Happy Thanksgiving, readers! Need a seasonal sweet to take to a gathering, but not quite up for the challenge of a pie? Try these spiced Molasses Cookies from Maggie Battista's Food Gift Love. They're also easy to handsomely package, so you can make a batch for your upcoming holiday gift exchanges as well!
MAKES: 90 TO 100 COOKIES // PREPARATION TIME: 1 HOUR 15 MINUTES
Molasses Cookies are fall and winter favorites, providing just the sort of comfort and flavors to help us get through tough New England weather. The original recipe was shared by a local chef, but I’ve altered it over the years to suit my need for more molasses and more spice. I like more of everything, and after you taste these cookies, you will too. The cookies are dairy-free, so they are a flavorful option for folks avoiding the stuff.
Keep a kitchen towel handy as this dough is a little slick. If you have any Cinnamon Sugar hiding in your Food Gift Love pantry, then roll the dough in that before baking.
1. Cut two large (18x12-inch) sheets of wax or parchment paper. You’ll wrap the cookie dough in the paper.
2. In a stand mixer, add the eggs, canola oil, molasses and both sugars. Beat at medium-high speed until well blended.
3. Add the remaining ingredients to a large bowl, and whisk to combine. Pour the dry ingredients into the mixer, and blend at low-medium speed until combined.
4. Drop the dough onto one sheet of the wax or parchment paper, using your well-floured hands to press any extra dough bits into the big lump of dough, forming a round disk. Using a well-floured knife or pastry cutter, slice the dough in half. Slide one half of the dough onto the second sheet of wax or parchment paper. Shape both doughs into low round disks, and wrap them up in the paper. Place on a plate or in a plastic bag and let chill in the fridge 2 hours or up to overnight. If you’d like to make these in the future, this is the moment to place the dough in the freezer as is or pre-rolled into dough balls (see step 6). (Defrost the dough disks overnight in the fridge before baking, but feel free to bake pre-rolled dough balls from frozen.)
5. Reheat the oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (not wax paper). Pour extra sugar onto a large flat plate.
6. Using a spoon, scoop out 1 tablespoon of dough and form into a ball. Repeat until all the dough is used. Roll the dough balls in the sugar until well coated. Place on a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until the cookies have flattened slightly and cracked a bit but are still soft to the touch. Transfer to a cooling rack or new sheet of parchment paper to cool.
7. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.
Cut a slip of parchment paper to fit the box. Place the cookies in the box vertically. Slide the box cover closed. Cut a long length of string and wrap it around the box several times. Tie a knot and trim any excess string. Slip a hand-written (or stamped) tag under the string.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means Christmas isn't far behind. Save a little stress (and cash) this holiday season with recipes from Maggie Battista's Food Gift Love. With recipes for more than 100 edible gifts inside, this collection should include a little something to please just about anyone on your list. This Vin d'Orange looks elegant when finished, and it's absolutely no-fuss—just set it in a dark place and wait for the magic to happen!
Makes: About 6 to 7 bottles
Preparation Time: 15 minutes active time (up to 21 days total time)
Vin d’Orange is a fortified, fruity wine that takes up significant space in my Food Gift Love pantry. I make a big batch every winter, just when Seville oranges begin to show up at the local shops and I’m dreaming of hot summer nights, when the finished product is the very best refreshment.
Traditionally, oranges infuse the wine for 40 or more days to reach peak flavor. After making so many Vin d’Orange batches, I consider the infusion process to be a conversation between me and the wine. Every 1 or 2 days, I taste to determine the just right amount of bitterness. I take a sip, remove 1 sour orange, take a sip, remove 2 or 3 sour oranges, and take more sips. By the 3-week point, the Vin d’Orange is bottled and added to my pantry for long-term aging where it just gets better.
If 5 bottles of rose wine is just too much, cut it down to 2 bottles with these adjustments: use 4 Seville oranges, 1 navel orange, 1 lemon, 1 cup sugar, [½] vanilla bean and 1 cup vodka. Also, if you’d like, replace the Seville oranges and use only navel oranges (such as Cara Cara or Valencia) or try blood oranges. The resulting libation won’t be as bitter and that’s just right for some.
Wash all the citrus well, and cut it all into quarters.
Place the citrus, sugar, vanilla beans and vodka into your glass jar. When placing the citrus in the jar, do not squeeze juice from the fruit; the extra juice may make the final Vin d’Orange a bit cloudy.
Empty the wine from each bottle into the glass jar. Reserve the empty wine bottles for your final bottling. Stir briefly to help dissolve the sugar, cover and store in a cool, dark place in your kitchen. (I use a dark corner of my kitchen—it’s just too pretty to hide away in a cabinet and will brighten your day like a bouquet of flowers.)
