Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market

This post was sponsored by Cost Plus World Market. I feel delighted and privileged to be able to work with brands that I genuinely love and that help me to keep this site up and running! Thank you so much for continuing to support my passions and efforts by being here! As always, all opinions are my own!

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

My Aunt Corrie makes the most beautiful poached pears.  Deep ruby in color and scented with spice, they resemble fine jewels more than fruit.  Very delicious fine jewels. 

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

Poached pears are undeniably show-stopping and make the perfect dessert for company.  This winter, I set out to develop a version that would be as simple to make as it was impressive. 

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

The slow cooker is the perfect choice of cookware for poaching because the longer these pears steep in their wine bath, the more flavorful they become. Of course, if you do not own a slow cooker, you could easily substitute a dutch oven set over low heat.

Though you could make these pears any day of the week, I love using this recipe as a "company dessert" because it is so hands-off. While you are enjoying your guests, dessert is taking care of itself.

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

When it came to devising my poaching liquid, Cost Plus World Market came to my assistance with their amazing wine and pantry sections. This recipe begins with a bottle of rich and fruity Ménage À Trois Cabernet that is sweetened with raw sugar and scented with orange zest, vanilla bean, and a duo of warm, wintry spices.

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

The combination is just sweet enough and layered with flavor. 

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

While the mixture heats in the slow cooker, the pears are prepared.  When shopping for your pears, try to find ripe, firm specimens that have their stems intact.  This will make turning and serving them a bit easier. 

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

By this time, the wine should be simmering and you will never again want to leave your kitchen because it just smells sooo good. 

The pears are flipped halfway through the cooking time, and are simmered just long enough for them to take in all the wonderful flavors of our spicy wine, but not so long that they become mushy.  You are still looking for them to be slightly firm and spoonable.

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com] #sponsored

This color!  It makes my eyes so happy. 

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

Is it too early to start planning for Valentine's Day?  I feel like these would be a pretty stellar choice. 

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

After the pears have cooked through, some of the cooking liquid is removed from the pot and boiled down to a thin syrup that will blanket a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream. 

Sweety and salty cinnamon prailine almonds bring a very welcome bit of crunch to the scene.

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

And just like that, dessert is served. 

Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored
Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored
Slow Cooker Vanilla-Spiced Wine Poached Pears with Cost Plus World Market [ www.pedanticfoodie.com ] #sponsored

Here's to slow, winter days and the sweet rewards that they bring. 

Sincerely, 

Pedantic Foodie


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VANILLA-SPICED WINE POACHED PEARS 

serves 6

  • 1 naval orange

  • 750 ml Cabernet Sauvignon (I used Menage a Trois)

  • 2 cups pure cane sugar

  • 2, 5-inch Saigon cinnamon sticks

  • 1 madagascar vanilla bean, split and scraped

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 6 firm, ripe bosc pears, peeled

  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream

  • 1 cup sweet and salty cinnamon praline almonds, roughly chopped

Use a vegetable peeler to remove two, 5-inch strips of zest from the orange.

Combine wine, sugar, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean paste, whole vanilla bean, allspice, cinnamon and orange zest in your slow-cooker and set on high heat.  Heat, stirring often, until the sugar has fully dissolved and the mixture is steaming; about 45 minutes. 

Add the pears to the mixture and cook on high for 2 1/2 hours, flipping the pears halfway through.  The pears should be deep burgundy in color and fork tender, but not mushy.  

Turn the heat to low and remove 2 cups of the liquid from the slow-cooker and transfer to a small saucepan.  Bring the liquid to a heavy simmer over medium high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes; until the syrup has reduced by half. 

Serve the pears alongside vanilla ice cream and drizzle with the reduced syrup.  Sprinkle with chopped almonds just before serving.  Enjoy! 


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A Sister Baking Day at Norwyk Manor with Cost Plus World Market

This post was sponsored by Cost Plus World Market . I feel delighted and privileged to be able to work with brands that I genuinely love and that help me keep this site up and running! Thank you so much for continuing to support my passions and efforts by being here! As always, all opinions are my own!

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

It might be a little early to start tossing around the peppermint extract, but I've got a cabinet filled with pine-scented hand soaps and the ole' Bing Crosby station playing, and I just can't help myself. 

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

For many years, my sister and I have shared holiday baking days.  We first began making assorted tins of cookies and truffles for our teachers, but as we have grown past the school years the tradition has continued.  Our baking endeavors have changed from year to year, but whether we are assembling pies or rolling peanut butter balls, the laughter is bountiful, the sugar plentiful, and the rewards sweet. 

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

This year, Cost Plus World Market helped us make our baking day extra special! If you have not yet visited your local store you must! I fell completely in love with their nordic-inspired Christmas decorations.

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

Last week I invited my sister over to test a few of the holiday cookies that I plan to share with my friends and neighbors this year. I knew that I wanted to simplify our efforts a bit by making one basic dough that could be easily transformed into two entirely different cookies.  I love creating assorted cookie tins and trays for parties or gifts, but sometimes the thought of making several different doughs at once is overwhelming.  Having one basic dough that can play two entirely different roles is a lifesaver. 

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

This simple, chocolate shortbread is rich and buttery.  The combination of both cocoa powder and melted dark chocolate really takes these cookies to the next level of indulgence. 

After making the basic dough, we divided it into two equal parts, adding a bit of peppermint extract to one half of the dough. 

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

I wanted to make at least one of my cookies very simple - the kind I like to enjoy alongside a mug of tea. I rolled the peppermint dough somewhat thin and used these darling cookie molds to punch out the cookies. While they were still warm, we dusted them with a generous layer of confectioner's sugar and a sprinkling of peppermint dust.

