Published on November 28th, 2016 | by The Local Staff


Christmas Cookin’ with Chef Joe Whaley

Christmas Potpourri


-1 Orange sliced into small pieces or leave whole if making gifts

-2 Cinnamon sticks

-Tablespoon of whole Cloves

-2 Bay leaves

-Tablespoon of whole Allspice


1. Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and cover with water. Simmer on stove top and keep adding water for a way to make your house smell great during the holiday season. This will give off an aroma for several days as long as you continue to add water. Just remember to turn it off before going to bed!

2. These also make great affordable gifts to pass out to friends and coworkers. Just stock up at the grocery store and put in sandwich bags. You can also place a holiday sticker or a small piece of an index card with directions on them so your friends will know what to do with them. Just leave the orange whole and pour the other ingredients in the bags, seal the bag, and pass them out to friends.

3. While trying to determine what to share this month with you, our readers, I could only fixate on sweets. This fun play on truffles with Oreos* will surely be a hit at your office party or just sitting around the house during the holidays. I also put a few in the freezer for a chilled treat that works very well for my fellow chocoholics any time of day or night.

Oreo Truffles


-2 packages 18 oz. Oreo Cookies
-16 oz. Mascarpone
-White or Regular Chocolate for Dipping (melted)


1. Crush cookies in a food processor
2. Add Mascarpone to food processor and blend until well blended
3. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a plate in the refrigerator for up to two hours
4. Using a toothpick, press into the Oreo balls and dip into chocolate
5. Let cool until chocolate hardens

TIP: Use a colander, place toothpicks in the holes to keep the Oreo balls round

Should make about 50-60 balls

Pecans are everywhere this time of year, so load up your buckets, get them cracked, and make some tasty pies for Christmas. My mentor, Pierre Vivier, is a French Pastry Chef and Chocolatier.  He once told me to never trust people that don’t eat chocolate, and I’ve carried that philosophy with me to this day.  Chocolate was a big part of his business and he did it better than most. Together we made the classic pecan pie even classier by adding, you guessed it, chocolate.

Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie


-1 pound brown sugar
-½ pound melted butter
-4 eggs (beaten)
-1 pound of chopped pecans
-6 oz. mini chocolate chips
-Pinch of salt
-1 ¼ oz cake flour
-2 ready-made pie crusts


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Separate chocolate chips and pecans evenly into the pie crusts
3. Combine sugar, melted butter, salt and cake flour
4. Split mixture between the two pie crusts
5. Bake for 45 minutes on a sheet pan
6. Let cool for 1 ½ hours
7. Cut and enjoy with a big, fat scoop of ice cream

Makes 2 9” pies

Next is a no-joke eggnog. It will surely make you warm and tingly for the holidays. You can make this without the whiskey, but why would you do that? Just make sure to keep the kids out of this Christmas “spirit”.



-24 eggs (separated)
-3 cups sugar
-1 quart (4 cups) whiskey
-1 pint of half and half
-¾ cup sugar
-1 quart heavy cream
-One inch of fresh ground ginger
-Pumpkin pie spice to dust the top of the drink


1. Mix 24 egg yolks and sugar in a mixer for 10-15 minutes on medium-high
2. Turn down to low. Add whiskey and half and half
3. Add ground fresh ginger and stir
4. Pour out into large bowl
5. Place 24 egg whites and sugar into mixing bowl. Beat on high until you get stiff peaks. This could take 15-20 minutes. The egg whites should remain on the beater when you remove it from the bowl
6. Scrape whites out of mixer, then fold them into the large bowl with the whiskey mixture
7. Whip a quart of heavy cream to make whipped cream, then fold all ingredients together
8. Ladle into glasses and sprinkle with a little bit of pumpkin spice. Remember to always drink responsibly.

These tea cakes are my great-grandmother’s, Lucille Baldwin, from Asbury. They’ve always been one of my family’s favorites to leave out for Santa (if they managed to last long enough). I’m positive I ate these before I even had any teeth. I remember Granddaddy Joe putting peanut butter on them for me, and letting me eat them hot right out of the oven with a big glass of cold milk.

Mammy’s Teacakes


-2 cups sugar
-1 cup butter
-2 eggs
-¼ cup buttermilk
-1 tsp baking soda
-2 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-½ tsp almond extract
-4 cups all-purpose flour

-2 cups sugar
-1 cup milk
-1 heaping tablespoon cocoa powder
-½ stick butter
-½ tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325 degrees

1. Cream sugar and butter from cookie ingredients in a mixer
2. Drop in the eggs one at a time
3. Add buttermilk
4. Sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda to slowly incorporate in the mixture
5. Add vanilla and almond extract
6. Remove from bowl and place onto a lightly-floured surface
7. Using a rolling pin, lightly dust top of dough with flour. Roll out the dough to a ⅛” thick because it will rise as it bakes
8. Using a 3” round cookie cutter, cut as many cookies as you can
9. Arrange on a greased cookie sheet about 1” apart
10. Bake in the oven until light brown. Could be 7-12 minutes. Just keep a close eye on it.

1. In a heavy saucepan, cook sugar, milk and cocoa powder medium. Cook until thick. Make sure to stir constantly with a whisk.
2. Remove from stove. Add butter and vanilla. Stir until butter is melted.
3. Top each cookie with the glaze after they are removed from the oven.

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