Special of the day: Gourmet Goodies for a Weekend Getaway

18 Apr Special of the day: Gourmet Goodies for a Weekend Getaway

Gourmet goodies ready to go!

A gracious guest never shows up empty-handed, and gifts from the kitchen are always special, I think.   Our invitation for a weekend away at a good friend’s cabin got me cooking up some ideas on what we might bring for our hosts, who definitely appreciate good food and wine.

You don’t need to bring a thing, our hostess assured us, but a few surprises wouldn’t hurt, I thought, as I began to plan out what gourmet gifts might go well with the activities that awaited us during our stay at the Love Shack, their clever nickname for the cozy cabin in the woods.

Something to pair with a glass of Pinot during happy hour, a treat to enjoy in the hot tub after wine tasting and something sweet to accompany a savory breakfast on Sunday, perhaps… It wasn’t long before I was in the kitchen rolling out Chipotle Cheese Straws (something spicy to pair well with a glass of red wine) a few Clusters of Love (a fitting treat for the Love Shack) and a plate of Cherry Cheese Danishes to enjoy with brunch on Sunday.

With summer just around the corner, weekend getaways are likely on the horizon for many. If you are lucky enough to be invited away for the weekend sometime soon, here are three simple recipes to throw together in no time, wrap up and present to your hosts, who will surely appreciate your thoughtfulness.  This week’s Special of the day: Gourmet Goodies for a Weekend Getaway and recipes for Chipotle Cheese Straws, Clusters of Love and Cherry Cheese Danishes. Happy baking (and getting away)!

Recipes and food photography by Sydne George.

Cherry Cheese Danishes

Cherry Cheese Danishes

(makes 16 danishes)

2 packages crescent rolls (8 rolls each)

8 ounces cream cheese

¼ cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup cherry pie filling (from a 21-ounce can)

1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon almond extract until fluffy.

Stir 1 teaspoon almond extract into cherry pie filling.

Unroll crescent rolls.

Spoon 1 tablespoon cream cheese filling in center of each unrolled crescent triangle.

Top with 1 teaspoon cherry filling.

Fold one corner of crescent triangle straight down and one straight across to meet square corner.


An assembled cherry cheese danish, ready to bake


Crimp edges with a fork to seal.

Place danishes on greased baking sheet, leaving space between and bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove to cooling rack to cool.

Make almond icing:

½ cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1 teaspoon almond extract

Whisk together icing ingredients until smooth.

When completely cool, ice danishes with almond icing.


Chipotle Cheese Straws ready to bake

Chipotle Cheese Straws

(Makes about 20 cheese straws)

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (from a 17.3 ounce package), thawed

1 chipotle pepper (from 7-ounce can of chipotle peppers with adobo sauce)

1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from can of chipotle peppers with adobo sauce)

1 teaspoon water

½ cup pepper jack cheese, grated

1 egg, beaten

Kosher salt

Unfold puff pastry sheet on lightly floured board.

Use rolling pin to flatten seams.

Blend chipotle pepper, adobo sauce and water in blender.

Brush chipotle mixture over pastry, leaving a narrow border all the way around.

Sprinkle with cheese.

Lay a sheet of waxed paper over prepared pastry and press cheese into dough, then roll over with rolling pin.

Remove waxed paper and discard.

Fold pastry in half to enclose filling.

Crimp edges to seal.

Cut pastry in ¼ inch thick strips.

Twist strips and pinch ends to seal.

Place on greased baking sheet.

Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with salt.

Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.


Clusters of love drying on parchment

Clusters of Love

(*Inspired by the decadent fruit and chocolate clusters my mom makes in the summer.)

(Makes 20-24 treats)

½ cup whole almonds

10-ounce bag bittersweet chocolate chips

3 Heath candy bars, cut in small chunks

1 pint fresh raspberries, washed and dried

Fleur de sel or other fine salt, to sprinkle atop clusters

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread almonds out on a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes, until lightly toasted.

Melt chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler or in a medium metal bowl fit on top of a pan of simmering water, not touching bowl bottom. Stir until smooth.

Remove from heat.

Lay out large sheet of parchment over cutting board.

Cluster of Love ingredients

Spoon melted chocolate onto parchment into 2 tablespoon pools, mounding chocolate up in middle a bit.

Arrange a Heath chuck, a toasted almond and a fresh raspberry on each cluster.

Sprinkle with Fleur de sel.

Let cool completely.

Peel parchment off clusters.

Keep cool.


Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at sydnegeorge@hotmail.com . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.


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