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Cooking in Dresses: A Special Christmas Edition

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Welcome to our second edition of Cooking in Dresses!

For this special Christmas spread, we teamed up yet again with Beirut-based chef Rayya Danielle (the one in the black dress!), to bring you an exclusive menu that you can re-create for yourself at home.

In light of the upcoming festive season, we decided to go all out with this time – and we quite literally did just that. We rounded up a couple of friends, threw on our party dresses (see them in more detail below!) and took our Christmas table to the streets for an afternoon of Baileys-drinking, sugar-rush-filled delight.

And in case you’re wondering, everything was just as delectable as the photos look.

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6 Christmas Dessert Recipes

Without further ado, here are six delicious Christmas desserts you can easily re-create at home. We hope you like them!

**If you don't have time to make desserts but you absolutely need to get your hands on all that deliciousness, you can order them from Rayya herself! Call her at +961-76-686230, use the reference code “Cooking in Dresses”, and get an exclusive 10% discount on your order. (Valid until December 20 - Orders need two days)**

1. CHRISTMAS GINGERBREAD COOKIES

gingercookies

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

INGREDIENTS
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 large egg

METHOD
1. Sift flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.

2. Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg.

4. Gradually add flour mixture to make a soft dough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight.

6. Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C.

7. On a lightly floured board, roll dough out to about ½ cm thickness. Do not roll too thin. Cut out desired Christmas shapes with cookie cutters. Place on lightly greased baking sheets.

10. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until just firm when pressed. DO NOT OVERBAKE!

11. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove and place on racks to finish cooling.

ICING
2 cups or more of confectioners sugar
2-3 Tablespoons milk
Food coloring as chosen and needed

In a bowl, using a whisk or a fork if you want, mix the confectioners' sugar and milk together until you have a thick (toothpaste like) mixture. Add any coloring you want. Add more sugar to get a stiffer pipe-able consistency if needed.

2. SPICED HOLIDAY CAKE

gingercake

Makes one 23x13 standard loaf

INGREDIENTS
Butter for greasing pans
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan (180 grams)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Powdered sugar, for dusting

METHOD
1. For the cake: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C. Butter and flour a 23 x 13 cm or 9 x 5 inch loaf pan – alternately you can make 2 mini loaves 14 x 5 cm. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Whisk to mix ingredients.

3. In a large bowl, beat the sugars, oil, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla extract to blend. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just blended.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

5. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, if making a standard loaf or 30-35 minutes if making minis or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake for 10 minutes. Unmold the cake and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

6. Dust with powdered sugar and cut into slices for serving.

3. CHOCOLATE AND PEPPERMINT BARK

bark

INGREDIENTS
450 grams (16oz) milk, dark, or white chocolate, roughly chopped
150 grams candy canes or peppermint candies, crushed

METHOD
1. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, and outline a 20 x 25 cm or 8 x 10 inch rectangle on the paper. Set tray aside.

2. Break dark or white chocolate (whichever type you are using – not both) into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (create a bain marie), and allow chocolate to melt, stirring occasionally.

3. Place peppermint in a plastic bag, and using a rolling pin, smash down only once or twice, to break them up a bit.

4. Pour melted chocolate on to prepared sheet to form a single layer, sprinkle the top evenly with peppermints, and place in fridge until set. Once chocolate is set, break the bark and serve!

4. CHRISTMAS FUDGE

fudge

Makes 20 squares

INGREDIENTS
1 can (14-ounce or 340 grams) sweetened condensed milk
450 grams semisweet chocolate, chopped
30 grams unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

METHOD
1. Line 8 x 8 inch or 20 x 20 cm metal baking pan with foil, extending foil above the edge at 2 sides.

2. In a saucepan, combine condensed milk and chocolates. Cook over medium-low heat 5 minutes or until chocolates melt and mixture is smooth, stirring constantly.

3. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in vanilla and salt. Pour chocolate mixture into prepared pan; spread evenly. Refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.

4. Remove fudge from pan by lifting edges of foil. Invert onto cutting board; discard foil. Cut fudge into 8 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 8 pieces. Store fudge in tightly covered container, with waxed paper between layers, at room temperature up to 1 week, or in refrigerator up to 1 month.

5. BAILEYS CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CUPS

mouse-cups

Serves 10

INGREDIENTS
300 g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into small pieces
8 large eggs
100 g sugar
300 ml whipping cream
2 tablespoons good-quality cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
50 ml -75 ml of Baileys Irish Cream (optional)

METHOD
1. Place the dark chocolate and a tiny pinch of salt in a heatproof bowl and sit it over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the water doesn't touch the base of the bowl. Leave to slowly melt, stirring occasionally.

2. Separate your eggs and place the whites in one bowl and the yolks in another. Add the sugar to the bowl of yolks and beat until the sugar has dissolved and its silky and smooth. Using a hand mixer, beat the whites with a tiny pinch of salt until they form soft peaks – you should be able to hold the bowl upside down over your head without them falling out. In a third bowl, beat the cream until slightly thick and just whipped.

3. Once the chocolate has melted, carefully lift the bowl out of the pan and set it to the side. Add 50ml of Bailey’s Irish Cream (if desired) and the cocoa powder to your bowl of yolks and mix well. Fold the cream into the yolk mixture and mix again, then fold the cream and yolk mixture through the melted chocolate until it's well combined.

4. Fold in the egg whites, and keep folding until the mix is almost smooth and evenly colored.

5. Spoon the mousse into a small serving glasses or bowls and place in the fridge for an hour or two until set.

6. BAILEYS ORANGE BLISS

baileysdrink

INGREDIENTS
50 ml Bailey’s Original Irish Cream
25 ml Grand Marnire
Ice Cubes
Orange Peel for garnish

METHOD
1. Fill a tumbler glass with ice then pour Bailey’s into the glass

2. Add the Grand Marnier on top of the Bailey’s

3. Stir drink until silky, smooth and combined

4. Add the orange peel for garnish and serve.

7. SURPRISE SPECIAL: BUCHE DE NOEL

buchedenoel

You can order this gorgeous white chocolate buche from Rayya directly. Call her at +961-76-686230, use the reference code “Cooking in Dresses”, and get an exclusive 10% discount on your order. Valid until December 20. Orders need two days.

The Dresses: BCBG MAX AZRIA

As much as we enjoyed eating those mouth-watering desserts, we loved getting all dolled up in beautiful party dresses, all from BCBG Max Azria store right here in Beirut.

What's cool about BCBG is that they have a wide selection of dresses with varying styles that you can shop this holiday season. We also styled our dresses with a ton of really cool accessories that are in store right now too. Well basically, everything you see in the photos is from BCBG except the shoes!

We definitely recommend you drop by if you need a pretty holiday dress this season.

VISIT BCBG STORE: DOWNTOWN, BAB IDRISS +961-1-996668 | ABC ACHRAFIEH, L1 +961-1-212888 ext 2153 | ABC DBAYEH, L2 +961-4-416000 ext 2280

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Johanna (left) and Cynthia (right) rocking print dresses.

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Rayya wearing this beautiful dress with a back-surpise!

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Daniela (left) and Serene (right) going for the bold Christmas-color monochrome dresses.


A very special thanks to Baileys Irish Cream, our top liqueur choice to warm our hearts every holiday season.

Visit Rayya Danielle's blog for more food recipes.

All Photography by Nadim Kamel.

Shout-out to Station Beirut for lending us their space to prepare for our photo shoot.

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A team of writers constantly on the hunt for everything and anything there is to know about local fashion.