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

The result was a wonderfully crisp, buttery cookie that is just the thing to serve alongside your morning mocha. 

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

For the second half of the cookie dough we had to pull out all the stops, beginning with glittery jam. I was first introduced to glittery jam last year in London and, as you would expect, it kind of rocked my world, so I was beyond delighted to find these two delicious flavors at my local Cost Plus World Market in Williamsburg, Virginia.

After rolling the dough into balls, we indented the center of each cookie, leaving a shallow cavity ideal for holding a spoonful of jam and a smear of red wine ganache. The combination of the jam and the rich chocolate was truly delightful.

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

In the end, it was hard to pick a favorite. Thankfully, we did not have to. 

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

After hours of juggling sheet trays, we stepped away, and though we still had confectioner's sugar in our hair and flour on our jeans, we stole a few moments and shared a pot of sweet, peppermint hot cocoa .

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

While we are not handing out any Christmas cookies yet, I am cataloguing these winning recipes for December and tucking half of the remaining dough into my freezer for last minute baking emergencies. 

Two delicious holiday cookie recipes from one simple dough! {Pedantic Foodie}

Thank you for joining me and my sister in our pre-Christmas baking extravaganza! All the products and specialty ingredients in this post are linked below, along with another fantastic holiday recipe from Brandi Milloy!

Sincerely, 

Pedantic Foodie


Sweeten your holiday entertaining with Brandi Milloy's easy Christmas baking recipe for a classic icebox cake made with Walkers Gingerbread Biscuits, Butter Toffee Pretzels and Salted Caramel Bark from Cost Plus World Market. Plus, see her cheery dessert table presentation. Imagine the joy you'll bring.

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Chocolate Christmas Cookies 2-Ways 

for the cookie dough

  • 1 1/2 lbs unsalted butter, softened 
  • 2 cups granulated sugar 
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder 
  • 12 ounces semi sweet chips, melted 
  • 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

Fit your stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Place butter in the work bowl and beat on medium speed for one minute; until fluffy.  Add granulated sugar to the butter and cream on medium speed for two minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

With the mixer on low speed, beat in flour one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Beat in cocoa powder and melted chocolate.  Divide the dough and turn half of it out onto a floured surface.  Shape into two equal discs and wrap in plastic wrap. 

Pour the peppermint extract into the remaining half of the dough and mix well.  Turn the dough out onto the floured surface, pat into two discs and cover with plastic wrap. 

Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour. 

Cook's Note:  At this point you could wrap the dough in wax paper, place in freezer bags, and freeze for up to two weeks, just allow the dough to defrost before rolling or shaping.

Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

for the peppermint cookies

makes about 48 cookies

  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 cup peppermint dust sprinkles or finely crushed candy canes 

Place the confectioner's sugar in a sifter. 

Place the peppermint dough on a well-floured surface and roll out to 1/4-inch in thickness.  Use cookie cutters or molds to cut the dough, placing the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes until slightly puffed and crisp on the edges.  Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and cool for 5-10 minutes, until just warm.  Dust the warm cookies with confectioner's sugar and sprinkle with peppermint dust. 

Place in airtight containers and store for up to a week.  Enjoy! 

for the red wine ganache and jam thumbprint cookies  

makes about 36 cookies

  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping 
  • 2 tablespoons merlot (at room temperature) 
  • 2 cups Wildy Delicious Glitter Spread (I used both the Mimosa and Christmas flavors for variety) 

Use a cookie scoop to portion the prepared dough into 1-ounce balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.*  Use your thumb to make an indent into the center of each cookie and bake for 15-20 minutes until slightly puffed and crisp on the edges, but soft in the center.  These cookies are intended to remain somewhat chewy. 

*Cook's Note: It is important to keep the dough cold, so try to work it as quickly and as little as possible.  If you find that the indentation is not as prominent as you would like after the cookies have baked, just use a small spoon to press down on the center of each cookie while they are still hot. 

Transfer the cookies to cooling racks and allow to cool completely.  While the cookies cool, prepare the ganache. 

Place chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream in a large, glass bowl.  Microwave for thirty seconds, then stir, and heat for an additional thirty seconds.  Do this until the chocolate is shiny and has completely melted.  Whisk in merlot.  

Use a spoon to fill each cookie with one teaspoon of ganache, following with one teaspoon full of jam.  Store cookies in an airtight container for to 3 days.  Enjoy! 

Eggnog Custard Pie

Several weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to create a holiday recipe using products from one of my favorite stores - World Market! My mind was spinning with possibilities but I kept returning to one mouthwatering word. Eggnog.

Eggnog is one of my favorite holiday flavors and I consume as much of the thick, creamy tonic as I can during December - the one month where drinking heavy cream, sugar, and eggs is not only permissible, it is encouraged. Best month ever! To my delight, World Market stores appreciate eggnog as much as I do, and they have a number of products that celebrate the flavors of this festive beverage!

Eggnog Custard Pie {Pedantic Foodie}

After my brain settled upon the idea of an eggnog-inspired dessert, there was really only one thing to do.  I had to make a pie.  And what a pie it was... 

This pie will make all your eggnog dreams come true. The custard is vaguely reminiscent of a creme brûlée custard - rich and silky smooth. The rum-scented whipped cream adds a pleasant kick to the lighter flavors of vanilla and nutmeg, and the crisp eggnog wafer sticks are the perfect topping.

I speak candidly when I say that this is probably my new favorite pie. Clear away the Bûche de Noëls and gingerbread houses. This pie will be getting all the attention at your holiday dessert table.

You can find the recipe and links to the World Market speciality ingredients I used here!

Merry Baking! 

Sincerely, 

Pedantic Foodie

This post was sponsored by Cost Plus World Market. As always, all opinions are my own.