Renowned pastry chef teams up with Sam's Club

According to the 2012 Sam's Club Study on Holiday Cheer, 50% of American consumers say that dinner with family and friends best defines holiday cheer. As homes across the US prepare to host hungry guests this holiday, Sam's Club enlists all-star Pastry Chef Chris Hanmer to inspire hosts with time-saving baking secrets. As the newest member of the Sam's Club Simply Delicious Chef Brigade, Chef Hanmer is the founder of The School of Pastry Design in Las Vegas, NV and winner of BRAVO's "Top Chef: Just Desserts" 2011 competition. In 2012, Chef Hanmer shares unexpectedly easy-to-make dessert recipes and short but sweet baking tips at SamsClub.com/meals .

Using quality ingredients sourced from Sam's Club, Chef Hanmer unveils three straightforward recipes: His Crispy Holiday Vanilla Cookie makes a great DIY gift; Roasted Honeycrisp Apple Creme Brulee with fresh fruit is deceptively simple to bake; and Chef's Heavenly Holiday Chocolate Almond Cake (recipe enclosed) will satisfy guests with each bite. Members can follow Chef Hanmer's step-by-step instruction at SamsClub.com/meals "Tips & Videos" tab or view photos and printable recipes on the "Easy Recipes" tab.

"No holiday meal is complete without dessert. However, adding sweets onto the menu should not mean excess time in the kitchen," says Chef Hanmer. "When creating homemade desserts, I combine seasonal ingredients with baking essentials to lock in great holiday flavors without a lot of extra work. I can depend on the quality of ingredients at Sam's Club to stock the pantry for holiday baking - from oils, flour and spices to crunchy nuts and chocolate chips. Buying bulk sizes of these essentials is a great value, and from November to New Year's, I know I'll have all I need to sweeten every holiday occasion."

Holiday Taste of Sam's Club: Nov. 16 to 18
Like many all-star chefs, Hanmer recommends that to guarantee rave reviews, sample key menu items before serving to others. From Nov. 16 to 18, Sam's Club gives members and guests a delicious opportunity to "try before they buy" at the 10th annual "Holiday Taste of Sam's Club" event. From 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. each day, Sam's Club provides free samples of the best bites in holiday entertaining, including:

Gourmet-to-go cookies, artisan fresh pies and pre-sliced cheesecakes make special holiday desserts or delicious hostess gifts

Elegant ready-made appetizers from chicken & bacon bruschetta to bacon-wrapped shrimp, pop in the oven and cheer up guests awaiting the big meal

Fresh meats – from hickory-smoked and spiral-sliced ham to savory sirloin and leg of lamb, high quality meats are crowd-pleasing as a main course and as leftovers

The Holiday Taste of Sam's Club event is open to members and non-members from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on November 16, 17 and 18. Non-members can bring in a 1-day invitation to shop from the Holiday Taste of Sam's Club newspaper insert or visit Member Services to take advantage of holiday entertaining essentials and Club exclusives2. "Tastes 'n' Tips" associates will also recommend recipes and beverage pairings. Those preparing menus from home can visit SamsClub.com/holiday for interactive "how-tos" to simplify entertaining, including setting a lively tablescape or boning and butterflying a premium leg of lamb.

Simply Delicious: Chris Hanmer's Heavenly Holiday Chocolate Almond Cake (RECIPE)

Inspired by his winning TV recipe, Chef Hanmer created a heavenly chocolate almond cake that guests will cheer about. All ingredients are sourced from Sam's Club (while supplies last).

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

Almond Caramel with Sea Salt
Ingredients:

¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp corn syrup
¾ cup cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp sea salt
¼ cup toasted slivered almonds
Directions:

Warm the cream, sea salt and vanilla in a saucepot and set aside. Place the corn syrup and sugar in a saucepot over medium heat and cook until a golden caramel color has been reached stirring from time to time. Carefully and slowly add the warm cream to the caramel stirring well. Remove from the heat and add the toasted almonds.

Warm Chocolate Cake
Ingredients:

4 oz dark chocolate
½ cup butter
3 eggs
½ cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
¾ cup granulated sugar
Directions:

Chop the chocolate and put it in a bowl with the butter. Using a microwave, heat for about 30 seconds at a time until liquid and hot.

Using a stand mixer, whip the eggs with the granulated sugar until light. Slowly add the chocolate butter mixture. Sift together all the dry ingredients and fold into the chocolate mixture.

Fill 4 4-oz oven safe dishes half way with the cake batter. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, spoon the almond caramel sauce over the top of the cake and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

For more festive favorites from Chris Hanmer, simply delicious holiday meal ideas and cooking tips, visit SamsClub.com/meals.

Now in its second year, the Sam's Club Simply Delicious Chef Brigade features nationally renowned restaurant and pastry chefs who create simple, flavorful meal solutions and show families that cooking at home can be just as easy and delicious as dining out. Visit SamsClub.com/meals for seasonal recipes, videos and cooking tips from other all-star Chef Brigade participants, plus a calendar of in-club sampling demonstrations, an interactive wine pairing app and the popular "7 Ways to Use" feature, revealing easy recipes that stretch one item across several meals.