Rinse your rosé bottles and allow to air dry. Store until ready to use.
Now let’s begin our conversation with our Vin d’Orange…
Once your Vin d’Orange has infused for 14 days, start checking on it every 1 to 2 days. With tongs, remove a few pieces of sour orange if it’s getting too bitter. This process can take up to 40 days, depending on the sweetness of your fruit and conditions in which the jar is stored, but I like the style and flavor profile of my Vin d’Orange at the 21-day mark.
After your Vin d’Orange is as you like it, remove the solids with tongs and strain the Vin d’Orange through cheesecloth. Using a funnel placed in each bottle, pour the Vin d’Orange into the reserved rose bottles, being careful not to add any sediment. You will have started with 5 bottles, but you’ll most likely have to add 1 to 2 extra bottles to hold the extra wine that’s come about during the infusion process.
Seal the bottles and store the Vin d’Orange at room temperature for up to 1 year. As it ages, the Vin d’Orange strengthens in flavor and deepens in color.
Serve well chilled or over a couple ice cubes, with a twist of orange or lemon, if you wish.
Transfer the syrup to a clean pretty bottle. Punch a hole in an orange crisp. Thread the end of the ribbon through the hole and make a thick knot. Wrap the ribbon around the bottle a few times, positioning the orange crisp in the front. Stick a pin through the ribbon to hold it in place.
Masterful chef Madhur Jaffrey is an authority on Indian cusine, and her newest cookbook, Vegetarian India, provides more than 200 meatless, vibrant and satisfying recipes that are easily recreated with the addition of a few new spices and Jaffrey's instructions. This Flattened Rice with Cauliflower and Peas makes a perfect entree or a delicious part of a larger meal.
Flattened Rice with Cauliflower and Peas
phool gobi aur matar wa la paha
A grand dish that looks splendid and tastes as good as it looks. Sometimes I eat this all by itself. Other dishes, such as Mixed Dal, Marwari Style (see page 154), could be added to the meal, as well as a raita, popadams and chutneys. It is also perfect for brunch.
In India most people like their poha upmas to be fairly spicy, but you can use as many or as few green chilies as you like.
1. Put the poha into a sieve and wash gently but thoroughly in running water. Place in a bowl, cover generously with water and soak for 2 minutes. Drain and leave in a sieve set over a bowl.
2. Put the oil into a large nonstick frying pan and set it over medium-high heat. When hot, add the asafetida and the urad dal. As soon as the dal starts to pick up a little color, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop, a matter of seconds, add the curry leaves (take care, as they will splutter), then the onions, ginger, cauliflower and turmeric. Stir gently for about 3–4 minutes, still over medium-high heat, until the onions and cauliflower are lightly browned.
3. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the peas, green chilies, ½ teaspoon of salt and the lime juice. Stir gently for 1–2 minutes, always lifting the ingredients from the bottom, so the peas heat/cook through.
Add all the poha, gently breaking up any lumps. Sprinkle another ½ teaspoon of salt over it and mix gently over a very low heat for 3–4 minutes, using a flat spatula and lifting the mixture from the bottom and folding it over the rest. When the ingredients are well blended and the poha has heated through, cover and set aside until you are ready to eat.
Excerpted from VEGETARIAN INDIA by Madhur Jaffrey. Copyright © 2015 by Random House. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Read our review of this book.
Emeril Lagasse is a titan in the food world, and his new cookbook, Essential Emeril, is comprised of 130 his most beloved, enduring recipes from a lifetime of cooking. This recipe for Praline-Cayenne Bacon packs a flavorful punch—which is everything fans have come to expect from Emeril's dishes.
Wonderfully gooey and indulgent, this classic combination of sweet and salt makes it the perfect partner for cocktails, like the Aperol Spritz (page 64). You can also cut it into pieces and use it as a garnish for salads.
Nonstick cooking spray
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top of the baking sheet. Spray the rack thoroughly with nonstick spray.
2. In a small bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar and cayenne, using a fork to mash it all together until thoroughly blended and smooth.
3. Arrange the bacon slices on top of the wire rack in a single layer so the slices don’t overlap. Divde the butter-sugar mixture evenly among the slices of bacon (about 2 tablespoons per slice). With slightly damp hands, spread the mixture evenly over the slices, trying to cover as much of the bacon as possible with an even coating. Bake on the center rack of the oven until the bacon is crisp around the edges and the sugar mixture is caramelized and bubbly, 35 to 40 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from the oven and let the bacon cool slightly, then transfer the strips to a serving plate. Set aside until completely cool, about 20 minutes. (The bacon will continue to harden as it cools.) To serve, cut it into smaller lengths, if desired, and place on a serving plate in a single layer for guests to help themselves. This is best enjoyed the day it is made.
