Chocolate Hazelnut Torte Brownie Party Pops Sweet-and-Sour Cider Glazed Ham Easy Turkey Skillet Dinner BBQ Beef Chile Rub Size Up, Size Down Sliders Asian Pan-Fried Dumplings Irish Cream Cheesecake

Bring Decadence And Ease To The Holiday Season

(NAPSI)—There’s no question that chocolate is a crowd-pleaser. From snacks and baked goods to desserts and drinks, the flavor of chocolate signifies a sweet treat and a chance to indulge.

This holiday season, the pastry chefs at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts have developed delicious recipes that take chocolate to the next level and prove decadent doesn’t have to be difficult.

Thanks to Chef Edward Leonard, certified Master Chef and vice president of culinary education for Le Cordon Bleu, his special recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut Torte will help anyone create the perfect centerpiece dessert for any holiday party or great edible gift.

“This year, we’re seeing great new chocolate desserts that incorporate other flavors that make the perfect indulgent treat for the holidays,” said Chef Leonard.

Le Cordon Bleu pastry chefs recommend giving your chocolate dessert a seasonal flair by creating new flavors with unique ingredients, such as:

  • caramel

  • salt

  • herbs and spices

  • beer

  • espresso powder

  • a variety of nuts

These ingredients will quickly help your dessert become a family favorite and stand out from the crowd at parties.

Students at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts learn the foundational techniques necessary to develop the skills to create exceptional dishes. Regardless of your comfort in the kitchen, a delicious chocolate dish provides a great opportunity to create a decadent dessert that will make for a memorable holiday meal.

“If you are looking to learn how to create new desserts or want to brush up on your culinary skills, I encourage you to attend a Le Cordon Bleu MasterChef class,” said Chef Leonard. “Our campuses around the country host hands-on classes where foodies can experience a class with a professional Le Cordon Bleu instructor.”

To learn more about Le Cordon Bleu, visit

Chocolate Hazelnut Torte


  • ½ cup peeled hazelnuts

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon quality cocoa

  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

  • 6 ounces 72% cacao extra bittersweet chocolate baking chips

  • 6 ounces cold unsalted butter, diced

  • 2 tablespoons Nutella

  • ½ cup granulated white sugar

  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

  • ¼ cup granulated white sugar


Toast nuts: Place hazelnuts in 300°F oven for 10−12 minutes. In food processor, pulse nuts, flour, cocoa and salt until finely ground.

Heat oven to 375°F. Line the bottom of an 8 x 3-inch spring-form pan with parchment paper that has been rubbed with cold butter. Separate eggs. Melt chocolate, butter and Nutella in a stainless steel bowl over a small pan of low simmering water. Remove from heat; reserve.

With electric mixer, beat egg yolks, ½ cup sugar and vanilla until pale and thick (about 4−5 minutes), creating a ribbon effect when you lift beater. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the warm chocolate mixture. Then fold in the ground nut mixture; reserve.

In a clean stainless steel bowl, with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites at medium speed until foamy; add cream of tartar. Whisk just until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating at high speed, until meringue is fluffy and still moist.

With a whisk, fold ⅓ of the whites into the chocolate batter. Quickly fold in the remaining whites. Do not overmix. Pour mixture into prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes. Check cake by placing a toothpick into the center of the cake; when done, moist crumbs will appear.

Cool in pan on wire rack for about 15 minutes. It will slightly rise and fall a bit in the center. Remove from pan. Serve with chocolate sauce and soft whipped cream, if desired.

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Have Your Cake and Eat it Too with "Skinny MiniHoliday Desserts"

(NAPSI)—The dessert table doesn't have to be an enemy during the holidays. Simply be mindful of portions.

"It isn't necessary to feel deprived of your favorite desserts," explains Cheryl Toner, M.S., R.D. "Instead, shift your thinking to how much is enough. When you are living an active, healthy lifestyle, there is room for a small holiday treat."

Indulgence and moderation can go hand in hand with CanolaInfo's "Skinny Mini Holiday Desserts" Recipe Collection. It takes care of portion control for you and features bite-sized indulgences to limit calories while pleasing your sweet tooth.

