.

Quickly stir the fruit and nuts into the chocolate. Spread chocolate mixture out on the prepared baking sheet so it’s about 1/2-inch thick and the fruit and nuts are coated. Set bark aside at room temperature to harden. Break into angled pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.


Quote of the Week:

“To give without any reward, or any notice, has a special quality of its own.” 

~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh


The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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