Spencer’s Fresh Markets’ holiday recipes

December 22, 2015

Spencer’s garlic hand rubbed standing rib roast for your holiday table

Rib Roast

1 – 750ml bottle Cabernet Sauvignon Wine

2 cups beef stock or canned broth

1 cup Ruby Port

2 large garlic cloves, peeled

1 large shallot, peeled and halved

2 bay leaves

2 tsp. thyme

1 Boneless Prime Rib Roast, 6#

4 large garlic cloves, pressed

Salt and Pepper (optional)

Fresh Parsley Sprigs (garnish)
Aus Jus

Cooking instructions for our tried and true au jus sauce

Combine the first six ingredients and 1 tsp. of thyme in a large non-aluminum saucepan. Boil until reduced to 2 cups, about one hour. Strain, cool, cover, and refrigerate. (Can be prepared up to two days ahead.)

Prime rib roast preparation

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place the roast, fat side up, in the oven for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degreesand continue cooking for approximately 20 minutes per pound for medium rate. Internal temperature should register 140 to 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer for medium rare.

Transfer roast to a platter and let stand for about 20 minutes. Pour off the fat from the roasting pan into a saucepan and place over medium heat. Add the Cabernet mixture and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour au jus into a sauce boat for serving. Garnish platter with parsley if desired. Carve beef and serve with au jus. Celebrate!

Specify whether you prefer ribs to be seasoned or not. If seasoned, the ribs are cut, the meat is seasoned with crushed garlic and Spencer’s Seasoning and then the ribs are tied back and the outside of the roast is seasoned with another round of Spencer’s seasoning.

Ordering Rule of Thumb: Generally two people per rib as a rib is approximately 2 lb. You can order any number of ribs. (Anything larger than seven ribs will come as two roasts.)

Order now and schedule your pick up date call Santa Maria at 805-937-3702 or Morro Bay at 805-772-8103.


Chocolate velvet cake with cream cheese-butter pecan frosting

chocolate Velvet CakeCake batter

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 (16-ounce) package light brown sugar

3 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (8-ounce) container sour cream

1 cup hot water

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Melt semisweet chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl at high for 30-second intervals until melted (about 1 1/2 minutes total time). Stir until smooth.

2. Beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer, beating about five minutes or until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add melted chocolate, beating just until blended.

3. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to chocolate mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Gradually add 1 cup hot water in a slow, steady stream, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in vanilla. Use immediately, following directions for desired cake.

Note: The addition of hot water at the end of this recipe makes for an exceptionally moist cake.


2 cups chopped pecans

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 (16-ounce) packages powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Stir together chopped pecans and 1/4 cup melted butter. Spread in an even layer in a 13- x 9-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until pecans are toasted. Remove from oven, and let cool.

2. Beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in pecans and vanilla.

Note: To sugar silk ivy leaves, brush leaves lightly with corn syrup, and sprinkle with granulated sugar.


Lemon coconut cake


Lemon Coconut CakeCake Batter

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, separated

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

Garnishes: fresh rosemary sprigs, red gumdrops for some added Christmas flair

Lemon Filling – recipe below

Cream Cheese Frosting – recipe below


1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition.

2. Combine flour and baking powder; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

3. Beat egg whites at high speed with electric mixer until stiff peaks form; fold one-third of egg whites into batter. Gently fold in remaining beaten egg whites just until blended. Spoon batter into three greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

5. Spread Lemon Filling between layers. Spread cream cheese frosting on top and sides of cake. Sprinkle top and sides with coconut. Garnish, if desired.

Lemon Filling

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 cup boiling water

4 egg yolks, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons butter


1. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan; whisk in 1 cup boiling water. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until sugar and cornstarch dissolve (about two minutes). Gradually whisk about one-fourth of hot sugar mixture into egg yolks; add to remaining hot sugar mixture in pan, whisking constantly. Whisk in lemon rind and juice.

2. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened (about two to three minutes). Remove from heat. Whisk in butter; let cool completely, stirring occasionally.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended; stir in vanilla.


Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookies

Pistachio Cranberry3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/3 granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 finely chopped pistachio nuts

1/3 cup snipped dried cranberries


1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, cinnamon, orange zest and salt. Beat about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Reduce speed to low. Gradually beat in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, switching to a wooden spoon if necessary. Stir in pistachio nuts and cranberries; use hands to knead dough until smooth.

2. Divide dough in half. On waxed paper, shape each half into an 8 1/2-inch-long log (about 1 1/2 inches across). Lift and smooth the waxed paper to help shape the logs. Wrap each log in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Chill about two hours or until dough is firm enough to slice.

3. Cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Rotate log while cutting to prevent flattening. (If dough gets too soft to slice, freeze briefly until it is firm enough to slice.) Place slices 1 inch apart on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

4. Bake in a 350 degrees oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are firm and just starting to brown. Cool on cookie sheets for one minute. Transfer cookies to wire racks.


Cream cheese-coconut-pecan pound cake

cream Cheese Coconut Pound Cake

As if a cream cheese pound cake was not rich enough, this one goes over the top with the addition of shredded coconut and chopped pecans.  And don’t forget the sugar glaze that’s drizzled over the top. For a special holiday occasion, garnish the cake plate with sugared rosemary sprigs and sugared cranberries.