Each skinny mini dessert has 200 calories or less per serving and is made with canola oil, which has the least saturated fat and most omega-3 fat of all common culinary oils. This keeps saturated fat levels in check (2.5 grams or less) in the recipes, which include Mini Peppermint Cupcakes, Almond-Apricot Snowballs, Mini Pear-Ginger Cheesecakes with Ginger Snap Crust, Mini Pumpkin and Date-Nut Cakes with Maple Glaze, Cherry Pie Bites and these pops:

Brownie Party Pops
Yield: 32 pops
Serving: One pop


  • canola oil spray

  • ½ cup canola oil

  • 1¼ tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 eggs

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar

  • ⅔ cup cocoa powder

  • ¼ tsp baking powder

  • ½ tsp salt

  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips


  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips

  • 1 tsp canola oil

  • Optional Toppings

  • candy sprinkles

  • chopped peanuts

  • coconut flakes

  • mini chocolate chips

  • Special equipment

  • 32 candy/lollipop sticks (6-inch)

  • plastic foam block


Preheat oven to 325° F. Line bottom and sides of 9x9 inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil. Leave about 4 inches of overhang on two opposite sides. These serve as handles to remove brownies from pan in one piece, so there should be enough overhang to have a solid grip. Spray parchment or foil with canola oil. In medium bowl, mix together canola oil, vanilla and eggs until fully combined. In large, separate bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt together. Slowly whisk liquid ingredients into dry ingredients, stirring constantly. Fold in chocolate chips. Spread brownie batter evenly in lined pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely on rack. Remove from pan and trim off any overly crusty parts. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt milk chocolate chips in double boiler. Add canola oil and stir until smooth. Dip one candy/lollipop stick into melted chocolate (this will help brownie adhere better to stick). Scoop up about 1 Tbsp of brownie. Form brownie onto stick, making sure brownie is nice, round and secure. Immediately after molding it to stick, dip pops one at a time into melted chocolate. Allow some chocolate to get onto sticks to help keep them secure. Dip into different toppings as desired. Place sticks into plastic foam block to keep them upright as they set. Once all pops are finished, place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes to set. When finished, store in an airtight container in refrigerator or cool place for up to one week.

Nutritional Analysis per Serving (excluding optional toppings): Calories 140, Total Fat 8 g, Sodium 45 mg

The complete "Skinny Mini Holiday Desserts" Recipe Collection is at

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Test Your Hand At Smoke Cooking With Succulent Slow-Roasted Ham From New York Times Best-Selling Author

(NAPSI)—According to the 23rd annual Weber GrillWatch Survey, nearly half of Americans (44 percent) are interested in cooking on an outdoor smoker. With the colder temperatures moving in, now is the perfect time to give smoking a try no matter what type of grill you have.

“Smoke cooking can be intimidating to many people—even experienced grillers,” says Jamie Purviance, whose “Weber’s Smoke—A Guide to Smoke Cooking for Everyone and Any Grill” made the New York Times Best-Sellers list. “My goal is to take the mystery out of smoke cooking and walk people through every step—from setting up whatever type of grill they are using to adding the best kind of smoke at the right times.”

Purviance’s Top 10 Smoking Tips include cautioning against adding too much wood, chunk after chunk, to the point where the food tastes bitter. “In general, you should smoke food for no longer than half its cooking time,” says Purviance.

Try your hand at smoking with this great seasonal recipe, perfect for beginners to experienced smoking enthusiasts.

Slow-Roasted Ham With Sweet-and-Sour Cider Glaze

Ideal grill: charcoal
Smoke intensity: strong
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1¼ to 2 hours 
Special equipment: large
disposable foil pan, instant-read thermometer
Serves: 10 to 12


  • 1 whole, fully cooked, bone-in smoked ham, 8 to 10 pounds (not spiral cut)

  • 4 large handfuls apple wood chips, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

  • Glaze:

  • ½ cup cider vinegar

  • ½ cup ketchup

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice

  • 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Allow the ham to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking.

  2. Prepare the grill for indirect cooking with low heat (250° to 350° F). For a charcoal grill, light about 25 briquettes and divide them into 2 equal piles on opposite sides of the charcoal grate.

