Every year on Dec. 25, players can unwrap a variety of presents under the Winter Veil tree in game. But hey, who says the present quests have to be in game only? Take a look at those nice little packages above, complete with quest indicators. Unwrap the gift and you'll find a tasty bite of chocolate ganache, strawberry cheesecake, and a crisp and sweet graham cracker crust. But there's a surprise with these gifts ... You don't have to unwrap them at all -- the whole thing is edible, right down to the quest indicator!
If this sounds like something right up your alley, you're going to love today's recipe. Want to know how to make a cheesecake? It's in here. Want to know how to make ganache? It's in here. In fact, I'm also going to lead you through the easiest fondant recipe you'll ever see, for fondant that is sweet and tasty, unlike that store-bought stuff you can get. Heck, I'll even show you how to make the graham cracker crust while I'm at it. Ready? Let's make some Winter Veil presents you'll never forget!
Carefully Wrapped Presents
Item level 1
These items can be found in game on Dec. 25. There are several different types of presents, and the Carefully Wrapped Presents usually have some sort of holiday food, like Winter Veil Cookies. To get a Carefully Wrapped Present, head to the Winter Veil tree in either Orgrimmar or Ironforge on Dec. 25, and you'll see quest indicators on certain presents under the tree. Accept the quest and you'll get your gift!
But if you'd like to serve a unique holiday treat at your holiday events out of the game, follow the recipe below for a bite-sized petite treat that anyone with a sweet tooth will gladly devour! Beware, though -- the steps below may be easy enough, but this is a time-consuming dessert to create. Make sure you have plenty of time to fiddle around in the kitchen if you want to try this out!
- 1 package graham crackers
- 9 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
- 3 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 3 eggs
- 1 jar seedless strawberry jam (or other filling)
- 2 packages Cool Whip OR 1 container heavy cream
- 2 bars semi-sweet chocolate squares (8 oz. of chocolate)
- 1 bag of mini-marshmallows
- 2-lb. bag of powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 9" x 13" baking pan
- Aluminum foil
- 1 large wire rack
- 1 large cookie sheet
- Parchment or wax paper
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- Red, green and yellow food coloring
Line the baking pan with aluminum foil. You'll want to place two sheets of foil in a cross pattern in the pan; this is so that you can lift the cheesecake out of the pan after it's cooled sufficiently. Leave a large overlap on each side of your baking pan so you can use the foil as a makeshift handle to lift with. Preheat the oven to 325.
- Safety Dance Put your graham crackers in a plastic bag and smush them with a rolling pin. You'll want approximately 3 cups' worth of crushed graham crackers when you're done here. Put the crumbs in a large bowl.
- Melting away Melt your butter in the microwave, then pour it on the crumbs.
- Simply Smashing Smush the graham mixture into your baking pan. You don't need to go very far up the side of the pan -- maybe a half-inch to an inch or so.
Make sure your cream cheese is completely softened. You'll want a mixer for this phase, preferably a stand mixer simply because they've got a little more power. Put the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.
- Mix it up Beat all the ingredients together until they're combined. Then add your eggs, and continue beating until there are no lumps to be found.
- Pour it in Pour about half of your cheesecake base into your baking pan, using a spatula to make sure the whole crust is covered.
- Extra credit bonus stage If you like your cheesecake plain, you can skip this step. However, if you like strawberry cheesecake, smooth the jam over the base.
- Pour it in, part 2 Pour the rest of your mix into the pan and spread with a spatula, making sure your filling is covered.
- Bake it up Put your cheesecake in the oven for approximately 1 hour and 5 minutes, give or take a few minutes.
- Stay chill You'll know your cheesecake is done when it's a golden brown on top. Check the center with a toothpick -- if it comes out clean, it's done. Set the cheesecake on a wire rack to cool.
Time to create rolled fondant! Fondant is an edible, rollable, sculptable dough, kind of like Play Dough you can eat. If you've ever had fondant and went yuck at the taste, you were likely eating store-bought fondant, which is pretty gross. Never, ever purchase rolled fondant at the store. Instead, use the recipe below to make marshmallow fondant. It's light, sweet, and most important, tasty.
- Measure and zap it Take 8 oz. of mini-marshmallows -- that's about 4 cups -- and place them in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Add 2 Tbsp. of water to the bowl and put that sucker in the microwave for 1 minute.
- Sticky situation Take a spatula and stir the marshmallows until they're smooth. No lumps!
- Call me sugar Add in the 4 cups of powdered sugar, and continue stirring with the spatula until you can't stir it anyvmore. Do not use a mixer for this. You will break your mixer. Stir it by hand!