Cake Batter

1 1/2 cups butter, softened

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

3 cups sugar

6 large eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup bourbon

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1/2 cup shredded coconut

Powdered Sugar Glaze (optional)

Sugared Rosemary (optional)

Sugared Cranberries (optional)


1. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until the yellow yolk disappears.

2. Sift together flour and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with bourbon, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat batter at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla, pecans, and coconut. Pour batter into a greased and floured 12-cup tube pan.

3. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour and 35 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack.

Note: The bourbon gives this pound cake a wonderful aroma and flavor, but you may substitute an equal amount of milk, if desired.

Powdered Sugar Glaze

2 cups powdered sugar

3 to 4 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Stir together 2 cups powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth, adding another 1 tablespoon milk, if necessary, for desired consistency.

Sugared Cranberries

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 cup fresh cranberries

1/4 cup granulated sugar


Bring 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, and 1 cup fresh cranberries to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring often, over medium-high heat. (Do not overcook; cranberries should swell and just begin to pop.) Remove from heat, and drain, reserving liquid for another use. Toss cranberries with 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and arrange in a single layer on wax paper. Use immediately, or let stand at room temperature, uncovered, for up to 24 hours.

Sugared Rosemary

1/2 cup corn syrup

12 rosemary sprigs

granulated sugar


Microwave 1/2 cup corn syrup at HIGH for 10 seconds or until warm. Brush 10 to 12 rosemary sprigs lightly with corn syrup; sprinkle evenly with granulated sugar. Arrange in a single layer on wax paper. Use immediately, or let stand at room temperature, uncovered, for up to 24 hours.


Caramel heavenlies

Caramel Heavenlies12 graham cracker rectangles

2 cups tiny marshmallows

3/4 cup butter, cut up

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sliced almonds

1 cup flaked coconut


1. Line a 15x10x1-inch pan with parchment paper or foil. Grease foil, if using. Arrange graham crackers in a single layer in the pan. Sprinkle with marshmallows.

2. In a medium saucepan combine butter and brown sugar; cook over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in cinnamon and vanilla. Spoon over the graham crackers, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with almonds and coconut.

3. Bake in a 350 degrees oven about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack. Use foil or parchment to lift uncut bars from pan. Cut into 3-inch squares; cut each square in half diagonally.

4. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to one week. Makes 30 cookies.


Cardamom-spiced crumb cake

Cardomon Cake

Crumb Topping

2 cup pecans

2 stick unsalted butter

¾ cup light brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

½ tsp. ground cardamom

½ tsp. salt

2⅔ cup all-purpose flour


• 3 cup all-purpose flour

• 1¼ c. sugar

• 1½ tsp. baking powder

• 1 tsp. salt

• 2 large eggs

• 1 cup whole milk

• 1½ stick unsalted butter, melted

• 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract


• ½ cup confectioners’ sugar

• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

• 2 tsp. whole milk

• ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preparation for Crumb Cake

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Butter a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan.

2. Make the crumb topping: Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for eight minutes, until browned. Let cool, then coarsely chop the nuts.

3. In a medium bowl, stir the melted butter with both sugars, the cardamom and salt. Add the flour and stir until clumpy. Stir in the chopped nuts.

4. Make the cake: In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing the surface. Scatter the crumbs in large clumps over the cake; the crumb layer will be quite deep.

5. Bake for about 55 minutes, until the crumbs are golden and firm and a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. If the crumbs brown before the cake is done, cover the cake loosely with foil. Transfer to a rack to cool.

6. Make the glaze: In a bowl, whisk all of the glaze ingredients together. Drizzle the glaze over the cake; let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.



Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

With all of that wine and port no wonder it is yummy!

I used the Au Jus recipe from the ribeye roast recipe. Unfortunately, my family and I settled for crappy Albertsons “choice” bone-in this year, as my significant other works for them. Typically, I use Spencer’s exclusively for bone-in (or boneless) ribeye roasts. I will get either Choice or Select (depending on price, occasion, etc) and they are always pretty decent. I trust Spencer’s meat, and even the lower-quality (less marbling) Select is often on par with Choice or Costco Prime (lol, prime at costco).

Needless to say, the only thing that really saved that sub-par Albertsons roast (it was labeled and priced as “choice” but I would put it more at “Select”) was this Spencer’s recipe and tips. I cooked it per the instructions here, and made the au jus and it turned out wonderfully – thanks to the au jus and cooking tips.

Next time we need a bone-in ribeye, I’m not skipping Spencer’s. I’ve learned my lesson this year.

OK, I did another bone-in rib eye for New Years, but this time I drove out to Morro Bay and went with Spencer’s. Same grade (Choice) as my Albertsons Christmas bone-in roast, but man, what a difference. The meat was decently marbled (for choice) and was one dollar per pound more ($7.99 / lb @ Spencer’s vs. $6.99 / lb @ Albertsons). In the end, with the 10-lb or so I got, I have to say, the Spencer’s roast definitely tasted $10 better (dollar difference x 10lb… you get it).

It was a superior meat, and I reiterate: do not skip Spencer’s when doing the seasoned bone-in (or boneless) rib eye.

Lesson learned.

Thank you John for sharing the great recipes.