These brownie-like cookies have a hidden center of caramel.
Taking time out to spend special moments with friends and family may be the best thing about the holidays.
But a close second surely is all the cookies to indulge in at this time of year.
“Holiday Cookies” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy, is all about this festive sweet time of year. The book is by food stylist and recipe developer Elizabet der Nederlanden of Berkeley, with photography by the talented Erin Scott of Berkeley.
You’ll find everything from “Gingerbread Cookies” to “Chocolate-Stenciled Shortbread Rounds” to “Saffron Pistachio Biscotti.” Beyond cookies, there are also confections such as “Apple Cider Caramels” and “Matcha Chocolate Bark with Berries and Coconut.”
“Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season” by Elisabet
“Dark Chocolate Cookies with Caramel” is especially fun because these brownie-like cookies hide a center of caramel inside. It’s achieved easily enough by rolling the cookie dough around an unwrapped, purchased caramel candy.
A dessert that’s a dark beauty.
It was a dark and stormy cake.
OK, maybe not quite.
But “Molasses Bundt Cake with Bourbon Caramel Sauce” is definitley dark and deliriously delicious. And it’s so full of wintery warm spices, that you could definitely picture yourself cozying up to a big slice on a stormy night.
The recipe is from “Baker’s Royale” (Running Press), of which I received a review copy. The cookbook is by Californian Naomi Robinson, a self-taught baker behind the popular BakersRoyale blog.
The book features 75 recipes for fun sweet treats such as “Rocky Road Cookies,” “Brown Butter Chocolate Chess Pie,” “Lemon Marshmallow Pie Pops,” and “Bananas Foster Pudding Parfaits.”
Bundts are among the easiest cakes to make, which is what you want especially during these harried holidays, which always seem to come around quicker every year.
With three types of oatmeal in these cookies, they are practically health food. OK, maybe not…
Is it possible to gain weight just by looking through a cookbook?
Because I just want to inhale everything I see in “BraveTart” (W.W. Norton & Company).
The new cookbook, of which I received a review copy, is by the talented Stella Parks, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, a James Beard Award-nominated writer for Serious Eats, one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Pastry Chefs,” and creator of the BraveTart blog.
It’s a good bet you’ll find yourself equally smitten with this book, because it’s all about iconic American desserts, the treats you grew up loving — only done way better here.
These aren’t fussy, chef-y plated desserts with an overload of flourishes that just make your head spin. Nope, these are thoroughly do-able, designed for a home-cook to make in a home kitchen and to enjoy with friends and family at home.
Where to start with the 100-plus recipes? “Glossy Fudge Brownies” (with that coveted crinkly papery crust)? “Red (Wine) Velvet Cake” (colored by Cabernet Sauvignon and raw cocoa powder)? “HomeMade Pop-Tarts” (with homemade colored sprinkles, no less)? With most of the recipes, Parks also suggests easy ways to riff on the original recipe. Oftentimes, she also includes directions for turning the recipe gluten-free.
It’s kind of like two treats in one.
Is it a cookie? Is it a wreath?
It’s actually both.
This started out as as Martha Stewart’s “Classic Shortbread” recipe from her cookbook, “Martha Stewart’s Cookies” (Clarkson Potter, 2008), one of my favorite baking books.
The butter-filled dough is pressed into a fluted tart pan to create one massive cookie that gets scored with a knife into wedges. The directions have you pressing a round 2 1/4-inch cookie cutter into the center before baking to create a doughnut-like hole.
Jazz up the Thanksgiving table with this beautiful cranberry-pear frangipane tart.
You may never spy a partridge in a pear tree.
But in Darina Allen’s newest cookbook, “Grow Cook Nourish: A Kitchen Garden Companion in 500 Recipes” (Kyle), you’ll learn not only how to grow pear trees and how to keep alert to pests and diseases, but how the fruit is a good source of dietary fiber and antioxidants. What’s more, you’ll find a selection of delectable recipes to make the most of your harvest.
Allen, who runs the renowned cooking school at Ballymaloe in County Cork, Ireland that has its own 100-acre farm, offers up similar wisdom for a roster of other fruits, vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, and foraged finds in this 640-page book.
It makes a great resource for anyone who enjoys cooking, gardening or both. You’ll learn about oca, a tender green originally from South America that stars in “Oca, Chorizo, Scallion & Radish Salad.” Everyday potatoes turn special in “Burmese Pork & Potato Curry.” And easy-to-grow thyme gets a sweet turn in “Buttermilk Ice Cream with Olive Oil and Thyme Leaves.”
Add a dollop of whipped cream and you are good to go.
With the holidays upon us, I couldn’t resist trying my hand at the “Festive Cranberry & Pear Tart” from the book, of which I received a review copy.