Recipe Category: Sweets & Treats

Oven-Roasted Potato Peels

Crispy Oven-Roasted Potato Peels served in a white ceramic bowl, on wooden chopping block with peeler and potato.

Oven-Roasted Potato Peels are so easy, you’re going to wonder where they’ve been all your life. Just peel potatoes – preferably organic – toss them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast them in the oven until they get crispy and start to curl up around the edges.

You can add a dusting of spices or fresh herbs once they’re out of the oven, but the earthy flavor of the peels with these simple adornments is the perfect foil for your favorite dip. Or, perch them atop a steaming bowl of the Basic New England Clam Chowder you can make with all of those potatoes you’ll have! You’ll find that recipe here.


  • 2 cups potato peels 
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil – spray or pour 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • Pinch of black pepper 


Preheat oven to 400°. Line an edged sheet pan with parchment paper. 

Wash/scrub potatoes well to remove any dirt. Cut out any blemishes or sprouts with a small paring knife. Peel potatoes with a peeler so you get peels that don’t have too much potato flesh. 

Soak peels for ½ hour in cold or room temperature water, to get rid of excess starch. Rinse the soaked peels and dry them with a kitchen towel and/or a salad spinner. Get peels as dry as possible, so the chips get really crisp. 

Spread potato peels in a single layer on the sheet pan and drizzle/spray with oil, coating peels well but not weighing them down. Sprinkle with salt/pepper. 

Bake potato peels for 15-18 minutes, turning half-way through so they cook evenly. Broil for a few minutes at the end to get them even more crispy, watching carefully so they don’t burn. 

Notes: You can save up potato peels until you have the amount you want to use. Store in water in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, changing the water daily. 

You can also make these in an air fryer, same temperature but they will be done much faster so keep an eye on them. 

Blood Orange Paloma

Blood Orange Paloma - Pretty pink cocktail with lime and blood red orange with a rosemary sprig in tall clear glasses set on a marble table, with barman's tools and metal shaker.

Perfectly citrus-y with a subtle sweetness, the Blood Orange Paloma is a great addition to your bartending repertoire. This version was created in honor of “Dry January,” a 30-day challenge for folks to “drink to their health” and enjoy mocktails instead of the real deal.

BriarPatch carries non-alcoholic Ritual Zero Proof Tequila Alternative, which Food & Wine magazine recently named as “the best” (The 12 Best Nonalcoholic Spirits, According to Bartenders12/19/2023). Its smoky flavor profile is more akin to mezcal and lends itself well to libations such as this delightful drink. Cheers! 


  • 2 oz Ritual Zero Proof Tequila Alternative  
  • 3 ½ oz blood orange-flavored kombucha or sparkling soda  
  • 1 ½ oz fresh grapefruit juice  
  • ½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice  
  • ½ – 1 oz agave nectar (start with less and adjust to taste)  
  • Salt for rimming glass, optional  
  • Grapefruit, blood orange and/or lime slices, for garnish  
  • Rosemary sprigs, for garnish 


  1. Moisten the edge of the glass with lime and rim with salt. Fill glass with crushed ice.   
  2. Add a few ice cubes to a cocktail shaker and add tequila alternative, grapefruit juice, lime juice and agave nectar. Shake for 15-20 seconds and pour in the glass.  
  3. Top with blood orange-flavored kombucha/sparkling soda and stir to combine. Garnish with citrus slices and rosemary sprig.  

Cold & Spicy Cukes

Spicy Smashed Cucumber Salad - Cucumber chunks mixed with vinagrette dressing and cilantro leaves. Served in a blue ceramic bowl with chopsticks, on blue and yellow table.

Smashing cucumbers is an ancient Chinese technique, bringing together the veggie’s coolness with the intense spice of Sichuan cuisine.

Crushing a cucumber produces flavors un-smashed cucumbers can’t. When you crush cells in a vegetable rather than slicing cleanly through it, certain compounds get released and you can get a significantly different flavor.

Use firm-fleshed, fresh cucumbers for this dish. Crushing them can soften them into mush if you start with old, soft ones.


  • 7-10 Persian cucumbers 
  • 1 tsp kosher salt 
  • ½ bunch cilantro, roughly chopped  
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced  
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce  
  • 2 Tbsp sugar  
  • 2 Tbsp chili oil  
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil  
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar 


  1. Cut ends off cucumbers, halve lengthwise, and then into 2-inch pieces. Carefully using the flat side of your knife, smash them gently – just enough to break the fruit inside. Toss pieces in salt and drain in colander for 30 minutes.  
  2. Mix together the rest of your ingredients, reserving 1/3 of the cilantro, and let sit while cucumbers drain. 
  3. Toss cucumbers and sauce together, then right before serving, sprinkle remaining cilantro on top.  