  3. Brush the cooking grate clean. Drain and add 2 handfuls of the wood chips to the charcoal and put the lid on the grill. Put the ham, flat-side down, in a large disposable foil pan and add 1 cup of water. When the wood begins to smoke, place the pan on the cooking grate over INDIRECT LOW HEAT. Cook the ham, with the lid closed as much as possible, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the ham (not touching the bone) reaches 135° F, 1¼ to 2 hours (about 10 minutes per pound). Replenish the charcoal as needed to maintain a steady temperature, adding three to five lit briquettes to each pile every 45 minutes, along with the remaining drained wood chips. Meanwhile, make the glaze.

  4. In a small saucepan combine the glaze ingredients and simmer over medium heat until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

  5. Glaze the ham during the last 30 minutes of cooking time. If the ham begins to look too dark, cover it with foil and stop glazing. Carefully transfer the ham from the foil pan to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Cut the ham into slices and serve warm.

For more information and tips on smoke cooking,


© 2012 Weber-Stephen Products LLC. Recipe from Weber’s Smoke™ by Jamie Purviance. Used with permission.

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A Healthier Life Begins In The Kitchen

by Chef Nikki Shaw

(NAPSI)—Chefs and parents are joining forces in the fight against obesity. Good health depends on the support of both professional kitchens, where we create healthy menu options, and in homes, where we put healthy food on the table for our families.

For the past couple of years, I have partnered with the Network for a Healthy California to help improve the health of families, especially those that are at greater risk of obesity and suffer from serious health problems. With the help of the Network, I want to empower parents to make healthy changes for their families with the same tips and recipes that have helped me be a successful chef and mom.

To fight obesity, we have to make healthy changes in our kitchens, in our neighborhoods as well as in grocery stores, schools, places of worship and in workplaces. You can start today by joining the movement and liking theNetwork for a Healthy California on Facebook.

Small Steps Can Make a Big Difference

• Cook as a family. Involve your kids in picking recipes and choosing healthy fruits and vegetables for every meal. Show them how to prepare healthy dishes and snacks so they can feel they’re helping.

• Keep moving. Set an example and make time every day to enjoy activities like walking, biking or dancing.

• Make it fun! Prepare snacks or meals that kids will want by choosing colorful combinations, putting fruits or vegetables onto a stick or cutting them into fun shapes.

One of my favorite dishes for fall is the Easy Turkey Skillet Dinner.

Easy Turkey Skillet Dinner


  • Nonstick cooking spray

  • ¾ pound lean ground turkey

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

  • 3 tomatoes, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano and garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced


Spray nonstick cooking spray in a large skillet.

Brown turkey and onion over medium heat until turkey is cooked through and onion is soft, about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, tomato paste and seasonings. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Add zucchini and cook for 5 minutes more. Serve while hot.

• Celebrity Chef Nikki Shaw hosts “Today’s Flavor” on Sirius XM and was a contestant on the Food Network’s search for “The Next Food Network Star.”

For more information on the Network for a Healthy California,

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Beef 101: How To Choose Wisely At The Butcher Counter

(NAPSI)—Food for thought: What do you know about the meat you eat? More and more consumers are looking to demystify the meat counter and answer such questions as: Why choose grass-fed beef? What about antibiotic-free meat? What are the best value cuts?

Armand Ferrante, a 40-year veteran of the meat industry and recent champion of Whole Foods Market’s 2012 Best Butcher contest, offers five tips to help shoppers choose the best beef for their table and their budget:

  1. The best cuts for the money? London Broil, Flat Iron, Tri-Tip or the Jersey Boneless Short Rib steak, a tender new cut that Ferrante created for the Best Butcher contest.

  2. For lean beef, look for grass-fed.

  3. For super savory, tender beef, choose dry-aged.

  4. Know how the animal was raised. At Whole Foods Market, all beef comes from animals raised without antibiotics or added hormones, and the 5-Step™ Animal Welfare Rating tells customers about farmers’ raising practices.

  5. Questions? Just ask. A trained butcher can custom cut, grind to order, recommend value items and easy cooking ideas and more.

A flavorful dry rub is a foolproof way to season any cut of beef. Chef Tim Byres of SMOKE and Chicken Scratch restaurants (Dallas) created a flavorful recipe that’s designed for easy kitchen preparation. Just dust it generously over the beef and voilà—the cut is dressed to impress.

