Questionable Gourmet – Holday Treats

The holidays are one of those times of year when even anti-social social animals like me are forced get to interact with friends and family at warm gatherings in such an otherwise cold time of year. Of course, the holidays were a month or two ago now… But hey, the cold is still here, so why not talk about the warm desserts we made to bring back a bit of that special cheer?

Actually, none of the deserts were warm. Room temperature, maybe.

Just pretend the pictures are warm, okay?

 

Okay, so there actually is a reason for posting this, and it’s not just the cold weather or that I didn’t get around to doing this post during the holidays, or because Valentines Day is this week. It’s because my wife and I made these, and this week is our wedding anniversary. :)

But before we go on with this post, I should mention some backstory. My wife and I sleep during the day, and since family gatherings are usually in the early evening and tend to have at least half an hour’s worth of driving time, we often don’t bring any food for the gatherings. And even then, although we brought something delicious, it didn’t have the exact oomph we wanted as the odd sheep of the family.

This year, we decided to change that.

 

MELTED SNOWMAN COOKIES

You can find the recipe we used in this youtube video from AllRecipes.com.

This one was pretty much completely done by my wife. I helped with the microwaving of marshmalows, but all the decorating was done by her. Here’s how they looked!

There were a few days in December where this was weather appropriate.

 

We both agreed that while they looked great, they were way too sugary and sweet. After eating one, people gravitated towards the vegetable platters out of subconscious guilt.

Overall, a fun dessert but not something we’d make again.

 

CHOCOLATE MICE AND SWEET CHEESE WEDGE

Next up is something else we found on the youtube channel of AllRecipes.com, but it was actually a Halloween recipe.

And yet, mice are often depicted in Christmas decor, so these cute little critters fit right in.

Here’s how they turned out, and then I’ll mention what we did differently.

Squeekers.

 

Alright, so we did make a few albino mice by rolling them in powdered sugar, but we gave them red eyes using food coloring gel. This was somewhere between cute and disturbing, even more so than it might look in the picture. The powdered sugar also didn’t stick very well to them, and they didn’t taste as nice as the others.

The video also suggests using pieces of licorice for the tails, but that didn’t look as nice as the method we used, which was to take some slightly warmed caramel and roll it into tail shapes. The taste also went along better with the chocolate mice than using licorice.

The other thing that we did differently was that instead of using an actual piece of cheese for a centerpiece, we found a sweet cheese ball recipe and modified it (we took out things like nuts and cookie dough, which would have made it look less like cheese), then I shaped it into the form of a cheese wedge, complete with Swiss-style holes. We provided some chocolate graham crackers for dipping, and all of it turned out delicious.

A few people said they were almost too cute to eat. Almost.

Overall, this was a delicious dessert and something that looked good. We might make this during the holidays again, for a different side of the family. :)

 

The other dessert we made was a certain kind of cake, but that’s something that will be talked about when I make a specific post on a particular cake making method…

 

“But Matt Booker,” you might be asking, “if you don’t like sweets, were all the holiday treats you made desserts?”

No, dear readers. There was one that wasn’t…

My wife and I didn’t go to any family gatherings on Christmas Eve, so that night I made a special treat just for us. There was plenty of left over sugary bits, but I wanted something so manly it combined some of my favorite main dishes into one.

Behold, the meatcake!

MEATCAKE

EVEN MORE DELICIOUS THAN IT SOUNDS.

 

If this is your first time hearing about a meatcake, first, let me say that while I’m sorry to hear that, I’m glad to be the one to introduce you to this delicious concept. While it may sound awful at first, it’s not actually a cake at all. It just looks like a cake.

And that’s the point.

The icing is actually smoothed mashed potatoes. Under that is delicious meatloaf.

Or at least, it should be delicious. I’m not sure what it is about meatloaf recipes, but it’s something fucked up by both people and restaurants. So much so that honestly, I don’t think I’ve had a meatloaf at a party or a restaurant that I actually enjoyed. All too often they’re so soft they fall apart as you’re trying to eat them, and that’s if they’re not a soggy, sloppy mess. And perhaps it’s just gourmet culture showing an influence, but people try to put way too many things in what should otherwise be a simple, rustic recipe.

The strength of a meatloaf lies in the meat, not minced carrots and cucumbers, bell peppers and okra. Bluh.

But perhaps I’m rambling there. Saying the meatcake in that picture looks rustic is being polite. It was for me and my wife to eat as our Christmas meal, so and by the time it came to frosting it with mashed potatoes and decorating it with tangy sauce, we both didn’t care what it looked like so much as how it tasted. :)

A meatcake that’s to be presented at a gathering of friends and family, now that’s something you want to take your time with. For the full effect, it needs to have the mashed potatoes carefully smoothed and pipped on around the edges. It needs to look like a pretty cake, before the macho truth is revealed.

This week is my wedding anniversary. It sounds like I need to do a very special Valentines Day edition of Questionable Gourmet!

 

So, dear readers, did any of these holiday treats sound like something you’d want to try? Had you ever heard of a meatcake before?

Leave a comment and let me know! And don’t forget, you can share this post with  your friends on your favorite social networks using the boxes below!

~Matt Booker

 

 

Leave a Reply