- Oh, how I knead you On a flat surface, spread out some powdered sugar so that the mix won't stick. Observant bakers may realize this stuff looks a lot like pie dough. It is! Knead the mix until it's fully mixed together and smooth.
- Wrap it up Roll the fondant into a ball -- it should be the consistency of dough now -- and wrap it in plastic wrap. Make sure your ball is wrapped air-tight. If any air can get to it, it will dry out beyond saving. Now ... place that ball in the refrigerator. Check your cake; if it is cooled enough and no longer warm on the bottom of the pan, put that in the fridge too. Leave both of them in there for at least 12 hours or so.
- Have a ball Set your fondant ball on the counter somewhere to let it soften while you work. Don't unwrap it yet.
- Chop it up Take your cheesecake out of the fridge; it should be nice and firm. Carefully lift it from the pan, using the aluminum foil as handles, and place it on a flat surface. Peel the foil away from the cake. Grab a long knife and trim the edges from the cake, rinsing your knife after every cut so that your cuts are clean. Cut the middle part into small squares of varying sizes -- these are your presents! Once cut, place the squares on a wire rack above a cookie sheet.
- Ganache with panache There are two ways to make ganache. You can heat heavy cream on the stove until it is just boiling, and then pour it over chopped chocolate and whisk together until smooth. If you go this route, use equal parts heavy cream and chocolate. Or, you can use Cool Whip if you've got that handy -- use 6 Tbsp. of whip per 1 oz. of chocolate and microwave it for 30 seconds, then whisk it together.
- Pour it over Use a ladle or spoon and drizzle the ganache over the cheesecake squares. Once you've got all the squares coated, put them back in the fridge so the ganache has a chance to firm.
- Home stretch Unwrap your fondant. If it's still stiff, put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Make sure you have powdered sugar on your flat surface so the fondant doesn't stick, then knead it until it's pliable. Split it into three sections, two large and one small, for coloring -- red, green, and yellow for the small section. Wrap each section up while you are not working directly with it.
- Color me delighted Roll one section out into a flat circle, and place a little food coloring in the center. Fold the fondant over and knead it until the color is even. Wear gloves if you don't want coloring on your hands! Repeat for the other two sections, washing everything off in between to make sure you don't mix colors.
- Roll it out Take a small section of green fondant and roll it out thin. You want it as thin as possible! Pull a square of cheesecake from the fridge, and flip the fondant over the square. Lift and smooth the fondant over the edges, covering it to make a present! Do this with about half of the cheesecake squares; use the red fondant for the remaining half. Make sure you are wrapping up any unused fondant in between rolling and covering squares!
- A festive ribbon Roll out red fondant for green presents, and cut it into ribbons. Brush a little water on the fondant ribbon before you place it on the present, so it sticks. Use the green fondant to make ribbons for the red presents.
- A festive bow Sculpt wee little bows to place on your presents; use a toothpick to place folds.
- It's a quest! Sculpt the yellow fondant into balls and exclamation points, place them on toothpicks, and stick the toothpicks in your presents.
Phew! That was a long, intense fight, wasn't it? But it's totally worth it -- these tiny little squares are sweet with just enough cheesecake for a tasty, gooey little morsel of holiday cheer. The fondant itself is pretty popular with kids; my nephews love it. What you have here is a very complex little dessert with some simple steps. But wait! There's more here than meets the eye, and it's my Winter Veil gift to you:
- Cheesecake This cheesecake recipe is an incredibly simple base for some really good cheesecake. If you want to forgo the fancy and just make the cake, use a round springform pan and skip the aluminum foil. You'll want your graham cracker crust to go about 2" up the side of the pan. Otherwise, the same rules apply -- and you can add whatever you like to it. Want a turtle cheesecake? Brush some caramel sauce on the crust, pour in the cheesecake and bake it. When the cake is cooled, drizzle chocolate and caramel on top along with some chopped pecans. Rather have a coffee cheesecake? Add a bit of instant coffee to your cheesecake mix. Toss chocolate, peanut butter, or white chocolate chips on top of the cake before baking if you want. You can do anything with this, really!
- Ganache Ganache is great for desserts. Use it on a cake, dip truffles into it, drizzle it on petit fours, dip fruit in it if you like! You can use semi-sweet, dark, white, or flavored chocolate, too.
- Fondant Fondant is easy to make and fun to work with. If you're looking for a way to make a fancy-looking, smooth cake, this is the way to go. If you are putting it over regular cake, make sure you frost the cake before placing the fondant on it -- this will catch any crumbs on the cake and hold the fondant to the cake. If you are covering a cheesecake, you will want to put ganache on the cake before placing the fondant over it. There's a reason for the ganache -- cheesecake is very moist. If the fondant gets moist, it gets sticky and yucky. The ganache creates a barrier between the cheesecake and the fondant.
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