BBQ Beef Chile Rub and Coffee Cure for Grilling and Smoking 
Makes 2½ cups


  • ⅓ cup dark brown sugar

  • ½ cup kosher salt

  • ⅓ cup fine-ground dark roast coffee

  • ⅓ cup chili powder

  • ⅓ cup smoked paprika

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Place all ingredients into a medium mixing bowl. Using your hands, thoroughly mix all ingredients, breaking up any clumps with your fingers. Place in an airtight jar. Use about 2 tablespoons per pound of meat, rubbing it in and refrigerating meat for 8 hours or overnight before grilling or smoking.

Find this recipe and more, plus store locations,

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Tips And Tricks For Easy, Elegant Get-togethers

(NAPSI)—Party hosting duties can be rewarding and exhilarating, yet daunting when confronted by the level of cleaning and preparation that goes into even a casual get-together. Food Network star Sandra Lee has a few hints for time-starved hosts and an easy, tasty recipe to help decrease time and money spent on entertaining, as well as increase fun.

Chef Sandra Lee’s Party-Planning Tips

Prepare smartly. Eliminate multiple shopping trips by planning storage space ahead of time. You can be all set for a crowd of just about any size with the help of a fridge that holds enough to feed everyone at your party. For instance, the largest French-door model available, LG’s Mega-Capacity Refrigerator, offers state-of-the-art storage space, keeping all your dishes fresh until festivities begin, leaving you more time to mingle.

Keep it simple and casual. Serve food buffet style and allow guests to help themselves. Just make sure the buffet station is close to the kitchen, so it’s easy to replenish trays without walking through the crowd.

Every party has a few guests who arrive early. Provide small snacks such as nuts, olives and cheese for them to nibble while you finish setting up.

When you’re cooking for all age groups, from young cousins to grandparents, try serving comfort food favorites that work well for everyone, such as Stuffed Mushrooms, Personal Chicken Potpies or these BLT Sirloin Sliders.

Size Up, Size Down Sliders

Makes 24 sliders
Prep: 40 minutes
Cook: 16 minutes


  • 3½ pounds ground sirloin

  • 3 tablespoons Montreal steak seasoning, McCormick Grill Mates

  • 24 slider buns

  • 12 slices bacon, cooked and cut in half crosswise

  • 24 small lettuce leaves

  • 24 tomato slices

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise

  • ¾ cup mustard

  • 24 dill pickle slices


In a large bowl, gently combine sirloin and seasoning. Using hands, form into 24 patties. Spray a large nonstick grill pan with nonstick nonflammable cooking spray. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Lightly coat patties with spray. Add half of patties to pan and cook 4 minutes on each side, or until done. Remove from pan; repeat procedure with remaining patties. Serve on buns with bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, mustard and pickles.

When it comes to parties, planning pays off-with a fabulous gathering, delicious food and a stress-free hostess. Planning lets you put all the elements together at a comfortable pace. Start a month ahead for a formal party and two weeks ahead for a casual gathering.

Feed a crowd and still be cost conscious. To save money, shop smart. Keep track of sale items and buy staple items in bulk. Top name-brand items often go on sale the first of the month, when many people have more money in their pockets. At the end of the month, when people have less money, the store brand or tier-two name brands go on sale. Buy things in season when you can. When items are out of season, the price more than doubles because of all the shipping and handling involved.

When you fill your pantry with great food, there’s no end to the possibilities for great (and spontaneous) parties. Some items-such as cheeses and precooked shrimp—you have to buy fresh but there are many items you can store in your cupboards for months at a time. Stock up on salted roasted nuts, wines and spirits, flatbreads and crackers and olives, and you’ve got a great head start to a gathering you can enjoy along with your guests.

Food should be fun. When you’re getting ready to host a dinner party, plan your appetizers, desserts and drinks accordingly. Assume each guest will have at least three appetizers and two drinks.

Hungry for more?

You can find further facts and tips

Editor’s Note: LG’s Mega-Capacity Refrigerator is the largest-capacity, standard-width, French-door refrigerator; excludes other LG-manufactured products.

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A Holiday Twist On Takeout

(NAPSI)—Holiday entertaining doesn’t have to mean the same old pigs in a blanket. Instead, take a note from the take-out menu for hors d’oeuvres that please a crowd, such as this recipe for Asian Pan-Fried Dumplings. Your guests will appreciate fare that’s unique and this version may even be more healthful than the real thing. Just don’t be surprised if someone asks where you ordered it!

