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Check out our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide, win some awesome gadgets!
Our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide is in full swing - we are adding our recommendations daily, aimed at men, women, teens, families, techies, and more. If you need help figuring out what to get the people in your life, head on over to our Guide for some ideas. We’ll even be giving away some of the items featured this year!
I'm an absolute sucker for rice pudding, mostly because I've found it to always be pretty delicious, regardless of the source. Whether it's something ordered at a New York diner, an Indian restaurant, or bought at the supermarket in a Kozy Shack plastic tub, if I see it as an option, I'm usually getting it. This rice pudding recipe is adapted from Monica Bhide, who suggests serving it with fresh mango. While that is good, the recipe does stand up on its own as well, as the coconut and cardamom bring something nice and different to the table, without changing the overall goodness.
Ever wonder what a cube of Jell-O looks like when bouncing around at 6200 frames per second? Wonder no more, and gaze upon this hypnotizing deliciousness.
File these under “Super Easy, Still Impressive” - palmiers (light, sweet puff pastry cookies) are criminally cinchy to make and an impressive and tasty way to end a meal on a high (and not too heavy) note. I love to eat these with chocolate sauce or whipped cream, and every once in a while I get a little crazy and add some cinnamon to the sugar.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 sheet of puff pastry
Preheat the oven to 425.
Sprinkle half of the sugar on a cutting board. Unfold the puff pastry and press it down into the sugar. Sprinkle the other half of the sugar on top of the puff pastry and spread it around with your fingers, brushing off the sugar that doesn’t stick to the pastry.
Fold the sides of the puff pastry in to the center. Fold the pastry again so there are four layers. Using a sharp knife, cut the pastry across the short side into 1 inch slices. For the best results cut straight down, not back-and-forth like with bread or steak.
The very best baking results will be achieved using a silicone baking mat like a Silpat, but parchment paper will work in a pinch. To bake, take the sliced pieces and place them cut side down on the baking sheet. Unfold them slightly and twist the edges down, so that the cookies make a V (this part is not the easiest thing to explain, I know - basically you’ll have one end standing up on the cut side, and it will be the point on the V that’s formed with the two ends lying flat on the the non-cut side). Bake until the tops are slightly golden (about 7 minutes) and remove from the oven. Flip them over and put back in the oven another 4 or 5 minutes or so - until the tops and sides are nicely browed and the sugar has caramelized. Remove and let cool, then eat!
It’s time for fresh berries! One of my favorite ever weekend breakfasts (okay, most weekend breakfasts are my favorite) is a nice warm blueberry muffin. Or a few. And yes, there are plenty of mixes and bakeries around who will hook my breakfast up right for just a little bit of time and money, but I’m still firmly of the belief that everything tastes better when it comes from my personal oven.
These muffins are an adaptation of a recipe from the Butter Queen Paula Deen - when I went to buy blueberries this week, there were some raspberries that I just couldn’t resist. I added a streusel topping recipe found on the Chowhound message board for a little bit of extra sweetness and crunch. And before you ask, I did not eat muffins straight off of my counter - there IS a plate under there. It’s just clear. I swear.
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Cakes are great, pies are good, anything gooey and sweet is fantastic. But cookies? So underrated. Cookies are, in my opinion, the best way to end a party. Put a big plate of cookies out at the end of a party and people will eat them up! I made these Mexican Chocolate Icebox cookies the first time a couple years ago, and they’ve been the sleeper hit in my repertoire.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 3/4 t ground cinnamon
- 1/2 t cayenne
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
- 12 T (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
Sift together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in vanilla extract and egg. Gradually add flour mixture until dough is uniform in color and no unmixed flour remains.
Shape into two 9” logs and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Make sure the wrap is airtight. Freeze overnight. The dough will keep up to six weeks in the freezer.
When ready to use, preheat oven to 375F and bake for 8-10 minutes. Cookies should feel a bit firm at the edges. Store in an airtight container when cool.
Be sure to check out our other Cinco de Mayo recipes!
Warren Brown’s first foray into cookbook writing, “CakeLove: How to Bake Cakes from Scratch”, was published on May 1st, and like many dessert lovers and home bakers, I could barely contain my enthusiasm when I finally got to plunk down my $27.50 for the oversized tome, full of beautiful photographs by Renee Comet.
If the name Warren Brown sounds vaguely familiar to you, it may be because you’ve seen him on Oprah or Today, or maybe because of his second (third, now) job hosting Sugar Rush on the Food Network. Brown left his law career and opened his first CakeLove bakery in Washington, DC in 2002, which has since branched out to three bakeries and a cafe, with two more bakeries in the works.
I have a friend who requests one thing for his birthday every year - brownies. After a few trial and error batches with various recipes, I discovered this recipe two years ago and have never looked back - the combination of easy preparation and a texture that falls somewhere between a cake and a piece of fudge make this recipe a winner.
- 6 oz 70% bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 3/4 cup cold butter, cut into chunks
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 t vanilla
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
I’m on a personal mission to get you baking, readers! These cranberry lemon muffins, which I’ve adapted from Nigella Lawson’s classic “How To Be A Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking”, are easy, fast, and delish.
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 1/3 all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Juice and and chopped zest of 1 lemon
- Approximately 1/2 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 5 ounces dried cranberries
Cake. We can all agree that it’s awesome, correct? Good. While it’s undeniably easy to stop in your trendiest neighborhood bakery or pick up a boxed mix and a tub of frosting (and please just… don’t), making a cake from scratch is not nearly as intimidating as you might think. In fact, I’m fully confident that anyone with a mixer and a bundt pan can successfully bake this cake. Besides, starting from a recipe as great as this one, you don’t have to be an expert baker, you just have to have good notes from the real recipe experts - in this case, grandmothers.
Our family likes to make up a batch or two of these healthy oatmeal cookies to keep in the freezer, they work great for when we are feeling like something sweet but not wanting to be “bad.” They make a healthy treat for the whole family, and they are so easy to make. I make these cookies if I am wanting to do some cooking with the kids but don’t have time to make something that is really involved. Because you don’t have to bake these cookies, they make up in less than 30 minutes.
Vegan No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (or other shortening of choice)
- 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, less if you don’t like a really rich chocolate flavor
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 2 cup rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a saucepan over medium heat combine the maple syrup, oil, cocoa and cinnamon. Boil for three minutes, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter, rolled oats and vanilla until well blended.
- Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto waxed paper (I used foil and sprayed it so they wouldn’t stick) and chill to set, about 30 minutes. Keep refrigerated.
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