Plated + Served: Candy Cane Whipped Cream


Candy Cane Whipped Cream

Top your holiday desserts with this bit of sweet enchantment: Candy Cane Whipped Cream.

There’s nothing like homemade whipped cream. Seriously.

The billowing clouds of cream go with just about everything. Serve it sweetened as a topping or as a filling for pies and cakes. A small dollop of savory whipped cream in a soup richly elevates the flavor.

But, for the holidays, this Candy Cane Whipped Cream recipe is all about fun. Be careful not to over whip it, or the cream will become curdled-looking and grainy. A really cold mixing bowl and beaters help. Also, make sure you pulverize the candy cane because you don’t want a sharp shard ruining the fun.

You can refrigerate Candy Cane Whipped Cream for about eight hours, but otherwise it doesn’t store very well. If you have any leftover, serve it with hot chocolate or stir it into your coffee. You can also use it as a dip for Christmas cookies.

But please don’t do what I did (grab a spoon and eat it out of the mixing bowl). That is definitely NOT enchanting (but pretty delicious)!



Try This: REAL Halloween Treats!


Forget the candy corn… leave that for the kids. This is what you really want this Halloween.

Morkes Chocolates mixes a little bit of the macabre with a whole lot of chocolate to come up with a fantastic collection of molded chocolate rats, eyeballs, Frankensteins and more. The company’s been around since 1920, and makes all of its chocolate goodies from the best ingredients.

Morkes Halloween Chocolates

And if you’re more of a Day of the Dead celebrant, Morkes has a variety of sugar, solid and semi-solid chocolate skulls. They’ll even personalize the skulls with the name of a loved one, just like traditional Dia de los Muertos celebrations in Mexico!

Morkes Sugar and Chocolate Skulls

You can order online here, or stop by one of their two Chicago-area locations!

You can’t have Halloween with out caramel apples. Mrs. Prindable’s uses a delicious buttery caramel that’s made the old fashioned way: slowly cooked in copper pots in small batches until perfect.

Mrs. Prindable's Jumbo and Petite Apples


I’m not kidding. Their Jumbo Caramel Apple can weigh up to 1½ lbs! Mrs. Prindable’s also makes smaller, more manageable 8-ounce dipped apples. Both sizes are available in 8 different gourmet flavors, including Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Almond Caramel. Whew. Just reading that gives me a sugar rush. Take a peek at their online store here!

Chef Jamie Cantor of Platine Cookies really knows how to make some boo-tiful Halloween cookies. Her scary-themed couture cookies and Halloween Candy Craze cookies (like everything in her bakery) are created from original recipes with all-natural ingredients and mixed in a small batches.

Platine Cookies!

Every single cookie is made to order… which, as you know, is so important when dealing with baked goods! Stop in her Culver City, California bakery or click here to order online.

Serve any of these sweet treats at your Halloween bash and you’ll be the talk of the ‘hood as the ghost-ess with the most-ess!

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Plated + Served: Cherry Pie with Vodka Crust


Mama’s a sucker for canned cherry pie-filling.

Not all canned pie fillings, mind you, just cherry pie filling. Maybe it brings back memories. Or, perhaps, sometimes I just crave that sugar-smack tacky mouth feel that you get with canned pie filling.

Could also be that Sistie has been watching Twin Peaks on Hulu and, if you’ve ever watched the two-season series, you know cherry pie figures into the plot. Sort of.

A recipe I found in Cook’s Illustrated in 2010 inspired the vodka crust. Why vodka? Because gluten forms easily in water and gluten makes the crust tough. Vodka contains 60 percent water and 40 percent ethanol. By replacing some of the water with vodka, liquid can be added without making the crust tough. The alcohol (and flavor) burns off in the oven.

Cherries won’t be in season for a while now, but this will take care of any sweetie-pie craving you may have. Cheers!



Plated + Served: Decadently Delicious Chocolate Dippers


Chocolate… is there anything more decadently delicious?

sharri's berriesjpg

So it makes sense that anything dipped, coated or drizzled in chocolate is going to be nirvana… and you’d be surprised at how easy it is to create enchantment. But before we launch into the “how-to,” here are some things to keep in mind:

• Dipping fresh fruit? Make sure it is fresh and ripe. Even the richest chocolate can’t hide the sour taste of an unripe, mid-winter strawberry.

• Before dipping, remove the fruit from the fridge for about 10 minutes to take the chill off and prevent the chocolate coating from cracking.

• Make sure the fruit is absolutely dry and free of moisture before dipping.

• Water or moisture in your chocolate will cause it to “seize.” This means it will get hard, crumbly and grainy. (If this happens, reheat heat the chocolate and stir in a teaspoon of shortening until it is smooth again).

• Love chocolate covered nuts? Be careful if you’re buying a large bag from a big-box store. Taste the nuts as soon as you’ve purchased them. If they taste stale, take ‘em back!

• Pretzels and potato chips also need to be fresh, so do the taste test on those, especially if you’re buying them in a super-sized quantity.

• After coating the goodies, store the chocolate tightly wrapped in a cool, dry place.

Dipping strawberries, marshmallows and pretzel rods is easy when you have a full pot of chocolate. But what happens when you get down to the last tablespoon or two of deliciousness? Easy. Spoon it into a plastic re-sealable bag and seal. Snip off a tiny piece from the bottom corner and drizzle it over cookies (freshly baked or store bought), ice cream or fruit salad.

Now, if you want something really decadent (okay, downright naughty) for that special someone, here’s what you do:
1. Send the kids to bed.
2. Melt the chocolate as directed in the recipe.
3. Cool the chocolate and find a basting brush or small paintbrush.
4. The rest is up to you…




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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: