recipes, Tables

Dessert with The Novel Bakers: Forest Feast Gatherings

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The Forest Feast Gatherings is filled with easy recipes and simple ideas for entertaining and creating ambience for a party, and includes several menus for party buffet bars, including a Breakfast Taco Bar and a Grilled Cheese Party.  There are also complete menus for different occasions.  The dessert on the Winter Feast menu was so tempting, and I decided it would be easily transformed into a tasting buffet bar!  And I know you have been itching to try making one of these delightful recipes, so here is your chance to create your own dessert!  What is it?  As you are my guest I’ll keep it a surprise until you see the goodies assembled on the buffet.

Let’s start by choosing one of these Forest Feast notebooks for keeping track as you taste the options.

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First we need to choose a beverage.  Here are the three choices:

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Ginger lovers, choose this one.  It has quite a strong ginger flavor and is not as “gently bubbling” as the label indicates.  Open it over the sink, and not at the buffet table, as I did.  You will need to sip this!

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If you like a different kind of excitement in your glass, this hard cider is an excellent choice.  This one is quite malty and very smooth. (also very cute woodchuck)

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And if you are a traditionalist when choosing your warm fall beverage, this one is excellent and sells out fast.

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This five apple cider is a concentrate so I mixed it up 3 cups of water to 1 cup of concentrate.  My toad is much cuter than he looks here and holds almost two gallons.  And he pours perfectly ~~ ideal for a tasting bar or buffet.

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If you’ve been sipping along remember to take notes in your little book.

 Next we need to choose a caramel sauce.

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You will better understand the appealing nature of this cookbook if I tell you that I don’t even like caramel, yet after seeing the recipe for this dessert and the photos accompanying it, I couldn’t get it out of my mind!  I love flan with its caramelized top and caramel liquid, so why was I revolted by caramel candy bars and those cubes wrapped in plastic?

I started wondering about caramel, and my research taught me that real caramel is sugar heated to remove the water molecules, giving the sugar the characteristic color and flavor of caramel.  The type of sugar used and the way it is heated will result in a unique caramel.  To make caramel sauce, as we need here, that end product is then added to a cream of some sort, which of course provides endless varieties!  The little cubes of “caramel” are made by putting everything in a pot and boiling it.  No actual caramelization occurs.  A simple but excellent explanation is here!

So, even if you think you do not like caramel, trust me and choose one.

1 ~~ Classic Cajeta Caramel Sauce : You will notice that this caramel sauce uses goat’s milk for the dairy and has a touch of cinnamon.  As you close your eyes and do your pretend tasting I will help by telling you that I was surprised it was goat’s milk, as the characteristic goat milk taste was not obvious, and the cinnamon is very mild.

Also, the ladies in the W-S store were hoarding it in the back room with the extra apple cider and I pried one of the last two jars out of their hands.

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2 ~~ Fat Toad Farm : Another goat’s milk variety, but with real Vermont maple syrup added!  Fat Toad Farm is based in Vermont and this sauce has Vermont maple syrup in it, but my cute little maple syrup cabin contains Maine maple syrup.  Don’t try to tell anyone they are the same thing!  Both delicious, but each clearly labeled with pride! 🙂  Very strong goat’s milk taste.  I found this caramel sauce in Terrain.

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3 ~~ Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Sauce from Stonewall Kitchen.  DARK Chocolate.  Sea Salt.  Ok, that was enough for me to pluck this jar off the shelf of our local specialty grocery shop.  Made in Maine.

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Review your tasting notes, and choose one beverage and one caramel sauce.  You may want to also add some of that maple syrup or perhaps some nutmeg.

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I ground some ahead for you.  It is not an easy task and you will need a nutmeg grinder.  But the aroma is wonderful!

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Ok, beverage, caramel sauce, additional toppings.

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Next you’ll need a plate because things are going to get messy.  Do you wonder what we are making?

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Step up to the assembly table.

You’ll see my french bowls filled with whipped cream and sliced apples.  To keep the cream whipped on the buffet use whole fat heavy cream.  It makes a huge difference.

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Here’s a note from Erin herself, a watercolor of her cabin in the woods, my favorite antique bread board …

~~ and my grandfather’s ice cream scoop.  (hint, hint) ~~

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Fill a glass with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Add your choice of beverage, caramel sauce, nutmeg, apples and a large dollop of whipped cream!