YIELD: 4 TO 6 APPETIZER SERVINGS
French chef Jacques Pépin shares his favorite recipes for entertaining at home in his new cookbook, Jacques Pépin: Heart & Soul in the Kitchen. With the holidays quickly approaching, it's handy to have a few easily made, shareable dishes up your sleeve. Whip up this Cannellini Bean Dip with just a few ingredients when (unexpected) company inevitably drops by.
Cannellini Bean Dip
I like to offer guests a little treat when I’m serving drinks, and this dip is always welcome. My pantry is never without canned beans, from cannellini to black beans to large butter beans. The garnishes make the dish look more attractive—and more like a classic hummus made with chickpeas.
For the dip: Reserve 1/3 cup of the beans for garnish. Put the remaining beans in a blender or food processor. Add all the remaining ingredients and process until very smooth, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula a few times if need be to help combine the ingredients.
Transfer the dip (you should have about 2 cups) to a shallow serving dish and create a well in the center.
For the garnishes: Put the reserved beans in the well in the dip and pour in the olive oil. Sprinkle with the paprika, poppy seeds, and parsley. Serve surrounded by the tostadas or tacos, toasts, or crackers.
As the days get cooler, I start having some serious soup cravings. Lucky then that beloved cook and writer Ruth Reichl has shared this soul-warming recipe for Butternut Squash Soup from her poignant culinary memoir, My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
Begin by coarsely chopping an onion, a stalk of celery and 2 carrots; you don’t have to be fussy about this since you’re going to end up pureeing everything. Slick the bottom of a casserole or Dutch oven with olive oil, add the vegetables and let them tumble into tenderness, which should take about ten minutes.
Peel a pound of butternut squash and cut it into 3/4 inch or so cubes. Peel half pound of waxy potatoes (Yukon Golds are good), and cut into chunks of the same size. Stir them into the vegetables in the casserole, add a couple teaspoons of sea salt and 2 1/2 cups of boiling water, cover and simmer until everything is very soft. This will take about half an hour.
Very carefully puree the soup in a blender, in small batches, making sure the top of the blender is secure (hot soup can be painful).
Taste for seasoning and serve drizzled with a few drops of olive oil and/or good balsamic vinegar. A crisp dice of apples on top makes this look lovely and adds a very pleasing note of sweetness. (Diced pickled walnuts also make a wonderful topping.)
Excerpted from My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl. Copyright © 2015 by Ruth Reichl. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Read our review of this book.
Master chef and French cuisine expert Jacques Pépin is celebrating his 80th year with the release of an exuberant new cookbook, Jacques Pépin: Heart & Soul in the Kitchen. Here, he highlights the recipes he uses at home and offers genius tips and guidance along with charming stories from his long and influential life. This is a cookbook that at-home cooking enthusiasts will not want to miss! Grab a basket of fresh fall apples this week and dish up this lovely Apple Galette.
Serves 4 to 6
I like apple tarts, apple galettes, or apple pies in any form. I recently found a new way of making the crust for apple galette using pizza dough that I buy at my market.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar on a baking sheet lined with nonstick aluminum foil. Place the pizza dough on top and press it out with your hands as thin as possible. Let rest and proof at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Press the dough out further into a roundish 12-inch shape. (It will be less elastic and easier to stretch after it has rested.)
Peel and core the apples and cut each one into 8 wedges. Starting about ½ inch from the outer edges of the round of dough, arrange the apple wedges in concentric circles on top, pushing them gently into the dough. Dot with the butter and sprinkle evenly with the remaining sugar.
Bake the galette for 45 minutes, or until nicely browned and crusty. Slide a spatula underneath the galette while it is still hot to make certain it hasn’t stuck to the sheet, and then let cool on the sheet. Spread the apricot preserves on top.
Cut the galette into wedges and serve at room temperature.
Looking for a flavorful, green side dish to add to your weekly repertoire? Meera Sodha shares a classic Gujarti recipe for Green Beans with Mustard Seeds and Ginger from her new cookbook, Made in India, that will definitely make you want to eat your vegetables.
GREEN BEANS WITH MUSTARD SEEDS AND GINGER
Fansi nu saak
This old bean is one of our favorite recipes and a Gujarati classic. Mum would often cook it for dinner, but I prefer to eat it as a side. The fresh green beans are marvelous with the nutty mustard seeds, crunchy sesame seeds, and a bit of ginger.
