2009 Holiday Baking Guide

I’m turning to all of my holiday baking favorites as I count down the last few days before Christmas. From my great grandmother Momoo’s 100-year-old recipe for Peanut Butter Bars to simple classics like Christmas Wreaths, deck the halls with flour and make your home a sugary winter wonderland with my favorite holiday sweets.

2009 Holiday Baking Guide

(pictured above, clockwise from top left)

Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies from justataste.com #recipe

Let the holiday baking begin! I had all of the ingredients for these Brown Sugar Shortbread cookies in my pantry, so they became the product of a lazy afternoon spent avoiding the 20ºF temperatures outside.

This recipe was adapted from a recent feature in The Washington Post about the simplicity of shortbread and the quest for the perfect balance of butter, sugar and flour. I’ve added a festive touch to these classic cookies by dipping them in semisweet chocolate and sprinkling them with crushed candy canes. Keep ‘em classic or get festive with your favorite crushed candy toppings.

Featured Kitchen Gadget: Infrared Turkey Fryer

My family kicked it up a notch for this year’s Thanksgiving with dueling turkeys: one deep-fried and one cooked by infrared heat. Needless to say, we’re a competitive group, so while my uncle manned the traditional deep-fried bird, my dad and brother wedged a 16-pound turkey into our 3-in-1 smoker, roaster and grill, also known as The Big Easy Oil-less Infrared Turkey Fryer. Food nerds unite.

Cranberry Red Wine Sorbet

Cranberry Red Wine Sorbet

Each nook and cranny of my NYC kitchen is stuffed with every kitchen gadget imaginable. Potsticker maker? Check. Food mill? Check. Edges only brownie pan? Check. You name it, I own it. But an ice cream maker is one thing I don’t have. So when I stumbled upon a gadget-crazed version of cranberry sorbet I immediately took on the challenge of recreating the recipe, ice cream maker not included.

I used a similar process for my popular Pineapple-Agave Sorbet with Toasted Coconut. But because the season doesn’t lend itself to tropical tastes, I’ve switched up the flavors and added a red wine base. The rich red color and cranberry-orange blend are the perfect pallet-cleansing pops of color and flavor for any holiday spread.

The Inside Dish: Culinary School Lessons 15-24

I’ve made it through the first of five modules in my culinary arts program mostly unscathed save for my first (and surely not last) burn. All injuries aside, I cannot believe how quickly the time has gone as I’ve graduated from learning how to hold a knife to perfectly sauteing a chicken breast and plating it with a white wine butter sauce (image #11).