‘Baked In Vermont’s’ Gesine Prado Shares Recipes For Mac & Cheese, Gingerbread & More

Pastry Chef, author, and baking instructor Gesine Prado stopped by Access Hollywood Live to share recipes for some delicious dishes and drinks.

Catch Gesine on Food Network’s “Baked In Vermont,”
premiering Dec. 2 at 12:30 pm ET/PT.

Mac and Cheese a la Gesine
Mac and Cheese a la Gesine (Courtesy of Gesine Bullock-Prado)

Mac and Cheese a la Gesine Confectionary

1 (16 oz) box de Cecco cavatappi pasta
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (plus 1 tablespoon to grease the casserole dish)
4 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, warmed
1/2 cup whole milk, warmed
1/4 cup dill pickle juice, room temperature
1 tablespoon sriracha
12-16 ounces extra sharp Vermont cheddar cheese, shredded (house preference as to how much cheese you add.  My preference is to add more.)
8-12 strips bacon, cooked to crispy
1 (8 ounce) bag ridged potato chips, lightly crushed
salt and pepper to taste

Optional: 

1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed into 1/4″ cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup picked jalapeño, chopped
1 cup frozen peas

Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Grease a 2 quart casserole dish with the 1 tablespoon extra butter.  Set aside.

If you’re using the potato, and I like to because it gives this recipe a subtle boost of lusciousness, peel and cube the potato into 1/4″ squares.  Heat the olive oil in an oven proof skillet over medium-high heat and add cubed potatoes.  Brown the potatoes to golden and transfer to the oven to cook through while you cook the pasta and make the bechamel.

Cook pasta per manufacturers “al dente” specifications, drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan, add the 4 tablespoons butter and melt over medium heat, then add the flour and cayenne (if using).  Stir until combined and a paste forms.  Slowly add the cream, whisking constantly and then add the milk, dill pickle juice and sriracha.  (I know the pickle juice sounds weird but it adds an element of savory zing that helps balance all the fat).  Whisk until the mixture simmers and begins to thicken.  Continue whisking over medium-low heat for 5 minutes longer.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the cheese and stir to combined. 

Check the potatoes to make sure they are fork tender and have a crisp exterior and fold into the bechamel, along with the pasta, making sure the pasta is evenly coated.  Fold in the peas, if using.  Crumble the bacon into small pieces and fold into the pasta along with the jalapeño, if using.  Transfer to the prepared casserole dish and cover with the crushed potato chips.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling.  Serve immediately.

Maple Shortbread Cookies
Maple Shortbread Cookies (Courtesy of Gesine Bullock-Prado)

Maple Shortbread Cookies

(Recipe Courtesy of Gesine Prado)

12 ounces unsalted butter  at room temperature
3/4 cup (180ml) real maple syrup, preferably grade B
3/4 cup (150g) sugar (divided)
3 1/4 cups (435g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (30g) cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line two sheet pans with parchment paper

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, maple syrup, and 1/2 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy. 

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch and the salt until fully combined.  Add the flour mixture all at once to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until just incorporated.  Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap.  Press the dough into a disk and wrap it up.  Refrigerate for 1 hour. 

On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick.  Using a maple leaf cookie cutter, stamp out cookies and place 1/2” apart on the prepared pans.  Press together and reroll the scraps one time.  Sprinkle the cookies with a light, even layer of the remaining sugar.  Bake until the edges of the cookies are golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes. 

Gingerbread cookies, as seen on ‘Baked in Vermont’
Gingerbread cookies, as seen on ‘Baked in Vermont’ (Courtesy of Gesine Bullock-Prado)

Gingerbread

(Recipe courtesy of Gesine Prado, via GBakes.com)

For the cookies:

INGREDIENTS

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup organic barley malt syrup
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (peel a nub of fresh ginger and use a microplaner to grate)
1/2 teaspoon orange zest

PROCEDURE

Preheat oven to 350º

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, white pepper, salt, nutmeg and ground cloves.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar and barley malt syrup until combined and smooth.

Add egg, continue to beat until completely incorporated.  Add vanilla.

Slowly add dry ingredients, fresh ginger and orange zest.  Mix until just combined.

Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap.  Cover and chill for 20 minutes.

Roll the dough out about 1/4 inch thick.  Stamp out shapes and place on a parchment lined sheetpan. 

Place sheetpan with shapes in the freezer for 10 minutes, then bake for 10 minutes or until just beginning to brown around the edges.

While the cookies are still hot, poke a hole into the tops of the shapes with a skewer, large enough that a string can fit through if you’d like to use them as ornaments.  Allow to cool completely.

Apple Cider Cocktail

(Recipe Courtesy of Gesine Prado)

2 cups seedless green grapes
2 cups apple cider
1 cup barrel-aged artisan gin
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup ginger liqueur
1 tablespoon orange bitters
1 cup Vermont hard cider or other hard cider
Ice cubes
Apple slices

In a pitcher use a muddler or wooden spoon to muddle grapes.  Add apple cider, gin, lemon juice, ginger liquer, and orange bitters.  Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours.  Just before serving, strain and add hard cider.  Serve with ice and garnish each drink with an apple slice. 

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