Put the oil into a lidded frying pan on a medium heat. When it’s hot, add the mustard seeds and sesame seeds.
The mustard seeds will start to pop; as soon as they do, add the beans. Stir-fry them for a couple of minutes, then add the ginger. Stir-fry for another couple of minutes, then add the tomato paste, turmeric, salt and black pepper.
Turn down the heat a little, cover with the lid, and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes, or until the beans are tender, then take off the heat and serve.
Reprinted from Made in India. Copyright © 2015 by Meera Sodha. Published by Flatiron, an imprint of Macmillan. Read our review of this book.
Heidi Swanson takes readers on a vegetarian-focused tour of the world's best dishes in our September Top Pick in Cookbooks, Near & Far. This Almond Cake has just the right hint of amaro, a popular spirit regularly found in Italian cafes and sipped as an aperitivo.
Herbal, sweet, and bitter; some versions weak, others strong—not everyone loves amaro, the widely varied Italian digestif originally sold as a health tonic in the early 19th century. You still see bottles lining enoteca shelves. I love it, and often sip it straight or over a cube or two of ice. It’s invigorating like an alcoholic wheatgrass shot. On the culinary front, I use it for flavor, primarily in sweet preparations—sometimes with creams or granitas, and other times in baking: this cake, for example, where amaro’s green herbaceousness melds beautifully with a thick almond paste batter and glaze accent.
Makes one 8-inch / 20 cm cake or multiple smaller ones
Preheat the oven to 350°F | 180°C. Butter an 8-inch | 20cm pan, generously and evenly sprinkle with flour, and tap out any excess. (Alternatively, you can use multiple smaller pans for a cluster of tiny cakes; see Notes, page 230.)
Break the almond paste into a food processor and give a few quick pulses; you’re looking for medium-size, pebbly pieces. Add the eggs and process until very smooth. Sprinkle in the cornstarch and salt and pulse a few times, then add the butter and amaro. Blend once more before transferring to the prepared pan(s). Bake until deeply golden and set in the center; you’re going to want to test this cake—a toothpick should come out clean before pulling it from the oven—for tiny cakes, this is usually 40 to 45 minutes, longer for larger cakes. Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 20 to 30 minutes (very small cakes can be turned out after about 5 minutes), then transfer directly to the cooling rack. Let cool completely before glazing.
To make the glaze, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and amaro. Keep whisking until the glaze is free of lumps. Flood the top(s) of the cake(s), allowing the glaze to run over the sides. Alternatively, you can top each slice of cake with berries that have been tossed with a splash of amaro and sprinkled with brown sugar.
Be sure to buy almond paste, not marzipan. There is a difference.
This recipe makes about 3 cups | 710 ml of cake batter. You can bake one 8-inch | 20cm cake or multiple smaller ones. Adjust your baking time accordingly and use a cake tester to decide when to pull the cake(s) from the oven—smaller cakes take less time to bake.
Meera Sodha shares her family's most treasured staple recipes in her charming new cookbook, Made in India. Here, she lets you in on the secrets of her mother's comforting Chicken Curry.
MUM’S CHICKEN CURRY
I left Lincolnshire at the age of 18 to go to university in London. Secretly homesick, I would stop in Indian-owned newsstands on the way back from class, lingering over the magazines and quietly listening to the owners speaking in Gujarati, just for comfort.
When it came to food, I was at the mercy of the dorm chef, a Jamaican with an adventurous streak who would create delights such as corn and strawberry salad, indiscriminately seasoning everything with pepper. With every bite, I’d be thinking about home and my ultimate comfort food, my mum’s chicken curry.
Put the ghee and oil into a wide-bottomed, lidded frying pan on a medium heat and, when it’s hot, add the cumin seeds and cinnamon sticks. Let them infuse in the oil for a minute, and then add the onions. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
Meanwhile, put the ginger, garlic and green chilis into a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt and bash to a coarse paste.
Add the paste to the pan and cook gently for 2 minutes, then pour in the strained tomatoes and stir. Cook the strained tomatoes for a few minutes until the mixture resembles a thick paste, then add the tomato paste, ground cumin, turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon of salt (or to taste).
Whisk the yogurt and add it slowly to the curry. Cook it through until it starts to bubble, then add the chicken. Pop the lid on the pan and continue to cook on a gentle heat for around 30 minutes. Add the ground almonds and the garam masala and cook for another 5 minutes.
Serve with a tower of chapatis, hot fluffy naan, or rice, and offer yogurt at the table.
Reprinted from Made in India. Copyright © 2015 by Meera Sodha. Published by Flatiron, an imprint of Macmillan. Read our review of this book.