Unique recipes for this holiday season

Kourambiethes (greek cookies)

three sticks unsalted butter, soft
one half teaspoon kosher salt
quarter cup powdered sugar, plus additional for coating
one egg yolk
two tablespoons brandy
one teaspoon vanilla extract
three cups all-purpose flour, sifted
45 whole cloves

1. combine the butter and salt and whip until light and fluffy, three to five minutes.
2. Add the sugar, egg, brandy, and vanilla and beat until all of the ingredients are integrated, then gradually add sifted flour to the butter mixture.
3. Using a rubber spatula, remove the dough and transfer it onto a piece of waxed paper, and refrigerate for about 45 minutes before rolling.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. After the dough has cooled, pinch off small pieces and roll them into about one inch balls. Place them in a single layer with space in between each, on a greased baking sheet.
6. Place a clove in the center of each cookie.
7. Place the sheets in the oven and bake until the cookies are just slightly brown, about 15 minutes. Allow them to cool thoroughly, and then roll them in powdered sugar

Maple Candied Yams

one stick butter
four or five large fresh yams or sweet potatoes
half cup maple syrup
quarter cup dark brown sugar
one tsp. cinnamon OR one tsp. vanilla
quarter tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
half tsp. freshly grated ginger root
half tsp. sea salt
two cups mini marshmallows (optional)

1.Peel yams or sweet potatoes (either may be used).
2. Cut into one inch cubes or wedges.
3. Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish generously.
and place the yams in the baking dish.
4. In a separate saucepan, melt butter, and stir sugar until dissolved over medium heat. Add a quarter cup of water.
5. Bring to a boil, add maple syrup; reduce heat to a simmer and cook for two minutes.
6. Pour butter mixture over the yams, turning them over to coat well.
7. Cover the yams tightly with aluminum foil and bake on center rack in oven, basting the potatoes with the butter syrup once or twice during the baking for about 45 minutes or until fork tender.
8. When the potatoes are done, remove foil. Bake on the upper third of the oven at 475°F until the syrup has thickened and the potatoes are just beginning to caramelize (about 20 minutes – but watch carefully and do not allow them to burn; if they are browning too quickly reduce oven temperature).
Cooks Note: If adding mini-marshmallows, spread them evenly over the top of the potatoes at this time, and broil for five to ten minutes or until lightly browned.
Baste with additional butter before serving.
Variation: Use honey or Karo syrup instead of the maple syrup; add 1/4 cup frozen orange concentrate. Omit cinnamon; use vanilla.

Spanish Flan

cup white sugar
three eggs
one (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
one (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
one tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
2.In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt sugar until liquefied and golden in color. Carefully pour hot syrup into a nine inch round glass baking dish, turning the dish to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Beat in condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour egg mixture into baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.
4. Bake in preheated oven 60 minutes. Let cool completely.
5. To serve, carefully invert on serving plate with edges when completely cool.

(recipes courtesy Ree Drummond of  www.foodnetwork.com, FOURnet Information network of www.cooks.com, and AllRecipes.com)