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~~ cider floats ~~

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Three beverages and three caramels add up to nine combinations, and that’s not even including the optional toppings.  If you do a cider float tasting bar at your party be sure to have lots of little tasting cups and serving dishes on hand, because everyone will want to try a few creations!!

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Mine.  Can you guess?

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Apple cider, chocolate sea salt caramel, apple slice, a bit of whipped cream, no nutmeg.  Birch straw.  Excellent.


What did you create?

Tell, me, and put this book in your letter to Santa.  If you’re on his naughty list, buy it for yourself.

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please visit all the Novel Bakers, Jain, Mary and Michael Lee, to see their beautiful, delicious creations

a quiet life     home is where the boat is     rattlebridge farm

Linda 🙂

joining the fun at

Tablescape Thursday          Foodie Friday

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11 thoughts on “Dessert with The Novel Bakers: Forest Feast Gatherings

  1. Linda, You’ve whet my appetite for a cider float tasting party! I love the idea of offering all three beverages, different caramels and small tasting cups! I love your combination too with the dark chocolate and sea salt and a birch straw is a must!! I love Stonewall Kitchen products, they’re readily available here so I didn’t realize they were made in Maine until our visit and I saw their store in Portland. I would have snapped up an adorable log cabin with syrup had I spied one of those too 🙂 Your Juliska plates are beautiful and those amber goblets filled with your cider floats are making want to make a mad dash to the store this morning for the ingredients. Thanks so much for feasting with me this week. I hope Erin pops back by to see your floats 🙂

  2. Oh Linda, this is beyond creative! First of all, I really enjoyed all the research and caramel inside info, fascinating and funny stuff! Your plates and vignettes are gorgeous, and the cider floats stopped me dead in my tracks, what an insanely fabulous idea! Those cute birch straws and all your touches take everything over the top! The dark chocolate caramel sauce from Stonewall kitchen is going to be in my pantry asap, and the book is already on my Christmas wish list {If I can wait that long!} Thank you for such a fun adventure with the Novel Bakers!

  3. Linda, What a fun idea to have a buffet bar tasting party. Wish I could have attended yours since you have enough!
    I am in love with your bread board’s intricate design having several but none as decorative as yours. Your grandfather’s ice cream scoop is also a treasure. Reading your commentary and seeing your pretty styling was a pleasure this morning. The Stonewall dark chocolate salted caramel sauce is on my shopping list.
    Delightful experience with the Novel Bakers series this week. Thank you.

  4. look how cute the notepapers are! i love your frog, at home i have frog hill, it would be a delight to toast there on my hill! i knew what you were making, but the suspense was killing me, i couldn’t get there quick enough! i wanted to make this but knew i couldn’t manage after i started sipping the rum punch 😉 i guess now that i am sober i better add this to my shopping list, i don’t think you can hoard all this fun!

    thanks so much for playing this week, i know we all had a great time sharing this gorgeous cookbook, cheers!

  5. Wow, what a way to start my day. I love caramel anything! Cajeta sauce over crepes with a side of ice cream, caramel milkshakes fro our favorite hamburger spot, caramel drizzled over apple pie, favorite sea salt and caramel chocolate bars, the list goes on. I think this would make a fun party. Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book.

  6. Linda… that desserts looks positively delish. I could polish off that salted caramel sauce with a spoon. I positively love all your fabulous china and your special touches. I love pitchers and am in love with the frog! Have a great week!

  7. You had me at the notebooks, but then I saw the caramel. Heaven! What an inventive way to approach dessert! So much fun and creative. Love your frog–I am a third generation McCoy frog collector (and even have frog ornaments). Your dishes are a splash of autumn joy. I just love them! Enjoyed playing with you!

  8. Oh dear me Linda, I’ll have the float that you made, as it looks so beyond delicious! What a creative process you delivered with all your awesome products that I want to try, and such a fun idea of a dessert float bar. I’m smitten with that adorable log cabin maple syrup!

  9. You made them all so beautiful! Had to laugh about opening it over the sink! Hosting – always something fun!
    I have always hated caramel, until I made it myself – what a difference!

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