Asian Pan-Fried Dumplings


  • ½ lb ground chicken

  • ½ c finely chopped bok choy

  • ¼ c chopped green onion

  • ½ tsp freshly grated ginger

  • ¼ tsp sugar

  • ½ Tbsp soy sauce

  • ½ tsp sesame oil

  • Dipping Sauce:

  • 3½ Tbsp soy sauce

  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar

  • 1 tsp sesame oil

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 1 package store-bought dumpling or wonton wrappers (24-count or higher)

  • 2 Tbsp Smart Balance® Omega Cooking Oil, divided

  • ½ c water


Combine filling ingredients; set aside. For dipping sauce, stir together ingredients; set aside. Using a cookie cutter or tumbler as a guide, cut store-bought dumpling or wonton wrappers into 3 to 3½-in circles. Spoon a scant tablespoon of filling into the center of each circle of dough. Fold the dough circle in half and pinch the edges together to seal. Pinch pleats into the sealed edge and return the dumpling to wax paper until ready to cook. To cook, heat 1 Tbsp of Smart Balance® Omega Cooking Oil in a 10-in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 12 dumplings to the skillet. Cook for about 1 min or until the dumplings are golden brown on the bottom; do not turn the dumplings. Add ½ c of water to the skillet and cover it with a lid. Steam the dumplings for three minutes. Remove the lid and cook until the remaining water cooks away. Cook for an additional minute after water has evaporated but do not overbrown. Remove dumplings from skillet and keep warm. Repeat with remaining oil and remaining 12 dumplings. Serve the dumplings hot with dipping sauce.

Yield: 8 (3-dumpling, approx. 2-tsp dipping sauce) servings

Per serving: 135 calories, 7g protein, 11g carbohydrate, 7g fat, 1g saturated fat, 3.5g monounsaturated fat, 2g polyunsaturated fat, 0g trans fat, 35mg omega-3 fatty acids, 1,763mg omega-6 fatty acids, 27mg cholesterol, 583mg sodium, 1g fiber, 1g sugar

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A Sophisticated End To A Memorable Meal

(NAPSI)—The secret to a successful dinner is often revealed by how long family and friends linger at the table, enjoying the extra time together that an after-dinner coffee and dessert allow. Great hosts and hostesses know that a delicious dessert, after-dinner drinks and stimulating conversation can make a delightful dinner even more memorable. For a real treat, why not hold the half-and-half and enrich the expected after-dinner coffee with Irish cream liqueur instead? Then pair the Irish cream coffee with a dessert that has the same delicious flavor:

Irish Cream Cheesecake


  • 1½ cups chocolate wafer crumbs (about ¾ of 9-ounce pack chocolate wafers)

  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted

  • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature

  • ¾ cup Carolans Irish Cream

  • 4 ounces white chocolate, melted

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

  • ½ teaspoon almond extract

  • 5 eggs


1 cup sour cream mixed with 2 Tablespoons sugar and 1 TablespoonCarolans Irish Cream


Shaved bittersweet chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 325° F.

2. Mix cookie crumbs and butter and press into a 9” removable-bottom spring-form pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes and set aside to cool. Reduce oven temp to 300° F.

3. Combine cream cheese, Carolans Irish Cream, white chocolate, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts in a food processor and puree until smooth.

4. Add eggs and pulse until just blended. Pour into crust. Wrap bottom of pan in foil and place in a larger pan. Pour water in the outer pan halfway up the side of the spring-form pan.

5. Bake at 300° F for 1 hour, 15 minutes or until center is just about set. Turn off oven, but leave pan in for another 30 minutes. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool at room temperature.

6. Top with flavored sour cream topping and sprinkle with shaved chocolate. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Serves 12.

Good bakers are selective and use only fine-quality ingredients. CarolansIrish Cream is an authentic, award-winning cream liqueur from CountyTipperary in Ireland, made from real double cream, natural honey and Irish whiskey. It’s creamier than many other liqueurs and cordials and is delicious in coffee or simply on ice. Its luxurious quality and affordable price make it an excellent choice for holiday baking and entertaining.

For further information and recipes, visit

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