Holiday Pull-Apart Bread

Christmas-tree-shaped bread with twists of dough and green sauce. Garnished with cherry tomatoes and parsley sprigs, on a wooden cutting board and light blue table.

There’s something fun and festive about pull-apart bread, and this recipe is sure to bring the “wow” to your holiday spread. Golden crust on the outside, soft and fluffy insides, it’s versatile and easy to put together on the fly. Here we’ve shaped it into a Christmas tree, but the shape is limited only by your imagination.

You can switch things up depending on the dough you have on hand (adjusting baking instructions accordingly) and the filling you’d like. Pesto, zhug and other herb or tomato-based sauces can work as well.


  • 2 8-oz packages crescent roll dough (we used Immaculate brand)
  • Small bit of flour
  • ¾ cup chimichurri sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • Fresh cherry tomatoes and parsley sprigs for garnish
  • Optional: Marinara sauce for dipping


  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Get an edged sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Open crescent roll dough and lay on a large, lightly-floured cutting board. Take two of the pre-perforated triangle shapes from the rectangle of dough and reposition them so the shape is now a triangle. Gently push together perforations and roll dough so the triangle is about 15” long. Carefully move to a parchment-lined sheet pan.
  3. Spread sauce evenly over triangle surface, then sprinkle shredded cheese and then Parmesan across the same area. Create the same triangular shape with the other package of dough. Gently place it on top of the first, matching and gently pinching together the edges.
  4. Lay a ruler down the middle of the tree for a visual of the “trunk.” Using a serrated knife, cut inward to the “trunk” so that each “branch” is about 1 inch thick. Repeat top to bottom and on both sides, so there are plenty of tasty branches for folks to enjoy without cutting through the trunk that’ll hold everything together, and a nice, pointed treetop.
  5. Take the two bottom branches and fold them a few times toward the center. This will be the tree trunk. Then, carefully pick each branch up and give it 2-3 evenly-spaced, gentle twists – depending on how long the branch is. Beat egg with water and brush onto tree.
  6. Bake until golden brown, about 15-18 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
  7. Garnish with several cherry tomatoes and parsley sprigs arranged like holly sprigs. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

Homemade Irish Cream

Leprechaun figurine sitting next to three bottles of tan-colored homemade Irish Cream, and three cocktail glasses with ice and Irish Cream. Sitting on white table with pine branches for decoration. Christmas decorations in background.

Well, aren’t you lucky!

You know how to make Irish Cream and can surprise your friends with this easy and absolutely delicious holiday gift that is ready in 30 minutes.

The origins of Irish Cream are a bit opaque, but seem to mostly point in the direction of a marketing effort in the 1970s by Gilbey’s of Ireland concocted by an Englishman…yes, that would be Baileys.

This recipe was gifted to us by Grass Valley born and bred Sarah Cain, an expert cordial and spirit maker. Now based in Vallejo, Cain currently works in beautiful, molded chocolate. Learn more at

Drink with a bit of ice, or mix with some coffee, for an Irish coffee. There are loads of fun cocktails to enjoy once you’ve made your liqueur.


  • 750ml Whiskey (your choice of style, but buy something you’d like to sip!)
  • Dairy version: Cream base
  • 1cup heavy cream (or ½ & ½)
  • 1cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup dark roast coffee beans – coarsely cracked
  • ¼ cup cacao nibs
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • Non-dairy version: Coconut milk base
  • 2 14oz cans coconut milk (full fat!) – you could also sub 1 can for 14oz coconut cream (thicker)
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup dark roast coffee beans – coarsely cracked
  • ¼ cup cacao nibs


  1. Combine the cream/coconut milk), brown sugar, coffee and cacao nibs in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, especially as the mixture approaches a boil. Remove from the heat and let steep for 10 minutes.
  2. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean jar and stir in the condensed milk, then stir in whiskey. Store in the refrigerator. Use within a month.

Tequila Mocking-mule

Tequila Mule Mocktail

A fun, refreshing & slightly spicy non-alcoholic version of the Mexican Mule. Fancy enough to have at a holiday party, but cool enough to drink on a hot summer night too.

Because this mule is alcohol free it’s perfect for designated drivers, kids, expecting moms or anyone who just doesn’t want to drink alcohol.

Makes 1 cocktail. Perfect for Dry January.


  • 4 oz Reed’s Extra Ginger Beer
  • ½ oz fresh squeezed lime juice
  • ½ oz orange juice
  • 1 ½ oz Ritual Tequila Alternative
  • Jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • ½ oz fresh squeezed lime juice
  • ½ oz orange juice
  • 1 ½ oz Ritual Tequila Alternative
  • Jalapeño, thinly sliced


In a mule cup or short cocktail glass, add ginger beer, lime juice, orange juice and Ritual. Stir gently. Add ice. Place a few jalapeño slices on top. Enjoy!